Posted on: March 3, 2012 9:13 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2012 9:14 pm

UNC avoids collapse, enacts revenge on Duke

By Jeff Goodman

DURHAM, N.C. - There was no miraculous comeback this time, no heroic shot from freshman Austin Rivers. 

Just revenge. 

Talent won out -- and that meant that North Carolina did what it was chosen to do, win the ACC regular-season title and also lay claim to a No. 1 overall seed with a fairly resounding victory at Cameron over rival Duke. 

The Blue Devils made it interesting in the second half, but only because the margin had grown to 26 points at one point. 

Duke had a chance to cut it to single-digits with less than five minutes left, but Rivers missed the front end of a one-and-one -- and the Tar Heels were truly never threatened. 

For the first 20 minutes, it was complete dominance in just about every aspect of the game. 

But this time was there no meltdown. 

North Carolina finishes the regular-season 27-4 and 14-2 in league play. Not what we all expected from the preseason number one team in the land, but the win at Cameron showed that this team is still a legit national title contender. 

In case anyone forgot about these guys from Chapel Hill, they may just be Kentucky's biggest roadblock to cutting down the nets in New Orleans. 

It's pick your poison now with the Tar Heels on the offensive end without Dexter Strickland. All five starters finished in double-figures and Roy Williams' team put up 88 points. 

And the Tar Heels, despite a few bumps in the road, still achieved their first goal -- to win the ACC. 
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 29, 2012 7:18 pm

NCAA looking into Shabazz Muhammad recruitment

By Jeff Goodman, Gary Parrish

Shabazz Muhammad is the top-ranked recruit in the nation.

Muhammad's recruitment, however, has drawn the attention of the NCAA - which has spoken to his father, Ron Holmes, about the family's relationship with a pair of financial advisors.

His list of finalists reads as follows: UCLA, Kentucky, Duke, UNLV, Kansas and USC.

You can read the exclusive story here:
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:36 pm

Podcast: Seth Davis shares how he discovered CBB

Jordan Taylor's having a down year, but are there six better players in the Big Ten than him? Seth says yes. (AP)

By Matt Norlander

One of CBS' premier college basketball analysts joins me again. Seth Davis is preparing to basically spend the next month sleeping at CBS headquarters, as he'll be providing insight and analysis for the network. So before he hunkers down, it was time to get him back on the pod. We've our disagreements on the RPI's legitimacy -- and on Jordan Taylor's value and his season so far. .

Audio menu:
  • From the beginning: Treadmill tips. Yeah, I kind of get this thing off to a rousing start, let me tell you.
  • 2:52: OK, hoops. Duke is the first topic. Why does the perception of this team fluctuate so much over the course of three months?
  • 9:00: Seth is down on Jordan Taylor. I am not. Let's talk about it.
  • 13:22: Might as well get into the RPI and let Seth have one more lobbying session for it. This is pretty civil, all things considered. I'm actually proud of myself for not letting this devolve into a 30-minute back-and-forth, which is what I did with myself in the mirror this morning. Day's getting better.
  • 20:56: The refs suck, by the way. Actually, they don't. But everyone thinks so. Let's clear that up and remind people why Teddy Valentine isn't such a bad dude.
  • 27:13: Why is the Player of the Year race a two-man one with Anthony Davis and Thomas Robinson? Doesn't Draymond Green deserve to be at that table?
  • 30:37: The pod wraps up with some of our stories of how Seth and I got into college hoops when we were young.

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.

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:00 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 12:15 am

Duke erases late 20-point deficit vs. NC State

By Jeff Borzello

NC State blew a 20-point lead in the final 11:33 vs. Duke. Mark Gottfried sums up State's feelings. (US Presswire)

It looked like another bubble team was ready to come into Cameron Indoor Stadium and knock off Duke. It looked like the Blue Devils were prepared to lose their third game at home this season. It looked like North Carolina State was heading to the NCAA tournament.

And now? Well now, none of that is happening yet.

Duke came back from a 20-point deficit in the final 11:33 to beat the Wolfpack, 78-73. The Blue Devils simply kept coming back. It was a 13-0 run that turned into a 20-3 run that turned into a 37-12 run. In that span, Duke outscored NC State by 25, missed just six shots -- and didn't commit a single turnover.

North Carolina State was completely rattled down the stretch. And it wasn’t just one person. Lorenzo Brown stepped out of bounds, C.J. Leslie committed a bad foul, Richard Howell bumped Austin Rivers 40 feet from the basket.

The final possession was a microcosm of the final 10 minutes for NC State. Down by three with 25 seconds left, the Wolfpack – instead of going for a quick two and then fouling to extend the game – decided to look for Scott Wood going off screens behind the 3-point arc. And that was it. When Duke’s Tyler Thornton stayed with Wood throughout the possession, the Wolfpack had no options. Brown took a desperation 3-pointer with seven seconds left and Seth Curry – who scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half – iced the game with two free throws.

This was North Carolina State’s game. A win at Cameron Indoor, and the Wolfpack would have the inside track to finishing fourth in the ACC – and likely getting an NCAA tournament berth. Their resume – which also includes wins over bubblers Miami (Fl.) and Texas – would have compared favorably to nearly every other team on the fence. When Duke missed 11 of its first 12 shots, including its first nine 3-pointers, everything seemed to be going according to plan.

NC State fought everything to keep the lead. They fought off the initial comebacks by Duke, they fought off foul trouble, they fought off turnovers.

But they couldn’t fight off Duke’s final run. 

Posted on: February 16, 2012 11:26 pm

Night Court: Duke, FSU with late comeback wins

By Jeff Goodman

(NOTE: We will file a Night Court almost every night this season. Follow @GaryParrishCBS, @GoodmanCBS, @MattNorlander, @JeffBorzello and @EyeOnCBB on Twitter to make sure it gets sent to you as soon as it's posted.)

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

Game of the day: N.C. State had Duke beaten at Cameron -- and it would have been just the signature win that could have gotten the Wolfpack into the NCAA tournament. Mark Gottfried's team was up 20 points with less than 12 minutes remaining, but the Blue Devils stormed back and came away with a 78-73 victory. Seth Curry finished with a career-high 26 points -- including 21 in the second half -- as Duke remained tied with North Carolina and Florida State for first place in the ACC. 

Shot of the day: Michael Snaer, he of the game-winner to beat Duke in Durham, buried another 3-pointer -- this time with 2.6 seconds left that rescued Florida State. It gave the 'Noles a 48-47 win over Virginia Tech in Tallahassee. It was also the eighth consecutive loss for the Hokies against FSU on the road. 

Win to brag about: Lehigh handed Bucknell its first Patriot league setback of the season and also snapped the Bison's 20-game conference winning streak. Mountain Hawks star C.J. McCollum buried the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left in the game that snapped a four-game losing skid against Bucknell and also closed the gap in league play. Lehigh is now 8-3 in the league, two games behind Bucknell. 

Loss to hide from: Ole Miss didn't just lose. The Rebels got smoked -- in Oxford by Vanderbilt. The final score was 102-76 and it wasn't even that close. 

Player who deserves improper benefits: Vanderbilt's Jeffery Taylor - The athletic senior wing is better-known for his defense, but Taylor erupted for 23 points and grabbed five boards -- in the first half. The Commodores crushed Ole Miss so badly that Taylor didn't need to do much of anything in the second half. Taylor finished with 28 points and nine boards -- he was 10-of-15 from the field and 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. 

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: We're splitting this honor three ways for this one. Erick Green, Dorenzo Hudson and Robert Brown each went 0-for-2 from the charity stripe in the final 2:11 of Virginia Tech's loss to Florida State. 

Numbers don’t lie:

8: That's how many "and-ones" that Michigan State had against Wisconsin tonight. That's a ridiculously high number. 

3-10: Virginia Tech shot 3-of-10 from the charity stripe in the final 2:10 of the loss to FSU. 

18: Robert Morris racked up 18 steals in its 69-40 rout over Bryant. 

18 &15: Points and rebounds put up by North Texas freshman Tony Mitchell in a rout over Louisiana-Monroe. 

Other notable results:

Michigan State had little problems with Wisconsin in East Lansing. Draymond Green finished with 20 points and 10 boards as Sparty won its seventh straight against the Badgers at the Breslin Center. 

Vandy smacked Ole Miss on the road, 102-76. The Commodores needed this one, having dropped three of their last four. 

West Virginia got a much-needed victory, 66-48, on the road against Pittsburgh. The Mountaineers had lost five of their past six to go from a secure NCAA tournament team to one in danger of heading into NIT territory. 

Texas Pan-American coach Ryan Marks got his 10th victory of the season and improved to 4-2 in Great West play with a home win over NJIT. 

San Diego coach Bill Grier has three freshmen in the starting lineup and the Toreros have made progress this season. USD needed overtime to take care of Portland, improving to 11-15 overall and 6-8 in WCC play. 


Mount St. Mary's interim coach Matt Henry, filling in for Robert Burke (administrative leave), got the win after a 77-63 victory against FDU. 

Duke won its 14th straight at Cameron against N.C. State. The last loss came on Jan. 18, 1995. 

West Virginia's Kevin Jones had yet another double-double with 16 points and 13 boards in the road win against Pittsburgh. 

On tap: 

It's Friday. That means Ivy league hoops is the focus -- along with a couple of BracketBuster games. 

1) Northern Iowa at VCU - Shaka Smart and the Rams may have lost out on a chance for an at-large bid with the setback to George Mason the other night. 

2) Valparaiso at Loyola Marymount - LMU is coming off a big road win at Saint Mary's. 

3) Harvard at Brown -The Crimson can't afford another loss or at-large chances are history. 

4) Yale at Dartmouth - James Jones' team is one game back from the Crimson. 

5) Cornell at Penn - The Quakers are 5-2 in Ivy league play, just a game back in the loss column from Harvard. 

Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:27 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 1:14 pm

Coach K's letter of regret to Michael Jordan

By Matt Norlander

Crazy as it may seem, Coach K doesn't always get his way. And when he was a young pup trying to build up a program, he frequently fell short when trying to get blue-chip recruits to Durham. If it weren't for one man, Krzyzewski wouldn't have made it to a fourth year as Duke coach.

Of all the recruits K misfired on, Michael Jordan is the most famous. And after 23 picked UNC just a few days before Halloween in 1980, Krzyzewski sat down and punched out a 65-word letter of regret to the lanky kid who would go on to change the way the world viewed and cared about basketball. By the way, this was K's first season as head coach in Durham.

This is the third artifact related to MJ's recruitment to get some pub on the Internet this week. Yahoo's Jeff Eisenberg dedicated a post Thursday to Jordan's signed Letter of Intent and Dean Smith's recruiting letters to Jordan 32 years ago. A hat tip is in order to Sporting News' Chris Littmann, who alerted me to the letter on Twitter after he noticed Josh Benedek of Jordan Brand PR Instagram out the photo. Who knows, maybe the Jordan Brand is preparing to do some promo work or a retrospective on the fertilization of its namesake's career. The letter is currently housed at North Carolina's Basketball Hall of Fame.

Coach K's letter to Jordan starts with a heck of a line, filled with a guilt trip and what I think is a backhanded, minor, insult (maybe it's just standard fare on rejection letters, though), before he goes on to wish the young player luck in Chapel Hill. Cool little piece of history, the discarded decisions along the way to UNC and Duke history.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 10, 2012 11:30 am

Podcast: Rivers, 'Bazz and the weekend ahead

San Diego State could realistically cement itself into a four or five seed if it beats UNLV this weekend. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander

Murray State. Duke. Rivers. The big games this weekend. Substitute teachers. Pickup basketball. The best recruits waiting the longest to commit to schools. It's all on today's podcast.

Oh, and Borzello's my guest. Sorry about that. Had to inject some "flo" back into the proceedings. 
On the docket:
  • From the beginning: Some jibbing and jabbing before the hoops.
  • 2:50: We get right to the Murray State talk. What seed are they now? How many games can this team afford to lose?
  • 9:35: Duke and Carolina and Austin Rivers. Why that amazing ending doesn't change things for Duke and why UNC is now questionable as a one seed.
  • 15:50: Top 10 freshmen are who? At this point in the year it's fair to say who's the biggest surprise and the biggest disappointment.
  • 19:48: The games this weekend. Let's chat about the ones that stick out to us. A good dozen games are touched upon. Lots and lots of good hoop Saturday and Sunday. Can't wait to be ensconced in it.
  • 31:52: Shabazz Muhammad, the No. 1 2012 recruit, recently said he'll wait until at least April to announce where he's going. UCLA and Kentucky are in the lead. I don't think he's good enough to make coaches wait into May, but Borzello brings up a good point why he's bound to.

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.

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Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:02 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 12:17 pm

Better comeback: Duke-Maryland or Duke-UNC?

Last night certainly had to be one of the five best games in Duke-UNC history. (AP)

By Matt Norlander

As Duke was improbably bombing its way back into the game against North Carolina Wednesday night, I suddenly, near the very end, remembered how I'd seen this show before. Eleven years ago, Duke erased a 12-point deficit in less than a minute at the end of regulation in Maryland's Cole Field House. Duke won 98-96 in overtime. It's become one of the five biggest games in Blue Devils lore. It's definitely the most memorable Duke game from that season. By the way, the Blue Devils won it all that year. It might take you a second or two or five to remember the team they beat in the national title game.

But you remember the Maryland game instantly.

I think we'll remember Duke 85, North Carolina 84 instantly 11 years from now as well.

Wednesday night, Duke swiped away a 10-point Carolina lead in the final 2:15. And unlike the Maryland game, this one didn't need overtime. Unlike the Maryland game, this one had the best ending a basketball game can get: a do-or-die shot that falls true with not a millisecond remaining on the scoreboard. Was it better? Which game was better? I don't know, and don't care much to debate that. I'd have to re-watch the Duke-Maryland game (which can be done on ESPN Classic tonight at 8 p.m., by the way) to get a true sense.
Boozer and Krzyzewski in 2001 at Cole Field House. (AP)

Instead, let's debate the comebacks. Which tops the other? Duke had more time to kill off the lead against its hated rival, and is considered the inferior team. In the Maryland game, against its faux rival, both teams were good, but Duke was seen as superior. Maryland still hadn't slayed that dragon yet. In fact, in retrospect, it's interesting to see Maryland lose that game. It's like the Jordan Bulls continuing to lose to the Pistons before getting over the hump. Maryland won the '02 title, you'll recall.

The most impressive aspect to the '01 game was the fact Duke didn't have any timeouts. Watch the video below. Interesting to hear the crowd cheer when the PA announcer says, "We have one minute play," the Maryland fans in attendance blissfully ignorant of imminently being first-hand witnesses to Terp brutality and ACC history.

Once Jay (back then, "Jason") Williams sinks a twisting layup, Mike Patrick says, "They need a miracle." And they get it. Drew Nicholas botches two free throws, and even when Duke's five points and 45 seconds away from sending the game to an extra session, Patrick and Brad Daugherty seem to know what's going to happen before it happens. Eerie to listen to them know yet not know at all what's around the corner.

That wasn't the feeling you got last night. Last night's comeback seemed to shrink from 10 points to 3 on that last possession, when after Zeller missed the free throw, we all realized, Hey, Duke can win this thing right now. That's when Dick Vitale and Dan Shulman, as Austin Rivers was bringing the ball up the floor, had their premonition.

To me, last night trumps '01, and here's why: Rivers hit the first true, game-winning buzzer-beater in the history of North Carolina-Duke. That's weighty and really, quite surprising. Williams, who had a game-high 25 -- eight coming in the final minute --  in the Miracle Minute, even said last night's game might top what he and Carlos Boozer and Shane Battier and the rest of the Devils did in Cole Field House.

Last night's game also had a play you almost never see, that accidental tip-in by Tyler Zeller that gave Ryan Kelly's errant 3 ... two points, since it wasn't going to fall through the hoop. There is also a twinge of controversy to Duke's comeback, as Seth Curry hit a 24-foot shot with 1:47 to go. The problem? He clear-as-day traveled before releasing the ball. Officials didn't pick it up, as his momentum and natural shooting motion seemed to play tricks on the stripes as they ran up the floor during a transition offensive play. The butterfly effect was in play.

In the Maryland game, Duke never lost the lead in overtime. They carried the momentum into the extra session and
finished off the game with plays you never see in highlights these days. But Duke was expected to win that game. Against Carolina, most expected UNC to win by double digits. Duke was coming off a miserable home loss to Miami. It was out of flow and without direction.

But then punky frosh Austin Rivers capped off a comeback, hitting his team's 13th 3-pointer with one of the biggest daggers this rivalry will ever know. If it doesn't get bigger than Duke-Carolina, than how can last night's double-digit comeback on the road not eclipse the Miracle Minute? Wednesday night's game doesn't have the flashy nickname or unprecedented packed-in run of points, but it does have the better highlight. Watch both videos and give me your vote.

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