Tag:SEC
Posted on: February 14, 2012 9:41 am
  •  
 

My favorite irrational UK fan returns tonight

By Jeff Goodman

He may be the most level-headed Kentucky fan out there. I know, that's the ultimate oxymoron. 

In all seriousness, if Ashley Judd is UK's No. 1 fan, then No. 2 could be a dead heat between Josh Hopkins or maybe World Wide Wes. 

Hopkins is a Lexington native who co-stars with Courtney Cox in the show Cougar Town, which makes its Season 3 debut tonight (the show changed from Wednesday's to Tuesday's) at 8:30 p.m. on ABC. I'm not shy in admitting I was a huge fan of the sarcastic comedy filled with one-liners well before I first spoke to him shortly after Kentucky's win over North Carolina earlier this season. 

"It's a really poorly named show," Hopkins said from New York City on Monday night. "There are no cougars in it. People think it's about some 40-year-old looking for young man when it's actually about a bunch of friends who drink wine and make fun of each other." 

The 41-year-old Hopkins went to Auburn, but has been a diehard Kentucky fan since he can remember. He's taken in a handful of games this season in-between shooting the 15 episodes they recently completed for the season, plans to go to the SEC tournament in New Orleans and also the Final Four -- as long as his top-ranked 'Cats made it. 

"If 10 is completely irrational on a scale of 1 to 10," Hopkins said. "I'd say I'm a 11." 

"I don't just think about this team all the time," he added. "I'm thinking about next year and even the year after with possibly the Harrison Twins." 

Hopkins talks about the length of this team led by freshman Anthony Davis, the remarkable job John Calipari has done and that Kentucky's coach should receive more consideration for National Coach of the Year honors and how Marquis Teague has made strides as a young point guard after a rough start. However, the most impressive and overlooked aspect to this team is something I've been saying since the summer. 

"I don't know how much the average fan realizes that these are really great kids," Hopkins said. "Not once have we seen Davis block someone's shot and stare them down, get in their face or yell and scream. These are great kids and it makes it so much more fun." 

Hopkins ducked the question when I asked him earlier this year about being linked romantically to Cox, Erin Andrews and Jennifer Aniston. That's yet another reason I'm a big fan: That's not a bad trio. 

"It's a real funny season," Hopkins said. "Tell everyone to watch -- or else I'll be looking for a new job." 

Then he'll have even more time on his hands to obsess about his 'Cats. 

Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:30 am
Edited on: February 13, 2012 10:33 am
 

Podcast: CBS Sports Net's Wally Szczerbiak joins

Tom Izzo is doing it again. Think about it, if MSU gets a one seed, shouldn't he get Coach of the Year? (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander


OK, for a day, for one podcast, no writers. I had to get someone who's actually played the game to come on and give a different perspective. That man is CBS Sports Network analyst Wally Sczcerbiak. (My boss, and Miami University alumnus, Eric Kay, is so thrilled right now. This podcast's for you, man.) 

Wally's new to Twitter and would appreciate your follow, so go ahead and give him a click. Enjoy the pod. It's a breeze.
 
On the docket:
  • From the beginning: If he had a good knee, how many points would Wally average in college today?
  • 3:35: Which current hoops player does Wally think most resembles his game?
  • 4:30: It's been 13 years since Wally played college hoops. I ask him to compare the eras and say which one is better.
  • 6:15: Kentucky as the clear-cut top team, it's a talking point that's picking up steam. But Syracuse is 1A, and a strong 1A.
  • 9:34: Tom Izzo and coaching and the common threads between the best basketball coaches. I also ask him to pick his coach of the year, given only the optino of Izzo and Frank Haith. Is that a hedge I hear from Wally?
  • 16:25: The results that stood out the most to Wally from over the weekend. There is mid-major love to be handed out.
  • 18:52: Since Wally's been a part of so many teams and played basketball for so long, I took the opportunity on this podcast to get his perspective on things that most writers flatly can't interpret the same way. At this point, I ask him what February feels like and how teams stay on message without looking ahead ot March.
  • 23:36: Think you might be a little surprised with Wally's take on conference tournaments.
  • 26:45: We wrap up things with a couple teams Wally and I are high and low on. He doesn't hold back with his Baylor and Perry Jones III critiques, which is refreshing to hear.

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 Wally, 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 11, 2012 4:55 pm
 

Anthony Grant suspends 3 more Alabama starters

Grant carries a heavy hammer. (AP)
By Matt Norlander

Something pretty terrible must be happening inside the Alabama program. Days after starter Tony Mitchell was indefinitely suspended from the team, head coach Anthony Grant has now suspended JaMychal Green, Andrew Steele and Trevor Releford, the school announced Saturday afternoon. All three are starters.

What's more, the players were sent home from the team's road trip in Louisiana. Alabama plays against LSU at 7 p.m. ET Saturday night.

The news of the players suspended was first broken by Cecil Hurt of Tuscaloosa News, then confirmed soon thereafter by a school press release.

“We are extremely disappointed in the choices and decisions made by these young men that has led to this suspension,” Grant said in a release. “Talent is a gift, but character is a choice. The consequences of their choices have negatively impacted them as individuals and the people that love and support them. Our hope is that they will be mature enough to accept responsibility for their actions and place a higher value on their character.”

Grant's actions are perhaps unprecedented. Alabama is a 16-7 (5-4 SEC) team that's not assured of an NCAA tournament berth. It now goes without its four best players. Can you remember a college basketball coach in contention for the NCAAs that had to suspended this many starters? If it's something this drastic, the players involved had to know what was coming. Mitchell was the first signal, and now five days later it's this.

The Tide is a mess, and unless Grant's message is received and obeyed, Alabama could be chancing missing the NCAA tournament despite clearly having talent worthy of playing games that matter in March.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 12:57 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 2:21 pm
 

Tuesday poll, here we go

By Matt Norlander

You know what to do. Here we are again, voting on the outcomes of games. The results will air on "Courtside with Seth Davis" Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET, as well as "Inside College Basketball," which goes live at 11 p.m. ET later that night. Both shows, of course, are on the CBS Sports Network.



Want more of us? Or more interaction with hoops fans? We suggest you like the Eye On College Basketball Facebook page. And if that's not enough, CBSSports.com has your roundball fix tended to thanks to our daily newsletter.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 10:05 am
 

Road woes limit Arkansas' potential

By Jeff Borzello

With several quality wins and a gaudy record, Arkansas came out of nowhere last week to get attention as a potential NCAA tournament team. In fact, the Razorbacks were one of the last teams chosen in multiple projected brackets.

Then came Saturday, when Arkansas went into Baton Rouge and lost to LSU, 71-65. By itself, the loss isn’t terrible, but it highlights the glaring weakness on the Razorbacks’ resume: zero road wins. Arkansas is 0-6 in away games.

“We had windows of opportunity to win on the road and we just didn’t finish going down the stretch,” head coach Mike Anderson said, according to Northwest Arkansas Newspapers. “That’s life on the road.”

It was also life on the road last season for Anderson, when he was at Missouri. The Tigers were just 2-7 in true away games a year ago, a number that kept their NCAA hopes in question until the final hours of Selection Weekend.

Right now, that would be the primary thing keeping the Razorbacks out of the NCAA tournament. Everything else is there: quality wins over Michigan, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. A top-50 RPI. Only one loss outside the top 80 of the RPI.

With that said, it’s tough to get an at-large bid without a road win. There are still chances, of course. Arkansas still travels to Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn and Mississippi State – at least three of those are winnable games. Win two of those, and the Razorbacks should feel a lot more comfortable about their road record. 2-8 is still hideous, but it doesn’t jump out like an 0-fer would.

Arkansas is an extremely young team that simply hasn’t figured out how to win on the road yet. The Razorbacks went 2-8 in away games last season, and there are four freshmen and two sophomores in the top eight of the rotation. There just isn’t a ton of experience when it comes to pulling out tough games in hostile environments late in the season.

If Arkansas wants an NCAA bid, though, it needs to figure out how to win outside the friendly confines of Bud Walton Arena – and quickly.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 6, 2012 4:19 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 4:20 pm
 

Coach K calls UNC most talented team in nation

By Jeff Goodman

College basketball is down and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski doesn't disagree. 

"The only thing that might change it is what the NBA does," Coach K said on SiriusXM's Inside College Basketball on Monday afternoon. "We're slaves to what the NBA does with the early-entry. If they ever put that in on a two-year basis, you'll see more dominant teams." 

Coach K knows this year's Duke team wouldn't be a Top 10 outfit five or 10 years ago. The Blue Devils are 19-4 overall and 6-2 in ACC play, which is still impressive, but that says as much about the national landscape as anything else. 

"This is not a juggernaut," K said about his current group. "We have a good team."

"The landscape of college basketball is that if you're old and a little more above the talent level of the so-called mid-majors," he added. "You've got a chance to win the whole thing. That wasn't the formula before." 

Krzyzewski knew, heading into the season, it wasn't going to be easy after losing veterans Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler and No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving. 

Everyone -- The Plumlee Brothers, Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins and Ryan Kelly - were all thrust into new roles. But as much as anything, K said that the lack of consistent effort and energy has been the primary cause for concern - along with consistency on the defensive end. 

He's also had a difficult time finding a high-level point guard on his team. The Seth Curry experiment didn't last, Tyler Thornton isn't quite up to par for what surrounds him and Quinn Cook is still a freshman who missed last season with a torn ACL. 

Now comes a matchup in Chapel Hill with North Carolina on Wednesday night, one that could determine whether the Blue Devils have any shot of winning the ACC regular-season title. 

"They're an offensive juggernaut," Krzyzewski said. "They have the best frontline is college basketball." 

That's a completely different debate (I'm siding with Kentucky on this one), but Coach K continued with another strong statement moments after touting Tyler Zeller as the potential ACC Player of the Year. 

"I think they are by far the most talented team in the country," he said. "Maybe not by far, but they are the most talented team -- especially offensively. And they've been playing together for two years. We'll have a tough game against them. Hopefully we'll play well, learn and have a chance to beat them at the end." 

Posted on: February 5, 2012 12:27 am
Edited on: February 5, 2012 12:42 am
 

Night Court: Kansas-Mizzou delivers the goods

That is a 'Breaking Bad' reference for those who don't get it. (Getty Images)
By Matt Norlander

Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday night’s light slate of games …

Game of the Night:  It was Kansas-Missouri, of course. It couldn't be anything else. Parrish was there, and he'll have reaction/column on the experience shortly. As for my thoughts on the Tigers' 74-71 win, I thought the game was marred by officiating, but rarely does that bother me. The refs blow calls in every game, and at this point, unless it's particularly brutal -- like, among the five worst calls in a season -- I just consider it another turnover. I think it's a damn shame that could've been the last time Kansas takes the bus to Columbia for a game, though. Missouri wanted nothing to do with the Big 12, and now the rivalry is set to die after the season. Too bad.

Win to brag about: The Northern Iowa buzzer-beating win at home against the Valley's best team was bodacious. UNI is fighting to be an NIT bubble team, but it mucked up the MVC race by getting such a sizzling victory.

Loss to hide from: A lot of teams don't have wiggle room. Nevada was 19-3 entering the day, but it was a soft 19-3. It lost to 12-11 Idaho at home. The Wolf Pack now can most likely only afford to lose in the WAC finals if they want an at-large.

Player who deserves improper benefits: Thomas Robinson one-upped Jared Sullinger, scoring 25 and getting 13 rebounds after Sullinger had 24 and 10 earlier in the day. What's particularly egregious: Robinson didn't get a touch on the final three Kansas possessions. I checked the tape. The Jayhawks could have made it happen.

Another player who deserves improper benefits: The man who blocks. Anthony Davis, who set the SEC freshman record for blocks in a season, passing Shaq's record for more than two decades ago. Davis' eight swats today put him at 116 for the year. Davis will likely put this record beyond orbit by the end of February.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Chace Stanback's two points in 20 minutes in UNLV's loss at Wyoming was pretty glaring. I still am very high on Vegas, but I'd like to not see Stanback disappear like this again. He's the wrinkle that makes UNLV hard to contain.

Numbers don’t lie

  • 12. The MAC East beat the MAC West 12-0 this week. On the year, the East leads the battle 21-3.
  • 25.1. That's Damian Lillard's points per game average, tops in the nation, and stays that way thanks to 35 tonight against Northern Colorado.
  • 40 and 40. The Summit League's two best players, Nate Wolters and Dominique Morrison, both played 40 minutes and led their team to wins tonight. DoMo had 36 and Wolters had 31.

Other notable results

  1. Dayton is now 4-5 in the A10 and 14-9 overall. I'm embarrassed to have ever put this team in the Power Pyramid.
  2. For the first time since being coach of Indiana, Tom Crean got a road win in the Big Ten against the team that wasn't named Penn State. 78-61 over Purdue is just what the doctor ordered for IU. Purdue seems destined to play in Dayton in the First Four.
  3. The game will be a bit of an afterthought on this day, but UNC struggled on the way to an 83-74 win at Maryland. Tyler Zeller was again spectacular, putting up 22 points and seven rebounds.
  4. Important game in the CAA saw George Mason beat Old Dominion 54-50. Mason (19-6) remains in a tie atop the league at 11-2 thanks to the win. Playing its way to an at-large if it can win most of the rest from here on out.
  5. Iowa State 77, Oklahoma 70. Iowa State now 7-3 in the conference and, yeah, this is a tournament team.
  6. Boy, oh, boy did Alabama need to avoid losing at home to Ole Miss -- and it did. But it took two overtimes. A 69-67 Tide win. If it can win at home and just get by in the SEC Alabama will sneak in to the field of 68.

Notes

  • Mentioned that Creighton loss above. Wichita State won at home over Indiana State, which means WSU and Creighton are tied atop the Valley. The two play each other next Saturday.
  • Middle Tennessee State was another unbeaten-in-conference team entering the day. No more. Fell at Denver 75-60. If it was a five-point and not a 15-point loss, that'd have been much better. Blue Raiders are a bubble team, but barely now, and they have no BracketBuster opportunity.
  • I've never seen a basketball stanchion just go to sleep like this after a dunk. 
  • Crazy to know that Texas A&M was picked by league coaches to win the Big 12. Aggies fell 64-53 at K-State and are now 3-7 in conference.
  • Apparently it's rumored UNC and Kentucky will not play each other in the non-con next year. Would be dumb for both teams to opt out of that.
Posted on: February 4, 2012 5:05 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2012 5:28 pm
 

Afternoon Delight: Daytime games don't disappoint

I can't even bite into pudding after seeing Ronald Nored's chipped Chiclet. Butler fell 65-61 to Detroit. (Mocksession.com)

By Matt Norlander

On busier Saturdays and Sundays this season, we’re not going to make you wait until the end of the slate of games to catch up with all that’s happened. Afternoon Delight (3-pointers in flight!) recaps the first five-or-so hours’ worth of action, the perfecta appetizer right before dinnertime.

The best we’ve seen so far:  The Buckeyes got their first win at Kohl since 2000. Thad Matta won in Madison for the first time. It was close. It was quintessential Big Ten basketball, which means I took fadeaway shots with balled-up socks at my living room garbage can to pass the time and make up for lost entertainment. Jared Sullinger’s performance is addressed below. As for Wisconsin, my adoration’s worn off. I still may pick it to win a game in March, but at this point, I’d be happier getting burned and being wrong if they managed to make the second weekend. Team is limited, Jordan Taylor will never get back the level of play he was at last season and UW is all too frustrating to be invested in anymore.

Deserving of a free dinner at the restaurant of their choice: It was the inter-conference game that had the most intrigue. Xavier at Memphis. X led most of the way, bloating its lead in the second half to 10 with six minutes remaining. It looked good and in control. Then, a Memphis run. The Tigers finished the game on a 21-6 run. Memphis looks good now. It needs to avoid getting stupid in C-USA and it will saunter into the tournament. Xavier gets to ride the carousel in the A10 and hope it plays better than 90 percent of the league. No guarantee.  

No soup for youI’d like to go out and thank Georgetown for exposing South Florida. The Hoyas won at home today over USF, 75-45. Few bought into the Bulls, but losing like this will convince everyone that Stan Heath’s team isn’t, and never was, tournament-worthy.  

Afternoon all-stars

  1. Sully went for 24 and 10 and had three steals to boot. Eagerly awaiting what Thomas Robinson does to respond in the marquee game tonight in Columbia.
  2. Who is Pat Connaughton? Seriously. I have no idea. Somebody whip up a profile piece. This freshman had 23 and 11 in Notre Dame’s big win over Marquette.
  3. Jamelle Hagins, who plays for Borzello’s Delaware Blue Hens, had 18 rebounds in a UD W over James Madison.
  4. Vandy might’ve lost, but Jeff Taylor had 25 points, six boards and four steals. He was on his game today. He plays like that going forward, Vandy’s a Sweet 16 team. I swear!
  5. Props to VMI’s Keith Gabriel who, as of this post, has a day-high 32. VMI beat Winthrop 86-79.
  6. Andre Drummond had seven blocks and a filthy alley-oop which is not yet available on the Web.

Other daytime action worth your attention

  1. Florida State is a 7-1 ACC team after defeating Virginia at home, 58-55. Want to emphasize just how good this is for FSU, which is halfway home in conference play and will remain atop the ACC standings with Duke and North Carolina. Virginia falls further behind the pack. The Cavs and Seminoles traded turnovers with each other, but at least the game kept my attention, which isn’t the case with 90 percent of tilts involving ACC teams this year.  
  2. Anyone who tries to make Notre Dame’s 76-59 defeat of Marquette more about the Golden Eagles isn’t giving the right due to Mike Brey, who I’m fairly certain came thisclose to having to start a Gatorade cooler earlier this season. The Fighting Irish are now a 7-3 Big East team with DePaul, Villanova and Rutgers aligned in three of their next four games. My God, the Irish stand a good chance of cracking the field! Anything to keep mock turtlenecks relevant: I’m for it.
  3. Goodman will have more on Vanderbilt falling 73-65 at Florida. I’m guessing he’ll be writing Florida, so let me say something quickly on Vandy: I’M STILL NOT GIVING UP ON YOU. LOOK AT ME. WE CAN MAKE THIS WORK.
  4. UConn’s 69-46, Calhoun coached-less win at home over Seton Hall came as dominantly as the Huskies and their fans could have asked for. But we can’t overreact. Seton Hall didn’t have Herb Pope. And Seton Hall has white guys who can’t shoot. Road tests ahead for the Huskies, and it’s then we’ll find out if the team’s got gumption or not. Beating hobbling roadkill like SHU isn’t going to capture the committee’s attention.

Delightful (and not-so delightful) thoughts

  • Difference between home and road. Jan. 14, Baylor plays Okie State at home, wins 106-65. Saturday, Baylor plays Okie State on road, wins 64-60. And if you’ve got a problem with “Okie State,” just know I’ll never stop writing it that way.
  • Fab Melo scored a career-high 14 points after missing three games due to academic troubles. As a people, we cannot let Melo’s haircut to continue, however.
  • Arizona went into Palo Alto and cleaned up the Cardinal, winning 56-43. It basically means nothing, though.
  • I’ll have something on the A10 tonight or tomorrow—depending on how crazy the evening games get—in how it’s a beautiful disaster of sorts. That was reinforced this afternoon once top-ranked La Salle fell to St. Joe’s, 70-66.
  • I’m thrilled to report I’ll continue to not pay attention to Arkansas, as I was alerted to the fact the Hogs fell on the road again today, losing at lousy LSU, 71-65.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com