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Tag:Jeff Goodman
Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:16 pm
 

What-to-know tourney previews: CAA

We all know about the CAA. There was George Mason and its magical Final Four run back in 2006. There was last year's improbable First Four to Final Four march from Shaka Smart and VCU.

This has been a league that has warranted -- and earned multiple bids to the NCAA tournament.

That may not be the case this season.

Drexel finished 25-5 overall and 16-2 in league play. Bruiser Flint's Dragons have won a school-record 17 consecutive games entering the CAA tourney. They have a couple of young studs in freshman forward Damion Lee and sophomore guard Frantz Massenet. The problem was Drexel got out of the gates slow, losing to Norfolk State, Virginia, St. Joe's and Delaware all within the first three weeks of the season.

VCU, despite losing most of the core that led the Rams to the Final Four a year ago, still managed to earn the No. 2 seed -- and could challenge Drexel for the crown, especially with the league tourney based in Richmond. George Mason's new coach Paul Hewitt relies on veteran big men Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison, but his backcourt will be the key. Old Dominion, which not unlike VCU was thought to be in rebuilding mode due to its youth, earned the fourth and final bye.

Brad Burgess is on the verge of breaking an NCAA record for most starts in a career. (AP)

The CAA may be down a bit -- and could wind up as a one-bid league -- but it'll still be a dogfight.

****

TOURNAMENT BRACKET

Schedule: March 2-5

Title game: Monday, March 5 (7 p.m. ET)

BEST PLAYERS

  1. Ryan Pearson, George Mason
  2. Frantz Massenat, Drexel
  3. Bradford Burgess, VCU
  4. Damion Lee, Drexel
  5. Kent Bazemore, Old Dominion

Conference RPI: 15

KenPom.com rating: 13

Sagarin rating: 14

NCAA Tournament Locks: None

NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams: Drexel, VCU

Last NCAA Tournament Appearances:

  • Delaware Blue Hens, 1999, No. 13 seed, lost to Tennessee in the first round, 62-52
  • Drexel Dragons, 1996, No. 12 seed, beat Memphis, 75-63, in the first round; lost to Syracuse, 69-58, in the second round
  • George Mason Patriots, 2011, beat Villanova, 61-57, in the second round; No. 8 seed, lost to Ohio State, 98-66, in the third round
  • Georgia State Panthers, 2001, No. 11 seed, beat Wisconsin, 50-49, in the first round; lost to Maryland, 79-60, in the second round
  • Hofstra Pride, 2001, No. 13 seed, lost to UCLA, 61-48, in the first round
  • James Madison Dukes, 1994, No. 14 seed, lost to Florida, 64-62, in the first round
  • Northeastern Huskies, 1991, No. 16 seed, lost to North Carolina, 101-66, in the first round
  • Old Dominion Monarchs, 2011, No. 9 seed, lost to Butler, 60-58, in the second round
  • Towson Tigers, 1991, No. 16 seed, lost to Ohio State, 97-86, in the first round
  • UNC Wilmington Seahawks, 2006, No. 9 seed, lost to George Washington, 88-85 (OT), in the first round
  • VCU Rams, 2011, Lost to Butler, 70-62, in the Final Four
  • William & Mary Tribe - N/A

-- Jeff Goodman

Category: NCAAB
Tags: COL, Jeff Goodman
 
Posted on: February 29, 2012 7:18 pm
 

NCAA looking into Shabazz Muhammad recruitment

By Jeff Goodman, Gary Parrish

Shabazz Muhammad is the top-ranked recruit in the nation.

Muhammad's recruitment, however, has drawn the attention of the NCAA - which has spoken to his father, Ron Holmes, about the family's relationship with a pair of financial advisors.

His list of finalists reads as follows: UCLA, Kentucky, Duke, UNLV, Kansas and USC.

You can read the exclusive story here:
Posted on: February 29, 2012 1:57 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 2:03 pm
 

UCLA issues not unusual, except for Howland angle

UCLA's problems may have been more extreme than some cases, but lots of programs have in-fighting. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Jeff Goodman


It's been a mess at UCLA over the past few years.

Sports Illustrated's George Dohrmann painted a telling picture that certainly has contributed to Ben Howland and the Bruins' recent struggles in Westwood.

Drugs. Fights. A chemistry killer. Hardly a novel concept within the workings of a big-time college basketball program.

"We've had all that stuff before," said one high-major assistant coach. "There's no bombshell there."

The shocker, honestly, is that it involves Howland -- forever considered a strict disciplinarian -- and a program like UCLA.

Everyone close to the Bruins program was well-aware of Reeves Nelson shortly after he arrived on campus. Talented, but a bad kid. He was described to me by more than one person as "the worst teammate ever to wear a UCLA Bruins uniform."

Dohrmann has plenty of Nelson stories. Fights with numerous teammates. Cheap shots. Urinating on ex-teammate Tyler Honeycutt's clothes.

Ultimately, Howland sold out and gave Nelson opportunity after opportunity instead of cutting ties early. That wouldn't have been the case had the Bruins been in the midst of three straight Final Fours from 2006-08. Instead, this is a program that has become irrelevant on the national landscape and Howland is fighting for his future on the left coast. The Bruins were 14-18 two years ago, made the NCAA tournament last season and will likely be headed to the NIT this year.

Howland can coach. There's no doubting that. Let's not forget what this man did his last couple years at Pittsburgh and during that impressive three-year stretch where they were a constant in the Final Four. He can also develop talent as many NBA guys have told me that UCLA Bruins are as prepared as anyone to come in and make a rapid adjustment to the pro game.

But he's apparently lost some measure of control within his own program. Former players, whether it's guys in the NBA or at other schools, are bashing his methodical system which doesn't promote freedom. Howland and his staff have been unable to recruit at the level necessary to compete at the highest level.

He's made mistakes on the recruiting trail, whether it was by taking kids that aren't talented enough or kids that doesn't fit his system and personality.

This story, which sheds a poor light on Howland and the program overall, certainly won't help his job security in Westwood.

Kids blowing off curfew to party and do drugs. Fights both on and off the court between teammates.

But let's not pretend this is an anomaly, either.

It happens on college campuses with students. It happens within soccer and lacrosse programs.

And it's happening with Howland's UCLA Bruins basketball team.

Howland has signed one of the nation's top recruits, 6-foot-8 point forward Kyle Anderson, but he had to go all the way to the northeast to do so. He hired a former AAU coach from Atlanta on his staff this past offseason. People can talk all they want about the lack of talent coming out of the west coast, but Howland and his staff were unable to beat out Arizona for Brandon Ashley and Grant Jarrett. They

UCLA isn't UCLA right now.

But it's not all that different than many other programs.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 28, 2012 4:40 pm
 

Tyshawn Taylor raves about McLemore, Traylor

By Jeff Goodman

Just imagine if this Kansas team had Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor.

Both players were declared ineligible by the NCAA prior to the start of the season, but Jayhawks senior guard Tyshawn Taylor had strong praise for the duo. 

"He's for sure a pro," Taylor said this afternoon on SiriusXM's Inside College Basketball regarding the 6-foot-5 McLemore. "He's got the most upside of any good on the team right now. He's young, is long and is the best athlete in terms of getting off the floor." 

Kansas coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks staff all agree about McLemore, a St. Louis native, and his potential. 

Traylor is a junkyard dog type who would help give the Jayhawks another productive and much-needed body up front. 

"He's like a 6-foot-7 T-Rob," Taylor said while comparing him to KU star Thomas Robinson. "He's strong, real athletic and is a beast from Chicago. He plays hard every possession." 

While both players aren't eligible this season -- and Bill Self is instead forced to use former walk-ons Conner Teahan and Justin Wesley off the bench -- this bodes well for next season once Taylor and Thomas Robinson (in all likelihood) depart. 

The Jayhawks will have more quality depth and more overall pieces with returning starters Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey, McLemore and Traylor and a freshman class that includes forward Perry Ellis, wing Andrew White and solid (likely four-year) bigs Landen Lucas and Zach Peters. 

That doesn't sound all that intimidating, but neither did this year's team -- and last I checked the Jayhawks were 25-5, wrapped up the Big 12 regular-season title and are battling for a No. 1 overall seed. 

Posted on: February 27, 2012 2:57 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 2:58 pm
 

Eastern Illinois open after Mike Miller let go

By Jeff Goodman

Eastern Illinois coach Mike Miller has been let go. 

Ths school made an official announcement on Monday.

The Panthers finished 12-17 overall this season, 5-11 in Ohio Valley league play and failed to qualify for the conference tournament for the second straight year. 

Miller led Eastern Illinois to the OVC tournament in 2009 and the Panthers went to the semifinals in 2010, winning 19 games.

He leaves with a career mark of 75-130 in seven seasons at the helm. 

Posted on: February 27, 2012 2:14 pm
 

Healthy Hummel, Purdue peaking into Senior Night

By Jeff Goodman

Robbie Hummel will play his final game at Mackey Arena on Wednesday night. 

Yes, I wanted to be there as an admitted card-carrying member -- OK, the president -- of the Hummel Fan Club. But it's hard to justify making a trip to West Lafeyette to watch the Boilermakers host Big Ten cellar dweller Penn State. Even on Senior Night -- and even with a resurgent Purdue that has reeled off four of its last five. 

"It'll be strange," Hummel said. "It's weird because it seems like I've been here forever, but at the same time it also feels like it's gone by quickly." 

"I know my mom's going to cry," he added. 

She may not be the only one, either. I may have a few boxes of Kleenex by my side while watching the festivities on the Big Ten Network. 

In all seriousness, though, the good news for Hummel and Matt Painter isn't just that his knees have held up this season after a pair of torn ACL's. It's that he and his teammates are playing as well as they have all year long. It's also no shock that it's coincided with the departure of Kelsey Barlow. 

"We're peaking at the right time," he said. "This is the most fun I've had all year. We're in a good place with the team chemistry." 

We all remember the quote from fellow senior Ryne Smith after Barlow was booted a couple weeks ago. 

"Addition by subtraction," he said. 

But it's more than that. Hummel is playing like the the old Robbie Hummel. Lewis Jackson's back has improved significantly. Terone Johnson is coming off the best game of his career in the shocking road win in Ann Arbor against Michigan. 

Purdue coach Matt Painter has had a rough go this season. After losing E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson, it was clear the Boilermakers would take a step backward. 

But when Hummel went through a shooting slump (and that's being kind) in the middle of the season and Jackson could often be found wincing while fighting the the relentless back injury, the Boilermakers looked as if the string of five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances was in jeopardy. 

"There was a time when I wasn't sure I'd ever be good again," Hummel said. "It wasn't fun to play and not be what I was before. It sounds like a greedy thing to say, but it was tough." 

Then Hummel's shot came back and Jackson's back starting improving. Now Purdue once again looks like a team again. 

Hummel is averaging 23.2 points and 10.2 rebounds over the past five games and is shooting 47 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range. Jackson logged a season-high 39 minutes per contest in the loss to Michigan State and is averaging 12.5 points and 5.0 assists over the past four games. 

"He's playing well at the right time," Painter said. "Both of them have." 

"The season has been a roller-coaster, but the last few weeks have been really fun," Hummel said. "Obviously, winning helps." 

Purdue, which is tied with Indiana in fifth place in the Big Ten should get its 20th victory of the season against Penn State and the Boilermakers finish the regular season at Indiana this weekend. The Boilermakers had been 0-for-7 against ranked teams prior to the victory over Michigan on Saturday. 

"It felt good to get over the hump," Hummel said. 

Posted on: February 26, 2012 9:03 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 5:08 pm
 

What-to-know conference previews: Horizon

Brad Stevens and his national darlings at Butler will need to run the table and win four consecutive games in seven days to get back to the Big Dance.

The Bulldogs have made two straight improbable appearances in the national title game, but now the odds are stacked against them as Stevens & Co., which has lost Gordon Hayward, Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack over the past two years, earned the No. 5 seed in this year's league tourney.

Valparaiso and first-year head coach Bryce Drew earned the top spot by virtue of going 14-4 in league play this season. The Crusaders, led by Player of the Year candidate Ryan Broekhoff, will host the second round and semifinals on March 2-3 and would also host the championship game -- if it gets that far.

But there are several teams that could make a run at Valpo. Cleveland State was in control of the league at one point before stumbling late in the season, but Gary Waters' team still earned the double-bye. Detroit has Ray "Little Ray" McCallum and tied with a Milwaukee team that comes in on a four-game winning streak for third place.

Then you've got Butler - which doesn't have a star this year or enough offense, but you can't ever count out a Stevens-coached team. Not after what he's done the past two years. 

Title game: Tuesday, March 6 on ESPN (9 p.m. ET)

TOURNAMENT BRACKET

BEST PLAYERS

  1. Ryan Broekhoff, Valparaiso
  2. Ray McCallum, Detroit
  3. Alec Brown, Green Bay
  4. Kendrick Perry, Youngstown
  5. Trevor Harmon, Cleveland State

Conference RPI: 14

KenPom.com rating: 15

Sagarin rating: 12

NCAA Tournament Locks: None

NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams: None

Last NCAA Tournament Appearances: 

  • Butler Bulldogs: 2011, 8 seed, lost to UConn 53-41 in the national championship game
  • Cleveland State Vikings: 2009, No. 13 seed, an 84-69 win over Wake Forest in the first round followed by an 71-57 loss to Arizona in the second round
  • Detroit Titans: 1999, No. 12 seed, an 56-53 win over UCLA in the first round followed by an 75-44 loss to Ohio State in the second round
  • Illinois-Chicago Flames: 2004, No. 13 seed, an 78-53 loss to Kansas in the first round
  • Loyola-Chicago Rambers: 1985, No. 4 seed, an 59-58 win over Iona in the first round, followed by an 70-57 win over SMU in the second round, followed by a 65-53 loss to Georgetown
  • Valparaiso Crusaders: 2004, 15 seed, an 76-49 loss to Gonzaga in the first round (as a member of the Mid-Continent Conference) 
  • Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix: 1996, No. 8 seed, an 61-48 loss to Virginia Tech in the first round
  • Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers: 2006, No. 11 seed, an 82-74 win over Oklahoma in the first round followed by an 82-60 loss to Florida in the second round
  • Wright State Raiders: 2007, No. 14 seed, an 79-58 loss to Pittsburgh in the first round
  • Youngstown State Penguins: N/A

- Jeff Goodman

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 26, 2012 8:44 pm
 

Updated Top 25 (and one)

By Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman

The Top 25 (and one) will be updated on the college basketball page shortly.

Here's how it will look ...
  1. Kentucky (28-1)
  2. Syracuse (29-1)
  3. Duke (25-4)
  4. Michigan State (24-5)
  5. North Carolina (25-4)
  6. Kansas (24-5)
  7. Missouri (25-4)
  8. Baylor (24-5)
  9. Marquette (24-5)
  10. Ohio State (23-6)
  11. Georgetown (21-6)
  12. Michigan (21-8)
  13. Wisconsin (21-8)
  14. Murray State (28-1)
  15. Indiana (22-7)
  16. UNLV (24-6)
  17. Wichita State (26-4)
  18. Notre Dame (20-9)
  19. Louisville (22-7)
  20. Virginia (21-7)
  21. Florida (22-7)
  22. Florida State (19-9)
  23. San Diego State (22-6)
  24. Iowa State (21-8)
  25. Temple (22-6)
  26. Vanderbilt (20-9)
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com