Tag:Washington
Posted on: March 31, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2011 3:34 pm
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Washington's Thomas entering NBA Draft

Isaiah Thomas announced Thursday that he will enter his name in the NBA Draft. Through a statement, the junior guard suggested he has no plans to return to Washington even though he said he will not hire an agent "at this time."

"Although it was a tough decision, I have decided to forego my senior season and enter my name into this year’s NBA Draft," Thomas said. "Over the past three years I've enjoyed every single minute of my Washington Husky career. I am very thankful to have played for a great coach like Coach [Lorenzo] Romar and our entire coaching staff. I have just over two quarters left to earn my degree, and I fully plan on finishing school. Also, I would like to take the time to thank all of my teammates and Husky fans for their support and the unforgettable memories."

Thomas averaged 16.8 points and 6.1 assists for the Huskies this season.

"Isaiah Thomas has had an unbelievable impact on our program during his time with us," Romar said. "We will definitely miss him, but we are behind him in his quest to fulfill a lifelong dream to play in the NBA."

(Click this link to see which underclassmen have already declared for the NBA Draft.)
Category: NCAAB
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: February 5, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2011 12:42 am
 

Did Washington just lose the Pac-10 title?

Washington seemed like a lock to win the Pac-10 one week ago.

Now the Huskies just seem like a mess.

They lost at unranked Washington State last Sunday, at not-even-close-to-being-ranked Oregon State on Thursday, and, most recently, at also-not-even-close-to-being-ranked
Oregon on Saturday. In other words, the Washington Huskies are impersonating the Washington Wizards, and now they're now 15-7 overall, 7-4 in the Pac-10. That record puts Lorenzo Romar's team third in the league standings -- behind Arizona (20-4, 9-2) and UCLA (16-7, 7-3) -- and means Washington is certain to exit the Top 25 (and one) when the rankings are updated Sunday afternoon.

And let's not attribute this downward spiral to the loss of Abdul Gaddy.

His torn ACL didn't help, no question. But the Huskies were 5-1 with wins over Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon State and Oregon in their first six games without Gaddy. Now they're on a three-game losing streak thanks to back-to-back losses to the same Oregon State and Oregon teams they handled last month by an average of 25 points.

The good news?

The Huskies' next two games -- and five of their final eight -- are at home.

The bad news?

The Huskies are two games behind Arizona with a game at the McKale Center still to come, meaning they'll likely finish with at least five league losses. Arizona, fresh off a 3-OT win at Cal, is projected to finish with no more than four.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 10, 2011 3:29 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2011 4:04 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

I thought the Poll Attacks would inevitably create enemies.

And they might still.

But they also create relationships, which means I'm bringing people together (while ripping apart AP ballots). For instance, Dave Mackall (previous Poll Attack victim) now emails me his Top 25 every Sunday, and David Jones (previous Poll Attack victim) sent a note over the weekend to tell me I was right to clown him for ranking KSU No. 1 in the preseason. (He added that I'm an idiot for continuing to rank Michigan State, but let's not get into that.) And then there's Lindsey Wilhite, last week's Poll Attack victim. Upon reading my assault on his ballot, Lindsey came at me via Twitter. Then I went back at him. Then we went back and forth for a minute, and now I think we might be friends.

In other words, the good guys don't take the Poll Attacks personally.

Because they're never personal.

I don't make fun of people's hairstyles or tans.

(How could I, right?)

I just make fun of their AP ballots, and I'm about to do it again.

Let's go!

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

Associated Press poll: Readers often ask my philosophy on ranking teams. Here it is: I believe what I believe until on-the-court results force me to change. If I start from the position that the San Diego State Aztecs will be good (which I did) then I operate under that assumption until they prove me wrong (which they haven't). Similarly, if I start from the position that the Cincinnati Bearcats will be a team that finishes in the bottom half of the Big East (which I did) then I operate under that assumption until they prove me wrong (which they haven't). I believe whatever I believe until reality forces me to change my beliefs, and then I change. And I never try to predict the future. I rank in the moment with the information available at the time. Then I watch a week's worth of games and adjust, and it really is that simple.

Clearly, ranking teams is a subjective process. I know that. But what I've found is that my way is the smartest way (if you don't mind me saying), and it's precisely what moved me off Memphis weeks ago. I can't begin to imagine what's preventing 16 AP voters from doing the same.

Yes, 16 AP voters somehow put Memphis on their ballots this week despite the following:
  1. The Tigers have been routed by every good team they've played -- specifically Kansas (neutral), Georgetown (home) and Tennessee (away).
  2. The Tigers' best win is a four-point win over a Miami team that has also lost to Rutgers and Clemson
  3. The Tigers have gone to OT with Austin Peay and Arkansas State, and been pushed to the final minutes by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Tennessee State and East Carolina.
You have to not watch an incredible amount of basketball and completely ignore box scores to still rank the Tigers. They don't pass the resume test or the eye test, and the truth is that they aren't even playing like a top 50 team. Injuries (Wesley Witherspoon) and departures (Jelan Kendrick and Angel Garcia) deserve some of the blame, and the overall youth of the roster is also a legitimate excuse for the uneven start. And just so we're clear, no, the uneven start does not suggest Josh Pastner is in over his head, nor does it mean things can't get better. Pastner was and still is the best hire Memphis could make at the time the hire was made, and he'll have this young roster competing at an elite level when it's a tad bit older (and not quite so skinny). That said, there isn't a single thing that's happened on the court to make anybody think it's reasonable to rank Memphis this week.

So shame on the 16 voters who did it.

(You want all 16 names? Click this link to read them. Too many to name here.)

The rankings range from 19th for Roger Clarkson to 25th for Marcus Hunter, Dan Wiederer and Whitelaw Reid. I have no idea what Roger is thinking. Marcus lives in Memphis and really should know better. Dan lives in North Carolina but still should know better. And Whitelaw is just being Whitelaw. He has Memphis 25th and Texas A&M unranked even though the Aggies are 14-1 with wins over No. 17 Washington and No. 19 Temple, and their lone loss came on Nov. 25 by two points to Boston College. But that's not a body of work that deserves a ranking, according to Whitelaw, who has Texas A&M unranked, Memphis 25th and Washington -- the same Washington team that Texas A&M beat last month -- all the way up at No. 13.

Did you get that?
  • No. 13 Washington
  • No. 25 Memphis
  • Uranked Texas A&M
That's what Whitelaw came up with.

Make sense of it, my loyal readers, if you can.

(Editor's note: You can't.)

Coaches poll: Penn State is 9-6 with double-digit losses to Ole Miss, Maryland, Virginia Tech and Maine. Seriously, Maine. The Nittany Lions got worked by the Black Bears last month. So while I acknowledge Saturday's win over Michigan State was a nice moment for Ed DeChellis' program, it wasn't nice enough to offset a resume featuring six losses, five of which are to unranked teams. You can't just rank a team because it got a nice win. (If that was the case, where's Houston's votes?) The body of work must be considered, mustn't it? All along I thought that was common sense. But apparently not. Because Penn State got two points in this week's coaches poll, and Maine must feel like it got totally screwed. (If you're gonna rank Penn State, at least rank the Black Bears, too!)
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: December 6, 2010 7:24 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 1:29 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

Somebody ranked Florida 16th after a loss to UCF. Same somebody didn't even rank undefeated UCF. And that voter from the Daily Progress isn't progressing well at all. That's too bad for him. But it's great for the Poll Attacks.

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

Associated Press poll: Florida returned five starters from a roster that made the NCAA tournament, and the Gators added a McDonald's All-American to the bunch. So ranking them high in the preseason made some sense. I even did it myself. But now the season has started, and the Gators are 6-2. Their losses are a lopsided loss at home to Ohio State that didn't really bother me and a surprising loss on the road to UCF that bothered me quite a bit.

But you know who wasn't bothered by it?

Scott Mansch from the Great Falls Tribune in Montana.

It didn't bother him at all.

Dude had the Gators 16th last week and 16th again this week.

(Worth noting: Florida didn't make the Top 25 (and one) or actual AP poll.)

Needless to say, this was startling. So I decided to further examine Scott's AP ballots from last week and this week and compare the two. Here's what I found: He dropped Missouri five spots for losing in overtime to No. 9 Georgetown, dropped Michigan State two spots for losing by five points on the road to No. 1 Duke. (More on this below.) But Florida? Scott kept the Gators right where they were last week on his ballot after the loss at UCF. And what makes it even sillier is that Scott didn't rank undefeated UCF at all. So he apparently believes losses to teams he and everybody else has ranked are worse than losses to unranked teams. That's all I can figure.

(Moving on …)

Does anybody know Whitelaw Reid from the Daily Progress in Virginia?

We have to sit this guy down, ASAP.

I busted him up in last week's Poll Attacks, and I thought he might listen and adjust. Alas, he did not. My man still has Villanova ranked No. 8 and Tennessee unranked despite the fact that Tennessee is undefeated with a neutral court win over Villanova. He still has Connecticut behind Michigan State, Kentucky and Washington despite the fact that Connecticut is undefeated with wins over Michigan State and Kentucky, both of which beat Washington. And he still has Missouri ahead of Georgetown despite the fact that Georgetown is undefeated with a win over -- you'll never guess -- Missouri.

That last game, a thriller, happened last Tuesday.

Do you think Whitelaw heard about it?

Do you think Whitelaw even knows the season is underway?

Coaches poll: There are lots of things I hate about how people vote in polls -- that's sort of how I stumbled into doing this every Monday -- but there's nothing I hate more than when teams drop for losing competitive games to higher-ranked teams, especially on the road. By definition, a team ranked No. 1 is supposed to beat a team ranked No. 6, particularly when the game is on the top-ranked team's home court. So it should've surprised nobody when No. 1 Duke beat No. 6 Michigan State 84-79 last week at Cameron Indoor Stadium. What's surprising is that the Spartans dropped from No. 6 to No. 8 in the coaches poll because of the loss.

Seriously, why?

What did anybody see in that loss at Duke to make them think MSU wasn't worthy of its ranking?

How many teams would've or even could've won that game in that building on that night?

So stupid.

If you want to rank Michigan State eighth, that's fine. Or put the Spartans 12th. I don't care. My point is only that there isn't a single thing that happened over the past week that should've diminished anybody's opinion of Michigan State. So wherever a voter had the Spartans last week is, at worst, where that voter should've had them this week.

For instance, I had Michigan State No. 5 last week.

Same thing this week.

Because a five-point loss on the road to the No. 1 team is no reason to drop them.
Posted on: November 24, 2010 2:10 am
Edited on: November 24, 2010 2:22 am
 

Five thoughts on a great night of hoops

Tuesday marked the first real day of great college basketball games, and it was terrific. Here are five thoughts from a night that saw No. 1 Duke remain undefeated, No. 4 Kansas State take its first loss, Kemba Walker lead UConn past No. 2 Michigan State, and No. 8 Kentucky get by No. 13 Washington thanks to another stellar effort from yet another terrific John Calipari-coached freshman:

1. Duke is seriously talented, elite, all that and more

The Blue Devils were the nation's consensus preseason No. 1 team, and the nation saw why during their 82-68 win over Kansas State. You could reasonably argue -- I'm not saying I necessarily believe this, just saying it could be reasonably argued -- that Duke has college basketball's best player at three different positions, and that freshman Kyrie Irving is already the team's top player despite the fact that he joined a roster featuring seven guys with national title rings. This team was easy to love on paper, and it's even easier to love after watching it on the court. They won't lose when they play well. To top them, somebody will have to be really good on the same day they're a little off.

2. Jacob Pullen will probably be OK, I think

Jacob Pullen struggled against Duke, missed 11 of the 12 shots he attempted. So if you want to question him, you can. And I won't blame you. But I would like to remind you that he's had awful nights before and recovered nicely. The All-American candidate posted back-to-back 2-of-15 games last January and still went on to put 34 on BYU and 28 on Xavier during the NCAA tournament. Granted, it's unclear if Pullen can be that same type of player without Denis Clemente in the backcourt beside him, and, I know, Pullen hasn't looked great this season regardless of the opponent. But he's still undeniably the best player on a team that already owns wins over Virginia Tech and Gonzaga, and that's worth remembering in the spirit of perspective.

3. Kemba Walker is turning into a star

New York-area basketball enthusiasts have wanted Kemba Walker to be a star since the moment he enrolled at UConn, but it didn't happen that quickly for a variety of reasons. It's happening now, though. Walker recorded at least 30 points for the third straight game and led the unranked (for the moment) Huskies to a 70-67 victory over Michigan State. He's driving and scoring and, perhaps most impressively, leading. And though I can't imagine Walker keeps it up and really averages around 30 points per game, if he's anywhere close to this good consistently then my prediction that UConn will miss the NCAA tournament for the second straight year will be wrong in a major way.

4. Michigan State, as usual, will be a work in progress

As sure as Tom Izzo is spelled with two Zs, Michigan State will be there in the end. To think otherwise would be stupid. But it must be concerning for Spartan fans that Kalin Lucas was awful in the loss to UConn. While Walker had the type of game that enhances (and in many cases inflates) reputations, Lucas had one that damages them. He recorded four field goals and five turnovers in the loss, and an elite point guard shouldn't have games like that in his senior year even when he's coming off of an injury.

5. Terrence Jones is way better than I anticipated

I knew Terrence Jones would be good because he's big and skilled and naturally gifted, but what he's done through four games is ridiculous. The 6-foot-8 freshman is averaging 20.1 points and 11.8 rebounds after geting 16 points and 17 rebounds in UK's 74-67 win over Washington, and he's the main reason why the Wildcats are still overwhelming opponents despite losing five first-round picks from last season's team. Jones' waffling between Washington and Kentucky for two weeks last May -- specifically the way he toyed with fans via Twitter -- before ultimately signing with the Wildcats was a major turnoff in my eyes, but I don't care about that anymore. Kid is performing like a monster. Just tremendous. He'll never play college basketball next to permanently ineligible Turkish star Enes Kanter (barring a successful appeal to the NCAA). But, my lord, can you imagine how scary Kentucky would be with those two?
Posted on: November 23, 2010 12:08 pm
 

Good night of college hoops on tap

Tonight should be a great night to settle in and watch hoops on television.

I'll be flying to Orlando for the Old Spice Classic.

So hopefully my flight has reliable WiFi.

Either way, here's what's on tap:
  • No. 2 Michigan State vs. Connecticut in Maui at 7 ET
  • No. 3 Ohio State vs. Morehead State at 7 ET
  • No. 8 Kentucky vs. No. 13 Washington in Maui at 9:30 ET
  • No. 1 Duke vs. No. 4 Kansas State in Kansas City at 10 ET
That's two Hall of Fame coaches (Tom Izzo and Jim Calhoun) meeting in the first game, two elite big men (Jared Sullinger and Kenneth Faried) battling in the second game, two former teammates (Terrence Jones and Terrence Ross) competing in the third game, and two top five teams (the Blue Devils and Wildcats) squaring off in the fourth game. It's not bad for a Tuesday in November. Or any day in any month, really.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com