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Tag:Villanova
Posted on: February 20, 2012 11:51 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 11:54 pm
 

Night Court: Napier saves UConn's season

By Jeff Borzello

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

Game of the day: Shabazz Napier saved Connecticut’s season. After it looked like the sophomore guard wouldn’t play at all, Napier contributed key minutes and then hit a pull-up 30-footer with 0.8 seconds left in overtime to give the Huskies a 73-70 win at Villanova. Connecticut got behind by 18 points in the first half, but fought back to tie it at halftime. Jeremy Lamb went for 32 points, constantly bailing out the Huskies down the stretch. If Connecticut makes the NCAA tournament, it might look at Napier’s shot as the one that put them there.

Win to brag about: Mississippi Valley State clinched the SWAC regular-season championship in the best way possible – on a 3-pointer with under a second left by 6-foot-8 big Paul Crosby. The shot gave the Delta Devils a 56-53 win over Texas Southern, and also improved them to 15-0 in conference play. Remember, this is a team that was 1-11 in the non-league. Quite the turnaround for Sean Woods’ club.

Loss to hide from: Texas needed this one. The Longhorns, coming off a loss to Oklahoma State over the weekend, had a chance to solidify their resume with a home win over a reeling Baylor club. After getting off to a double-digit lead, they let the Bears come back on the glass – and on the scoreboard. Baylor pulled it out late, 77-72, after J’Covan Brown turned it over in the final minute. Texas’ NCAA hopes are now in trouble, while Baylor is back on the right track. Quincy Acy had 22 points and 16 rebounds for the Bears.

Player who deserves improper benefits: North Florida’s Parker Smith is gunning lately. He’s knocked down at least five 3-pointers in four of his last six games – but nothing topped his performance on Monday. The Ospreys’ guard went 11-for-17 from behind the arc – and also knocked down 9-for-9 from the free-throw line – en route to 46 points in a 75-66 win over Mercer. The loss for the Bears is their second in a row, dropping them two games behind first-place Belmont.

Player(s) who does not deserve improper benefits: There weren't too many disappointing performances tonight, although a couple caught my eye. DePaul's Jamee Crocket had taken 82 3-pointers the entire season heading into Monday night; that's slightly over three attempts per game. For some reason, he took 11 shots from behind the arc against St. John's, only making one in the loss. Meanwhile, even though Baylor won, Perry Jones struggled once again. He shot 3-for-11 from the field -- he still needs to step up in big games.

Numbers don’t lie:

  • 0: The number of Atlantic Sun wins Kennesaw State has this season, after falling just short, 73-71.
  • 0: The number of MEAC wins South Carolina State has this season, after the Bulldogs lost by one to Florida A&M.
  • 5: Delaware State has now had five games in a row decided by either one possession or in overtime. The Hornets won Monday in double overtime over Hampton.

Three other notable results:

  1. St. John’s is now in 11th place in the Big East after beating DePaul by seven. Given what the Red Storm have been through, that’s an accomplishment.
  2. It looks like Belmont will win the Atlantic Sun, after defeating USC Upstate, 88-79. The Bruins are now up by two games on Mercer with just two games left.
  3. Savannah State took a full game lead in the MEAC standings by demolishing Bethune-Cookman, who entered Monday only one game back of first.

Notes:

  • Look out for Fairfield in the MAAC tournament. The Stags won their seventh straight league game by beating Marist on the road.
  • Kyle O’Quinn struggled offensively, but still grabbed 16 rebounds as Norfolk State picked up an easy win over Longwood.
  • Southern looks likely to finish second in the SWAC after improving to 11-4 on Monday, but the Jaguars are ineligible for the conference tournament and won’t thus be able to take down MVSU.
  • There was a false report claiming that Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun would return for Saturday’s game against Syracuse. It was denied by school officials. 
More College Basketball coverage
Posted on: January 6, 2012 11:35 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 11:44 am
 

Jay Wright, Jamie Dixon appear unlikely to dance

No Dixon, no Wright in the tournament? It's looking more likely, folks. (AP)

By Jeff Goodman

Jay Wright and Jamie Dixon were supposed to, at one time before Pittsburgh decided to bolt for the ACC, carry the torch for the Big East once senior citizens Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhoun left. 

Wright and Dixon have been two of the hottest coaches in America over the past few years. Both have spurned no shortage of big-time suitors and both have built their programs into national contenders. 

Both may be watching the NCAA tournament as spectators this season. 

Wright has led 'Nova to seven consecutive NCAA tournament appearances - including an Elite Eight in 2006 and a Final Four in 2009. But this current group is just 7-8 after last night's home loss to South Florida. 

Dixon may not have led the Panthers to a Final Four, but he's been just as successful, going to the Big Dance in each of his eight seasons since taking the reigns from Ben Howland. Dixon actually had a chance to go to the Final Four, but lost to Wright in the Elite Eight in 2009. 

Now his team has lost four straight for the first time in the Dixon Era following last night's road setback to DePaul. The Panthers sit -- along with 'Nova and Providence -- at the bottom of the Big East with an 0-3 mark. 

Villanova, with a sub-.500 overall mark, has virtually no shot of getting to the NCAA tournament this season unless the Wildcats go on an insane run in the Big East. 

Pittsburgh has dug itself quite a hole with losses to two mid-tier Big East teams (Cincinnati and Notre Dame) as well as DePaul. The Panthers most impressive win to date? I'm not sure there is one. 

Dixon needs Travon Woodall back. He has missed eight games due to injury -- including the losses to Wagner, Cincinnati and Depaul. He played 18 minutes in the setback against Cincinnati, but was ineffective and has missed two games since. 

With Woodall, the Panthers can still make a run. However, he needs to come back healthy soon. Next up is a home game against Rutgers, but then comes the key stretch whether Pittsburgh can jump back into the NCAA tournament equation. Four of its next five come against ranked teams - including road games at Marquette and Syracuse to start. 

Just about everyone has down years. It happened to Kentucky in the Billy Clyde Gillispie Era, Jim Calhoun and Roy Williams were in the NIT not all that long ago. 

But few saw this coming with both Dixon and Wright. 


Posted on: December 6, 2011 10:28 pm
 

Late-season swoon starting earlier for 'Nova



By
Jeff Borzello

NEW YORK – In the past, Villanova has waited until January or February to start its swoon.

This year, it looks like the Wildcats are in an all-season swoon.

“They’re not nearly what they were in the past,” said one coach who faced Villanova earlier this season.

Considering Villanova went 5-11 down the stretch last season, and 5-7 the year before, that’s probably more troubling than initially thought. The Wildcats dropped to 5-3 on the season after Tuesday’s loss to Missouri at the Jimmy V Classic. They also have losses to Saint Louis and Santa Clara, and their best win is in overtime against La Salle.

Needless to say, this is not a vintage Villanova team.

While the final score indicates a 10-point margin, it didn’t even feel that close. The Wildcats never really looked like they were a threat to overtake Missouri and win the game. They allowed a 17-4 run late in the first half to give the Tigers a 13-point halftime lead, and the lead was as many as 16 in the second stanza. Villanova did make a couple of runs midway through the second half, but Missouri always had an answer and Villanova simply couldn’t keep up.

The Wildcats allowed a Missouri team that starts one player taller than 6-foot-6 to grab 14 offensive rebounds, and ‘Nova also turned the ball over 15 times. If not for 11 3-pointers and some solid play off the bench from Darrun Hilliard, this would have been a blowout.

“We’re getting better,” head coach Jay Wright said. “It’s a little embarrassing saying that – we just lost by 10 points and we’re getting better. But that’s where we are.”

There are a variety of problems with this Villanova team. It starts at the point guard position. Maalik Wayns is a quick and creative playmaker, but he’s not great at facilitating a half-court offense for others. He did finish with nine assists tonight, but he is clearly more comfortable going to the rim on his own. Inside, there’s no consistent scoring option. Mouphtaou Yarou is a solid asset on the interior, but he’s not a player you can just throw the ball to and expect a result.

For a team to roll with four perimeter players, the guards need to be able to create their own shot and get into the lane for finishes at the rim. Wayns is the only one that can do that right now. Dominic Cheek, James Bell and Hilliard prefer to shoot 3-pointers, and Jayvaughn Pinkston is a more physical type of player. Freshman Tyrone Johnson has the ability to take players off the bounce, but he hasn’t received much playing time.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Wright said. “We have a lot of room for improvement at a lot of positions.”

Villanova really struggled with Missouri’s quickness and athleticism at both ends of the floor. The Wildcats couldn’t keep the Tigers out of the lane, and they were unable to take care of the ball at the offensive end. To be honest, Missouri looked like the old Villanova teams – the ones with Randy Foye, Allan Ray, Kyle Lowry, etc.

This group of Wildcats is not bringing back those memories though.

“I’d like us to be on the other end of this,” Wright said. “We’re just not there yet.”

Villanova isn’t ready to compete for a top-five finish in the Big East right now. With all the young talent Wright has, though, it’s not out of the question that the Wildcats will be better by the end of the season. After a trip to Temple on Saturday, Villanova doesn’t have any more marquee non-conference games left. The Wildcats will need to damage in conference play – and that looks difficult right now.

“These are games that give you a measuring stick,” Wright said.

And right now, the Wildcats simply don’t stack up favorably.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 28, 2011 2:28 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 2:44 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

By Gary Parrish

Associated Press poll: Thanksgiving weekend is tricky.

Lots of family time.

Lots of shopping.

Good football on television.

It's easy to lose track of things in college basketball, I know. But my god. There are websites all over the place -- including, of course, CBSSports.com -- where box scores from every game played can be found, and it just seems like AP voters ought to take a few minutes and look at them before submitting their ballots. If they did, the Poll Attacks would be much more difficult to file every week. As it is, this is simple stuff.

So thank you, Mark McCarter of the Huntsville Times.

You've made my job simple on this Monday.

And I hate that it's you because I like you and we go way back. But come on, man. You put Cincinnati 25th on your ballot despite the fact that the Bearcats are 3-2 with home losses to Presbyterian and Marshall. That's two home losses. To Presbyterian. And Marshall. What does Cincinnati have to do to get off your ballot? Would a loss to Miami-Ohio this week do it? What about two losses this week -- to Miami-Ohio on Tuesday and Georgia on Friday? Surely that would be enough, right?

Also, why no UNLV on your ballot?

The Rebels are 7-0 with a win over North Carolina.

That's slightly better than 3-2 with home losses to Presbyterian and Marshall.

Obviously, I could go on for another 300 words. But that's enough. Because the Houston Chronicle's Sam Khan voted Villanova 24th, and that's similarly silly and needs to be addressed. The Wildcats are 4-2 with neutral-court losses to Saint Louis (by 12 points) and Santa Clara (by one point). I suppose that's better than home losses to Presbyterian and Marshall, but not much better. I genuinely have no idea how Sam could still be ranking Villanova, but I also have no idea how Sam can rank Memphis seventh -- 12 spots of the Michigan team that dominated the Tigers and at least sixteen spots ahead of the Georgetown team that he didn't rank despite it also beating the Memphis team he still believes belongs in the top 10.

In fact, I don't even know why he'd rank Memphis at all right now.

I'll explain that next ...

Coaches poll: Memphis will win Conference USA.

The Tigers are too talented to do anything but win Conference USA.

But at some point, to some degree, the results have to matter, and the Tigers' results through four games don't suggest they are, at this moment, the top 10 team most believed they'd be in the preseason ... or even worthy of the No. 21 ranking the coaches gave them Monday. Memphis is 2-2 with a home win over an Atlantic Sun team (Belmont) and a double-overtime win on a neutral court over a team picked 11th in the SEC (Tennessee). The Tigers' losses are a double-digit defeat on a neutral court to No. 15 Michigan and an overtime loss to unranked Georgetown, also on a neutral court. Simply put, that's not good enough.

Now I know what you're thinking: How can CBSSports.com rank two-loss FSU but not two-loss Memphis?

Answer: Florida State's two losses are better. And FSU deserves more of the benefit of the doubt. The Seminoles are 5-2. Their losses are an overtime loss to a team we have ranked 11th (Connecticut) and a five-point loss to a team we have ranked 22nd (Harvard). Beyond that, FSU's ranking isn't based on potential nearly as much as Memphis'. The Seminoles were good last season -- third in the ACC with an 11-5 league record and a trip to the Sweet 16 -- and they returned the bulk of that roster. Meantime, Memphis was awful last season. The Tigers went 10-6 in Conference USA, basically played well for just one week in El Paso, won the C-USA tournament and got the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. So their preseason ranking was always based more on recruiting rankings and the idea that they'd this season be more like the team that pushed Arizona to the buzzer in their postseason opener last season than the team that finished fourth in C-USA, and, again, I think they will eventually. But through four games, they haven't. And that's why I can't make sense of Memphis still being ranked this week when so many other teams deserve it more.

Like Harvard.

The Crimson are 6-0 with a win over Florida State.

Or Georgetown.

The Hoyas are 4-1 with the lone loss being a close loss to No. 14 Kansas.

And Georgetown beat Memphis.

How could anybody rank Memphis but not Georgetown right now?

That's baffling.

Either way, again, Memphis will be fine in time; I still believe that. The roster remains really, really talented. But should the Tigers be ranked 21st on Nov. 28 -- ahead of Saint Louis, FSU, Harvard and Georgetown? No, absolutely not. It really can't be justified by anything that's ever happened on a basketball court.
Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 9:40 am
 

For Big East, realignment overshadows basketball



By Jeff Borzello

NEW YORK – This year’s Big East Media Day featured the likes of Jim Boeheim, Jamie Dixon and others.

Once the conference shakeup is over, what will it look like? Will we have Donnie Jones, James Dickey and Matt Doherty instead?

The overarching theme of the 2011 Big East media day was, unsurprisingly, realignment. Boeheim, Dixon, Mike Brey, Jim Calhoun, Rick Pitino, Jay Wright, Bob Huggins and the other nine coaches in the conference were each peppered with countless questions about who is going where, when it’s happening and what they think of it.

Many of the coaches clearly were getting tired of the same questions, over and over.

“I think it sucks like everyone else does,” Huggins told a group of reporters. “Yeah, [it’s a shame]. I think it was a shame the first time. It’s got to stop somewhere.”

The only thing set in stone right now is that Pittsburgh and Syracuse will be leaving the conference at some point, but the timeline is still indefinite. Technically, they’re not allowed to leave for more than two years, but that could be an awkward 27 months.

Dixon said the goal of Pittsburgh is not to leave the Big East without a plan for its future as a conference.

“When it’s in the best interest of the Big East for us to move, that’s when we’ll leave,” he said. “Whether it’s 27 months, 12 months or five months.”

The fate of several teams is also still undecided, with West Virginia and Louisville being linked to the Big 12, Connecticut to the ACC, Notre Dame to the ACC (and Big Ten, as always), with Rutgers also thrown around as a potential Big Ten or ACC target.

While the realignment mess could hinder some of the schools, Pitino and Brey are confident their institutions will handle it well.

“Unlike some others, we’re going to land on our feet,” Brey said. “I like the Big East, but we’ll land on our feet.”

“We’ll be fine in the Big East or in the other place,” Pitino said.

Connecticut was expected to follow suit to the ACC after Syracuse and Pittsburgh, and while that’s still a possibility, the Big 12 has also opened up as a potential landing spot for the Huskies.

Calhoun made it clear he is not sitting still and hoping everything just stays the same. He is being proactive as a result of all the changes around him.

Season tips Nov. 7

“The Big East is special, I am proud to be a member of it. But sometimes what you want is not where you end up being. We are seeing the start of change,” he said. “My obligation to UConn is to be in an advisory capacity and reach out to my friends, particularly in the ACC and Big 12 and see what’s [happening].”

When the realignment carousel eventually stops spinning – whenever that may be – it’s not a stretch to say that the Big East will look very different. There could be a 20-team football conference and a 12-team basketball conference, with some variation of Navy, Air Force, UCF, Houston, SMU and a host of other schools in the mix.

Huggins said the new faces wouldn’t change the way he views his opponents in the conference.

“They were these guys at one time,” he said of younger coaches potentially replacing the Boeheims, Dixons and Calhouns of the league. “Somebody is going to finish last and someone is going to finish first. Whether it’s someone in the league now, or someone new.

“We had 11 teams reach the NCAA tournament last year, and nine of them will still be around. That would still have been a record.”

Not everyone feels that way – Pitino thinks certain intra-conference matchups won’t carry the same juice and luster as they previously did.

“Syracuse is playing Clemson on TV tonight!” he said. “It’s not Syracuse-Georgetown.”

Conference commissioner John Marinatto opened up the media day by saying he was glad that he finally could talk about basketball – but soon was bombarded with questions about realignment. This wasn’t what Marinatto signed up for, he said. It’s not what he wanted.

His comments beg the question – if Marinatto didn’t see it coming, how did we get here?

Dixon pointed to the lack of cohesion between the basketball and football sides of the conference. A 16-team basketball conference and an eight-team football conference clearly don’t align perfectly.

“If that is the best situation, more conferences would do it,” he said. “And we’re the only one that does it.”

When it boils down to it, though, money is the biggest factor in the entire proceedings. Pitino put some of the blame on the greed of the school presidents.

“The big is eating up the small,” he said. “The presidents have always said to put the athletes first. The last thing they’ve talked about is the athletes. So there’s a bit of hypocrisy in the presidents and their answer today.”

With so many questions still waiting to be answered, no one is sure about what is next – not the coaches, athletic directors, presidents, commissioners. The future of several conferences is completely up in the air.

What’s next? Brey summed it best.

“Leagues are listed as day-to-day now.”

Photo: AP



Posted on: October 11, 2011 9:51 am
Edited on: October 11, 2011 10:58 am
 

Former Michigan State signee taking visits

By Jeff Goodman

Dwaun Anderson was Mr. Basketball in the state of Michigan. He's an athletic wing who was a freshman on campus this past summer and ready to play for Tom Izzo at Michigan State.

However, Anderson's mother died in the spring and the school put out a statement that he was withdrawing from school back in August.

"The last two years have been a very rough time for me as I’ve had to deal with some personal tragedies, including the sickness and death of my mother," Anderson said in the statement. "I’ve been in counseling as I attempt to cope with these issues, and I plan to undergo further counseling. I want to get all my personal issues in order before moving on to the next stage of my life."

Now the 6-foot-4 Anderson, who comes from a remote part of northern Michigan, is apparently prepared for the next stage and is exploring his options to return to college.

Anderson took an unofficial visit to Rutgers on Monday, is expected to go to Drexel today and will go to Wagner on Wednesday - a source told CBSSports.com. Georgetown is likely to get a visit from Anderson on Saturday and he is set to head to Seton Hall on Sunday. A trip to La Salle has been set up for Oct. 20. 

"He's wide open," the source said.

Anderson may also visit Villanova and Central Michigan.

Anderson played with Team NJABC in the summer because of the close relationship between Team NJABC coach Matt Pauls and Anderson's former high school coach at Suttons Bay in Michigan, Todd Hursey.

"He has a chance to be eligible in January," the source said. "And he'd be an unbelievable pickup for someone - especially this late."
Posted on: September 23, 2011 2:13 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 2:31 pm
 

Big East leadership questioned by coaches

By Jeff Goodman

Some guys just aren't cut out to be head coaches. They make better assistants.

Big East Commissioner John Marinatto may be one of those guys.

"I firmly believe we would manage this a lot better with a different leader," said one Big East head coach, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "He's a good man, a good right-hand man. But I think he's in over his head."

To be fair, Marinatto was thrust into an unenviable situation, following the late Dave Gavitt and Mike Tranghese as the leaders of the Big East.

Marinatto's resume reads as follows: A Providence kid who graduated from Providence College in 1979, then later went onto become the athletic director at the school for 14 years. He was the associate commissioner of the Big East from 2002-2009, when he took over for Tranghese.

"There's just no way it would have gotten to this point if Dave or Mike were still in charge," another Big East head man said.

One thing is for certain: Gavitt and/or Tranghese wouldn't have had the news of Syracuse and Pittsburgh's departure delivered to him in a football press box on Saturday - as has been reported to be the case with Marinatto.

"I'm not sure how it would have worked out, but it would have," a coach in the league said about the overall situation the league now finds itself.

``I doubt it," answered yet another when posed the question whether this would have occurred under previous leadership.

However, with Syracuse and Pittsburgh departing for the ACC at some point (likely prior to 2014) and UConn begging and pleading to join the exodus, Marinatto has come under fire.

While there are certainly those who are skeptical, Marinatto does still have his share of support.

"I think eventually this would have happened anyway," one coach said. "Everyone wants to put it on Marinatto, but this is a league that's been built on instability."

Now the future of the Big East - and the way it'll be comprised - is in jeopardy. Will it add a couple members to replace what is has lost - and may lose - and move forward? Or will it re-shape itself for improved long-term stability and go the route of the "basketball-only" schools, thus going hard after Xavier and Butler?

We'll see what Marinatto does - and whether his fate mirrors that of outgoing Big 12 commish Dan Beebe, who's at left of Marinatto in the photo above.

Photo: AP
Posted on: September 15, 2011 1:58 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2011 2:36 pm
 

Mario Chalmers talked 'sh-t' to Jay Wright

By Gary Parrish

My pal Jason King from Yahoo! Sports has a book coming out later this month. It's called "Beyond the Phog -- Untold Stories from Kansas Basketball's Most Dominant Decade," which means it's an easy Christmas gift for any and every KU fan. That's obvious. But it's going to be a worthwhile read for all followers of college basketball if there are more stories in it like the excerpt published today at KUSports.com.

The story is told by Mario Chalmers.

You might remember him from the 2008 national title game.

He's the guy who hit that shot that forced overtime against Memphis.

Anyway, before the Jayhawks beat Memphis in championship game they played Villanova in the Sweet 16. This was just another Sweet 16 game on the surface, but Chalmers said it was "personal" because Villanova's Jay Wright had previously cut Chalmers and Sherron Collins from a USA Basketball team of which he was the head coach.

I'll let Chalmers take it from here ...
So when it came to the Villanova game, Coach Self called Sherron and me into his office and said, “How do you feel about this Villanova game?” I said, “Coach, this is personal to me. I don’t like Jay Wright.” He was like, “I understand that, but keep it out of the media.” So when the media asked if it was a personal game, we’d say, “No, it’s not personal. It’s just another game.” But during the game we were talking all kinds of s--t to Jay Wright. We’d run by him and tell him, “Sit your ass down! We got this!” Another time we said to him, “This is what you get for cutting us. We’re about to dog you!” Anytime we were throwing the ball in from the sideline, when he was standing up trying to call a play, we’d tell him to shut his mouth and sit down. There was one play where I threw a lob to Shady on an inbounds pass and he dunked over Scottie Reynolds. Right before I threw it I looked at Jay Wright and said, “Watch this!” That game was definitely personal for Sherron and me.

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