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Tag:Arizona
Posted on: March 11, 2011 6:41 pm
 

USC suspends O'Neill

Southern California has suspended coach Kevin O'Neill for the rest of the Pac-10 tournament because of an incident he had Thursday night with an Arizona fan at a downtown Los Angeles hotel, a source confirmed to CBSSports.com.

Assistant Bob Cantu will coach the Trojans Friday night against Arizona in the Pac-10 semifinals.

A win could be enough to get the Trojans an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
Posted on: March 11, 2011 3:37 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 12:16 am
 

Friday Wrap-up

NEW YORK -- Kemba Walker dominated at Madison Square Garden again.

Tom Izzo suddenly has a dangerous basketball team again.

And Jimmer went Jimmer in a bigtime way.

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

Best game: Big East semifinals. Connecticut vs. Syracuse. Did you really think it would end in regulation? "I didn't want it to go six overtimes again," said UConn's Kemba Walker, whose brilliance ensured it would not. The Huskies instead closed this one out in the first OT and advanced to Saturday's title game with a 76-71 victory over the Orange two years after the two schools played that six-overtime classic in this same building. Walker finished with 33 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and six steals, then spent some time chatting outside the media room with President Bill Clinton. Meantime, UConn coach Jim Calhoun used part of his postgame press conference to praise his star and highlight, for the 87th time this week, that one Big East coach didn't vote Walker First Team All-Conference. "He's the Most Valuable Player on any team in the country," Calhoun said. "I'm going to keep saying it."
 
Other best game: North Carolina was down double-digits to Miami at the half, at which point I openly wondered whether Larry Drew was back to playing point guard for the Tar Heels. Turns out, he was not. And that was never more obvious than when Kendall Marshall, Drew's more-talented mid-season replacement, drove into the lane in the final seconds of a tie game and found Tyler Zeller all alone under the basket for an easy layup at the buzzer that gave North Carolina a 61-59 win in the ACC quarterfinals. It was a play that capped an incredible run that allowed the Tar Heels to overcome a 19-point deficit in the final 10 minutes. It also reminded me of what Zeller told me about Marshall last week. "He does a lot of things that make our jobs easy," Zeller said. "He can pass you the ball and you just have to lay it up." As Miami now knows, that's exactly right.

Yet another best game: Virginia Tech probably secured an NCAA tournament bid with a 52-51 win over Florida State in the ACC quarterfinals, but the Hokies couldn't celebrate until Derwin Kitchen's shot at the buzzer that initially seemed to give FSU the win was waved off. The officials huddled around a monitor and correctly concluded that the ball was still in Kitchen's hands when time expired, but just barely. It was a wild scene in Greensboro. Seth Greenberg cried and everything.

Team whose dream remained alive: Whether Alabama can get an at-large bid remains debatable because the Crimson Tide have seven losses outside of the top 50, but their 65-59 overtime win against Georgia in the SEC quarters definitely enhanced their case. The Crimson Tide now have four top-50 wins to help offset those troubling losses, and they're at no risk of taking another "bad" loss before Selection Sunday (provided they meet Kentucky in the semifinals). As for Georgia, man, who knows? The Bulldogs have a better body of work than Alabama despite two losses to Alabama. But a bubble team blowing a double-digit second-half lead to a fellow bubble team is never a good final impression to leave with the Selection Committee.

Team whose dream was crushed: Jerry Palm projected Tulsa as the winner of C-USA's automatic bid after UAB lost Thursday, which means Tulsa entered Friday in the Field of 68 here at CBSSports.com. I'll be honest, it just looked weird. But that projection will change as soon as my colleague updates his projections because UTEP beat Tulsa 66-54 in the C-USA quarterfinals and eliminated the Golden Hurricane from NCAA tournament contention. Hey, it was fun while it lasted.

Performance I hope you witnessed: Walker's 33 at MSG was the biggest story of the night ... right up until Jimmer Fredette dropped 33 on New Mexico in the first half and finished with a career-high 52 in BYU's 87-76 win in the Mountain West semifinals. The CBSSports.com National Player of the Year was -- ready for this? -- 22-of-37 from the field, and only one of his points came on a free throw. If the members of the Selection Committee want to do the nation a favor, they'll put BYU and UConn in the same region and give us a possible Jimmer vs. Kemba matchup two weekends from now.

Performance I hope you missed: Wisconsin and Penn State did nothing to help the Big Ten's reputation as a slow and boring basketball league. In fact, they might've cemented the reputation by playing a game in which the winning team scored 36 points and the losing team scored 33. Penn State was the winning team, if you care.

 Five things worth noting

1. Nolan Smith suffered a toe injury in the second half of Duke's 87-71 win over Maryland in the ACC quarterfinals and did not return. Mike Krzyzewski said afterward that he wasn't sure if Smith would be back before the end of the ACC tournament but stressed the most important thing is making sure the ACC Player of the Year is available for the NCAA tournament, which will begin for Duke, presumably, next Friday in Charlotte.

2. Memphis finally looked like a team with a roster built to overwhelm C-USA opponents during a 76-56 win over East Carolina in part because Joe Jackson finally looked like somebody worthy of the nickname "King of Memphis." The McDonald's All-American has gone from a local high school legend to a freshman starter for the Tigers to a part-time reserve in less than a year, and it's been tough on him. But Jackson was tremendous against ECU while scoring a career-high 24 points. He made 8-of-12 field goal attempts, 3-of-3 3-point attempts and 5-of-5 free throw attempts, and now the Tigers are just a win over UTEP away from earning an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

3.
Southern California played its Pac-10 semifinal against Arizona without head coach Kevin O'Neill, who was suspended by his athletic director after a Thursday night incident with an Arizona booster. Assistant Bob Cantu coached the Trojans in O'Neill's absence. They lost 67-62 and are almost certainly headed to the NIT.

4. Ohio State entered this week in position to get a No. 1 seed regardless, but that doesn't mean the Buckeyes wanted or needed to lose their Big Ten tournament opener to Northwestern (if only because there's nothing cool about losing a Big Ten tournament opener to Northwestern). Thanks to Jared Sullinger they avoided the upset. The CBSSports.com National Freshman of the Year finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds in OSU's 67-61 overtime win. Worth noting is that Sullinger shot 18 free throws, i.e., just as many as Northwestern's entire team.

5. If you're surprised Tom Izzo has Michigan State operating at a high level then you haven't been paying attention for the past decade. Somehow, someway, this is what Izzo does. Regardless of whether the Spartans are great, good, average or terrible from November to March, by St. Patrick's Day each year Izzo gets them straight. So of course Michigan State will play in the Big Ten semifinals thanks to a 74-56 win over Purdue that took the Spartans off the bubble. They're now guaranteed to make the NCAA tournament. They'll probably make the Sweet 16, just because.

Final thought: Providence fired Keno Davis Friday and folks immediately started trying to explain why this didn't work. Among the common theories was because the Big East school hired him "with just one year of head coaching experience," which is both wrong and silly. Understand this: Davis didn't fail at Providence because he lacked significant prior experience. He failed at Providence because the school decided to hire the country's hottest young coach in April 2008 with little regard to how he fit with the Friars program. Davis was a bad fit -- and I hope Providence realizes that before it lures its next coach. Hire somebody with experience if you want; I'm not saying that's the wrong route. All I'm saying is that projected greatness and fit are way more important than past experience, and you can look elsewhere in the Big East to see it. Pittsburgh hired Jamie Dixon with zero years of head coaching experience while Marquette hired Buzz Williams with one. Things seems to be going well for those two programs, don't they?

Bottom line, what somebody has done at another school is important, sure.

But it's not nearly as important as what you think somebody can do at your school going forward.
Posted on: March 11, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 10:05 am
 

O'Neill involved in incident with Arizona fans

Southern California coach Kevin O'Neill and his wife, Roberta, were involved in an incident with Arizona fans after the Trojans' win over California Thursday at a hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

O'Neill coached Arizona in the 2007-08 season.

USC athletic director Pat Haden has issued a statement.

"We have received some information ... about an incident involving coach Kevin O'Neill, his wife and a fan from another school that occurred following our men's basketball game [Thursday]," Haden said. "We are looking into this and gathering facts. We will determine what appropriate action is necessary."

USC is set to play Arizona in Friday's Pac-10 semifinals.

A win could be enough to get the Trojans an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
Posted on: March 7, 2011 7:54 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

Whitelaw Reid was the only voter who put Duke No. 1 last week. I ignored it because I'm kind. But now Whitelaw's done gone and went straight Whitelaw on us again, and I can't ignore him a second time. So welcome back to the Poll Attacks, Mr. Reid. It really has been too long.

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

Associated Press poll: Let's make this simple and just compare two resumes blindly.

----- Team A -----

Overall record: 24-6
RPI: 6
Record against the Top 50: 6-4
Record against the Top 100: 14-5
Wins over teams ranked in the latest AP poll: 2

----- Team B -----

Overall record: 25-6
RPI: 16
Record against the Top 50: 2-4
Record against the Top 100: 8-5
Wins over teams ranked in the latest AP poll: 0

Team A is clearly more accomplished, right? Team A has a better RPI, a better record against the top 50, a better record against the top 100 and two wins over schools ranked in the latest AP poll compared to Team B's zero wins over schools ranked in the latest AP poll. Team A is North Carolina. Team B is Arizona. And their resumes aren't even close, which is why the Tar Heels are ranked sixth and the Wildcats are ranked 16th this week.

Guess who has that damn-near backwards?

Yep, Poll Attacks veteran Whitelaw Reid from The Daily Progress.

He's got Arizona ranked No. 9 and North Carolina ranked No. 15 on his ballot.

I can't make sense of it.

I bet he can't either.

Coaches poll: I doubted and discounted Cincinnati much of this season and applauded those who were with me. But at some point it's impossible to ignore the Bearcats' resume, and we reached that point over the past week when Cincinnati won at Marquette and then beat Georgetown. Yes, the win over Georgetown is a win over the Hoyas sans Chris Wright. But it's still a win that pushed the Bearcats to 24-7 and allowed them to finish sixth in a Big East conference that has seven members ranked in the latest coaches poll.

The problem?

Cincinnati isn't one of the seven.

Which is crazy considering the Bearcats have five top-25 RPI wins and zero losses outside of the top 35 of the RPI. Not to pick on Utah State, but the Aggies have zero top-25 RPI wins and a loss to Idaho (129th in the RPI), and they're ranked 17th in the coaches poll that doesn't rank UC at all. Again, that's crazy. And you'll see just how crazy next Sunday when the Bearcats get a better seed than Utah State in the NCAA tournament despite being ranked much lower in the coaches poll.
Posted on: February 25, 2011 1:59 am
Edited on: February 25, 2011 2:02 am
 

USC's Vucevic was better than the Pac-10's best

LOS ANGELES -- The subject was Southern California junior Nikola Vucevic.

The quote was one about respect and attention.

"He doesn't get enough," said Arizona coach Sean Miller. I quickly agreed. But now I'm gonna try to change that reality by pointing out that those who don't watch Pac-10 basketball are missing one of the west coast's best players -- a 6-foot-10 forward who is making Kevin O'Neill's rebuilding job a little simpler than it would've otherwise been.

"Thank god the guy in the back was left over [from the Tim Floyd era]," O'Neill said after Thursday's 65-57 win against the 10th-ranked Wildcats while Vucevic stood in the back of the interview room staring at a box score that showed he finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds in a performance that allowed crosstown rival UCLA to pull within a game of Arizona heading into Saturday's showdown between the Bruins and Wildcats at Pauley Pavilion.

The effort also had two rows of NBA scouts scribbling notes and nodding with approval.

"The game is easy for him," one scout told me.

But how many have realized it's been easy for him most of this season? Vucevic is now averaging 19.3 points and 10.9 rebounds in Pac-10 games while shooting 53.6 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from 3-point range. He's scored at least 25 points four different times, and he scored more than four different ways against the Wildcats. He passed out of double-teams when they came early, punished his defender when they didn't come late. Meantime, the likely Pac-10 Player of the Year, Arizona's Derrick Williams, was limited to eight points on a 3-of-11 shooting effort that left little doubt about which future pro got the better of this matchup.

"When you play the best player, you want to go against him and do better than him," Vucevic said.

It's also what Vucevic did.
Posted on: February 21, 2011 2:49 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2011 3:12 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

Pittsburgh is fourth in the AP poll and sixth in the coaches poll.

And two AP voters ranked the Panthers ninth.

I won't stand for any of it.

I'm about to get my Poll Attack on.

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

Associated Press poll: For the AP portion of this week's Poll Attacks, let's play blind body of work.

You ready?

Let's go!

----- TEAM A -----

Record: 24-3
Record vs. RPI Top 25: 6-2
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 7-3
Losses outside RPI Top 25: 1
Double-digit losses: 0
Wins over teams currently ranked in the AP poll: 5

----- TEAM B -----

Record: 23-4
Record vs. RPI Top 25: 0-2
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 2-3
Losses outside RPI Top 25: 2
Double-digit losses: 2
Wins over teams currently ranked in the AP poll: 0

Team A is Pittsburgh and Team B is Arizona.

Is there any question which team has the better body of work?

Pittsburgh has more wins, fewer losses, better wins and better losses than Arizona, and the Panthers have beaten five currently ranked teams while Arizona has topped zero. Still, Jerry Tipton and Myron Medcalf both have Arizona ranked No. 8 and Pittsburgh ranked No. 9. This is proof that it's possible to be a great beat writer and still slip on your Top 25 ballot every once in a while. They're wrong, but I forgive them. As for the coaches ...

Coaches poll: The Duke Blue Devils are No. 1 in the AP and coaches polls even though they have just one win over a fellow Top 25 team (North Carolina). Even though they have a loss to an unranked team (Florida State) and another by 15 points to a team (St. John's) that just broke into the rankings this week. Even though they are sixth in the RPI. And even though they are still projected as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament by everybody who understands how to project such things.

So the top of both polls are silly.

But what bothers me most is Pittsburgh at No. 6 in the coaches poll.

I don't care if you rank by body of work or quality of play, there's no way to conclude that five teams deserve to be ranked ahead of Jamie Dixon's Panthers. As I told you earlier, Pitt is 24-3 with five wins over teams also ranked in the coaches poll -- specifically No. 5 Texas, No. 11 Georgetown, No. 14 Villanova, No. 15 Connecticut and No. 20 Syracuse. For the purposes of comparison, No. 1 Duke (25-2) has one win over a team also ranked in the coaches poll. No. 2 Kansas (25-2) has two. No. 3 Ohio State (25-2) has two. No. 4 San Diego State (27-1) has zero. No. 5 Texas (23-4) has five.

In the loss column, obviously, Ohio State is best. The Buckeyes' only two losses are at No. 8 Purdue and at No. 12 Wisconsin. They're the lone team with at least six wins over top-50 RPI schools and zero losses to schools unranked in the latest coaches poll, which is why I put Ohio State No. 1 in the Top 25 (and one). For the purposes of comparison, No. 1 Duke has lost to one currently unranked team (again, Florida State), No. 2 Kansas has lost to one currently unranked team (Kansas State), No. 4 San Diego State has lost to zero currently unranked teams and No. 5 Texas has lost to two currently unranked teams (Southern California and Nebraska).

Got all that?

Good.

Here's what it means: Texas might have comparable wins to Pittsburgh, but the Longhorns have worse losses (not to mention a loss to Pittsburgh). And Duke, Kansas and San Diego State might have better (and by better, I mean fewer) losses than Pittsburgh, but the Blue Devils, Jayhawks and Aztecs can't touch Pitt in terms of quality wins. Ohio State? Yes, OSU is rock-solid; that's why I have OSU No. 1. But it's difficult to justify having anybody besides Ohio State ahead of the Panthers, and it's impossible to justify having a total of five schools ahead of Pittsburgh.

That said, know this: Pitt would without question be a No. 1 seed if the NCAA tournament started today

So take solace in that, Pitt fans.

The selection committee is smarter than the men who vote in the coaches poll, I assure you.
Posted on: February 9, 2011 12:52 pm
 

Fredette leads POY straw poll

The results of the latest AnnArbor.com National Player of the Year straw poll are now available.

They reflect the exact ballot I turned in yesterday.
  1. Jimmer Fredette (BYU)
  2. Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
  3. Kemba Walker (Connecticut)
Nolan Smith (Duke) and Derrick Williams (Arizona) round out the top five.

Click this link to see all of the results.
Posted on: February 5, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2011 12:42 am
 

Did Washington just lose the Pac-10 title?

Washington seemed like a lock to win the Pac-10 one week ago.

Now the Huskies just seem like a mess.

They lost at unranked Washington State last Sunday, at not-even-close-to-being-ranked Oregon State on Thursday, and, most recently, at also-not-even-close-to-being-ranked
Oregon on Saturday. In other words, the Washington Huskies are impersonating the Washington Wizards, and now they're now 15-7 overall, 7-4 in the Pac-10. That record puts Lorenzo Romar's team third in the league standings -- behind Arizona (20-4, 9-2) and UCLA (16-7, 7-3) -- and means Washington is certain to exit the Top 25 (and one) when the rankings are updated Sunday afternoon.

And let's not attribute this downward spiral to the loss of Abdul Gaddy.

His torn ACL didn't help, no question. But the Huskies were 5-1 with wins over Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon State and Oregon in their first six games without Gaddy. Now they're on a three-game losing streak thanks to back-to-back losses to the same Oregon State and Oregon teams they handled last month by an average of 25 points.

The good news?

The Huskies' next two games -- and five of their final eight -- are at home.

The bad news?

The Huskies are two games behind Arizona with a game at the McKale Center still to come, meaning they'll likely finish with at least five league losses. Arizona, fresh off a 3-OT win at Cal, is projected to finish with no more than four.
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