Tag:Big 12
Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:23 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 10:01 am
 

Road Trip: Dozen things I learned

Goodman hit up four big games in four straight days. He is now ready to sleep until Friday. (AP)

By Jeff Goodman

It feels like weeks ago I left Boston for Huntington, West Va. In fact, it was just Saturday. 

It started with the return of Donnie Jones to Marshall -- which included the Tom Herrion Show -- took a drive through Point Pleasant, West Va., home of the Mothman Prophecies, detoured and had lunch with Ohio University star point guard D.J. Cooper. Then it was onto Columbus, Ohio, where I watched the Buckeyes exact revenge on the Indiana Hoosiers, saw Kansas knock Baylor from the ranks of the unbeaten and ended the trip with a nail-biting Michigan victory over rival Michigan State. 

And yes, that was me smack dab in the middle of the Maize Rage, standing in the front row of Michigan's student section next to my nephew - a sophomore at the school. I was the only one not wearing a maize shirt -- and the only one not jumping around. I cleared it with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo beforehand -- and must admit I felt a bit awkward. However, the vantage point was clearly superior to the new media seats at Crisler. So what the hell. 

Here are my 12 Things I Learned on my travels. 

1) If this Kansas team stays healthy, Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey remain out of foul trouble and Bill Self's club gets a decent draw in the NCAA tournament, the Jayhawks could make a run to the Final Four. It sounds nuts, but these guys have a stud in Thomas Robinson -- and Tyshawn Taylor is starting to look like the Tyshawn Taylor we all thought we'd see on a consistent basis. I'm not overly concerned with his abundance of turnovers; he needs to make plays for the Jayhawks, so they will continue to be higher than most. The key for KU may be the continued emergence of 7-footer Jeff Withey and consistency from guys like Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson. 

2) I'm just not buying Perry Jones III as a Top five pick in June's NBA Draft. I love his length and skill level, but he's done little to help shed the "soft" label that's been placed upon him for years. There's not much he can't do on the court, but I'd be weary of risking a top pick on a guy that just doesn't have that "it" factor. I'd go Thomas Robinson over PJ3 every day -- and twice on Sunday. 

3) Speaking of Baylor, let's not write off this team just because it got punked in Lawrence, Kansas. Last I checked, not many go into The Phog and leave with a win. The Bears X-factor has been junior college guard Pierre Jackson, who does give Scott Drew much-needed toughness, along with Quincy Acy. However, the defense against Baylor was worrisome - it reminded me of the pre-Ekpe Udoh Baylor defense. 

4) I'm not sure I've seen Tom Izzo more disappointed after a loss than he was following the setback in Ann Arbor to rival Michigan. It's probably because his team didn't play well, yet still had to a shot to win on the road against a Top 25 team. No one fared well for the Spartans. The team's veteran leader Draymond Green struggled yet again going up against Michigan (he has just 35 points in the last five games against the Wolverines) and Izzo's new guys -- Branden Dawson, Brandon Wood, etc. -- all flopped in their into to this rivalry. 

5) I know that Michigan's talent level with skyrocket next season with the addition of Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson's kid and Nick Stauskas. I've seen all three -- and they are all immediately impact guys. But the departure of seniors Zack Novak and Stu Douglass can't be overstated. Novak is the ultra-intangible guy, who brings toughness and leadership to a group of guys that sorely needs it. McGary is talented, but he'll have to learn how to play within a system -- and John Beilein has never dealt with a guy who arrives on campus with the potential expectation of leaving after one season. That'll be an interesting dynamic. 

6) Kansas coach Bill Self believes the Jayhawks will be better next season despite losing Tyshawn Taylor and almost certainly losing Thomas Robinson. I think he may need to have his head examined. However, he'll add two guys sitting out: Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor. Self and his staff feel as though McLemore can be a star and has as much NBA potential as anyone in the program right now -- and that includes Robinson. The starting lineup could look like this: Elijah Johnson (senior), Travis Relford (senior), Jeff Withey (senior), McLemore (redshirt freshman) and maybe either Traylor or freshman forward Perry Ellis. The Jayhawks will add depth with the addition of a recruiting class that includes Top 50 players Andrew White and Ellis. 

7) Marcus Jordan is a nice player, but he's not a first-team all-league guy in C-USA. In fact, he's not even the best player on his own team: That belongs to Keith Clanton. The Son of Michael couldn't make a shot in the loss to Marshall (he was 3-of-17 from the field) -- and missed the front end of a 1-1 that could have put his Central Florida team up two points with 29 seconds left. 

8) Marshall coach Tom Herrion should be nominated for an Oscar for his acting job during the game against Central Florida. Sure, Knights wing Isaiah Sykes may have jolted him when he made contact while running down the sidelines, but Herrion's entire act looked comical. He went down, clutching his chest, and I honestly thought he was having a heart attack. The lead official came over to explain the situation after looking at it multiple times on video and said Sykes, who was hit with a flagrant foul, did not intentionally attempt to strike Herrion. Marshall got a free throw -- and oh by the way, the Thundering Herd wound up winning by one point. 

9) While Herrion needs to tone it down at times, a couple things are clear: The guy can really coach and he's got enough talent on this time to be dangerous. I think it all depends on the play of senior point guard Damier Pitts.

10) Don't wait around for Tom Crean after the Hoosiers lose a game. There are certain coaches that take forever following a loss -- Jim Calhoun, Travis Ford come to mind. Crean took about 70 minutes after Indiana's beatdown in Columbus against Ohio State. Honestly, it had no bearing on me doing my job since I was writing primarily about the Buckeyes, anyway. But Crean should be smart enough to realize that 1) His players will tune him out after about the first 15 minutes 2) No one likes to be kept waiting that long. 

11) While the Buckeyes can really lock down on the perimeter with Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith, I'm worried about the rest of Ohio State defensively. Sullinger needs to step it up in this department -- and Thomas needs to do the same. This is the biggest difference from last season's team, where David Lighty was a terrific, versatile defender - and Jon Diebler had turned himself into an above-average team defender. 

12) My top four venues to watch a game?  1) Allen Fieldhouse 2) Cameron Indoor Stadium 3) Rupp Arena 4) Danforth School. The atmosphere at Kansas was second-to-none, largely because of the look and feel of the venue and also the rabid fans. Kentucky fans are crazier than anywhere else, but Rupp doesn't compare to Phog Allen. As for Duke, the proximity to the court -- and the students -- are what makes it elite. As for Danforth, that's where I get to see my 8-year-old daughter knock down jumpers (or, more realistically, 7-foot set shots). 

Posted on: January 18, 2012 10:02 am
 

Podcast: Burning down the house

By Matt Norlander

The hump day pod has the normal dynamic duo of Parrish and Goodman on again, but this one's different from others in that, we're not as jump-to-different-topic-minded. The discussion is very conversational, and we sort of get to stretch out on a few big, mainstream points in hoops right now.

Goodman did this from the terminal of an airport, but fortunately the intercom system doesn't interject too much. He also did this on about 13 hours of sleep in four days. Trooper, that guy.

Speaking of troopers, the police -- well, just get to listening to the podcast to find out.

Topics:
  • From the beginning: Watch out. You might get what you're after ... Gary's house almost burned down. So that's going to take a few minutes.
  • 8:25: Baylor-Kansas, though we're 36 hours removed, gets first dibs on hoops topics. This is an elongated discussion that goes a few different places. "I'm not sold on this Baylor team being a Final Four-caliber team," Goodman says.
  • 20:22: Thought we discussed UNC plenty on the Monday podcast with Borzello, Goodman in particular wanted his chance to address everything regarding "soft" North Carolina right now. Again, we hit a number of tentacles on this beast.
  • 31:41: The conversation shift to Syracuse, who deserves some of our time, no doubt. We get into them. I think they're going to the Final Four, barring something pretty shocking. My confidence is that high.

Continued thanks from me to you for keep coming back and listening. Please: spread the word. Hoops season is ramping up, and I'd love more hate mail. Spread this page and the iTunes subscription link to anyone you'd think would like this sort of think. We post three times per week, with the Wednesday show being a low-rent sitcom wannabe of a half hour, thanks to CBSSports.com national writers Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman Skyping in their opinions. 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 18, 2012 8:57 am
 

Wakeup Call: Heavy on the Syracuse links

That's his. Anthony Davis' defining position in photos to come. That's his move. (AP)
By Matt Norlander

Yes, the news of the day relates to the Stop Internet Privacy Act. The Internet will win this fight. // If SOPA's got you down, Drunk Ron Swanson will turn you around. // Jimmy Traina was kind enough to link to the blog yesterday, so I've gotta return the favor. He's a master at the link love. // I'm thankful for the Lionel Richie mash-up, but who has the time for this?

★ Why Wednesday's a notable day in hoops for Philadelphia teams.

★ Yes, the more we see all the games, the more Thomas Robinson distances himself in the POY race.

★ Oh, you wanted more proof of the T-Rob dominance? Look at what POY voters are thinking right now.

★ Last night, Anthony Davis had what will probably go down as one of the five best games of his college career.

★ If you missed this, know the NCAA is coming with even harsher penalties. It means biznass this time, guys and gals.

★ You're not likely to agree with this new rankings system of valuable players, but give it a read first before you cast it aside.

Forde Minutes is back, and can I just say I'm thankful a man named perfectly for such a column delivers consistently with such great material.

★ A terrific, simplistic elucidation of how balanced and good and reliable Syracuse is. On today's podcast, I foolishly say I think this team is destined for New Orleans.

★ Why Syracuse's lack of a challenge so far (I disagree in some degree with that assertion) shouldn't be a worry for Orange fans.

★ Yet Orange fans do worry and inferiority and anger so well. Why is that?

★ Why not one more SU link. If you want an indicator to why the Orange won't get to New Orleans, this is the biggest ace.

★ It's not often teammates put up more than 25 apiece in a "big game," but it happened when T-Rob and Tyshawn Taylor did it Monday night. Here are other recent occurrences.

★ In my opinion, any gray jerseys that don't have GEORGETOWN across the front can find a bottomless hamper.

More evidence to support my K-State-has-been-overrated-all-year
stance.

★ To be clear, Georgia State stands little chance at acquiring an at-large.

★ How a student manager leads a team to victory.

► From over the weekend, it's a walk-off alley-oop! Staggered double screen, you gotta see it coming.



♬ I'm not a very big Silversun Pickups fan -- I feel like this is a quintessential band for 17-year-olds -- but there are a handful of compositions this new-age alternative band has that pacify me.

Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:43 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 11:54 pm
 

Kansas to be taken seriously after Baylor win

By Jeff Goodman

LAWRENCE, Kansas -- There were those prepared to anoint Baylor as a national championship contender if Scott Drew's Bears could remain undefeated with a victory at Phog Allen. 

This was the ultimate test for a team that had beaten Kansas State in Manhattan and waltzed into Lawrence with a 18-0 mark. Instead, it was Bill Self's Kansas squad, one that was basically written off as a Final Four contender after a loss to Davidson down the road in Kansas City, that showed it may have a shot to do something come March. 

Self has, at the moment, the nation's top player in Thomas Robinson. Unlike earlier in the season when he forced the issue and attempted to do too much in a loss to Kentucky, the 6-foot-9 sophomore was spectacular against a Baylor frontline that is as deep and talented as any that doesn't reside in Lexington, Ky.

But the difference on Monday night was the play of senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor. 

Taylor has been an enigma throughout his entire career, but he was fearless in Monday night's 92-74 victory, knocking down clutch 3-pointers and also attacking the Bears big men with determination. 

Robinson finished with 27. Taylor did him one better, scoring 28 points, while three other Jayhawks -- Jeff Withey, Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson -- all finished in double-figures. 

There's no shame in losing at Phog Allen. It's a brutal place to play, right there with Cameron and Rupp. It happens to just about everyone -- and fourth-ranked Baylor became the latest victim. 

However, the concern with the Bears is toughness - or lack thereof. And Drew's team didn't show itself all that well in that regard. Kansas imposed its will on Baylor, dominating the Bears on the glass and scoring virtually at will on a porous defense. Perry Jones III, along with most of his teammates, pulled a disappearing act after the first 15 minutes of the game. 

Baylor has fallen and now just two unbeaten teams remain: Syracuse and Murray State. 

Posted on: January 14, 2012 6:02 pm
 

Afternoon Delight: Big Ten home dogs hold serve



By Matt Norlander

On busier Saturdays and Sundays this season, we’re not going to make you wait until the end of the slate of games to catch up with all that’s happened. Afternoon Delight (3-pointers in flight!) recaps the first five-or-so hours’ worth of action, the perfecta appetizer right before dinnertime.

A very nice win for Iowa, and so the Tebow craze continues. I think benchwarmers are starting to revolt against all that time they spend not playing. Now they’re trying to get the attention on themselves. It’s working.

The best we’ve seen so far: Kentucky 65, Tennessee 62. Now, bear in mind, this post is going up as Kansas is fending off Iowa State and San Diego State is tied with UNLV with a few minutes remaining. I’d wait ‘til those games finish, but I’ve got dinner plans. I know—I’m sorry! We’ll have coverage from that game and all the dinnertime-and-after results as the night goes on.

So anyway, UK went into Knoxville and didn’t get done like Florida got did last Saturday in an early tip. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis continue to amaze; the two combined for 35 crucial points and 20 even more crucial rebounds. Jarnell Stokes played his first game for Tennessee. He made the Vols look real, real good.

Deserving of a free dinner at the restaurant of their choice: Northwestern, hello! We can’t downplay the significant of this win, right now, for the Wildcats. They hosted Michigan State, who’d won 15 straight games, and got out with a decisive 81-74 win. There’s so much to go (I only hope NU is bubble-worthy when I see them at Indiana next month), but beating tournament teams at home gets you closer. More times than not in the past decade, I guess ever, Northwestern doesn’t beat the good teams at home.

No soup for youNorth Carolina — need I say more? Actually, I already did.

Afternoon all-stars

  1. Shabazz Napier had to play 40 minutes because Ryan Boatright is sitting again while the NCAA and UConn review his eligibility. No matter — Napier played 40 minutes, scored 16 points, only had one turnover and put up five assists. Bigtime game for the soph.
  2. I’ll have something up on Arnett Moultrie tomorrow. I talked with him a few days ago, and damn do his quotes to me sound prophetic. Moultrie and Mississippi State got a nice home W against ’Bama today, 56-62. Moultrie went for 25 points and 13 boards. He’s getting close to being a top-10 Player of the Year candidate. Monster showing.
  3. Maalik Wayns. Had THIRTY-NINE, 13 rebounds and six dimes in Villanova’s 82-78 loss at Cincy, which was a very entertaining game, might I add.
  4. Phil Pressey finished with 18 points, 10 assists, two steals and not a one giveaway in Missouri’s cruise-control home win against Texas.

Other daytime action worth your attention

  1. It was a great team effort from Iowa. The Hawkeyes nipped Michigan in Iowa City, 75-59. No chairs were damaged, and Fran McCaffery got his team to respond. Props to him and the ’Eyes.
  2. Baylor’s 106-65 killshot to Oklahoma State has to be mentioned, because it’s a look into how scary-good Baylor can be. This won’t be among the top-10 talked about results from today, but after that W over K-State on the road, and now this at home? Baylor a top-three team now, yes?
  3. Best game no one really noticed: Saint Louis finished off Charlotte 68-67, a win the Billikens absolutely had to have on the road. Top-five game of SLU’s season right there.
  4. What can I say, I have my doubts about Kansas State. Yes, this can tie into our road-woes theme, but I think the Wildcats aren’t that good. KSU never even had a lead in its 82-73 loss at Oklahoma.
  5. Oregon 59, Arizona 57 pretty much kills off the slimmest of at-large hopes Wildcats fans had. We’re talking ’Zona needing to reel off 10 straight wins to enter the bubble picture now.
  6. New Mexico and Wyoming is what we’ll close up with. The Other Big MWC Matchup finshed with New Mexico winning 72-62 on the road. Wyoming will have to steal its SDSU and UNLV home games if it wants to make a run at the tournament.

Delightful thoughts

  • Xavier rolling again after beating the Bonnies.
  • Kevin Jones took just one 3-pointer. West Virginia beat Rutgers by 24. I told ya!
  • It was 62 years ago when second-ranked Kentucky went into Knoxville and fell.
  • This is not delightful. Virginia Tech lost at Boston College. Seth Greenberg is now on the NIT bubble.
Image via Trent Condon
Posted on: January 12, 2012 10:29 am
 

Which program boasts most NBA players?

By Matt Norlander

OK, so take your guess. Which college program do you think has the most representation at the NBA level right now?

What jumps to mind? North Carolina’s superb lineage? You know Ben Howland had all those pros at UCLA in the past seven years. What about UConn? It’s always got a few future millionaires wearing its threads for a year or two.

The answer’s actually …

Duke: just plain more athletic and more talented than anyone else. (US PRESSWIRE)

Duke. It’s ironic at face value, since the joke’s always been something to do with Duke’s players always being so great at the college level and amounting to nothing beyond that. But Duke’s been consistently getting guys into the Association.

You want to know how Mike Krzyzewski’s really keeping his program at the top? Well, winning that 2010 title helps, but just as importantly, he can walk into any recruit's home, flash those four rings, and also proclaim he’s putting more guys into the NBA than John Calipari, Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim, Bill Donovan and Jim Calhoun. Most wouldn't think that was the case. Until I came upon this information, I would've maybe put Duke in the top five; certainly not atop the list.

According to rosters listed on the NBA official website as of the season-openers on Christmas Day, here’s who is sending the most players to David Stern's empire.

1. Duke, 17
2. UCLA, 15
    Kentucky, 15
4. Texas, 13
    Connecticut, 13
6. North Carolina, 12
    Kansas, 12
8. Arizona, 10
    Florida, 10

Credit for this information goes to the Arizona sports information department, which sent me a notice that this was the 12th straight season the NBA’s employed at least eight former Arizona players.  As for conference play? Yeah, let's throw out some more ammo for the ACC honks, who can rightfully proclaim their league brings in the most elite talent -- by a wide margin.

1. Atlantic Coast, 62
2. Pac-12, 53
3. Big East, 49
4. Southeastern, 45
5. Big 12, 40
6. Big Ten, 25

Some think these facts mean little, but that's not the case. Here's how it boils. What's a coach's job? Win games. How do you win games? You get the best players possible. How do you do that? What are the best players thinking about? When it's not their next meal or girls, they're daydreaming about playing in the NBA. And at the heart of it all, a coach who puts players into the NBA dangles the biggest carrot in the garden.

The names on that list aren't surprising, and they're not going to change. Winning titles doesn't go hand in hand with elite talent, but keeping your program at the forefront of college basketball does.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 9:16 am
 

Wakeup Call: Syracuse, the Lakers of the Big East

Anything but bald Britney. This is from last night's Georgia Tech-N.C. State game. (Getty Images)
By Matt Norlander

Without a hint of embarrassment, four of the songs on this list are in my iTunes. // We're eating less meat. Why? // Five shockingly bad websites. // . // The 30 best taco crimes -- that we know of ...

The first fantastic profile on the unassuming, humbled Cody Zeller has been written, not surprisingly, by Mrs. O'Neil.

★ My envy keeps growing to a sheenier shade of green.

★ Catch up on Andre Drummond's timeline at UConn -- lots gone down.

★ E.B. coming with the negativity! It's the transformation into the college basketball Vader, I can feel it.

★ Syracuse is becoming the Lakers of the Big East.

★ Nineteen percent of college basketball hasn't won a road game this year. Sounds about right, actually.

★ It's an odd, but perfectly fair, question.

★ This is so original and so hilarious. I need video.

★ High school play vs. AAU play. An illuminating read.

★ The Mountain West is attracting transfers and piling them like pancakes. League will be even better next year than it is this year, and this year it's damn good (and not getting its due).

★ What the Buckeyes say needs to be done to avoid hitting a true skid.

★ The Cam Newton rule is classic.

★ Lastly, we're trying to get to 300 likes on Facebook by the weekend. We'll be breaking news, sharing stuff you won't see on the blog there, and surely posting embarrassing pictures of us in time. So whaddya say?

► Let's travel the world in five minutes.



♬ Today's music rec comes from the corners of my mind still cobwebbed thanks the the '90s, which is when Soul Coughing and Mike Doughty were making music that still doesn't make sense between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. "Circles" is one of the more approachable tunes, though. Coughing can get pretty brown at some points -- not as much as Ween, but close -- yet it was able to tap into a genuine melody here and there.

Posted on: January 10, 2012 11:06 pm
 

Baylor's win over K-State puts it among elite

By Jeff Borzello

Is it time to take Baylor seriously?

Like that seriously? Like Final Four, national champion seriously? As seriously as we take Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State and Syracuse?

Those four teams have separated themselves as something of an elite quartet this season, the four best teams in the country. After Baylor’s 75-73 win at Kansas State on Tuesday night, though, it might be time to add another team to that group.

The Bears went into Bramlage Coliseum and knocked off a Wildcats team that was coming off a 16-point throttling of previously unbeaten Missouri. They shot 53.7 percent from the field, forced 19 turnovers and grabbed 12 offensive rebounds. Heading into the game, Kansas State was allowing 0.87 points per possession; Baylor scored 1.10 per trip.

Even more impressive, the Bears did it with basically everyone in foul trouble. Perry Jones, Quincy Acy, Quincy Miller, A.J. Walton and Pierre Jackson all had four fouls, forcing head coach Scott Drew to go with some makeshift lineups down the stretch.

From a pure talent standpoint, not many teams can compete with Baylor. Miller and Jones are future lottery picks, and Acy is an athletic forward who makes plays at both ends. In the backcourt, Walton is an aggressive defender, while Jackson is an explosive guard who is a tremendous playmaker when under control. Brady Heslip has provided a consistent perimeter option from 3-point range.

There’s plenty of depth, too. Anthony Jones is one of the more versatile players in the Big 12, and Cory Jefferson has had his moments inside. Deuce Bello is a freak athlete, while California transfer Gary Franklin provides a scoring boost.

The personnel is all there.

With its length and athleticism, Baylor is a nightmare to face on the defensive end. As they showed against Kansas State, the Bears can force turnovers in the man-to-man. It’s difficult to score inside against Baylor because of the size it has down low, and they don’t foul very often (despite the troubles against the Wildcats).

So why don’t people believe in Baylor?

For one, it’s hard to trust Jackson or Walton on a consistent basis at the point guard position. Both players have trouble taking care of the ball, and have a tendency to play out of control at times.

Offensive efficiency in the halfcourt has crept up as a potential weakness as well. While Jones is one of the most talented players in the country, he doesn’t always assert himself on the offensive end. Heslip and Jackson have been the only guys knocking down 3-point shots so far this season.

And the issue of coaching also hovers over the team; can Drew win a big game? He led Baylor to the Elite Eight in 2010, but many people still look at him as a guy who just stockpiles talent and isn’t the X’s and O’s coach that some of the other elite head men in the country.

This season, though, every team has problems. Even Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State and Syracuse.

It shouldn’t stop Baylor from joining that group. The Bears are elite.

Photo: US Presswire

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com