Tag:Matt Norlander
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.

Previously:

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 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 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 CBSSports.com 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
Posted on: February 29, 2012 2:47 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 3:08 pm
 

CBS 16: Transcendence is key in being the best

Winning a title in 1984 helped Georgetown's legacy, but it was always a great team whether it won it all or not. (AP)

By Matt Norlander

You go through the century-old history of college basketball and there have been a lot of great teams. Not good teams -- great ones. Truly special, truly daunting and undeniably formidable in their era. There are teams with components that will never be duplicated. Lots of talent, great coaching, a confluence of characters that led such a team to earning a national title -- or coming very close.

Eventually, Jeff Goodman on this very blog will write how a team has to win a national championship to earn induction into his list of the greatest 16 college basketball teams of all-time. For me, that's not a requirement. It's about transcendence. Because for all the champions we've had, really, only about 20 to 22 teams stand apart from the rest, even fewer than that if you want to clump Wooden’s UCLA dynasty into one collective team (which I don’t, but those teams do have a way of linking together, of course). Not all the great teams who stand out in our memories won titles, but all of them were interesting, most of them were supremely talented, and each had a story that carried on long after every member of that team left.

Think about 1990-91 UNLV, what could easily be considered the best team to never win it a title -- only it did. The year before, Las Vegas finished 35-5 and pasted Duke 103-73 in what is still the most lopsided result in title-game history. That team was great, but '91 UNLV, comprised of largely the same roster, was better. It was undefeated, all the way up to the Final Four ... when it was felled dramatically by Duke. Sure, 1990-91 UNLV didn't win a title, but you can't tell me it wasn't one of the 16 greatest teams in the history of the sport. It was better than the team that won the year before, with all of its '91 first-round draft picks -- Greg Anthony, Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon -- more polished and lovably arrogant. And that team remains more memorable than the first iteration that still stands as the last team from outside a Big Six conference to win the national championship.

Plenty of other ridiculously talented, unique teams come to mind. What about those Georgetown clubs from the '80s? You think college basketball in the '80s -- the sport's greatest decade, without question -- you think Georgetown before most everything else. The shirts under the jerseys (patented looks always help with the perception of a team; think of what Michigan’s Fab Five did to hoops culture in the early ’90s), the big men, the big coach, the intimidation, the bully of college basketball. That was Georgetown. The Hoyas didn’t need to win the title in 1984 to be considered one of the great teams of all-time. But it helped, sure.

Is this what is lacking in today’s game? Or, ironically, despite how so many believe sports culture is dominated by an everything-that-just-happened-is-th
e-greatest-ever, are we unable to feel nostalgic and properly put into perspective things that have happened with really good teams in the past decade? Florida’s back-to-back title-winning teams aren’t coated with the same long-lasting shine that 1982 Carolina -- a team that very nearly lost -- is all these years later. 2008 Kansas, because of Mario's Miracle, was an instant classic, but the team isn't looked upon as a whole as one that deserves inclusion.

I fight that notion. The story of 2008 Kansas, a program that had fallen early to so many lower-seeded teams, was 37-3 and had six eventual NBA players on its roster. For good and for bad, drama plays into our memory as well. Whereas the moment of climax for Kansas has somehow overshadowed how good that team was, the longest shot that almost was uplifted Butler's reputation. Butler has never had a team close to being one of the 50 best in the history of the sport, but it already feels like that 2010 title-game loss to Duke will be a memory that grows as the years go on. Twenty years from now, when no mid-major team has duplicated Butler’s back-to-back championship-game appearances, the accomplishment will be enhanced.

When CBS’ list of the 16 best teams of all-time comes out, I wonder if the great ones like ’99 Duke or ’83 Houston will get snubbed. They shouldn’t. Those were truly great teams, some of the best ever to never win a title. Houston’s Phi Slamma Jamma was as synonymous with the sport as those Georgetown teams.

When we made our lists, that’s what I looked for. The great teams had talent and proved their worth over the majority of a season, but the impact they had on the game lasted long after that. I measured up the final teams with the tell-your-kid rule. I looked at a group. If I thought, “When I introduce my child to college basketball, I have to tell them about this team,” then they were in. That wasn’t the case with 2009 North Carolina, 1998 Kentucky or 1994 Arkansas — all really good teams, but not essential to the most important parts of college basketball’s history in relation to its best teams.

Were you extraordinarily good and above that, were you so good and riveting that the story of your team didn’t die off in the days, weeks and months after your season ended. If so, you made my list.

More:

-- The case against modern-era teams

-- Our ballots for the top 16 teams of all time

CBS Sports Network will be celebrating the 16 greatest college basketball teams of all time in the upcoming, four-part series, "16." Our CBS Sports panel of experts has voted, and on March 19 and 20, you'll be able to see which teams make up our list. You can help us celebrate your favorite team by sending us your tweets -- use the hashtag #CBS16 -- or leave your comments below. Then, look for your content as we'll work to incorporate the best submissions into the series.

You can also chime in on Facebook: Eye on College Basketball or CBSSports.com
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:34 pm
 

Pod: UCLA reaction, OSU doubt, UConn bashing

The photo that will define Reeves Nelson's college career.  (AP)

By Matt Norlander


In immediate wake of Sports Illustrated's piece on Ben Howland, Reeves Nelson and the culture of no accountability at UCLA, the podcast addresses why it's, really, not surprising. Nelson is no longer on the team, UCLA has a big recruiting class coming in -- and you could likely find these sorts of problems at most places not winning consistently right now. Why it's bad: Ben Howland's reputation takes a hit and it's unclear whether he ever separates himself from the past few years of bad chemistry and bad basketball. Aside from UCLA, Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish and I touch on ...
  • From the beginning: UCLA.
  • 11:46: Aren't a lot of these problems mirrored at Mississippi State the past two seasons?
  • 15:40: Jerry Palm, as of this podcast's posting, has UConn in the field as an 11 seed. Why? Because the profile still stacks up favorably to other fringe squad. But the Huskies aren't a tournament team and cannot be trusted.
  • 19:36: Getting Draymond Green into the POY debate. Also, Goodman thinks it's "sad" one of these guys won't win it. What I forgot to bring up on the podcast: There are six POY awards, which is dumb, and so it's likely T-Rob/AD/Day-Day may split in some regard.
  • 24:26: Ohio State now has problems and Parrish thinks reaching the Elite Eight is highly questionable.
  • 28:28: Indiana away from home in the NCAAs -- will we see a different team?
  • 29:59: The lower seeds we're expecting a lot out of come bracket time.
  • 32:43: And out of nowhere, I'm raked over the coals for my final version of the Non-BCS Power Pyramid.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast -- whenever you can. I ask that you, if you like what we're doing here, encourage like-minded hoopheads to subscribe in Tunes as well. Guests like Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, they're the guys who make me sound better and make the podcast worthwhile. The other guys? Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, they really make it entertaining, and of course you can count on our trio show each Wednesday. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.


Get CBSSports.com College Basketball updates on Facebook   

Posted on: February 29, 2012 9:49 am
Edited on: February 29, 2012 10:07 am
 

What-to-know tourney previews: MAAC

The MAAC is back — only this year the tournament is in a faraway place. Springfield, Mass., to be exact. Why the league has chosen to hold its postseason tournament in a state where none of its teams reside is an answer so convoluted perhaps the NCAA has the best and only shot to interpret the meaning behind it.

No matter, the league this year boasts a team that has a lot of talent and potential to win a couple of games in the Big Bracket. That’s right, a couple. Iona, who is the No. 1 seed, is one of the most potent offensive teams in the nation. It averages 1.16 points per possession and 83.4 per game, No. 1 in the nation. With 19.5 assists per game, the Gaels are also the best passing team in basketball. That’s because Scott Machado is one of the five best point guards in the game.

Machado was one of our 30 best point guards prior to the season, but nobody knew he had this sort of impact left in him. Now he’s an NBA prospect. Machado, forward Mike Glover and Arizona transfer MoMo Jones provide a three-headed monster that’s rarely assembled in these ranks. The Gaels are really good, and they’ll only lose this tournament if their weak interior defense completely craters.  

If not the Gaels, who? Loyola (MD) finished 13-5 in the league, two games behind Iona. It did split the season series with the Gaels, and the Greyhounds are having some kind of special year. For the first time in their Division I history, the team got to 20 wins. It’s been D-I for 30 years. Incredible, and if Loyola made the Big Dance, it’d be just as great of a story as any other team out there. Loyola’s a great team on the O boards (39.3 percentage rate) and can swipe the ball (12.4 steal rate), but everything else they’re pretty average at, overall.

Fairfield (12-6) was the team meant to challenge Iona. It’s had a disappointing year. Point/combo guard Derek Needham is now done for the season with a bad wheel, so that’s one less weapon. The Stags are coached by first-year honcho Sydney Johnson, who led Princeton to the NCAAs last year in a dramatic playoff victory against Harvard. Getting to The Dance with this team would shock him just as much, I’d assume. Last year it was fourth-seeded St. Peter's that wound up getting the auto-bid, so Fairfield's got that going for it, which is nice.

Michael Glover and the Gaels should absolute win. (US PRESSWIRE)

And then there’s Manhattan, technically the three seed who also finished 12-6, who also has a first-year coach in Rick Pitino protégé Steve Masiello. The Jaspers were 6-25 last season; they went 20-11 this year. Incredible turnaround, but it feels like Masiello will need one more year to push through.

John Templon, who runs Big Apple Buckets, simulated the MAAC tournament 10,000 times with his bulky, not-available-in-stores Simulation System 6,000. Almost half the time, Iona won. Ironically, second-place Loyola came up the fourth-most likely team to win it all, with Manhattan, then Fairfield falling far behind the Gaels.

Return of the MAAC. (It is!)
Return of the MAAC (Come on!)
Return of the MAAC (Oh my God!)
Return of the MAAC (Here I am)

****

TOURNAMENT BRACKET

Schedule: March 2-5
Title game:
Monday, March 5, ESPN2.

BEST PLAYERS  

  1. Scott Machado, Iona
  2. Michael Glover, Iona
  3. Rakim Sanders, Fairfield
  4. George Beamon, Manhattan
  5. OD Ansoike, Siena

Conference RPI: 22

KenPom.com rating: 20

Sagarin rating: 20

NCAA Tournament Locks: None

NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams: Iona (and barely at that)

Last NCAA Tournament Appearance:

  • Canisius Golden Griffins: 1996, 13 seed, lost first-round game to Utah, 72-43.
  • Fairfield Stags: 1997, 16 seed, lost first-round game to North Carolina, 82-74.
  • Iona Gaels: 2006, 13 seed, lost first-round game to LSU, 80-64.
  • Loyola (MD) Greyhounds: 1994, 15 seed, lost first-round game to Arizona, 81-55.
  • Manhattan Jaspers: 2004, 12 seed, won first-round game over Florida, 75-60. Lost second-round game to Wake Forest, 84-80.
  • Marist Red Foxes: 1987, 14 seed, lost first-round game to Pittsburgh, 93-68.
  • Niagara Purple Eagles: 2007, 16 seed, won opening-round game over Florida A&M, 77-69. Lost first-round game to Kansas, 107-67.
  • Rider Broncs: 1994, 15 seed, lost first-round game to Connecticut, 64-46.
  • Siena Saints: 2010, 13 seed, lost first-round game to Purdue, 72-64.
  • St. Peter's Peacocks: 2011, 14 seed, lost first-round game to Purdue, 65-43.

-- Matt Norlander

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 29, 2012 9:03 am
 

Wakeup Call: Carrier Classic leaves San Diego

Yes, those are bracket shorts. Yes, you need to buy me a pair. (Via)
By Matt Norlander

Our home base apparently doesn't know how to properly handle the dead. // This is painstakingly bittersweet. // Massive bracket of the greatest video games ever. // Ancient giant penguins discovered. // This was my favorite read from Tuesday ...

★ Brackets. Everywhere. As you can see, with the shorts there.

★ It's not yet known where the 2012 Carrier Classic will take place, but we do know San Diego is out, with a possible return there in 2013.

This Grantland post on the Big 5 is OK, but the real reason you need to check it out is due to Brandon Lilly's utter dismissal of Drexel. Then you read the comments.

★ Corey Schmidt does dedicated work toward understanding and analyzing college basketball better. If you're at all interested in the Summit League, give it a click and consider taking him up on his offer.

★ Jim Larranaga is no longer coaching at a small school, so now he is down-talking how good they are this season.

★ Read what it's like to be a Northwestern fan this week.

★ Any ideal guesses as to where Jared Swopshire is going to transfer to?

★ I very much enjoy the fact we still have one more year to enjoy Matthew Dellevedova playing college basketball.

★ Delly, by the way, is your WCC Player of the Year.

★ A different look at the remaining bubble battles left on the calendar.

★ Should Drexel make it into the tournament, here's more perspective on the team as it heads into the CAAs.

★ The best plays in Creighton basketball this year.

★ Good on Wyoming to put together its first 20-win season in nine years.

♬ I've been teased for primarily showing rock and indie-rock videos here, but that's definitely not the case. It's more that than most others, but there's been a bountiful selection of songs from outside those genres. I'm not a huge rap guy, but always get a kick out of talking to people who say they love Jay-Z ... then can't name a track off "Reasonable Doubt."

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 28, 2012 11:57 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 12:01 am
 

Day-Day can't do it all-all for MSU

Day-Day was the only one doing work-work Tuesday-Tuesday Night-Night. (Getty Images)
By Matt Norlander

Michigan State had this great play from Draymond Green, and other great plays from Draymond Green Tuesday night, but not much else in losing to Indiana, 70-55.

The Hoosiers and their crowd were ready. Everyone in hunter green who didn't have the name "GREEN" stitched to the back of their jersey was most definitely not. The Spartans' supporting case was basically a bunch of water boys, but we'll get to them in a second. The question in the aftermath of this game: Did MSU lose its chance at a one seed tonight? No. Beat Ohio State and win the Big Ten title and MSU is getting a one, I think, especially if UNC beats Duke Saturday, equaling out that season series between two top-seed seekers. Plenty of muck to clean up between the six teams flopping in the bowl fighting over those final two No. 1 spots. Still, MSU was done from the get-go against Indiana.

Take out Green and put in an average college basketball player and it's unlikely the Spartans put up 35 against IU -- that's how much Green meant tonight, and in a way acted as a microcosm for the Spartan's season so far. (Tomorrow on the blog we'll have a three-way comparison between Green, Anthony Davis and Thomas Robinson, to see who's the best Player of the Year candidate). Spartans not nicknamed Day-Day were 10-of-34 from the field and 2-of-7 on 3s. To balance it out, though, Green had six turnovers, which hurt, but he had the ball so much he became a focal point for MSU's offense and the obvious, magnetic target for Indiana's defense.

Everyone knew where the ball was going when MSU had it, and eventually the Spartans wore down because of it.

It wasn't just offensive problems. Indiana's Victor Oladipo was unguarded at times and made Indiana look Final Four-worthy (which I don't think IU is). The Hoosiers got a couple of huge 3s from Will Sheehey and Christian Watford late to pull away, but I was stunned by how the rest of MSU's team didn't show up, leading to the late lead by Indiana. A credit to Tom Crean's team for limiting the love-to-run Spartans, who had just four fast-break points from MSU.

Big picture: a lot of things broke down tonight, and we saw that Green can't make up for so many faulty parts.

And one final note on Indiana. I was at Assembly Hall almost two weeks ago. I wrote it then, and it gets emphasized on a night like this: No matter what happens in the NCAAs, this will be one of the most memorable seasons of Tom Crean's life. His team has beaten then-No. 1 Kentucky, then-No. 2 Ohio State and now-No. 5 Michigan State at home. Assembly Hall has always had an aura, but this year it's established a haunt that could have long-term effects of intimidation like you see Wisconsin, Michigan State, Duke and Kansas benefit from.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com