Posted on: April 17, 2008 2:20 pm
Edited on: April 17, 2008 2:33 pm

D-Rose is gonna have to improve his defense

Turns out there might be a good reason for Derrick Rose not holding a press conference to announce his NBA plans.

You know, besides the whole he's-really-shy thing.

Which is not to suggest Rose isn't really shy, because he is really shy. Anybody who has ever seen the freshman basketball star in front of a camera knows that to be true. But multiple sources close to the Memphis basketball and football programs have told CBSSports.com that Rose was recently involved in an altercation over a girl with Tiger football player Steven Black, an altercation that -- how to phrase this? -- didn't go so well for Rose. Put another way, the possible No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft spent the early part of this week looking like a person who had just been in a scrap, making the way he announced his future plans -- through a release distributed by the Memphis Sports Information department -- convenient, if not necessary.

That's the bad news.

Here's the good news (in bullet points):
  • Rose is not said to be seriously injured.
  • Nobody was arrested or charged with a crime.
  • The altercation did not happen anywhere near the Plush Club.
So in the end it seems what we have is two college guys scrapping over a girl. But this is still a story that provides the kind of Just Like Us moment highlighted in US Weekly, the kind of moment that proves even basketball stars/future millionaires have girl problems. In that way, they are indeed just like us -- except, of course, with better crossovers and earning potential.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 6, 2008 1:26 am

Here's hoping the title game is close, at least

SAN ANTONIO -- Four great teams couldn't even give us one great game.


Chalk me up as disappointed.

But there is no denying how impressive Kansas and Memphis were while recording victories here Saturday. The Jayhawks jumped to a 40-12 lead and never trailed in their 84-66 victory over North Carolina. That came after Memphis overwhelmed UCLA in a 78-63 win that provided John Calipari with an opportunity to take a shot at one of his biggest critics, Bill Plaschke.

Plachke wrote a column for Saturday morning's Los Angeles Times that described the UCLA-Memphis game as a coaching mismatch. He basically wrote that Howland is great and Calipari is not while explaining how though Memphis was favored by 2.5 points UCLA was actually favored by "one coach."

Naturally, somebody asked Calipari about this after Memphis blew past UCLA.

Here's the exchange ...

Reporter: There was a column in the Los Angeles Times today that said this was a coaching mismatch ....

Calipari: I don't think Ben is that bad . I respect Ben and think he's a heckuva coach.

Classic, right?

Calipari provided a little joke and allowed the moment to pass without many words, instead choosing to let the play of his players deliver any message. And how about the play of his players?

"Memphis has obviously played better than anybody in this tournament so far," said Kansas coach Bill Self. "But we're going to try to change that Monday."

If you're wondering -- and I know you are -- Vegas has already posted a line on Monday's title game.

Kansas opened as a 1-point favorite over Memphis.

So this is essentially an even matchup.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 30, 2008 11:41 pm

Four top seeds? That's fine by me

Four No. 1 seeds.

Four talented rosters.

Four accomplished coaches.

Man, is this gonna be fun or what?

Now I know some don't like it, having all four top seeds heading to San Antonio. They swear it's predictable (even though it had never happened before) and complain that it eliminates the Cinderella factor. My view: Screw Cinderella! She usually gets exposed in the Final Four anyway. I mean, as nice as that George Mason story was two years ago we all knew the Patriots had no shot to win the national title; it just wasn't gonna happen. So I'm pleased this NCAA tournament produced four legitimate powers, any of whom can reasonably expect to cut nets next Monday night.

Memphis opened as a 1-point favorite over UCLA.

North Carolina opened as a 3-point favorite over Kansas.

That's an indication these games are expected to be tight. And though I've never claimed to be a historian, I can't recall another year when we had four teams so good that there was no way to make a dumb prediction about how things might unfold. Seriously, is there any combination of Final Four winners that could be mocked?

Taking Memphis and North Carolina to advance is reasonable.

But so is taking UCLA and Kansas.

Or UCLA and North Carolina.

Or Memphis and Kansas.

And regardless of what happens in Saturday's semifinals, we're gonna have a Monday title game featuring a pair of worthy championship contenders. So buckle in and get ready because this should be great. The Road to the Final Four only has four cars remaining -- high-powered luxury vehicles, every last one of them
Posted on: March 30, 2008 6:01 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2008 9:47 pm

Hopefully it's not like last time

GREENVILLE, N.C. -- That Memphis-UCLA Final Four showdown should be exciting. But then again, maybe not.

I mean, you remember the last time these schools played, don't you? It was in the Elite Eight of the 2006 NCAA tournament, and Ben Howland used the opportunity to paraylyze John Calipari's dribble-drive motion offense in a game that was painful to watch.

Both teams were terrible offensively.

Or, as Howland would put it, terrific defensively.

Either way, the result was a 50-45 UCLA victory, and you really need to take a look at the box score to understand what took place. Here's the link. One highlight: UCLA won despite recording just four field goals in the second half. Another hightlight: Memphis shot 11.8 percent from 3-point range.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Memphis, UCLA
Posted on: March 16, 2008 3:16 pm
Edited on: March 16, 2008 3:17 pm

Nearly set at the top

North Carolina's win over Clemson in the ACC final means we now know three of our four No. 1 seeds.

UNC, Memphis and UCLA are locks at the top.

The fourth No. 1 seed will go to either Tennessee, Texas or Kansas.

My opinion: If Texas beats Kansas in the Big 12 final the Longhorns should get a No. 1 seed. But if Kansas beats Texas then the final No. 1 seed should go to Tennessee because the Jayhawks' body of work (7-2 record against the Top 50), while impressive, simply doesn't match that of Tennessee (11-3 record against the Top 50) or Texas (11-3 record against the Top 50).

Anyway ...
Posted on: March 15, 2008 3:00 pm

Book it: Memphis is the top seed in the South

Almost nothing is settled as it pertains to the NCAA tournament.

Except this: Memphis will be the No. 1 seed in the South Region and start Friday in Little Rock.

Such is the luxury of cruising through the C-USA tournament and capping the event with a 77-51 win over Tulsa in Saturday morning's title game. The Tigers now head into Selection Sunday with a 33-1 record and top three RPI, assured of their second No. 1 seed in the past three years. So now the only question is their match-up and potential match-ups, specifcally whether the selection committee will make Texas the No. 2 seed in the South Region and send John Calipari into full conspiracy mode.

Why would Calipari go nuts?

Because that would mean Memphis would likely play Texas in the Elite Eight.

In Houston.

As in Houston, Texas.

And it would also mean the Tigers would be placed as the No. 1 seed in a region for the second time in three years where the No. 2 seed was actually in its homestate. No. 1 seed Memphis had to play No. 2 seed UCLA in Oakland in the Elite Eight in 2006. You remember how that went, right? So pay attention to Sunday's Selection Show and watch for the South Region, and if Texas pops up as the No. 2 seed there just know Calipari will be sitting on his couch, rolling his eyes and shaking his head.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Memphis
Posted on: February 24, 2008 2:23 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2008 2:34 pm

Memphis proved it can't shoot great forever

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- You know when I figured Memphis would lose to Tennessee?

When the Tigers were leading at halftime.

Memphis was up 35-34 at the break, and so the locals were thrilled. But the problem for the Tigers was that they needed to sink eight 3-point attempts to gain that slim advantage, and anybody who has watched this team routinely miss shots -- Memphis ranks 227th nationally in 3-point shooting percentage -- knew that pace would fall off eventually, and by eventually I mean drastically.

"They can't beat us from three all night," UT coach Bruce Pearl told ESPN's Erin Andrews at halftime. "They just can't."

What came next was predictable.

Memphis took seven 3-pointers in the second half and made exactly zero.

In other words, a really bad 3-point shooting team started shooting 3-pointers really badly.

And that's why the Tigers are gonna go from being the top-ranked team in the country to the second-ranked team in the state.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 23, 2008 3:18 pm

No. 1 Memphis vs. No. 2 Tennessee is approaching

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- We're about six hours from tip-off and the buildup is unlike anything I've ever seen for a regular season contest. It's No. 1 vs. No. 2, and that has a lot to do with it. But really, this is much more than that because of the rivalry between the schools, coaches, players and fanbases -- all of which made for an interesting Friday night on Beale Street.

Every other person out was wearing Memphis gear or Tennessee gear.

Random bar conversations always drifted to free throw shooting and fullcourt presses.

The game is all the talk in this city. And though you've probably read a number of columns about the icy relationship between John Calipari and Bruce Pearl, I opted to mostly avoid the subject this week. Why, you ask? Because I wrote that column last season.

If you want to revisit it just click this link.

And while you're doing that I'm gonna shower and head downtown.
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