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 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.

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 2:50 pm

No bigger surprise than Steve Fisher's Aztecs

By Jeff Goodman

Kawhi Leonard may be in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs, but he's still making his presence felt with his former teammates at San Diego State. 

"His work ethic, I think we all watched him and learned a lot," Aztecs guard Chase Tapley said. "I know I did. He's so humble, just wants to win and worked so hard and it rubs off on everyone else." 

But work ethic can only do so much. You still need talent -- and after Steve Fisher lost a first-rounder early in Leonard, and three other starters off last season's team, just about everyone figured it would be a rebuilding year. That San Diego State, one of the true feel-good stories a year ago, would return to mediocrity. 

Instead, the Aztecs - coming off a huge win at the Viejas Center this past weekend, are 15-2 and sit among the Top 20 teams in the country heading into Wednesday's tilt at the Pit in New Mexico. 

Fisher has done a remarkable job with this group, one that should put him right there for National Coach of the Year honors. 

"I think we all thought it was a rebuilding year," Tapley admitted. 

Tapley, the lone returning starter, has been phenomenal this season. He's averaging 16.9 points while shooting 52 percent from the field and 49 percent from long range. This coming from a guy who was a role player last season, one who averaged 8.6 points per game and played in the shadow of Leonard, Malcolm Thomas, D.J. Gay and Billy White. 

Sophomore guard Jamaal Franklin is a terrific talent who had to wait his turn and is quickly taking advantage. James Rahon is a threat from the perimeter and two transfers -- Xavier Thames and Garrett Green -- have both been solid. 

The wins haven't been eye-opening until the one against UNLV. There was a road victory in Tucson, which is never an easy task, and another Pac-12 win against Cal. The Aztecs also took down the top two teams in the Big West: Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara. 

However, beating the Runnin' Rebels gave this team credibility. 

"We knew that UNLV beat North Carolina," Tapley said. "And everyone knows how talented Carolina is. We knew that UNLV was going to be a huge test for us, and that we couldn't blow this opportunity." 

But now comes another. 

Posted on: January 14, 2012 8:22 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 8:58 pm

SDSU lost a lot but is still winning a lot

By Gary Parrish

This sort of thing is supposed to happen at Kentucky.

Or Duke.

Or Kansas.

Or North Carolina.

But it's not supposed to happen at San Diego State because San Diego State is not Kentucky. Or Duke. Or Kansas. Or North Carolina. San Diego State is a program that had never been ranked before last season. It is not a national power. It's just a school no different than most non-BCS schools -- the kind that can put together a memorable season with the right mixture of experienced and talented players but will then usually slip back to its normal place in the college basketball world once those experienced and talented players move on. Think Saint Joseph's with Jameer Nelson and Delonte West, then after Nelson and West left. That's what San Diego State is supposed to be. That's what most figured would happen this season.

Turns out, most were wrong.

Because the Aztecs are -- in the year after The Year -- sitting at 15-2 following Saturday's 69-67 win over No. 12 UNLV. Never mind that Steve Fisher lost his top four scorers -- including first-round pick Kawhi Leonard -- from last season's Sweet 16 team because it doesn't seem to matter. The 66-year-old coach is using different pieces but winning at the same high level. SDSU now has wins over California, Arizona, Southern California, Long Beach State and UNLV; the only losses are to No. 4 Baylor and No. 23 Creighton. That means the Aztecs have some good wins and no bad losses. That's why they're ranked 22nd this week and will be higher on Monday.

I wasn't sure I'd ever have a reason to go back to Viejas Arena after last season.

Now I'm not sure how to justify staying away.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:39 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 2:12 pm

Tuesday polls: Not just for New Hampshire

By Matt Norlander

Today is quite the big day for you to cast your vote. No, I'm not talking about the New Hampshire primary (though the political geek in me is anxious to steal some viewing of that tonight while navigating a very nice Super Tuesday lineup). If you missed the debut last week, through the end of the season, we'll be letting you have your voice represented on TV. We've got this weekly poll with a spread of games.

So get to clicking and sharing the word.

You can see the results of this week's voting on "Courtside with Seth Davis" (Wednesday, 6 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network). This is the second installment. We thank you again for making the time to swing by our abode every day. Let's hear it.

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: January 9, 2012 8:17 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 8:36 pm

Khem Birch chooses UNLV over Florida

By Jeff Goodman

It’s only been three weeks, but the recruitment of Khem Birch has taken plenty of twists and turns since rumors first started that he was leaving Pittsburgh.

On Monday, it ended: Birch is headed to UNLV, a source told CBSSports.com.

The 6-foot-9 Canadian power forward chose the Runnin’ Rebels over Florida. Xavier, Gonzaga, New Mexico and others were also in the mix at one point.

Birch was the highest-ranked player to ever commit to the Panthers, but he left the program after 10 games. He said in late December that he didn’t bond well enough with his teammates at Pittsburgh, and also that the style of play wasn’t ideal for him.

He averaged 4.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks at Pittsburgh.

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: January 9, 2012 10:20 am

Podcast: The MWC can no longer be undervalued

By Matt Norlander

We can't turn our heads anymore. The Pac-12 is miserably bad, perhaps continuing in the worst season in its existence -- that dates back to when it was the Pac-8 and the Pac-10. What's the reason for this? Is it doomed to become a one-bid league? The Dagger's Jeff Eisenberg says no, even if you want to upchuck your dinner just following this league.

Today's 'cast isn't all negative, though. Jeff and I also give our top five non-BCS teams, waxing on the Mountain West in the process. The MWC could be the fourth-best league in the nation. Let's start talking about that over peanut butter and crackers.

On to the podcast:
  • From the beginning: Banter before the basketball.
  • 1:15: Addressing, examining and a lack of mockery -- but heavy pity -- for the Pac-12. What the biggest story lines with the league right now?
  • 4:26: How'd the Pac-12 get to this point? How'd a Big Six conference become so laughable?
  • 9:27: How many bids is this league setting up to get? Calling it a one-bid conference is easy, and understandable, but by March, two teams getting in seems likely.
  • 12:30: Moving on to the Mountain West -- the fourth-best conference in the country. Believe it, fools!
  • 16:04: Eisenberg's top five non-BCS teams. Xavier makes it. Fo' real.
  • 22:06: We get to this point of the year, there's always a team or two who's undervalued despite playing well. We give our picks.
  • 24:55: Louisville, Missouri, Florida and UConn all fell Saturday. Top 15 teams. Which one will wind up playing the worst the rest of the way?

Continued thanks from me to you for keep coming back and listening. Please: spread the word. Hoops season is ramping up, and I'd love more hate mail. Spread this page and the iTunes subscription link to anyone you'd think would like this sort of think. We post three times per week, with the Wednesday show being a low-rent sitcom wannabe of a half hour, thanks to CBSSports.com national writers Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman Skyping in their opinions. 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: December 26, 2011 3:22 pm

The Poll Attacks

By Gary Parrish

Only one voter isn't ranking UNLV. And only one voter isn't ranking Michigan State. Turns out, it's the same silly voter. He's about to get Poll Attacked.

Associated Press poll: I explained last week why it was wrong to leave UNLV off a ballot.

And this week it's even more wrong.

But one voter still did it.

His name is Roger Clarkson.

And I'll bet you the $100 gift card to Macy's I got for Christmas that he couldn't intelligently defend his ballot. He's the only one of the 65 AP voters who isn't ranking UNLV or Michigan State. But guess who Roger is ranking? Illinois and Gonzaga. And I'm about to explain why that's sillier than fighting stupid crowds to return unwanted gifts on Dec. 26.

UNLV, Michigan State, Illinois and Gonzaga are all two-loss teams, so I can see why somebody in a rush might look at the records and think they're the same. But they're not the same. The bodies of work that belong to UNLV and Michigan State are undeniably superior to those belonging to Illinois and Gonzaga ... at least in part because UNLV has a win over Illinois in Illinois and Michigan State has a win over Gonzaga at Gonzaga. Of the four teams, nobody has better wins than UNLV and nobody has better losses than Michigan State. The Rebels own wins over North Carolina, California and Illinois, and the Spartans' only two losses are to North Carolina and Duke on neutral courts.

And did I mention UNLV beat Illinois in Illinois?

And that Michigan State beat Gonzaga at Gonzaga?

And that UNLV and MSU are both inside the Top 20 at KenPom.com.

And that Gonzaga and Illinois are both outside the Top 25 and KenPom.com.

Bottom line, rank UNLV, Michigan State, Illinois and Gonzaga if you like. We actually have UNLV, Michigan State and Illinois all ranked in the Top 25 (and one), and I am, in theory, OK with Gonzaga, too. But what I'm not OK with is ranking Illinois and Gonzaga without ranking UNLV and Michigan State. Why? Because it's makes no sense. I've looked at it every way imaginable, and it makes no sense. But if you can explain it, feel free to email me at cbsparrish@gmail.com and give it a shot. In the meantime, I'll be not returning presents, mostly just laying around.

Coaches poll: I've highlighted this nonsensical voting habit before. But it keeps happening, so I'm going to keep writing about it in hopes that one day the nation -- or, at the very least, the coaches who vote in the coaches poll -- will realize that a team losing to a higher-ranked team does not not necessarily mean the lower-ranked team doesn't deserve its ranking.

Yes, I'm talking about Illinois.

The Illini were ranked 24th last week.

They lost by four points on a neutral court to Missouri, which was ranked eighth.

And somehow that convinced voters that Illinois didn't need to be ranked 24th anymore. Or even 25th. Again, it's crazy because a school ranked 24th is supposed to lose on a neutral court to a team ranked eighth. And when it happens, the team ranked 24th shouldn't be penalized for it, especially when the loss only comes by four points.

Just so we're clear, let me say this: If you don't think Illinois is a top 25 team, that's fine. It's debatable. But if you thought the Illini were a Top 25 team last week, why would you think they're not a Top 25 team this week? Because of a four-point loss to a team ranked eighth? Surely you see how stupid that is.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com