Tag:Notre Dame
Posted on: February 28, 2012 12:11 am

Night Court: Kansas clinches eighth straight

In a "rebuilding" year, Bill Self led Kansas to its eighth straight Big 12 title. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Here’s everything you need to know about Monday’s slate of college basketball games … in a different format than usual to accommodate the less-than-stellar slate.

Eight in a row: Heading into the season, not many people had Kansas winning the Big 12. In what may have been Bill Self’s best coaching job, though, the Jayhawks got better as the season went on and clinched the Big 12 regular-season title with a win at Oklahoma State on Monday night. It’s not a vintage Kansas team, it doesn’t have a lot of depth or a ton of offensive options – but Self has the Jayhawks in contention for a No. 1 seed. Unbelievable stuff.

Georgetown under the radar?: It’s tough for a top-12 team to fly under the radar this late in the season, but if anyone fits that description right now, it could be Georgetown. The Hoyas just throttled Notre Dame on Monday night, locking the Irish down defensively and making plays at both ends of the floor. Because Georgetown has had some hiccups this season – double-digit losses to Seton Hall and Pittsburgh – the Hoyas might not get the attention they deserve.

Notre Dame needs to find its shot: The Fighting Irish are not the 3-point heavy team they’ve been in the past, but still, they’re not playing well right now. They shot just 4-of-31 from deep against St. John’s over the weekend and they didn’t do much better on Monday, knocking down just 3-of-17 from behind the arc. Throw in the fact that Jack Cooley only had two points, and Notre Dame simply did not look dangerous.

Everything Baylor: I know it was only Texas Tech, but when Baylor plays like it did on Monday night, the Bears are still a pretty tough team to beat. Perry Jones and 15 points and 10 rebounds in only 27 minutes, while Anthony Jones, Quincy Acy and A.J. Walton also scored in double-figures in the 77-48 win. Turnovers were still a problem, but it was a reminder that Baylor – despite its weaknesses – still has a ton of talent.

17-0: Mississippi Valley State improved to 17-0 in the SWAC with its win over Jackson State on Monday night, led by Kevin Burwell’s 30 points. The Delta Devils can finish the regular-season unbeaten if they beat Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Thursday.

MEAC race heats up: Savannah State stayed atop the standings with its win over North Carolina A&T, but Norfolk State remained only one game up after beating Florida A&M on the road. Delaware State dropped a one-point game at home to Morgan State, putting the Hornets out of the hunt.

March Madness comes early: The month of March technically doesn’t start until Thursday, but conference tournaments kicked off tonight in the Big South. VMI and High Point both advanced, meaning Radford and Gardner-Webb are both headed home.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 12:24 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 4:29 pm

Podcast: Which teams are running out of gas?

Could Jamie Dixon and Pitt wind up playing in the tournament after all? (AP)

By Matt Norlander

We've got a good Wednesday podcast for you. Goodman can't read a gas gauge and Parrish is getting free cars. Let's get to it.
  • From the beginning: How does one run out of gas more than 30 miles from home? Only Goodman has the answer. Apparently, Goodman's not afraid
  • 9:45: Not only is Goodman terrible at reading gas gauges, he doesn't understand geography.
  • 12:05: Michigan State, Draymond Green and the value/unique ability of Green.
  • 15:57: Which teams are running out of gas? Which teams have their honeymoon going sour?
  • 18:00: Kentucky, 22-1: a cut above now? Or should we wait two more weeks to judge?
  • 21:20: "I'm not going to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, brother." Ah, Conference USA talk!
  • 25:39: Pittsburgh is becoming an interesting case study. Goodman and Parrish believe they'll thickly be in the tournament discussion. I'm not there yet.
  • 33:06: Parrish is blind and receiving free cars.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast--whenever you can. I ask that you, if you like what we're doing here, encourage like-minded hoopheads to subscribe in Tunes as well. Guests like Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, they're the guys who make me sound better and make the podcast worthwhile. The other guys? Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, they really make it entertaining, and of course you can count on our trio show each Wednesday. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 9:38 am
Edited on: January 30, 2012 9:50 am

Weekly poll is back; pick the games here

By Matt Norlander

Due to college football's signing day falling on Wednesday this week, we've been pushed up in the polls. The good news is, we've got more games than before for you to vote on. Five of the results will air on "Courtside with Seth Davis" tonight at 7 p.m. ET, and another five will be revealed on "Inside College Basketball," which goes live at 11 p.m. ET, both shows on the CBS Sports Network, of course.

Get to clicking.

Want more of us? Or more interaction with hoops fans? We suggest you like the Eye On College Basketball Facebook page. And if that's not enough, CBSSports.com has your roundball fix tended to thanks to our daily newsletter.
Posted on: January 27, 2012 10:00 am

Somehow, Brey has Notre Dame in the mix - again

By Jeff Goodman

Just about every year, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey enters the season hoping to make things interesting. He knows what he's up against in South Bend, going up against guys named Boeheim, Calhoun, Pitino, Huggins and even Dixon and Wright for a chance to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament. 

It's not an easy task. 

This year it became more than just interesting when Brey's top player and one of the elite guys in the Big East, Tim Abromaitis, went down with a season-ending injury after playing just two games. 

"If you told me we'd be 5-3 in the league after Gonzaga made us look like a JV team for 40 minutes, I'd have fallen off my chair into the showers," Brey said. "But that's what's so great about our game and the length of the season." 

Especially, Brey maintains, in the Big East. 

"You just have to pick off a few," Brey said. "You don't have to win them all, but if you win the right ones, you can be in the discussion." 

Well, Brey and the Irish have picked off Louisville and Seton Hall on the road -- and got a huge one last weekend when they handed Syracuse it's lone setback of the season. 

"As proud as I was of our guys Saturday against Syracuse, I was even more proud of them against Seton Hall," Brey said. "They had every reason not to be ready to go after what happened Saturday. Fans were still talking about our Syracuse game, but we figured out a way to win on the road against an NCAA tournament team." 

Now Notre Dame, the team that lost to Georgia back in late-November and also couldn't get past Maryland in early-December, has made its way into the discussion. Brey said that it's taken time to get accustomed to being without Ambromaitis and a few other guys. 

"We had a dysfunctional November and December," Brey admitted. "Abro was in and out, Scott Martin (ankle) missed three weeks of practice, (Jack) missed the Maryland game and Atkins missed two games, It was crazy." 

What's nuts is that we're talking about Notre Dame, even after losing the potential Big East Player of the Year, being in the mix for the NCAA tournament. Brey said he wasn't expecting to hand the keys over to his sophomore backcourt -- Atkins and Jerian Grant. However, that's exactly what he's done and the duo has responded. 

"We've never had two guys with that kind of speed and athleticism in the backcourt," Brey said. "It changes us on both ends of the floor." 

And Cooley is starting to become known for his play on the court instead of his facial comparison to ex-Irish star Luke Harangody. He's averaging 12.9 points and 9.8 boards in league play. 

Next up for the Irish is a trip to Hartford and a matchup against UConn on Sunday. But Brey is smart enough to realize this game won't define Notre Dame's chances to make the NCAA tournament for what would be the fifth time in the past six years. 

"Two years ago, we went from 6-8 in the league and a flat-out NIT team to a number six seed," Brey said. "That's what's great about our league. But on the flip side, a few years back we lost seven in a row. It can bite you quick, but you always have opportunities." 

Posted on: January 21, 2012 8:12 pm

Notre Dame ends Syracuse's unbeaten run

By Jeff Borzello

Murray State is the last one standing, as No. 1 Syracuse lost its first game of the season on Saturday at Notre Dame, 67-58.

The Orange were 20-0 heading into Saturday, then the school announced starting center Fab Melo would miss two games. Most people thought the loss would hurt them, but not this much, and not this quickly.

Notre Dame jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first nine minutes – the first time all season Syracuse trailed by more than nine points all season. Syracuse made a run at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half, but the Fighting Irish kept responding.

All the problems people have pointed to all season with Syracuse seemed to come to a head on Saturday. Notre Dame dominated the Orange on the glass in the first half, getting several second chances against the zone. The Irish had a few careless turnovers (especially down the stretch in the second half), but they didn’t allow Syracuse to get out in transition and get easy baskets in fast-break opportunities until late in the game.

The lack of a go-to-guy was highlighted when Syracuse badly needed a basket in the first half. The Orange simply didn’t know where to turn. Kris Joseph struggled early; Dion Waiters didn’t do much besides back-to-back 3-pointers near the end of the first half; and Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine couldn’t get to the rim and create shots for themselves or teammates all night.

This was a combination of Syracuse not knowing how to react when getting punched in the mouth early, and Notre Dame simply not missing throughout the game. The Fighting Irish shot 50 percent from the field and made eight 3-pointers. Baye Moussa Keita and Rakeem Christmas had trouble replacing the production of Melo on the inside, as well.

Of course, this isn’t the end of the world for Syracuse – assuming Melo returns after Monday’s game against Cincinnati. He provides a dimension at both ends of the floor that no one else on the Orange can provide. Road trips in the Big East are no cakewalk, so it comes as no surprise that Syracuse was felled away from home.

Murray State now has the lone baton in the undefeated race.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: December 1, 2011 3:53 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 5:04 pm

Where does Notre Dame go from here?

By Jeff Borzello

Back in 2010, when star forward Luke Harangody missed five games due to injury, Notre Dame drastically changed its offensive system.

Mike Brey’s troops went from being an up-tempo outfit to a more methodical group, using the “burn” offense that slowed teams down and played a half-court game. The Fighting Irish started playing games with 55-60 possessions instead of 65-70, and subsequently went on a winning streak that sent them to the NCAA tournament.

While Tim Abromaitis was not the scorer and rebounder Harangody was, his ACL tear is still a huge loss for the Fighting Irish. That was evident on Wednesday, when Notre Dame was blitzed by Gonzaga en route to a 73-53 loss. With the increased defensive attention, Eric Atkins struggled, going 2-for-9 from the field with six turnovers. Scott Martin didn’t make a field goal and the team as a whole was 2-for-14 from 3-point range.

Ignore the fact the Irish were 0-2 this season without Abromaitis (he was suspended by the NCAA for playing in exhibition games three years ago and then redshirting). They are clearly a much more dangerous team with him in the fold; he stretches the defense with his 3-point shooting ability and is also arguably the team’s best rebounder. Moreover, he was one of two senior leaders on this team.

Without Abromaitis for the rest of the season, where does Brey go from here?

There’s no Tory Jackson or Ben Hansbrough on this team, no one player that can put the rest of the team on his shoulders and carry them to wins. Everyone knew it would be a rebuilding season, even with Abromaitis. But with him on the team, there was a fighting chance for an NCAA tournament berth.

Brey still has some pieces. Atkins is a playmaker that can get to the rim and score, while Jerian Grant has been a promising asset during his first season on the floor (he redshirted last season). Freshman Pat Connaughton has shown a consistent ability to knock down outside shots, and Harangody clone Jack Cooley is a very efficient rebounder down low.

The key player going forward for Notre Dame will be Scott Martin. He’s a versatile 6-foot-8 forward who has played multiple roles since transferring from Purdue and then injuring his ACL. He can knock down 3-pointers and also rebounds. In Abromaitis’ absence at the beginning of the season, Martin stepped up, averaging 13.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in the first four games. However, on Wednesday night, he struggled immensely, going 0-for-6 from the field and scoring one point.

He needs to become a senior leader and help lead the young perimeter group into Big East play. While he’s not as talented as Jackson or Hansbrough, he needs to be the player who lights a fire under this team without their star shooter.

It’s going to be difficult, but there is still some time to figure things out before conference play.

As we all know, Brey has reinvented his team before.

Photo: US Presswire

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Posted on: November 28, 2011 2:57 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 3:01 pm

Minnesota star Mbakwe suffers torn ACL

By Jeff Goodman

First Tim Abromaitis and now Trevor Mbakwe.

We've lost a pair of the top forwards in the country to season-ending injuries in the past week - and in the process, potentially a couple of potential NCAA tournament teams.

Abromaitis went down with a season-ending knee injury in practice last Friday, putting Notre Dame's NCAA tourney hopes in serious jeopardy.

Mbakwe suffered a knee injury early in the second half against Dayton in the title game of the Old Spice Classic. An MRI on Monday confirmed that Mbakwe tore his ACL, a source confirmed to CBSSports.com.

The loss of Mbakwe likely makes Minnesota a team that won't be playing in the Big Dance this season.

The Gophers still have a terrific coach in Tubby Smith - and some decent pieces. However, Mbakwe averaged a double-double last season, is a relentless rebounder and a guy who finds a way to get things done with his athleticism and determination.

Now it'll be up to Ralph Sampson III, who has struggled thus far this season, to step up his play. Rodney Williams has been a tease and has underachieved thus far in his career. In order for the Gophers to be a tourney team, Sampson and Williams will need to produce. Consistently.

Big man Maurice Walker is slow to recover from his season-ending knee injury he sustained a year ago - and hasn't practiced yet. Colton Iverson transferred out of the program.

The backcourt of sophomore Austin Hollins and freshman Andre Hollins has been solid and Julian Welch has given the Gophers depth.

Just a week ago, these were two programs with realistic aspirations of getting to the NCAA tournament. 

How quickly it can change.

Photo: US Presswire 
Posted on: November 25, 2011 6:20 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2011 6:40 pm

Notre Dame's Abromaitis tears ACL

By Gary Parrish

Notre Dame announced Friday that senior Tim Abromaitis tore his ACL in a morning practice.

Now his season -- and almost certainly his college career -- is over.

"Tim Abromaitis is one of the great stories in college athletics and represents everything that is good about college basketball," said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey. "We are all disappointed for Tim because of all that he has meant to our program. He has been such a big part of our success over the past three seasons. Tim is such a special young man and an unbelievable representative of Notre Dame both on and off the basketball court."

Abromaitis was a lightly regarded recruit who turned into an All-Big East performer. The 6-foot-8 forward played just 3.3 minutes per game as a freshman, redshirted the following year, then averaged 16.1 points and 4.7 rebounds as a sophomore and 15.4 points and 6.1 rebounds as a junior. He was averaging 14.0 points and 7.0 rebounds this season.

It's unclear whether Abromaitis could get a sixth year of eligibility, and Brey told CBSSports.com on Friday that it's also unclear whether Abromaitis would even want one considering what he's already accomplished academically. Abromaitis graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in finance in May 2010 and received an MBA from the Mendoza College of Business in May 2011.

"We can put the waiver in for a sixth year, but what does Abro want to do will be the question," Brey texted. "There is nothing left to challenge him academically here anymore."

Photo: AP
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