Posted on: March 1, 2012 11:51 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 12:30 am

Night Court: Ian Miller new FSU hero

Virginia absolutely let one get away tonight it might come to regret. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Jeff Goodman

(NOTE: We will file a Night Court almost every 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.)

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

Game of the day: Michael Snaer has company. Snaer has buried a couple of game-winning 3-pointer this season and now sophomore backcourt mate Ian Miller has one to his credit after a trifecta with less than a second left to beat Virginia, 63-60. Virginia led 58-49 with 3:27 remaining, but the 'Noles went on a 16-2 run to end the game. Tony Bennett's is still on the right side of the bubble, but can't flop in the ACC tourney. 

Win to brag about: Arkansas Pine-Bluff was 9-21 overall and 8-9 in the SWAC. Mississippi Valley State was 17-0 in league play. However, the Golden Lions pulled off the 78-67 upset handing Sean Woods' team its first setback in league play. 

Loss to hide from: Mississippi Valley State. See above. 

Player who deserves improper benefits: Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones and even Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague get most of the attention. However, Darius Miller is one of the most underrated players in the nation. He finished with 17 points and drained five 3-pointers on Senior Night, his final home game at Rupp. 

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: I've always been a fan of D.J. Richardson, but the Illinois guard struggled in the loss against Michigan. He played 40 minutes, was 2-of-11 from the field and had just two rebounds and a single assist. 

Numbers don’t lie:

1995: That was the last time Michigan came out on top in Champaign. However the Wolverines snapped a 13-game losing streak on the road against Illinois. 

7: That's what a VMI team that will play in the Big South title game is seeded in the league tourney. The Keydets knocked off Winthrop, 75-55, in the semis and will play top seed UNC Asheville. 

25: Long Island has won that many on its home floor after a 80-68 win over Sacred Heart, second only to Kentucky's 52. 

Other notable results:

Wagner beat Central Connecticut State, 87-77, in the NEC quarterfinals and advance to the semis. It was the Hurley brothers (Dan is the head coach and Bobby is his assistant) 25th victory of the season. 

Southern Illinois coach Chris Lowery was as hot as just about any coach in the country a few years back. The Salukis ended the season 8-23 after a loss to Indiana State in the first round of the Missouri Valley tourney. 

Savannah State clinched the outright MEAC title with its win over Maryland-Eastern Shore tonight.


Florida State big man Bernard James was ejected after an apparent kick towards Virginia's Joe Harris. 

Michigan State's retired senior Delvon Roe will be on the bench and will participate in the post-game ceremony on Saturday for the Spartans final home game -- against Ohio State. 

Kentucky coach John Calpari has yet to lose a game in his three-year tenure in Lexington. 

On tap: 

Plenty of conference tourney action: 

1) The Horizon second round -- and that means Butler is in action. The Bulldogs face UW Milwaukee at 8:30. 

2) Ohio Valley semis -- Murray State plays Tennessee Tech. 

3) The WCC quarterfinals. That means BYU and Loyola Marymount join the fray. 

4) The CAA tourney starts. The bottom eight teams get going. 

5) The Missouri Valley's top two teams -- Wichita State and Creighton -- will play. Wichita plays Indiana State and Creighton faces Drake. 

6) The A-10 semis. Belmont vs. East Tennessee State and Mercer vs. Florida Gulf Coast. 

Posted on: March 1, 2012 5:00 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 5:27 pm

College basketball's February: in photos

By Matt Norlander

Twenty-nine days gone, here are the best images taken from dedicated photogs around the country. Some are from big moments in big games; others are snapshots that you'd never would have known if not for a quick finger and clean lens. I'm continually grateful that news organizations put a premium on covering games with equal parts dedication to the pen as they do the camera. Enjoy this fantastic work.


The shot that could ultimately decide who gets the final No. 1 seed. Look carefully behind Seth Curry's right arm. See the girl who can't bear to watch Rivers' shot. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Celebration, from above. It's like a connect-the-dots to a victory charge. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The dots turn into people from the floor view. Andre Dawkins gets to Austin Rivers first. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)

Truman the Tiger pumps up the crowd before the Missouri-Kansas game. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

This monstrous Mike Moser poster is revolutionary, and I hope the NCAA doesn't ban them. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Rapper Flavor Flav and his son Karma Drayton at UNLV-San Diego State game. This is a PHOTO. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Aiden Williams is held by grandfather Roy. I desperately want Roy's jacket. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Rick Pitino whipped out the white suit. Or is that ivory? (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

I'm goign to assume this isn't brother and sister. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Kammeon Holsey provides the most dramatic moment of Georgia Tech's season. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

The Bugs Bunny ears are the perfect touch. (Lance King/Getty Images)

Mark Turgeon receives the Whitney Houston news. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Rob Lowe is always watching you, even when he's taking a photo of something else. Unnerving. (Lance King/Getty Images)

UNC cheerleader finds a moment to herself. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Fireworks do their job prior to the Kansas-Missouri game. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

Tom Izzo, left, and Mike Eades engage in a conversation that most likely doesn't go anywhere. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

Washington State guard Dexter Kernich-Drew is a shy Tyrannosaur. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Frank Martin spots his reflection in the floor and is startled for the first time in his life. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Frank Martin, I'm so sorry. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Connecticut women's head coach Geno Auriemma matches his background. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Illinois basketball.(AP Photo/Dave Weaver)

It is unclear whether Delaware's Elena Delle Donne passed her most recent physical. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A brief disagreement. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Missouri guard Michael Dixon regrets. Kansas celebrates. The rivalry is over. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Arkansas' Ky Madden tries to shoot over Auburn's Adrian Forves (45) and Kenny Gabriel (22). Seemed like a good idea at the time. (AP Photo/Todd J. Van Emst)

Bill Self proclaims victory, wins eighth straight Big 12 regular-season title. (US PRESSWIRE)

Duke's Haley Peters pays for the sins of Gerald Henderson. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Miami's Durand Scott celebrates with fans after Miami defeated Florida State 78-62. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Quincy Miller, right, borrows a camera from Waco Tribune Herald photographer Rod Aydelotte, left. One of my favorite shots of the month. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Texas forward Alexis Wangmene gets emotional on Senior Night. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)

Someone get the sewing machine. (Greg M. Cooper/US PRESSWIRE)

Love, love, love this shot of Kenny Boynton being defended by Mardracus Wade. His right ankle is taking all the pressure, while his body remains squarely balanced. The left toe is almost perpendicular to the floor, and the ball and shift is on. A terrific capture of a basketball move and body balance. (Beth Hall/US PRESSWIRE)

It's not often we get to see the sole of a player. (US PRESSWIRE)

Tom Crean has enjoyed life. But not as much as that fellow. (US PRESSWIRE)

Please attend the NCAA tournament. (US PRESSWIRE)

Frank Haith knows this year was unexpected and a special one. (US PRESSWIRE)

Shurna face multiplies. (US PRESSWIRE)

A different view of UCLA basketball. That shot looks like it's going to miss. (US PRESSWIRE)

Jeremy Lamb sees UConn's future inside that basketball. (US PRESSWIRE)

Robbie Hummel on Senior Night. I'd get snarky, but Goodman would threaten me again. (US PRESSWIRE)

Anthony Marshall waits out the rush on the scorer's table after UNLV is defeated at Colorado State. (Ryan Greene)

John Shurna, left, and Drew Crawford react after losing to Ohio State on Senior Night. Will the Wildcats' time, their first time, in the NCAAs come this year? (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Of course, last, here's what's considered college basketball's photo of the year. Jack Blankenship turned himself into a 15-second celebrity with this brilliant idea. (The Birmingham News/Hal Yeager)
Posted on: March 1, 2012 3:55 pm

Freshman of the Year: Beal continues to impress

Brad Beal has stepped up his game as the season progressed, averaging 16.5 points and 7.6 boards in his last 10. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

This is the next-to-last Freshman rankings of the season, as next week marks the final stretch before the NCAA tournament. Right now, the No. 1 spot is locked up for Kentucky's Anthony Davis to take home. It would surprise me if anyone else even garners a vote for the Freshman of the Year award. There's still some decisions to be made for the all-freshman team, though. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has seen his offensive drop off the last month, while Moe Harkless just got injured. Brad Beal is making a move, while Austin Rivers continues to get better. It looks like conference tournaments could decide some of the final dilemmas facing the Freshman of the Year rankings.

The Freshman of the Year rankings are released every Thursday afternoon, shortly after Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish’s Player of the Year rankings.

1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky (Last Week: 1): 14.3 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 4.8 bpg, 65.8 FG%
If there were any questions remaining about Davis, he answered them against Vanderbilt. He shot 10-of-11 from the field, finishing with 28 points, 11 boards and five blocks.

2. Cody Zeller, Indiana (Last Week: 2): 15.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 63.4 FG%
Going against Michigan State’s physical frontline on Tuesday, Zeller went for 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting. If the Hoosiers are to advance in March, though, he needs to consistently rebound.

3. Trey Burke, Michigan (Last Week: 3): 14.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.8 apg
Burke didn’t have a vintage effort against Purdue, struggling with his shot and turning it over four times. He’s only shot 50 percent or better twice in the past 10 games.

4. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (Last Week: 4): 12.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg
Kidd-Gilchrist slowed down late in the season, averaging just 8.9 points and shooting 40.6 percent from the field in the final eight games. He was still a factor on the glass and the defensive end, though.

5. Moe Harkless, St. John’s (Last Week: 5): 15.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg
Harkless played just 22 minutes against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, finishing with four points. He injured his right ankle and looked limited once he came back into the game.

6. Brad Beal, Florida (Last Week: 7): 14.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Beal is playing his best basketball of the season in the last month, being far more aggressive offensively and also rebounding extremely well for his position. Five double-doubles this season.

7. Austin Rivers, Duke (Last Week: 8): 15.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 39.3 3PT%
Rivers is diversifying his game late in the season. He took 17 free throws against Virginia Tech, eight 3-pointers against Florida State and nine 2-pointers against Wake Forest.

8. Tony Mitchell, North Texas (Last Week: 6): 15.3 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 2.9 bpg, 58.1 FG%
Mitchell will have his chance to carry the Mean Green with the Sun Belt tourney beginning this weekend. He’s slowed down offensively lately, averaging 9.7 points in his last three games.

9. Tony Wroten, Washington (Last Week: 9): 16.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.5 apg
When Wroten is doing what he does well – attacking the rim and making plays – he’s at his best. Forcing shots is not. 21 points, six rebounds and five assists looks good, but it can’t take him 18 shots. 

10. D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s (Last Week: 10): 17.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Harrison set the St. John’s freshman scoring record on Wednesday night, finishing with 21 points and four 3-pointers. If only he actually made his inside shots, we could see him average 25 a game.


  • Once again, no one moved in or out of the rankings.
  • It's neck and neck with Harrison and B.J. Young of Arkansas for the No. 10 spot right now. Young is an efficient scorer who knocks down 3-pointers, and is averaging 20.3 points in his last seven games. This could come down to the wire. The other nine players are fairly secure in the top 10, although there's still potential for changs.
  • As you should know by now, I look for every reason to get a Delaware mention in here. Well, in his last five games, Jarvis Threatt is averaging 19.8 points and 4.6 boards.
  • LaDontae Henton totaled 42 points and 22 rebounds in two wins over DePaul and Connecticut.
  • Wonder if Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes is ready for a big finish to the season. He shot 9-of-10 with 18 points and seven rebounds in an overtime win against LSU on Wednesday.
  • Stanford’s Chasson Randle is really hitting his stride offensively. He’s had at least 16 points in five of his last six games, averaging 17.0 points in that span.
  • Matt Carlino will be a key heading forward for BYU. The Cougars need him to score, but taking 23 shots (Gonzaga) and 19 shots (San Francisco) isn’t the trick.
  • Charleston Southern has one of the more underrated freshman duos, in guards Saah Nimley and Arlon Harper. They’re combining to averaging 26.0 points.
  • Binghamton has only one win this season, but Ben Dickinson is averaging 15.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in his last four games.
  • Freshman leaders – Points: Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut State (18.0); Rebounds: Tony Mitchell, North Texas (10.8); Assists: Dylan Garrity, Sacramento State (6.9)
Posted on: March 1, 2012 2:10 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 3:28 pm

What-to-know conference previews: Sun Belt

After not being selected to win the Sun Belt in the preseason, Middle Tennessee used a non-conference campaign with quality wins to pick up momentum and steam roll the league. The Blue Raiders did lose two of its last six games, though; could we see an upset?

Middle Tennessee beat UCLA, Belmont, Akron and Ole Miss prior to conference play starting, and didn’t slow down from there. Kermit Davis’ group started 10-0 in the Sun Belt, prior to stumbling in a couple games late. They might make a case for an at-large if they lose in the tournament, but the season finale loss at Western Kentucky really wrecks those chances. The Blue Raiders play excellent defense, contesting shots and forcing turnovers. Offensively, they get inside very effectively, leaning on Player of the Year LaRon Dendy.

Behind Middle Tennessee, there are two teams that were chasing for much of the season. Arkansas-Little Rock has won seven of its last nine, and was fairly consistent throughout league play. The Trojans get to the free-throw line effectively and also force turnovers.

Middle Tennessee only lost two games during the league season, heading into the tourney as the favorite. (US Presswire)

Denver seems to be hitting its stride at the right time, winning its final four games of the season to get the three seed. The Pioneers are very efficient offensively, with plenty of shooters on the perimeter. Despite their slow pace, they force turnovers and really share the ball. Chris Udofia is dominant inside.

North Texas has been up-and-down for much of the season, but the Mean Green have the pieces to make a run in the conference tournament. Tony Mitchell is the most talented player in the conference, with the ability to rack up 20 points, 15 boards and five blocks every night out. The Mean Green also defend as well as any team in the conference.



Title game: Tuesday, March 6 on ESPN2 (6 p.m., ET)


  1. Tony Mitchell, North Texas
  2. LaRon Dendy, Middle Tennessee
  3. Chris Udofia, Denver
  4. Augustine Rubit, South Alabama
  5. D’Andre Williams, Arkansas-Little Rock

Conference RPI: 19 rating: 19

Sagarin rating: 19

NCAA Tournament Locks: None

NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams: Middle Tennessee

Last NCAA Tournament Appearances

  • Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans: 2011, No. 16 seed, lost to UNC-Asheville 81-77 in the opening round.
  • Arkansas State Red Wolves: 1999, No. 15 seed, lost to Utah 80-58 in the first round.
  • Denver Pioneers: N/A.
  • Florida Atlantic Owls: 2002, No. 15 seed, lost to Alabama 86-78 in the first round.
  • Florida International Golden Panthers: 1995, No. 16 seed, lost to UCLA 92-56 in the first round.
  • Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns: 2005, No. 13 seed, lost to Louisville 68-62 in the first round.
  • Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders: 1989, No. 13 seed, beat Florida State 97-83 in the first round, followed by a 104-88 loss to Virginia in the second round.
  • North Texas Mean Green: 2010, No. 15 seed, lost to Kansas State 82-62 in the first round.
  • South Alabama Jaguars: 2008, No. 10 seed, lost to Butler 81-61 in the first round.
  • Troy Trojans: 2003, No. 14 seed, lost to Xavier 71-59 in the first round.
  • Western Kentucky Hilltoppers: 2009, No. 12 seed, beat Gonzaga 83-81 in the first round, followed by a 76-72 loss to Illinois in the second round.

- Jeff Borzello

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 1, 2012 1:41 pm

Finally, again, it is March

Young and old, all across the country, sports fans fall in love with this month for the first time and all over again. (AP)

By Matt Norlander

This month hums and shakes like a '67 Chevy.

If you stop right now and let those years gone by, those buoyant memories that you have of them fill your brain, you'll get a pang of anxiety. Maybe it's more than a pang. Maybe, for you, it's an explosion in your gut, one that yelps, "I WANT THIS ALL AT ONCE RIGHT NOW." That's one of the best feelings a sports fan can have.

Imagine how the coaches and players feel. The slow march that starts March is all part of the fun for us and is just as much excitable torture for them. You have to wait for the best part, but there are so many other best parts that come before it, remember.

I’m already on edge. Aren’t you? Once February expires, all the lights inside me turn on instantly and I’m now ready. So ready I’ll find a hoop and shoot a basketball for two hours straight just to use up some of my constantly recharging battery that’s generated solely by the sport of college basketball. It makes me young again. It does that frequently, but never as markedly as now. This is about more than just the NCAA tournament, a behemoth with so much tonnage it rightfully hogs up most of this month, even though the world’s greatest sporting even doesn’t start annually until March 15, 16, 17, 18 — somewhere around then.

There’s much to be decided before the 68-team grid spits out 67 squads and hands us a champion. There is so much more basketball to go before we get to the ultimate stage. Small guys and big guys win and lose, small ways and big, all across the country, all in different formulas but with the same results. They happen in the World’s Most Famous Arena and in gymnasiums so small it’s possible your high school had a larger room to play its games in. Before we get to the Big Bracket, there's all the tiny league championships to parse through and so many channels to follow to watch apexes of happiness and nadirs of sadness converge with each other. Almost every night on television, another team's season ends. Four months gone and now it’s goodbye, all that fast and really just a blip of an existence for more than 70 percent of college basketball's rent-paying tenants. Those none-and-done teams pop into disintegration. Think about what those players went through and how it’s over with almost no one noticing. That’s the forgotten pain of early March. Dozens of teams' seasons are already over and we’re not even 24 hours into this greatest month of the year.

Eventually, the math holds form like it always has and always will and players who've largely played in obscurity get their moment. Their next one to come: so much bigger, with NCAA-embroidered patches and their names on bracket lines in newspapers from Miami to Anchorage. All others continue on before inevitably not continuing on, save for four — the national champion, the NIT champion, the CIT winner and the CBI’s final team. The latter two shouldn’t even exist, though. Everyone knows that.

I remember when this all swept me up. In middle school, I fell in love with the sport first, then the month, then I realized why they were fused. It was by pure accident (I swear!) I wound up getting sick in, I believe it was 1995. (In the following years, this would become an annual phony bout with my immune system.) The concept of conference tournaments weren’t familiar to me. But I remember seeing the Big East and ACC tournaments on television. I can remember how good Wake Forest and North Carolina looked. I remember Villanova seeming like it was the smoothest team in college basketball, and UMass being the one I wish I could play for. 

It was great basketball during the day. Something about that makes us love college basketball even more. Daytime NBA playoff games don’t feel special, but the college ones do. Games happening and sunshine spreading in your household. Wake up, turn the corner: college basketball is waiting for you, and it's college basketball with consequence behind it and drama right in front. There’s an urgency and special occasion to afternoon hoop. So I was hooked, just as you were at one point and still are now. Why do we love the first weekend of the NCAA tournament so much? Those upsets, of course — but also those day games. It's an amazing mood-setter.

After I graduated high school, I spent three years going to college, essentially part-time while deciding what I was going to do with my life. I lived at home during that time. This afforded me the opportunity to never miss the NCAAs during the day. My younger brothers, all three of them, came to love this time as I did years before. Back at the start of the last decade, they were still in middle or high school.  Without fail for three straight years on the third Thursday and Friday of March around 2:15 p.m., I’d check the front window and see six legs bounding down our road (the bus stop was a good 200 yards from our house) while hands clasped to backpack straps, desperately racing. My brothers were trying to catch the end of first-session games. I'd swing the door open, yell out the teams and the score. They'd run faster. Fly up the wooden steps, into the leaving room, glimpse the TV, which had a volume level loud enough to be heard by the neighbors. Their backpacks still on, sweat trickling out of their brows.

It keeps me young. Something as simple as games played by 19-year-olds on TV, watching with friends -- how much is the college experience enhanced by an afternoon of March basketball in your buddy's dorm room? -- and family is a cycle I'll look forward to every year until I die.

That is March to me. So many things are March to you. Things I can understand, even if I could never see them the way you did. But other things, we share them. All of us. We take in the pageantry and unexpected finishes that accompany expected drama. We love the way conference tournaments are our way of stretching before the big game that is the Big Bracket. This month never lets us down because we know it can't. Even if we don't know what's going to happen, we know what can happen. It often does, all to our continual disbelief. We let ourselves be surprised and that's essential to staying young and loving year after year.

It is here again, the most dramatic epoch on the sports calendar.

It is March.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:16 pm

What-to-know tourney previews: CAA

We all know about the CAA. There was George Mason and its magical Final Four run back in 2006. There was last year's improbable First Four to Final Four march from Shaka Smart and VCU.

This has been a league that has warranted -- and earned multiple bids to the NCAA tournament.

That may not be the case this season.

Drexel finished 25-5 overall and 16-2 in league play. Bruiser Flint's Dragons have won a school-record 17 consecutive games entering the CAA tourney. They have a couple of young studs in freshman forward Damion Lee and sophomore guard Frantz Massenet. The problem was Drexel got out of the gates slow, losing to Norfolk State, Virginia, St. Joe's and Delaware all within the first three weeks of the season.

VCU, despite losing most of the core that led the Rams to the Final Four a year ago, still managed to earn the No. 2 seed -- and could challenge Drexel for the crown, especially with the league tourney based in Richmond. George Mason's new coach Paul Hewitt relies on veteran big men Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison, but his backcourt will be the key. Old Dominion, which not unlike VCU was thought to be in rebuilding mode due to its youth, earned the fourth and final bye.

Brad Burgess is on the verge of breaking an NCAA record for most starts in a career. (AP)

The CAA may be down a bit -- and could wind up as a one-bid league -- but it'll still be a dogfight.



Schedule: March 2-5

Title game: Monday, March 5 (7 p.m. ET)


  1. Ryan Pearson, George Mason
  2. Frantz Massenat, Drexel
  3. Bradford Burgess, VCU
  4. Damion Lee, Drexel
  5. Kent Bazemore, Old Dominion

Conference RPI: 15 rating: 13

Sagarin rating: 14

NCAA Tournament Locks: None

NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams: Drexel, VCU

Last NCAA Tournament Appearances:

  • Delaware Blue Hens, 1999, No. 13 seed, lost to Tennessee in the first round, 62-52
  • Drexel Dragons, 1996, No. 12 seed, beat Memphis, 75-63, in the first round; lost to Syracuse, 69-58, in the second round
  • George Mason Patriots, 2011, beat Villanova, 61-57, in the second round; No. 8 seed, lost to Ohio State, 98-66, in the third round
  • Georgia State Panthers, 2001, No. 11 seed, beat Wisconsin, 50-49, in the first round; lost to Maryland, 79-60, in the second round
  • Hofstra Pride, 2001, No. 13 seed, lost to UCLA, 61-48, in the first round
  • James Madison Dukes, 1994, No. 14 seed, lost to Florida, 64-62, in the first round
  • Northeastern Huskies, 1991, No. 16 seed, lost to North Carolina, 101-66, in the first round
  • Old Dominion Monarchs, 2011, No. 9 seed, lost to Butler, 60-58, in the second round
  • Towson Tigers, 1991, No. 16 seed, lost to Ohio State, 97-86, in the first round
  • UNC Wilmington Seahawks, 2006, No. 9 seed, lost to George Washington, 88-85 (OT), in the first round
  • VCU Rams, 2011, Lost to Butler, 70-62, in the Final Four
  • William & Mary Tribe - N/A

-- Jeff Goodman

Category: NCAAB
Tags: COL, Jeff Goodman
Posted on: March 1, 2012 11:50 am

Today's Specials: Conference tourneys heat up

Florida State and Virginia battle in what should be one of the defensive matchups of the season. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Thursday is a monster night for conference tournament action, with some of the most intriguing games taking place in the Big South. There’s also some bubble implications on the line.

Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP poll.

Best game: No. 22 Florida State at No. 24 Virginia (7 p.m., ESPN2). Neither team is peaking right now, but this should be a tremendous defensive battle. Florida State has dropped two in a row to fall out of the ACC title race, while Virginia has lost four of its last seven. The Cavaliers should win this one on Thursday night just to feel safe about its NCAA tournament hopes as well. Florida State relies heavily on blocked shots and controlling the paint, while Virginia contests shots and doesn’t allow offensive rebounds.

Second-best game: No. 13 Michigan at Illinois (7 p.m., ESPN). Illinois was left for dead after its six-game losing streak, but the Fighting Illini finally got back on the right track with a win over Iowa. With win on Thursday night and then again on Sunday night at Wisconsin, and Illinois could get back in the mix. With that said, Illinois will have trouble stopping Michigan’s 3-point shooting and also need to knock down shots. Can the Wolverines win on the road?

Another one to watch: Colorado at Oregon (10:30 p.m., FSN affiliates). This is essentially an at-large elimination game if either team has a legitimate shot at receiving a bid. Moreover, both teams are still in the mix for the No. 3 seed in the Pac-12 tournament. Colorado won the first meeting by one point on its homecourt, but Oregon is ahead in the at-large pecking order right now.

Guaranteed win: The only way No. 1 Kentucky really loses to Georgia on Thursday night (9 p.m., ESPN) is if it looks ahead to Florida on Sunday and completely forgets it’s actually playing a game. Georgia has been OK lately, beating Mississippi State and Florida in its past five games, but the Wildcats aren’t falling on Senior Night against the Bulldogs.

Potential upset: I’ll start this section with this: I don’t think this upset will actually happen. However, the top seed in the Big South, UNC-Asheville, will play No. 4 seed Charleston Southern (8 p.m., ESPNU) in a rematch of one of UNCA’s two conference losses this season. Asheville had trouble keeping Southern off the glass in the first meeting, and Kelvin Martin has been dominant on the inside lately. This will be close.

Three things to keep an eye on:

  1. Plenty of conference tournament action on Thursday night. The Atlantic Sun, Big South, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Missouri Valley, America East and West Coast are all in play. Some of the more interesting games include VMI vs. Winthrop (6 p.m., ESPNU), Central Connecticut State vs. Wagner (7 p.m.), and SEMO vs. Tennessee Tech (7 p.m.).
  2. Mississippi Valley State goes for an 18-0 SWAC campaign against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (8:30 p.m.).
  3. Some regular-season championship notes: Washington can clinch a share of the Pac-12 if it beats USC (10:30 p.m.), while Nevada gets the outright WAC title with a win over New Mexico State (11 p.m., ESPN2).
More College Basketball coverage
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 1, 2012 9:01 am

Wakeup Call: Welcome to March

Oh, Syracuse. Have you learned nothing?
By Matt Norlander

What if you could pick your seat on an airplane based off a compatibility test? // I'd like to hug the person or people behind this. // Rage with the machines. // . // I AM THE CHICKEN HEATING MASTER!!!!!!! ...

★ If you completely dodged last night, Goodman and Parrish had a pretty important story.
★ It was a great night for Robbie Hummel.

★ Your title-winner odds in Vegas as of today.

★ Kendall Marshall, Marquis Teague, Jordan Taylor and Tyshawn Taylor. How do they compare when it comes to turning the ball over in specific situations?

★ There is now a site that shows you how every team played against/measured up to every other team.

★ The latest ripple in the Bernie Fine story that you didn't realize was happening because that story doesn't much matter anymore -- or right now.

★ I respect this take by Deadspin, responding to the Sports Illustrated UCLA story.

★ Bill Plaschke took time to address Howland's job status.

★ Dan Guerrero, AD at UCLA, did not say Ben Howland will definitely return to UCLA next year. (But he will.)

★ As suspected, Kyle Anderson isn't waffling on his commitment to UCLA.

★ More on New Orleans prep for the Final Four.

★ Tyler Zeller's a great kid who's done a fabulous job in four years. Crazy to think he was a freshman on that '09 title team.

★ Washington State already resigning itself to the CBI. It's so sad, like seeing the guy settle for the last chick in the bar at 2 a.m.

★ Not helpful to Drexel, but I wonder if the committee really takes it to heart: Derrick Thomas, a junior who averages eight points per game, is not eligible for the CAA tournament. The reason why is alarming.

★ March, you are so beautiful. Here's a list of every team that's never made it to the best stage in sports.

★ Must-read interview links with the commissioner of the MAAC.

► Goodman threatened my job if I didn't put this video up. It's the ultimate tribute to Hummel.

♬ R.I.P, Davy Jones. My favorite Monkees tune, and one that fits well for teams staving off bubble chasers.

Category: NCAAB
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