Tag:Atlantic 10
Posted on: March 8, 2012 10:54 pm
 

Atlantic 10 quarterfinals preview

Things will heat up in Atlantic City on Friday, as the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals get underway – and that’s when it gets fun. There’s two locks for the NCAA tournament, three bubble teams, and three teams looking to ruin all the hopes for everyone. In such a tight conference, everything is wide-open. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few upsets on Thursday.

No. 1 Temple vs. No. 8 Massachusetts: This should be an interesting game, a rematch of Temple’s 90-88 overtime victory over UMass on February 29. The Minutemen were in the mix for a league title until the final couple weeks of the season, and they will try to speed the game up. Temple is looking to solidify a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament.

No. 4 St. Bonaventure vs. No. 5 Saint Joseph’s: A must-win for Saint Joseph’s if it wants to keep its at-large hopes alive. It’s also a rematch of the regular-season finale, which saw the Bonnies come out with a double-overtime victory – a win that severely crippled the Hawks’ resume. It should be an interesting battle down low, as SJU defends two-pointers very well, but Andrew Nicholson is dominant.

No. 2 Saint Louis vs. No. 7 La Salle: Saint Louis likely locked up a bid with its win over Xavier last week, but La Salle is no easy out. The Explorers slumped in February, losing five of six games at one point, but they also have the pieces to win some games. The first time these two teams played, Saint Louis went into Philadelphia and came out with a 59-51 win.

No. 3 Xavier vs. No. 6 Dayton: Easily the game of the night. Neither team really likes each other, and they split the two regular-season meetings, with the latter one going to overtime. Moreover, both teams are on the bubble. Xavier is slightly ahead in the pecking order, but a win here by the Flyers would do wonders for their profile. The PG battle between Tu Holloway and Kevin Dillard will be fun.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:47 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 12:49 pm
 

What-to-know conference previews: Atlantic 10

The Atlantic 10 has a chance to be one of the more intriguing conference tournaments this week. Throughout the season, it was extremely competitive and no one team really dominated and forced its will on the rest of the league. Even the two teams that didn’t reach the tournament – Fordham and Rhode Island – pulled off wins over Saint Louis, Dayton, Massachusetts and La Salle within the conference this season. Eight of the 12 teams finished on the right side of .500 in league play.

In addition to the high level of competition in Atlantic City this week, there is also a lot on the line in terms of at-large bids. Temple is a lock, Saint Louis is in pretty good shape despite a fairly barren profile, but there are at least three other teams looking for a bid. Xavier has been up and down for the last three months, but the Musketeers are in the mix. Dayton has a strange profile, but the Flyers still have a shot, as does Saint Joseph’s.

Four teams get a bye in the quarterfinals, including a St. Bonaventure team that surprised its way to 10 conference wins. Atlantic City is always fun, but it’s going to take on some extra excitement this week. (Note: The first-round games take place at campus sites.)

TOURNAMENT BRACKET

No. 8 Massachusetts vs. No. 9 Duquesne:
Massachusetts was in the mix for a regular-season title until dropping four of its final six games to end the season. With that said, the Minutemen are difficult to play due to their extremely fast pace and aggressive defense. It will be interesting to see if Duquesne can take care of the ball; we know the Dukes like to run too.

No. 5 Saint Joseph’s vs. No. 12 Charlotte: Saint Joseph’s was making a run at an at-large bid, but the Hawks lost at home to Richmond two weeks ago, and then followed up a win over Temple with a road loss at St. Bonaventure in double overtime. Short of a trip to the title game, and Phil Martelli’s crew might be in the NIT. Charlotte has lost five of its last six games.

No. 6 Dayton vs. No. 11 George Washington: Despite getting little publicity from bracketology types, Dayton is still in the hunt for an at-large bid. The Flyers have wins over Temple, Saint Louis, Alabama, Xavier and Ole Miss, with an 8-7 record against the top 100. However, they also have four sub-100 losses. George Washington has lost nine of its last 11 heading into the tourney.

No. 7 La Salle vs. No. 10 Richmond: La Salle was one of the bigger surprises in the conference this season, getting out to a 6-2 record in the first half of the season. Losses in five of six games in February ended the Explorers’ chance at a regular-season championship, but they are very solid at both ends of the floor. Richmond has won three of four, including wins over Saint Joseph’s and Dayton.

-- Jeff Borzello

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 5, 2012 3:48 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 3:50 pm
 

Fixing Xavier: how can it snap out of funk?



By
Jeff Borzello

When Xavier lost to Oral Roberts, one could blame the suspensions of Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons and Dezmine Wells.

When the Musketeers went 1-2 in Hawaii at the Diamond Classic, one could point to the loss of Lyons for a game and Wells for the entire trip.

What about the last two games, though?

Everyone is back in the fold for Xavier, yet the Musketeers are still losing. They dropped a game to Gonzaga over the weekend, and then lost to La Salle by 10 on Wednesday night.

Everyone figured Xavier would stumble a bit after its brawl with Cincinnati, due to the suspensions. But this? Losses in five of its last six games?

It all starts with the attitude on the court from Xavier. Prior to the brawl, the Musketeers were one of the most confident teams in the country. Holloway and Lyons were tough and talented – and they knew it. They played like it. Suddenly, the mojo is completely gone.

It doesn’t seem to be a chemistry issue, but nevertheless, there’s something obviously missing between the players.

“They’re lacking swagger and confidence,” one opposing coach said.

On the court, Xavier has been settling for too many jumpers – not a good sign from a team that barely shoots 33 percent from 3-point range. Holloway has been attacking the basket with less aggressiveness, instead taking long jumpers to the tune of 5-for-21 since his return. Lyons is just 6-for-21 from behind the arc in the last four games.

Xavier’s offense is at its best when Lyons and Holloway are taking opponents off the dribble and finishing in the lane.

“The guards are very streaky shooters,” one assistant coach who faced Xavier recently said. “They have one of the lowest 3-point makes per game in their league. The game has become 3’s.”

“We don’t respect their 3-point shooting,” a coach added.

The Musketeers are also getting fewer transition opportunities, which has made the offense stagnant. Xavier beats opponents down the court for easy baskets, going on runs and putting the other team on its heels. The last six games – save for the Gonzaga game – the defense has been forcing fewer turnovers than usual. Against La Salle, Xavier forced turnovers on just 9.5 percent of possessions.

When Xavier is forced to play in the half-court, the offense struggles.

“They are slashing guards,” an opposing coach said. “They can’t score in the half-court; they score a lot in transition.”

Another problem on the defensive end has been their inability to stop dribble penetration and opponents’ perimeter offense. La Salle hit nine 3-pointers on Wednesday night, and teams are also getting into the lane too easily. Xavier starts two inside players in Andre Walker and Kenny Frease, and teams are taking advantage of that with inside-outside forwards.

La Salle’s Earl Pettis went for 23 against Xavier, while Josten Thomas had 24 when Hawai’i faced the Musketeers. Even in their lone win in the last six games, the Musketeers still struggled to contain versatile forwards – freshman Dantiel Daniels scored 22.

“In my opinion, they are too big and don’t use their bigs well enough,” one coach said. “They never go four guards and we drove their other big every time. It’s a guards’ game and they don’t have enough guards. If they are going to be big, they need to use it to their strength.”

When Holloway and Lyons are rolling, Xavier can beat anyone in the country. The first eight games of the season proved that; Holloway was in the running for Player of the Year and Lyons was becoming one of the most underrated players around. With those two as the leaders, the Musketeers should be able to turn this around. A couple of wins in a row, and Xavier could get its momentum and swagger back.

With the talent Chris Mack has at his disposal, it’s tough to doubt the Musketeers in the final two months of the season.

“They can fix it,” one opposing assistant said. “They are good.”

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 29, 2011 12:28 am
Edited on: December 29, 2011 12:30 am
 

Night Court: Two unbeatens fall, Baylor escapes



By
Jeff Borzello

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

Game of the day: Baylor went into Tuesday 12-0 and Mississippi State had won 11 in a row. On Tuesday, a Pierre Jackson layup with 28 seconds left was the difference, as Baylor stayed undefeated, winning 54-52. Mississippi State had a chance to tie, but Rodney Hood’s attempt was knocked away when going up. The Bulldogs didn’t score in the last 1:35, when Renardo Sidney fouled out and then picked up a technical foul.

Win to brag about: People had varying opinions of Louisville heading into Tuesday, but the Cardinals were 12-0 nonetheless. Then Georgetown went into the KFC Yum! Center and handed Louisville its first loss of the season, 71-68. Freshman Otto Porter had 14 points and 14 boards for the Hoyas, which held off Louisville after the Cardinals went on an 11-0 run in the final three minutes.

Loss to hide from: It’s not exactly a bad loss, but Creighton’s 12-point home defeat to Missouri State to open MVC play was not what the Bluejays needed. They came into the game as the conference favorite, but gave up 45 points in the second half en route to a 77-65 loss. Kyle Weems had 31 points and seven rebounds for Missouri State.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Coming into the season, most questioned Michigan State’s lack of a true point guard. Keith Appling quieted some of the doubters on Tuesday night, when he led Michigan State to an 80-65 win over Indiana – the Hoosiers’ first loss of the season. Appling had 25 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Spartans.

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: Northwestern wasn’t expected to beat Ohio State on Tuesday, but a 33-point loss was certainly not in the Wildcats’ plans. Drew Crawford and John Shurna combined to shoot 9-for-30 from the field, and just 2-for-8 from 3-point range. On the other side, Ohio State’s William Buford had 28 points and nine rebounds.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • UNLV scored 124 against Central Arkansas – the most points the Runnin’ Rebels have scored since 1990-91.
  • UNLV’s bench scored 82 points.
  • More from UNLV: the Rebels had 40 assists – and 36 rebounds.
  • Saint Joseph’s sophomore Halil Kanacevic had eight rebounds, 12 assists, seven blocks – and 0 points.
  • UAB’s Cameron Moore outrebounded the entire George Washington team, 24-22. 

Three other notable results:

  1. Fab Melo racked up his first career double-double, going for 12 points, 10 blocks and seven rebounds to lead Syracuse to a 75-49 win over Seton Hall.
  2. In Connecticut’s first game without head coach Jim Calhoun, the Huskies needed a big second-half run to hold off South Florida, 60-57.
  3. Darryl Bryant scored 34 points to lead West Virginia to an 83-69 win over Villanova.

Notes:

  • Terrence Jones returned after missing two games with a dislocated pinky on his left hand. He came off the bench and played 27 minutes.
  • Maryland’s Alex Len made his season debut against Albany, scored 14 points in the 83-72 win.
  • Anthony Lee scored a putback with 0.3 seconds left in overtime to give Temple a two-point win over Buffalo.
  • Drake opened Missouri Valley play with a 15-point win over Indiana State.
  • Drew Gordon had 23 points and 19 rebounds to lead New Mexico to an 89-69 win over New Mexico State.
  • Purdue escaped in its Big Ten opener against Iowa, 79-76.

On tap: There’s a nice mix of conference and non-league matchups on Thursday. Vanderbilt looks to notch a marquee win at Marquette, while Florida travels to Rutgers as Mike Rosario visits his old stomping grounds. Cincinnati will try to keep its winning ways going against 9-1 Oklahoma, and Belmont plays Marshall in an underrated game. The top intra-conference battle is BYU visiting Saint Mary’s in a WCC tilt, while the Pac-12 docket is highlighted by Oregon State and Washington.

Photo: US Presswire

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 14, 2011 1:43 pm
 

No criminal charges in Crosstown Shootout brawl



By
Jeff Borzello

We finally have a resolution to the Crosstown Shootout brawl – at least from a punishment standpoint.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced Wednesday there would be no criminal charges filed stemming from the fight between Cincinnati and Xavier on Saturday.

“This was an unfortunate situation,” Deters said. “However, after talking with both coaches, I truly believe that the teams will be able to deal with the situation more effectively than the criminal justice system.”

More on Xavier-Cincy brawl

There was speculation regarding potential criminal charges after the Prosecutor’s Office announced it was going to review the tape. While some thought Cheikh Mbodj, who stomped on Kenny Frease’s head while he was on the ground, could get charged, most of the focus was on Yancy Gates.

Gates was the one who coldcocked Frease during the melee in the final seconds, while the fight was still in the pushing and shoving stage. However, Gates did apologize to Frease.

“Mr. Frease is satisfied with Mr. Gates’ apology,” Deters said.

Cincinnati suspended Gates, Mbodj and Octavius Ellis for six games each, while Ge’Lawn Guyn was suspended one game. Xavier levied four games against Dezmine Wells and Landon Amos, while Mark Lyons received two games and Tu Holloway one.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: December 10, 2011 5:23 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 7:19 pm
 

Cronin shines on a bad day for UC-XU rivalry

By Gary Parrish

Cincinnati lost to a crosstown rival by 23 points. The Bearcats best player threw a punch that might end his career. But I'm not sure Mick Cronin has ever had a better day as a college basketball coach.

"There's no excuse for any of it on our side or on their side," Cronin said. "Guys need to grow up."

And it got more intense from there.

In an era when too many coaches play it safe, avoid questions and promise to address everything at a later date, Cronin, clearly emotional, spent roughly 13 minutes talking about the brawl that overshadowed Xavier's 76-53 win over his Bearcats. The fight featured lots of punches. The Cincinnati coach pulled none.

"We accept full responsibility and it will be handled," Cronin said. "There is zero excuse for that in basketball. ... The fact is the guys ... represent an institution of higher learning. Xavier has been a great school for years. We're trying to cure cancer at Cincinnati. I go to school at a place where they ... created Benadryl; I think that's more important than who wins a basketball game. And our guys need to have an appreciation that they're there on a full scholarship and they better represent the institution with class and integrity. ... I just told my guys I will meet with my AD and my president and I'm going to decide who is on the team going forward. That's what the University of Cincinnati is about. Period. I've never been this embarrassed."

Cronin went on to explain that he didn't know exactly why the fight started.

He said he needed to watch the film.

But he also made it clear that, ultimately, he didn't care about the details.

If his players started it, he said his players were wrong.

If Xavier's players started it, he said his players were wrong to react violently.

"Toughness is doing the right thing," Cronin said. "You take your ass-whipping and go home."

The entire press conference was fascinating.

You can watch it here.

It's a great example of how to handle a terrible situation. Cronin didn't make excuses and he wasn't guarded. All anybody wanted to hear from anybody involved after the bloody court was cleared was that they were as disturbed by what happened with 9.4 seconds remaining as the nation that was watching, and that those responsible for starting -- or escalating -- the incident would be held accountable. Cronin sat at a desk with a microphone in his face and made both points convincingly. It was a nice performance on a horrific afternoon.

We like to pretend college coaches are "leaders of young men."

Oftentimes, that's laughable.

But on this day, after it was all over, Mick Cronin very much looked the part.

Photo: AP
Posted on: December 7, 2011 11:50 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 11:57 pm
 

Night Court: Florida knocks off Arizona in OT



By
Jeff Borzello

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

Game of the day: Without Josiah Turner, Arizona went into Florida with its back against the wall. The Wildcats, though, led by seven with seven minutes left before Florida rallied to win in overtime, 78-72. Nick Johnson was solid in Turner’s place, while Patric Young dominated down low for Florida, going for 25 points and 10 rebounds.

Win to brag about: Dayton had struggled since winning the Old Spice Classic, losing to Buffalo and Murray State by a combined 46 points the past two games. However, the Flyers led by as many as 16 points en route to a 74-62 win over Alabama. Kevin Dillard had 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Chris Johnson racked up 20 points.

Loss to hide from: There were a couple of embarrassing losses, but Utah takes the cake yet again. The Utes played host to a Cal State Fullerton team that is expected to be a middle-of-the-pack team in the Big West – and lost by 31. Utah was outrebounded by 28, and also allowed the Titans to shoot nearly 57 percent from the field. It’s almost at the point where, if Utah doesn’t beat Idaho State next weekend, the Utes might not beat a Division-I team this season.

Player who deserves improper benefits: In Festus Ezeli’s first game back for Vanderbilt, it was another Commodore that stole the show. Jeffery Taylor went for 30 points and four rebounds, shooting 12-for-17 from the field, in an 87-83 win over Davidson. As for Ezeli, the big man had 15 points and six assists.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Penn State's Tim Frazier came into Wednesday averaging 19 points per game. Against Lafayette at home, Frazier went 0-for-12 from the field with five turnovers in a 61-57 loss. Frazier finished with just three points, although he did dish out nine assists.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • After its win over Alabama on Wednesday, Dayton has now won nine of its last 10 games against BCS opponents.
  • Louisville’s Chris Smith scored 19 points against IUPUI on Wednesday, surpassing 1,000 career points.
  • Meanwhile, Alex Young was held to just nine points for the Jaguars. That’s only the fourth time in the past two seasons he’s been held to single-digits.
  • Georgia Tech beat Georgia on the road for the first time in 35 years.
  • Colorado State came into Wednesday leading the nation in 3-point percentage at 46 percent. The Rams went 4-for-11 from behind the arc.

Three other notable results:

  1. Illinois rallied late to beat St. Bonaventure, 48-43. Brandon Paul scored 12 points in the last four minutes.
  2. Wisconsin beat Wisconsin-Green Bay by 28, but the Kohl Center didn’t sell out for the first time in 144 games.
  3. Xavier handled Butler in a battle of two of the best non-BCS programs, 73-61. The Musketeers jumped out to a 27-9 lead and never looked back.

Notes:

  • Nevada beat Arizona State, but Malik Story was held to nine points, below his season average of 15 points per game. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as ASU assistant Scott Pera was Story’s high school coach.
  • Princeton beat Rutgers for the second straight season, as Ian Hummer hit a game-winner with three seconds left.
  • High Point’s Nick Barbour went for 35 points Wednesday night, but Wake Forest picked up a road win.
  • Weber State’s Damian Lillard, the nation’s leading scorer, was held to 15 points on 5-for-12 shooting as BYU beat the Wildcats, 94-66.
  • Iona rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to beat Denver in overtime, 80-78. Randy Dezouvre hit a long 2-pointer with 1.6 seconds left in overtime.

On tap: There’s a top-25 matchup on the docket, as Harvard visits Connecticut in a game many are pointing to as a potential upset. Two of the most intense coaches in the country – Frank Martin and Bob Huggins – will tangle when West Virginia takes on Kansas State. The best non-BCS game of the day will involve Cleveland State and Robert Morris.

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