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December 2007 Archives

Monday, 12/31/07

Office Hours: New Year's Eve Day Edition

Before we can ring in the new, The Professor has some ringing out of the old to tend to after another wild weekend in the classroom that is college hoops.

We wish you a very happy New Year and remind you that New Year's Eve is amateur night out there, so stay clear of the rookies and stay safe.

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Posted by David Scott at 12:27 AM | Comments (3)

Friday, 12/28/07

Friday's Five Topics

Here are five topics around the nation that I'm burning on during another slow late December night in college basketball:

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 03:15 PM | Comment

Friday, 12/28/07

I'm Sorry, Mr. Jackson

One of the nice things about the Holiday season is getting unexpected gifts in the mail from people that you don't even know.

That's the surprise I got the other morning from UTEP Media Relations, who was hoping that I would take a listen to Stefon Jackson's Greatest Hits via compact disc.

Being in a curious mood, I decided to plug in a pair of earphones and get to work, and in doing so, hopefully learn a little bit more about Mr. Jackson.

Because if you haven't heard of him, you will at least here.

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 09:15 AM | Comments (2)

Thursday, 12/27/07

Martin Picks Up Two New 'Cats

When Bob Huggins announced last April that he was leaving Kansas State after one season to take over as head coach at his alma mater West Virginia, question marks soon arose about who would take over the Wildcats this year.

And when athletic director Tim Weiser named former assistant Frank Martin to fill Huggins' shoes, even more questions emerged about whether K-State stud Michael Beasley would honor his letter of intent and head to Manhattan, Kan., for his freshman campaign.

Beasley, though, never swayed in his commitment to the Wildcats, and he's been one of the biggest stories in college basketball today, lighting it up night in and night out against quality competition with 26.3 points and 14.0 rebounds per game.

Kansas State, on the other hand, hasn't had that same kind of success as an entire unit, sitting at 8-3 with losses to George Mason, Oregon and Notre Dame.

But Martin is hoping that things change for the better with the addition of Jamar Samuels and Dominique Sutton, who earned their eligibility for the first time Thursday and could compete for the Wildcats as soon as Saturday against Wagner.

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 01:47 PM | Comment

Wednesday, 12/26/07

Sutton Heads To San Fran

Eddie Sutton, welcome back to college basketball.

The Associated Press reported late Wednesday that the former Oklahoma State coach has decided to come out of retirement to take over San Francisco on an interim basis after Jessie Evans announced he was taking a leave of absence earlier in the day.

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 07:26 PM | Comment

Sunday, 12/23/07

Having Some Faith In Haith

No one likes to admit that they're wrong. No one wants to take the blame when are there consequences to suffer.

It's especially true when you're actually getting paid to write about a particular sport that you're supposed to know something about.

Look, we all make mistakes, and anyone who can't admit to that is really fooling themselves. But while making mistakes is just a natural process of life, it's really those who can fess up to their own miscalculations that deserve to be forgiven, or at least, given some credit for admitting to their flaws.

That's what I'm hoping my friend and colleague Mr. Kroll will do after razzing me the last couple of weeks about picking his Miami Hurricanes to finish last in the conference in my ACC Preview before the season started.

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 06:23 PM | Comment

Saturday, 12/22/07

CDR Gets, Then Gives CPR

MEMPHIS -- John Calipari is becoming fond of telling his charges to "play with amnesia," to forget prior plays - good or bad - and to focus on the next opportunity. For junior guard Chris Douglas-Roberts, Calipari had to induce the amnesia earlier this week with a grueling individual workout.

"It was a workout I did with my NBA guys," said Calipari after Memphis's convincing 85-71 win over No. 5 Georgetown before a frenzied FedEx Forum crowd of 18,864. "I used to do it with Kerry Kittles, Lucious Harris, Kendall Gill - a lot of guys. I did it for 30 minutes with CDR (on Thursday before practice) and he whined like he was exhausted. There was sounds coming out of him and I didn't know if they were female or male sounds."

"It was," said Douglas-Roberts, "the hardest drills I've done in my life. He didn't give me any slack. He just cared about me going hard. Coach really thinks highly of me and I appreciate that. I needed it. I needed it."

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Posted by David Scott at 04:28 PM | Comment

Saturday, 12/22/07

Office Hours: Holiday Edition

Before the professor can properly re-charge the batteries during our own mini-break, we need to close out the Grade Book on 2007 and in particular this past week of fantastic basketball.

Before we get into the nitty gritty (with a heavy Memphis-GTown bent), let us wish everyone a very happy and safe holiday break and the most prosperous of New Years in 2008. You’'ve all been fantastic students thus far this season and we expect that to continue through the remainder of the year and beyond. Now sit up straight, stop doodling and pay attention. . .

A: Memphis Tigers
Every time we get around the Calipari Crew - as we were for the latter part of last week - we are reminded of just how different this program is from virtually every other college franchise. The inside joke around the team is that it’'s like a circus at any given moment complete with three rings, jugglers and clowns.

If there’'s not a Chinese contingent being followed by a documentary crew, there'’s a mega-hyped game like the Georgetown contest from Saturday at the FedEx Forum that came complete with reported sightings of Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel and Joe Thiesmann. If there's not a motivational guru taking one-on-one meetings with players, there's an NBA player (Sam Cassell) giving group advice.

And if there'’s not true motivational material, Calipari - in a very Bill Belichikian manner - will generate some out of thin air.

For the Hoya game, Calipari convinced his team that they were home underdogs when in fact they were six point favorites. And you know what? It worked as it usually does. Calipari has an uncanny knack for pushing the right buttons and invigorating his charges when they need it most. Chris Douglas-Roberts’'s bounce back game was only the latest in a string of Calipari creations that has led to big wins.

"This was big," said Calipari, "it's on the shelf now for (the committee to look at) and we have to get ready for Arizona."

The Tigers host the Wildcats on Saturday in a game that, as of Sunday morning, will pit the two highest RPI teams in the country ('Zona is No. 1) against each other.

A: Antonio Anderson, Memphis
Anderson, who does the dirty work for Memphis, was The Professor'’s wing man on our flight back to Boston (he'’s from Lynn, Mass. the city The Prof was born in). After a typical stat-sheet filling contest where Anderson contributed seven points, five assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block in 33 minutes, the junior was understandably fatigued for the flight home. Still, so experienced and so well-traveled is the 6-6 guard that he was able to sleep through almost the entire three hour flight. The Prof still can'’t get a sniff of in-air sleep without medicinal aids.

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Posted by David Scott at 04:23 PM | Comment

Friday, 12/21/07

Beale Street Baskets: Pan-Am Pals

MEMPHIS -- It will not be the big man matchup which unfolded almost a quarter of a century ago when Patrick Ewing's Georgetown Hoyas faced Keith Lee's Memphis Tigers in the second round of the 1983 NCAA Tournament. But very few big men -- and none in today's game -- could possibly live up to that epic duel where Lee went for 28 points and 15 rebounds in the 66-57 win over Ewing, who had 24 and nine.

Still, there is intrigue and import in the Internet Age's version of Georgetown (8-0) vs. Memphis (9-0) as All-American 7-foot-2 Hoya Roy Hibbert matches up with the reigning Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year, Tiger Joey Dorsey for Saturday's battle of Top 5 teams at the FedEx Forum.

"It's going to be great to see Roy," said Baltimore-native Dorsey, who got to know the Hoya center when both played for Team USA in this past summer's Pan American Games in Brazil. "We're texting each other all the time. I'm watching his games, he's watching mine. We just clicked. We became really close because we had so much time to spend together. "

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Posted by David Scott at 06:11 PM | Comment

Friday, 12/21/07

Beale Street Baskets: Memphis Practices For Hoyas

MEMPHIS -- Welcome back to Graceland as Hang Time comes to you live from the FedEx Forum for the Memphis Tigers' day-before practice in preparation for tomorrow's much-anticipated non-conference showdown with Big East counterpart Georgetown.

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Posted by David Scott at 12:54 PM | Comment

Friday, 12/21/07

Beale Street Baskets

MEMPHIS -- Welcome back to Tiger Town as Hang Time has once again descended upon Beale Street for some up close and personal time with John Calipari's No. 2-ranked Memphis Tigers. On Saturday at Noon (EST), the Tigers host No. 4 Georgetown at the FedEx Forum in what is probably THE marquee match-up of a three-day, pre-holiday stretch of many marquee match-ups (including Thursday night's doozies that saw Oklahoma and Pittsburgh emerge victorious).

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Posted by David Scott at 12:45 AM | Comment

Thursday, 12/20/07

Powerful Pitt Pulls Its Own Weight

NEW YORK -- Jamie Dixon didn't know whether to be happy or sad.

On the one hand, his team had just overcome a 12-point halftime deficit to beat the No. 6 team in the country.

And on the other, the Pittsburgh coach quite possibly saw his senior forward Mike Cook play his final game as a Panther after suffering what looked to be a torn ACL in his left knee.

But in the end, it was junior point guard Levance Fields who came to the rescue for No. 11 Pitt, stunning an unbeaten Duke team with a step-back three-pointer with five seconds remaining in overtime to propel the Panthers to a 65-64 victory in the Aeropostale Classic at Madison Square Garden.

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 11:10 PM | Comment

Wednesday, 12/19/07

More Kentucky Blues For Gillispie

Hey Billy, wanna get away now?

Heck, I would.

Well, who wouldn't after the way Kentucky got spanked by Houston Tuesday night, losing its second straight game to a Conference USA team, something that second-ranked Memphis hasn't done in almost two years with its last conference loss coming to UAB on March 2, 2006.

Yet it wasn't just that the Wildcats lost its fourth straight game for the first time since 1989-1990. It was the way they lost, falling behind by 12 at halftime and never really showing a sense of urgency to make a comeback in the second half before losing by 14.

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 10:52 AM | Comments (1)

Tuesday, 12/18/07

Best Wishes To Vitale Following Throat Surgery

Anyone who has watched or listened to ESPN's Dick Vitale this season has noticed a decidedly more understated and, to some extent, quieter Dickie V. Whispers around the broadcasting icon had surfaced in recent weeks that perhaps he was having throat issues.

Those rumors have now been confirmed as ESPN announced today that Vitale has undergone throat surgery and will be off-air until February. The contents of the announcement follow. All of us at CSTV and CSTV.com wish Dick a speedy recovery and look forward to his return for the end of the season.

Just to add some levity to the situation, we now have the answer to the question: Who is the only man able to shut up Dick Vitale? Dr. Steven Zeitels. Bah-dump-bump.

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Posted by David Scott at 01:34 PM | Comment

Tuesday, 12/18/07

In O'Neill They Trust

Kevin O'Neill doesn't have to worry about what his next coaching job will be.

And he doesn't have to worry about leaving Tucson, Ariz., either since coming over from the Toronto Raptors seven months ago to join Hall of Famer Lute Olson as his top assistant at Arizona.

Not after Tuesday's announcement from athletic director Jim Livengood, who declared that O'Neill will serve as Olson's successor when the 73-year-old coach finally retires from the bench.

"It's an unbelievable honor to follow Lute Olson," O'Neill said. "I'm thrilled to get the opportunity and will work to continue the superb tradition of Arizona basketball when Lute is done."

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 12:34 PM | Comment

Monday, 12/17/07

Gators Quietly Getting It Done

So we're a month and change into the 2007-08 college basketball at this point, and not a lot of people are talking about them.

It's pretty remarkable considering that they won the last two national championships even if two freshmen and two sophomores make up this year's starting lineup.

But my good friend, colleague and Florida graduate Mr. Lippman (there are other nicknames but those are kept at the cubicle) has told me that the Gators will surprise some people in March, and for some reason, I believe him.

Well, I have my own reasons.

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 02:10 PM | Comments (1)

Sunday, 12/16/07

Office Hours: Going Snow Crazy

The Professor has gone snow crazy! The professor has gone snow crazy!

It's true. Because of the somewhat secluded location of our main campus, there are times in the winter when we don't encounter many souls beyond Percy the Teaching Assistant Dog (PTAD). The result is a grade book littered with a whole range of generous and not-so-generous assessments in the semester's final marking period - mostly brought on by the pain from too much shoveling and the agony of too much time in isolation:

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Posted by David Scott at 02:25 PM | Comment

Saturday, 12/15/07

It Can't Get Much Worse For Gillispie

Maybe he didn't hear me.

Maybe he didn't believe me.

But Billy Gillispie just might want to think about that Southwest Airlines gig after all.

In what was one of the biggest choke jobs of the season, UAB overcame a 14-point deficit with 10:54 left in the second half to stun the Wildcats with a 79-76 victory at Louisville's Freedom Hall Saturday.

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 04:10 PM | Comments (2)

Friday, 12/14/07

Gordon Back, But Bassett Out For Hoosiers

Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo and Kevin Love.

Three freshmen that were all being considered by many as the No. 1 recruit in the country last year.

But standing in the background all along was Indiana's Eric Gordon, waiting for his opportunity to shine.

And within a month's time, he's already showing with a team-leading 24.3 points per game that he's arguably just as good as any of those three and certainly just as important to his team's success as anyone else in the country.

So after sitting out last weekend's dominating 70-51 win over Kentucky with a bruised tailbone, Gordon will return to the court Saturday night to lead the 13th-ranked Hoosiers against Western Carolina.

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 07:20 PM | Comment

Thursday, 12/13/07

Vandy's Looking Quite Dandy

While we didn't see nearly as many signature upsets in last year's NCAA Tournament as the analysts and experts seemed to be picking in early March, one of the biggest surprises last season turned out to be Vanderbilt.

Behind the stellar play of Derrick Byars, the Commodores managed to finish third in the SEC East (behind two-time national champ Florida and Tennessee) and reach the Sweet 16 with impressive wins over George Washington and third-seeded Washington State in the Big Dance.

But if you thought Vanderbilt wouldn't be the same without Byars, then you got another thing coming.

Because, after all, Kevin Stallings' squad is off to its best start at 10-0 since the 2003-04 campaign, when the Commodores opened the season with 12 straight wins, after escaping Wednesday night at DePaul with a 91-85 overtime victory.

And while it wasn't necessarily pretty, the Commodores, somehow, some way, were able to get it done down the stretch.

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 01:55 PM | Comment

Wednesday, 12/12/07

Basketball Is All They Need

Editor's Note: A more in-depth story from St. Petersburg Times Staff Writer Michael Kruse will appear on CSTV.com on Dec. 25.

One of the best things about working in this business is getting to meet some of the people that I used to look up to when I would wake up before school and open up the newspaper at the breakfast table each morning.

And as I'm quickly learning more and more everyday, your colleagues, even the ones that you don't directly work with, can often be a nice resource to have from time to time.

Sometimes, though, a story just falls in your lap. For me, it came in my Inbox one day last week from Michael Kruse of the St. Petersburg Times, a kind gesture from a colleague that I have never met, yet was nice of to think of me in offering up a story that hit home with me and hopefully does the same for you as well.

It's a story about Bro Krift and Tripp Cherry, two former Davidson students from the Class of 1999 who weren't just loyal fans of their beloved Wildcats. They were, at least to some, Davidson basketball fanatics.

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 10:47 AM | Comment

Monday, 12/10/07

Monday Tidbits

This week's Top 25 just got released earlier today, and while it may be a surprise to some to see Saint Mary's holding down the No. 24 spot, it's the first time that the Gaels have cracked the field since the 1988-89 season.

But the Moraga, Calif., school has certainly been worthy of the national pub, as the Gaels have run out to a 7-0 start after securing a big 99-87 victory over Oregon on Nov. 20, a 85-70 decision over Seton Hall on Dec. 1 and another quality win over San Diego State last Saturday in Anaheim at the Wooden Classic.

So with Gonzaga sitting at No. 19 and Saint Mary's coming in at No. 24, it's the first time two teams in the West Coast Conference are ranked since the beginning of the 1973-74 season. At that time, it was San Francisco and former conference member UNLV who dominated the league, as the Dons came into the season at No. 11 while the Rebels followed at No. 19.

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 06:48 PM | Comment

Monday, 12/10/07

Office Hours: Finals Week Takes Over

Most everyone heads into finals this week bringing a bit of a lull in the college hoops schedule. The Professor, however, takes no breaks, knows no limits and will give homework during finals AND after exams as well. So wipe that Holiday-Break-is-coming smile off your face and pay attention as we once again open the grade book.

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Posted by David Scott at 12:14 AM | Comment

Friday, 12/07/07

Olson Divorce Papers Filed

The Tucson Citizen is reporting that Arizona coach Lute Olson (or his wife, Christine Toretti Olson) have begun divorce proceedings. On Thursday, Olson announced he would not coach this season, after missing the first month for the 5-2 Wildcats.

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Posted by David Scott at 02:36 PM | Comments (1)

Friday, 12/07/07

Nova's Crazy Comeback

When I first started looking at schedules for the 2007-08 college basketball season, one of the games that intrigued me for one reason or another was Villanova's Thursday night meeting with LSU at the Wachovia Center.

The game was part of the Big East/SEC Invitational that began this year to rival the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and the inaugural Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series that just finished up last week with No. 4 Texas' win over UCLA in Westwood, a game that yours truly was fortunate to take in from press row.

But if the Big East/SEC Invitational was looking for a game to hang its hat on, it was Thursday night's contest between the Tigers and Wildcats.

After all, LSU led by as many as 21 points with eight minutes remaining before blowing the lead and allowing the 25th-ranked Wildcats to steal a 68-67 victory at the Wachovia Center.

And to top it all off, Villanova didn't lead until its final possession, one that saw Dante Cunningham hit the boards and put back a Malcolm Grant shot from the right side of the floor with 5.4 ticks left on the clock.

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 09:38 AM | Comment

Wednesday, 12/05/07

Ugly Ready

NEW YORK -- It was a full hour after the 45th minute of a game where the two teams had combined to miss 89 shots, meaning that for every minute of game time, two shots went errant, array and wayward. There had been a full hour to digest the 43 combined turnovers, the horrible shot selections (Hello, Mr. Mayo) and the missed opportunities that came in the filthfest at Madison Square Garden where No. 2 Memphis downed No. 24 USC, 62-58, in overtime.

Even with those 60 minutes to let it settle in, Joey Dorsey and Chris Douglas-Roberts couldn't stop shaking their heads in the Memphis locker room.

"Did you see that triangle and two?" asked Douglas-Robert to a post-game visitor. "What was up with that, yo?"

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Posted by David Scott at 05:25 AM | Comment

Tuesday, 12/04/07

Notre Dame Seals Win Over Kansas State

NEW YORK -- Notre Dame used a very effective inside-outside game to defeat Kansas State, 68-59, in the opener of the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Luke Harangody softened up the inside of the Wildcats' defense in the first half. He torched KSU for 15 points and 10 boards, including 11 of the first 13 the Fighting Irish scored. Kansas State tried different guys on him, but the task was mostly left to superstar freshman Michael Beasley. He wasn't up to the physical challenge the 6-foot-8, 250-pound Harangody brought in the first half and allowed him to finish with 19 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.

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Posted by Jerry Palm at 10:15 PM | Comment

Sunday, 12/02/07

Sunday Wasn't Too Sunny For SoCal

LOS ANGELES -- So you know all that talk about how the Pac-10 is supposedly the best conference in the country?

Well, the Big 12 has something to say about that now.

At least No. 8 Texas does after stunning No. 2 UCLA with a 63-61 victory Sunday night at Pauley Pavilion in what looked like a NCAA Tournament game on the second day of December.

"I'm happy how we handled the big-time atmosphere," Texas coach Rick Barnes offered after seeing Luc Richard Mbah a Moute miss a game-winning three from the right wing at the buzzer. "We play in a conference like UCLA, so we were ready for this type of atmosphere."

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Posted by Josh Herwitt at 10:47 PM | Comments (1)

Saturday, 12/01/07

Office Hours: Semester #1 Winds Down

With the semester winding down, The Professor is often reminded of just how hectic things get in these days leading up to the first snow on our Northeast campus. We spent Saturday in The Vault (aka TD BankNorth Garden) and by the time we emerged after two entertaining and compelling college basketball games, the world of college athletics had once again gone kerfluey.

It sure was a lot quieter sitting mere feet away from the UConn and Providence pep bands than it was listening to the BCS BS late Saturday and early Sunday. There was more cacophonous spin on BCS Sunday -- and from fewer coaches -- than in an entire decade of Selection Sunday snubs. ESPN's "SportsCenter" became a call-in show as a parade of desperate coaches tried to argue for why their team was deserving of "title" game inclusion.

Thankfully we were too busy grading the 'hoops' to get overly entwined in the 'whoops' that is college football.

Remember, Finals start next week and classroom participation is 35 percent of your grade. Speak up, be heard and comment (below) like you mean it...

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Posted by David Scott at 11:25 PM | Comment
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