Posted on: January 22, 2011 7:59 pm

That's 20 down, 20 to go for OSU

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Ohio State's win over Illinois here at Assembly Hall early Saturday pushed the Buckeyes' record to 20-0 overall, 7-0 in the Big Ten. Let the record show that I'll be shocked if anybody catches them in the league standings, but I'm not ready to talk perfection just yet.

Could OSU do it?

Sure, I guess.

I mean, the Buckeyes are halfway there already, and Jared Sullinger is awesome. But Ohio State still has road games at No. 14 Purdue, No. 15 Minnesota and No. 18 Wisconsin, and I can't imagine anybody -- Duke, Pittsburgh, the Miami Heat, anybody -- going 3-0 on those games. Beyond that, I just watched Kansas lose at home for the first time since February 2007. And if KU can lose at home, anybody can lose at home.

In other words, the odds remain stacked against perfection.

But 38-2 with a national title?

Yeah, I could see that.
Posted on: January 22, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: January 22, 2011 7:37 pm

I'm in Illinois for OSU-Illini

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- I'm at Illinois for today's game against Ohio State. It's the first of three games over the next five days during which I'll see all three remaining unbeatens in person in road games against formidable opponents.

My schedule looks like this:
  • No. 1 Ohio State (19-0) at No. 23 Illinois (14-5) on Saturday
  • No. 2 Kansas (18-0) at Colorado (14-5) on Tuesday
  • No. 6 San Diego State (20-0) at No. 9 BYU (18-1) on Wednesday
Ohio State is supposed to win 70-67 this afternoon, Kansas is supposed to win 83-71 on Tuesday and BYU is supposed to win 74-69 on Wednesday, according to KenPom.com. That means that site has the unbeatens going 2-1, which means, statistically speaking, I'm probably going to see at least one court-storming during my trip. Maybe more. Either way, should be fun. And with that, I'm heading over to Assembly Hall.
Posted on: November 19, 2010 12:57 am
Edited on: November 19, 2010 1:06 am

Nice (and surprising?) start for Texas' Thompson

I watched Tristan Thompson play on the summer circuit a bunch in 2008 and 2009.

And I never loved him.

He was obviously talented, sure. But the 6-foot-8 forward always seemed to be missing whatever it is that makes great players great, and coming into this season I actually figured Cory Joseph would  be the former Grassroots Canada star making the biggest impact at Texas. Through three games, I'm more wrong than Tony Parker's dating habits. Thompson is averaging 16.3 points and 7.7 rebounds, and he was the star of UT's 90-84 win over No. 13 Illinois that tipped late Thursday and ended early Friday after an overtime period inside Madison Square Garden.

Texas-Illinois wasn't the biggest game to date, but it might've been the most fun. The score was tied 45-45 at the half and 75-75 at the end of regulation, at which point the Longhorns reeled off eight straight points to build the lead that led to the upset. Thompson? He finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and six blocks, and, suddenly, he seems to have whatever it is that makes great players great.

Next up is Friday night's game with No. 5 Pittsburgh.

It'll be interesting to see whether Thompson can lead the unranked Lonhorns to another upset.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 2, 2010 12:51 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2010 12:55 pm

Duke teammates highlight 10-man USA Select Team

Duke teammates Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler headline a group of 10 college basketball players selected to train with the 2010 USA Men’s World Championship Team finalists next week in New York, USA basketball announced Monday.

The full college roster includes:
  • JaJuan Johnson (Purdue)
  • Jon Leuer (Wisconsin)
  • Shelvin Mack (Butler)
  • Kyle Singler (Duke)
  • Chris Singleton (Florida State)
  • Nolan Smith (Duke)
  • Trey Thompkins (Georgia)
  • Mike Tisdale (Illinois)
  • Kemba Walker (Connecticut)
  • Chris Wright (Dayton)
"One of the great developments of our Las Vegas camp was the USA Select Team which consisted of juniors and seniors out of the college ranks that we brought in to scrimmage against the USA National Team," said USA basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo. "[Washington coach] Lorenzo Romar and [Villanova coach] Jay Wright did a terrific job of coaching the select players in Las Vegas. It worked so well we’ve decided to bring to New York a smaller group of players from that Select Team to do the same thing. They were very valuable to us and it’s a great experience for them."

The college players will arrive in New York Aug. 9 and train Aug. 10-13.
Posted on: February 24, 2010 9:43 am
Edited on: February 24, 2010 9:45 am

Dear Gary (on why polls aren't done twice a week)

Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Since college basketball teams play twice each week, why are the polls only updated once a week? The polls are almost always outdated by wednesday. Why not do polls Mondays and Thursdays?

-- Barry

Because people have lives would be the simple answer. Plus, voters can't even rank teams intelligently once a week, so there's no way most would be able to do it twice a week. Take Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News , for instance. He has Illinois ranked 12th despite the fact that no other AP voter even put the Illini on a ballot.

Illinois is 18-10 overall and 4-6 against schools Jerry Palm projects to make the NCAA tournament with four additional losses to teams that won't make it (Utah, Bradley, Georgia and Northwestern). Meantime, Georgetown is 19-7 overall and 7-5 against schools Palm projects to make the NCAA tournament with just two additional losses to teams that won't make it (South Florida and Rutgers).

And yet somehow Wilner has Illinois 12th and Georgetown 20th.

And you want people to vote twice a week?
Posted on: February 10, 2010 12:47 am
Edited on: February 10, 2010 12:51 am

And now the Big Ten is really up for grabs

Michigan State was 9-0 with a three-game lead in the Big Ten just last week.

And that's the stunning part.

Not that the Spartans are tied with Illinois atop the Big Ten standings -- and also tied in the loss column with Purdue and Ohio State -- but that Tom Izzo's team was 9-0 and in total control of the league race just eight days ago. Then Michigan State went to Wisconsin, Kalin Lucas sprained his ankle, and, well, here we are. Now MSU is 9-3 in the Big Ten after Tuesday's 76-64 loss to Purdue, and suddenly the conference championship is more up for grabs than it seemed over the weekend, and it seemed pretty up for grabs over the weekend.

Here are the updated standings:
  • Michigan State (9-3)
  • Illinois (9-3)
  • Purdue (8-3)
  • Ohio State (8-3)
  • Wisconsin (8-4)
Who knows how this will end up?

Everything changes week to week.

Consider: Michigan State has lost three straight since winning 10 straight, Purdue has won six straight since losing three straight, Ohio State has won seven of eight since losing three of four, Illinois has won five straight since losing three straight, and Wisconsin is coming off a rare home loss. Nothing makes sense. What we knew yesterday is now irrelevant, what will happen tomorrow is anybody's guess.

Why do I say that?

Because nobody would've ever guessed this.

Not considering where we were just a week ago.
Posted on: February 7, 2010 12:03 am
Edited on: February 7, 2010 12:09 am

MSU's loss means Big Ten is 'up for grabs'

Ohio State's Evan Turner Tweeted moments after the game went final.

Big Ten title is up for grabs!

Yes it is, Evan.

And how did we get here?

Michigan State was 9-0 in the Big Ten and in possession of a three-game lead in the league standings just five days ago. But the Spartans lost at Wisconsin on Tuesday and at Illinois late Saturday, and now the Big Ten is, like Turner said, up for grabs. There's essentially a four-way tie for second considering Wisconsin, Purdue, Illinois and Ohio State all have three league losses, and that three-game lead Michign State owned is now just a one-game lead heading into Tuesday's showdown with Purdue.

And Kalin Lucas still has a bad ankle.

Which is obviously at the root of what's happening.

I won't go so far as to say Michigan State would've won at Wisconsin if not for Lucas' injury because, well, I don't believe that. But I do think it's fair to suggest the Spartans would be at little risk to lose the Big Ten title if not for Lucas' sprained ankle. As it is, there's a real risk, and these next few weeks are going to be wild.

Michigan State is 9-2.

Wisconsin and Illinois are 8-3.

Purdue and Ohio State are 7-3.

"Big Ten title is up for grabs," Tweeted Turner.

Yes it is, Evan.

Now let's see who grabs it.
Posted on: November 30, 2009 10:05 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2009 4:20 pm

The Poll Attacks

I just returned home from California.

I'm sick.

I'm tired.

I'm sick and tired of dumb voters.

The only cure is to Poll Attack the stupid and their stupidity.

AP poll: You know how people eat turkey on Thanksgiving, then get really tired and fall asleep?

That's got to be what happened to John Bohnenkamp.

How else to explain Bohnenkamp -- the sports editor of The Hawk Eye newspaper in Iowa -- putting Illinois at No. 21 on his AP ballot despite the Illini losing to unranked Utah on Friday and unranked Bradley on Saturday? It's the type of inexplicable move on which the Poll Attacks were created. Understand, Utah has losses to Idaho and Seattle, plus a 77-55 loss to Oklahoma State while Bradley has double-digit losses to BYU and Oklahoma State. So it's not like the Illini lost to Syracuse and Texas over the weekend. They lost to Utah and Bradley. And it's not like the Illini have great wins to offset the bad losses. They've only beaten Wofford, Northern Illinois, Presbyterian and SIU-Edwardsville.

So how does a 4-2 team with no good wins and two bad losses end up No. 21 on Bohnenkamp's ballot?

I have no freaking idea.

He's either still asleep, clueless or careless.

There's no other explanation.

Coaches poll: Do the games matter?

That's a serious question.

Do. The. Games. Matter?

I ask because I sat courtside in Anaheim last Thursday and watched Minnesota beat Butler 82-73, at which point the Gophers advanced to the semifinals of the 76 Classic while the Bulldogs went into the consolation bracket. Minnesota went on to finish 1-2 in the 76 Classic with a win over Butler and losses to Portland and Texas A&M, ending the week with an overall record of 4-2. Likewise, Butler went on to finish 1-2 in the 76 Classic with a win over UCLA and losses to Minnesota and Clemson, ending the week with an overall record of 4-2.

In other words, Minnesota and Butler had the same record last week.

They have the same record now.

And their records only include reasonable losses.

Honestly, there isn't much difference between Butler's body of work of Minnesota's body of work, except for that Butler doesn't have any notable victories and Minnesota has one notable victory ... over Butler! So shouldn't that be the tiebreaker? Shouldn't Minnesota's win over Butler have Minnesota ranked ahead of Butler? Of course it should. But Butler is No. 20 in the Coaches poll and Minnesota is ninth in "others receiving votes." That sort of logic -- or lack of logic -- is also what has Michigan State ranked No. 9 and Florida ranked No. 17 even though Michigan State is 5-1 with a loss to Florida while Florida is 6-0 with a win over Michigan State.

So I ask again: Do the games matter?

To me, they do.

That's why I have Minnesota ahead of Butler and Florida ahead of Michigan State, because head-to-head competition (particularly on a neutral court) should serve as a tiebreaker when two schools' bodies of work are similar. Minnesota's body of work is similar to Butler's body of work just like Florida's body of work is similar to Michigan State's body of work. The only differences are that Minnesota beat Butler and Florida beat Michigan State. They should be ranked accordingly at this point in the season unless, of course, the games don't matter.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com