Posted on: December 5, 2011 8:40 am

Wakeup Call: Let's keep laughing at the BCS

By Matt Norlander

Sean Miller is just begging for anyone to give him some love.

Since no one was hurt, I can pull a Jerry and say, "Ah, that's a shame." // Man gets mugged, treats mugger to a meal, gets his wallet back. // THE WORLD INHABITS CREATURES THAT WANT TO END US. // Just good kill-time-til-lunch viewing: Notable front pages from the Los Angeles Times, dating back to 1881. // Is the Internet a bad thing? I'm inclined, on this here webpage, to say no ...

★ 'Twas quite a big weekend in college basketball. Lot of things to try and track. If you missed, here's a link worth checking.

★ Raphielle Johnson also gives you good-to-know anecdotes you could've missed.

★ The Friday night stuff can get buried sometimes, so I wanted to link to what I wrote about Jim Boeheim after he finally apologized following his team's win over Florida.

See if you can find Goodman in this picture.

★ I've said 3 goggles are out of fashion for a good while now. This makes it official.

★ This Doc Sadler ejection was silly, but not silly enough to warrant its own post on here. That's why I'm thankful for Ballin' is a Habit.

★ For me, this is a "well played, John."

★ Dick Vitale: guaranteed to cry a river tonight.

★ Kind of non-hoops, but don't know I never saw this brilliant mock logo before.

★ It's my guess we'll be reading less and less about VCU as the season goes on, so get your familiarity in with this team now.

★ Damian Lillard is lighting and filling it up this year -- unexpectedly. Scoring more per game than any other player in the nation.

★ Player pages and stats and enlightenment are now up at KenPom.com. You can only see them if you have a $20/year subscription. If you want to know more about basketball, hop to it.

★ Yep, this photo will be making the December compilation.

★ If Utah continues along this path of awfulness, it may warrant its own post. But we've got to wait another month or so before really seeing if this is one of the worst BCS teams in the past decade.

► And this is why we had Tu Holloway as one of the five best players in America before the season started.

♬ If you're just tuning in now, since college football's joke of a postseason can now bloom, I offer up a music recommendation every day in this space. Alberta Cross gets the nod today. I honestly have no idea if this band is any good, but I know they hit the spot sometimes. I had this song stuck in my head -- before I knew who played it -- for about four months.

Posted on: December 3, 2011 10:15 pm

Night Court: UK vs. UNC was everything we wanted

Jeff Borzello

Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: Charleston and Chattanooga played two overtimes, and – oh, who am I kidding? Clearly the best game of the day – and possibly the year – was the much-anticipated Kentucky vs. North Carolina tilt. The two teams went back and forth for 40 minutes, with about 10 future first-round picks trading shots and blocks. Down by one in the final seconds, UNC’s John Henson had a chance to hit the winning shot – but Kentucky’s Anthony Davis reached out and blocked the shot, sealing the victory for the Wildcats. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Win to brag about: Marquette went to in-state rival Wisconsin and snapped the Badgers’ 23-game home winning streak, 61-54. The Golden Eagles were without Junior Cadougan, but Darius Johnson-Odom and Todd Mayo stepped up for Buzz Williams’ group. Jordan Taylor struggled for the Badgers, turning it over early and getting saddled with four fouls. Marquette dominated the glass, especially on the offensive end, and also didn’t let Wisconsin get open outside shots.

Loss to hide from: Hate to keep going to the well, but Boston College’s 14-point home loss to Boston University was the latest in a bad Eagles’ defeats. BU had started 0-4, but has now won four in a row. Boston College was outrebounded by 13 and gave up 13 offensive boards.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Tu Holloway didn’t scored the most points of anyone on Saturday, but he proved once again he is the most clutch player in college basketball. He led Xavier to a 19-point comeback in the final 10 minutes, beating Purdue, 66-63. Holloway hit three 3-pointers in a 70-second span in the final two minutes, and also hit the game-clinching free throws. 

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Robert Sacre didn’t have a bad stat line on Saturday, finishing with 16 points in an 82-75 loss to Illinois. However, he scored only two points over the final 24:22, and grabbed just two rebounds all game. Defensively, he allowed Meyers Leonard to post 21 points and six rebounds. Despite having Sacre and Elias Harris, Gonzaga was also outscored in the paint. That just shouldn’t happen.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 1.95: That was the points per possession for Xavier in the final 8:03, when it overcame a huge second-half deficit.
  • 1991: The last time Tulane started a season 9-0, which the Green Wave now are after beating Georgia Tech on Saturday. It was their first win over an ACC win in eight years.
  • 23: The number of offensive rebounds Connecticut allowed against Arkansas, despite winning 75-62. When’s the last time a UConn frontline allowed so many second chances? 

Three other notable results:

  1. Spurred by seven points in 90 seconds from Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh beat Tennessee in the Panthers’ first game without Travon Woodall.
  2. Led by 19 points from Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan defeated Iowa State, 76-66. Royce White had 22 and 13 for the Cyclones.
  3. Kansas outscored South Florida by 25 points in the second half en route to a 70-42 victory.


  • Evan Ravanel started in place of the injured Jared Sullinger for Ohio State. He had 11 points and seven rebounds in an easy win over Texas Pan American.
  • Reeves Nelson played zero minutes in the second half, as Texas outscored UCLA by 16 after halftime and won 69-59. Ben Howland said Nelson missed a defensive assignment in the first half.
  • USC’s Dewayne Dedmon was expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a stress fracture in his right foot, but he started on Sunday, playing 26 minutes.

On tap: There’s no Kentucky vs. North Carolina for you, but Sunday has a pretty solid slate of games. Two undefeated teams go at it when Baylor travels to Northwestern, and UNLV puts its 8-0 record on the line against Missouri Valley contender Wichita State. Out west, California and San Diego State will wage battle. An under-the-radar matchup could be Dayton against 8-0 Murray State.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:09 am

Wakeup Call: More good Friday hoop tonight

By Matt Norlander

Tayshaun Prince at last night's Kentucky game. Links will be in short measure today, as I'm in Syracuse and missed out on most of my Internet rummaging last night.

As a former layout guy in newspaper, hey, I get it. The person behind that blunder hasn't slept since, I bet. // I posted the best college hoops photos from November yesterday -- here's the best photos in sports from the 11th month. // The best college to goM to in the United States is ...

★ Beyond any moral or emotional or journalistic takes/responses you have to the Bernie Fine story, remember, this is a high-profile case with the law now. Big and stiff penalties could likely be coming.

★ The uniqueness of UNLV and Mike Moser.


★ Linked him yesterday, will do so again today, because Sean Keeley has done a fantastic job staying on top of and keeping everything in order with the SU stuff. More thought-provoking questions raised here.

★ What Hollis Thompson did to Twitter last night.

★ That was a nice November for college basketball. Not tremendous, but quite good. Let's take a quick look back before getting eager with December.

★ Rasheed Wallace: epic troll!
★ Harvard won a good game on the road against Vermont last night. This is a nice stat.

★ Which guys are hurting their teams most right now/

★ Want to get smarter about basketball stats and understand what they really mean in the grand scheme? Click on this and bookmark the page.

This is ... I don't know ... funny? If the girl's OK with it, I guess it's koo.

★ "ESPN Keeps Trying to Pretend it Cared about the Bernie Fine Molestation Allegations All Along."

► Darius Miller flies high.

♬ You remember Fountains of Wayne, right? That Stacy's Mom song took over your radio all those summers ago. But that song was on a really fantastic album, Welcome Interstate Managers. Here's one of the many really good ones off a great pop record. Yes, this is clearly an Oasis imitation -- and I love.


Posted on: December 1, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: December 1, 2011 12:21 pm

College basketball's November: in photos

By Matt Norlander

Like most of you, I'm a sucker for good photography. For the past couple of years, I've done best-of-the-year photo posts at the end of each season. But I wanted to get more frequent with my appreciation for the faceless photogs that do tremendous work all season long.

These men and women truly have the best seat in all of sports -- as close to the action without actually being part of it. So just after each month ends, we're going to post the best 40 or so shots from the previous 28, 30 or 31 days. Here's a mosaic of our sport's November, courtesy of the good people at the Associated Press, Getty Images and US PRESSWIRE.

Email your tips and correspondence to matt.norlander@cbsinteractive.com.

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Posted on: December 1, 2011 8:37 am
Edited on: December 1, 2011 8:48 am

Wakeup Call: Wow. December already.

By Matt Norlander

I'd vote for this kid as our next president. // I know it's early, but here's some shots of Christmas celebrations from around the world. // The art of science is so pretty to look at. // After reading this, I'll pretty much never be friending anyone I don't know on Facebook again. // This is incredibly heart-warming and inspiring ...

★ Lost amid all the Bernie Fine/Jim Boeheim talk -- Fab Melo may get to wipe the incident from Memorial Day off his record.

★ Did you catch the very scary moment for the Michigan State cheerleader last night?

★ If it's possible, I really liked Forde's column from Tuesday night -- and Sean Keeley's take even more.

★ An SB Nation column about how we shouldn't be making this all about Boeheim. But the rub is: Boeheim made it about Boeheim with his initial comments. And I don't think the media's gone full-on after Boeheim; Fine's been plenty targeted, too.

★ A compelling case from the editor of the Post-Standard on why the paper didn't hand over its recording of the Bobby Davis-Laurie Fine tape. But I remain staunchly against any act/inaction that potentially endangers children with child molesters for the sake of journalistic integrity and propriety.

★ So Alex Oriakhi's dad has challenged some bloggers to a fight after UConn's next home game.

★ Told you Monday night Scott Machado is one of the best point guards in the country. The latest data is backing that up big-time.

★ It's quite definite right now that the WCC is the best mid-major league. I want to wait another 10 days or so and see what the top of the league is doing/has done. There's potential for the league to flirt with fifth-best-in-basketball status.

★ Marshall Plumlee -- who you'll say, 'Seems like he's been at Duke for 10 years -- when he's still on the team in 2016, will redshirt this season.

This kind of thing will become more and more popular to tweet out, methinks.

Neat photo from last night's UNC-Wisconsin game.

★ More on how Creighton came back and beat San Diego State. That's just a terrific win, guys and girls.

★ Parrish says UNC needed that win heading into the Kentucky game. I suppose yes. Still think UNC loses decidedly at UK.

► Warning: a couple curses in this video, but this is just too awesome that I can't not post it. "It's done. That cake is DONE." And this is brand new -- it has an anti-Jerry Sandusky line and tributes Patrice O'Neal at the end.

♬ If you can't get down with Herbie Hancock, you can't get down with me. Beat comes in at the one-minute mark. Love the climbing bassline and how he makes a song sound like a rainforest.

Posted on: November 30, 2011 12:12 pm

Personnel turnover a concerning trend for Oregon

By Jeff Borzello

When Dana Altman took over the Oregon program in April of 2010, he was asked what it would take to be successful in Eugene.

“It’s about players,” Altman said at the time.

Well, where are those players?

With the news on Tuesday night that freshman Bruce Barron was leaving the team, six players have now departed the Ducks since Altman took over. Star freshman Jabari Brown left last week, and three players jumped ship in the spring: Martin Seiferth, Teondre Williams and Malcolm Armstead. Jamil Wilson transferred to Marquette in June 2010, two months after Altman took the job.

Moreover, aren’t really bit players just being run off the team because they’re not good enough for the Ducks. Brown was expected to be the team’s go-to-guy this season; Armstead was the starting point guard last year; Williams was one of the team’s top 3-point shooters; and Wilson was to see an increase in minutes his sophomore year. Barron was a freshman who had been on the team for one month.

“I want guys that want to be here,” Altman told reporters after last night’s win over UTEP.

From the looks of it, attrition was also something of an issue for Altman at Creighton. In his final years there, only Andrew Bock and Kenton Walker transferred out. Sources indicated there was indeed a high degree of turnover during his time in Omaha.

To the Ducks’ credit, they seem to be playing well with the current roster. They went into Nebraska and beat the Cornhuskers last week, and defeated UTEP on Tuesday night. The talent is still there, as transfers Olu Ashaolu and Tony Woods are still finding their way up front. E.J. Singler, Garrett Sim and Johnathan Loyd are all putting up double-figures.

Even without Brown, Altman still has nine players playing at least 12.8 minutes per game.

“We’ve got guys that are committed to this team,” Sim told reporters before the UTEP game.

It’s difficult to get a grasp on why the players keep leaving Oregon under Altman, as the reasons vary. Moreover, the reasons aren’t specific to Altman – it seems like typical transfer motives. Armstead left to move closer to home; Williams wanted to go back to the South; Seiferth wanted more playing time; Wilson missed his family and wanted to be closer to home; and Barron and Brown have been silent on the issue thus far. For the latter two, though, it's alarming that two freshmen would leave the program before December of their freshmen seasons.

On the surface, there aren’t any outright complaints about Altman’s coaching style. Last spring, though, Altman did express concern for all the personnel movement.

“It’s more transition than we would like,” Altman told the Eugene Register-Guard. “Players left for various reasons. You hope guys are in a situation where everybody likes where they’re at, but it isn’t always that way.”

For Altman to turn around Oregon and get the Ducks back to the NCAA tournament, as he said 19 months ago, he’s going to need players.

At this rate, though, he’s not going to have any left.

Photos: US Presswire

Posted on: November 29, 2011 1:24 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 1:28 pm

USC loses Dewayne Dedmon to a stress fracture

By Jeff Borzello

It’s been a long seven games for USC this season, as the Trojans have started 3-4, including an embarrassing 42-36 loss to Cal Poly.

One of the bright spots has been the flashes sophomore 7-footer Dewayne Dedmon has shown during his first year with the program. Just as he was heating up, though, the news came on Tuesday that he will be out 4-to-8 weeks with a stress fracture in his right foot.

According to Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times, Dedmon began feeling pain last week and underwent an MRI on Monday. Stress fractures usually take at least six weeks to heal, a USC trainer told Holmes.

Dedmon had been inconsistent at times this season, but he was coming off a 15-point, eight-rebound, three-steal performance in a win over South Carolina on Saturday. He went for 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in the season opener as well, and reached double-figures one other time.

Through seven games, Dedmon led the team in blocks, was third in scoring and second in rebounding. He was averaging 7.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game.

For a Trojans team that needed all the help they could get, this doesn’t bode well for their Pac-12 chances. Maurice Jones and Aaron Fuller have been solid scoring the ball this season, but there’s not much in the way of replacements for Dedmon. Former Texas A&M transfer James Blasczyk is 7-foot-1 and provides minutes, but he’s not productive.

Photos: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 28, 2011 11:15 am
Edited on: November 28, 2011 4:20 pm

Turnovers the biggest problem for Arizona State

By Jeff Borzello

When one thinks of a Herb Sendek-coached team, the idea of a defensive-minded, ball-control team comes to mind.

Not this season. 

Arizona State is just 2-4 this season, with the two wins coming over Montana State and Wake Forest. The most concerning trend for the Sun Devils is their assist-to-turnover ratio. Through six games, they have 63 assists and 111 turnovers.

Arizona State is averaging 18.5 turnovers per game, which is highly unconventional for a Sendek-coached team. Last season, Arizona State averaged just 12.2 per game, tying for the second-fewest in the Pac-10. Here are the turnover numbers for Arizona State during Sendek’s regime (credit to Arizona State’s sports information department):

  • 2011-12: 18.5 per game
  • 2010-11: 12.2 (second-fewest in Pac-10)
  • 2009-10: 11.9 (first in Pac-10)
  • 2008-09: 11.5 (second in Pac-10, 15<sup>th</sup> in nation)
  • 2007-08: 12.5 (third in Pac-10)
  • 2006-07: 14.5 (7th in Pac-10)

What makes the numbers even worse is the tempo at which Arizona State plays. According to Kenpom.com, the Sun Devils are in the bottom 100 of the country in tempo. The turn the ball over on 18.4 percent of their possessions, ranking No. 293 in that category.

There is no one primarily culprit for this epidemic. All five of the starters are averaging more than two assists per game. Chris Colvin and Keala King are leading the way, but neither is a true point guard – which is the biggest problem on the team. Trent Lockett has taken his chances handling the ball as well, but he too is not a point guard.

Sendek expected to hand the keys to freshman Jahii Carson right off the bat, but the talented recruit is yet to be cleared. The NCAA is still waiting on some test scores, and no one in Tempe seems overly optimistic about the situation resolving itself anytime soon, according to sources.

Carson is an excellent playmaker who was a very good ball-handler and could initiate offense for himself and others. He would likely solve many of the turnover-related problems for the Sun Devils.

With that said, it’s not just point guard play. Arizona State is simply not taking care of the ball at all. The Sun Devils are throwing the ball away too often, making poor decisions at nearly every position.

Arizona State does have the offensive talent to get some wins in Pac-12 play. However, it needs to completely turn around the way it takes care of the ball.

Essentially, it needs to become more like a Herb Sendek team.

Photo: US Presswire

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