Posted on: March 22, 2010 12:30 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2010 12:34 pm

NCAA rejects Memphis appeal

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions announced Monday that it is upholding the penalties levied against the Memphis basketball program, meaning John Calipari will continue as the only college coach in history to have Final Fours vacated at two different schools.

The NCAA found violations at Memphis during the 2007-08 basketball season, the most notable of which is that Derrick Rose competed while ineligible because of a standardized test score that was invalidated after Rose's freshman season. Rose's SAT score was invalidated because it's believed to be fraudelent. Rose has publicly denied that somebody else took his SAT, but he passed on the opportunity to explain the situation to the NCAA, and Calipari never pushed Rose to speak with the NCAA.

Rose is now an All-Star point guard for the Chicago Bulls.

Calipari is now the coach at Kentucky

The Wildcats play Cornell in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night.
Posted on: March 9, 2010 12:07 pm

Dear Gary (on UK's inexperience)

Here's Tuesday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: I'm not a Kentucky fan, but I'm definitely impressed with their talent/athleticism.  Every time I watch them, however, I also sense their inexperience.  I feel like I'm watching the Fab Five from Michigan circa '92-'93, and that they are one Chris Webber timeout away from ruining a chance at history?  Any thoughts?

-- Farrell

Sure, they're capable of screwing this up.

I think that's a fair assessment.

But they're 29-2 and, like you said, awfully talented. In fact, I'd argue that the Wildcats are slightly more talented than the Fab Five, which makes them a reasonable pick to win the national championship. You can also take Kansas or Syracuse, maybe even reach for Ohio State. But the teams with the best players are the teams that have been winning titles lately, and UK is the team with the best players this season.

We'll see how it goes.

It's going to be a fun few weeks.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 3, 2010 2:52 pm

I switched my vote to Evan Turner

Evan Turner appears headed toward National Player of the Year honors.

The Ohio State junior received 41 of 49 first-place votes in the final AnnArbor.com National Player of the Year poll to take a commanding lead over Kentucky's John Wall. Syracuse's Wesley Johnson, Villanova's Scottie Reynolds and Duke's Jon Scheyer rounded out the top five. Turner was the lone player to appear on all 49 ballots. He was first or second on 48 of them.

My ballot looked like this:
  1. Evan Turner
  2. John Wall
  3. Wesley Johnson
So, yes, I finally switched from Wall to Turner.

It was the right thing to do.

Here's a recap of Turner's season: Changed positions, posted insane numbers, broke bones in his back, missed six games, returned to the court, posted more ridiculous numbers and led Ohio State to a Big Ten title and Top 10 ranking. He's averaging 19.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. So while I still believe Wall is devastating, the country's best NBA prospect, and somebody who could get hot and overwhelm opponents while leading Kentucky to a national championship, Turner is the correct pick for Player of the Year at this moment.

Remember, Derrick Rose wasn't the Player of the Year in 2008.

He wasn't even a serious candidate for that award.

But Rose was ultimately heralded as college basketball's best guard after the nation watched him tear through Drew Neitzel, D.J. Augustin and Darren Collison in consecutive NCAA tournament games. This could be similar. But there's no denying Turner has had the better season to date, and he deserves every first-place vote he got, plus whatever other honors come his way.
Posted on: February 27, 2010 10:00 am

I'm at Kentucky-Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- About to head to Thompson-Boling Arena for Kentucky-Tennessee.

(The No. 2 Wildcats are only a 2.5-point favorite at Sportsbook.com, by the way.)

Click this link for a video preview I did with CBSSports.com's Lauren Shehadi.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 25, 2010 12:43 pm

Can Darrin Horn move to 4-0 against UK?

This should not be competive.

The spread is 16 points.

But the biggest game on tonight's schedule is still South Carolina at Kentucky, if only because it presents an opportunity for the Wildcats to avenge their lone loss. It happened last month, at South Carolina, thanks to a 30-point effort from Devan Downey. And though the Gamecocks are just 2-4 since that game, it should be noted that South Carolina coach Darrin Horn, a Lexington native, still owns a 3-0 record against UK.

Anyway, back to Downey.

I would encourage you to checkout www.downey2therim.com for a reminder of how explosive Downey can be, if you've forgotten. Also: Click this link for a video preview of the game I did with CBSSports.com's Jason Horowitz. Tip-off tonight is set for 9 ET.
Posted on: February 21, 2010 12:17 am

The top four seems simple to me

The top four of Sunday's Top 25 (and one) will be easy to figure out.
  1. Kansas
  2. Kentucky
  3. Syracuse
  4. Purdue
Those would also be the No. 1 seeds in the NCAA touranment if the NCAA tournament started today.

It doesn't start today, of course.

But can you believe we're just three weeks from Selection Sunday?
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 20, 2010 4:05 pm

Vandy over UK won't be an upset (if it happens)

NASHVILLE -- I'm about to pop over to Memorial Gym, where No. 17 Vanderbilt will play No. 2 Kentucky. People keep asking if I think Vandy can "upset" John Calipari's team, and I keep telling them there's no question the Commodores can win. Am I predicting it? No. But Vandy is absolutely capable, and if it happens it won't be an "upset."

Not technically, at least.

Sportsbook.com has this as a pick'em game.

Kentucky is not favored.

So remember that tonight as you watch the broadcast, and when you hear people talk about a possible upset just remember those people are basing that on rankings, but not on reality. In reality, Vanderbilt has just as good a chance to win this game as Kentucky. Who knows how it'll play out? But it won't be an upset regardless of the outcome.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 19, 2010 2:14 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2010 2:17 pm

Dear Gary (on the best games I've seen this year)

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?

-- Dan

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.

Terrific atmosphere.

Terrific ending.

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