Tag:East Carolina
Posted on: March 11, 2011 2:25 am
 

Thursday Wrap-up

NEW YORK -- Kemba Walker was terrific.

UAB was not.

Here's Thursday's Wrap-up to recap a busy day of college basketball.

Best game: Kemba Walker began things by delivering the shot of the postseason -- and possibly the entire season -- to give Connecticut a 76-74 victory over Pittsburgh and propel himself into Madison Square Garden lore. The New York kid wowed the New York crowd with a stepback jumper at the buzzer that got Pitt's Gary McGhee so crossed he'll likely refuse to ever again switch on a ball screen. Yes, it was that bad. And that great. Suddenly, Kemba at MSG is the best show going. A date with Syracuse in Friday's Big East semifinals is on deck.
 
Other best game: Kansas missed 20 of 25 3-point attempts against Oklahoma State and needed the Cowboys to miss a heave at the buzzer to escape with a 63-62 win in the Big 12 quarterfinals. Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar combined to go 2 of 14 from 3-point range for the Jayhawks. So on second thought, this wasn't really one of the best games in terms of beautiful basketball. But it was close. And close is usually fun.

Team whose dream remained alive: Colorado proved "it's hard to beat a team three times in a season" is among the dumbest things dumb people say by beating Kansas State for the third time this season. The Buffaloes have now beaten the Wildcats by scores of 74-66, 58-56 and, most recently, 87-75. So the third time was actually the easiest of all three times … and probably enough to ensure Colorado receives an at-large bid regardless of what happens against Kansas in Friday's Big 12 semifinals.

Team whose dream was crushed: UAB had a questionable resume despite winning Conference USA and entered the league tournament with work to do. Unfortunately for Mike Davis, the Blazers did not do the required work. They instead lost 75-70 to East Carolina in the C-USA quarterfinals. Where I'm from, that's called locking down an NIT bid.

Performance I hope you witnessed: Ben Hansbrough's 23-point, seven-assist effort in Notre Dame's 89-51 blowout of Cincinnati wasn't as highlight-worthy as Walker's memorable outing, but it was still an impressive performance for the Big East Player of the Year. Hansbrough was 8-of-11 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. He's the main reason why the Irish have gone from unranked in the preseason to the verge of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Performance I hope you missed: Jackson Emery took nine 3-pointers and missed eight of them. That's not a violation of BYU's Honor Code, but it ought to be. Yes, the Cougars overcame a halftime deficit and beat TCU 64-58 in the Mountain West quarters. But what they really did is provide another 40-minute sample that suggests they miss Brandon Davies just as much as most anticipated, and that's going to be an issue come Selection Sunday.

Three other things worth noting

1. Southern California's 70-56 victory over California means the Trojans have an opportunity to get a sixth top-50 win in Friday's Pac-10 semifinals against Arizona. But would that be enough? Honestly, I'm not sure. Because though the Trojans have better wins than most bubble teams, they also have worse losses -- specifically three outside of the top 200. My advice: Go for the automatic bid, Kevin O'Neill, just to be safe.

2. St. John's suffered more than a 79-73 loss to Syracuse in the Big East quarters. The Red Storm also lost D.J. Kennedy to a torn ACL that ended his season prematurely and will send Steve Lavin's team into the NCAA tournament short a key contributor. Kennedy was averaging 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

3. Washington State's Klay Thompson returned from his one-game suspension and dropped 43 points in an 89-87 loss to Washington. So Thompson was high -- or at least in a car with a substance you use to get high -- last Thursday and the nation's highest scorer this Thursday. That's impressive.

Final thought: No team has ever lost its conference tournament opener and gone on to win the NCAA tournament.

You've heard that before, right?

You heard it when Pittsburgh lost to Connecticut, didn't you?

Of course you did. We all did. And though it's a statement that's 100 percent true, it's also misleading because it fails to recognize that we've never had a league as large and strong as the Big East that requires a true national title contender to open its league tournament with a game against a team the caliber of Connecticut. Bottom line, there are plenty of reasons to think Pitt won't win a national championship. But the fact that the Panthers lost to a nationally ranked UConn team on a ridiculous stepback jumper from an All-American on Thursday shouldn't be among them.
Posted on: March 9, 2011 9:42 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:39 am
 

Wednesday Wrap-up

Baylor was bad.

The St. John's-Rutgers officials were worse.

Here's Wednesday's Wrap-up to recap the day in college basketball.

Teams that punched tickets: Long Island and Northern Colorado each earned automatic bids to the NCAA tournament on Wednesday. That means 13 of the 68 spots in the field are now claimed.

Best game: The contest was terrific but the officiating at the end of St. John's' 65-63 win over Rutgers in the second round of the Big East tournament was embarrassing and inexcusable, and that's putting it nicely. Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and Earl Walton somehow missed St. John's senior Justin Brownlee travel and then step out of bounds with 1.7 seconds left. By doing so, they committed what Big East commissioner John Marinatto later acknowledged were "two separate officiating errors" that cost Rutgers a chance to tie or win at the buzzer. Those "two separate officiating errors" should also cost Burr, Higgins and Walton future assignments.

Other best game: Long Island's 85-82 win over Robert Morris in the title game of the Northeast tournament represented everything that makes small-conference basketball great. It was a bunch of players most folks have never heard of competing in front of a rowdy crowd in a rare national television appearance with an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on the line, and it ended with a court-storming. Jamal Olasewere's career-high 31 points turned him into a name worth remembering heading into next week. That's when the Blackbirds will play in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1997.

Team whose dream remained alive: Colorado was down six with less than three minutes to play in a potential bubble-bursting game. Then Alec Burks made a jumper, sparked a comeback and led the Buffaloes to a 77-75 win over Iowa State in the first round of the Big 12 tournament. Burks got 25 of his 29 points in the final 17 minutes. It was a performance that kept Colorado's quest to make the NCAA tournament intact, though the Buffaloes probably need a win over Kansas State in Thursday's quarterfinals to feel reasonably good about their at-large chances.

Team whose dream was crushed: Nebraska entered Wednesday on the bubble thanks to a resume that included wins over Texas, Texas A&M and Missouri, and just three losses outside of the top 100 of the RPI. But the Huskers still needed to do work, everybody agreed. And now the Huskers are off the bubble, everybody agrees, thanks to a 53-52 loss to Oklahoma State in the first round of the Big 12 tournament.

Performance I hope you witnessed: I voted Notre Dame's Ben Hansbrough the Big East's Player of the Year. So I can't join those who think Connecticut's Kemba Walker was slighted for that award because I'll never give Player of the Year honors to somebody whose team finishes in the bottom half of a league. That said, it's baffling that Walker wasn't a unanimous all-league selection, and he showed why in the Huskies' 79-62 win over the Chris Wright-less Georgetown Hoyas in the second round of the Big East tournament. Walker was 10-of-18 from the field. He finished with 28 points. "I think he's the best player in the country," said UConn coach Jim Calhoun. "That should be more important."

Performance I hope you missed: UCF's 75-60 loss to East Carolina means the Knights, in a span of three months, transformed from a nationally ranked team with non-league wins over Florida and Miami into a nationally unranked team that was bounced in the first round of its league tournament. Marcus Jordan was 1-of-9 from the field with four turnovers against the Pirates. It was a fitting ending to a strange season.

Three other things worth noting

1. Baylor's bad day that started with the announcement that star freshman Perry Jones has been suspended because of a violation of NCAA rules ended with an 84-67 loss to Oklahoma in the first round of the Big 12 tournament. So the Bears' season began with their best guard (LaceDarius Dunn) suspended and it will end with their best big (Jones) suspended. It'll also end in the NIT, most likely.

2. Marquette's 67-61 win over West Virginia in the second round of the Big East tournament ensured the Golden Eagles won't have to spend Selection Sunday worrying whether they're in or out. They're in. Safely. Regardless of what happens Thursday against Louisville.

3. Manhattan fired Barry "Slice" Rohrssen on Wednesday while Northern Illinois fired Ricardo Patton. There will be more firings Thursday, I'm certain. It's that time of the year, you know?

Final thought: Texas Tech announced early this week that Pat Knight won't return next season.

Lots of possible replacments have been mentioned.

I'd hire Billy Gillispie.

Yes, I know Gillispie has had issues, and those must be addressed. But don't let two weird years at Kentucky make you forget that he was considered among the nation's best and hottest coaches just four years ago, and that he earned that reputation by winning at two Texas schools (UTEP and Texas A&M).  At Kentucky, Gillispie was out of his element, and he didn't handle it well. A subsequent drinking-and-driving arrest further damaged his reputation, but it should be noted that he's stayed free of negative headlines for the past 18 months. That's not everything. But it's something.

Bottom line, Gillispie's pros outweigh his cons at a place like Texas Tech.

I bet he would win there if given the chance.
Posted on: June 21, 2010 1:15 pm
 

Stokes now working with MAC


Lost amid all the attention on Expansionpalooza 2010 last week was a former college coach getting back into the game.

Ricky Stokes is now a MAC associate commissioner for men's basketball.

"I am very pleased that Ricky has agreed to join the Mid-American Conference," said MAC commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher.  "He brings a wealth of experiences as a former student-athlete, assistant coach, head coach and administrator that have helped prepare him for this position.  I look forward to Ricky playing a significant role in managing the strategic direction of the Conference's men's basketball program."

Stokes played at Virginia and coached at Virginia Teach and East Carolina.

He resigned from ECU in 2007.

Stokes will be the MAC's liaison to the men's basketball coaches, oversee the officiating program and game management issues, develop the regular season schedule and facilitate television scheduling issues, manage the men's basketball tournament and participate in the development and implementation of strategic initiatives aimed at furthering the men's basketball programs.
Posted on: March 22, 2010 1:01 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2010 1:07 pm
 

ECU to hire Lebo


The East Carolina Board of Trustees is expected to approve late Monday the hiring of former Auburn coach Jeff Lebo as the school's next basketball coach, CBSSports.com has confirmed.

A formal introduction could come Tuesday.

Auburn fired Lebo earlier this month after six seasons at the school.

This development fills one opening in Conference USA, but two remain. Houston coach Tom Penders has been forced into resignation after six seasons despite taking the Cougars to the 2010 NCAA tournament. Former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie is a possibility to replace him. Meantime, UCF is conducting a search to find a replacement for Kirk Speraw, who was fired last week. Appalachian State's Buzz Peterson has emerged as a serious candidate at UCF at least partly because of his relationship with Michael Jordan. One of Jordan's sons, Marcus Jordan, plays for UCF. Also worth noting is that the school just signed an apparel deal with Nike.
Posted on: March 6, 2010 11:07 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2010 11:12 pm
 

Mcarthy resigns from ECU


Mack McCarthy has resigned from East Carolina.

The third-year coach announced his decision after Saturday night's loss to Southern Miss.

McCarthy replaced Ricky Stokes before the 2007-08 season. He never finished better than ninth in Conference USA. The Pirates are 10-20 overall, 4-12 in C-USA heading into the C-USA tournament. That event begins Wednesday in Tulsa.
Category: NCAAB
 
 
 
 
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