Tag:Jeff Goodman
Posted on: February 18, 2012 10:41 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2012 11:59 pm
 

Georgetown's young kids what makes Hoyas tick

By Jeff Goodman

PROVIDENCE - John Thompson III enjoys going under the radar. 

"You don't need to write anything," JT3 said after his Georgetown Hoyas won their 20th game of the season, a 63-53 victory at Providence on Saturday night. 

But this is a team worthy of more ink than it has received throughout a campaign that has taken it from 10th in the Big East preseason poll to one that has risen all the way to 10th in the nation. There's the veteran, Jason Clark. The breakout player, Henry Sims. The scorer, Hollis Thompson. But the freshmen have been as critical to this team's success as anything else. 

"They've been as refreshing as hell," JT3 said. "They're just about winning. They aren't worried about their minutes or how many shots they get. Just how they can help the team win." 

Clark admitted this isn't a team that will blow you away in terms of pure talent. There may not be a first-round draft pick on the entire roster, but they do it in a similar way as Syracuse: Power in numbers. 

The veterans carry the load and the young kids don't just accept their roles. They thrive in them. 

JT3 has had the identical starting lineup in 24 of the 25 games this season and the lone time he altered it was when starting point guard Markel Starks wasn't available. 

There's Otto Porter, the kid from Missouri who didn't play AAU ball. He leads the team in rebounding. Then there's the versatile 6-foot-8 forward Greg Whittington from nearby Columbia, Md.,, 6-foot-5 guard Jabril Trawick out of Philly and ex-DeMatha big man Mikael Hopkins. 

"They don't play like freshmen," Hoyas sophomore Nate Lubick said. "Or act like freshmen." 

"It's not forced or fake," JT3 added. "And it's contagious." 

This is a Georgetown team that has bowed out in the first round each of the last two seasons, but that was with Chris Wright and Austin Freeman as the vets. Freeman was too quiet to lead and while Wright had made progress, his focus was still too much on himself and his numbers. 

Now Clark is the leader -- and he's always been a guy who has accepted being in the shadows. 

"We don't care about who's going to score points," Clark said. "The chemistry is much better than it has been the last few years." 

The Hoyas won their 10th Big East contest on Saturday night. They have won at Louisville, against Marquette and UConn -- and beaten Memphis twice and also knocked off Alabama in Tuscaloosa back when the Crimson Tide had a complete team. 

Georgetown shares the basketball. The Hoyas rebound -- and they guard. 

Providence made just 4-of-28 shots from the field in the first 20 minutes and wound up shooting below 26 percent in the loss. Teams are shooting 38.8 percent from the field against the Hoyas this season and 28 percent from beyond the arc. 

This was supposed to be a rebuilding year in the eyes of many. Instead, Georgetown sits just a game out of second place in the Big East. 

"It's still too early to start worrying about getting pub or attention," JT3 said. 

Too early? That may have been the case in early-January after a 3-0 league start, but not now with just four regular-season contests left in the season. 


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 18, 2012 2:19 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2012 2:55 pm
 

Ready to throw in the towel with UConn Huskies

Connecticut missed out on a chance to get a marquee win today against Marquette. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Goodman

OK, I'm finally ready to give up on the UConn Huskies. It took me longer than most after watching the program rise from the dead a year ago and reel off 11 consecutive games to win the Big East tourney and national title. 

The Huskies' proverbial backs were against the wall on Saturday afternoon. Their 69-year-old coach, Jim Calhoun, remained on a medical leave of absence with a serious back injury.  

If there was ever a time to come out with a sense of urgency, this was it. Yet UConn came out flat, looked disinterested in the first half -- and it cost the Huskies yet again. 

This is a team that was picked in everyone's Preseason Top 10 -- even without Kemba Walker. The Huskies won it all and returned Jeremy Lamb, Alex Oriakhi, Shabazz Napier, Roscoe Smith and Tyler Olander from last year's improbable national championship team. 

Then Calboun added one of the nation's top recruiting classes in Andre Drummond, DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatright. 

All the talk revolves around the lack of leadership -- and much of it is valid. Lamb and Drummond are too quiet, Oriakhi didn't play enough to be a viable candidate  and Napier just isn't ready to assume that role. But there are plenty of far less talented teams without great leaders who enjoy more success than this year's UConn team, one that has now fallen to 16-10 overall and 6-8 in Big East play. 

This team doesn't play smart. This team doesn't play together. They don't play with heart or intensity. 

They were outrebounded by a Marquette team that was without its top two post plays on Saturday on their own court. 

Now, with just four games remaining in the regular-season, the Huskies will have to reel off three of four to finish at .500 in conference play. The slate starts at Villanova, home against Syracuse, at Providence and concludes with a home contest against Pittsburgh. 

They all appear, on paper, to be winnable games. They also appear, on paper, to be losable ones for this group. 

I'd be more shocked if they went 4-0 than 0-4. 

No one knows when -- or even if -- Calhoun will return. I'm not sure it matters with this group. Lamb and Drummond -- two likely lottery picks -- look as though they are out for a walk in the park at times rather than playing Big East basketball. Boatright may be talented, but he appears more interested in getting his own numbers than winning ballgames. Oriakhi's confidence is like a see-saw after Calhoun tossed him in the doghouse early this year. Smith and Daniels have no understanding of their roles and we're nearing the end of the season. 

There's no shame in losing to a Marquette team that is in second place and within striking distance of Syracuse in the Big East standings -- even in Hartford. 

But what was shameful was the effort this UConn team displayed for much of the contest, the lack of fight and intensity. 

The Huskies miss Kemba and Calhoun, but more than anyone thing they miss a sense of toughness, intensity and pride. 

Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:46 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 4:16 pm
 

Purdue boots Kelsey Barlow, suspends D.J. Byrd

By Jeff Goodman

When D.J. Byrd was arrested for public intoxication, it was expected that the junior wing would be suspended for Sunday's game against Michigan State. Nothing more than that. 

What wasn't anticipated was that teammate Kelsey Barlow would be kicked off the team. 

“This is an unfortunate situation, but we will move forward as a program,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “We expect our student-athletes to live up to a high standard, and when their actions become detrimental to the program, there are consequences.”

According to a source, the story goes like this: Barlow left his wallet in a bar last night and couldn't get back into the establishment. He rounded up a few of his buddies -- Byrd included -- and they went back to the bar. There was apparently a verbal exchange and Byrd wound up getting arrested while sticking up for his teammate. He was booked into jail at 3:35 a.m. and released at 8:31 a.m. 

Barlow was under a zero tolerance policy with Painter for several issues in the past -- including one last season that resulted in a suspension from the NCAA tournament.  

The timing couldn't be any worse with Purdue hosting No. 8 Michigan State on Sunday and now being without two starters. The Boilermakers have won two straight and are 17-9 overall and 7-6 in Big Ten play. However, they can ill-afford to slip-up with five regular-season games remaining in order to secure an NCAA tournament bid. 

Byrd has been terrific over the past five games, averaging nearly 17 points per game and making 18-of-34 from beyond the arc. He was 7-of-9 from deep in a close lose in Columbus to Ohio State and finished with 13 points and was 3-of-6 from beyond the arc in the win over the Illini earlier this week.

Barlow (8.3 ppg) has been erratic throughout his career, an underachiever of sorts who was suspended for the NCAA tournament a year ago. 

Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:00 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 12:07 pm
 

Saint Mary's could be without Delly at Murray St.

Saint Mary's guard Matthew Dellavedova (ankle) will be a game-time decision against Murray State. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Goodman

You know that huge matchup we were all excited about between Saint Mary's and Murray State. It's turned out to potentially be a yawner like most of the other BracketBusters. 

Murray State is no longer undefeated, but this was still supposed be a measuring stick for a Racers team that remains somewhat of a mystery. But now the Gaels limp into the CFSB Center in Murray without starting guard Stephen Holt and potentially without star guard Matthew Dellavedova. 

Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett told CBSSports.com that Dellavedova, the team's top player, will be a game-time decision with an ankle injury, and as of now it looks "doubtful." Holt, one of the team's most complete players, is out for the next couple weeks after suffering a partially torn MCL. 

Saint Mary's comes to Murray on a two-game losing streak following a 11-0 start in WCC play. There was the setback at Gonzaga, which wasn't much of a surprise, but then came a home loss to Loyola Marymount. The Racers are 25-1 with the lone loss coming earlier this month at home against Tennessee State. 

When this matchup was announced, it was the heavyweight bout for the BracketBusters. The WCC's elite team and one on the verge of cracking the Top 10 against the nation's last remaining team without a loss. 

The Gaels are struggling, No. 16 Murray State is no longer unbeaten and we may not even have the stellar point guard matchup between Racers guard Isaiah Canaan and Delly. 

However, it's still an important game for both teams -- maybe more so for host Murray. The Racers will need to win this one, especially if Dellavedova doesn't play. Despite its lofty ranking, Canaan & Co. can ill-afford a slip-up here with road contests against Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech to close out the regular-season. 

A couple more losses, in addition to coming up short in the Ohio Valley tournament, could mean sweating it out on Selection Sunday. 

Posted on: February 16, 2012 11:26 pm
 

Night Court: Duke, FSU with late comeback wins

By Jeff Goodman

(NOTE: We will file a Night Court almost every night this season. Follow @GaryParrishCBS, @GoodmanCBS, @MattNorlander, @JeffBorzello and @EyeOnCBB on Twitter to make sure it gets sent to you as soon as it's posted.)

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

Game of the day: N.C. State had Duke beaten at Cameron -- and it would have been just the signature win that could have gotten the Wolfpack into the NCAA tournament. Mark Gottfried's team was up 20 points with less than 12 minutes remaining, but the Blue Devils stormed back and came away with a 78-73 victory. Seth Curry finished with a career-high 26 points -- including 21 in the second half -- as Duke remained tied with North Carolina and Florida State for first place in the ACC. 

Shot of the day: Michael Snaer, he of the game-winner to beat Duke in Durham, buried another 3-pointer -- this time with 2.6 seconds left that rescued Florida State. It gave the 'Noles a 48-47 win over Virginia Tech in Tallahassee. It was also the eighth consecutive loss for the Hokies against FSU on the road. 

Win to brag about: Lehigh handed Bucknell its first Patriot league setback of the season and also snapped the Bison's 20-game conference winning streak. Mountain Hawks star C.J. McCollum buried the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left in the game that snapped a four-game losing skid against Bucknell and also closed the gap in league play. Lehigh is now 8-3 in the league, two games behind Bucknell. 

Loss to hide from: Ole Miss didn't just lose. The Rebels got smoked -- in Oxford by Vanderbilt. The final score was 102-76 and it wasn't even that close. 

Player who deserves improper benefits: Vanderbilt's Jeffery Taylor - The athletic senior wing is better-known for his defense, but Taylor erupted for 23 points and grabbed five boards -- in the first half. The Commodores crushed Ole Miss so badly that Taylor didn't need to do much of anything in the second half. Taylor finished with 28 points and nine boards -- he was 10-of-15 from the field and 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. 

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: We're splitting this honor three ways for this one. Erick Green, Dorenzo Hudson and Robert Brown each went 0-for-2 from the charity stripe in the final 2:11 of Virginia Tech's loss to Florida State. 

Numbers don’t lie:

8: That's how many "and-ones" that Michigan State had against Wisconsin tonight. That's a ridiculously high number. 

3-10: Virginia Tech shot 3-of-10 from the charity stripe in the final 2:10 of the loss to FSU. 

18: Robert Morris racked up 18 steals in its 69-40 rout over Bryant. 

18 &15: Points and rebounds put up by North Texas freshman Tony Mitchell in a rout over Louisiana-Monroe. 

Other notable results:

Michigan State had little problems with Wisconsin in East Lansing. Draymond Green finished with 20 points and 10 boards as Sparty won its seventh straight against the Badgers at the Breslin Center. 

Vandy smacked Ole Miss on the road, 102-76. The Commodores needed this one, having dropped three of their last four. 

West Virginia got a much-needed victory, 66-48, on the road against Pittsburgh. The Mountaineers had lost five of their past six to go from a secure NCAA tournament team to one in danger of heading into NIT territory. 

Texas Pan-American coach Ryan Marks got his 10th victory of the season and improved to 4-2 in Great West play with a home win over NJIT. 

San Diego coach Bill Grier has three freshmen in the starting lineup and the Toreros have made progress this season. USD needed overtime to take care of Portland, improving to 11-15 overall and 6-8 in WCC play. 

Notes:

Mount St. Mary's interim coach Matt Henry, filling in for Robert Burke (administrative leave), got the win after a 77-63 victory against FDU. 

Duke won its 14th straight at Cameron against N.C. State. The last loss came on Jan. 18, 1995. 

West Virginia's Kevin Jones had yet another double-double with 16 points and 13 boards in the road win against Pittsburgh. 

On tap: 

It's Friday. That means Ivy league hoops is the focus -- along with a couple of BracketBuster games. 

1) Northern Iowa at VCU - Shaka Smart and the Rams may have lost out on a chance for an at-large bid with the setback to George Mason the other night. 

2) Valparaiso at Loyola Marymount - LMU is coming off a big road win at Saint Mary's. 

3) Harvard at Brown -The Crimson can't afford another loss or at-large chances are history. 

4) Yale at Dartmouth - James Jones' team is one game back from the Crimson. 

5) Cornell at Penn - The Quakers are 5-2 in Ivy league play, just a game back in the loss column from Harvard. 

Posted on: February 16, 2012 5:00 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 5:56 pm
 

Saint Mary's loss gives more hope to Zags Streak

By Jeff Goodman

Gonzaga still has a shot to extend The Streak. 

After last night's shocking loss by Saint Mary's at home against Loyola Marymount, the 'Zags can move within a half-game of the Gaels with a road victory tonight against a Santa Clara team that is winless in WCC play. 

Just a week ago, it seemed far-fetched to think Mark Few could run the program's streak of consecutive WCC regular-season titles to a dozen. Then the Zags took care of Saint Mary's in Spokane -- and the Gaels lost at LMU and also may have lost key starter Stephen Holt, who suffered a knee injury and won't play against Murray State this weekend. 

As I noted last week on my trip out to Spokane, this is a Gonzaga team that has found a way to remain under the radar despite being 20-4 overall (it's the 15th consecutive season the Zags have won at least 20). Maybe it was the losses to Michigan State and Illinois -- or the league setbacks at Saint Mary's and BYU (two difficult places to play). Or maybe it was the fact that the Gaels were dominating the WCC and unbeaten at 11-0 until last week. 

But Gonzaga's freshmen guards -- Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell -- have matured  and the Zags have a couple of experienced guys up front in Robert Sacre and Elias Harris that are capable of playing with just about anyone. Pangos averaged 24 points, 5.5 assists and didn't turn the ball over at all in the last two wins against Saint Mary's and LMU. 

The Zags, with a strong finish in the final five regular-season games, can make it 12 consecutive seasons. 

Just one shy of UCLA's record of 13 straight league crowns back in the glory days from 1967-79. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 16, 2012 2:28 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 3:19 pm
 

No. 1 senior Nerlens Noel discusses recruitment

By Jeff Borzello

Nerlens Noel's recruitment has heated up since he reclassified to 2012. (MassLive.com)

Since Nerlens Noel announced a few weeks ago that he was reclassifying to the class of 2012, he’s been the most talked-about recruit in the country.

Noel, a 6-foot-10 Massachusetts native who plays at Tilton (N.H.), immediately moved to the No. 1 ranking in the nation. Moreover, the schools pursuing him have really turned up the heat.

“Recruiting has gone crazy all of a sudden,” Noel told Jeff Goodman on SiriusXM’s Inside College Basketball on Thursday afternoon. “I just need to plan out some visits to get out to all these schools. Keep talking to coaches, build better relationships with them.”

Noel is currently considering Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina, Florida, Georgetown and Connecticut. He later tweeted that Providence was also on his list, but did not mention them during the interview with Goodman.

He visited Syracuse this past weekend for the Orange’s win over Connecticut, and he will trip to Kentucky this coming weekend.

“I’m talking to a few more coaches to get down to their campuses during vacation,” Noel said.

Noel is the best shot-blocker in the country, and would immediately be the best in the college game too. He has tremendous dexterity defensively, able to cover a lot of ground and alter shots with either hand. Noel’s offensive is constantly getting better, and he is developing post moves and is taking defenders off the dribble as well.

He would dominate defensively wherever he ends up.

“Just a good program where I can go and play and be comfortable with the coaching staff, the whole program,” Noel said. “I know I can develop as long as I’m there, as a player and a person.”

Noel maintains that he is wide open among the six schools he mentioned, and he is still a long way from making a decision.

“I don’t really have a timeframe,” Noel said on the show. “I just want to make sure I get in all my visits to these schools. However long that takes.”

Posted on: February 16, 2012 10:56 am
Edited on: February 16, 2012 12:52 pm
 

Alford's New Mexico Lobos finally earn resume win

By Jeff Goodman

New Mexico's win at SDSU on Wednesday likely vaults the Lobos into the NCAA tournament. (US Presswire)

New Mexico finally got that win. 

The Lobos had been searching for a resume victory since, well, all season long. Steve Alford's team got its most impressive win to date on New Year's Eve against Saint Louis at The Pit, but it came up empty in its two January opportunities against UNLV and San Diego State, thus putting the Lobos on the wrong side of The Bubble. 

There were just two chances left on the slate -- last night at San Diego State and Saturday morning at home against UNLV. If New Mexico couldn't get one of those two, it would likely be headed to the NIT. 

But it all changed last night with the crucial road win at the Viejas Center against San Diego State. These days, the Viejas Center is one of the most difficult venues on the west coast, maybe even the country. I saw it first-hand twice last season.

"It was huge for us with the league race," Alford said on Thursday morning. "No question. But as far as the NCAA is concerned, we've been consistent ... we felt like our body of work was good enough." 

Not if the Lobos had gone 0-for-4 against the Mountain West's big boys of San Diego State and UNLV.  

It's been difficult to get a feel for this team this season despite the abundance of talent in Albuquerque. The Lobos lost to New Mexico State and Santa Clara early in the year and beat up one some of the bottom-feeder BCS teams (Arizona State, Boston College, Washington State and USC). But last night showed the potential that this New Mexico team boats -- led by veteran big man Drew Gordon (17 points, 17 rebounds). 

Guards Kendall Williams (21 points) and Jamal Fenton (15 points) stepped up last night while talented sophomore wing Tony Snell struggled again against the Aztecs -- being held scoreless. Phillip McDonald, the team's top perimeter shooter, also finished with the goose-egg -- yet New Mexico came away with a fairly decisive win. 

"We didn't get a point from those guys and still won by 10," Alford said. "But we've been a deep team all year." 

Maybe I'm nuts, but I think this could be a deep and also a dangerous team -- as long as they get into the NCAA tournament. However, right now the Lobos still aren't a lock to go dancing. 

That could change Saturday -- as long as Alford & Co. can get the Mountain West's top-ranked team, UNLV, at The Pit. 

A victory would put the Lobos two games in front of UNLV and also a game up on the Aztecs with four regular-season contests remaining. 

"It's a huge game," Alford said. "If UNLV beats us, it's a three-way tie again. If we beat them, we're two up and it's pretty much us and San Diego State." 

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