Tag:Big 12
Posted on: February 2, 2012 10:00 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 10:02 am
 

College basketball's January: In photos

By Matt Norlander

Like most of you, I'm a sucker for good photography. For the past couple of years, I've done best-of-the-year photo posts at the end of each season. But I wanted to get more frequent with my appreciation for the faceless photogs that do tremendous work all season long.

These men and women truly have the best seat in all of sports; they're as close to the action without actually taking part in it. This season, just after each month ends, we've been sharing best 40 or so shots from the previous 28, 30 or 31 days. If you'd like to give November and December's best pictures a peek, go ahead.

Now, January's best.

Jeremy Lamb and the impending doom for the rim. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

I'm confused. Does Memphis use two mascots? Or is the tiger in the circle just Wesley Witherspoon messing around? (Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

Georgia State coach Ron Hunter coaches his fifth annual barefoot game in support of Samaritan's Feet, an organization that provides shoes for underprivileged children in over 62 countries around the world. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Fortunately, the photographer was able to fit every fan attending this Duke game into the shot. This never could have happened in 1994. (Lance King/Getty Images)

Michael Dixon, left, Matt Pressey, center, and Phil Pressey head out to play Texas. Nice shot. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

A cheerleader of the Baylor Bears performs during a game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at the Ferrell Center. (Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

Mason Plumlee parachutes back to earth, ready to land on Wake Forest. Seth Curry has already started thinking about how he can turn the ball over. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

An Indiana Hoosiers player is reflected in the floor during player introductions before their game against Nebraska. (Eric Francis/Getty Images)

This is what Nebraskans look like. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

Damn, Phil Pressey really knows how to leave a locker room. Play on, player. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The defining image of Thomas Robinson's Kansas career. (Kansas City Star)

Looked so good, we had to show the opposite angle. Should be required wall-decoration for every Kansas freshman for years to come. (Peter G. Aiken/US PRESSWIRE)

Troy's Justin Wright takes a shot over Louisiana Monroe guard Fred Brown. Something about the small gym, the lighting, the peak of the shot. Really like this one. (Thomas Graning/The (Troy) Messenger)

Would you rather have the NCAA breathing down your neck or Jim Calhoun literally doing it? (AP/Fred Beckham). 

Iowa State guard Scott Christopherson, left, just goes with the moment. Chris Allen is ready to share his exuberance with anyone and everyone. Christopherson's look says, Dude, this is great and all, but, Tic-Tac? (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

Navy guard Erin Meador turns her head into a basketball. This feel like art. (AP/Patrick Semansky)

Murray State Rrrray-sirs! (The Paducah Sun/John Wright)

Austin Rivers leads a tortured life. (AP/Gerry Broome)

Like flowers being beckoned by the sun, hands rise up and chase the orange. Might be my favorite shot of the month. (AP/Jeffrey Phelps)

The capital G in cursive is truly the most cumbersome letter. (AP/Patrick Semansky)

Old man ref advises OD Anosike to get his act together and stop listening to Lady Gaga. (US PRESSWIRE)

Kids at games. The best. (US PRESSWIRE)

Man, I'd love a pair of those shoes. (US PRESSWIRE)

Who says newspapers are dead! Much respect to the guy in front here who's very invested in some piece of piercing journalism.(US PRESSWIRE)

John Henson's dunkface. (US PRESSWIRE)

Remember that time Brandon Paul played out of his mind and then blocked a potential game-winning shot from Jared Sullinger? (US PRESSWIRE)

Akron forward Nikola Cvetinovic forgets something on the way to two points. (Andrew Weber/US PRESSWIRE)

Xavier forward Jeff Robinson demoralizes Duquesne's Kadeem Pantophlet. (Frank Victores/US PRESSWIRE)

That's Davidson's Belk Arena blurred in the background. (US PRESSWIRE)

You could practically push a shopping cart underneath the Purdue cheerleaders. (US PRESSWIRE)

Love The Show out at San Diego State. Legen -- wait for it -- ... dary. (US PRESSWIRE)

Urban Meyer and his Sith lords begin their reign in Columbus, introduce themselves to the hoi polloi. (Greg Bartram/US PRESSWIRE)

Shaka Smart reacts. (US PRESSWIRE)

Santa Barbara Gauchos guard Orlando Johnson is fouled by Long Beach State's Casper Ware. The Big West's two best collide. (Kelvin Kuo/US PRESSWIRE)

Vandy's players give love to their fans after a win. (US PRESSWIRE)

Take the next three minutes to examine the reaction of everyone in this picture. (US PRESSWIRE)

Tom Izzo gets win No. 400, and his players surprise him in the presser. Tom Izzo remains to be among the best. (US PRESSWIRE)
Posted on: January 30, 2012 11:40 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 11:41 pm
 

Night Court: First 50-point scorer of the season

Kevin Murphy, the man who scored 50 tonight. (US PRESSWIRE)
By Matt Norlander

Here’s everything you need to know about Monday night’s light slate of games …

Game of the Night:  Thank God Missouri had to play Texas on the road, because if this was in Columbia, I feel like we would’ve had to pick Pitt-WVU as the GotN. This just in last century: winning on the road in conference against competent teams is harder than spinning a ping pong ball on your pinky. Missouri learned the lesson again tonight, as it was unable to shake Texas off despite, largely, playing better than the ’Horns for the majority of the game.

Then came the elbow call on Michael Dixon that gave Texas two technical free throws and helped cut a 13-point deficit down to one with less than a minute to go. J’Covan Brown gave UT the lead on the next possession. Dixon, by the way, hit a ridiculous running, falling left-handed, high-arcing layup to give Mizzou the lead. It was the game winner, and Dixon was 9 for 10 from the field and finished with 21 points. Missouri is playing itself into a top seed. They remain a fascinating case study in teams that inexplicably do well with first-year coaches.

Win to brag about: It’s become an unpredictable college basketball season across the board, in almost every conference. Pittsburgh only adds to the haze with its 72-66 win at West Virginia, causing the Mountaineers to dip to .500 in Big East play while taking one in Morgantown. Seth Davis floated the possibility Pitt could become a faint factor in the bubble chase. To that I only say, Seth, I love ya, buddy.

Loss to hide from: I forgot to make the bed today. My fiancée came home in a huff. So I’m hiding from that — and her. I bring this up because there wasn't really a bad loss tonight. And on Jan. 30 college basketball needs to be offering us more than this.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Kevin Murphy became the first 50-point scorer in college basketball this season tonight. He had half a hundred in Tennessee Tech’s 98-80 home win over SIU-Edwardsville. Murphy, a senior, was 16-of-21 from the field, 6-of-9 from 3, 12-of-14 from the foul line, had seven rebounds and just one turnover. It all amounts to what is likely one of the best sports nights of his life and certainly the most impressive statistical performance in the senior’s college career.

The flip side of the game saw Jerome Jones from SIU-E have a season-high 25 points.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Shame on you for trimming that beard, Deniz Kilicli. Now it’s merely magnificent, instead of Zeusian.

Numbers don’t lie

  • 18. Texas Southern blew an 18-point lead to Alabama State and lost 66-59 in overtime. The ESPNU play-by-play man called it "one of the most startling and unexpected comebacks you will ever see this college basketball season." I don't know about you, but I'm taking his word for it.
  • 4. After a four-game drought where he was held below 20 points -- the only time that's happened this season -- Penn senior Zack Rosen got back to good, putting up 28 against Princeton. Jack Donaghy is not pleased.
  • 3. The number of BracketBusters games that are actually worthwhile. Check out our succinct breakdown of the games.
  • 83. The number of pages I burned through tonight "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." (Again, thanks for the slow night, CBB!) This book is not making me want to see the movie. Only 200 pages to go. I was told this thing picks up the pace 100 pages in. Lies.

Three other notable results

  1. Penn knocked off Princeton in the Ivy, which means Penn is still undefeated, which means they’re tied in the loss column with Harvard. I'd love a good Ivy race, but it feels like Harvard's going to win the league by at least two games.
  2. Norfolk State dropped its first game in the MEAC tonight (87-82 to Coppin State). Yeah, we’re scraping the barrel’s bottom.
  3. Central Florida, what are you doing playing Palm Beach Atlantic on Jan. 30? Are you not a major player in a respectable conference? Don’t schedule weaklings after Christmas if you want to be a big boy. Now, can someone help me get off this damn high horse?

Notes

  • Did you happen to catch Bob Knight’s mocha sweater tonight? I promptly put on a cup of hot chocolate.
  • I can’t stand the elbow = technical rule in principle. What Dixon tonight warranted two free throws, but all too often we’re seeing players get punished for a natural reaction with the ball. Can we agree to just keep the spirit of the rule alive but chop it to one free throw? That’s a compromise I can live with.
  • I’ll be speaking with Kevin Murphy about his 50-point game early Tuesday morning. Look for the post around lunchtime.
Posted on: January 30, 2012 9:38 am
Edited on: January 30, 2012 9:50 am
 

Weekly poll is back; pick the games here

By Matt Norlander

Due to college football's signing day falling on Wednesday this week, we've been pushed up in the polls. The good news is, we've got more games than before for you to vote on. Five of the results will air on "Courtside with Seth Davis" tonight at 7 p.m. ET, and another five will be revealed on "Inside College Basketball," which goes live at 11 p.m. ET, both shows on the CBS Sports Network, of course.

Get to clicking.



Want more of us? Or more interaction with hoops fans? We suggest you like the Eye On College Basketball Facebook page. And if that's not enough, CBSSports.com has your roundball fix tended to thanks to our daily newsletter.
Posted on: January 30, 2012 9:00 am
 

Wakeup Call: Boeheim was Coughlin's college RA

First it was the gray/platinum Nike jerseys, now this? Can't wait to see UNC in royal blue. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander


Before you click, guess. How many hits does YouTube get on average each day?. // The "It Was a Good Day" mystery/solved mystery doesn't even bother me. The fact someone did the research made my Friday night. // One reason I'm grateful basketball is my favorite sport: it is immune to the physical dangers that will erode/alter the sport in 10, 15, 20 years. // News of Mr. Pitt's passing certainly brought my weekend down. May we all find a perfect pair of socks ...

★ The Ryan Boatright issue was probably the story of the weekend in college basketball. Here's Doyel's take.

★ It was inevitable, and there are millions of words coming down the road in the next week, months, years about this: Division I will eventually fracture between have and have-nots.
 
★ Some terrific insight on Duke's rotation. The five guys who see the floor the most are hurting Duke more than any combination. The plus-minus from an individual standpoint I'm not a believer in, though.

★ Officials are not doing a good job of policing the sport this year.

★ Just the start, Towson, just the start.

★ Now, now, that's not very Mormon-like.

★ I linked to Lost Letterman's "best" college basketball uniforms last week. They subsequently hit me up for their list of the worst.

★ Sometimes really good teams win in really good ways and reaffirm your faith in them. I'd say Ohio State did that Sunday.

★ Ever since the prospect of this was introduced/dawned upon to me about six years ago, I've been gung-ho about it. College hoops would be much better off if it started its season in January.

★ Why was the UConn student section wearing reddish-orange yesterday?

★ Phil Martelli pulled a prank on his team recently. Hold back the jokes, folks.

★ Ooh that’s fancy.

★ We love to give love to the ladies game every now and again.

★ Jim Boeheim was once Tom Coughlin's RA at Syracuse. Boeheim seems like he'd be neither the good or the bad kind of RA. I picture him as the one students nodded their heads to, then went and did what they wanted anyway. In other words: 98 percent of every RA ever.

★ It's never over until it's over, but here's the latest account of how this is a growing pains year for Brad Stevens' Butler team.

★ The Murray State seeding questions continue and will continue to continue so long as Murray State continues to win.

► Western Illinois beat IUPUI at the buzzer Saturday. I love "THE FRESHMAN." Sounds like a couple of WIU students on the mics. Love it, fellas. Great job on the call.



♬ Listening to ALO is like like eating warm bread right before the real meal arrives. Good band to start the day off with. Appropriately, we'll go with Monday today.

Posted on: January 27, 2012 12:10 pm
 

Podcast: Pat Forde makes his podcast debut

By Matt Norlander

I'm humbled to bring on, for the first time, Yahoo Sports national college columnist Pat Forde. He's freed himself from the shackles of covering college football, mostly, and so he can now fully indulge in our sport. Glad to have him and today's pod is a breeze of a listen. We swap new-job stories, apologize to Frank Haith and get a sneak peek at the best late-night places to go in New Orleans.

If you aren't already, give him a follow on Twitter.

Here's what we hit on:
  • From the beginning: How Pat covers hoops in the season -- football season. We also get into his job switch from ESPN.com to Yahoo Sports, and how he celebrated the move.
  • 6:52: The sport lacking that national conversation, those outstanding stars and having some transcendence right now. Normally this has been the case the past 12 years in college hoops, but we hoped/expected for more this year.
  • 11:30: I remember the night Frank Haith was hired at Missouri. I also remember Pat ordering a round of drinks -- for himself. Now the Tigers are really good and Pat wants to say he's sorry.
  • 17:40: Moving on to Indiana, most specifically, if the Hoosiers have put their best basketball behind them this season.
  • 20:29: Pat's one of the few national guys, along with Parrish, to have seen Murray State in person. He shares his impressions and brings up why they're similar to Indiana State, the same Indiana State that made the 1979 national championship game. Of course, there is no Larry Bird here.
  • 24:20: Right now a lot of low- and mid-major teams that are undefeated in conference and seem to be setting themselves up to have very, very strong years in league play. I think this means we'll have a minimum of three non-BCS teams in the Sweet 16 this year, probably more.
  • 28:15: Pat's got quite a few recommendations for places to go in New Orleans for the Final Four. Yes, I'm already excited.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast--whenever you can. I ask that you, if you like what we're doing here, encourage like-minded hoopheads to subscribe in Tunes as well. Guests like Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, they're the guys who make me sound better and make the podcast worthwhile. The other guys? Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, they really make it entertaining, and of course you can count on our trio show each Wednesday. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.


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Posted on: January 26, 2012 11:30 am
Edited on: January 26, 2012 11:40 am
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Posted on: January 25, 2012 5:15 pm
 

The season so far: not what we'd hoped for

North Carolina isn't leading the charge in the ACC. They trail N.C. State currently. Anyone see that coming? (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander


This is not the superb year of college basketball that we expected.

In some ways I’m getting ahead of myself, because so much of every year is judged by its climax, so without the benefit of knowing what March and the first Monday of April will bring, we can’t say how, as a whole, the 2011-12 season will be perceived. So far it’s been something of a let-down. It’s my fault. It’s the fault of any fan or writer who got romantic over the notion this season could vault itself back to the halcyon ‘80s or mid-‘90s, before the NBA pilfered the premier talent as soon as possible.

We still have most of the same teams at the top of the polls now as were there in November, but the action hasn’t been as good, the sport hasn’t been in the conversation as much as expected — thanks for buckling to the owners’ demands, NBA players — and UNC, Duke, Ohio State, UConn and Baylor have all suffered some swoons. It’s not been a bad season by any stretch, but college basketball, for about the 12th straight year, has failed to create morning-after discussion that enraptures the country. Ironically, or perhaps the very reason why we’re not so enamored with the sport, is the result of most conference races being in flux — more than usual.

Outside of Kentucky in the SEC and maybe Syracuse in the Big East, we lack semblance of what to expect and certainly don't have teams gripping their leagues by the throat. Bad news. The last thing college basketball needs is parity. Tight league races bring great anticipation but just as many questions. Unfortunately, the races aren’t close at the top because so many teams are good; instead, too many squads have proven they know how many ways in which to lose. We’ve got highly ranked teams failing to play bully, so that prevents the mainstream from latching on to a subset of top-level squads who fail transcend the games they play.

Look at the hideous Pac-12, which causes a gag reflex upon any discussion. Cal, Oregon, Washington and Colorado all have two losses. Collectively, it’s among the weakest years for major conferences in the modern era. That’s due in large part to this league. The Pac-12 is on a collision course of playing itself into only one bid, which would be unprecedented and certainly make commissioner Larry Scott consider kicking an Arizona State out of the conference in favor of a group that will actually accomplish something. Perhaps Ron Swanson’s youth team would be willing to make the commitment. Nobody wants to take charge at the kiddie table?

Ohio State should win the Big Ten, but how convinced are you that it will? (US PRESSWIRE)
The Big Ten is the best conference in the country, right? Then why doesn’t it feel elite? It doesn’t ring proudly and dominantly like the Big East has been in recent years. Yet Ohio State, its flagship team this season, is log-jammed with Michigan and Michigan State (all with two losses). Wisconsin and Illinois (a team some believe won’t make the NCAAs) are one game behind in the loss column. Indiana, that great rebirth this season, is just 4-4 in the Big Ten, sharing as many losses as Minnesota, Iowa and Purdue.

The ACC’s got a three-way tie you didn’t expect at all, one that doesn’t include North Carolina, who should ultimately win the league … but who knows. Duke, Florida State and N.C. State are all 4-1 at the moment. Right now, there’s only a two-game difference in the loss column from the top to the 10th team in the standings, 2-3 Boston College.

The Big East is just as clogged from 1 (Syracuse) to 9 (Notre Dame, which ended SU’s undefeated season Saturday), separated by two losses. Below SU in the Big East is a 10-car pileup that won’t be sorted out for weeks. We’re not used to seeing this league be so confused over parity or genuine top-level competition. Thank God the Orange pulled out a nice win at Cincinnati Monday night, lest this column really have a hammer to beat its point into the ground. Even though the Orange is the favorite, there have been questions about how good the team actually is. The fact some don’t think Syracuse looks like a true one seed right now tells you what you need to know about the sport.

Kentucky and Kansas are the only major-conference teams without a blemish at this point. Almost everyone expects Kentucky to win its league. Kansas? Hey, they’ve looked great, but road games at Iowa State, Missouri and Baylor are still upcoming. The Bears, Tigers and Jayhawks are likely to push each other down the track to the final weekend of regular-season play — and then you can expect a different winner from the regular-season champ when the Big 12 tourney finishes. Just feels like one of those years.

The Atlantic 10’s as much of a mess as any league; 12 of the 14 teams are separated by two games. Conference USA is once again a level below, and it’s reinforced by not having Memphis there to prop the league up and offer a team that’s even Sweet 16-worthy. Central Florida, Memphis, Tulsa, Southern Miss and Marshall. Those are five teams who could win C-USA. Another Magic 8-Ball shake of a conference race. This is all exciting to some degree, but when will we see true separation? Without those tiers of teams, upsets in March don’t feel as shocking and the sport in general feels watered down.

When our expectations get altered, and when there are fewer great teams, there is no oomph. College basketball needs four or five really good, really interesting teams to be truly relevant prior to Valentine’s Day. It hasn’t had that so far, and so this year is now beginning to look like most others from the recent past. Get us to March as soon as possible so we can see what this season really has to offer. Just because most conference races are close doesn’t mean they’re interesting, at least not yet.

More College Basketball coverage
Posted on: January 25, 2012 11:01 am
Edited on: January 25, 2012 12:22 pm
 

Nike sterilizes college hoops with platinum unis

None of these people currently play college basketball. (Nike)
By Matt Norlander

Syracuse fans' worst nightmares have come true. The team will wear gray uniforms. That's the color of the enemy, Georgetown.

It's not just Syracuse, though. Many teams will be wearing gray -- oh, sorry, PLATINUM -- at some point this season. Nike teamed up with a bunch of universities, primarily because Nike has lot of employees with a lot of time on their hands and is obsessed with this gray/platinum trend way more than it should be. Because of this, nine teams will don these generic, already-out-of-vogue uniforms.

Other schools duped into the marketing ploy include Arizona, UConnDuke, Florida, Kentucky, both the men's and women's North Carolina teams and the Baylor women's hoops squad. Here's the thing -- they're not even that ugly. It'd be one thing if these threads were Oregon's court reincarnated, but they're just ... boring-looking, nondescript from the past half-decade of altering team jerseys up and down the grayscale.

                       [SEE THE COMPLETE SLIDESHOW OF NEW UNIFORMS AT NIKE'S WEBSITE]

The relief comes from the fact these things will not affect player performance. Because players don't much care what they wear, or at least they don't let the colors they don alter their game. As long as fans can restrain themselves from vomiting onto the floor, we should all survive this. Look good, feel good; feel good, play good and all that, but these just look like uniforms that take away from the spirit of the team. They're not playing for Syracuse or UNC or Arizona anymore. They're playing for Nike. Aren't we all. Them or Apple.

There is good news. First of all, the uniforms are apparently great for the environment, having been made up of mostly recycled polyester material, as well as most of Jim Boeheim's old, sweaty dress shirts.

Secondarily, the teams won't be wearing them on the regular. Syracuse will place them on their backs for the most meaningless game of their season: the Feb. 22 home game against South Florida. Kentucky, so fa as we know, is only throwing on the throwfronts for the Jan. 31 game against Tennessee. UConn will give these things a go this Sunday, against Notre Dame.

They'll come and go until the next uniform trend arrives. And when that happens, let's abide by dominant team colors.

(Via Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician)
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com