Posted on: March 24, 2010 9:36 am
Edited on: March 24, 2010 12:26 pm
There is, in many cases, a negative connotation attached to Division I transfers, and it's usually valid. Some -- far too many, actually -- are knuckleheads who caused problems at their old schools or guys who weren't happy with the coaching, the playing time, the school work, whatever. Taking transfers is often risky and the project commonly fails. But the Sweet 16 is full of exceptions to that rule.
At least five schools are benefitting heavily from a transfer.
Baylor: Ekpe Udoh (transferred from Michigan)
Kansas State: Denis Clemente (transferred from Miami) and Curtis Kelly (transferred from Connecticut)
Syracuse: Wesley Johnson (transferred from Iowa State)
Tennessee: J.P. Prince (transferred from Arizona)
Xavier: Jordan Crawford (transferred from Indiana)
Interesting fact: Those six players helped their second schools get to the 2010 NCAA tournament, but none of their old schools made it to the NCAA tournament this season.
Posted on: March 3, 2010 1:02 pm
Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: How could you leave Thad Matta off your Coach of the Year list ? He won a Big Ten title by moving a forward to point guard, and it didn't matter that his best player missed six games with a broken back. Are you an idiot?
We're on track to set a record this week for emails and Tweets directed at me that include the word "idiot." I'll let you know when I get a final tally. As for the question at hand, no question, you could remove Bo Ryan from my list of eight great Coach of the Year candidates and add Thad Matta. Or remove John Calipari and add Kevin Stallings. Or remove Jamie Dixon and add Buzz Williams. Limiting my list to eight instead of 10 or 14 or 19 seems to be a mistake, at least as far as my inbox is concerned. But let's be honest: The Coach of the Year will be one of the guys on my list of eight, and -- based on how most vote for these things -- I suspect it'll be Syracuse's Jim Boeheim or Kansas State's Frank Martin.
Either would be deserving.
I'll let you know my choice next week.
Posted on: February 19, 2010 2:14 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2010 2:17 pm
Here's Friday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Now that the season is nearly over, what is the best game you've seen this year in person?
Nice question, Dan.
Now let me think.
I was at the Kentucky-Connecticut game at Madison Square Garden when John Wall made that ridiculous play in the final minutes. It wasn't a well-played game, exactly, but it was fun and memorable because of the atmosphere and intensity. The Kansas-Kansas State game in Manhattan was also terrific. The Jayhawks won in overtime, and I wrote about Sherron Collins' testicles. Seemed like a reasonable thing to do at the time. Now, I'm not so sure. Either way, fun night. But I think I'd have to go with Tennessee's improbable win over No. 1 Kansas as the best game I've attended this season, the one where walk-on Skylar McBee hit the clinching shot, just nine days after four Vols were arrested and suspended.
Plus, I got a chance to talk to Skylar's mother, and she was delightful.
So put me down for Kansas-Tennessee.
But the season isn't over yet, Dan.
I've got Kentucky-Vandy this weekend.
Hopefully, that'll join the list of great games.
Posted on: January 18, 2010 1:39 pm
Tonight's best game is No. 1 Texas at No. 10 Kansas State.
And the Longhorns are supposed to lose, according to Sportsbook.com.
KSU is actually a 1.5-point favorite over Texas, as I type. That means if things go as planned -- or at least as planned by oddsmakers -- Kentucky will be the only remaining undefeated team on Tuesday morning. Either way, it should be a fun game. Click this link to watch a video preview I did with CBSSports.com's Jason Horowitz.
Posted on: December 22, 2009 3:17 pm
AUSTIN, Texas -- Here's Tuesday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Why is Kansas State still three spots ahead of Ole Miss in the AP poll -- and six spots ahead of Ole Miss in the Coaches poll -- when they both are one-loss teams, and K-State's one loss is to Ole Miss by double digits? I know you have it right in your Top 25 (and one), but why can't anyone else who votes in these things get it right?
Like you said, John, I have Ole Miss at No. 12 and Kansas State at No. 13, and my reasoning is exacly the reasoning you pointed out. I have no idea how or why any anybody would put Ole Miss and Kansas State in a different order. But if you read the Poll Attacks every Monday, you know much of what happens in the AP and Coaches polls makes no sense to me.
It's baffling, really.
But I bet 10 percent of voters don't even know Ole Miss and KSU played.
Hell, I bet 25 percent of voters couldn't name three players on either team.
Posted on: December 15, 2009 4:28 pm
I spent a while on the phone with Frank Martin late Monday, then wrote a column about him that's on the college basketball page now. You can click this link to read it, if you want. It's a column about how most people ripped KSU's decision to promote Martin to replace Bob Huggins, and how he's slowing quieting those critics by leading Kansas State to a 9-1 start and its highest ranking in two decades.
It really is a nice story.
(Not my column; Martin's story).
I didn't get into his background much in the column. But how could people not like the story of a man who went from a high school coach to a Big 12 head coach in the span of seven years? Beyond that, Martin is the son of Cuban immigrants. He got a job when he was 12 as a change-boy at a pool hall. He worked four nights a week in an effort to support his mother, grandmother and sister, because his father drifted away after a divorce. Martin hasn't spoken to his father since 1980. Since the age of 12, he's never not had a job.
"I've been through a lot in my life, personally and professionally," Martin told me Monday night, which is something nobody can dispute. And if you really want to understand where Martin came from and how improbable it is that he's coaching a team ranked No. 17 in the AP poll, I'd encourage you to click this link and read a profile Cole Manbeck of the Manhattan Mercury did on Martin last month.
Lots of good stuff in there.
Check it out.
Then maybe you can appreciate Martin's story a little better.
Posted on: December 14, 2009 6:42 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2009 6:52 pm
Roger Clarkson is trying to be stubborn.
Fine with me.
I'll Poll Attack him again.
Let's do this!
AP poll: First, let's revisit what I wrote about Roger last week.
(And I quote ...)
"He has Pittsburgh ranked 18th even though Pitt has no relevant players from last season's team, no good wins and a 16-point loss to Texas. There is absolutely nothing -- not preseason expectations, not current body of work, not anything -- to suggest Pitt is one of the best 25 teams in America, much less No. 18. But that's where Roger has the Panthers ranked. And would you believe that's not even the dumbest thing on his ballot?"
From there, I went on to destroy Roger's ballot -- you can read last week's Poll Attacks here -- and I thought he'd take the hint, learn a lesson, and we'd all be better for it. Instead, this dude ranked Pitt again despite Pitt losing by double-digits to an Indiana team that might finish last in the Big Ten.
Is public humiliation not enough?
Is he just testing me?
And though you might think I'd hold myself to a higher standard and not pick on the same person's ballot every week, you'd be wrong to think that. I will do this every Monday until Pitt is removed from Roger's ballot. So stay tuned. And Roger's crazy if he assumed I'd be too focused on him having Pitt at No. 24 to notice that he also inexplicably has Washington at No. 16, because I noticed that, too. But I'll use the Coaches poll portion of the Poll Attacks to explain my issue with Washington.
Coaches poll: Washington is 6-2 with both losses coming to ranked teams -- the first to No. 20 Texas Tech, the second to No. 11 Georgetown. But none of the Huskies' six wins are notable, meaning they are 6-2 with zero good wins. Meantime, Dayton is 7-2 with both losses also coming to ranked teams -- the first to No. 9 Villanova, the second to No. 22 Kansas State. But to help offset those losses, the Flyers have a win over No. 15 Georgia Tech in addition to wins over Creighton, George Mason and Old Dominion.
So to summarize, Dayton's losses are certainly no worse than Washington's, and Dayton absolutely has better wins than Washington. This cannot be debated. And yet Washington is ranked 21st with 146 points. And Dayton is ranked 41st with nine points.
Seriously, could anybody reasonably suggest Washington's body of work is better than Dayton's body of work?
If so, I can't see how.
(Worth noting: Roger has Washington at No. 16 and Dayton unranked. Also worth noting: Roger has Georgia Tech at No. 19. You know, the same Georgia Tech that Dayton beat on a neutral court.)
The dumb coaches (and Roger) also have Washington (6-2 record with no good wins) ahead of Kansas State (9-1 record, only loss to No. 25 Ole Miss with wins over Dayton, Washington State, Xavier and No. 23 UNLV), and that's twice as dumb as having Washington over Dayton. So I don't know why I even worry with this stuff, except for that it gives me something to do on Monday afternoons.
Posted on: November 24, 2009 1:21 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2009 1:22 pm
There have been lots of winners over the past week thanks to these exempt tournaments.
Syracuse is one.
Purdue is another.
But another team heading into Thanksgiving with high spirits is Kansas State, which beat Boston University and Dayton to finish third in the Puerto Rico Tip-off (ultimately won by Villanova). KSU is now 4-1 with the only loss coming to Ole Miss. The Wildcats play IUPUI on Saturday.
"I feel good," KSU coach Frank Martin said by phone after his team stretched a three-point lead in the final minute and beat Dayton 83-75. "Dayton is a really good basketball team. They won 27 last year and returned their whole team. They're good. ... And I was told after the game that 20 of the past 21 times Dayton has been in a one-possession game with a minute to go, they've won. So for our guys to hang in tough and to, understanding the type of team Dayton is, figure out a way to win is good. We're disappointed that we didn't play for the championship. But in the long-term, in the big picture, we did what we said we were going to do, which is get better as a basketball team."
Among the early bright spots for Kansas State has been Curtis Kelly.
The 6-foot-8 forward transferred from UConn, sat out last season and became eligible this season. He's averaging 13.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. He got a season-high 22 points in a 92-54 win over Loyola-Chicago.
"Curt has been absolutely great," Martin said. "And remember, his sophomore year at UConn he dislocated his elbow and missed the last six weeks; he didn't even practice. So for him to be where he's at right now, it's phenomenal."