Tag:Big East
Posted on: February 3, 2012 1:55 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 7:52 pm

Calhoun takes medical leave from coaching

Calhoun has stepped aside from his coaching duty many times in the past decade. (Getty Images)
By Matt Norlander

UPDATE, 7:49 p.m.: Calhoun spoke over the phone to the Associated Press Friday night. Some of his quotes have been added to this article.

Jim Calhoun is temporarily and indefinitely taking another leave of absence as head coach of UConn, the school announced Friday afternoon. Calhoun's leave is medically related, as he's dealing with a "worsening" condition of "spinal stenosis, a lower back condition that causes him severe pain and hampers mobility."

That means Calhoun is out for Saturday's game against Seton Hall and will also definitively not coach in Monday's game at Louisville. George Blaney, associate head coach, will step in again as he's done many times before during previous hiatuses Calhoun has taken from the team.

The team's press release quotes Calhoun's doctor, Peter Schulman, saying this has been an ongoing issue for Calhoun for the past few months.

“Last summer, Jim had some significant back pain and has seen two excellent back specialists,” Schulman said in the release. “The initial approach recommended to him was stretching, physical therapy and exercise, and that was successful for several months. It turns out that there is some degenerative problem in the lumbar vertebrae and it’s impinging on the nerves. It has led to significant back pain and some symptoms in his lower extremities. Jim has been able to manage it with the physical therapy and stretching, but over the last several days, things have become worse and he is not able to deal with this on a day to day basis, so other options need to be considered. Right now, he is physically unable to coach.”

Calhoun told the AP Friday night he "couldn't even get up" after plane rides and that the pain had become more and more brutal. He was unable to get out of bed Friday morning, and that's when the decision apparently became final: he was missing the next immediate stretch of games.

"But it's just so bad, even getting through practice," Calhoun said. "Now I'm going to see what the next step is. The bottom line is I'm hurting. ... I had back pain like never before last summer, thought it was back spasms. I saw a neurologist and he told me about scoliosis, stenosis and other things and that there could be things like a bone spur and that I could probably need something done at some point. I went for the physical therapy and it worked, but it started to lock up sometimes recently and it was worse."

Calhoun will turn 70 in May.
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: February 1, 2012 11:42 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 11:43 pm

Report: Syracuse big man Fab Melo back Saturday

By Jeff Goodman

Syracuse is getting its big man back. 

The Post-Standard reported that sophomore Fab Melo, a key reason why the Orange spent numerous weeks at No. 1 in the country and are considered a championship contender, will play Saturday at St. John's. 

The 7-footer has missed the past three games due to academic issues. 

Syracuse was 1-2 in that stretch -- including its first loss of the season at Notre Dame. 

Melo is averaging 7.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game and leads the team in blocks with 60. He was a disappointment last season, but shed weight in the offseason and has been a factor on both ends of the court this year. 

Without him in the lineup, freshman Rakeem Christmas has slid over and started in the middle and C.J. Fair has moved into the starting lineup. 

Syracuse is 22-1 overall and in first place in the Big East with a 9-1 mark. 

Posted on: February 1, 2012 4:05 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 4:12 pm

UConn hoping lineup changes can key turnaround

After three straight losses, UConn head coach Jim Calhoun is making changes to his starting lineup. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Connecticut is mired in a three-game losing streak, going from a national title contender to one that looks like it might have to fight for an NCAA tournament bid in the final month of the season.

The Huskies have lost to six unranked teams, and are just 4-4 in the Big East. With an important game at Georgetown tonight, head coach Jim Calhoun announced he was switching up his starting lineup.

According to John Silver, our UConn RapidReporter, freshman Ryan Boatright and sophomore Roscoe Smith will be inserted into the lineup, with usual starters Shabazz Napier and Alex Oriakhi getting relegated to the bench.

“It’s for us to get more quickness, more speed,” Calhoun told the Manchester Journal Inquirer. “It’s not against anybody. It’s for the team. It’s what we think is best.”

It’s clear the Huskies need to get faster on the court. Connecticut is averaging more than 63 possessions per game, but they have played five consecutive games with 61 or fewer possessions. In the halfcourt, the Huskies’ offense is stagnant, with multiple possessions involving nothing more than a few passes and then a contested jumper from Napier or Jeremy Lamb.

Connecticut needs to force turnovers and get out in transition to get some easy baskets. The Huskies rank near the bottom of Division-I in defensive turnover percentage, and they have also given the ball away too often. That has created major issues offensively.

If we don’t push the pace, we can’t win,” Calhoun said, per Silver. “And we can’t win over these next 10 games against anybody if we continue to score at the rate we’re scoring.”

In the first 13 games of the season, Connecticut scored more than one point per possession in every contest, which has helped the Huskies rank No. 21 in offensive efficiency. In the month of January, though, they topped that mark just three times.

Napier has been held to single-digits four times in the past nine games, and his inconsistency is one of the main problems in the offense. Oriakhi is a shell of what he was last year, averaging just 6.5 points and 4.9 rebounds after being a double-double threat a season ago.

Boatright brings speed and playmaking ability to the offense, while Smith provides athleticism and versatile offense at the power forward position. Calhoun is hoping those two can key a turnaround in the final month.

“At this point we’re not desperate,” Calhoun told the paper. “But we are very, very aware of our situation.”

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 1, 2012 12:24 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 4:29 pm

Podcast: Which teams are running out of gas?

Could Jamie Dixon and Pitt wind up playing in the tournament after all? (AP)

By Matt Norlander

We've got a good Wednesday podcast for you. Goodman can't read a gas gauge and Parrish is getting free cars. Let's get to it.
  • From the beginning: How does one run out of gas more than 30 miles from home? Only Goodman has the answer. Apparently, Goodman's not afraid
  • 9:45: Not only is Goodman terrible at reading gas gauges, he doesn't understand geography.
  • 12:05: Michigan State, Draymond Green and the value/unique ability of Green.
  • 15:57: Which teams are running out of gas? Which teams have their honeymoon going sour?
  • 18:00: Kentucky, 22-1: a cut above now? Or should we wait two more weeks to judge?
  • 21:20: "I'm not going to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, brother." Ah, Conference USA talk!
  • 25:39: Pittsburgh is becoming an interesting case study. Goodman and Parrish believe they'll thickly be in the tournament discussion. I'm not there yet.
  • 33:06: Parrish is blind and receiving free cars.

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: February 1, 2012 12:11 am
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Posted on: February 1, 2012 12:06 am

Night Court: Royce White gives ISU another win

Royce White's shot with 1.8 seconds left capped a 14-point comeback, giving Iowa St. a win over Kansas St. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

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

Game of the day: Iowa State looked like it was headed for a letdown game against Kansas State, getting down by as many as 14 in the second half after its big win over Kansas over the weekend. However, the Cyclones stormed back late in the game and tied it up on a Chris Babb free throw with under a minute left. On the last possession, Royce White isolated himself and hit a short jumper with 1.8 seconds left to give Iowa State a 72-70 win.

Win to brag about: Arkansas was the last team in my projected bracket on Monday afternoon, and the Razorbacks solidified their at-large profile with an 82-74 victory over No. 25 Vanderbilt. Arkansas simply didn’t miss midway through the second half, knocking down 3-pointers on five of six possessions, including three in a row, to gain an 11-point lead that it wouldn’t relinquish. The Razorbacks now have wins over Michigan, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.

Loss to hide from: It’s not a bad loss, but Seton Hall has now dropped four in a row after its 66-59 defeat at No. 15 Marquette. The Pirates were up by 11 in the first half and led for most of the first 30 minutes of the game, but they struggled immensely on the offensive end and couldn’t stop Marquette during the Golden Eagles’ 20-5 run in the second half. Jordan Theodore went just 3-for-14 from the field, getting held to seven points.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Oklahoma State sophomore Markel Brown went for 30 points and seven rebounds to lead the Cowboys to an 80-63 win over Texas Tech. Brown is averaging fewer than 10 points per game on the season, but has totaled 71 points in his last four games (17.8 per game).

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: The entire Michigan State vs. Illinois game was horrendous. Michigan State shot just 24 percent, with Illinois lighting it up at 33 percent. The Fighting Illini held on for a 42-41 victory, as Brandon Paul knocked down two free throws with 45 seconds left and Keith Appling missed a layup with two seconds left for Michigan State. 

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 3-for-22: Michigan State’s top three scorers – Draymond Green, Keith Appling, Brandon Wood – were horrendous offensively against Illinois.
  • 11: Kentucky made its first 11 shots from the field against Tennessee.
  • 9: Wisconsin scored just nine points in the first 16 minutes of its game against Penn State, but had 43 in the next 24 minutes. The Badgers won, 52-46.
  • 0: Texas Tech is still winless in conference play – the only BCS-conference team without a league win.

Three other notable results:

  1. North Carolina struggled offensively, but still topped Wake Forest behind 18 points and 18 rebounds from Tyler Zeller.
  2. Virginia held off a late rally from Clemson to improve to 5-2 in the ACC with a 65-51 victory. Mike Scott went for 23 points and 10 rebounds.
  3. Anthony Davis went for 18 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks to lead Kentucky to an easy 69-44 win over Tennessee.


  • New Mexico certainly didn’t overlook Air Force, hammering the Falcons on the road, 81-42.
  • Northern Iowa had lost five of seven heading into Tuesday, but beat Southern Illinois. They have Creighton and Wichita State up next.
  • Michigan State’s Draymond Green left the arena on crutches after leaving the game with a knee injury. He will be evaluated in the morning.
More College Basketball coverage
Posted on: January 31, 2012 4:15 pm

USF has NCAA optimism heading down stretch

By Jeff Borzello

The Big East is undoubtedly down this season, but they will still get at least seven bids into the NCAA tournament. In fact, my most recent projected bracket gave the conference nine bids – with Cincinnati and Notre Dame sneaking into the field. Pittsburgh is making a run, too.

And what about South Florida?

South Florida?

Don’t look now, but the Bulls are 6-3 in the Big East – and the schedule isn’t terrible the rest of the way. Overall, the resume is lacking in most areas: they have three sub-100 losses, are 2-8 away from home, and are just 6-9 against the Top 150 of the RPI. The computer numbers aren’t very good, either.

However, there are wins over Seton Hall and Cleveland State, and there are still opportunities to pick up marquee victories down the stretch. In its final nine games, South Florida will host Pittsburgh, Villanova, Cincinnati and West Virginia. At 10-1 on their home court this season, it’s not inconceivable that the Bulls will go at least 3-1 in that stretch. They likely also need to pick up a win or two on the road – and it would help if it were against Louisville, Georgetown or Syracuse.

If South Florida gets to 11-7 in the Big East, could the Bulls get consideration for a bid?

The best comparison for 2011-12 South Florida might be 2008-09 Providence. That season, the Friars went 10-8 in the Big East, but their only good ones were over Pittsburgh and Syracuse. They had six losses of at least 17 points against Big East opponents, though. Keno Davis’ club did not make the NCAA tournament that season, and was not really under close consideration down the stretch.

While the bubble is probably weaker this season, South Florida has a far worse resume at this point than that Providence team. With that said, the Bulls do deserve a mention going forward.

Photo: US Presswire

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