Posted on: February 13, 2008 8:22 am

What You Need To Know

Kentucky got pummeled.

Michigan State got Hummelled.

Here's Wednesday morning's edition of What You Need To Know.

Notable game from Tuesday: Vanderbilt dealt Kentucky its worst loss in SEC history, made even worse because Ashley Judd was in the crowd watching it all go down. The final score was 93-52, and the outcome was never in doubt considering Vandy led by double-digits not even five minutes post tip-off and embarrassed the Wildcats on national television while jumping to a 41-11 halftime lead. Your thoughts, Patrick Patterson? "To have them stomp us into the ground like that, it's horrible," said the UK freshman. "They played like men and we played like boys." But not like any boys. Kentucky actually played like boys who have no idea how to shoot, guard or play basketball in general, and that's no way for Kentucky to be playing ... particularly when Ashley is in the crowd.

Notable performance from Tuesday: Robbie Hummel buried 9-of-15 shots (including 4-of-7 3-point attempts) to finish with a career-high 24 points and 11 rebounds while leading Purdue to a 60-54 victory over Michigan State. The Boilermakers are now two games up in the win column of the Big Ten standings, and Hummel is averaging 20.7 points in his past three outings.

Notable game scheduled for Wednesday: A pair of top four seeds in my latest Projecting the Field (it'll be up in a few hours) will battle when Notre Dame visits Connecticut in a contest featuring two of the hottest schools in the Big East. Notre Dame (18-4 overall, 8-2 in the Big East) has won five consecutive games while UConn (18-5 overall, 7-3 in the Big East) has won seven straight. Both are ranked in the Top 20 of the AP poll, and the fact that the Irish's Luke Harangody and the Huskies' Hasheem Thabeet will be in the paint together makes this worth watching. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 12, 2008 2:32 pm

Texas is the best underdog ever

DALLAS, Texas -- Naturally, my connection is delayed here at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

I'm not sure why I assumed it wouldn't be.

But the extra time has given me a few minutes to get a few things accomplished -- like return some emails, review some notes and spend $5 sitting in one of those First Class Seats massage chairs here in the airport. Seemed like a good idea when I walked passed it, to just plop down, do some reading and get a massage in a massage chair. I thought it would relax me. But it was one of the most unnecessary and painful experiences of my life, just two hard round things beating the crap out of my back until I tapped out and turned the machine off.

It didn't feel great.

It just hurt.

It's a terrible invention.

I hate massage chairs.

So now I'm back reviewing notes, and an interesting one from last night's Texas-Kansas game is that the Longhorns now have wins against three of the top six teams in the country. They've beaten No. 3 Kansas (at home), No. 4 Tennessee (on a neutral site) and No. 6 UCLA (on the road), and just wait and see how angry John Calipari will be on Selection Sunday if his Memphis Tigers get a No. 1 seed in the South Region and end up having to play what would essentially be a road game against Texas in Houston for the right to go to the Final Four.

Imagine being undefeated and the No. 1 overall seed and having to play a state school inside its state, and then realizing Texas has already beaten three other elite teams. My guess is that would be what officially sends Calipari over the edge. But either way, it would make for an entertaining press conference with lots of good conspiracy theories, and I love entertaining press conferences with lots of goods conspiracy theories.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Texas
Posted on: February 12, 2008 10:17 am
Edited on: February 12, 2008 10:18 am

What You Need To Know

AUSTIN, Texas -- The referees cost Villanova in a big way.

Connor Atchley cost Kansas in a big way.

Here's Tuesday morning's edition of What You Need To Know.

Notable game from Monday: Yes, it was technically a foul. And I know officiating is a hard job. But the call at the end of the Villanova-Georgetown game that gave the No. 8 Hoyas a 55-53 victory was one of the worst calls I've ever seen if only because it decided the winner and loser 70 feet from the basket and on a play that would've never ended with Georgetown even getting a shot off because there was only 0.1 second left in regulation. So when Corey Stokes inadvertently bumped Jonathan Wallace the referee should've just let time expire. The referee instead blew his whistle and awarded the free throws that broke the tie, and Villanova coach Jay Wright was wronged again (just like in an earlier loss at the buzzer to North Carolina State).

Notable performance from Monday: Connor Atchley took six shots and made six shots and led No. 11 Texas to a 72-69 victory over No. 3 Kansas before a soldout crowd here at the Erwin Center. The junior forward finished with 16 points, four rebounds and four blocks, though he failed to convince Kansas that anybody should change their opinion about how the Big 12 standings will look at the end of the season. "We're still the favorites," said Kansas guard Mario Chalmers. "We still think we're the best team in the conference."

Notable game scheduled for Tuesday: Valentine's Day is approaching and Purdue is atop the Big Ten standings and there aren't many who predicted things would unfold this way. The Boilermakers are 19-5 overall, 10-1 in the league and ranked 19th in the country heading into this game against Michigan State, which is 20-3 overall, 8-3 in the league and ranked 10th in the country. Matt Painter's Boilermakers have won 10 consecutive games for the first time in nearly 12 years. But their only league loss -- and last loss in general -- came Jan. 8 at Michigan State, and if the Spartans win this rematch it'll vault Indiana into first place in the Big Ten. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 11, 2008 10:28 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2008 10:36 pm

The referees hate Villanova

AUSTIN, Texas -- I'm here at the Kansas-Texas game so I just saw a replay of the Villanova-Georgetown finish.

Holy moly!

They've been playing basketball for many decades.

So I suppose there have been worse calls in the sport.

But I can tell you I have never seen a worse call that decided a game, and nobody here in the media room could remember one either. I mean, how do you call that type of foul in a tie game 70-feet from the basket with less than a second remaining? It wasn't only bad, it was inexcusable to the point where the official who made the call should have to issue a public apology to Villanova and college basketball fans in general just like Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther had to apologize to Indiana last week.

And if you're keeping count, that's twice this season that Villanova has lost a game in the final second because of a questionable call (the other was against North Carolina State) and twice this season that Georgetown has won a game in the final second because of a questionable call or no-call (the other was against West Virginia).

In other words, referees clearly hate Jay Wright and love John Thompson III.

There is no other explanation.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 11, 2008 4:03 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2008 8:39 pm

The Poll Attacks

AUSTIN, Texas -- We have brand new blogs.

But it's the same old Poll Attacks.

AP poll: Seriously, Utah State is getting votes now?

Yes, the Aggies are 8-1 in the WAC. But the WAC is rated as the 19th-best league in the nation. So that 8-1 shouldn't mean much unless you're also ready to get excited about Pacific being 8-2 in the Big West (rated as the 18th-best league).

Anyway, here are Utah State's credentials ...
  • Overall record of 17-6 against the 185th-rated schedule in the nation.
  • No wins against Top 50 opponents.
  • Four losses outside the Top 100 (including two losses to teams outside the Top 200).
Truth is, Utah State's best win is against Oral Roberts and the only school on the Aggies' schedule that could possibly earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament (Vanderbilt) beat them by 21 points. So though I believe Jaycee Carroll is fabulous it's insane to think he plays for a Top 25 team, and that's why I believe the AP voter with Utah State on his ballot must be insane.

(When I learn who voted for Utah State I'll let you know; then we can start the effort to check him into the mental ward with Britney Spears.)

Breaking News Update at 7:45 p.m. ET: The voter who put Utah State on his ballot is ... Nick Jezierny of The Idaho Statesman.

I promised I would deliver his name.

I fulfilled my promise.

I'm a man of my word.

Coaches poll:
I've got no issues with the coaches ranking Marquette.

I have the Golden Eagles at No. 24 in the Top 25 (and one).

I like that team.

But I'm not sure how anybody could have Marquette ranked without also having Louisville ranked.

I mean, do these coaches (or their assistants or their secretaries or whoever is submitting the ballots) even pay attention?

Here are the vital statistics ...

  • 18-6 overall record against the 10th-rated schedule in the nation.
  • 8-3 record in the Big East.
  • 5-4 record against the Top 50, 7-6 record against the Top 100 and no losses outside the Top 75.
  • 5-2 road record.
  • 13-3 record in the past 16 games.
  • Current three-game winning streak.
  • 16-6 overall record against the 28th-rated schedule in the nation.
  • 6-5 record in the Big East.
  • 2-6 record against the Top 50, 6-6 against the Top 100 and no losses outside the Top 50.
  • 2-4 road record.
  • 11-5 record in the past 16 games.
  • Current two-game losing streak.
It's clear Louisville has the better body of work just from looking at those numbers, right?

It couldn't be clearer in my eyes.

But if it's still too close for you to call then the deciding factor should be that Louisville has actually beaten Marquette twice this season.

First the Cards beat Marquette 71-51 at Freedom Hall.

Then the Cards beat Marquette 71-57 at the Bradley Center.

So how Marquette can be 25th in the Coaches poll while Louisville remains unranked is unbelievable on all levels.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 11, 2008 1:49 am

What You Need To Know

AUSTIN, Texas -- Washington beat UCLA again.

North Carolina beat Clemson again.

Here's Monday morning's edition of What You Need To Know.

Notable game from Sunday: Washington entered on a four-game losing streak featuring three straight home losses to Stanford, California and Southern California. So, naturally, the Huskies backed that with a 71-61 upset of UCLA that was a head-scratcher and ... head-hurter? Yes, a head-hurter. At least for Alfred Aboya, who took a ball off the face in the final minute. It added injury to insult, I suppose, and helped Washington beat UCLA in Seattle for the fourth consecutive time.

Notable performance from Sunday: Tyler Hansbrough seems determined to make it difficult for Michael Beasley to run away with the National Player of the Year award like Kevin Durant did last season. Hansbrough got 39 points and 13 rebounds in North Carolina's 103-93 double-overtime victory that gave the Tar Heels their NCAA-record 53rd-consecutive home win against Clemson. He made 11-of-16 field goal attempts and 17-of-19 free throws to help UNC rally from an 11-point deficit with three minutes remaining in regulation. And for Clemson, well, there's always next year.

Notable game scheduled for Monday: I'm here in Austin for the Kansas-Texas showdown that will likely help decide the Big 12 championship. Kansas enters with a 23-1 record (8-1 in the Big 12) while Texas is 19-4 (6-2 in the Big 12). The Jayhawks are second in my latest Top 25 (and one). The Longhorns are 13th. And if Kansas is going to get this road win it'll need to slow A.J. Abrams, who has been really good of late. The Texas junior has made 21-of-42 field goal attempts and 15-of-28 3-pointers in his past three outings to help the Longhorns notch wins over Baylor, Oklahoma and Iowa State. Tip-off at the Frank Erwin Center is set for 9 p.m ET.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 9, 2008 7:47 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2008 8:27 pm

Tennessee missed a bunch of shots and still won

Butch Pierre is one helluva defensive coach.

Or either Tennessee just picked a strange time to stink offensively.

Either way, the worst team in the SEC (LSU) spent Saturday nearly beating the best team in the SEC (Tennessee), and it's hard to imagine emotion didn't play a role. LSU was on the court roughly 24 hours after its coach, John Brady, had stood in front of reporters and discussed his in-season firing while battling back tears. That's a rally-the-troops moment every time. And so the Tigers used the inspiration to take the Vols into the final minute before losing on a turnover that led to a JaJuan Smith layup with 11 seconds remaining.

Final score: Tennessee 47, LSU 45.

Yep, UT scored just 47 points ... which is wild for a team that came in averaging 85.4 points per game . That number ranked first in the SEC and fifth in the nation. But it's difficult to reach the 80s (or 70s or 60s or 50s, even) while shooting 31.7 percent from the field (19-of-60), 26.3 percent from 3-point range (5-of-19) and 26.7 percent from the free throw line (4-of-15) , and how in the world can a group of players on full scholarships to a basketball power make just 4-of-15 free throw attempts?

Answer: I have no idea.

But the good news for Tennessee is that it managed to win another road game in spite of itself. The Vols' road record is now 7-1, and that's the main reason they will maintain the best RPI in the nation. Their next road game is Feb. 16 at Georgia, and a week after that they'll have a shot to derail Memphis' perfect season when they enter FedExForum for a showdown that has long been soldout and will make ticket scalpers rich if the current prices at StubHub are any indication.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Tennessee
Posted on: February 8, 2008 7:05 pm

Why Tim Floyd might just stay put

Tim Floyd is the obvious candidate at LSU.

It would be a mistake for Skip Bertman not to call him.

But there are reasons Floyd might opt to remain at Southern California despite LSU being his "dream" job. For those unfamiliar with his set-up, here are a few bullet points to outline the advantages of staying put:
  • The Galen Center is a fabulous, brand-new facility.
  • The Los Angeles recruiting base is large and filled with prospects.
  • Stoneridge Prep is just down the road and a perfect place to stash recruits.
  • Class of 2008 star Demar DeRozen is set to enroll this summer and play next season.
  • Class of 2009 star Renardo Sidney will likely commit to USC if Floyd remains the coach.
So it might be tough to leave all that, wouldn't you think?

And that's why guys like Anthony Grant (VCU), Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss) and Tony Bennett (Washington State) might make a little more sense than Floyd -- Grant and Kennedy more than Bennett, it's worth noting -- because they would be giving up less to relocate and have more to gain by doing it.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: LSU, Tim Floyd
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or