Category:NCAAB
Posted on: March 13, 2009 12:01 am
Edited on: March 13, 2009 12:11 am
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The Big 12 Tournament blows up

No one was counting much on Dexter Pittman -- including his teammates.

"Dexter Pittman," Texas guard Varez Ward pondered Thursday afternoon,  "If he had played like that all season, no telling what our record would be."

It's hard to put much stock in a 6-foot-10, 300-pound foul-prone quasi-tight end who gets winded easily. But there was Pittman becoming the most outstanding player midway through the Big 12 Tournament.

Like most tournaments, the Big 12's was expected to be mostly chalk. Kansas and Oklahoma were the favorites. Going into Friday's semis, though, it might be the wildest postseason tournament in the country.

 Only one of the top four seeds (Missouri) advanced to the semis for the first time in tournament history.

 Kansas became only the second No. 1 seed in tournament history to lose in the first round. Ninth-seeded Baylor did the deed. No. 2 seed Oklahoma also slept in its own bed Thursday night, the victim of an upset to Oklahoma State.

 A kid named after a former Chicago Bears linebacker (Texas Tech's Mike Singletary) set the scoring record with 43 points against Texas A&M on Wednesday.

 No. 7 seed Oklahoma State finally broke through against Oklahoma this season with a last-second 71-70 victory.

Pittman, though, resembles King Kong in more than stature to this point. The Longhorns find themselves meeting Baylor -- Baylor? -- in one semifinal after Pittman went off against Kansas State on Thursday. A day after scoring a career-high 26 against Colorado, Pittman erupted for 19 points and a career-high 20 rebounds against the Wildcats. That's 45 points and 30 rebounds in two games for a guy who averages 10 points and five rebounds.

“There’s no question he played his best overall game,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said afterward. “It’s really neat, because he’s just getting started.”

Problem is, no one knew if Pittman would ever get started. He came to Austin three years ago 70 pounds overweight. Not only was food a problem, so was stamina. Until lately. Pittman has asserted himself late averaging 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in the last five games. His go-ahead layup with 74 seconds left was eventually the winning basket.

The big fella dominated in a grinder that featured almost as many fouls (41) as field goals (42). Texas will take on Baylor in one semi with a hint of desperation. While the Horns are safely in the tournament, the Bears are trying to make a miracle run to an NCAA berth.

Why not? Baylor is across the street from the building where coach Scott Drew's brother Bryce made his miracle shot to beat Ole Miss in 1998. This year's difference maker for the Bears is the coach's 2-3 zone which bothered both Nebraska and Kansas.

The other semi matches Missouri against the Cowboys. Okie State had lost the previous two Bedlam games to Oklahoma this season. It held on this time when the timekeeper didn't start the clock with 2.3 seconds left on Oklahoma's last possession. National player of the year Blake Griffin looked like he was fouled going up for a desperation last-second pass. Officials ruled that time had expired after OU scrambled to get a last shot.

Oklahoma State also survived with guard Byron Eaton scoring 16 points before he moves on to ... football. Eaton is a senior in basketball but has a year of athletic eligibility left. Don't be surprised to see the guard transform into a fullback in the fall.

Meanwhile, the league's top two seeds go into the NCAA Tournament somnambulant. Oklahoma has won two of its last six. Kansas has lost two of its last three.

"We're not very tough," Kansas guard Sherron Collins said, "if we can't come back from this."

We'll see. The Big 12 upsets could have all kinds of repercussions.  Oklahoma's shot at a No. 1 seed is all but gone. Kansas was hoping at least to get placed in Kansas City for the first and second rounds. That virtual home-court advantage could be in danger as well.

 

 

Posted on: March 11, 2009 12:18 am
Edited on: March 11, 2009 12:50 am
 

Cleveland State is in!

Somewhere Kevin Mackey is smiling.

Cleveland state clinched its second NCAA berth ever and first since 1986 by beating Butler in the Horizon League championship. It's been 23 years since Mackey, the former coach, led an improbable run to the Sweet 16. Those Vikings remain the lowest-seeded at-large team (No. 14) to advance the furthest in the tournament.

Mackey, 62, remains at NBA scout but still hasn't been a head coach in 19 years.

 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: June 27, 2008 5:02 pm
 

Greenspan pulls the rip cord

It's disgusting in this corporate-speak world how utter failings can be spun into gold.

In the end, Rick Greenspan said he didn't want to be a "distraction" at Indiana. That distraction for the Hoosiers' 
AD who resigned on Thursday, would be how he incredibly mismanaged a proud athletic department. How this clown hung 
on this long is incredible.


Under his watch, Indiana has suffered its most embarrassing NCAA moments. First, Greenspan hired Kelvin Sampson 
fresh off his 577 illegal phone calls at Oklahoma. That was so bad T-Mobile was laughing. At the time, Sampson 
to New Mexico State? Sure. Sampson to one of the most decorated college basketball programs in the country? IU could

 
have had its pick. It chose a convicted NCAA felon.

 Hey, Bob Knight was a son-of-a-b but he was a clean son-of-a-b.

Greenspan hired a heck of a coach but one with more baggage than Zsa Zsa Gabor leaving on a two-week cruise to 
Cannes. There were plenty of good coaches available at the time. And if you operate on the theory -- it's only a 
theory, mind you -- that most of them were clean, then Greenspan really screwed up. He compromised the school's 
values and dignity for a guy who had hocked a loogie on the NCAA Manual.

True, Greenspan might have been backed into a corner by a fawning president Adam Herbert and the trustees in having 
to hire Sampson. But Greenie should have seen the situation for what it was: In the end, it was his ass on the line.

 
He could either resign then in protest over Sampson's hiring or wait until the ethically-challenged former National 
Association of Basketball Coaches president (that still makes me laugh) opened his cell phone again.

In these situations the school president always skates. There's always a limo waiting to take him to the airport for

 
the next job or that tax-shelter haven in the Caribbean. It's a great racket. I'm convinced that Enron trained these

 
people. They can screw up a one-man parade and then resurface in some other cushy president's job. In Herbert's 
case, he extended Greenspan to 2013 then stepped down in 2007.

With all the roaches running for dark corners, Greenspan is the last comic standings. His position became untenable 
when the NCAA added a "failure to monitor" charge against the school in the Sampson case. In the 108 previous years 
of Indiana basketball the program had never had a major charge against it. Since Greenspan hired Sampson, there have

 
now been five. That's some damning math.

You just had to gag reading an Indianapolis Star Q&A with the nude king (the emperor, you may have concluded, has no

 
clothes):

Greenspan said, "I just don't think this place should be about me."

Reaction: Don't worry, Rick, it isn't, it wasn't and it never should have been.

More Greenie: "I don't think it's appropriate for me to be the guy that it seems like every three months is having 
some major press conference."

Reaction: Ya think?

Greenspan: "I need a certain degree of visibility to be effective in fund-raising."

Reaction: You won't have to worry about visibility anymore. Please, feel free to hide out.

Greenspan: "Time will tell," if he gets back into athletics.

Reaction: How do I put this delicately? I hear the 7-11 is hiring.

 

 

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Indiana
 
Posted on: April 8, 2008 9:23 am
 

Rock Chalk Nation fantasy

Mark and Mike Komosa were stuck in traffic somewhere near Fort Worth on Tuesday morning.

The Flying Komosa brothers are a lot like their dad. They're never down. They could chat up an orange highway cone, so you can understand that the two KU students from Kansas City didn't really need a car 8 1/2 hours after their Jayhawks won the national championship.

They were indeed flying.

In reality, they were driving back from a trip that they will tell their grandchildren about 50 years from now. Twelve hours there from Lawrence to San Antonio on Friday. Twelve hours back after the national championship game, hoping to get back in time for a 3 p.m. players' celebration back in Lawrence. Classes were cancelled which is a good thing because Mike had a speech due.

For one weekend they lived the ultimate Jayhawk fan's fantasy. They won Final Four tickets in the student lottery and decided on the spot -- Animal-House style -- that a roadie was in order. How often do you get to see your school in, and win, a Final Four?

They crashed at the house of a friend of their dad's. They had a free-throw shooting contest with the young son of their weekend landlord who whacked them with a stick to ruin their concentration. Hey, maybe it carried over to Memphis' free-throw shooting.

Mostly, they smiled. All weekend.

It's no surprise that Mark and Mike were partying on the Riverwalk on Monday night when a friend got a call. Come on over to the Hilton, the caller said, you're invited to the players' VIP party. Understand that Mark is a friend of Kansas forward Sasha Kaun. The perfect night just got better.

They got their picture taken with the national championship trophy. A limited English vocabulary didn't get in the way of Olga Kaun, Sasha's Kaun.

"Guys," she said in her Russian accent, "We champions."

"She was so happy," Mark said. "She couldn't stop hugging Sasha."

The Brothers Komosa glanced over in one corner and saw Bill Self chatting with Larry Brown, two generations of Kansas national champion coaches. Into the conversation came R.C. Buford, Self's best friend, former KU assistant and GM of the San Antonio Spurs.

"It was really cool seeing the players around the people they love," Mark said.

It was like being backstage at the Oscars, except that that award ceremony is held every year. This one comes once in a generation, maybe. It had been 20 years since Kansas raised the trophy. This victory might have been every more dramatic than 1988. Danny (Manning) and the Miracles became Mario (Chalmers) and the Miracles when that epic three fell to force the game to overtime.

Chalmers -- a kid from Alaska -- threw one in from somewhere over the rainbow. Memphis? On its way down a Yellow Bricked Road.

Even Roy Williams wearing a Jayhawk sticker and cheering for Kansas, couldn't steal the moment. (Doesn't this guy get it? At that moment two schools were hating him).

I'm surrounded by Jayhawks every day, living in the Kansas county (Johnson) where a large portion of alums end up settling. LIke the rest of us in the Golden Ghetto, they drive their SUVs and sip their Starbucks. Unlike the rest of us, they whisper this secret language to each other that begins with the words, "Rock Chalk ..." Sure, they're annoying at times. But so are Ohio State and Alabama fans. When your life surrounds chasing a championship, you need to get a life.

But this was their moment, one that felt good to us outsiders too because of people like the Komosas. It was the same feeling I had when my Cardinals won the World Series two years ago. Times like these sustain you. Children yet unborn will hear the story of Monday night. Then they will become fans too. Their Mario, their Miracles await somewhere in the future.

Until then, drive safe guys, and remember -- the cones don't talk back.

 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 26, 2008 5:31 pm
 

NCAA officiating rebuttal

The NCAA informs me (through a detailed excel sheet) that the average fouls per team in this year's tournament are not substantially different from the regular season. The excel sheet, though, only goes back to the 2003 tournament.

I'm reproducing the numbers here:

2003 regular season: 19.1 fouls per team. Tournament: 18.2

2004 regular: 19.0 fouls. Tournament: 18.3

2005 regular: 18.6 fouls. Tournament: 18.3

2006 regular: 18.4 fouls. Tournament: 17.5

2007 regular: 18.7 fouls. Tournament: 18.6

2008 regular: 18.6 fouls. Tournament to date: 18.3

There are lies, damned lies and statistics. Another way of reading those numbers is that fouls are up 4.6 percent from two years ago, and that the current average (18.3) ties for second-most since 2003.

I think the interesting thing is that tournament fouls are down compared to regular-season fouls each season. That's how I grew up watching the tournament, seeing the players express themselves instead of the officials. It just seems more constrictive this year.

Anyway, unless the zebras muck up the action here in Phoenix (West Regional) consider the case closed.

 

 

 

 

 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 24, 2008 6:34 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2008 9:54 pm
 

The conspiracy numbers from the second round

Officials continue to call NCAA Tournament games like they are the Battle for Faluja.

In the second round almost half the games (seven of 16) were bogged down by a foul-a-minute pace. The Tennessee-Butler game had a tournament-high 49 fouls. Taking into account the overtime, there was a foul call every 55 seconds in that game. The worst ratio was in the West Virginia-Duke game which featured a whistle every 50 seconds.

Going into the Sweet 16, three of every eight games (18 of 48, 37.5 percent) are being called at, at least a foul-a-minute rate (minimum 40 fouls in a 40 minutes). The second-round games averaged almost a foul out per game (14 DQs in 16 games). The average fouls per game were 37.125.  

So what, you say? Those of you who attended these games (like me)  were so pissed at the end you wanted to strangle someone.

I'll say it again. A mandate has been handed down by someone to call these games close. It takes away from the appeal of the tournament -- the players. We don't come to see officials, we come to see great ball.

 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 24, 2008 10:32 am
Edited on: March 24, 2008 10:39 am
 

Isn't technology wonderful?

Here are the Texas-UCLA pictures. I'm told they didn't open right...

 

If you didn't get enough of the officiating agenda that seems to be emerging in the NCAA Tournament http://www.sportsline.com/collegeba
sketball/story/10730844
, then take a look at these pictures from Saturday's UCLA-Texas game. They clearly show Aggies guard Donald Sloan being fouled as he goes up for the tying shot with seconds to spare.

http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/
2008-03/37063269.jpg


http://media.scout.com/media/image/
53/532752.jpg


In both pictures you can see UCLA's Josh Shipp reaching across Sloan's body and grabbing the guard's right wrist. Another Bruins player, who appears to be Darren Collison, is hitting Sloan's right elbow.

I'm shocked more wasn't made of this. A&M coach Mark Turgeon has proved himself to be a world-class whiner this season. This time he had a legit claim and just seemed to accept this railroad job. And where was the media to ask the question of Sloan whether he was fouled? I've seen accounts where it was described that Sloan's shot was "swatted away" or that Shipp "blocked" the shot.

What was everyone watching? Unless the photographs you're opening have been photoshopped (and they haven't) this is the biggest travesty of the tournament. The officials couldn't even get the final score right. They late changed the final from 53-49 to 51-49.

Yo, Bill Byrne (Texas A&M AD), I've got Hank Nichols' (NCAA supervisor of officials) cellie if you want it.

 

 

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Texas A&M, UCLA
 
Posted on: March 23, 2008 11:40 pm
 

More NCAA officiating controversy

If you didn't get enough of the officiating agenda that seems to be emerging in the NCAA Tournament http://www.sportsline.com/collegeba
sketball/story/10730844
, then take a look at these pictures from Saturday's UCLA-Texas game. They clearly show Aggies guard Donald Sloan being fouled as he goes up for the tying shot with seconds to spare.


http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/
2008-03/37063269.jpg


http://media.scout.com/media/image/
53/532752.jpg


In both pictures you can see UCLA's Josh Shipp reaching across Sloan's body and grabbing the guard's right wrist. Another Bruins player, who appears to be Darren Collison, is hitting Sloan's right elbow.

I'm shocked more wasn't made of this. A&M coach Mark Turgeon has proved himself to be a world-class whiner this season. This time he had a legit claim and just seemed to accept this railroad job. And where was the media to ask the question of Sloan whether he was fouled? I've seen accounts where it was described that Sloan's shot was "swatted away" or that Shipp "blocked" the shot.

What was everyone watching? Unless the photographs you're opening have been photoshopped (and they haven't) this is the biggest travesty of the tournament. The officials couldn't even get the final score right. They late changed the final from 53-49 to 51-49.

Yo, Bill Byrne (Texas A&M AD), I've got Hank Nichols' (NCAA supervisor of officials) cellie if you want it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Texas A&M, UCLA
 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com