Posted on: March 22, 2009 8:42 pm

English and his "pinch-shooting"

Like most of America, I thought it was pretty ridiculous when Missouri's J.T. Tiller was "unable" to shoot his free throws with 5.5 seconds remaining in a tie game, which allowed Kim English to shoot them instead. And it looked even more ridiculous when Tiller tried to return to the game moments after English made the free throws.

Trust me America, I'm with you.

That looked bad.

But did you know English is actually a worse free throw shooter than Tiller?

It's true.

Tiller entered the game as 75.9 percent free throw shooter.

English entered as a 68.0 percent free throw shooter.

So technically -- or at least statistically -- Missouri would've been better off with Tiller taking the free throws, and I just thought that was worth pointing out, how this wasn't quite like Jim Boeheim using Eric Devendorf (78.8 percent free throw shooter) to shoot free throws for Arinze Onuaku (29.5 percent free throw shooter). On the other hand, it's also worth noting -- because Marquette fans have almost certainly noted it -- that English was in the middle of his best game ever and thus had a "hot hand," if you believe in such things. And that's a fair point, I guess. But either way, my primary point is that English is technically a worse free throw shooter than Tiller, and with that I'll turn my attention toward the Sweet 16, and all the great match-ups to come.

Posted on: March 22, 2009 2:40 am
Edited on: March 22, 2009 2:45 am

Marquette's James cleared to play Sunday

Dominic James' season-ending injury wasn't season-ending after all.

“I don't know how much he'll be able to contribute,” Marquette coach Buzz Williams said after announcing early Sunday that his senior point guard has been cleared to return to action after breaking the fifth metatarsal on his left foot Feb. 25. James had surgery Feb. 27, began rehabbing immediately, and will now be in uniform Sunday when the Golden Eagles play Missouri in the second round of the NCAA tournament, this despite the school initially declaring his college careeer complete.

“The thing that I'm excited about is we're going to give him an opportunity to close out his career in the best way he possibly could," Williams said. "And I think the recovery has been due in large part to his work, but also because of the wisdom of Ernest (Eugene) and Dr. (Darrin) Maccoux."

James is averaging 11.4 points and 5.1 assists.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 1, 2009 12:14 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2009 12:16 pm

Pitino knows how to white it out

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Rick Pitino is taking part in the "White Out" here at Freedom Hall.

In other words, he's rocking the white suit again.

Meanwhile, Marquette coach Buzz Williams appears to be wearing black. But we're not even four minutes in to Sunday's Big East showdown, and he's already lost his coat, meaning Williams' white shirt is now prominent, making him blend in with the crowd, just a little.


Posted on: December 18, 2008 6:36 pm

From Nashville to the children's hospital

One last thing on Marquette before I move on: After losing to Tennessee in Nashville on Tuesday night, the Golden Eagles boarded a plane, flew back to Milwaukee, got in about 4 a.m., slept a little and then ...

"We're about to go to the children's hospital," Marquette coach Buzz Williams told me by phone Wednesday afternoon.


"I have a very special place in my heart for special needs and sick children," Williams said.

The visit was part of something Williams calls Buzz's Bunch, which is an organization created the day after he got the Marquette job. It allows special needs children of all kinds to be involved with the Marquette program, and it helps with tickets and gifts, and even consists of children helping with shoot-around before each home game.

The next step for Williams is to start an actual camp for the special needs children.

He plans to hire the children's physical therapists to be camp coaches.

"These things are important to me," Williams said. "I just think it adds a redeeming quality to our players' lives."

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 30, 2008 12:04 pm

Dear Gary (on schools with new coaches)

Here's Thursday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Everyone always talks about teams whose coach is on the hot seat, but we tend to hear less about teams who have hired new coaches. So looking around the NCAA, which new coaches were the best hires and have the potential to have the most success?

-- Matt

I think the best hire was the biggest, i.e., Indiana's luring of Tom Crean from Marquette.

Of course, he has almost no chance of having success this season (given the makeup of the IU roster), which might eliminate him from your question. But in the long run I don't think there's any doubt that Crean will return the Hoosiers to a place where competing for Big Ten championships and Final Fours can be expected, and for that reason his hiring should be viewed in a positive light.

Five other hires I believe will be proven good in time are:

1. John Groce to Ohio

2. Bill Bayno to Loyola Marymount

3. Derek Kellogg to UMass

4. Craig Robinson to Oregon State

5. Mike Montgomery to California

As for coaches set-up to win immediately, that's obviously Buzz Williams at Marquette and Trent Johnson at LSU. Both inherited nice rosters from their predecessors and should make the NCAA tournament in their first seasons on the job considering LSU is the smart pick to win the SEC West and Marquette is a consensus preseason top 20 team.

Posted on: June 3, 2008 11:19 pm
Edited on: June 4, 2008 12:42 am

Eight schools in play for Iowa State transfer

Iowa State standout Wesley Johnson has been granted a release to transfer to any one of eight schools.

On the list are Arkansas, Connecticut, Marquette, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Villanova and West Virginia. Fine programs, all of them. But it was hard not to notice that Kentucky, Alabama and TCU were not included because those have been the three schools most connected to Johnson in recent weeks, so much so that sources have told CBSSports.com that the Iowa State staff privately felt behind-the-scenes tampering could've led to Johnson's initial decision to transfer.

Obviously, there is no proof. That's why everybody has mostly been quiet. But it appears ISU made it clear to Johnson that Kentucky, Alabama and TCU were not schools to which it would automatically release him. Otherwise, those institutions would've certainly made the list.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com