Posted on: January 17, 2012 1:07 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 3:36 pm
By Matt Norlander
We want to know which teams you like this week, and by which sort of margin. Best of all? We're working in concert with Seth Davis and his TV show, so these results will get shared each Wednesday on "Courtside with Seth Davis" on the CBS Sports Network.
This is the third installment of the polls. You can swing by here each Tuesday just after lunchtime to make your clicks. So let's hear it.
Want more of us? Or more interaction with hoops fans? We suggest you like the Eye On College Basketball Facebook page. And if that's not enough, CBSSports.com has your roundball fix tended to thanks to our daily newsletter.
Posted on: January 15, 2012 6:31 pm
By Jeff Goodman
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- So, maybe Ohio State isn't quite ready to be bounced from the "elite" category. Or maybe Indiana isn't quite ready for the Prime Time.
Likely a combination of both.
Thad Matta and the Buckeyes exactly a measure of revenge for the loss in Bloomington two weeks ago with a resounding thumping against the Hoosiers on Sunday afternoon. The final score was 80-63, and that doesn't even tell the story of how one-sided the game was from start to finish. The outcome was never in question as Ohio State jumped out to an early lead thanks largely to its defense and role guy Lenzelle Smith.
The score at halftime read: 35-14.
Truth be told, it looked like a Final Four team going up against an NIT squad.
Smith abused Jordan Hulls and Matt Roth and set his career-high in the first 20 minutes. Jared Sullinger, William Buford and Deshaun Thomas weren't spectacular, but the trio remained out of foul trouble and on the floor -- unlike the last time the teams met. On the flip side, this Indiana team looked nothing like the one that has pulled out two of the most impressive victories this season against Kentucky and Ohio State.
The Hoosiers followed-up a troubling home setback against Minnesota earlier in the week with this lackluster performance -- and now Tom Crean's team sits in a tie for sixth place in the Big Ten, just a half-game in front of Wisconsin and Iowa.
This group is clearly a major upgrade over last year's group, but the Hoosiers - despite their lofty ranking - aren't ready for Prime Time just yet.
Sure, Christian Watford's 3-pointer gave Indiana the win over Kentucky and the Hoosiers got another impressive victory against Ohio State on their home floor, but it was the perfect storm. Indiana came into the first matchup with swagger, without having faced any adversity -- and then three of Ohio State's top four players were saddled with foul trouble.
Now it's a team that has lost two straight -- and sits right in the middle of a tightly contested Big Ten race.
That's the bad news. The good? Next up for the Hoosiers are the league's doormats -- Nebraska and Penn State.
Posted on: January 14, 2012 6:02 pm
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 you: North Carolina — need I say more? Actually, I already did.
Other daytime action worth your attention
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:39 am
Edited on: January 13, 2012 10:48 am
I’ve met Fran McCaffery a couple of times. He’s a pleasant interview, even following a loss, which as you can imagine is not always the case with coaches. It speaks well of a man when he can be civil and even show measured human emotion to reporters after a group of 19-year-olds fail to accomplish a task he stressed about over the previous 72 hours.
Nowadays I don’t know what McCaffery’s thinking. The Iowa coach took out his anger on a Michigan State chair Tuesday night, and so that turned into a thing. It was a featured segment on dinnertime ESPN programming, and a number of mainstream blogs vultured the video as soon as it entered YouTube’s orbit.
McCaffery held a press conference in Iowa City Thursday, primarily to discuss Saturday’s upcoming game against Michigan, but he was of course also asked about the chair-hate incident. Surprisingly, the 52-year-old coach said he had no regret over the spectacle that made him look like a belligerent maniac, equal parts ridiculously out of control and out of touch. Modern coaches don’t motivate by chucking inanimate objects in the vicinity of their players. This is not 1982. McCaffery looked outdated. In that moment, he became a caricature, a reminder of how silly old-school coaching mentality can be.
Here’s how McCaffery made himself look even worse when asked if he had regrets about his temper tantrum.
“No, not at all. If anybody thinks I'm going to sit there with my hands crossed when we're down by 40, they got the wrong guy, OK. I was brought in here to change the culture.”
Let’s stop right there. Change the culture? Damaging opposing teams’ property -- floor and seat -- by power-bombing a folding chair is a good culture change? That’s the kind of behavior a 17-year-old wants to see when he’s choosing between Iowa, Iowa State, Creighton, Minnesota or Nebraska? How does reacting the way you did improve the look and culture of Iowa basketball?
“I'm going to coach with passion, and my players know that,” McCaffery continued. “They also know I'm going to fight for them. So as far as that's concerned, a lot of people like to infer what was going on or what was being said. Nobody knows what I was saying. Nobody knows what we were discussing during that timeout except for me and my players.”
The discussion definitely seemed civil. An Algonquin meeting on the hardwood. Fact is, I really don’t care what McCaffery was saying; it’s of no relevance. What we saw was enough. It’s a bad, bad look for coaches and for the sport. Bob Knight is just as remembered for playing discus with a flimsy chair as he is for winning three national titles and 902 games. Watch the video again. Iowa's players give a resounding non-reaction, like this red-faced berating has become the norm.
“I have no regrets, I have no apologies, none whatsoever,” McCaffery said. “I'm going to continue to coach the same way, and we're going to keep working, improving, and battling, and fighting until we're up by 40.”
You can’t chair-chuck your way to 40-point wins. The longer McCaffery talked, the more laughable the defense became, saying his outburst was “toward the players to take care of what was happening in the game.” When McCaffery felt the need to show his players how they could turn that ship around by bodyslamming that poor chair, Iowa trailed by 28. It never closed the gap after that, not even to 27. Ultimately, the Hawkeyes lost by 34, the worst loss Iowa's suffered since McCaffery came on board in 2010. The coach’s defenseless defense continued when he was asked if he heard from the Big Ten about the incident, he said, “No, nor should I have.”
And this is why Brad Stevens was in the past two national title games and McCaffery won’t get to a Final Four so long as he’s acting like a 9-year-old who just got told he can’t have a dessert that was promised to him. I’m not opposed to coaches getting fired up, yelling during timeouts and even slamming a clipboard out of frustration. But to actually take the time to make a demonstration of lifting up a vacated chair and tossing it to the ground, like that’s going to do anything, is an embarrassment to what McCaffery strives to achieve.
Posted on: January 13, 2012 12:05 am
Edited on: January 13, 2012 1:06 am
Here’s everything you need to know about Thursday’s slate of college basketball games …
Game of the day: Looks like the MAAC is not going to be a cakewalk for Iona this season. The Gaels welcomed Manhattan into town and dominated for the first 32 minutes or so, leading by 17 with 7:58 remaining. Then the Jaspers turned on a switch and outscored Iona by 20 in the final eight minutes – capped by Emmy Andjuar’s banked-in 3 at the buzzer to give Manhattan a 75-72 victory. Go check out the video above.
Win to brag about: Wisconsin needed a win badly against Purdue – and the Badgers held off the Boilermakers for a 67-62 win. It was Purdue’s first home loss since Feb. 28, 2010. Wisconsin jumped out to a 22-4 lead on the strength of five 3-pointers, but Purdue slowly came back in the game, spurred by a nice offensive game from guard Terone Johnson. For a team that has struggled to provide secondary options to Jordan Taylor, getting five guys in double-figures was key for Wisconsin.
Loss to hide from: Minnesota isn’t a bad team by any stretch, but the Golden Gophers were 0-4 in the Big Ten going into Thursday night. On the other hand, Indiana had already beaten Kentucky and Ohio State at home so far this season. So what happened? Minnesota grabbed 16 offensive rebounds and forced 15 turnovers en route to a 77-74 victory. Indiana couldn’t get its shooting going, knocking down just 4-of-22 from 3-point range.
Player who deserves improper benefits: In a battle for first place in the Big South, UNC-Asheville overcame a 17-point deficit to beat Campbell. The Bulldogs improved to 6-0 in the conference behind a tremendous all-around performance from guard Matt Dickey. The senior had 19 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and two steals for UNCA.
Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: George Mason’s Ryan Pearson came into Thursday averaging 18.2 points per game. Against Drexel, Pearson shot just 1-for-9 from the field and finished with two points as George Mason suffered its first conference loss of the season. Pearson did grab 11 rebounds, but the Patriots needed his offense – and didn’t get it.
Numbers don’t lie:
Three other notable results:
Posted on: January 12, 2012 3:15 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 3:23 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Bruce Weber's Illinois team was a question mark for many this season.
Some figured losing veterans Demetri McCamey, Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale - - despite their production over the course of their careers -- would force the Illini to take a step back. Others felt it could be addition by subtraction since that group had underachieved, going to a pair of NCAA tournaments, one NIT and even failing to advance to the postseason in one of the four seasons on campus.
Troubled, yet talented freshman Jereme Richmond was also gone -- which clearly appeared to help the chemistry of the team.
Weber was left with a core group consisting of ultra-talented 7-footer Meyers Leonard and a bunch of solid, yet not spectacular perimeter guys that included Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson. Weber's expectation was that Paul would quickly emerge as the team's go-to guy. but it didn't happen. In fact, Paul struggled for much of the season -- until his spectacular 43-point outburst on Tuesday night in a win over Ohio State.
"I've seen some great performances, when Glen Robinson went for 49 and when Scott Skiles had 40-something against us when I was at Purdue," Weber said. "This one was right there. It was pretty special -- and the crazy thing is he did it on just 15 shots."
Now the key for Weber will be if Paul and Leonard -- who has also been erratic this season -- can establish a level of consistency the rest of the Big Ten slate. Can they sustain it?
Weber is optimistic that starting point guard Sam Maniscalso will return to practice this weekend and return on Jan. 19 at Penn State, but said he'll likely keep freshman Tracy Abrams in the stating lineup for the time being.
Illinois improved to 15-3 with a trio of respectable losses: against UNLV in Chicago, against Missouri in Saint Louis and on the road to Purdue. The Illini now have two resume wins: against Ohio State and Gonzaga at Assembly Hall.
Now the key will be whether Paul can use his most recent performance to kick-start the rest of the season -- and whether Leonard can avoid the ups and downs that have plagued him much of this season.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 10:29 am
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. 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.
1. Duke, 17
1. Atlantic Coast, 62
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
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.