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: September 22, 2010 7:34 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 7:36 am

'[Mike] Rice just did everything right'

Another sign that Mike Rice is off to a great start at Rutgers has surfaced.

Spefiicifically, this quote: "The other schools didn't do anything wrong, but coach Rice just did everything right."

Those are the words of Flora Macdonald Academy coach Derrick Bond (via Evan Daniels at Scout.com). They were an answer to a question about why Flora Macdonald Academy (that's a school in North Carolina, by the way) point guard Jerome Seagers committed to Rutgers over West Virginia, Cincinnati, DePaul, Arizona and Seton Hall this week.

Seagers is the fifth Class of 2011 prospect to pledge his allegiance to Rutgers since Aug. 1. He's now part of a recruiting class that could rank among the top 15 nationally on signing day next month, a part of a recruiting class that's already made Rutgers officials look wise for hiring Rice this past offseason.

Posted on: August 31, 2010 3:04 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 3:05 pm

Rutgers lands top 50 prospect

Rutgers coach Mike Rice landed his highest-rated recruit to date when Kadeem Jack verbally committed to the Scarlet Knights on Tuesday, according to a report by Dave Telep at Scout.com.

Jack is a 6-foot-8 forward from New York who chose Rutgers despite interest from Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgetown, North Carolina, West Virginia and Miami. Scout.com rated him as the 43rd-best prospect in the Class of 2010. But rather than enroll in college like most of his classmates, Jack is spending this year at a prep school. He's on track to join Rutgers for the 2011-12 season.

Jack is expected to formally announce his decision on local television Tuesday night.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 3, 2010 7:42 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2010 7:44 pm

Rutgers to hire Robert Morris' Rice

Robert Morris coach Mike Rice has reached a deal to take over the men's basketball program at Rutgers, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Tuesday.

An official announcement could come as early as Tuesday.

Rice is 73-31 in three seasons at Robert Morris.

The Colonials nearly upset Villanova in the first round of this season's NCAA tournament.
Posted on: April 22, 2010 7:16 am

The guy paid a player, for crying out loud!

You guys sure do like to defend former Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien.

If nothing else, I've learned that.

I knew Wednesday's column would create a reaction, and I knew some wouldn't like what I wrote. But I honestly didn't expect the column to create the type of reaction it created or generate the kind of emails it's generated, and I never knew so many of you have a soft place in your heart for a man who -- try to follow me here -- once violated NCAA rules by giving a prospect $6,000.

Seriously, has the world gone crazy?

Some of the same emailers who routinely kill Tim Floyd and John Calipari took the time to defend O'Brien. And please stop with the "at least he admitted it" and "at least he told the truth" stuff because O'Brien didn't "admit" what he did any more than Tiger Woods admitted to affairs.

Yes, they both eventually admitted their shortcomings.

But do you know when that happened?

After they were caught!

Woods admitted he was a serial cheater when it was unavoidable, which is to say right after the world learned he was a serial cheater. O'Brien's moment of full disclosure is similar. Remember, he gave the prospect $6,000 in 1998 and didn't "admit it" until 2004, and he only admitted it in 2004 because he knew it was about to be made public in a pending lawsuit. So I don't understand why O'Brien gets credit for admitting anything. At best, he owned up to a blatant violation of NCAA rules after he was caught.

And it was a blatant violation.

I can't stress that enough.

As you probably know, coaches aren't allowed to pay prospects or players, even ones whose families are struggling. Do you know what would happen if Thad Matta came out tomorrow and admitted he gave some kid $6,000 because the kid's mother was battling cancer and they needed cash to put food on the table? He'd be fired, that's what would happen (although Ohio State would probably be a little more careful about how it went about the firing, lest the athletic department end up in another wrongful termination lawsuit).

So that's that.

And, no, it doesn't mean Jim O'Brien is the dirtiest coach ever.

I honestly don't think he'd make the top 25.

I never said he would.

But an argument of "there are dirtier coaches coaching right now" isn't much of an argument unless you'd listen to some imprisoned burglar tell you how there are worse burglars running the streets right now. I mean, obviously that's true. There are burglars running the streets, murderers, too. But the ones who get caught go to prison and pay a price, and Jim O'Brien is a man who was caught -- one more time, just to let it sink in -- paying a prospect in what amounted to a pretty reckless and clear violation of what is commonly viewed as the most significant NCAA rule.

You can't pay a player.

Or at least you can't get caught paying a player.

But Jim O'Brien got caught paying a player; that's the truth. And anything beside that central point is mostly irrelevant to my central point, that a Big East program like Rutgers scrapping for respect shouldn't consider hiring a man with that kind of baggage on his resume.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 18, 2010 1:48 pm

Report: Rutgers' Rosario headed to Florida

Former Rutgers guard Mike Rosario has committed to transfer to Florida, Scout.com's Dave Telep reported Sunday.

"He’s committed," a source told Telep. "It’s done. He’s a Gator -- 100 percent committed."

Rosario averaged 16.7 points this past season for the Scarlett Knights.

The 6-foot-3 guard will miss next season per NCAA transfer rules before playing in 2011-12, at which point he'll be set to join Brad Beal, a 6-4 guard rated as the nation's fourth best prospect in the Class of 2011 by MaxPreps.com. Beal has already committed to Florida.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 8, 2010 12:25 am

Rutgers expected to fire Hill on Thursday

Rutgers is expected to announce the termination of basketball coach Fred Hill on Thursday, according to FoxSports.com. The development comes a week after Hill was involved in an altercation at a Scarlett Knights baseball game, which could help the school fire Hill with cause or, at the very least, reach a more reasonable buyout with the former Villanova assistant.

Hill's buyout is $1.8 million.

Multiple sources told CBSSports.com that the only reason Rutgers didn't fire Hill immediately after th season is because the school, strapped for resources, didn't want to pay the buyout. But last Thursday's reported "profanity laced tirade" with Pittsburgh baseball coach Joe Jordano could be enough to allow Rutgers to fire Hill -- whose father is the school's baseball coach -- with cause, especially considering Hill also reportedly attended Sunday's Pittsburgh-Rutgers baseball game even though school officials told him to stay away. That could be perceived as "insubordination."

Hill has never finished better than 14th in four seasons at Rutgers.

His best player, former McDonald's All-American Mike Rosario, has expressed a desire to transfer.
Posted on: December 26, 2008 3:22 pm

Have you seen what's on tap for Rutgers?

We enter the weekend with 10 undefeated teams, six of which are in action this weekend.

The schedule looks like this:

(Rankings are from the coaches poll)

  • No. 1 North Carolina (11-0) vs. Rutgers on Sunday
  • No. 2 Connecticut (10-0) vs. Fordham on Friday
  • No. 3 Pittsburgh (12-0) is off
  • No. 4 Oklahoma (12-0) is off
  • No. 6 Wake Forest (11-0) is off
  • No. 13 Ohio State (9-0) vs. West Virginia on Saturday
  • No. 20 Clemson (12-0) is off
  • No. 23 Minnesota (11-0) vs. High Point on Sunday
  • Unranked Illinois State (11-0) at Missouri State on Sunday
  • Unranked Stanford (8-0) vs. Texas Tech on Sunday

Of the teams in action, Ohio State, Illinois State and Stanford are probably at the most risk of losing, but the real reason I'm writing this is so you can take a look at Rutgers. My God, do I feel badly for Rutgers. The Scarlett Knights are 9-3 and on a four-game winning streak, but I'll be shocked if that 9-3 record doesn't turn into a 9-10 record over the next four weeks given that their schedule is something about which even a suicide bomber might have second thoughts.

Check it out ...

  • Rutgers at No. 1 North Carolina on Sunday
  • Rutgers vs. No. 3 Pittsburgh on Wednesday
  • Rutgers at No. 2 Connecticut on Jan. 3
  • Rutgers vs. No. 25 Marquette on Jan. 7
  • Rutgers vs. No. 14 Syracuse on Jan. 10
  • Rutgers at Cincinnati on Jan. 14
  • Rutgers vs. No. 19 Louisville on Jan. 21

Wow, huh?

The Scarlett Knights' next three games are against the top three teams in the coaches poll while six of the next seven are against ranked opponents. I can't say for sure, but I imagine this is the toughest stretch of games any school will endure all season, and it's times like these where it must stink to be in charge of the Rutgers' pregame pep talks.

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