Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:37 am

Podcast: Seth Davis makes his return

By Matt Norlander

It is my honor to welcome back on to the podcast CBS/Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis, who was on this back when it was the College Hoops Journal Podcast. Seth is one of the classiest guys in the business; a true treat to have him come on.

I want to mention: today's podcast is a little "hot" here and there on Seth's end. Normally I record these podcasts Skype to Skype, but we did this one via Seth's house phone line, and I had no idea until after the call was done that his levels were so harsh at some points, so forgive the audio since it's not as smooth as it normally is. I'll make sure Seth boots up his Skype account for his next appearance.

Seth writes a weekly Hoop Thoughts column that I can't recommend enough, and you can also follow him on Twitter. Loved having him on, and will aim to get him back on in January and February as well.

The rundown:
  • From the beginning: One more time, with gusto: the Syracuse story. I can't recommend this part of the podcast enough. Seth and I have a respectable, intelligent (on his end) debate over morals and ethics with this story. It's about 14 minutes long, and I think is the first time I've ever really butted heads with someone on the podcast.
  • 14:45: Jim Boeheim's legacy and future.
  • 16:50: Ohio State, the fact Aaron Craft as the best point guard in the country, which Seth stated in his most recent column (linked above).
  • 19:39: What does Deshaun Thomas do for Ohio State if he becomes the offense force he's flashed himself to be?
  • 22:00: Seth's pick for best freshman so far. You won't see it coming.
  • 24:10: Seth will be at Vandy-Louisville before UNC-UK, so we touch on that one first.
  • 26:52: Here's the juicy part: Carolina-Kentucky talk. We close out the podcast talking this big game, and why Seth disagrees with my UK-will-win-by-double-digits prediction.

You can listen to the CBSSports.com College Basketball Podcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The podcasts go up here and on iTunes. The Wednesday show is dedicated to keeping the egos of CBSSports.com national writers Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish inflated. Mondays and Fridays are for the real people to come on. Here's the iTunes link. We also have an RSS feed for you to track. If you're still going strong and hanging on to a Zune, then, yes, you can listen on that as well.

Posted on: November 16, 2011 4:21 pm

Top of the Big 12 poised for a down year

By Jeff Borzello

So these are the Big 12 favorites, eh? Kansas and Baylor?

If so, the conference might be worse shape than thought heading into the season.

Kansas competed with Kentucky admirably for a half, but the talent gap between the two teams was just eye opening. It’s one of the main reasons the Jayhawks were overrated in the preseason, but the disparity between the two rosters was even bigger than originally thought. Jeff Withey played fairly well, and Bill Self had his guys playing with energy. However, outside of Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson, the Jayhawks really couldn’t compete in the second half. Robinson went up against double- and triple-teams the entire game, and simply didn’t have anyone to take the pressure off of him besides Taylor. The Jayhawks will get better as the season goes on, but they’re certainly not a Sweet 16-caliber team right now.

Baylor beat San Diego State by 10 on Tuesday, but I’m still not sold on the Bears’ point guard play and ability to make smart decisions when it counts. They turned the ball over 21 times. Pierre Jackson gives them a better chance to win than A.J. Walton, but is he the answer? California transfer Gary Franklin becomes eligible at the semester break, but he’s not a pure point guard. Right now, chemistry isn’t an issue. Anthony Jones, Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller are all getting starter’s minutes, but what will happen once Perry Jones III returns from suspension and J’Mison Morgan gets back from injury. Baylor is supremely talented and could hang with anyone if it gets consistent point guard play and plays within itself. That remains to be seen, though.

Texas A&M could be a candidate to win the league, especially once Khris Middleton returns. But are the Aggies an Elite Eight or Final Four threat? Unlikely. They’re a really solid team. But I’m not sure they’re explosive enough.

Missouri looks OK so far, but the Tigers have no inside depth and far too inconsistent away from home.

Texas can clearly put up points, as evidenced by the 100 it dropped on Rhode Island on Tuesday. Defense is a huge concern, however, as is consistent frontcourt production.

There might not be an Elite Eight-caliber team in this group. As Mike Miller of NBCSports.com pointed out, a 12-6 conference record might win the Big 12. It will make for good theater during February, but that won’t mean the winner will be a threat to make a deep run in March.

The best hope for a title contender from the conference is Baylor. It’s hard to trust the Bears, though.

We could be headed for a (very) down year in the Big 12.

Photo: AP

Posted on: October 11, 2011 7:52 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2011 9:20 pm

Homer Drew and wife both diagnosed with cancer

By Gary Parrish

Imagine how tough it is to have one parent diagnosed with cancer.

Now imagine having two.

That's the position Baylor coach Scott Drew and Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew are in now that their father (Homer Drew) and mother (Janet Drew) have both been diagnosed with cancer. The news broke when former Valpo guard Brandon Wood tweeted about it Tuesday. Scott Drew then confirmed the news via text message to CBSSports.com. The types of cancers Homer and Janet Drew have remain unclear, but a source close to the family said Homer Drew's was "caught early." That's a bright spot in a bad story.

Homer Drew coached Valpo for 22 seasons.

He retired in May.

Photo: AP
Posted on: September 9, 2011 10:00 am
Edited on: September 9, 2011 10:04 am

Archie Goodwin hates green and gold

By Gary Parrish

Archie Goodwin is one of the top prospects in the Class of 2012 (and, you might remember, the player former Arkansas coach John Pelphrey was once photographed with in violation of NCAA rules). The 6-foot-4 wing from Arkansas has narrowed his list of potential schools to Arkansas, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky and Memphis. But what I found most interesting is why Goodwin said he eliminated certain schools.

He talked to Evan Demirel about it recently.

I can appreciate Goodwin's candor.

Why not Texas?
“I did away with Texas simply because I didn’t feel like my relationship was strong enough with Coach [Rick] Barnes. I can see myself playing for Texas but I didn’t feel comfortable with him as my coach.”
And Missouri?
“I talked to the assistant coaches all the time. Coach Tim Fuller is one of the coolest assistant coaches I’ve ever known, but as far as the head coach, I really didn’t know his name. I couldn’t tell you the head coach’s name. He talked to me on the phone, but Tim was the one that mostly called.”
And Baylor?
“Coach Scott Drew is a great guy. I love Coach Drew. They were one of the first schools that were recruiting me. But I didn’t like that they were an adidas team, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t go to Kansas because Kansas is a great team. I can look over the adidas thing – I own some adidas stuff. I didn’t like their colors, either. I don’t like green and gold. That’s ugly …. When you got ugly colors like that, you gotta be Nike. …. Baylor has some ugly shoes, too."
(Note to Archie: Missouri's coach is Frank Haith. He used to be at Miami and worked for -- guess who? -- Rick Barnes at Texas before that.)
Posted on: September 7, 2011 9:46 am

Baylor is desperate and right at the same time

By Gary Parrish

Texas A&M's move from the Big 12 to the SEC is on hold until the SEC gets assurances that no Big 12 school will sue because, suddenly, at least one Big 12 school -- specifically Baylor -- is threatening to do exactly that. My question: Why would Baylor give such an assurance?

Baylor seems, at this moment, to have one foot in Conference USA and the other on something slippery as the college landscape shifts, and if that's the case isn't it only responsible for Baylor to try to scare the Big 12 into staying together by any means necessary? I have no idea if Baylor could win such a lawsuit against the SEC, commissioner Mike Slive and/or Texas A&M because I'm not a lawyer. But what I do know is that, in this country, you can threaten to sue pretty much anybody for pretty much anything, and if the SEC and A&M want that possibility off the table before moving forward then Baylor ought to make the SEC and A&M give something in return.

What something?

Could be anything, including straight-cash homey.

But it would be foolish to take the threat of a lawsuit off the table just because the SEC asks.

So good for Baylor for standing up.

Ultimately, the school's actions will probably only stall the inevitable.

But desperate shots are worth taking when you find yourself in desperate times.
Posted on: September 6, 2011 10:09 am

Multiple suitors in need of (Wannah) Bail

By Jeff Borzello

Wannah Bail certainly has the name of a basketball player. Extremely long and athletic, Bail also has the build and body of a highly-touted prospect.

This summer, however, Bail felt he didn’t get a chance to show his full host of talents due to a toe injury.

“Not my best, especially coming off injury,” he said. “I had always felt as if I could have done something better, even after giving it my all.”

When healthy, Bail has the physical tools to be a dominant performer. Ranked No. 68 in the CBSSports.com Top 100, the 6-foot-7 power forward runs the floor extremely well and uses his strength to make plays at both ends of the court. He can get solid position for offensive post-ups, and he is a very good shot-blocker and rebounder. If he refines his offensive game, Bail could be a stud.

Bail, a native of the Bahamas, is now enrolled at Lamar Consolidated (Texas) after bouncing around a few high schools in the Lonestar State last year. His recruitment will also begin to sort itself out with coaches finally able to track him during the school season.

“It’s going good,” Bail said of his recruitment. “I’m really enjoying it.”

For now, Bail is hearing from Auburn, St. John’s, Houston, Texas Tech, Florida State, Maryland, Kansas, South Florida, Indiana, Texas A&M, Baylor, Washington State and others. All besides Kansas have offered.

Bail plans to take his recruitment slowly, but did take a visit to Houston on Saturday, when the Cougars beat UCLA in the football season opener. Michael Carey and Chicken Knowles also joined him on campus.

Don’t look for a decision soon.

“I have no favorites,” he said.

Photo: Adidas Nations

Posted on: August 18, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: August 18, 2011 10:29 am

Trippin': Baylor's depth shows in Canada

By Gary Parrish

The basketball was good.

The team-bonding experiences were better.

But the best part of Baylor's trip to Canada was ... the weather.

"It's been so hot in Waco," said Baylor coach Scott Drew. "It was nice walking around outside."

The Bears traveled to Toronto for a four-game foreign trip.

They went 3-1.

Drew returned home this week and shared his thoughts with CBSSports.com.

What Drew learned: "I learned we have a lot of options this year. You're always going to have some injuries and illnesses and things, so you want to have some depth and options."

What or who impressed Drew: "Every game somebody else stepped up. Brady Heslip had a couple of games of more than 20 points. Perry [Jones] improved every game that he played. You could go up and down the roster and say one game it was this guy, one game it was that guy. So, again, I like that we have options."

What concerned Drew:  "We turned it over too much. We weren't very good at taking care of the ball last year, and we aren't right now either."

----- NOTES -----
  • Sophomore Perry Jones led the Bears in points and rebounds on the trip. The 6-foot-11 sophomore averaged 20.3 points and 7.5 boards. He also led the Bears in field goal percentage (59.0 percent).
  • Neither Quincy Acy nor Quincy Miller played in Canada. Acy is injured. Miller is yet to be cleared for freshman eligibility. Both are projected as starters for the Bears this season.
  • Dime Magazine named Deuce Bello one of the world's top 20 dunkers while he was still in high school. The incoming freshman did nothing to damage that reputation in Canada. "Deuce had some highlight dunks up there," Drew said. "He's good for one highlight dunk a game."
  • Boston College transfer Brady Heslip, a native of Canada, played with the Bears in an official capacity for the first time in Toronto after sitting out last season because of NCAA transfer rules. He averaged 16.5 points and made 41.7 percent of his 3-point attempts. "He can really shoot it," Drew said. "I think he's going to be one of the best shooters in the country."
  • Baylor played man-to-man defense almost the entire time in Canada, but Drew said that doesn't necessarily mean his team will play man-to-man this season. The Bears have, under Drew, played lots of zone in the past -- most succesfully when Ekpe Udoh led the school to the 2010 Elite Eight.
  • Cory Jefferson might get caught in a numbers game considering the Bears have Acy, Miller, Perry Jones and Anthony Jones in the frontcourt. But the redshirt sophomore performed well in Canada -- averaging 11.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. "He's really improved," Drew said.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 16, 2011 11:42 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 11:47 am

Get an early look at Deuce Bello, athletic freak

By Matt Norlander

Baylor's going to be a very fun team to watch this year. There's a crew of kids on this team that are athletic, agile and exciting.

Chief among them is incoming freshman Deuce Bello. This has been a near-consensus for awhile now. In fact, back when Goodman was running his blog at FoxSports.com, and I was happy to help in whatever capacity I could by playing the part of his puny little sidekick, we polled the Class of 2011, as they were preparing for their senior years, and asked them to rank their contemporaries. Bello was far and away considered the best athlete of his class.

He's already on his way to proving his reputation. Take a peek at what Bello did over the weekend, when Baylor played in Toronto against the Ontario Revolution in a scrimmage.

Not bad at all. I'm thinking we'll have a force-you-off-your-couch dunk from Bello on a once-a-week basis this season. After a rough go of it in 2010-11, the Bears will have high expectations and a much better team in 2011-12. The Bears finished out their Canadian road trip with a 3-1 record (not that these records really mean anything), and got in a few tourist-trap activities as well, like going to the top of the CN tower.

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