Tag:Big Ten
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.

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Posted on: January 25, 2012 4:08 pm

Purdue's NCAA hopes are in trouble

By Jeff Borzello

As one of the better teams over the last five years, we’ve become accustomed to seeing Purdue in the NCAA tournament – and as a team no one really wants to play.

After the Boilermakers’ home loss to Michigan on Tuesday night, though, Matt Painter’s club has its work cut out for them if it wants to return to the Big Dance.

Right now, Purdue sits at 14-7, with a 4-4 conference record. On the surface, that’s not bad. However, the Boilermakers have one marquee win on their docket: a neutral-court win over Temple back in mid-November. The Owls are a solid team, yes, but it’s not going to be the type of win that sets Purdue apart come bubble time. Outside of that, there isn’t a victory over a definite NCAA tournament team. Beating Illinois at home was good, as was knocking off Minnesota and Iona away from home. But Illinois and Iona have begun to lose some games, and Minnesota isn’t in great shape for an NCAA tournament bid.

The computer numbers are average, at best: an RPI of 62 and an SOS of 55. The non-conference strength of schedule was only 185. Moreover, a neutral-court loss to Butler and a 20-point road loss at Penn State aren’t doing the resume any favors.

Yes, there is still plenty of time left in the season – but therein lies the biggest problem. The remaining schedule is brutal.

There are five road contests left in Big Ten play: Northwestern, Ohio State, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana. Not one of those games is a definite win for Purdue. The Boilermakers will need to steal one or two of those away games if they want an attractive profile on Selection Sunday. Saturday’s game at Northwestern would be a good start, as it might be tough to win at Ohio State, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana.

The home games aren’t a cakewalk, either. Penn State and Nebraska should be wins, but what about Indiana, Northwestern and Michigan State? Just to finish above .500 in the Big Ten, Purdue would have to go undefeated at home – not an easy task – and then steal a road game.

If this were a Purdue team of the last couple of years, that wouldn’t seem too difficult. The Boilers used to be unbeatable at home, but it has now lost two of its last three games at Mackey Arena.

It’s going to be a tough five weeks for Purdue.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 25, 2012 11:18 am

Podcast: Happy birthday, Gary Parrish

By Matt Norlander

No primping needed. This is our longest and certainly one of our top-five podcasts yet. My timeline rundown doesn't do it justice.

What's when:
  • From the beginning: Goodman also explains which college coach is close to Bill Belichick. You'll never guess it. This quickly gets into some casual banter about the best and worst coaches when it comes to soundbites.
  • 9:07: Purdue. You know they haven't had a season where they've failed to win five in a row since Matt Painter's first year, '05-'06 season. The Boilers now likely won't do that this year -- will they miss the tournament this year like they did in '06?
  • 14:21: Goodman doubts UNC more without Dexter Strickland. Parrish does not.
  • 17:36: Duke's student section isn't selling out and now everyone is laughing at the Cameron Lazies.
  • 19:40: Why isn't college basketball as interesting this year as we thought it would be?
  • 23:28: Addressing a team I've continually been down on -- Florida.
  • 26:32: The BracketBusters talk is surprisingly really good. Just listen. Goodman goes off on this plan of his that's filled with issues. Hilarious.
  • 30:30: San Diego State is 18-2. They get their due here. I then lose it. Just lose it.
  • 33:29: Tuesday was Gary's birthday. The final 10 minutes are filled with banter, Parrish's birthday philosophies, his need for medication, weekend plans, how I can't make it on the streets, etc.

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 25, 2012 8:54 am

Wakeup Call: 66 days to the Final Four

The NFL denied Harrison's appeal of his one-game suspension. (via Greg Shaheen's Twitter account)

By Matt Norlander

Mayor says me "might have tacos" for dinner in support of Latinos. // Players' social-media activity is being tracked. // In the history of American economy, no company made more money in one quarter than Apple did in the wake of Steve Jobs' death. // Arresting images of homeless people. // Where morality flows in your brain ...

★ I try to read everything you see in the Wakeup Call before I link it. I've not yet gotten to Pablo Torre's Herb Pope piece, but I know it's going to be good.

★ The details of San Diego State's hellish trip to Laramie, Wyo., are a headache and a half.

★ Loving your Bottom 10, Eamonn.

★ This Gary Williams tribute on the side of the Comcast Center needs to never get turned off during the night.

★ Goodman's Tuesday catch-all column is mandatory weekly reading, folks.

★ I read the entirety of this blog post on the value of "air" with that awful Chris Brown/Jordin Sparks song in my head the whole time. And it's still on repeat. Blast you, Pomeroy.

★ Brutally honest headline from The Onion. It hurts -- but it's true!

★ When you're Kentucky hoops and you're not slaying pawns nightly, people will being to write things like this. The expectations are that high.

★ An upstart blog called Gotham Hoops passed along a post about Javon McCrea, so I'm happy to oblige them with a link this morning. McCrea's maybe the best mid-major player you know nothing about.

★ The quality work keeps coming from Rob Dauster as he and Troy Machir trek the nation on their #BIAHRoadTrip.

★ Missed this Monday -- Jereme Richmond, the Illinois miscreant, got 18 months' probation.

★ Wyoming boy can fly!

★ I did some legwork on my Gregg Marshall feature from yesterday, so allow me to get incest-like with the linkage here.

► Hey, look, it's UConn assistant Kevin Ollie in a local car commercial.

♬ Do you kind of like Coldplay more than you want to admit but wish there was a similar-sounding band out there five times as good? Elbow is that band.

Posted on: January 25, 2012 12:09 am
Edited on: January 25, 2012 12:10 am

Night Court: SDSU overcomes travel woes for win

Jeff Borzello

Here’s everything you need to know about Tuesday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: Michigan overcame a subpar performance from star freshman Trey Burke to hold off Purdue on the road, 66-64. The Wolverines were up by as many as 10 in the second half, and held Purdue without a field goal for the final 3:54 of the game. However, the win wasn’t secure until Lewis Jackson missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds. Burke was only 3-for-10 from the field, but Tim Hardaway Jr. led the way with 19 points.

Win to brag about: Everything was going against San Diego State heading into Tuesday’s game against Wyoming. The Aztecs arrived in Laramie only hours before the game due to travel problems and it was the Cowboys’ biggest home contest in years. Of course, San Diego State went out and won its 11th in a row, 52-42, starting the second half on a 16-4 run. Wyoming shot just 31 percent from the field, and San Diego shot 51 percent against one of the better defensive teams in the country.

Loss to hide from: Norfolk State has been rolling through the MEAC, led by Kyle O’Quinn. The Spartans had a chance to show they could beat teams from outside their league on Tuesday night, but stumbled at home against Morehead State, 75-69. They let Morehead shoot 54 percent from the field and 61 percent from 3-point range. 

Player who deserves improper benefits: Baylor’s Perry Jones struggled against the cream of the Big 12 crop last week, but bounced back on the road against Oklahoma. He shot 9-for-15 from the field, going for 21 points and 12 rebounds in the 77-65 victory. Now, if Jones could do that against the top teams in the conference, there will no longer be doubts about his killer instinct.

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: If Tennessee had any chance of knocking off Vanderbilt, the Volunteers needed big performances from Trae Golden and Jarnell Stokes. Both struggled in the 65-47 blowout loss to the Commodores. Golden went 2-for-11 from the field, finishing with four points, while Stokes attempted just five shots and finished with six points and seven turnovers. 

Numbers don’t lie:

Three other notable results:

  1. Texas overcame 15 points and 15 rebounds from Iowa State’s Royce White, beating the Cyclones, 62-55.
  2. Kentucky got 19 points off the bench from Darius Miller in its 57-44 win at Georgia.
  3. Marquette dominated South Florida in a battle of 5-2 Big East teams, forcing 20 turnovers and winning 67-47.


Photo: AP

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