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Tag:Arizona
Posted on: March 25, 2011 8:50 pm
Edited on: March 26, 2011 11:08 am
 

West Regional tidbits

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Consume at your peril ...

--Kemba Walkers' 36 points tied the UConn record for most points in a tournament game. The guys he tied aren't bad. Ray Allen did it in 1995 vs. UCLA and Ben Gordon had 36 against Alabama in 2004. 

--Prior to Jim Calhoun arriving in 1986, UConn was 4-14 in the tournament. It is 43-13 under Calhoun. 

--UConn leads the Big East in players in the NBA, 11.

--UConn has made nine second-half comebacks this season in which it trailed by five or more points. The Huskies trailed San Diego State by four with 9:19 left when Jamaal Franklin was called for a technical. UConn outscored the Aztecs 25-14 the rest of the way. 


--Calhoun is second among Division I coaching "trees." Only Herb Sendek of Arizona State has more former assistants from his staff (eight) out there as head coaches. Calhoun has six.

--That was a career high for Arizona's Derrick Williams Thursday night, 32 points. He is average 23.6 points and 10.6 rebounds in the tournament

--Arizona (0-4) has never beaten Connecticut

--This Arizona team has made more threes (292) than the 1993-94 team that set the previous school record (279) with Damon Stoudamire and Khalid Reeves leading the way. 

--Thursday's win was Arizona's first over a top-10 in three years (Gonzaga, 2008). 
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 25, 2011 12:02 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 5:39 pm
 

Is this it for Jim Tressel?

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Gene Smith is supposed to be here in Anaheim on Saturday. As chairman of the men's basketball committee, it is his duty to make the rounds during the NCAA tournament.

Arizona and UConn play Saturday for the right to go to the Final Four. Don't keep a seat warm for Smith. He is also Ohio State's athletic director, which makes him a bit preoccupied these days.

Friday's revelation  that Jim Tressel forwarded emails to a mentor of quarterback Terrelle Pryor might be the deal-breaker for the Buckeyes coach. Remember, these are the emails that he wouldn't share with his superiors because Tressel was worried about "privacy" issues.

Apparently the emails weren't sensitive enough to keep from a 67-year-old owner of a Jeanette, Pa., glass company. It's hard to envision Tressel lasting any longer as this coverup builds. It's only a matter of time and definition -- when the coach will leave and what it will be called. Firing? Resignation? It doesn't really matter at this point.

Here's why Friday's news is so damning: If you remember at the March 8 press conference, Tressel was asked by Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel if the coach had shared the emails with anyone else. As Tressel started to say yes, Smith intervened saying that couldn't be discussed, that there was an ongoing investigation.

Reminds us once again that the cover up is always worse than the crime.

This particular situation doesn't necessarily reflect badly on Pryor or Ted Sarniak, who was well known during the quarterback's recruiting process as a mentor. It was to the point, according to a source, that recruiters were dealing with Sarniak more than his high school coach. I was in Jeanette during that recruiting process and went to interview Sarniak at his Jeanette Glass Company offices. It was unannounced because I couldn't track him down on the phone. I was never able to find him.

The school vetted the relationship between Pryor and Sarniak, according to the Columbus Dispatch .

"He's [Sarniak] not a bad guy and he's got money," a person close to Pryor told me. "I don't think he did it [mentored Pryor] for the money."

This is more about Tressel. On the surface, he not only withheld information regarding -- let's not forget -- a federal investigation from his superiors. He also went off the reservation in sharing the emails with a person outside the university. Not even a parent -- a "mentor." Let's be clear: A glass company owner in western Pennsylvania apparently knew Pryor's name had popped up during a federal investigation before Ohio State's president or athletic director.

Poor Gene Smith. His basketball team is driving for the Final Four. That Final Four is a week away and Smith is in charge of it, the NCAA's top moneymaker. But those issues probably aren't in the top five in his mental Rolodex at the moment. We'll know for sure if there is an empty seat at courtside Saturday at the Honda Center. 

Posted on: March 21, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: March 21, 2011 3:32 pm
 

My NCAA tournament thoughts going into regionals

Stay strong, Jay Bilas . It's not the fact that Virginia Commonwealth is in the Sweet 16, people. The fact remains that VCU didn't deserve to be in the bracket in the first place. Colorado could have gone in place of the Rams and also gone to the Sweet 16. Tell me Missouri State wouldn't have had a shot with the right matchup. 


It's a separate argument -- 1) Did VCU deserve to be in the bracket? No. 2) Does winning in the tournament justify that spot in the bracket? No. I can give you the name of five teams that could have gotten hot and won two games.


Big East flop. After the first round, the Big East was guaranteed at least two teams in the Sweet 16. That's all it got. For what is believed to be the first time in the seeding era, the selection committee knowingly made it possible for not one, but two games between conference foes in the second round. 


The committee long ago had to abandon the principle of conference rivals not being able to meet until the regional final. A 16-team Big East made the committee get rid of that principle for obvious reasons. But it was lazy that the committee didn't try to eliminate the possibility of Connecticut-Cincinnati and Marquette-Syracuse in the second round. That looks more like Big Monday than the NCAA tournament.


It wasn't fair to the Big East to have to eat its own so early in the bracket. It showed the committee didn't do its diligence. That being said, the fact that the Mountain West has as many teams in the Sweet 16 as the Big East (two) is embarrassing -- for the Big East.



Most entertaining regional? It isn't the Southwest where Kansas is surrounded by three mutts (Richmond, VCU and Florida State). I'll give you the Southeast with Butler still alive, again, going against the immovable force in Wisconsin. The Southeast also has Jimmer (Fredette) and Billy (Donovan).


But I'll take the West where I dare you to pick the best player in Anaheim. Is it Nolan Smith, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Kemba Walker or Kawhi Leonard? There are so many storylines at the Honda Center, my head is spinning. 


--San Diego State is expected to take over the Honda Center. The school is less than two hours from Anaheim. "The Show" almost blew the roof off the McKale Center last week. 


--Is it possible to have too many good players? Duke barely survived Michigan while trying to integrate Irving back in the lineup. That's a problem every other team would love to have. Also, if Coach K gets to the Final Four out of this regional, he will tie a certain Bobby Knight for the Division I record in career wins, 902. Go, Mike, go! 


--San Diego State fans were chanting "We want Kemba!" after beating Temple in the second round. Be careful what you wish for, Aztecs. I'll kind of answer my previous question: Walker might be the best player in the regional and maybe the country.


--Arizona's Derrick Williams comes back home to his native L.A. As of this moment, Williams is the most important and charismatic player in the tournament. (That's different than "best".) His block in the first round against Memphis preserved the win. His and-one late against Texas on Sunday was the difference. Think Williams will be a little energized going back home playing for a spot in the Final Four?


Easiest road to the Final Four: You kidding? It has to be Kansas. If it wins, it won't face a single-digit seed until the Final Four. On the one-year anniversary of losing to Northern Iowa in 2010, the Jayhawks destroyed an Illinois team Sunday that brought to mind an obvious question: How did VCU and Illinois get in the bracket?

Posted on: November 23, 2010 6:14 pm
 

BCS releases list of at-large candidates

The BCS exclusionary?

Not today with 22.5 percent of Division I-A still eligible for BCS bowls. That's the conclusion after reading a BCS press release Tuesday afternoon. The BCS released its list of teams still under consideration for the five elite bowls. In addition to the 19 teams contending for automatic berths by winning their conference there are still eight teams being considered for at-large berths.

Those are:

No. 11 (in the BCS) Alabama, 9-2. Eliminated from the SEC, the Tide could get in the conversation by beating Auburn.

No. 21 Arizona, 7-3. A longshot even if the Wildcats beat Oregon this week.

No. 12 Arkansas, 9-2. The LSU game is a playoff to stay alive in the BCS.

No. 4 Boise, 10-0. Let's be honest, if the Broncos don't win out they're not going to a BCS bowl.

No. 5 LSU, 10-1. The highest-ranked one-loss team would seem to be in if it beats Arkansas.

No. 19 Nevada, 10-1. Another longshot even with a win over Boise on Friday.

No. 20 Utah, 9-2. Consecutive losses to TCU and Notre Dame doomed the Utes.

No. 3 TCU, 11-0. The Frogs are nervous. If they are passed by Boise for the No. 3 spot, their BCS bowl chances are in jeopardy.

To be eligible for an at-large berth, a team must finish in the top 14 of the BCS standings. For a non-A.Q. (automatic qualifier) conference champion to get into a BCS bowl it must finish in the top 12. (Top 16 if it is ranked higher than a champion from a power conference.) Only the highest-ranked non-A.Q. meeting those parameters is guaranteed a spot in the BCS. 

What's amazing is that there are 19 teams still alive for automatic berths:

ACC: Florida State, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech
Big East: UConn, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, West Virginia
Big Ten: Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Big 12: Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M
Pac-10: Oregon, Stanford
SEC: Auburn, South Carolina

Posted on: November 11, 2010 10:40 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2010 2:48 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Much credit to Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer for the work on these Joe Paterno statistics: As JoePa pursues win No. 401 Saturday at Ohio State , it's worth noting how he won a significant portion of his first 400. For the first 27 years of his head coaching career, Penn State played as an independent. The Nittany Lions regularly faced these six Eastern independents -- West Virginia, Syracuse, Rutgers, Temple, Pittsburgh and Boston College .

The Suspect Six weren't exactly national powers, at least they weren't against Paterno. Penn State was 112-14-1 against those schools before joining the Big Ten. Throw in the service academies -- Army, Navy and Air Force were especially devastated during the Vietnam War -- and Joe was 130-16-1. Those 130 victories before joining the Big Ten account for more than half of his wins as an independent and 32.5 percent of his total victories ...

Who keeps track of this stuff? Michigan can win its 300th all-time game in November against Purdue ... Two backup quarterbacks go at it in Atlanta. Miami freshman Stephen Morris led a last-minute win over Maryland last week. Georgia Tech goes with sophomore Tevin Washington who replaces Josh Nesbitt , out with a broken arm ... With a win over Kent State , Army (5-4) assures that all three service academies are bowl eligible ... Syracuse (6-3 heading to Rutgers) is one of just nine I-A teams with four road wins ...

This is where playing I-AAs becomes a liability. Arizona State (4-5) must win its final three games to become bowl eligible. The Sun Devils played two I-AAs and now must sweep Stanford, UCLA and Arizona ... SEC teams are averaging 31 points per game, the most since expansion in 1992 ... Vanderbilt has attempted four field goals and 72 punts ... The Big East has no bowl eligible teams. At this point last year it had three.


Posted on: October 21, 2010 11:53 am
Edited on: October 21, 2010 11:56 am
 

Pac-12 divisions announced

The new Pac-12 divisional alignment is expected to be announced by commissioner Larry Scott during a Thursday afternoon press conference.

USC AD Pat Haden may have revealed the alignment speaking last week to a Trojan booster group. Haden reportedly told the boosters that the divisions would be split along what seem to be north-south lines. In one division would be Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Stanford and Cal. In the other division: USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.

There is no word on the conference scheduling alignment. The SEC uses a 5-2-1, eight-game conference schedule with one designated rival from the opposite division. The Big Ten adopted the same scheduling model beginning in 2011. It will eventually go to a nine-game conference schedule. The Pac-12 is expected to stay with its current nine-game conference schedule when it splits into divisions next season.

The conference is still determining the location of the conference championship game. Scott will speak at 2:30 pm ET in San Francisco.

Posted on: September 28, 2010 7:47 pm
 

National notes

What the hell happened to the Big East?

No one was predicting a national championship this season, but things were looking up weren't they? Pittsburgh had a bonafide Heisman candidate in Dion Lewis. UConn was going to beat Michigan and begin the end for Rich Rod. West Virginia had Noel Devine. Cincinnati wasn't 12 wins good, but it was 10 wins good. Right?

The only thing good about the league at this point is that September is ending. At least the Big East can start 0-0 in October. It was 1-10 against BCS conference schools in September. Every team in the league has at least one loss. There are no ranked teams. UConn has changed quarterbacks. There has been an APB sent out for Lewis. Syracuse? There's hope. The Orange are 3-1.

Remember, this was the league that Paul Tagliabue thought was worth saving.

Here's what went (really, really) wrong.

Brian Kelly left Cincinnati. The Bearcats were thinking the worst and hoping for the best. Turns out that Kelly did have the magic touch to get a mid-major into a BCS bowl. It also turns out that the growing pains under Butch Jones were going to be significant.  A 1-3 start means the Bearcats have one less loss than they have had in last two seasons combined (four).

Rutgers never capitalized. It was almost four years ago that Rutgers lit up the nation and New York with that magic win over Louisville. The Scarlet Knights didn't follow through to win the Big East and capture that BCS berth. Greg Schiano keeps recruiting well but Rutgers has lost that Cinderella the program had. It dropped to 2-1 Saturday with a loss to North Carolina.

Ditto for South Florida. Wasn't it just three years ago that the Bulls rose to the No. 2 in the country? South Florida was a fun story for a while under fiery coach Jim Leavitt. Then they always seemed to fade in November. Leavitt got sideways with the administration and may have struck a player. A lawsuit trying to dispel that assertion is what takes most of his time lately. Skip Holtz was the right hire but it's going to take time. Actually, the Bulls might have the brightest outlook after one month. They stuck with Florida for a half and should be 4-1 heading to Morgantown on Oct. 14.

Pittsburgh underachieved again. The Panthers were a prohibitive favorite to win the league in the preseason. They still might do it but have already lost twice. Thursday's four-touchdown rout by Miami was embarrassing. There will be no 10-win repeat.

Four of the league's eight teams have switched coaches in the last two years.
Remember, continuity is a good thing.

There's always Temple and/or Villanova. The two schools have been rumored to join the league as a way of bolstering its major-market profile if and when the Big Ten gets the expansion jones again. There was a report that the league may be interested in TCU. Makes sense for both sides, sort of. If TCU loses once in the Mountain West, it could be out of the BCS running. If it loses three times (non-conference games) while playing in the Big East, it could still get a BCS bowl.

None of that fixes what's wrong now. 

The top 10 September teams (No preseason polls involved. Strictly based on accomplishments to date)

1. Alabama -- beat two ranked teams, one top 10 team on the road. No drop off after losing nine defensive starters.
2. Boise State -- beat two ranked teams, one on the "road" (Virginia Tech). No drop off after undefeated season.
3. Stanford -- Most underrated team in the country. Andrew Luck could win the Heisman. Cardinal could win the Pac-10.
4. Auburn -- Complete team now with Cam Newton.
5. Nebraska -- Defense alone could get it to national championship game.
6. Oregon -- Scorched the earth until Arizona State, then Devils handed them a game by turning it over seven times.
7. Arizona -- Win over Iowa was biggest in years.
8. NC State -- Won twice impressively on the road (Central Florida, Georgia Tech). Suddenly an ACC favorite.
9. Ohio State -- Against the only upright opponent showed flaws but still picked off four Miami passes. Still waiting for Big Ten sked.
10. Michigan -- Can't argue with 4-0 for the second straight season. Denard Robinson emerging as Heisman favorite.

The Quarter Pole

(The best after four games. Team and player)

Best of the Big East: West Virginia, Jordan Todman (UConn)
Best of the Big 12: Nebraska, Taylor Martinez (Nebraska)
Best of the Big Ten: Ohio State, Terrelle Pryor (Ohio State)
Best of the ACC: NC State, Russell Wilson (NC State)
Best of the SEC: Alabama, Ryan Mallett (Arkansas)
Best of Conference USA: East Carolina, Bryce Beall (Houston)
Best of the Pac-10: Oregon, Andrew Luck (Stanford)
Best of the Mountain West: TCU, Ronnie Hillman (San Diego State)
Best of the Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee, Jerrel Jernigan (Troy)
Best of the WAC: Boise State, Kellen Moore (Boise State)
Best of the MAC: Temple, Bernard Pierce (Temple)

Posted on: September 16, 2010 6:51 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2010 6:51 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

The overflow companion piece to Friday's Weekend Watch List

Boise State has more than twice as many points in the AP poll (1,306) than the Big East and ACC combined (627) ... Arkansas has not been 3-0 since 2003 ... Speaking of which, Ryan Mallett has some monster numbers (73 percent completion rate, six touchdowns) but has yet to face a I-A opponent ...

Duke's David Cutcliffe
is a Bama grad and worked as a grad assistant for Bear Bryant. As a head coach at Ole Miss he has beaten Alabama twice. In his wallet, Cut carries a ticket stub from Nov. 28, 1981, the day Bryant became the then all-time winningest coach with his 315th victory. Cutcliffe's first game as a student assistant came 28 years ago. Alabama beat Duke ... Minus 13 those starters in the opener, North Carolina leads the nation in passing after two weeks (412 yards vs. LSU) ... Baylor is one of three teams that has not allowed a touchdown this season. (Alabama and Arizona are the others) The last time the Bears did not allow a TD in their first two games was 1960 ... Kansas State's Carson Coffman leads the Big 12 in pass efficiency. Dad Paul was an 11-year NFL veteran. Younger brother Cameron, also a quarterback, is a big-time recruit at Raymore-Peculiar (Mo.) High. Sister Camille is a freshman volleyball player at Wyoming. Another brother, Chase, was a standout tight end at Missouri ... Nebraska quarterback sensation Taylor Martinez has back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. The last time a Husker quarterback did that was 2003 ... 

Miami
returned a punt and kickoff for a touchdown in the same game last week for the first time in the same game (last week vs. Ohio State). According to Miami sports information no team in the last 15 years has scored on a kickoff and punt return as well as a 50-yard-plus field goal in the same game ... There are as many underclassmen quarterbacks (freshmen and sophomores) in the top 13 in rushing as there are senior running backs (three each) ... Lost in the flurry of I-AA upsets was Liberty. The Flames beat Ball State last week 27-23. That was Liberty's second win over a I-A school in its history, its first in 21 years. The Flames are ranked 14th in I-AA. Each one of the other I-AA teams to beat I-As this season are also ranked ... Not surprisingly, UCLA leads the Pac-10 with seven turnovers. Only New Mexico has more (eight) ... San Diego State (at Missouri) has finished 105th or lower in rushing each of the last three seasons. It is currently 21st. The Aztecs' eight rushing touchdowns matches their 2009 total. San Diego State is 2-0 for the first time since 1994. 
 
 
 
 
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