Posted on: January 12, 2011 11:15 am
Edited on: January 12, 2011 11:31 am
 

Boynton's shot was questionable but perfect

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Florida had a four-point lead with less than a minute remaining in overtime, and Kenny Boynton was on the left wing dribbling, mostly just running down the shot clock. I knew right then that he was determined to launch a 3-pointer, for better or worse.

I thought for worse.

You, Chandler Parsons?

"I knew it was cash," Parsons said with a big smile. "He has ice in his veins."

Perhaps. But Boynton also misses seven out of every 10 3-pointers he attempts, so you can understand my skepticism. If he clanks that shot, Tennessee might grab a long rebound, take off the other way, score in transition quickly and make it a one-possession game. That's why I cringed for Florida fans when Boynton let it fly, then laughed when the shot swished and secured what ultimately was an 81-75 road win for the Gators.

Such is life with Boynton.

I've seen Florida play in person twice this season. First time I watched Boynton finish 0-of-6 on 3-pointers against UNC-Wilmington on Nov. 12. Second time I watched Boynton finish 3-of-7 on 3-pointers against Tennessee late Tuesday. He is off-mark enough to hurt you (0-of-6 from beyond the arc in Florida's loss to Jacksonville) but streaky enough to help (3-of-7 from beyond the arc in Florida's win over UT), and I'm convinced this will be the case for Boynton and Florida till expired eligibility do them part.

He could shoot the Gators to the Elite Eight or straight out of the second round.

From a statistical standpoint, obviously, the latter is more likely.

But it cut the other way late Tuesday against the Vols.

So now the Gators are 2-0 in the SEC.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 11:38 am
Edited on: January 11, 2011 7:05 pm
 

Two problems with two women is a bad sign

Let's assume what Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe posted on an ex-girlfriend's Facebook page Monday in violation of a restraining order was non-threatening and perhaps even nice. It still doesn't change the fact that a woman in Minnesota once felt it necessary to file an order against him for some reason, which is troubling considering a totally different woman in Florida once accused the star forward of breaking her face during an assault.

So Mbakwe is either troubled or unlucky, right?

There's almost no in-between.

Serious questions:
  1. How many times has a woman accused you of breaking her face?
  2. How many times has a woman filed an order against you?
For most the answers to those questions are never and never because, let's be honest, this type of stuff doesn't really happen to normal people. One issue can be labeled a misunderstanding or even a straight-up false allegation. But two issues with two totally different women? That's typically a sign something isn't right. Not always, of course. But typically. Again, it's possible the worst thing Mbakwe did Monday was post a message on an ex-girlfriend's Facebook page that was non-threatening but still in violation of an order filed against him, which would mean he spent Monday being more dumb than evil. But that's not what I want to know. What I want to know is what it is about Mbakwe that's led to him having issues (real or otherwise) with two totally different women in two totally different states, and whether his ability to average 13.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game has helped school officials ignore the answer to that question.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 10, 2011 3:29 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2011 4:04 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

I thought the Poll Attacks would inevitably create enemies.

And they might still.

But they also create relationships, which means I'm bringing people together (while ripping apart AP ballots). For instance, Dave Mackall (previous Poll Attack victim) now emails me his Top 25 every Sunday, and David Jones (previous Poll Attack victim) sent a note over the weekend to tell me I was right to clown him for ranking KSU No. 1 in the preseason. (He added that I'm an idiot for continuing to rank Michigan State, but let's not get into that.) And then there's Lindsey Wilhite, last week's Poll Attack victim. Upon reading my assault on his ballot, Lindsey came at me via Twitter. Then I went back at him. Then we went back and forth for a minute, and now I think we might be friends.

In other words, the good guys don't take the Poll Attacks personally.

Because they're never personal.

I don't make fun of people's hairstyles or tans.

(How could I, right?)

I just make fun of their AP ballots, and I'm about to do it again.

Let's go!

(Details of AP ballots courtesy of PollSpeak.com.)

Associated Press poll: Readers often ask my philosophy on ranking teams. Here it is: I believe what I believe until on-the-court results force me to change. If I start from the position that the San Diego State Aztecs will be good (which I did) then I operate under that assumption until they prove me wrong (which they haven't). Similarly, if I start from the position that the Cincinnati Bearcats will be a team that finishes in the bottom half of the Big East (which I did) then I operate under that assumption until they prove me wrong (which they haven't). I believe whatever I believe until reality forces me to change my beliefs, and then I change. And I never try to predict the future. I rank in the moment with the information available at the time. Then I watch a week's worth of games and adjust, and it really is that simple.

Clearly, ranking teams is a subjective process. I know that. But what I've found is that my way is the smartest way (if you don't mind me saying), and it's precisely what moved me off Memphis weeks ago. I can't begin to imagine what's preventing 16 AP voters from doing the same.

Yes, 16 AP voters somehow put Memphis on their ballots this week despite the following:
  1. The Tigers have been routed by every good team they've played -- specifically Kansas (neutral), Georgetown (home) and Tennessee (away).
  2. The Tigers' best win is a four-point win over a Miami team that has also lost to Rutgers and Clemson
  3. The Tigers have gone to OT with Austin Peay and Arkansas State, and been pushed to the final minutes by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Tennessee State and East Carolina.
You have to not watch an incredible amount of basketball and completely ignore box scores to still rank the Tigers. They don't pass the resume test or the eye test, and the truth is that they aren't even playing like a top 50 team. Injuries (Wesley Witherspoon) and departures (Jelan Kendrick and Angel Garcia) deserve some of the blame, and the overall youth of the roster is also a legitimate excuse for the uneven start. And just so we're clear, no, the uneven start does not suggest Josh Pastner is in over his head, nor does it mean things can't get better. Pastner was and still is the best hire Memphis could make at the time the hire was made, and he'll have this young roster competing at an elite level when it's a tad bit older (and not quite so skinny). That said, there isn't a single thing that's happened on the court to make anybody think it's reasonable to rank Memphis this week.

So shame on the 16 voters who did it.

(You want all 16 names? Click this link to read them. Too many to name here.)

The rankings range from 19th for Roger Clarkson to 25th for Marcus Hunter, Dan Wiederer and Whitelaw Reid. I have no idea what Roger is thinking. Marcus lives in Memphis and really should know better. Dan lives in North Carolina but still should know better. And Whitelaw is just being Whitelaw. He has Memphis 25th and Texas A&M unranked even though the Aggies are 14-1 with wins over No. 17 Washington and No. 19 Temple, and their lone loss came on Nov. 25 by two points to Boston College. But that's not a body of work that deserves a ranking, according to Whitelaw, who has Texas A&M unranked, Memphis 25th and Washington -- the same Washington team that Texas A&M beat last month -- all the way up at No. 13.

Did you get that?
  • No. 13 Washington
  • No. 25 Memphis
  • Uranked Texas A&M
That's what Whitelaw came up with.

Make sense of it, my loyal readers, if you can.

(Editor's note: You can't.)

Coaches poll: Penn State is 9-6 with double-digit losses to Ole Miss, Maryland, Virginia Tech and Maine. Seriously, Maine. The Nittany Lions got worked by the Black Bears last month. So while I acknowledge Saturday's win over Michigan State was a nice moment for Ed DeChellis' program, it wasn't nice enough to offset a resume featuring six losses, five of which are to unranked teams. You can't just rank a team because it got a nice win. (If that was the case, where's Houston's votes?) The body of work must be considered, mustn't it? All along I thought that was common sense. But apparently not. Because Penn State got two points in this week's coaches poll, and Maine must feel like it got totally screwed. (If you're gonna rank Penn State, at least rank the Black Bears, too!)
Posted on: January 10, 2011 7:57 am
Edited on: January 10, 2011 8:10 am
 

Former Gophers guard transferring to Oregon

Grassroots Canada coach Ro Russell told CBSSports.com early Monday that former Minnesota guard Devoe Joseph will enroll at Oregon and be eligible to play for the Ducks next December provided he remains academically eligible.

Russell is Joseph's former summer coach.

Joseph averaged 11.2 points in eight games for Minnesota this season but recently announced his desire to transfer after missing part of the schedule because of a suspension stemming from a violation of team rules. The 6-foot-4 junior should have three semesters of eligibility remaining.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 9, 2011 10:45 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2011 10:48 pm
 

Updated Top 25 (and one)

The Top 25 (and one) will be updated on the college basketball page shortly.

Here's how it will look:

1. Duke (15-0)
The Blue Devils have won 25 straight games dating back to last season.
2. Ohio State (16-0)
The Buckeyes are off to their best start ever under Thad Matta.
3. Kansas (15-0)
The Jayhawks finished their non-league schedule unbeaten but needed OT against Michigan to do it.
4. Syracuse (16-0)
The Orange are 16-0 for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.
5. Pittsburgh (15-1)
The Panthers are averaging 83.3 points per game in Big East play, the most ever under Jamie Dixon.
6. San Diego State (17-0)
Three of the Aztecs' next four games are challenging -- against UNLV, at New Mexico and at BYU.
7. Notre Dame (14-2)
Mike Brey is among the early favorites for National Coach of the Year.
8. Connecticut (12-2)
The Huskies ended Texas' 27-game home winning streak against non-league opponents.
9. Villanova (14-1)
The Wildcats dealt Cincinnati its first loss Sunday.
10. Missouri (14-2)
The Tigers' nine-game winning streak was snapped at Colorado.
11. Texas (12-3)
The Longhorns allowed UConn to get 23 offensive rebounds in Saturday's loss.
12. Kentucky (12-3)
The Wildcats had three players foul out in their loss at Georgia.
13. Purdue (15-1)
The Boilermakers are 4-0 in the Big Ten with four double-digit wins.
14. BYU (16-1)
Jackson Emery tied Dannie Ainge as BYU's all-time steals leader.
15. Texas A&M (14-1)
The Aggies' only loss was by two points to Boston College in Orlando.
16. Illinois (13-3)
The Illini have won three straight since losing to Missouri in St. Louis.
17. Wisconsin (12-3)
The Badgers' win against Michigan was their ninth straight against the Wolverines.
18. Washington (12-3)
The loss of Abdul Gaddy hurts but doesn't mean the Huskies aren't still the Pac-10 favorites.
19. Temple (11-3)
The Owls got past Saint Louis on Sunday despite the absence of Juan Fernandez.
20. Georgia (12-2)
Trey Thompkins is averaging 25.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in his past two outings.
21. UCF (14-1)
It'll be interesting to see whether UCF can avoid consecutive losses with a game at USM on deck.
22. Georgetown (12-4)
Chris Wright is 7-of-31 from the field in the Hoyas' past three losses.
23. Michigan State (10-5)
Four of Michigan State's losses are to teams ranked in the top 11 of the Top 25 (and one).
24. Minnesota (12-4)
The Gophers are struggling with their tough schedule (Wisconsin, MSU and OSU in a span of 13 days).
25. North Carolina (11-4)
The Tar Heels have quietly won seven of their past eight games.
26. Louisville (13-2)
Two quality wins (Butler and UNLV) and just one bad loss (Drexel) are enough to rank the Cards.

IN: No. 20 Georgia, No. 25 North Carolina, No. 26 Louisville
OUT: No. 23 Wichita State, No. 25 Vanderbilt, No. 26 UNLV
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 8, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: January 8, 2011 7:32 pm
 

Life on the road isn't easy, even for good teams

A Saturday schedule with just one game between ranked schools seemed boring on the surface.

That's why I stayed home this weekend.

If only No. 9 Missouri, No. 10 Kentucky, No. 17 Kansas State, No. 18 Michigan State, No. 19 UCF and No. 22 Vanderbilt could've done the same. Maybe then they wouldn't be six ranked teams that just endured losses to unranked teams in hostile environments. Yes, it was one of those days in college basketball. Every time I flipped the channel some ranked team was going down on the road. The result was an afternoon of court-stormings, and Sunday night's Top 25 (and one) is sure to be a shuffled mess.

For those who missed it, here you go:
  • Colorado 89, No. 9 Missouri 76
  • Georgia 77, No. 10 Kentucky 70
  • Oklahoma State 76, No. 17 Kansas State 62
  • Penn State 66, No. 18 Michigan State 62
  • Houston 76, No. 19 UCF 71
  • South Carolina 83, No. 22 Vanderbilt 75 (OT)
Georgia is the only unranked team of that bunch that'll likely break into the updated rankings, so let's not pretend this is the day that validates Penn State, Colorado, Oklahoma State, Houston or South Carolina. Yes, Colorado (12-4) and Oklahoma State (13-2) are both solid. But Saturday's results say less about them than they say about how difficult it is, even for nationally ranked teams, to go on the road and win in conference play.

(Worth noting: No. 4 Syracuse nearly lost Saturday at Seton Hall, and Seton Hall is 7-9.)

No. 6 San Diego State, No. 13 Georgetown and No. 20 Illinois are among the ranked teams on the road against unranked teams next Saturday. My advice: Don't be shocked -- or even mildly surprised -- if some of them (or all of them) experience the same fate that Missouri, UK, KSU, Michigan State, UCF and Vandy experienced this Saturday. If it happens, it won't necessarily mean they were overrated. It'll just mean they had to travel.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 9:49 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 9:53 pm
 

I see you Mick Cronin

I'm still not ready to completely buy in.

Not yet.

But let's disregard what I think I know for a moment and focus on facts.

Fact No. 1: Cincinnati is now 15-0 with a 34-point win over Dayton and 20-point win over Xavier.

Fact No. 2: Xavier has played a schedule featuring Florida, Gonzaga and Old Dominion.

Fact No. 3: Dayton has played a schedule featuring Ole Miss, New Mexico and Old Dominion.

Fact No. 4: None of those teams have beaten Xavier or Dayton like Cincinnati beat Xavier and Dayton.

Now it's possible all this means nothing and that Cincinnati is about to spiral in a way that only the 2006-07 Clemson Tigers that started 17-0 and ended in the NIT can truly appreciate. If I had to bet, I'd probably still bet that way because four of the Bearcats' next five games are at Villanova (Sunday), at Syracuse (Jan.15), at Notre Dame (Jan. 19) and at St. John's (Jan. 22). So I'll be surprised if they don't go from 15-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big East to 16-4 overall and 3-4 in the Big East. But I was surprised when the Bearcats pounded Dayton in late November, and surprised again when they handled Xavier so easily Thursday night, point being that this team has already surprised me twice.

In other words, I don't know what to think anymore.

Maybe Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin really does have a Top 25 team.

If I had to bet, I'd probably still bet against it.

But I'm not nearly as sure about that now as I was Thursday morning.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 6, 2011 12:50 am
Edited on: January 6, 2011 1:43 am
 

Note to ranked teams: Beware of Vols

Final score: Unranked Tennessee 104, No. 21 Memphis 84

So now Bruce Pearl's suspension is on deck and his Tennessee Vols officially (if only temporarily) belong to associate head coach Tony Jones. First thing Jones should do is put a number beside Arkansas' name. Just get a schedule and grab a marker and write a number beside the Razorbacks. Anything between one and 25 will do. Something like 17 seems reasonable. So Jones should scribble 17 beside Arkansas and point to it. If the Tennessee players fall for it, they'll start SEC play with an impressive road win Saturday.

That's the lesson from Wednesday night, isn't it?

When the Vols think they're playing a good team, they win.

Otherwise, they're at risk.

Tennessee dominated Memphis early, late and at all points in between at Thompson-Boling Arena, and it really wasn't as close as the final score indicates. The Vols led by 15 at the half and by 36 with less than six minutes remaining. The game got sloppy and closer late. But it was a beatdown from start to finish, and Tennessee is now 3-0 against ranked opponents and 7-4 against unranked opponents.

Seriously.

The Vols own wins over No. 5 Pittsburgh, No. 7 Villanova and No. 21 Memphis, and losses to unranked Oakland, unranked Charlotte, unranked Southern California and unranked Charleston. Granted, it's possible unranked Oakland, unranked Charlotte, unranked Southern California and unranked Charleston are all better than No. 21 Memphis, and that what happened Wednesday says more about the Tigers than it does UT. But the point remains the same. The Vols were presented with a ranked opponent on a big stage for the third time this season, and they played well and won such a game for the third time this season. They still haven't lost to a ranked team, but they've four times shown they're capable of losing to pretty much any school without a number next to its name.

So if Tony Jones is smart, he'll put a number next to Arkansas.

I'd go with 17.

He should scribble it on a schedule and show it to his players.

If they fall for it, they'll cruise.

If not, who knows?
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