Tag:Jeff Goodman
Posted on: February 26, 2012 5:17 pm
 

Miami's Reggie Johnson ineligible by NCAA

By Jeff Goodman

Miami junior big man Reggie Johnson has been declared ineligible by the NCAA and won't play tonight against Florida State. 

The school put out a statement that Johnson is seeking his immediate reinstatement from the NCAA. 

"In the process of the ongoing joint NCAA-UM inquiry, it was discovered that members of Johnson's family received impermissible travel benefits from a member of the former basketball coaching staff." 

"Johnson was unaware of the benefits and his family was told they were permissible by that member of the former basketball coaching staff." 

The former staff was led by current Missouri coach Frank Haith. 

This is a significant blow to Miami's hopes to make the NCAA tournament. 

Johnson missed the first nine games of the season while recovering from injury. The team is 11-6 since he returned and is 16-10 overall with a 7-6 mark in ACC play. 

Johnson is averaging 10.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 26, 2012 4:21 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 5:09 pm
 

What-to-know conference previews: Big South

UNC Asheville was the preseason pick to win the league after returning four starters. The Bulldogs didn't disappoint, rolling through the regular-season and tying the Big South mark with 16 conference wins.

Top-seeded UNC Asheville, who will attempt to defend their conference tourney title, earned homecourt advantage as they will host the quarterfinals and semis in their new on-campus facility, Kimmel Arena. The championship game is at the highest remaining seed. The Big South will also utilize a new format, featuring all 10 eligible teams in the field -- the largest in the event's history.

Eddie Biedenbach's team is a veteran group that's led by senior guards J.P. Primm, the school's all-time assists leader, and Matt Dickey, one of the top scorers in UNC Asheville history. It's one of the nation's most underrated backcourts and the primary reason why the Bulldogs are a potent offensive team.

Coastal Carolina earned the No. 2 seed after going 19-10 and 12-6 in league play and will open with the winner of the VMI-Radford game on Tuesday in the quarterfinals. The Chanticleers, who struggled down the stretch, are led by senior forward Chris Gradnigo and junior guard Anthony Raffa.

Campbell and Charleston Southern tied for third-place at 11-7. The Fighting Camels win games with their defense while Barclay Radebaugh's team, picked to finish eighth in the preseason poll, come into postseason play having won four of its last five games.

While UNC Asheville certainly appears as though its the team to beat, just once in the last four years has the top seed wound up winning the Big South tourney.

TOURNAMENT BRACKET

Title game: Saturday, March 3, ESPN or ESPN 2 (Noon ET)

BEST PLAYERS

  1. Matt Dickey, UNC Asheville
  2. J.P. Primm, UNC Asheville
  3. Nick Barbour, High Point
  4. Chris Gradnigo, Coastal Carolina
  5. Eric Griffin, Campbell

Conference RPI: 27

KenPom.com rating: 25

Sagarin rating: 26

NCAA Tournament Locks: None

NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams: None

Last NCAA Tournament Appearances:

Campbell Fighting Camels: 1992, 16 seed, an 82-56 loss to Duke

Charleston Southern Buccaneers: 1997, 15 seed, an 109-75 loss to UCLA

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers: 1993, 16 seed, an 83-54 loss to Michigan

Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs: N/A

High Point Panthers: N/A

Liberty Flames: 2004, 16 seed, an 83-62 loss to Saint Joseph's

Radford Highlanders: 2009, 16 seed, an 101-58 loss to North Carolina

UNC Asheville Bulldogs: 2011, a 81-77 overtime win over Arkansas-Little Rock followed by a 74-51 loss to Pittsburgh

VMI Keydets: 1977, an 93-78 loss to Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen

Winthrop Eagles: 2010, 16 seed, an 61-44 loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the opening round >

-- Jeff Goodman
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 25, 2012 6:45 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 9:08 pm
 

Kansas pulls remarkable comeback in Border War

By Jeff Goodman

LAWRENCE, Kan. - If this was it, the Border War sure went out in style. 

Kansas overcame a 19-point deficit and came back to beat Missouri, 87-86, in overtime, in one of the most thrilling regular-season contests college basketball has witnessed this season. 

The hype and the atmosphere for this one was off the charts. Both teams entered the game ranked in the top five in the country and there's no love lost between the two programs. Mizzou is headed to the SEC next season and there has been no shortage of speculation that these two will end the series that has spanned since 1907 and through 267 matchups. 

Game No. 267 ranks up there with the best of them. 

Tyshawn Taylor, who has been maligned through much of his four-year career in Lawrence, sank a pair of free throws with 8.3 seconds left in overtime to give Kansas a 87-86 lead. Missouri was unable to get a shot off on its final possession. 

It was Kansas' 90th victory at Allen Fieldhouse in its last 91 games.  

This wasn't just any ordinary victory for Bill Self and the Jayhawks. It was a victory against a rival -- and also extended the streak of claiming at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season title to eight consecutive years.  It was also revenge as Kansas blew a eight-point lead in Columbia a few weeks ago. 

With the Tigers losing at home against Kansas State this past week and Saturday against KU, the Jayhawks now sit two games in front of Missouri with two regular-season games left. 

Kansas will just need a win at Oklahoma State or a home win against Texas in order to win the Big 12 outright. 

Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:25 pm
 

Alabama's Anthony Grant winning all around

By Jeff Goodman

Anthony Grant chose accountability over winning -- and possibly even the NCAA tournament. Maybe Alabama's head coach will be rewarded with both. 

The Crimson Tide got a huge road win at Arkansas last night, one that put 'Bama at 18-9 overall and 7-6 in the SEC with three winnable regular-season games left. 

"Our guys stepped up," Grant told me shortly after the victory. 

Grant earned plenty of praise for his decision to suspend arguably his top four players in recent weeks. He has since reinstated Trevor Releford and Andrew Steele -- who combined for 29 points in the win over the Razorbacks. However, Tony Mitchell's season and possibly his career at Alabama is history. Star big man JaMychal Green has practiced with the team the last few days, but Grant was non-committal whether he'll play this weekend in Tuscaloosa against Mississippi State. 

"We'll see what tomorrow brings," Grant said. 

Grant didn't want to compare the chemistry last night to what it was earlier in the season, but he praised the togetherness and the effort that took place in Fayetteville. 

"We were locked in," Grant said. "The chemistry was good." 

If Green does return to the court against Mississippi State -- as is anticipated -- this Crimson Tide team could still be dangerous if it gets a spot in the NCAA tournament. This is a team that has won five of its last seven games. But Grant, who brings a no-nonsense, old-school approach of holding kids accountable to the table, said he never worried about getting to the NCAA tourney when making the decision to suspend Green, Mitchell, Releford and Steele. 

"Never once did I give it a thought," he said. "I had confidence in the guys we put on the floor. ... This wasn't something that came out of the blue." 

While Grant declined to elaborate on the reasons for the suspensions, it was clear it had been brewing -- and he opted to do something about it. 

"I'm not a send a message type of guy," Grant said. "If you screw up, you should be held accountable. There are consequences. I wasn't the perfect student-athlete and kids make mistakes. They are kids, but we need to hold them accountable." 

As for Alabama's current NCAA tourney chances?

"We're just worried about Mississippi State," he said. "It is what it is. It's an invitation tournament and we've got Mississippi State next. I'm not worried about anything else." 

"We're growing as a team," he added. "I think we're improving." 

And while Grant's intention wasn't necessarily to send a message, that's exactly what he's done. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:03 pm
 

Pitino nets deserving Hall of Fame nomination

By Jeff Goodman

Rick Pitino was nominated for the Hall of Fame on Friday afternoon. 

He's the only college basketball coach in history to have officially taken three programs to the Final Four, has a national title to his credit and has 618 career victories despite three different stints in the NBA.

"I'm extremely honored and grateful to be a finalist for the Hall of Fame," Pitino told CBSSports.com shortly after learning he was one of a dozen finalists.

I covered much of Pitino's forgettable tenure with the Boston Celtics, one that was a complete train wreck. The bottom line is that Pitino is one of the best college basketball coaches in my generation. However, he was far more suited to the college game than the pro ranks. 

Just imagine how many wins he'd have in the college ranks right now if not for his eight years in the NBA. Probably somewhere in the vicinity of 825 and he's still not yet 60 years old. 

The 59-year-old Pitino began his head coaching career in 1978 at Boston University, spent a couple years as an assistant with the Knicks before taking over a dismal Providence team. Two years later, the Friars were in the Final Four. Pitino then left for the head gig with the Knicks, where he was 90-74 in two seasons, before taking the job at Kentucky -- where he rebuilt a program that was on probation. 

The Wildcats went to the Final Four in 1993 and won the national title in 1996 with a loaded group that featured Antoine Walker and Tony Delk. 

Pitino took another shot in the NBA, this time asked to bring the storied Boston Celtics franchise back from the ruins. Pitino flopped in his three-plus years in Boston and made some ill-advised personnel decisions. 

Pitino is in his 11th season at Louisville. He took the Cardinals to the Final Four in 2005 and has led the Cards to Elite Eight appearances in 2008 and 2009. Louisville is 21-7 this season and a lock to make its sixth consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. 

The other finalists: first-timers Reggie Miller, Bill Fitch and Olympic gold medalist Katrina McClain. Previous finalists include Mo Cheeks, Bernard King, Dick Motta, Don Nelson, Hank Nichols, Ralph Sampson, Jamaal Wilkes and Red Heads. 

The Class of 2012 will be announced on Mon., April 2 in New Orleans prior to the NCAA national title game. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The enshrinement ceremony is Fri., Sept 7 in Springfield, Mass. 

Posted on: February 23, 2012 4:11 pm
 

Butler's issue is perimeter shooting. Seriously.

By Jeff Goodman

It shocked me to hear the words. 

"Our biggest deal all year has been our inability to shoot it. We're one of the lowest teams in the country in 3's." 

That was courtesy of Brad Stevens. 

We've all come to expect that if there's one thing Stevens and the Butler Bulldogs can do, it's shoot the you-know-what out of the ball. 

But the Bulldogs are shooting a dismal 28 percent from beyond the arc this season. That checks in at 274th in the country. Wow. 

"We're shooting it better lately," Stevens said. "It's just taking a while for guys to get comfortable in their new roles." 

There's no star on this team. No Gordon Hayward. No Matt Howard. No Shelvin Mack. 

Junior gig man Andrew Smith leads the team at 10.6 points per game. No one else is in double figures. Khyle Marshall (9.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg) is having a solid season, but hasn't quite delivered what some had hoped as a sophomore. Fellow sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins has been up-and-down while freshman Roosevelt Jones has started 24 games and will be a fixture for this program. 

Butler goes into the regular-season finale at first-place Valparaiso with an 18-12 record and a half-game up on Cleveland State and Detroit for second place in the Horizon. 

Can these guys make a run in the Horizon league tourney and get back into the NCAA tournament -- where the Bulldogs have become the nation's ultimate Cinderella story each of the past two years?

"The tourney is up for grabs," he said. "But our road to the league championship is a long one -- and that's not always advantageous." 

The top two teams in the league earn a double-bye and right now Stevens didn't sound overly optimistic that the Bulldogs would be in that position. They lost both games to Detroit and split against Cleveland State -- the two teams that sit a half-game back at 10-6 in league play. 

Stevens will lose just one player in the rotation off this year's team: Senior point guard and leader Ronald Nored. Look at his numbers and it doesn't appear that Stevens & Co., will have a tough time replacing the Alabama native, but Nored brings defense and all the intangibles that have made this program so successful over the last few years. 

But Stevens will add someone that will immediately fix the team's perimeter shooting woes: Rotnei Clarke. 

The Arkansas transfer is arguably the best long-range shooter in the country. 

But that's next year -- and Stevens isn't quite ready to turn the page and give up on this group just yet. 

After the last two seasons, who can blame him?

Posted on: February 22, 2012 1:55 pm
 

Calhoun set for back surgery; will miss next 2

By Jeff Goodman

UConn coach Jim Calhoun won't return this weekend for Saturday's home game against No. 2 Syracuse. 

Calhoun, 69, will have surgery Monday for his back injury, spinal stenosis, which has caused him to take his most recent medical leave of absence. 

Calhoun, according to the school, will be in the hospital for a night or two and will definitely miss Saturday's game and also next Tuesday's at Providence. 

His status will then be evaluated on a day-to-day basis. 

“I’m glad we have finally determined the best course of treatment to deal with the problem,” Calhoun said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to having the procedure done, hopefully recovering as quickly as possible, and putting it all in the past.”  

UConn's final regular-season contest is March 3 at home. The Big East tournament starts on March 6. 

Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:54 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 10:57 am
 

UMass' pint-sized point guard brings relevance

Chaz Williams is probably shorter than Gary Parrish. (Goodman's phone)

By Jeff Goodman

We'll have a column today on Xavier, but UMass certainly worthy of praise as the Minutemen stand one victory shy of a 20-win campaign: 

AMHERST, Mass. - Derek Kellogg had never laid eyes on Chaz Williams before. The UMass head coach and his staff did their due diligence, talked to plenty of CAA coaches who spoke glowingly of the Hofstra transfer and his toughness and ability to play far larger than his diminutive stature. 

Then the UMass coach and former point guard got his first look at Williams when he came to Amherst on a visit. 

Uh-oh. 

"I thought his height was questionable," Kellogg said. 

"But he walked with a swagger," Kellogg added. "And I just figured this kid has to be able to play." 

Williams is listed at 5-foot-9, but Kellogg was already forewarned that his newest recruiting target wasn't a legit 5-9. Then he walked in the door. 

"I think he's probably 5-foot-5," Kellogg said of the Brooklyn native. 

"He's killing me," Williams said of Kellogg claiming he's 5-foot-5. 

All joking aside on Williams' stature, this kid can play. He's exactly what Kellogg has needed since he replaced Travis Ford at UMass: a legitimate floor leader. 

Admittedly, I saw Williams on his most impressive 40 minutes (he actually logged 38) as a Minuteman point guard. He was clearly the best guard on a court that also featured fellow New Yorkers Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons, going for 29 points and dishing out nine assists. 

"He did everything for us tonight," Kellogg said. "He made shots, made free throws and defended," Kellogg said. 

That hasn't always been the case, but when Williams plays this way he changes this UMass team and makes them a viable contender for a Top four spot in the A-10. The Minutemen won their 19th game last night against Xavier and improved to 8-5 in league play, which puts them in a three-way tie with the Musketeers and Saint Joseph's for third place. 

"This was as big as any win we've gotten since I've been back," Kellogg admitted after the 80-73 win. "Xavier has been the benchmark of the league -- and for us to do it with what was on the line."

Kellogg hasn't gotten UMass basketball back to what it was in the days when John Calipari was running things, but the fan support has grown as the wins have piled up and as Kellogg has altered his style of play, opting to press and run with added frequency. 

Xavier came into last night's game having won the past six in the series, but Williams and his teammates snapped that streak and while the program's point guard hasn't had to endure what most of his teammates have over the past few years, he was primed on the importance of this victory. 

"They gave me an understanding of everything," Williams said. "Guys told me how Xavier has left a bad taste in their mouth over the last few years, but this year we're turning things around and making people realize that UMass basketball is back." 

Back by Calipari standards?  No, but that'll never happen again. That's just plain unrealistic. 

However, UMass has become relevant in the A-10 again. 

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