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Tag:Wisconsin
Posted on: March 11, 2011 3:37 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 12:16 am
 

Friday Wrap-up

NEW YORK -- Kemba Walker dominated at Madison Square Garden again.

Tom Izzo suddenly has a dangerous basketball team again.

And Jimmer went Jimmer in a bigtime way.

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

Best game: Big East semifinals. Connecticut vs. Syracuse. Did you really think it would end in regulation? "I didn't want it to go six overtimes again," said UConn's Kemba Walker, whose brilliance ensured it would not. The Huskies instead closed this one out in the first OT and advanced to Saturday's title game with a 76-71 victory over the Orange two years after the two schools played that six-overtime classic in this same building. Walker finished with 33 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and six steals, then spent some time chatting outside the media room with President Bill Clinton. Meantime, UConn coach Jim Calhoun used part of his postgame press conference to praise his star and highlight, for the 87th time this week, that one Big East coach didn't vote Walker First Team All-Conference. "He's the Most Valuable Player on any team in the country," Calhoun said. "I'm going to keep saying it."
 
Other best game: North Carolina was down double-digits to Miami at the half, at which point I openly wondered whether Larry Drew was back to playing point guard for the Tar Heels. Turns out, he was not. And that was never more obvious than when Kendall Marshall, Drew's more-talented mid-season replacement, drove into the lane in the final seconds of a tie game and found Tyler Zeller all alone under the basket for an easy layup at the buzzer that gave North Carolina a 61-59 win in the ACC quarterfinals. It was a play that capped an incredible run that allowed the Tar Heels to overcome a 19-point deficit in the final 10 minutes. It also reminded me of what Zeller told me about Marshall last week. "He does a lot of things that make our jobs easy," Zeller said. "He can pass you the ball and you just have to lay it up." As Miami now knows, that's exactly right.

Yet another best game: Virginia Tech probably secured an NCAA tournament bid with a 52-51 win over Florida State in the ACC quarterfinals, but the Hokies couldn't celebrate until Derwin Kitchen's shot at the buzzer that initially seemed to give FSU the win was waved off. The officials huddled around a monitor and correctly concluded that the ball was still in Kitchen's hands when time expired, but just barely. It was a wild scene in Greensboro. Seth Greenberg cried and everything.

Team whose dream remained alive: Whether Alabama can get an at-large bid remains debatable because the Crimson Tide have seven losses outside of the top 50, but their 65-59 overtime win against Georgia in the SEC quarters definitely enhanced their case. The Crimson Tide now have four top-50 wins to help offset those troubling losses, and they're at no risk of taking another "bad" loss before Selection Sunday (provided they meet Kentucky in the semifinals). As for Georgia, man, who knows? The Bulldogs have a better body of work than Alabama despite two losses to Alabama. But a bubble team blowing a double-digit second-half lead to a fellow bubble team is never a good final impression to leave with the Selection Committee.

Team whose dream was crushed: Jerry Palm projected Tulsa as the winner of C-USA's automatic bid after UAB lost Thursday, which means Tulsa entered Friday in the Field of 68 here at CBSSports.com. I'll be honest, it just looked weird. But that projection will change as soon as my colleague updates his projections because UTEP beat Tulsa 66-54 in the C-USA quarterfinals and eliminated the Golden Hurricane from NCAA tournament contention. Hey, it was fun while it lasted.

Performance I hope you witnessed: Walker's 33 at MSG was the biggest story of the night ... right up until Jimmer Fredette dropped 33 on New Mexico in the first half and finished with a career-high 52 in BYU's 87-76 win in the Mountain West semifinals. The CBSSports.com National Player of the Year was -- ready for this? -- 22-of-37 from the field, and only one of his points came on a free throw. If the members of the Selection Committee want to do the nation a favor, they'll put BYU and UConn in the same region and give us a possible Jimmer vs. Kemba matchup two weekends from now.

Performance I hope you missed: Wisconsin and Penn State did nothing to help the Big Ten's reputation as a slow and boring basketball league. In fact, they might've cemented the reputation by playing a game in which the winning team scored 36 points and the losing team scored 33. Penn State was the winning team, if you care.

 Five things worth noting

1. Nolan Smith suffered a toe injury in the second half of Duke's 87-71 win over Maryland in the ACC quarterfinals and did not return. Mike Krzyzewski said afterward that he wasn't sure if Smith would be back before the end of the ACC tournament but stressed the most important thing is making sure the ACC Player of the Year is available for the NCAA tournament, which will begin for Duke, presumably, next Friday in Charlotte.

2. Memphis finally looked like a team with a roster built to overwhelm C-USA opponents during a 76-56 win over East Carolina in part because Joe Jackson finally looked like somebody worthy of the nickname "King of Memphis." The McDonald's All-American has gone from a local high school legend to a freshman starter for the Tigers to a part-time reserve in less than a year, and it's been tough on him. But Jackson was tremendous against ECU while scoring a career-high 24 points. He made 8-of-12 field goal attempts, 3-of-3 3-point attempts and 5-of-5 free throw attempts, and now the Tigers are just a win over UTEP away from earning an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

3.
Southern California played its Pac-10 semifinal against Arizona without head coach Kevin O'Neill, who was suspended by his athletic director after a Thursday night incident with an Arizona booster. Assistant Bob Cantu coached the Trojans in O'Neill's absence. They lost 67-62 and are almost certainly headed to the NIT.

4. Ohio State entered this week in position to get a No. 1 seed regardless, but that doesn't mean the Buckeyes wanted or needed to lose their Big Ten tournament opener to Northwestern (if only because there's nothing cool about losing a Big Ten tournament opener to Northwestern). Thanks to Jared Sullinger they avoided the upset. The CBSSports.com National Freshman of the Year finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds in OSU's 67-61 overtime win. Worth noting is that Sullinger shot 18 free throws, i.e., just as many as Northwestern's entire team.

5. If you're surprised Tom Izzo has Michigan State operating at a high level then you haven't been paying attention for the past decade. Somehow, someway, this is what Izzo does. Regardless of whether the Spartans are great, good, average or terrible from November to March, by St. Patrick's Day each year Izzo gets them straight. So of course Michigan State will play in the Big Ten semifinals thanks to a 74-56 win over Purdue that took the Spartans off the bubble. They're now guaranteed to make the NCAA tournament. They'll probably make the Sweet 16, just because.

Final thought: Providence fired Keno Davis Friday and folks immediately started trying to explain why this didn't work. Among the common theories was because the Big East school hired him "with just one year of head coaching experience," which is both wrong and silly. Understand this: Davis didn't fail at Providence because he lacked significant prior experience. He failed at Providence because the school decided to hire the country's hottest young coach in April 2008 with little regard to how he fit with the Friars program. Davis was a bad fit -- and I hope Providence realizes that before it lures its next coach. Hire somebody with experience if you want; I'm not saying that's the wrong route. All I'm saying is that projected greatness and fit are way more important than past experience, and you can look elsewhere in the Big East to see it. Pittsburgh hired Jamie Dixon with zero years of head coaching experience while Marquette hired Buzz Williams with one. Things seems to be going well for those two programs, don't they?

Bottom line, what somebody has done at another school is important, sure.

But it's not nearly as important as what you think somebody can do at your school going forward.
Posted on: February 27, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2011 5:50 pm
 

If I had to project the field right now ...

... here's how my top four lines would look:

No. 1 seeds: Ohio State, Kansas, Pittsburgh, BYU
No. 2 seeds: Notre Dame, Duke, Purdue, Texas
No. 3 seeds: San Diego State, Wisconsin, Louisville, Syracuse
No. 4 seeds: St. John's, Connecticut, North Carolina, Florida
Posted on: February 19, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2011 5:49 pm
 

The top 10 is stacking losses, one after another

It started last Saturday when Ohio State fell at Wisconsin. Then Kansas lost at Kansas State on Monday. Then Georgetown lost at Connecticut on Wednesday while Wisconsin lost at Purdue. And then, on Saturday, Pittsburgh lost at St. John's, Notre Dame lost at West Virginia and Texas lost at Nebraska, meaning we've seen the schools ranked first, second, third, fourth, eighth, ninth and 10th in the latest AP poll lose over the past eight days.

Four of those losses were to unranked teams.

All of them were on the road.

So, more than anything, this stretch is a reminder that winning road games is difficult without exception. But it also highlights how vulnerable even the so-called best of the best are this season, and it should make for an interesting NCAA tournament because the top seeds aren't going to seem invincible. Assuming it's true that believing you can win is the first hurdle an underdog must jump, let's go ahead and acknowledge that the eight and nine seeds will have more realistic dreams than usual of the second weekend because they're going to see the one seeds as beatable.

Take the schools projected as one seeds now, for instance.

The Pittsburgh Panthers? They've lost to two currently unranked teams. The Texas Longhorns? They've lost to two currently unranked teams. The Kansas Jayhawks? They've lost to a currently unranked team. The Ohio State Buckeyes? Well, they haven't lost to any currently unranked teams. But they have played one-possession games with three currently unranked teams (Penn State, Northwestern and Minnesota), and that alone suggests they're capable of losing to almost anybody even if they beat almost everybody.

In other words, who's scary good?

Who scares you?

Though neither Kansas nor Kentucky made the Final Four last season, both were intimidating outfits heading into March Madness. Nobody wanted any part of those rosters, and it was a major surprise when the Jayhawks and Wildcats were eliminated early. This March nothing will be a surprise. Any of the one seeds could make the Final Four or lose in the opening weekend. Granted, the former is more likely than the latter. But I've seen enough so-called elite teams lose over the past week to know nothing is guaranteed.
Posted on: February 12, 2011 9:23 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2011 9:45 pm
 

OSU will stay No. 1 in the Top 25 (and one)

MADISON, Wis. -- Kansas will likely be No. 1 when the AP and Coaches polls update Monday.

If not Kansas, then Texas (especially if Matt Norlander has his way).

It'll be one or the other, and I can almost guarantee it because voters in those polls typically move winners up and losers down regardless of the details. So get ready for a new No. 1, but the top of my Top 25 (and one) will remain the same. I'm not dropping Ohio State even after Saturday's 71-67 loss at Wisconsin because, I mean, who wouldn't -- and doesn't -- lose at Wisconsin? If we're gonna start punishing teams for that, we might as well start punishing teams for wearing baggy shorts. Or chest-bumping. Or doing all the things all college teams do -- like lose at Wisconsin.

Beyond that, I still think Ohio State has the nation's best body of work.

The Buckeyes are 24-1 with wins over three teams ranked in the top 30 of the AP poll (No. 14 Purdue, No. 17 Florida and No. 26 Minnesota), and the only loss came by four points at No. 13 Wisconsin -- a place where the Badgers have won 35 of their past 36 games, a place where last season's national champion Duke Blue Devils also lost. Meantime, Kansas is 24-1 with just two wins over teams ranked in the AP top 30 (No. 15 Arizona and No. 19 Missouri), and the Jayhawks one loss is a nine-point loss at home to No. 3 Texas.

Road loss to Wisconsin > Home loss to Texas

Thus ...

OSU's resume > KU's resume

As for Texas, well, the Longhorns (22-3) have better wins than Ohio State and Kansas.

That's undeniable.

But they also have three losses -- one on a neutral court to No. 4 Pittsburgh, one at home to No. 10 Connecticut and one on the road (by 17 points) to unranked Southern California -- and I don't think you can just disregard that, and I don't believe the big wins are enough to cancel out the three losses. Reasonable minds can disagree, of course. But that's my mindset. So while I would definitely have Texas ahead of Kansas (remember, Texas won at Kansas), I can't bring myself to jump Texas ahead of Ohio State -- not when it would be based on little more than Ohio State's final-minute loss at a place where visitors almost never win.

Anyway, that's why I'm keeping OSU No. 1.

I'll figure out the rest of the rankings late Sunday.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 12, 2011 12:30 am
Edited on: February 12, 2011 12:41 am
 

The No. 1 and undefeated Buckeyes are underdogs

MADISON, Wis. -- I just landed here in Wisconsin and realized the Ohio State Buckeyes -- those 24-0 and top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes -- are a 1.5-point underdog Saturday against No. 13 Wisconsin, according to Sportsbook.com.

That's the power of the Kohl Center.

This is the first time the Buckeyes have been an underdog all season, and lots of people -- including yours truly -- believe Wisconsin will put a blemish on their presently unblemished record come Saturday afternoon. Either way, OSU will probably lose eventually -- if not this weekend then at some point over the next few weeks. Needless to say, there are odds on that, too. Click this link to check those out.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 11, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 1:21 pm
 

Videos, videos and more videos!

You want to watch me preview seven of this weekend's games with Jason Horowitz?

Click this link.

You want to hear me talk about myself for 20 minutes?

That's this link.
Posted on: November 26, 2010 12:59 am
Edited on: November 26, 2010 8:13 am
 

At least I had Wisconsin winning

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Old Spice Classic is really developing into a nice event.

Especially the consolation bracket.

I watched four games spread over nearly 12 hours Thursday here at the Milk House, and I saw a bunch of things I didn't expect to see. Like Boston College beating Texas A&M a week after losing to Yale. And California beating No. 21 Temple in what was supposed to be (but doesn't really look like) a rebuilding year for the Bears. And Georgia blowing a 12-point lead in the second half of a double-overtime loss to Notre Dame. Had I been asked to predict all four first-round games, I would've nailed Wisconsin over Manhattan and missed the other three. It was a strange day, but also typical given that this is college basketball and it's still November. In 11 hours I get to do it all again.

Here's Friday's schedule:

(All times ET)
  • Boston College vs. Wisconsin at noon
  • Texas A&M vs. Manhattan at 2:30
  • Notre Dame vs. California at 5:00
  • Georgia vs. Temple at 7:30
The Irish and Bears are the lone teams here still undefeated on the season.

Notre Dame is 5-0.

Cal is 3-0.
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.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com