Posted on: January 4, 2012 9:15 am
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Posted on: January 3, 2012 9:15 am

Wakeup Call: How to improve the game

The LSU student section brought it, but UVa still got the win.(US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander

Have you ever done anything like this for someone before? // Brilliant idea, but I couldn't make it past Jan. 4 without ruining my year. // "What May Happen in the Next 100 Years" -- from 1900. // I'd absolutely embed this amazingly snarky, tongue-in-cheek Iowa video if not for the NSFW language. Click and laugh. // Football recruits can be just as high-maintenance as hoops ones ...

★ Last night was the first SEC road win for Virginia in program history.

★ Ken Pomeroy predictably gave a follow-up to my bad-offense piece and went so beyond what I was getting at. It's embarrassing how heartily I agree with his solutions.

★ UConn goes to Seton Hall tonight. Better game than most expected a month ago. The Drummond-doesn't-know-Herb-Pope is a non-issue, though.
★ Seth Davis' annual stock report is such a dense read. I can't recommend it enough, though.
Dayton losing Josh Benson is problematic for the Flyers.

★ I don't know if the Valley can get four bids, but it's getting three. I'm extraordinarily confident this will happen.
★ Ivan Aska, a valuable senior forward for Murray State, has a fractured fourth-metacarpal. Undefeated run coming to an end this week?

Tony Wroten has already done nice things. Later this year, he will do big things.

★ Doug Gottlieb has reached the point in the season where he's angering fan bases. I genuinely love when this happens. Please tell me Syracuse is on the hit list again this year.

That's just wrong!

★ One of the most underrated wins you'll see this week came in Athens, Ohio, last night. And they won despite 31 turnovers. Amazing.

★ Looking for another type of team ranking? Got one for you.

★ I've got a funky feeling this one will be close tonight.

► Some dude on Twitter was tweeting this video out to every person associated with college basketball media. So here you go, man. Elijah Johnson does something done on practice courts every day.

♬ If you don't know Umphrey's McGee, you don't know the best "improg" group out there. "Cemetary Walk" gets very Floydish at the 28-second mark, then bumps out of that about 15 seconds later. One of their better tunes. And just a supremely competent live band. If you like Widespread Panic, Phish, Disco Biscuits and moe., you either know of or are already into these guys, who hail from South Bend, Ind.

Posted on: January 3, 2012 1:22 am

Night Court: UVA reps for hoops on Bowl Monday

Jeff Borzello

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

Game of the day: Alright, so we didn’t have anything that matched Oregon vs. Wisconsin or Oklahoma State vs. Stanford, but Virginia holding off LSU down the stretch wasn’t too bad. The Cavaliers needed two late free throws from Mike Scott to get the 57-52 win over a Tigers team that had defeated Marquette and was on a seven-game winning streak. Virginia improved to 13-1 on the season; Monday night’s win was its 11th in a row.

Win to brag about: Despite turning the ball over 31 times, Robert Morris went into Ohio and knocked off the Bobcats, 70-67. Ohio had won nine in a row heading into the game, including wins at Marshall and Northern Iowa. The Bobcats’ only previous loss had been to Louisville. The Northeast Conference should be very competitive at the top this season, but Andy Toole’s Colonials might be the favorite.

Loss to hide from: Wake Forest was without leading scorer C.J. Harris, but that’s no excuse for losing 56-52 at home to Wofford. The Terriers had lost four starters from last season and already had losses to High Points and UMKC this season. Travis McKie had 25 points and six rebounds for Wake Forest, but Wofford’s Brad Loesing countered with 17 points – and a win.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Auburn’s Kenny Gabriel went for the first triple-double in school history in a 67-41 win over Bethune-Cookman. The senior forward had 24 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks. Gabriel shot 11-for-13 from the field and also pitched in with three assists and four steals for good measure.

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: In order to beat No. 5 Baylor on the road on Monday night, Texas A&M needed all the offense it could get. Instead, leading scorer Khris Middleton shot just 4-for-17 from the field and also turned it over four times en route to a 61-52 loss. The team as a whole shot below 29 percent from the field and scored just 17 points in the first half, but Middleton’s struggles set the tone. Perry Jones’ 14 points and 12 rebounds paced Baylor.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 16.4: That’s how many points per game Jamal Wilson was averaging before Rhode Island kicked him off the team. The Rams are 2-0 since dismissing him, including a double-overtime win at Boston College on Monday.
  • 10: Georgia State has now won a school-record 10 straight games after beating Drexel by 14 on Monday. The Panthers are one of the biggest surprises in the CAA.
  • 12: That’s how many consecutive points Miami’s Shane Larkin scored against UNC-Greensboro. And he did it in 1:27. The Hurricanes won, 99-89, behind 30 points and 12 boards from Kenny Kadji. Trevis Simpson had 36 for UNCG. 

Three other notable results:

  1. VCU further showed why it is the CAA favorite heading into the final two months, beating Hofstra on the road, 80-63.
  2. Long Beach State kicked off Big West play with a 74-60 win over UC-Irvine. The 49ers can’t afford more than one or two losses if they harbor even remote at-large hopes.
  3. Vanderbilt made just two of its first 14 shots, but the Commodores bounced back to beat Miami (Ohio), 69-62. 


  • UC Santa Barbara’s Orlando Johnson hit a 3-pointer with five seconds left to give the Gauchos a 58-57 win over Cal Poly. UCSB head coach Bob Williams is now the winningest coach in school history.
  • Vermont and Stony Brook could be the two best teams in the America East. On Monday, Stony Brook landed the first punch, knocking off the Catamounts.
  • In other America East action, Gerardo Suero had 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Albany in its win over Hartford.
  • VMI’s Stan Okoye had one of the best all-around lines of the night: 25 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three blocks, four steals.
  • Campbell stayed undefeated in the Big South, beating previously-unbeaten Coastal Carolina in overtime, 70-65. The Chanticleers didn’t hit a field goal in the extra session.
  • Keith Rendleman racked up 24 points and 18 rebounds to lead UNC-Wilmington to a win over Delaware. The two teams combined for just two turnovers in the second half.

On tap: The competition picks up a little bit on Tuesday. The game of the night features Michigan State putting its 13-game winning streak on the line at Wisconsin. Two of the best big men in the Big East will battle when Seton Hall’s Herb Pope takes on Connecticut’s Andre Drummond. I will be in attendance for that one. Missouri also puts its undefeated record to the rest against Oklahoma in the Big 12 opener.

Photo: AP

Posted on: January 2, 2012 1:30 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 4:38 pm

College basketball's December: in photos

By Matt Norlander

Here they are, some of the best stories captured through picture in the final month of 2011.

Carmelo Anthony attends Florida-Syracuse and reminds most in attendance that he is their God. (US PRESSWIRE)

Well, well ... who's that misunderstood rapscallion with the tan jacket and laptop cracked open? Looks like an earnest, eager young fella just dying to ask Jim Boeheim if he's sorry. (AP/Kevin Rivoli)

Jim Boeheim is sorry: confirmed. (US PRESSWIRE)

Anthony Davis blocks John Henson to give UK a win over UNC. Davis' home planet has still not been disclosed by Kentucky sports infromation. (AP/The News & Observer, Robert Willett)

Jae Crowder, right, and Vander Blue celebrate defeating the Washington Huskies during the Jimmy V Men's Basketball Classic on Dec. 6. It was a great game.
(Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Kevin Dillard implores grumpy man at scorer's table for massage. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Kansas players high five the crowd after the Jayhawks defeated Ohio State on Dec. 10.  (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Just an unbelievable photo. I've heard the Jayhawk can be hired to creep out exes who can't let go. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Kansas Jayhawk fans cheer at Allen Fieldhouse. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Elon's Kevin Blake gets perpendicular. (Elon athletics)

Billy Donovan's face really tells the story of pride that comes with winning the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Indiana's Victor Oladipo goes in for a dunk  against Stetson. Love the arm jolting into the frame. (AP/Darron Cummings)

Dick Vitale thanks the heavens Digger Phelps left him alone on Dec. 5, when he was honored at the University of Detroit.
(AP/Carlos Osorio)

Vitale is shown with some of his players during an unveiling of a basketball court in his honor at Calihan Hall.
(AP/Carlos Osorio)

Cincinnati forward Yancy Gates, right, punches Xavier guard Landen Amos. What shot. (AP/Al Behrman)

Kenny Frease gets out of the scrum while Cincy and Xavier players continue to disgrace the sport. (US PRESSWIRE)

Frease is unexplainably triumphant. Xavier coach Chris Mack looks unapprovingly in the background. (Frank Victores/US PRESSWIRE)

The split second after Christian Watford's shot fell through at the buzzer, giving IU what was then thought to be an incredible upset. We've since learned Indiana will be winning the 2012 national title. (US PRESSWIRE)

If I were an Indiana fan, I get thee to Kinko's and blow this up to three feet by six feet. Then I frame it. (Brian Spurlock/US PRESSWIRE)

Watford (2) celebrates with teammates, from left, Will Sheehey, Verdell Jones III and Victor Oladipo. (AP/Darron Cummings)

How can I not take advantage of a good fish-eye shot? (US PRESSWIRE)

Baylor quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III stands by his niece, Jania Hope Moten-Griffin during a ceremony honoring Griffin at halftime of the Bethune-Cookman game. I hope the Bears draft RG3. (AP/Tony Gutierrez)

Missouri's Phil Pressey gets his fingers above a coral of others, saving the ball in the process. Meanwhile, Bill Simmons doppelganger continues to call game on radio. (AP/L.G. Patterson)

OH MY GOD JEFF WITHEY WILL KILL A M-----------. (Nick Krug/Lawrence Journal-World)

Thomas Robinson puts one up for two; Long Beach State's Edis Dervisevic simultaneously remembers he locked his keys in his car. (Nick Krug/Lawrence Journal-World)

Now we know how Mike Hopkins (left), Baye Keita (middle) and Jim Boeheim would react when placed in front of a Dallas Cowboys game on television.

Kevin Stallings reacts to hearing that Gary Parrish thinks highly of his team

Like last March, Kentucky beats North Carolina.

Ryan Boatright spots the pep band member who just won't stop staring him down

Tu Holloway: tortured soul, gangsta.

Xavier's Mark Lyons and Purdue's Lewis Jackson fight like toy soldiers while going after the orange
. (Getty Images)

Somebody help out Sean Miller here. This is getting awkward

How can you love this?

How can you not love THIS!

You can spend five minutes analyzing the reaction shots from Oral Roberts' win after the most unlikely buzzer-beater of the season.


"Seriously, man? We're trying to watch a game here." The guy in the brown jacket, to the right, wins this photo. In second is everyone else pictured completely ignoring the 200-pound body entering their lives. In last place is Phil Martelli, not pictured, who still hasn't released Todd O'Brien to play at UAB.

Without photogs, we miss out on things like this

I'm a huge sucker for photos that look like paintings. I'd love this one framed

Jeffery Taylor, no one will ever take a better picture of you playing basketball

Ryan Willen can't will the ball from going out of bounds

John Calipari is caught in mid-thought, presumably remembering how DeMarcus Cousins aged him four years

I now know more about Jeremy Lamb than I ever wanted. (Kim Klement/US PRESSWIRE)

No snark here. Enjoy it while you can, kid

Rick Barnes will resemble RoboCop by Selection Sunday

That's levitation, Holmes. Sam Thompson dunks against Indiana on New Year's Eve.
(Brian Spurlock/US PRESSWIRE)

Posted on: January 2, 2012 9:29 am

Wakeup Call: A new year for hoops, too

By Matt Norlander

One final look-back at 2011: the 10 most powerful front pages. // We are putting iPads in the hands of monkeys. // Did you miss this? Sneaky and scary that this bill was passed. If only the public could actually have it repealed. // Nobody panic, but a bunch of birds died from the sky again ...

★ Rutgers, that's a bad look, losing to South Florida after getting over on Florida last week. Consistency, etc.

Top 25 and One is up. See how we can tick you off.

★ Leftover stats to consider from Kentucky's win Saturday.

★ North Dakota is now without a nickname. The whole thing is dumb, NCAA. Just dumb. And I guess UND is without a moniker until 2015? If it's slow, post on this could be coming today.

★ The pay-the-players argument continues to fascinate me. I know a lot of folks get tired of it, but I don't -- and I don't think it's going away or quieting down.

★ When headline writers get obvious and lazy. The Towson story intrigues me -- most grand losing streaks and bad teams do.

Stupid-nice dunk from the Ohio State-Indiana game.

★ Now this is a diamond-in-the-rough stat. I'd love to investigate further.

Where will Khem Birch be visiting this week?

★ Billy Donovan says his team's home game against Yale was the first time Mike Rosario didn't scare him, defensively.

★ Very sad: 37-year-old high school coach in Jersey died after collapsing during a game last week.

★ It's not often Duke goes dark, but the Devils have been quiet for almost a month now.

★ From the best X/O source you could ask for, part of why Indiana's been so good this year.

► All my thanks to Tim Ryan for passing this along on Twitter. Not hoops-related, but how can I not share? It's just ... so ... not of this world? Are we sure this isn't a parallel universe?

♬ The first music rec of 2012: I wish we'd gotten more memorable material out of the D. Perhaps Tenacious D has something epic still up their sleeve, but its eponymous album, now more than a decade old, waits to be topped. Wonderboyyyyy ...

Posted on: January 1, 2012 9:00 pm

Jarnell Stokes won't play in Memphis this week

By Jeff Goodman

Jarnell Stokes won't make his debut in his hometown of Memphis this week. In fact, the talented big man may not see his first college action for a couple weeks. 

Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin told CBSsports.com that even if Stokes, a Memphis native who is enrolling in college early, gets through the NCAA clearinghouse, he won't play against the Tigers on Wednesday night in Memphis. 

"We need to get him acclimated, adjusted and comfortable," Martin told CBSSports.com. "There's no reason to rush him." 

Martin said it's unlikely Stokes would play until Jan. 12 at the earliest.

Martin doesn't want to throw his talented Memphis native -- who committed last week and will enroll in college early -- to the wolves. 

Stokes, who graduated from high school in 3 1/2 years, is still waiting to be officially admitted to school and cleared by the NCAA. But the schedule is daunting for the big man with hometown Memphis this week, followed by Florida on Jan. 7, at Mississippi State on Jan. 12 and Kentucky on Jan. 14. 

If that's the case, he might want to wait to play him until Jan. 18 in Athens against Georgia. 

Posted on: December 31, 2011 2:22 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2011 2:27 pm

Is MKG Kentucky's most important player?

By Gary Parrish

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Terrence Jones was the Preseason SEC Player of the Year.

Anthony Davis will be the No. 1 pick in next June's NBA Draft.

But is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Kentucky's best player?

It's a fair question to ask after the freshman wing got 24 points and 19 rebounds in the third-ranked Wildcats' 69-62 victory over No. 4 Louisville here at Rupp Arena. Because though there were better prospects (Davis) and bigger stars (Jay Z and Ashley Judd) in the building on Saturday, there wasn't a more important college basketball player on the court than the kid with the hyphenated name on the back of his jersey who dominated this rivalry game from the opening tip till the final buzzer.

He was terrific.

The Camden native had 16 points and nine rebounds at the half, and his motor never stopped. Kidd-Gilchrist continued to defend like crazy on one end of the court and make winning plays on the other, none of which were bigger than his offensive rebound and putback with 3:41 remaining. Louisville's Kyle Kuric fouled Kidd-Gilchrist on the shot but the ball still went in. As it fell though the net, Kidd-Gilchrist, with his back to the rim, stood and flexed. He then made the ensuing free throw, Kentucky led 61-50 and Louisville never got closer than seven points again.

So now Kentucky is 13-1 and Louisville is 12-2.

Bragging rights belong in Lexington for at least another year.

Credit Kidd-Gilchrist as the main reason why.

Posted on: December 30, 2011 9:09 am
Edited on: December 30, 2011 9:16 am

Wakeup Call: 2011, it was good, but we'll see ya

By Matt Norlander

That is Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis at last night's Kansas game. She is beyond reproach in that cap. He looks like the lucky doofus he is. Let's get to the final Wakeup Call of the year.

Many are angry about Verizon's $2 fee to pay their bill, but if you set up autopay you're in the clear. // This thing, this horrifying more-than-animal, didn't get discovered until 2011. // Boston as America's drunkest city, since I guess we're celebrating such a thing. // Cringe-worthy after-date text-messaging. We all know someone like this. The question is, were/are YOU like this? ...

Nice move by former Rutgers guard Mike Rosario after last night's loss against his former team.

★ Insane story: Juco school with 13-3 record kicks all but two players off its team and forfeits the rest of its season.

★ Boston College is not good this year. Think how good it would be if all these players were still on the team.

★ George Blaney's multitude of looks will get your weekend off to the right start.

★ If you'd like to see the personal side of Seth Davis, you'd best read this start to finish.

★ And here's Seth's 10 predictions for hoops in 2012. His final one I'd love to see happen, of course, but we'll disagree.

★ Good hustle from Jeff Eisenberg to present the back story on the revival of the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry.

★ The cookie is great, but the Christmas card from DeMarcus Cousins is beyond words.

★ I'd absolutely put the A10 and Mountain West ahead of the Pac-12 right now, wouldn't you?
★ A Stanford pick to win the Pac-12. I can see it happening.

★ This was great: a thorough takedown of the primary reason Washington State is limited.

★ The work of an occupied headline writer with more important matters to attend to.

The case is made for Louisville-Kentucky being a better rivalry thank any other in college hoops.

► This ought to get you fired up for tomorrow at noon.

♬ We'll close up shop in 2011 by playing one of my favorite songs off one of my favorite 2011 albums. My Morning Jacket is the best live rock act going. "The Day Is Coming" is a good lookahead to twenty twelve.

Pic via Twitter
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com