Posted on: February 27, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2011 5:50 pm

If I had to project the field right now ...

... here's how my top four lines would look:

No. 1 seeds: Ohio State, Kansas, Pittsburgh, BYU
No. 2 seeds: Notre Dame, Duke, Purdue, Texas
No. 3 seeds: San Diego State, Wisconsin, Louisville, Syracuse
No. 4 seeds: St. John's, Connecticut, North Carolina, Florida
Posted on: February 22, 2011 6:00 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 6:23 pm

Predictably, Calhoun got off easy

NCAA committee on infractions chair Dennis Thomas said it over and over again -- the head coach is responsible for everything that happens within his program. On behalf of college basketball writers from coast to coast, Mr. Thomas, let me tell you that we agree. But then why did Jim Calhoun only get a three-game suspension?

"We think the penalty is appropriate," Thomas said during Tuesday's teleconference to announce the sanctions levied against the Connecticut basketball program.

Rest assured, the committee members are among the only folks who feel that way.

To the rest of us, it's a joke but hardly unexpected.

Three games.

That's it?

Calhoun ran a program featuring a coaching staff that made thousands of impermissible phone calls/text messages and used an agent/booster to secure the enrollment of a prospect. He got caught. And the penalty, basically, is that he'll be forced to miss three games next season just like Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen was forced to miss three games this season … for accepting less than $300 in discounted clothing.

You see why this is crazy, don't you?

Three games?

Calhoun has missed more than that in recent years for exhaustion.

And don't bother pointing out how UConn will have to also endure recruiting restrictions and a reduction in scholarships, because that stuff just doesn't matter as much as the NCAA would like you to think. If Duke's Mike Krzyzewski can recruit from China while coaching Team USA and Ohio State's Thad Matta can start a season 24-0 using roughly seven players, I don't see how anybody can consider recruiting restrictions and scholarship reductions to be a huge deal in college basketball.

A postseason ban?

That hurts.

A television ban?

That stings.

But all Calhoun really got for cheating was a three-game suspension -- plus the contract extension he signed last May.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 22, 2011 10:37 am
Edited on: February 22, 2011 3:14 pm

Calhoun will be suspended for 3 games next season

The NCAA has suspended Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun for three games next season and banned him from making recruiting calls for a six-month period after its committee on infractions ruled that he failed to "promote an atmosphere of compliance" within his basketball program.

The details of the decision were announced during a Tuesday teleconference.

Click this link to read the NCAA's report.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 19, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2011 5:49 pm

The top 10 is stacking losses, one after another

It started last Saturday when Ohio State fell at Wisconsin. Then Kansas lost at Kansas State on Monday. Then Georgetown lost at Connecticut on Wednesday while Wisconsin lost at Purdue. And then, on Saturday, Pittsburgh lost at St. John's, Notre Dame lost at West Virginia and Texas lost at Nebraska, meaning we've seen the schools ranked first, second, third, fourth, eighth, ninth and 10th in the latest AP poll lose over the past eight days.

Four of those losses were to unranked teams.

All of them were on the road.

So, more than anything, this stretch is a reminder that winning road games is difficult without exception. But it also highlights how vulnerable even the so-called best of the best are this season, and it should make for an interesting NCAA tournament because the top seeds aren't going to seem invincible. Assuming it's true that believing you can win is the first hurdle an underdog must jump, let's go ahead and acknowledge that the eight and nine seeds will have more realistic dreams than usual of the second weekend because they're going to see the one seeds as beatable.

Take the schools projected as one seeds now, for instance.

The Pittsburgh Panthers? They've lost to two currently unranked teams. The Texas Longhorns? They've lost to two currently unranked teams. The Kansas Jayhawks? They've lost to a currently unranked team. The Ohio State Buckeyes? Well, they haven't lost to any currently unranked teams. But they have played one-possession games with three currently unranked teams (Penn State, Northwestern and Minnesota), and that alone suggests they're capable of losing to almost anybody even if they beat almost everybody.

In other words, who's scary good?

Who scares you?

Though neither Kansas nor Kentucky made the Final Four last season, both were intimidating outfits heading into March Madness. Nobody wanted any part of those rosters, and it was a major surprise when the Jayhawks and Wildcats were eliminated early. This March nothing will be a surprise. Any of the one seeds could make the Final Four or lose in the opening weekend. Granted, the former is more likely than the latter. But I've seen enough so-called elite teams lose over the past week to know nothing is guaranteed.
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 8, 2011 12:11 pm

My current top three for POY

I just submitted my top three National Player of the Year candidates for the AnnArbor.com straw poll.

Here's what I sent Mike Rothstein:
  1. Jimmer Fredette (BYU)
  2. Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
  3. Kemba Walker (Connecticut)
The results of the straw poll will be announced later this week.
Posted on: January 29, 2011 6:06 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2011 7:48 pm

The Big East Conference -- where everybody loses

I don't know if there's an elite team in the Big East.

They all seem flawed in some way.

But I'll still be surprised if the league doesn't put a record number of schools in the NCAA tournament, and I won't be shocked if one or two make the Final Four. The problem is trying to figure out which one or two because the league is a scattered mess after three top 10 teams took losses Saturday.
  • No. 23 Louisville 79, No. 5 Connecticut 78 (2OT)
  • No. 21 Georgetown 69, No. 8 Villanova 66
  • Marquette 76, No. 9 Syracuse 70
The result of that is this: The teams ranked fifth (UConn), eighth (Villanova) and ninth (Syracuse) in the latest AP poll are now fourth (UConn), fourth (Villanova) and eighth (Syracuse) in the Big East standings, and the team ranked 23rd (Louisville) is all alone in second. Meantime, nine Big East members are in the top 28 of the latest AP poll, and half of the Big East's 16 members already have either three or four league losses, which suggests every relevant Big East member except Pittsburgh is likely to spend the next five weeks alternating between wins and losses. It'll be fun to watch from a distance but unbearable to experience first-hand. For proof look no farther than to Wednesday's showdown between Syracuse and Connecticut.

Yep, those two teams play each other next.

So Syracuse will either take its fifth straight loss or UConn will take its second straight loss.

There's no way around it.

Which is why Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhoun must be going crazy.

Both lost winnable games Saturday.

Now one of them is guaranteed to lose again Wednesday.
Posted on: January 29, 2011 3:55 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2011 4:49 pm

Note to UConn: Let Walker win or lose for you

I don't believe in one-man teams in any sport, basketball included. But I do believe in letting superstars be superstars when it's time to win or lose a game, and that's why I hate the way Connecticut lost to Louisville on Saturday.

Jeremy Lamb took (and missed) the shot at the end of the first OT, and Shabazz Napier brought the ball up the court at the end of the second. Sure, Napier eventually found Kemba Walker, arguably the nation's best closer. But Napier got the ball to Walker late, and he had to launch a desperation 3-pointer. It almost went in, but it was still a bad shot that missed at the horn. So Louisville escaped Gampel Pavilion with a 79-78 win in double-overtime, and I couldn't help but think UConn is trying too hard to prove it's something more than the Big East's version of Jimmer and the Cougars.

Note to the Huskies: Don't forget what got you here.

It's nice that Lamb and Napier have developed into respectable sidekicks and possible future stars, but they're still sidekicks and this isn't the future. This is the present, and in the present (and the immediate future) you'd be wise to win or lose with the ball in Walker's hands. If the defense plays off of him, he should shoot. If the defense gets up on him, he should drive. If the defense doubles him, he should still shoot or still drive and make something happen.

In other words, regardless of the situation, Walker should have the ball when the game is on the line, and he should decide the outcome, for better or worse. Perhaps the Huskies will lose games when such is the case anyway. But they definitely lost when it wasn't the case Saturday, and that, quite simply, is no way to lose.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com