Posted on: April 1, 2009 9:38 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2009 10:51 am

Report: USC's Floyd in Arizona

DETROIT -- Tim Floyd is in Arizona, presumably meeting about succeeding Lute Olson.

KVOA News 4 in Tucson is reporting that Floyd traveled from Santa Monica to Tucson via private plane arranged by the University of Arizona. Sources told CBSSports.com that athletic director Jim Livengood opted to go this direction after being rebuffed to varying degrees by several coaches -- among them Mark Few (Gonzaga), John Calipari (Kentucky), Bruce Pearl (Tennessee), Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh), Tom Izzo (Michigan State) and Rick Pitino (Louisville).

Floyd has been at Southern California four seasons.

He's made three NCAA tournaments.

Posted on: April 1, 2009 1:28 pm

Arizona search is focusing on Few

Arizona's coaching search is now centered on Gonzaga's Mark Few.

Multiple sources told CBSSports.com that Arizona used third-party representatives to gauge the interest of Few as early as November at the Old Spice Classic, and that informal conversations continued this past weekend, right after North Carolina eliminated Gonzaga from the NCAA tournament.

One source put it simply: "This is Few's job if he wants it."

But does Few want it?

A source told CBSSports.com that Few is intrigued by the tradition of Arizona, but that he would have reservations about taking over a situation that could be similar to what Tom Crean inherited at Indiana. In other words, Few has never done anything but win in 10 seasons at Gonzaga, and so losing game after game next season because of a program that has been decimated by departures and a lack of recruiting is something he might balk at.

Also, Few could be hesitant about taking over at Arizona given that there's an ongoing NCAA investigation.

But sources insisted that he'll listen, and that Arizona is talking.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 25, 2009 12:34 am

Pretty good at both

Eight schools have won a bowl game and NCAA tournament basketball game this season.

Three are from the Big 12.

Here's the list ...

  • Arizona (Pac-10)
  • Connecticut (Big East)
  • Kansas (Big 12)
  • LSU (SEC)
  • Maryland (ACC)
  • Missouri (Big 12)
  • Southern California (Pac-10)
  • Texas (Big 12)
Posted on: March 12, 2009 2:15 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2009 2:18 pm

It's been a long time since ASU won one of these

The most interesting game today is Arizona-Arizona State.


Because a win by the Sun Devils could be what snaps Arizona's streak of 24 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, and what would be better than snapping a rival's streak? On the other hand, can Arizona State really beat Arizona in the Pac-10 tournament?

Or anybody in the Pac-10 tournament?

That's obviously a silly question.

But considering the Sun Devils haven't won a Pac-10 tournament game since 1990, perhaps it's not. Seriously, ASU has dropped six consecutive Pac-10 tournament games. Combine that with the fact that it did not qualify for the tournament in 2004, and that the league didn't hold a tournament from 1991 to 2001, and it is true that the Sun Devils are looking for their first Pac-10 tournament win since they beat Gary Payton's Oregon State Beavers in 1990.

Of course, James Harden didn't arrive at ASU until the 2008 Pac-10 tournament.

And Jeff Pendergraph wasn't involved in anything before the 2006 Pac-10 tournament.

Those two people will likely be the key to Arizona State breaking this streak if Arizona State does break this streak, and would you believe it if I told you Pendergraph could be more crucial than Harden? Consider: In ASU's past four games against Arizona (all of which were wins, by the way), Pendergraph is 24-of-38 (.632) from the floor and 22-of-26 (.846) from the free throw line. He is averaging 17.5 points and 10.0 rebounds. Meanwhile, Arizona's Jordan Hill -- a projected top five pick in June's NBA Draft -- is 21-of-51 (.411) from the floor and 12-of-18 (.667) from the free throw line in those four games. He's averaging 13.5 points and 10.3 boards.

Advantage: Pendergraph.


Yes ... at least statistically over their past four match-ups.

So that's a good sign for Arizona State, I think. But if Pendergraph -- who had 27 points and 10 boards in last weekend's win over California -- doesn't dominate Hill, there's always this (from the blog of the Arizona Republic's Doug Haller): ASU is 5-0 in games that have started before 1 p.m. local time.

Today's tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.

In Los Angeles, that's noon.

For ASU, that's good.

Posted on: February 14, 2009 4:08 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2009 4:09 pm

Nice homestand for Arizona, Pennell

Make that seven in a row for Arizona.

And is Russ Pennell going to be the Pac-10 Coach of the Year?

Mike Montgomery (California) and Lorenzo Romar (Washington) can certainly make a case, as could Herb Sendek (Arizona State). But as long as the Wildcats don't collapse down the stretch it's looking more and more like Pennell deserves the award, particularly following Saturday's 84-72 thrashing of UCLA.

It's incredible -- as I detailed in Thursday's column -- the way Pennell has been able to inherit a bad situation, take some early lumps and still position Arizona for a 25th consecutive NCAA tournament. The Wildcats have gone from 11-8 (2-5 in the Pac-10) to 18-8 (8-5 in the Pac-10) in a matter of roughly three weeks, and even if they lose every remaining road game (at Arizona State, Washington State and Washington) they'll still finish with a winning record in the Pac-10 as long as they don't take a home loss to California or Stanford.

Translation: This is going to work out OK.

That's my prediction.

And though it probably won't land Pennell the Arizona job on a fulltime basis -- athletic director Jim Livengood is aiming much higher, according to everything I've been told -- what it should do is let Wildcat fans enjoy this season that seemed destined to be a debacle before it even started. Then when it's all over and done, Pennell will get to listen to other schools that will almost certainly be interested in his services, because he'll possess the type of coaching credentials that can't be ignored, plus a Pac-10 Coach of the Year award to boot.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 12, 2008 12:55 pm

Dear Gary (on Arizona's lack of coverage)

Here's Friday’s Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: How about some Arizona coverage? Have you seen Jordan Hill's and Chase Budinger's numbers?

-- Colin

Yeah, I've seen them.

And they're impressive, I guess.

But the problem for Arizona (in terms of coverage) is that the Wildcats took an early loss to UAB that cost them a trip to New York and the coverage that would've provided. Then they beat a bunch of less-than-marquee opponents before their next big game (against Texas A&M) was played, but the fact that it was played on a Friday night instead of a Saturday or Sunday meant less attention from the national media. Plus, they lost that game, too. So the reality is that Arizona is 6-2 overall with a 6-1 record against non-BCS-affiliated schools and a loss in its only game against a fellow power-league school.

In short, that's why Arizona isn't getting much coverage.

But don't worry.

If the Wildcats upset Gonzaga this weekend they'll get all the coverage they could ever want.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 26, 2008 2:41 pm

Dear Gary (on stupidity in college basketball)

Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Have we seen this season -- with one team intentionally fouling in the Arizona game when it was tied and (another) double-teaming one guy every play and losing by 30 -- the two stupidest plays since Chris Webber called a timeout in the national title game?

-- Joe

Not sure, Joe.

But I can tell you this: Yes, those were two pretty stupid plays/decisions, and the second (i.e., most recent) was worse.

The first so-called stupid play was Jamelle Horne's crazy run and lunge and foul with 0.8 second left that allowed UAB to break a tie and win a game that advanced the Blazers to tonight's showdown with Oklahoma. So that was stupid, sure. But that was just a player getting confused in the heat of the moment, and that kind of stuff happens, and what can you do?

The second source of stupidity is inexcusable, because what we had Tuesday night was a coach (Loyola's Jimmy Patsos) opting to lose by 30 just to try to shutdown Stephen Curry, which was an embarrassment to the Greyhounds. Remember, this is the same coach who spent part of an earlier game in the stands and/or at the end of the bench after receiving a technical foul, so bizarre is his middle name. And just so we're clear, I'm fine with bizarre gameplans as long as they are designed to help a team compete or win. But that's not what this was. Patsos used a strategy that had his team down 22 at the half, and he never altered it because he was more concerned with suffocating Curry than trying to compete. That's incomprehensible and inexcusable, and so if you want to call him stupid (and myopic and bone-headed), trust me, I won't stand in your way.

Posted on: November 19, 2008 5:56 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2008 5:57 pm

Video of the end of the Arizona-UAB game

A reader sent along video of the end of the Arizona-UAB game.

If you haven't seen it, it's worth checking out.

Here's the link.

Two points:

1. I just noticed that the guy counseling Kyle Fogg after he made his inexplicable intentional foul was Jamelle Horne. This is funny because it was Horne who made the second inexplicable intentional foul that propelled UAB to a 72-71 victory.

2. And hats off to Len Elmore for trying his best to come up with some kind of excuse for Horne's final-second lunge and foul. Len kept talking about how Horne must've thought "there was a play on" even though there is no play in any playbook that calls for a foul in the final second of a tie game. It was a wild opinion, of course. But if he was just trying to protect Horne, well, that's pretty nice of him.

Category: NCAAB
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