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Tag:Cincinnati
Posted on: March 11, 2011 2:25 am
 

Thursday Wrap-up

NEW YORK -- Kemba Walker was terrific.

UAB was not.

Here's Thursday's Wrap-up to recap a busy day of college basketball.

Best game: Kemba Walker began things by delivering the shot of the postseason -- and possibly the entire season -- to give Connecticut a 76-74 victory over Pittsburgh and propel himself into Madison Square Garden lore. The New York kid wowed the New York crowd with a stepback jumper at the buzzer that got Pitt's Gary McGhee so crossed he'll likely refuse to ever again switch on a ball screen. Yes, it was that bad. And that great. Suddenly, Kemba at MSG is the best show going. A date with Syracuse in Friday's Big East semifinals is on deck.
 
Other best game: Kansas missed 20 of 25 3-point attempts against Oklahoma State and needed the Cowboys to miss a heave at the buzzer to escape with a 63-62 win in the Big 12 quarterfinals. Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar combined to go 2 of 14 from 3-point range for the Jayhawks. So on second thought, this wasn't really one of the best games in terms of beautiful basketball. But it was close. And close is usually fun.

Team whose dream remained alive: Colorado proved "it's hard to beat a team three times in a season" is among the dumbest things dumb people say by beating Kansas State for the third time this season. The Buffaloes have now beaten the Wildcats by scores of 74-66, 58-56 and, most recently, 87-75. So the third time was actually the easiest of all three times … and probably enough to ensure Colorado receives an at-large bid regardless of what happens against Kansas in Friday's Big 12 semifinals.

Team whose dream was crushed: UAB had a questionable resume despite winning Conference USA and entered the league tournament with work to do. Unfortunately for Mike Davis, the Blazers did not do the required work. They instead lost 75-70 to East Carolina in the C-USA quarterfinals. Where I'm from, that's called locking down an NIT bid.

Performance I hope you witnessed: Ben Hansbrough's 23-point, seven-assist effort in Notre Dame's 89-51 blowout of Cincinnati wasn't as highlight-worthy as Walker's memorable outing, but it was still an impressive performance for the Big East Player of the Year. Hansbrough was 8-of-11 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. He's the main reason why the Irish have gone from unranked in the preseason to the verge of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Performance I hope you missed: Jackson Emery took nine 3-pointers and missed eight of them. That's not a violation of BYU's Honor Code, but it ought to be. Yes, the Cougars overcame a halftime deficit and beat TCU 64-58 in the Mountain West quarters. But what they really did is provide another 40-minute sample that suggests they miss Brandon Davies just as much as most anticipated, and that's going to be an issue come Selection Sunday.

Three other things worth noting

1. Southern California's 70-56 victory over California means the Trojans have an opportunity to get a sixth top-50 win in Friday's Pac-10 semifinals against Arizona. But would that be enough? Honestly, I'm not sure. Because though the Trojans have better wins than most bubble teams, they also have worse losses -- specifically three outside of the top 200. My advice: Go for the automatic bid, Kevin O'Neill, just to be safe.

2. St. John's suffered more than a 79-73 loss to Syracuse in the Big East quarters. The Red Storm also lost D.J. Kennedy to a torn ACL that ended his season prematurely and will send Steve Lavin's team into the NCAA tournament short a key contributor. Kennedy was averaging 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

3. Washington State's Klay Thompson returned from his one-game suspension and dropped 43 points in an 89-87 loss to Washington. So Thompson was high -- or at least in a car with a substance you use to get high -- last Thursday and the nation's highest scorer this Thursday. That's impressive.

Final thought: No team has ever lost its conference tournament opener and gone on to win the NCAA tournament.

You've heard that before, right?

You heard it when Pittsburgh lost to Connecticut, didn't you?

Of course you did. We all did. And though it's a statement that's 100 percent true, it's also misleading because it fails to recognize that we've never had a league as large and strong as the Big East that requires a true national title contender to open its league tournament with a game against a team the caliber of Connecticut. Bottom line, there are plenty of reasons to think Pitt won't win a national championship. But the fact that the Panthers lost to a nationally ranked UConn team on a ridiculous stepback jumper from an All-American on Thursday shouldn't be among them.
Posted on: March 7, 2011 7:54 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

Whitelaw Reid was the only voter who put Duke No. 1 last week. I ignored it because I'm kind. But now Whitelaw's done gone and went straight Whitelaw on us again, and I can't ignore him a second time. So welcome back to the Poll Attacks, Mr. Reid. It really has been too long.

(Details of AP ballots courtesy of PollSpeak.com.)

Associated Press poll: Let's make this simple and just compare two resumes blindly.

----- Team A -----

Overall record: 24-6
RPI: 6
Record against the Top 50: 6-4
Record against the Top 100: 14-5
Wins over teams ranked in the latest AP poll: 2

----- Team B -----

Overall record: 25-6
RPI: 16
Record against the Top 50: 2-4
Record against the Top 100: 8-5
Wins over teams ranked in the latest AP poll: 0

Team A is clearly more accomplished, right? Team A has a better RPI, a better record against the top 50, a better record against the top 100 and two wins over schools ranked in the latest AP poll compared to Team B's zero wins over schools ranked in the latest AP poll. Team A is North Carolina. Team B is Arizona. And their resumes aren't even close, which is why the Tar Heels are ranked sixth and the Wildcats are ranked 16th this week.

Guess who has that damn-near backwards?

Yep, Poll Attacks veteran Whitelaw Reid from The Daily Progress.

He's got Arizona ranked No. 9 and North Carolina ranked No. 15 on his ballot.

I can't make sense of it.

I bet he can't either.

Coaches poll: I doubted and discounted Cincinnati much of this season and applauded those who were with me. But at some point it's impossible to ignore the Bearcats' resume, and we reached that point over the past week when Cincinnati won at Marquette and then beat Georgetown. Yes, the win over Georgetown is a win over the Hoyas sans Chris Wright. But it's still a win that pushed the Bearcats to 24-7 and allowed them to finish sixth in a Big East conference that has seven members ranked in the latest coaches poll.

The problem?

Cincinnati isn't one of the seven.

Which is crazy considering the Bearcats have five top-25 RPI wins and zero losses outside of the top 35 of the RPI. Not to pick on Utah State, but the Aggies have zero top-25 RPI wins and a loss to Idaho (129th in the RPI), and they're ranked 17th in the coaches poll that doesn't rank UC at all. Again, that's crazy. And you'll see just how crazy next Sunday when the Bearcats get a better seed than Utah State in the NCAA tournament despite being ranked much lower in the coaches poll.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 9:49 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 9:53 pm
 

I see you Mick Cronin

I'm still not ready to completely buy in.

Not yet.

But let's disregard what I think I know for a moment and focus on facts.

Fact No. 1: Cincinnati is now 15-0 with a 34-point win over Dayton and 20-point win over Xavier.

Fact No. 2: Xavier has played a schedule featuring Florida, Gonzaga and Old Dominion.

Fact No. 3: Dayton has played a schedule featuring Ole Miss, New Mexico and Old Dominion.

Fact No. 4: None of those teams have beaten Xavier or Dayton like Cincinnati beat Xavier and Dayton.

Now it's possible all this means nothing and that Cincinnati is about to spiral in a way that only the 2006-07 Clemson Tigers that started 17-0 and ended in the NIT can truly appreciate. If I had to bet, I'd probably still bet that way because four of the Bearcats' next five games are at Villanova (Sunday), at Syracuse (Jan.15), at Notre Dame (Jan. 19) and at St. John's (Jan. 22). So I'll be surprised if they don't go from 15-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big East to 16-4 overall and 3-4 in the Big East. But I was surprised when the Bearcats pounded Dayton in late November, and surprised again when they handled Xavier so easily Thursday night, point being that this team has already surprised me twice.

In other words, I don't know what to think anymore.

Maybe Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin really does have a Top 25 team.

If I had to bet, I'd probably still bet against it.

But I'm not nearly as sure about that now as I was Thursday morning.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 27, 2010 4:02 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2010 4:11 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

You want to punish Tom Izzo for scheduling aggressively?

Fine.

But now look. You're in the Poll Attacks.

(Details of AP ballots courtesy of PollSpeak.com.)

Associated Press poll: I have Michigan State ranked 15th in the Top 25 (and one).

The Spartans are 20th in the AP poll.

Both rankings are reasonable. But what's unreasonable is leaving the Spartans completely off a Top 25 ballot, which is what 13 AP voters did, and I don't understand why. Is it because they've suffered four losses against a ridiculous schedule? Because if that's the reason, that's a stupid reason. And, yes, I can explain. But let's first look at the losses.

They are to:
  • No. 1 Duke on the road
  • No. 4 Connecticut on a neutral court
  • No. 5 Syracuse on a neutral court
  • No. 13 Texas at home
I admit, that's not ideal. It's not what I expected (or what Izzo expected, either). But those are games most teams, if not all teams, ranked between 15th and 25th would also lose, point being that to punish Michigan State for losing those games is to punish Izzo for scheduling aggressively, and that's not right. Given the way some writers vote, Izzo could've scheduled a bunch of buy games, cruised and remained ranked in everybody's top five. But he instead decided to challenge his team and create some interesting matchups in November and December, and I'm not going to penalize him for doing it.

But who has Michigan State beaten, you ask?

Washington, for starters.

The Spartans have a neutral-court win over Washington.

So that means Michigan State has a win over the Pac-10 favorite and losses to four top 13 teams, and 13 writers somehow determined that the Spartans' body of work is unworthy of a Top 25 vote. It's dumb on the surface but even dumber when you dig deeper. This being the Poll Attacks, I dug deeper. And Gary Laney from The Advocate in Louisiana is going to wish I wouldn't have because his ballot is bogus.

He has Cincinnati ranked 22nd.

Now I could spend the next few sentences explaining how the Bearcats would likely have more than four losses if they played Michigan State's schedule and how the Spartans would probably be undefeated if they played Cincinnati's schedule, but I'm not going to do that. Instead, I'm going to tell you that Gary has Washington ranked 24th. That's fine with me in general because Washington's body of work is similar to Michigan State's. Washington is 8-3 instead of 9-4. But all three losses are to good teams -- specifically No. 11 Kentucky, No. 18 Texas A&M and No. 20 Michigan State. Yes, Michigan State. Michigan State beat Washington in the Maui Invitational, which is why Gary's ballot makes no sense.

How can you rank Washington but not rank Michigan State?

They have comparable losses, sure. But Washington has no good wins, and one of Washington's losses is to Michigan State. I mean, that's pretty basic stuff, right? I imagine it is to most, but it's not to Gary Laney. Or to Steven Bradley from The Journal in South Carolina. He has Washington 19th and Michigan State unranked. (Perhaps he's never heard of Maui. Who knows?) And then there's J.P. Butler from the Olean Times in New York. He didn't rank Michigan State but he has Baylor 21st even though Baylor has no good wins and three losses to unranked teams.

Question: If Baylor is 8-3 with no good wins and losses to unranked Gonzaga, unranked Washington State and unranked Florida State, what do you think the Bears would be if they had played a 13-game schedule featuring matchups with No. 1 Duke, No. 4 UConn, No. 5 Syracuse and No. 13 Texas?

Answer: A four-loss team, at least.

Steve DeShazo of the Free Lance-Star in Virginia?

He has Michigan State unranked, too. But he's got Oklahoma State at No. 23 and Cleveland State at No. 25 even though Oklahoma State is 11-1 with no good wins and a loss to unranked Virginia Tech while Cleveland State is 13-1 with no good wins and a double-digit loss to unranked West Virginia. So I guess the lesson is this: If you want Steve to notice you, schedule weak, win a lot of games against bums and lose to an unranked team. But don't you dare schedule aggressively a lose games to ranked opponents, because that'll get you dropped real fast.

Whatever.

Let's move on.

Coaches poll: As you can probably tell by the above Poll Attack, I hate voters who highlight teams simply for building records against weak opponents. It rewards a conservative approach, and I'm against that. So shame on the coaches who put Cincinnati (24 points), Oklahoma State (11 points) and Utah State (four points) on their ballots. I've already told you about Cincinnati (no good wins) and Oklahoma State (no good wins and one bad loss). Now let me tell you about Utah State, the WAC school that's 11-2 with no good wins. Granted, the Aggies' losses (to BYU and Georgetown) are better than OSU's losses (or Baylor's losses, for that matter). But there's not even a decent win on their resume. Thus, Utah State shouldn't be getting votes even though Utah State probably deserves votes as much as Cincinnati deserves votes, and more than Oklahoma State deserves votes. The point is that none of them deserve votes. Stacking wins against bad teams is nothing more than stacking wins against bad teams. It's fine for a school that projected to be strong in the preseason because you can still believe in what you thought you knew. But a gaudy record against a weak schedule should never make you start believing in somebody, which is why I won't start believing in Cincinnati, Cleveland State, Utah State or Oklahoma State until at least one of them records one win against a quality opponent. It would be nice if coaches who vote in the coaches poll did the same.
Posted on: April 7, 2010 11:30 am
Edited on: April 7, 2010 11:53 am
 

UC's Stephenson/XU's Crawford entering NBA Draft


Cincinnati freshman Lance Stephenson said last month that he planned to return to school.

Those plans have changed.

The former New York high school star will now enter the NBA Draft, UC officials announced Wednesday morning. Stephenson won't "test" the process like many college players are doing -- among them Texas' Avery Bradley and Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney -- and leave open the possibility of withdrawing from the draft by the May 8 deadline. He is in, for better or worse, and will likely sign with an agent soon.

Stephenson averaged 12.3 points and 5.4 rebounds this season.

He's a likely second-round pick, at best, because of questions about his ability and character.

Meantime, the mother of Xavier star Jordan Crawford announced that her son is entering the NBA Draft via her Twitter account Wednesday morning. Unlike Stephenson, Crawford has no plans to immediately hire an agent. He'll way for feedbak from NBA officials before making a final decision.

Crawford averaged 20.5 points and 4.7 rebounds this season.

He's a possible first-round pick.
Posted on: December 14, 2009 2:49 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2009 2:50 pm
 

Dear Gary (on Purdue-Alabama)


Here's Monday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: After reading your Monday Look back , I am left wondering why Purdue seems to avoid all national press despite being a top five team? They have a top-10 win, and two other quality wins against Wake Forest and Alabama. The Bama win might be the best top 10 road victory out there. Why is Purdue not given the love?

-- Justin


Let me tell you what happened, Justin.

I started working on the Monday Look Back early Sunday, and I had Purdue's win over Alabama as the "best game of the weekend." In fact, here's what I wrote ...

Best game of the weekend: Just hours after Mark Ingram won the school's first Heisman Trophy, Alabama had an opportunity to notch the biggest upset of the weekend, and the Crimson Tide seemed set to do it. They were up 16 and cruising in the second half against No. 5 Purdue. But then the Boilermakers committed to playing a physical/in-your-face defense and secured a 73-68 win at Coleman Coliseum. "It was amazing," said Purdue coach Matt Painter, whose team held Alabama without a field goal for the final 8:45. It really was a stunning display of defense, the kind Nick Saban could probably appreciate.

So I was done.

And then guess what happened?

Xavier and Cincinnati went to double-overtime Sunday night, and I made that the "best game of the weekend." So I cut the Purdue-Alabama stuff, added the Xavier-Cincinnati stuff that you read, and forget to write something about Purdue in another spot, meaning Purdue went from filling the top category in the Monday Look Back to not appearing in the Monday Look Back because Xavier beat Cincinnati in overtime, and because I forget to make Purdue-Alabama a different category.

In other words, there is no conspiracy.

Just an honest mistake.

If you must blame somebody, blame Xavier's Terrell Holloway.
Posted on: December 14, 2009 2:48 pm
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Posted on: November 5, 2009 5:33 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2009 10:38 pm
 

NCAA clears UC freshman Stephenson


The NCAA has cleared Cincinnati freshman Lance Stephenson to play immediately, UC coach Mick Cronin told CBSSports.com on Thursday afternoon.

"Clear," Cronin texted to CBSSports.com. "No games."

Stephenson came off the bench Thursday night and made 4-of-14 shots in the Bearcats' 86-58 exhibition victory over Saginaw Valley State. He finished with nine points and four rebounds in 18 minutes. Earlier this week, CBSSports.com named Stephenson, a 6-foot-5 guard, the Big East Preseason Newcomer of the Year. He'll make his national television debut on Nov. 23 when the Bearcats play Vanderbilt in the Maui Invitational.
Category: NCAAB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com