Posted on: November 16, 2011 1:02 am
By Gary Parrish
NEW YORK -- They turned a game that was tied at halftime into a blowout, had five players score in double figures and introduced the nation to a freshman class that just might be gifted enough to win Kentucky an eighth national championship. And John Calipari was pissed.
"We're playing like it's an AAU game," Calipari said.
And he went on and on from there.
"I kind of expected what happened in the first half -- bunch of young guys out there doing their own thing," Calipari added, and he didn't sound like a man who had just watched his second-ranked Wildcats cruise to a 75-65 win over 12th-ranked Kansas. "I've got a bunch of young players."
Indeed he does.
Just like he usually does.
But here's betting Calipari wouldn't trade them for almost anybody.
Roy Williams might have a better roster at North Carolina, but that's probably where the conversation begins and ends. Yes, this country has more conventional teams and more experienced teams, but there aren't many teams more talented than Coach Cal's Wilidcats, and they showed that in spurts here at Madison Square Garden on a Tuesday night that began with people celebrating Mike Krzyzewski's 903rd career victory and ended with folks spilling into these midtown Manhattan streets mumbling to themselves about whether Anthony Davis is human.
Because he didn't seem human against Kansas.
The 6-foot-10 freshman finished with 14 points, six rebounds and seven blocks.
He looked like a future top overall pick of the NBA Draft.
And yet Davis still showed his youth at times -- as did the Wildcats in general. They weren't perfect and they aren't perfect, but the potential for greatness is there. With every long jumper made and shot swatted into the stands, it was easy to see the potential for greatness is there.
"This team has a chance of being special if they choose," Calipari said. "But they’ve got to come together.”
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:25 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 10:31 pm
By Gary Parrish
NEW YORK -- Mike Krzyzewski sat at the table in black Duke warmups that blended into a black Duke backdrop and immediately started talking about ... his past two games and various bumps and bruises that might affect practice. Seriously. It was funny. It was typical. But after a couple of minutes the Hall of Fame coach relented and actually acknowledged the giant record in the room ... in the most subtle and vague way possible.
"Excited about going to the Garden," Krzyzewski said. "It's going to be a unique event."
Yeah, I'd say so.
The Champions Classic is a first-year event designed to put four elite programs -- in this case, Duke, Michigan State, Kansas and Kentucky -- in the same building on the same night for the next three seasons with the matchups and location changing each year. It's a terrific idea. The doubleheader would be big on its own merit. But Tuesday night's doubleheader here at Madison Square Garden will be especially significant -- or, as Krzyzewski put it, unique -- because the most accomplished active basketball coach in the world will have an opportunity to become the winningest coach in NCAA Division I men's basketball history.
Coach K enters the game with 902 wins.
Barring an upset, he'll record No. 903 against Michigan State.
So a notable moment is (presumably) on deck. But if you were expecting Krzyzewski to focus on that on the eve of the game, you haven't been listening to him talk for the past three decades. Simply put, that's not K's style -- even if he's well aware of what he's about to accomplish.
"I'm not trying to hide the historical significance of this," Krzyzewski said. "But I can't put it ahead of what I'm doing."
And what is he doing?
"I'm just trying to figure out how to guard [Michigan State's Draymond] Green and keep [the Spartans] off the boards," Krzyzewski said. "I try not to think about those [other] kinds of things."
That's classic Krzyzewski -- always thinking in the moment, never getting too high or too low or too caught up in the big picture that consumes most of us. He lives life 40 minutes at a time. Or, more accurately, from one media timeout to the next. That -- in addition to his brilliant basketball mind -- is among the things that's allowed Krzyzewski to be consistently excellent while other Hall of Fame coaches come and go.
When Krzyzewski will go is anybody's guess.
But that day doesn't seem close.
He's only 64.
He seems sharper than his age.
So there are plenty of good years ahead of him, perhaps a fifth national championship, too. But for now the focus remains the same -- on the task at hand, on Draymond Green, on offensive rebounding and Michigan State in general. The rest of us can stare at 903. K's just trying to score more points than his opponent in a 40-minute contest.
"Nine-O-Three is gonna happen -- hopefully sooner rather than later," he said. "But I'm going into this game like any other game. I just want to win."
Posted on: November 14, 2011 5:46 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 10:31 am
While the college basketball season technically started a week ago with a smattering of underwhelming games, most casual college basketball fans will not start paying even remote attention until tonight. The 24-hour marathon on ESPN puts college basketball in the limelight in November, stealing the attention away from the NFL, college football and the NBA (well, the labor negotiations) for at least one day. The Carrier Classic was fantastic and two top 25 teams have already lost, but the 24-hour marathon will jumpstart everything.
We’re sure you’re not going to watch all 24 hours, but we have you covered here at CBSSports.com. Throughout the entire day, we will have a live chat and live blog going on right here. Jeff Borzello will be on couch patrol for the entire day, presumably with well-coiffed hair and house music in the background, while Matt Norlander will also hop in for much of the afternoon and night to talk Nate Wolters and music that's diametrically opposed to the beats Borzello is already blasting. Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish will also make appearances, provided Goodman is done doing up-close interviews with Robbie Hummel and Parrish isn't unreachable at an NYC bar.
Check back here at midnight, and join us for a tremendous 24 hours. Come for the hoops, stay for the jokes -- and chip in for the pizza.
Posted on: November 14, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 3:30 pm
By Gary Parrish
NEW YORK -- I'm in Manhattan for Tuesday night's Champions Classic.
But I've still got time for the Poll Attacks.
Here we go ...
Associated Press poll: The first thing I did when the AP poll was released was go straight to Scott Wolf's ballot because the Los Angeles Daily News writer was the focus of the preseason Poll Attacks, and I wanted to see if he learned anything over the past few weeks.
He did not.
Scott still has Kansas ranked third and ahead of North Carolina even though Bill Self called him "nuts" for doing it, and he still has Arizona ranked sixth even though the Wildcats have lost an exhibition and looked average in their first three games, and even though Josiah Turner has been wildly immature and ineffective. Sean Miller actually benched the freshman point guard for Sunday's game against Ball State. And yet Scott still has this team ranked sixth -- one spot ahead of Ohio State and six spots ahead of Syracuse.
I tried to help him.
But I just can't get through.
Maybe next week.
Another wild ballot belongs to The State's Ron Morris.
He has Michigan State ranked sixth and Vanderbilt ranked eighth and, my God, that's inexplicable. I mean, nobody loves Tom Izzo more than me -- he's my traveling buddy, remember -- and I still believe in Vanderbilt despite Sunday's loss. But Izzo's team is young and probably not even one of the nation's top 20 teams right now, and Vanderbilt's loss to Cleveland State has to be considered. Neither school should be anywhere close to the top 10 right now. That's why Jeff Goodman and I have Vanderbilt ranked 19th and Michigan State unranked.
Another school we have unranked: UCLA.
But Ron has the Bruins ranked 18th.
I'll explain why that's silly in the coaches poll section of the Poll Attacks.
Coaches poll: Last week was the first week of the regular season, and I realize the 31 men who vote in the coaches poll were busy. Hell, I was busy. But I wasn't too busy to realize UCLA lost a home game to unranked Loyola-Marymount.
That's why the Bruins are no longer in the CBSSports.com Top 25 (and one).
Makes sense, right?
What makes no sense is that UCLA still got 10 points in the coaches poll.
Maybe, just maybe, putting the Bruins on a ballot could be justified if they lost at the buzzer to a quality and underrated team. But that's not what happened Friday night in Los Angeles. UCLA never led in the second half and fans started leaving with five minutes remaining. The final score was 69-58. And hurting UCLA's cause even more is the fact that Loyola-Marymount backed its big win with a 58-51 loss to Middle Tennessee State, meaning the team that beat UCLA by 11 on Friday lost to MTSU by seven on Sunday.
And yet the Bruins still got 10 points.
That speaks to the brand of UCLA.
Or, more likely, how silly some coach (or two) -- plus Ron Morris -- is somewhere.
Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: November 13, 2011 10:20 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2011 10:46 pm
By Gary Parrish
The Top 25 (and one) will be updated on the college basketball page shortly.
Here's how it will look:
OUT: No. 21 UCLA
Posted on: November 13, 2011 9:55 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 12:11 am
By Gary Parrish
Here’s everything you need to know about Sunday’s slate of college basketball games …
(NOTE: We will file a Night Court each night this season. Follow @GaryParrishCBS, @GoodmanCBS, @MattNorlander, @JeffBorzello and @EyeOnCBB on Twitter to make sure it gets sent to you as soon as it's posted.)
Game of the day: Ashton Gibbs helped No. 10 Pittsburgh avoid an upset against Rider. The senior guard made what basically served as a game-clinching 3-pointer with 60 seconds remaining in an eventual 86-78 victory for the Panthers. Gibbs finished with 24 points and five rebounds. Pitt and Rider were tied at the half.
Win to brag about: Schools from conferences with no BCS-affiliation need as many good non-league wins as possible, and Cleveland State got one at Vanderbilt's Memorial Gym. The final was 71-58. It's a result that -- when combined with Butler's remade roster and early struggles -- suggests the Vikings might be able to win the Horizon.
Loss to hide from: Yes, Vanderbilt was without Festus Ezeli. But the No. 7 Commodores still had two pros (Jeff Taylor and John John Jenkins) and homecourt advantage, and that's why losing to Cleveland State was embarrassing. In the end, as I pointed out earlier, it probably won't matter much. But the last thing a team whose skeptics focus on bad losses from previous years needs is a bad loss in the second game of the season.
Player who deserves improper benefits: Texas has lost so many players early to the NBA Draft in recent years that Rick Barnes is stuck with a roster that isn't all that talented, and he very much needs a guy who was probably recruited as a role player to emerge as a star. Could that guy be J'Covan Brown? I'm not sure. But he got 28 points and eight assists in UT's 82-46 win over Boston University.
Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Josiah Turner is a McDonald's American and superb talent. But he was late for shoot-around one game last week, and Sean Miller didn't play him a single minute in Arizona's 73-63 win over Ball State. (Note to Josiah: Time to grow up, kid. You very clearly have a coach who isn't gonna take your ...)
Numbers don’t lie:
Three other notable results
On tap: There are no matchups between Top 25 teams scheduled for Monday. (That comes Tuesday.) But No. 4 Connecticut and No. 5 Syracuse will both be in action, and No. 23 Gonzaga has a late tip against Washington State.Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: November 13, 2011 5:26 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2011 5:32 pm
By Gary Parrish
It's just a November loss to a non-league opponent.
And Festus Ezeli didn't play.
So, in the end, Vanderbilt's 71-58 loss to Cleveland State won't matter much in any tangible way. It won't keep the Commodores from winning the SEC or making the Final Four, and it probably won't even affect their seed because the selection committee will recognize it happened with their starting center in street clothes. But, that said, this still hurts -- at least in terms or reputation -- because no school's preseason ranking was more questioned than Vanderbilt's, and Sunday's embarrassing loss at Memorial Gym won't do much to change the perception that the Commodores just don't belong next to North Carolina and Duke and Louisville, regardless of what returns and what enrolls.
It's still Vandy, the skeptics screamed all preseason.
On Sunday, they all laughed and mocked and joked on Twitter.
Will Vanderbilt get the last laugh?
I mean, I still like this team -- especially when it includes Ezeli. But the last thing a school already fighting perception issues based on postseason losses to lower-seeded teams needed to do Sunday was give skeptics more reasons to be skeptical, and that's precisely what Vanderbilt did. So now the Commodores will just have to deal with it ... and a ranking outside of the top 10, too.
Posted on: November 12, 2011 11:43 am
Edited on: November 12, 2011 12:32 pm
By Gary Parrish
CORONADO, Calif. -- The logos college basketball events put at midcourt are dangerous.
Don't believe me, ask Roy Williams.
"Let's stop putting those stupid logos on the floor where kids slip and slide around," Williams said. "Somebody is going to get hurt, and I've said that for years and years and years."
The North Carolina coach has indeed said that for years and years and years -- proof being that the above quote isn't from Friday night's Carrier Classic. That's actually a quote I found from 2008, a quote Williams delivered after two Tar Heels (Marcus Ginyard and Tyler Hansbrough) slipped on a midcourt logo during a game in Raleigh.
So coaches have literally been fighting this fight for years and years and years.
And yet nothing changes.
There was still a big logo at midcourt for the Carrier Classic ... and it nearly cost Michigan State's Branden Dawson. The 6-foot-6 freshman slipped on the logo while running and twisted his knee. Yes, he later returned. But it looked bad. And it could've been bad. And it's not something the NCAA should allow to continue.
"We've got to get rid of those logos in the middle of the court," Michigan State's Tom Izzo said late Friday. "We can put logos other places. I'll wear logos to support the people who sponsor us. They can paint me. But we have to get rid of the logos for the safety of the players."