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Tag:Pac-12
Posted on: December 27, 2011 8:59 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:35 pm
 

Conference Reset

As well roll into January that can only mean one thing -- we're about to launch full swing into conference play.

For some teams, non-conference play was a wake-up call. Teams that many thought would easily stroll into the NCAA tournament come March will now have to pick up the pace in league play.

Through Jan. 5, the CBSSports.com college basketball crew will be putting the spotlight on every major league, letting you know what you may have missed and what do you need to watch out for going forward.

  • ACC
    The ACC is going to be great soon with the additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh. But is it great right now? Not really. North Carolina remains a national title contender, Duke is Duke (despite Wednesday's loss at Temple) and Virginia is a surprise. But the league's other nine teams are either unproven or proven to be average or bad, and that's not a good look for a conference that prides itself on playing a high level of basketball. Read More >>
  • Atlantic 10
    For a while, it appeared the Atlantic 10 might finish without a conference champ. Xavier got off to a sizzling start with nine straight victories. Then came The Brawl -- followed by the Fall. Xavier suspended Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons and Dez Wells after the fight with cross-town rival Cincinnati -- and it all fell apart. Chris Mack's team lost three of its next four, including setbacks to Oral Roberts and Hawaii, which gave hope to everyone else in the league. Now Rick Majerus' Saint Louis team, which has only one loss thus far, may have a shot. Temple has struggled at times, but the Owls could challenge. And Saint Joseph's finally appears back in contention after two brutal campaigns. Read More >>
  • Big 12
    The Big 12 title is up for grabs. Kansas has been king of the league for most of the past decade, but this season the Jayhawks look vulnerable. No one can match the talent and length of Scott Drew's Baylor squad, but the Bears haven't been the most impressive team in the conference thus far -- that honor belongs to Missouri and new coach Frank Haith. But don't count out Kansas State as long as Frank Martin has this group of somewhat anonymous Wildcats buying into his brand of basketball -- which means playing hard. Read More >>
  • Big East
    When compared to last season, the Big East might look down this year. It's not going to be in the mix for 10 or 11 NCAA tournament bids, and the bottom of the league is not very strong. With that said, don't underestimate the conference too much; it has at least three legitimate top 10 teams and six teams who should receive top-four seeds in the NCAA tournament. Read More >>
  • Big Ten
    How many teams can enter league play these days and legitimately say they have eight teams in the equation for an NCAA tournament bid? Probably just one, and that's the Big Ten. After Ohio State, there's plenty of depth in this conference, which has established itself as the premiere league in the country this season. Read More >>
  • Conference USA
    Though Memphis is a disappointment, it's still the best team in Conference USA by a wide margin. But don't take my word for it. Take Ken Pomeroy's. His invaluable site (KenPom.com) still has Memphis ranked 31st and projected to be favored in every game it plays the rest of the way. So that 8-5 record is likely to turn into something like 26-8 on Selection Sunday (barring serious injuries or notable suspensions, the latter of which is always a possibility at Memphis). So Memphis will win C-USA. The real question is whether C-USA can put two teams in the NCAA tournament. Read More >>
  • Horizon League
    It doesn't seem likely that the Horizon will produce a national finalist for the third year in a row, but that doesn't mean the conference has taken a huge fall. Cleveland State and Wisconsin-Milwaukee have played well during non-conference play, and the league has had a few marquee clips against BCS-league teams. And what about Butler, the aforementioned two-time national finalist? The Bulldogs are turning things around as we enter conference play. But the rest of the league won't let Brad Stevens' troops waltz to a yet another Horizon title. Read More >>
  • Missouri Valley
    It's been a few years since the Valley was this good, even though the bottom part of this one (like most leagues) has a few bad teams. The race to win the league should be among four teams. For whatever reason, MVC clubs capture the hope of many in the tournament. Creighton, Northern Iowa, Bradley, Southern Illinois are all schools that have had big March moments. Two of the aforementioned can and should get into the Big Dance this year. Read More >>
  • Mountain West
    It's better than the Pac-12, and the case could be made it's the fourth-best collection of teams in college hoops. There isn't one group that's even flirting with .500. For a non-BCS conference, that's pretty unexpected and really good. And its success so far goes much deeper than Vegas' defeat of UNC back in November and Steve Fisher's insistence on looking like he teaches grad-level lit classes. Read More >>
  • Pac-12
    The Pac-12 has become the rebellious teenager that gets in its own way and is hurtling toward a life with no future. Here we are again having the same discussion we’ve been having the past few years. Nothing seems to be changing. This league is putrid yet again, and where’s the hope? Not an overstatement: Three Pac-12 teams making the NCAA tournament will be a genuine achievement. Read More >>
  • SEC
    Some fans take joy in the fact that John Calipari has never won a national title. If you're one of those, you might be in trouble. Kentucky really might do it this year. The Wildcats are big and strong and long and talented. They have shooters. They have shot-blockers. They've got everything you need to win a national championship, and they are, right now, the favorites out in Las Vegas. Read More >>
  • West Coast
    Outside of the six BCS-affiliated conferences, the No. 7 spot in league rankings is up for grabs. Why not the West Coast Conference? With three legitimate threats to win a game in the NCAA tournament, the WCC has as good of an argument as anyone. Moreover, with some of the non-conference wins the bottom half of the league picked up in November, the quality victories are there as well. Read More >>

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Posted on: December 23, 2011 8:59 am
Edited on: December 23, 2011 9:08 am
 

Wakeup Call: For kids from 1 to 92 ...

By Matt Norlander

Santa Claus is coming to town. // The final tweets of some famous people who've passed on. Kill me if Gaga or Kim K is part of my final digital burst to the world. // Some of the most beautiful libraries. // The tracking-Santa-on-Christmas-Eve is an entertaining thing. // And isn't this nice: an estimated $1.84 billion will get shoplifted this holiday season ...

Good idea for a CBB Tumblr.

★ Good look at teams playing freshmen a lot of minutes. No squad is overcoming being green like Georgetown.

★ The best dribbler in college hoops?

★ I had to drive to Hartford and cover UConn last night, so I've read very few things in today's Call. What I'm not nervous about sharing: Luke Winn's Power Rankings.

★ I thought we'd get through the week without hearing from Bobby Davis. I thought wrong.

★ Damn. I wanted to believe in Stanford.

★ If you missed my interactive timeline and column on Rick Pitino ...

★ ... read that, but then read John Gasaway's similar-but-different take on the Cards.

★ College players singing Christmas carols.

★ Pe'Shon Howard coming back today for Maryland and boy is that big.

★ Get to know Mississippi State's Dee Bost, who is undervalued right now, for sure.

★ You think you know why Creighton's good? You don't know until you read this.

★ What Florida needs to be asking from Santa.

► Here's Voltron (Florida's Patric Young) with one of the best blocks I've seen at the college level.



♬ This is THE DEFINITIVE CHRISTMAS SONG. In fact, it's the absolute best song to play at approximately 10:43 p.m. on Christmas Eve. It's not my favorite, but without question it's in the top three. I always wish the guitar solo was 15 or 20 seconds longer.


Posted on: December 21, 2011 8:35 am
 

Wakeup Call: Happy, happy Hannukah!

By Matt Norlander

The 10 biggest discoveries in our world in 2011. // A different set of discoveries: the best viral videos of the year. // This could be a day-maker. // The lava lake and abandoned Ferris wheel are my favorites. // A devastating, tragic story, because the girl never knew she was about to die. Her last memory/vision is an innocent millisecond before non-existence. // Vote for the worst Christmas song here; I actually don't have anything against "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" ...

★ I really love what Goodman's done with his informative/notebook-esque Tuesday column. A mushy stew of great info.

★ How about this St. Joe's transfer story from two years ago.

★ In wake of the Xavier-Cincy mess, I think two games would've been better than one, but either way, any punches thrown in hoops need to result in suspension, almost always.

One of the five best things Rob Dauster has written in 2011.

★ Will Shabazz Napier be out for Thursday's game against Fairfield?

★ "As long as the schools make rules to give the Todd Grahams of the world all the power, the Todd O'Briens don't stand a chance." Agreed. But the Todd Grahams are never losing the power.

★ I still disagree -- silly, stupid, irrelevant writer's opinion, I know -- with playing Sullinger when he's got tweaks to kink out, but he did play well against Lamar last night.

★ Seth Greenberg has some interesting protocol his players must cater to on Twitter.

★ If we must ditch "true point guard" then I'm immediately going to start using "pass-first point guard."

Saint Mary's has won eight straight, but I've gotta see them against better competition. No one talks about how Randy Bennett tends to schedule so lightly.
 
★ By mid-January, I think we see Brad Beal become a real force.

★ Bernie Fine accuser Zach Tomaselli pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of his own.

★ Forgot to link this yesterday, but it's been officially one year since this blog was launched. Very proud of what we've done here in 366 days, and hope to get even better, even prettier and even tighter in the next year. Thank you for continuing to come back -- our numbers have been improving more and more. We love you.

► Robbie Hummel once again can jump. He couldn't get six inches off the ground two months ago.



♬ This is an order from the Member of the Tribe who resides at this blog, one Mr. Goodman, who wanted Sandler's holiday tune in this spot today.



Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: December 19, 2011 9:22 am
Edited on: December 19, 2011 9:33 am
 

Easy to confuse Pac-12 with a mid-major league


By Jeff Goodman

There's no East Coast bias here. The Pac-12 stinks. Plain and simple. 

"No excuses," one head coach in the league texted me. "You're right." 

There's truly no defense for what's gone on out west thus far. The league has been absolutely manhandled. 

Sunday was just another day in the park for the Pac-12, one that saw South Dakota State pummel Washington in Seattle and then watched Virginia go out to Oregon and take care of the Ducks. 

A day prior, there was no shame in Gonzaga working over Arizona in Seattle. But what about Northern Arizona - with a 70-year-old interim head coach -- knocking off Herb Sendek's Arizona State Sun Devils?  Or Georgia going west and beating USC at the Galen Center?

The league doesn't have a single victory against a Top 25 team. In fact, it's nearly impossible to find the most impressive win notched by anyone in the league. It's been so pitiful that a case can be made for Oregon State's come-from-behind win in New Jersey against a young Texas team as the flagship win for the Pac-12 thus far. 

This could be a two-bid league. Probably should be a two-bid league. 

We thought, entering the season, there were four teams that were capable of making a legitimate run to the NCAA tournament. Maybe even a handful - if you want to include an Oregon team that was thrown together due to desperation. 

UCLA appeared formidable on paper, but we quickly learned that one player can truly wreck a season (see: Reeves Nelson). Arizona isn't nearly as talented as some thought, especially with talented freshman Josiah Turner refusing to buy into Sean Miller's approach early in the season. 

Oregon's Dana Altman has already lost his top freshman, Jabari Brown, and is now reliant on a bunch of second-chance guys (i.e. Devoe Joseph, Tony Woods) and Washington, the most talented team in the league, earned its most impressive win against UC Santa Barbara. California was blasted by Missouri and also lost on the road to what everyone figured was a rebuilding San Diego State club. 

Stanford has been the most impressive team in the league thus far with a 9-1 record, but the Cardinal still hasn't notched a victory against an NCAA tourney team. The loss was impressive, against top-ranked Syracuse in New York, but the most significant wins have come against N.C. State and Oklahoma State - a pair of teams likely headed to the NIT. 

Don't even get me started on teams like Arizona State (4-6), Washington State (which lost to UC Riverside), USC (which already has seven losses), Colorado (which has lost to Wyoming and Colorado State) and a dismal Utah team. None will even be on the bubble for the CBI or CollegeInsider.com. 

Listen, I want to defend the Pac-12. I graduated from a school in the league. 

But I'd lose all credibility in doing so. 

The league is currently ranked ninth in the RPI, behind the A-10 and Missouri Valley and barely in front of the WCC and C-USA.  

However, if there's one positive spin I can put on the Pac-12's misery, it's the fact that this league is up for grabs, a complete toss-up right now. It's difficult to imagine a scenario in which the regular-season champ doesn't get an at -large bid to go dancing - and obviously, the tourney winner gets an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. 

That means everyone in the league still has a shot. 

Well, maybe not quite everyone.


Posted on: December 19, 2011 8:35 am
 

Wakeup Call: 1 vs. 2 in women's hoops delivers

By Matt Norlander

Kim Jong-il's death will dominate the news today. A photo gallery of the neglected/repressed country he leaves behind. // It was quite a weekend for world news. This is the face of the last U.S. solider to leave Iraq. // How social networking has predictably killed off so much of the fun of high school reunions. // Can't remember if I linked this last week or not, but either way I don't care, because it's that good: the best/worst of 2011 band names. // This is what it looks like to have your life flash before your eyes ...

★ So much for the three-week injury. Tyshawn Taylor is apparently going to give it a go tonight against Davidson.

★ Baylor knocked off UConn in a big night for women's hoops Sunday.

★ If there was a must-read from over the weekend, it was this.

★ This is a biggie: the University of Houston has seen a considerable amount of its assets vanish in the wake of David Salinas' suicide.

★ You need to go back and watch every one of these dunks.

★ Basketball "through the eyes of a child" was one of my favorite reads of the weekend.

★ An interview with SI.com college hoops writer Andy Glockner, who understands the importance of clarity when conveying his thoughts.

★ A great look at how assist-makers in college basketball get their help.

★ The West Coast Conference fascinates me, and this post examinating who can do what in the league is worth a look.
 
★ Herb Pope, who's like 25 by the way, is getting closer and closer to playing at a level he probably didn't think possible.

★ No. 1 Syracuse is the fifth-biggest favorite to win it all. UK is now atop the betting lines.

Deaf player gets clearance from NCAA to play final 20 games of his fifth season. Good on you, NCAA.

★ Summit League just dominated Night Court this weekend. Here's what lies ahead for a conference that will probably only be a one-bid league, but it's a hell of a race getting thre.

★ Have always loved me some Weekly Watch, but the video of Katz is unsettling to me for reasons I can't explain.

► My buddy Jeff Eisenberg introduced me to this insane D-III dunk over the weekend.



♬ I've been posting some of my favorite Christmas tunes, and The Carpenters' "Merry Christmas Darling" is among the guilty pleasures, although maybe guilty pleasure isn't the right term. This is a great missing-you Christmas tune, and the best part comes at the end: that layered harmony is so buttery.



Photo: AP
Posted on: December 17, 2011 5:10 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2011 5:36 pm
 

Afternoon Delight: Plenty of daylight drama

By Matt Norlander

On busier Saturdays and Sundays this season, we’re not going to make you wait until the end of the slate of games to catch up with all that’s happened. Afternoon Delight (3-pointers in flight!) recaps the first five hours worth of action, the perfecta appetizer right before dinnertime.

The best we’ve seen so far: Baylor went into Provo and got a win in one of the toughest environments in college basketball, 86-83 over BYU. Brandon Davies was blocked by 5-10 Pierre Jackson as Davies tried to put up the game-tying 3. No Jimmer in the building, but Baylor had plenty of firepower from Brady Heslip, who drained six 3s. By the way, Perry Jones will be a guaranteed top-four draft pick. He had an injury scare in his leg/knee, but not matter: Jones came back in the game. He finished with 28 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Love the royal blue Santa suit.

Deserving of a free dinner at the restaurant of their choice: It was about as quiet of a top-25 game as you could ask for (and not want). Florida got out early against Texas A&M and coasted 84-64 in what they're calling the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. The worst thing about the Gators were their hideous orange-on-blue uniforms. This was more about A&M not being a top-25 than Florida proving its worth against a ranked team, which UF finally did by way of a victory.

No soup for you: That was a worse loss for Purdue than it was a good win for Butler. Andrew Smith picked up the trash and tipped the game-winner in with one second to give the Bulldogs a 67-65 win, but the Boilers gave away a 15 point led and was on the wrong end of a 21-8 run. Shaky free-throw shooting and not enough interior presence, either.

Afternoon all-stars

  1. Deshaun Thomas 30 points on 13-of-16 shooting and six rebounds as he showed just how good he can be in a spot when Ohio State needs him. Buckeyes won a 74-6 road game against slippery South Carolina.
  2. The two-overtime game you might have missed was a blast. All sorts of bonkers buckets and Miami beat Florida Atlantic 93-90. Reggie Johnson came off the bench, played in his first game back from a knee injury and 15 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five blocks in 36 minutes. Damn, son!
  3. Arnett Moultrie (17 points, 13 boards) was huge in Mississippi State’s tough road win at Detroit. Speaking of that:

Other afternoon action

  1. Mississippi State got a clutch block late from Moultrie and won 80-75 against the Titans, who could be a tournament team down the road. Mississippi State will climb into the top 15 of the polls now that it’s 11-1.
  2. Iona keeps gritting out road wins in the midst of its nine-game away-from-home trip. The Gaels won 63-62 at Vermont this afternoon.
  3. We’d give Temple a lot of credit if it went in and beat Texas on the road. It didn’t happen, and so the Longhorns deserve just as much credit for beating the Owls (77-65), who can finish second in the Atlantic 10.

Delightful thoughts

  • It’s a delightful thing when you can rally twice from double digits. That’s what the Big Red of Cornell did, knocking off Albany in overtime, 85-82.
  • As for the Horizon, consider: Detroit at home can't close out against Miss. St. Butler on neutral floor overtakes Purdue. Muscle memory, coaching, etc.
  • You see Cincinnati play teams like Radford, you see why Yancy Gates only got suspended for one Big East game and the remainder of this patsy schedule.
  • We'll see what the night brings, but after such a down week without any games, this start to a Saturday was uplifting and a joy to see. Felt like mid-February, almost.

Photos: US PRESSWIRE


Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:54 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 2:15 pm
 

Midseason additions are a welcome holiday gift



By
Jeff Borzello

The semester break is the closest thing college basketball has to the trade deadline.

It’s when new players become eligible, whether because of a transfer or from academic ineligibility. Moreover, many injured players point to the semester break as the return point. Of course, lots of players come with hype and anticipation; last year, Josh Selby, Drew Gordon, Renardo Sidney, Jio Fontan and others all became eligible around the same time.

This year’s crop of additions isn’t as strong at the top, but there are still some impact players in the mix. Remember, though, not everyone lives up to the hype – there was a reason they left their former team or were suspended in the first place.

Kevin Ware, Louisville: Academically ineligible for the first semester, Ware should step in and provide depth with his length and athleticism.

Ian Miller, Florida State: The Seminoles have lacked players who can create their own shot, but Miller (right) has shown the quickness to do that.

Reggie Johnson, Miami (Fl.): The injured big man should return in January for the Hurricanes. He’s a double-double lock on a nightly basis.

Gary Franklin, Baylor: Franklin (top) won’t solve Baylor’s turnover issues, but the Cal transfer gives Scott Drew another option to run the offense.

Tony Mitchell, North Texas: Could turn around the Sun Belt race for North Texas. He could be one of top 30 impact freshmen in the country.

Pe’Shon Howard and Alex Len, Maryland: Howard will return from injury, while Len from NCAA suspension. Maryland needs their help.

Kadeem Jack, Rutgers: Mike Rice told CBSSports.com that Jack would start practicing in January. Would give the Scarlet Knights an inside option.

Guy Landry, Gonzaga: Suspended by the NCAA for eight games for playing professionally in France, Landry could play against Arizona.

Drew Viney and Ashley Hamilton, Loyola Marymount: The Lions top two scorers should return from injury in January; Max Good has some firepower.

Reggie Smith, UNLV: The Marquette transfer made an impact with his defense in the Big East; the Runnin’ Rebels could use the Chicagoan.

Matt Carlino, BYU: Carlino graduated high school a year early to play at UCLA, but he transferred last December. He’ll provide perimeter offense.

Ferrakohn Hall, Memphis: The Seton Hall transfer will become eligible against Louisville on Saturday. He'll be a nice piece and provide some depth. 

Brandon Mobley, Seton Hall: He injured his shoulder over the summer, and has yet to play. However, he was cleared and should help inside.

Devoe Joseph, Oregon: He’s played the last two games for the Ducks, averaging 15.5 points and 5.0 assists in two wins. Big boost for Dana Altman.

Ty Walker, Wake Forest: Walker was suspended for the first semester by the school, but returned last week against Seton Hall.

Twany Beckham, Kentucky: The Mississippi State transfer isn’t a stud, but he should be able to provide some backup point guard minutes.

Mike McFadden, Robert Morris: The Iona transfer hopes to provide some perimeter help for the Colonials, alongside Velton Jones.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: December 16, 2011 10:47 am
 

Reeves Nelson to play professionally in Lithuania



By
Jeff Borzello

If any schools wanted dismissed UCLA forward Reeves Nelson, they’re out of luck. He’s heading to Europe.

UCLA head coach Ben Howland said Thursday afternoon that Nelson will be playing professionally in Lithuania. Nelson’s father discussed it further with an area newspaper.

“As far as what team that will be, we can’t say because we don’t have a signed contract,” Brian Nelson, Reeves’ father, told the Modesto Bee.

“Reeves is not returning to college. He’s not transferring anywhere. He has every intention of turning pro.”

He will also be declaring himself eligible for the 2012 NBA Draft in June.

It's been a disastrous two months for Nelson. He was dismissed from the team by Howland last Friday, after being suspended indefinitely earlier in the week. Prior to that, he sat out the entire second half against Texas and seemed to be enjoying himself on the bench during the 10-point loss. In November, Nelson was also suspended for being late to a team meeting. He missed the team’s flight to Hawaii immediately following that suspension.

Nelson averaged 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds last season.

Photo: US Presswire

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