Posted on: December 21, 2009 7:08 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2009 7:17 pm

The Poll Attacks

OKLAHOMA CITY -- That voter from Georgia did it again.

So I busted him up again.

It's an extra special Christmas edition of the Poll Attacks .

AP poll: Did you read the past two Poll Attacks? If not, click here and here . If so, you already know how frustrated I am with Roger Clarkson of the Athens Banner-Herald. He is equal parts ridiculousness and stubbornness, proof being how he keeps ranking Pittsburgh even though I've spent two weeks explaining why it's stupid to rank Pittsburgh.

But that's not all.

Roger's ballot is dumb on lots of levels.

I'll break it down for you.

Hopefully, he'll print this out and keep it so we can avoid this next week.

1. Roger has Pitt ranked 25th despite Pitt having no good wins and a loss to Indiana, and, as I've pointed out before, it's not like Pitt was supposed to be good. Jamie Dixon lost nearly everything from last season. So this team wasn't supposed to be good, and it hasn't done anything to make anybody think it's good. Except Roger. He still believes. But it's possible he has no idea that DeJuan Blair is a Spur.

2. Roger has Ohio State ranked 10th even though Evan Turner has a broken back. Meantime, Roger has North Carolina (which pounded Ohio State) ranked 12th, i.e., two spots behind the Buckeyes. And he doesn't have Butler ranked at all even though Butler also beat the Buckeyes.

3. Roger has Tennessee ranked 13th. I'll explain why that's stupid a little later.

4. Roger has Georgia Tech ranked 19th, which is exactly where he had Georgia Tech last week. That means he didn't care that Georgia Tech lost Sunday at home to Florida State, because he didn't drop the Yellow Jackets. Meantime, he left Florida State unranked even though FSU is 10-2 with no bad losses and a win over Georgia Tech. He also left Dayton unranked even though Dayton is 8-2 with no bad losses and a win over Georgia Tech. So to recap, Roger ranked Georgia Tech 19th even though Georgia Tech has no good wins and losses to Florida State and Dayton, but he did not rank Florida State or Dayton even though Florida State and Dayton have both beaten Georgia Tech, which, again, Roger ranked 19th.

5. Roger has Texas A&M ranked 15th and New Mexico ranked 22nd even though New Mexico is 12-0 with a win over Texas A&M in Texas. Seriously, somebody please help this man. It's Christmas, for crying out loud. This isn't fun for anybody.

Coaches poll: I dropped Tennessee completely out of the Top 25 (and one).

Some of you have asked why.

My response: Why not?

Tennessee is 8-2 with zero good wins. The Vols barely beat DePaul, and DePaul stinks. USC ran UT off the court, and though the Trojans are probably better, thanks to the addition of Michael Gerrity, than most realize, you can't let a team picked next-to-last in the terrible Pac-10 run you off the court. The best thing UT has done this season is play Purdue close. Beyond that, nothing. So I have no idea how the coaches can justify putting Bruce Pearl's team at No. 14.

It can't be because Vols deserve the benefit of the doubt because, you know, they don't. Lest we forget this is basically the same roster that underachieved last season, basically the same roster that finished 21-13. Tennessee struggled pretty much all last season, and the Vols didn't add an impact player. So is it really a surprise that they're struggling again this season?

To be clear, I still believe this UT team has potential.

I still think the Vols could finish second in the SEC East.

I might even pick them to hand Kansas its first loss on Jan. 10.

But at some point, you are what you are, and what Tennessee is and has been dating back to last season is a talented bunch that can't meet the expectations many of us have placed upon them. Until they do, they should be ranked accordingly. And by ranked accordingly, I mean not ranked at all.
Posted on: December 14, 2009 6:42 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2009 6:52 pm

The Poll Attacks

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 11, 2009 4:49 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2009 4:52 pm

National Signing Dud

Wednesday's start to the National Signing Period was B-O-R-I-N-G.

Sure, J.J. Moore committed to Pittsburgh.

And Hippolyte Tsafack committed to Memphis.

And Luke Cothron didn't sign with N.C. State despite being committed to N.C. State.

That's all interesting.

But ...

"The day in general has been pretty uneventful," said Scout.com's Evan Daniels. "There's been a few things happening here and there like Tsafack to Memphis and Moore to Pittsburgh, but in general there hasn't been much drama."

Things will get more interesting Friday when Harrison Barnes (ranked No. 4 by MaxPreps.com) announces his college destination, and Tobias Harris (ranked No. 21 by MaxPreps.com) is expected to commit next week. That'll be two more elite recruits off the board. But it still seems at least nine of the top 25 prospects at MaxPreps.com will not sign early, which is rare. I'll have a column on this development late Wednesday/early Thursday.
Posted on: September 16, 2009 3:05 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2009 3:10 pm

Pitt guard Dixon likely to miss start of season

Pittsburgh's Jemaine Dixon had surgery Wednesday to fix a right foot that's now been broken twice this offseason.

"We fully expect Jermaine to make a full recovery," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said Thursday via a released statement. "The surgery was a success and we know that Jermaine will work hard during the rehabilitation process."

Dixon will likely miss at least eight weeks, meaning Pitt will probably open Nov. 13 against Wofford without its top five scorers from last season. Dixon averaged 8.4 points last season. He is expected to be the Panthers' top player.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: June 19, 2009 9:02 am

Dixon still not going to USC

There is a report out of the Los Angeles area this morning suggesting Jamie Dixon remains an option at USC.

Obviously, I was surprised by this report because it contradicts everything that's been written.

But just to be safe, I reached out to a source close to Dixon and asked about it.

I was hit with the following response:

"He is not going there," the source said. "Not happening."

So there you have it.

Relax, Pitt fans.

No worries.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 6, 2009 9:51 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2009 9:54 pm

Pitt's Blair to enter NBA Draft

DETROIT -- Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair will enter the NBA Draft, an industry source told CBSSports.com on Monday.

DraftExpress.com reported that a news conference to announce a decision could come as early as Tuesday, but a source told CBSSports.com that probably won't happen until next week. Either way, the point is the same. The CBSSports.com Big East Player of the Year will be available to NBA teams after just two seasons of college, the latest of which resulted in averages of 15.7 points and 12.3 rebounds, and a trip to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.

Blair will not immediately hire an agent, the source said. But a separate source said the understanding is that the Pittsburgh native will remain in the draft barring an unexpected development, meaning the Panthers should play next season without their top three scorers considering Sam Young and Levance Fields have exhausted their eligibility.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 15, 2009 11:18 am
Edited on: March 15, 2009 3:33 pm

How the possible No. 1 seeds stack up

NEW YORK -- By most accounts, there are still six schools in play for the four No. 1 seeds.

They are Pittsburgh, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Memphis and Connecticut.

The following is a look at what each has done this season, to date.


  • RPI: 1
  • Record vs. projected NCAA tournament teams: 8-3
  • Losses to projected non-NCAA tournament teams: 1 (Providence)

-- DUKE --

  • RPI: 2
  • Record vs. projected NCAA tournament teams: 11-6
  • Losses to projected non-NCAA tournament teams: 0


  • RPI: 3
  • Record vs. projected NCAA tournament teams: 6-4
  • Losses to projected non-NCAA tournament teams: 0


  • RPI: 4
  • Record vs. projected NCAA tournament teams: 8-3
  • Losses to projected non-NCAA tournament teams: 2 (UNLV, Notre Dame)


  • RPI: 7
  • Record vs. projected NCAA tournament teams: 2-2
  • Losses to projected non-NCAA tournament teams: 1 (Georgetown)


  • RPI: 8
  • Record vs. projected NCAA tournament teams: 8-3
  • Losses to projected NCAA tournament teams: 1 (Georgetown)

(All projections are based on Jerry Palm's Sunday morning bracket .)

Posted on: March 10, 2009 4:11 pm

My rebuttal to Doyel (and some other stuff)

Obviously, I disagree with Gregg Doyel's column .

I love Gregg.

I wish I was as muscular as him.

But I disagree with the idea that Tyler Hansbrough has to be a first-team All-American. That's why I made him a second-team All-American. And if you understand my criteria -- which Gregg does, and I appreciated him acknowledging it -- then you know that this decision came down to me selecting DeJuan Blair or Tyler Hansbrough, because I'll put no more than two bigs on any All-America team, and I wasn't leaving off Blake Griffin.

So really, that's the debate: Hansbrough or Blair.

Gregg thinks it should be Hansbrough.

That's a reasonable opinion.

But to me, Hansbrough has not had a better season this season than Blair has had this season.


Sure, Hansbrough is averaging more points per game (21.1 to 15.6). But Blair is averaging more rebounds (12.4 to 8.1), and he's doing it while playing 3.3 fewer minutes per game than Hansbrough (30.0 to 26.7). Also worth noting is that Blair simply doesn't get the opportunities Hansbrough gets on the offensive end, which is why his points aren't comparable despite the fact that Blair actually has a higher field goal percentage (59.6 to 52.5).

Understand, Hansbrough takes 12.96 shots per game and shoots 8.42 free throws to get his 21.1 points. Blair takes 10.90 shots per game and shoots 4.23 free throws to get his 15.6 points, which means Blair takes roughly two fewer shots and four fewer free throws than Hansbrough per game, and if you consider Blair's percentages from both the field (59.6) and free throw line (69.2) it's clear he'd average more points than Hansbrough if he had the same opportunities.

(Please, just stay with me; this is going to be good.)

If Blair took the same number of shots (12.96) and free throws (8.42) per game as Hansbrough, and if Blair made those attempts at the same rate he currently makes his attempts, then Blair would make 7.72 field goals and 5.83 free throws per game. Multiply the 7.72 field goals by two (for two-point baskets) and the 5.83 free throws by one (for one-point baskets), and what you'll find is that if Blair took as many shots and free throws as Hansbrough he'd average 21.27 points per game, which is slightly better than the 21.12 points Hansbrough is averaging.

(Jesus, my head is hurting.)

So that's that.

I think Blair has been just as dominant as Hansbrough, but he's done it more efficiently and for a team that has accomplished just as much. Basically, that's why I went with Blair, but I did feel sick about it, because I love Hansbrough and think all the anti-Hansbrough talk is insane. If you hate Tyler Hansbrough, something is wrong with you, not him. But for these purposes, I had to look for the two bigs who are having the best seasons in this particular season, and in my opinion -- with apologies to Gregg Doyel -- that's Blake Griffin and DeJuan Blair.

As for some other controversial decisions, I'll address them quickly.

Right now.

Where's Jodie Meeks?

If you look at my All-America teams you'll see that every guy I have listed is projected by Jerry Palm to play in the NCAA tournament, except for Davidson's Stephen Curry. That should show you how much emphasis I put on winning, and how much I disregard players posting big numbers for bad teams. I mean, lots of guys post big numbers on bad teams (UCF's Jermaine Taylor comes to mind). So while I do think Meeks is great and one of the most fun guys to watch in college, the reality is that he's posting big numbers for a bad team, one that is especially bad by Kentucky standards.

For that same reason, I left off Notre Dame's Luke Harangody, too.

Simply put, I like impact players on successful teams.

Let the world be warned.

So how do you justify Stephen Curry?

I don't think Curry was on a bad team. I think he was on a conference champion that got caught in the semifinals of the Southern Conference tournament, and now he'll pay the price for that. Is Davidson as good as a good Big East or ACC team? Of course not. But relative to Southern Conference teams, the Wildcats are very good, which means Curry was succesful by any reasonable measuring stick, just not when you have to be in a one-bid league, unfortunately.

And why can't you have three bigs on the same team again?

Think of an All-Pro football team.

They don't just take eight quarterbacks when they do those.

They take a quarterback, a few receivers, a kicker, a couple of safeties, so on and so forth. I like that because it better resembles an actual team , and that's my thought process on not having three traditional bigs (like Griffin, Blair and Hansbrough) on the same team, because there's no way those three would ever actually get on the court together at the same time, I don't think.

If you want to know the truth, I believe there are eight players worthy of first-team All-America status.

They are ...

  • Ty Lawson
  • Stephen Curry
  • James Harden
  • Blake Griffin
  • DeJuan Blair
  • Tyler Hansbrough
  • Hasheem Thabeet
  • Sherron Collins

That's my top eight, regardless of position. So what I did was take a point guard (Lawson), a shooting guard (Curry), a wing (Harden) and two bigs (Griffin and Blair) from that list, and I called it a day. It really was that simple. And I hope that makes some sense, though I'm sure it won't to some.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com