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Doing the Conference Shuffle

by - Published October 28, 2011 in Columns

Every day there are rumors and supposition regarding conference realignment and expansion.  “Super” conferences. The end of the Big East. The end of the Big XII. The expansion of same. Overtures made. Invitations sought. Repeat.

While the primary focus of these machinations is football (and the money that sport’s automatic bids and bowl structure bring), men’s basketball is seemingly overlooked, save for those awkward (and more common) “member-for-football-only” followed by “all-other-sports-will-be-in-Conference-B” announcements.

That being said, it is helpful to sort through the speculation and determine what changes are already in place.  Below are the conference membership changes for this 2011-2012 season: … Continue Reading

The Onion: NCAA Expands March Madness to Include 4,096 Teams

by - Published March 9, 2009 in Conference Notes

Things are getting serious with conference tournament action and the build-up to next Sunday’s NCAA Selection Show.  I know we here at Hoopville have been toiling with bracket scenarios and the latest in Championship Week upsets.

Leave it to The Onion to provide a fresh perspective on things. Such as “June Madness.” Or the all-important 637-678 seed matchup. The expanded field will include teams that “couldn’t get over that 5-win hump.”

Who are some sleepers in the tournament?  Onion Sports college basketball analyst Joe Monticello likes Eckherd.  “Watch out for Eckhard – they have a full roster, AND they’ve been having practices.”

Monticello also indicates that “Cosmetics schools could tear up the court.”

But even with the expanded field, there are some teams on the outside looking in.  The Oxnard California Advanced Truck Driving School didn’t get their application in on time, and will be the 4,097th in a field of 4,096.


NCAA Expands March Madness To Include 4,096 Teams

Hope you enjoyed that. Now back to Championship Week.

Florida State: Seminoles Face Four-Year Probation and Sanctions

by - Published March 6, 2009 in Conference Notes

The NCAA has just announced a sweeping four-year probation sentence for Florida State University Seminole athletics, encompassing ten varsity sports.  While lauded for cooperating with NCAA investigators, the school-recommended two-year probation sentence was doubled, and additional penalties were levied.

While primarily affecting head coach Bobby Bowden’s football squad, men’s basketball was implicated in the scandal as well, along with baseball, softball, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s golf, and women’s basketball.  At issue is the conduct of  athletics academic advisers and tutors, who allegedly prepared portions of assignments and provided test answers for upwards of 61 student-athletes.

From ESPN:

The NCAA determined that a former learning specialist, academic advisor and tutor gave “improper assistance” to Florida State athletes who were taking online courses. According to the NCAA, the former learning specialist typed portions of papers for at least three athletes and also provided answers to an online psychology course quiz by instructing another athlete to complete the quiz on behalf of the athlete enrolled in the course.

The committee stated this case was “extremely serious” because of the large number of student-athletes involved and the fact that academic fraud is considered by the committee to be among the most egregious of NCAA rules violations.

Florida State’s probation extends through March 5, 2013.

And here is the official violation and penalty summaries:

Violation Summary: Violations of NCAA legislation involving three former University Athletics Academic Support Services staff members (including a former learning specialist) who gave improper assistance resulting in academic fraud to numerous student-athletes representing multiple sport programs. There were also associated violations relating to the provision of impermissible benefits and a failure to monitor by the institution.

Penalty Summary: Additional penalties imposed by the committee were as follows: public reprimand and censure; four years of probation (the institution had proposed a period of two years); additional limits in the number of grants-in-aid in football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s track and field, baseball, softball and men’s golf; vacation of all records in which the 61 student-athletes competed while ineligible during 2006 and 2007 in the sports of football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s track and field, baseball, softball and men’s golf; show-cause order for the former learning specialist for a period of four years; show-cause order for the former tutor for a period of three years; show-cause order for the former academic advisor for a period of five years; annual compliance reporting required.

Lastly, also from the Orlando Sentinel, the juicy details:

[Dennis Thomas, the vice chair of the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions and the acting chair for the FSU academic fraud case] said the online exams in the music course were not administered in a structured environment. He also said that FSU’s academic advising services department was not supervised in a consistent manner.

An NCAA spokeswoman clarified that it’s FSU’s job to determine whether ineligible students participated in an intercollegiate event. Anytime ineligible students participated in an intercollegiate event, the school must vacate wins from those games. Then, the school must report those findings to the NCAA.

An NCAA spokeswoman clarified the difference between forfeitures and vacating games and records. Vacating records means that FSU will lose wins or records, but that the opponents’ records from those games will not change.

Thomas acknowledged that the Committee had no evidence that FSU played ineligible athletes it knew to be ineligible.

Florida State also has the opportunity to appeal, howeverin our experience these rulings are almost never overturned, but additional evidence, especially with regard to intent, may allow the reduction of certain sanctions.  We’ll provide update when information regarding the men’s basketball program is disclosed.

The Mid-Continent’s Next Step

by - Published May 19, 2006 in Columns




The Next Step for the Mid-Continent Conference

by Andrew Flynn

The Mid-Continent Conference is reeling, having just lost one of its more storied programs in founding-member Valparaiso to its geographic rival, the Horizon League. This news comes less than a month after another Mid-Con member institution, Chicago State, announced they were leaving the conference and would compete as a D-I Independent next season.

So why the change for Valpo, where they’ve been a power for the past 24 seasons? In a statement, Valparaiso president Dr. Alan F. Harre cited the geographic centralization of the Horizon League membership. “The transition to the Horizon League means less time will be needed by our student-athletes as they travel to and from competition, and it means they will miss fewer classes. Shorter travel also means less fatigue and increased concentration in the classroom.” In the Mid-Con, Valparaiso faced travel to Utah, Louisiana, and Oklahoma as part of its conference slate.

Geographically, the farthest point in the Horizon league from Valparaiso is Youngstown State, at 360 miles, but in the adjacent state of Ohio. In contrast, the distances were much farther in the Mid-Con, with UMKC 560 miles away, Oral Roberts 710 miles, Centenary 880 miles distant, and Southern Utah over 1600 miles away.

Valparaiso, 17-12 last season, will also play in a tougher basketball conference, with “mid-major” powers Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Butler. Things might not come so easily, as Valparaiso has made seven appearances in the NCAA Tournament since 1996, including a dramatic trip to the Sweet 16 in 1998.

So what of the Mid-Con? Now Western Illinois is the only original Mid-Con member school still in the conference. Valpo joins (belatedly) Cleveland State, UIC and Wisconsin-Green Bay in the Horizon League. Other members (Missouri State, Northern Iowa) joined the Missouri Valley, and Eastern Illinois sought representation with the Ohio Valley. The problems began in 1994, when six schools left the conference, to be replaced (seemingly at random) by a collection of geographically diverse institutions. 1994-95 saw the addition of Buffalo, Central Connecticut State, Chicago State, UMKC, Northeastern Illinois and Troy State, with all but UMKC jumping the Mid-Con ship at some point. Additional expansions included Oral Roberts and Southern Utah in 1997-98, IUPUI and Oakland in 1998-99, and most recently Centenary in 2003-04.

Mid-Con Commissioner Tom Douple said in a statement, “The conference will immediately explore all of the options available for the future. We will make decisions based on what is best for our current membership and the long term viability of the Mid-Continent Conference.” No foolin’, Tom – you’ll only have seven teams and lose your automatic bid otherwise!

For the past decade, it seems as though schools have been treating the Mid-Con as sort of an introductory course to D-I, before they move on to greener pastures. There is no exclusivity. There is no cachet. There is (seemingly) no plan. To that end, I have three possible directions that Mr. Douple and the fine folks at Mid-Con headquarters in Elmhurst, Illinois should consider.

Plan A – Status Quo

This plan is simple, and should be the most familiar to everyone involved – keep the status quo, and keep the geographic center of the conference a moving target. Since the news of Valpo’s departure broke, Indiana-Purdue Ft. Wayne has claimed that they’re on the short list for being admitted into the Mid-Con (even though they were passed over two years ago). According to the Ft. Wayne News-Sentinel, IPFW, as well as North Dakota State and South Dakota State have been asked by the Mid-Con to submit information about the school and its athletic programs.

That measure would indeed make for a ten-team conference, which would help the Mid-Con keep its automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, but I’m not so sure both North and South Dakota State should jump, when other maneuvering might lead them towards an all-sport membership, perhaps in a future expanded Big Sky, which would also offer football. Perhaps the Mid-Con should throw in the towel.

Plan B – Disband

At this point, the seven unclaimed Mid-Con schools should have no trouble attracting other conference affiliations, especially if formerly strained relations are left as mere bygones. Some possibilities:

Centenary moves to the Sun Belt. I’m sure the Sun Belt would be happy to have Centenary as a member, especially since there are several non-football schools already in the conference. The Gents, with the Chief, Robert Parrish as a notable alumus, and a school overall record 7 games over .500 would be a fine addition. Less likely would be a return to the Atlantic Sun, based purely on geography, as well as any leftover grudges following the school’s departure.

Oakland and IUPUI join the Horizon. In this scenario, the Horizon League gains two more Midwestern metropolitan universities as they move up to 12 teams overall. An extra benefit would be the creation of key home-and-home rivalry matchups: IUPUI and Butler (both in Indianapolis) and Oakland and Detroit (both in metropolitan Detroit). Additionally, we would have UW-Milwaukee vs. UW-Green Bay, UIC vs Loyola-Chicago, Cleveland State vs. Youngstown State, and Wright State versus… well, Valparaiso. It almost works out.

Western Illinois, UMKC and Oral Roberts join the Missouri Valley. Well, it makes sense geographically, as Oral Roberts pairs up nicely with Wichita State as a “not really in the Missouri Valley” squad. UMKC is as Missouri Valley as you can get, although the campus is several miles south of the actual river, Both Kansas City and Tulsa would be key metropolitan acquisitions in what would be considered Big 12 country. And Western Illinois wouldn’t be a bad geographic fit, either, though it would lead to an odd number of teams. A possible solution would be to go to 14 teams in two divisions by adding the former Mid-Con member Chicago State, thus adding yet another major metropolitan area to the MVC market.

Southern Utah to the Big Sky. This makes all kinds of sense. Along with new Big Sky member Northern Colorado, Southern Utah would create a southern tier of Big Sky schools, teaming up with existing member Northern Arizona. Southern Utah could leave the I-AA Great West football conference and jump to I-A in the Big Sky. The result would be ten teams in an attractive geographical array. Other D-I Independents, Utah Valley State (no football), and North and South Dakota State(s) would be possible expansion schools. [Ed. note: The Big Sky is a I-AA football conference, so the move wouldn't necessitate moving up a level.]

What hasn’t been mentioned is the most appealing aspect of the dissolution of the Mid-Continent Conference – a true field of 64 teams in the NCAA Tournament. Traditionally (since 1985), the tournament has always had 34 at-large bids. Trouble began with the introduction of the Mountain West Conference, following their split from the WAC. 31 conferences plus 34 at-large bids equals 65 teams. Get rid of the Mid-Con, and get back to 64 teams.

Plan C – The “D” League

The NBA has the development league to matriculate post-collegiate players to possible professional contracts in the CBA, Europe, and possibly the NBA. The Mid-Continent Conference should become the D-League of Division I. Think about it – the trend over the past decade has been for various institutions to start the five-year exploratory period towards becoming a Division-I program. Many of these schools have latched on to the Mid-Con until they have found a better suitor. The Mid-Con hasn’t generated any loyalty – Valpo was their example, and now the Crusaders are in bed with the Horizon League.

Let’s just formalize things and make the new “Mid-Con” the administrative and logistic support conference newly-minted D-I exploratory schools cling to until they get their feet wet. This new Mid-Con Development Conference would allow all of the D-1 Independents, the new transitional schools, and even schools “in-between” conferences to have a home, a place where they are fed and cared for – an orphanage, if you will. A central office for officiating, and heck, even a “tournament” which, thanks to the NCAA’s acquisition of the NIT, would guarantee the winner at least a postseason NIT bid, or even ensure that the winner gets to play in the Play-In game if Dayton demands that their 15 minutes are kept annually. The NCAA could even use the conference as a test-bed for new rules, whether it be the new banning of mid-air timeouts or the moving of the three-point line – they could be tried out under a controlled and regulated environment.

And each time an established conference was looking for a new addition to their family, they could come to the Mid-Con, browse the available schools, and select an NCAA-approved member institution to fulfill their round-robin scheduling dreams. Let’s take a look at the teams that would form this Mid-Con D League as of the end of the 2006-07 season:

East Division West Division

Florida Gulf Coast
Longwood
New Jersey IT
North Carolina Central
Presbyterian College
Savannah State
South Carolina Upstate
Winston-Salem State


Cal-State Bakersfield
Central Arkansas
Chicago State
IPFW
North Dakota State
Northern Kentucky
South Dakota State
Texas Pan-American
Utah Valley State

Now some of these schools already have deals with conferences as associate members until they have full D-I status. Central Arkansas, North Carolina Central, and Presbyterian College all have deals in place with the Southland, MEAC, and Big South, respectively. Cal State Bakersfield and Winston-Salem State have “handshake” agreements with the Big West and MEAC, respectively. And this would be a boon to those non-affiliated teams to have a standardized schedule where standings and RPI figures could be generated for evaluation. It’s a radical suggestion, but it would help clean up all of the remnants of the conference shuffling that’s been going on for the past few offseasons, as well as provide a nurturing environment to these new D-I schools that are cropping up each year.

The Mid-Con is expected to vote on new members at its annual league meetings starting June 27th in Chicago. Commissioner Tom Douple has some thinking to do, with a few options to consider, and possible radical changes ahead for all of college basketball. That, or IPFW gets added.

     

Comments on this Article:

1. From Steven Rackley:

Enjoyed the article. Just an FYI – The Big Sky Conference is a IAA conference, which should even be more attractive to SUU.

2. From Rick Granger:

I’m going to mess us your East division of the Mid-Con. Florida Gulf Coast has already been accepted into the Atlantic Sun in 07-08…..

3. From Kevin Wilstrom:

Main problem with dissolving the Mid Con is that NCAA automatic bids are such a valuable commodity; regardless of how odd the 65 number seems for the tournament, you can bet that UMKC, Oral Roberts etc will cling by their fingernails to the Mid Con banner for that bid…why should they join much tougher conferences like the Missouri Valley, where the bid would be much tougher to get? Its far from certain that increased attendence would be enough in that league to offset the diminished NCAA odds.

A very plausible plan for the Mid Con is to push the Dakotas angle. Not sexy on a national level, but the 4 Dakota schools have bigger athletic budgets than most of the current Mid Con programs, and it would provide a good base for the league. Of course, this would require the Mid Con convincing North Dakota and South Dakota to jump to D1, but both schools are apparently under a lot of pressure to do so anyway because of alumni who cant stand being “beneath” NDS & SDS (so I have read).

Long term, Mid Con would probably consist of the 4 Dakota schools, UMKC, Oral Roberts, Western Illinois, possibly also Pan American and IPFW. Southern Utah will inevitably leave due to the travel issue, so there isnt much sense in having Utah Valley come aboard. I agree with you that Oakland and IUPUI will probably follow Valpo eventually, meaning that the Mid Con center of activity could move westward. By the way, I have never been to the Dakotas (am from Michigan) but that just seems like a logical path of survival for this league.

I do not agree that the Mid Con should be disbanded just so the NCAA can again have 64 teams; besides, you will likely see an increase in the number of play-in games one of these years anyways, it would be easy to envision one play in game per region, thus a tournament of (at least) 68 teams.

Morning Dish

by - Published January 27, 2005 in Conference Notes




The Morning Dish – Thursday, January 27th

Dukies Downed in Durham: Well now there are only two. Previously undefeated and No. 2-ranked Duke lost last night to Maryland 75-66. The Terrapins used a crushing second-half defense to stay with the Blue Devils, allowing only two points in the final four minutes. Solid free-throw shooting down the stretch from Travis Garrison and Ekene Ibekwe extended the two-point lead in the final 90 seconds. Garrison and Ibekwe went a combined 9-for-10 from the line in that time period. Maryland was led by Nik Caner-Medley with 25 points, and he left the game early with an ankle injury. Duke was led by J.J. Redick’s 20 points and Sheldon Williams’ 18/14 double-double. Now just No. 1 Illinois and No. 8 Boston College are undefeated.

Diener Sits, Marquette Trips: Prior to Marquette’s game last night with No. 12 Louisville, the school announced that senior guard Travis Diener would be sitting the game out with a sprained ankle, breaking his streak of playing in 114 games. The Golden Eagles really could have used him, as they were torched by the Cardinals 99-52, for their largest loss in school history. The heated rivalry saw Louisville senior guard Larry O’Bannon scoring 30 points with six 3-pointers on the night, and Francisco Garcia added 14 points in the win, which broke the Cardinals three game home losing streak to Marquette. Todd Townsend had 17 points for the Golden Eagles, who missed Diener’s scoring touch and defense. Marquette’s worst loss prior to last night was a 57-12 loss to Creighton in 1940.

Other Results:

• While Duke’s undefeated record was shattered last night, Boston College held on to defeat Providence 78-75. The 8th-ranked Eagles overcame an early Providence lead to close the gap in the second half. Jared Dudley notched 21 points to lead the Eagles, while Donnie McGrath led the Friars with 17.

• No. 14 Alabama escaped a close scrape from Auburn, winning 60-55 on the road. The Crimson Tide led by 15 points in the second half, but Auburn came back to within one point. Alabama was led by Earnest Sheltons’s 22 points, while the Tigers were led by Nathan Watson’s 13 points. The Tigers remain winless in the SEC, and are Division I’s smallest team.

• No. 23 Iowa was downed in overtime by Northwestern, 75-74, on a buzzer-beating three-pointer by senior walk-on Michael Jenkins, who was mobbed as fans rushed the court in Evanston. Northwestern was down by 12 late in the game, but Vendran Vukusic scored 13 points in the final six minutes to send the game to overtime. Vekusic finished with a career-high 32, while Iowa was led by Greg Brunner’s 28 points.

• It was close, but no cigar for St. Bonaventure, as the Bonnies took Massachusetts to double-overtime, before winding up on the short side of the 82-78 final score. Maurice Maxwell notched 20 points and Rashaun Freeman’s 18 led the Minutemen, who went on a 17-5 second half run to send the contest to the first overtime. St. Bonaventure (1-16) was led by Wade Dunston’s 28 points, seven of which came in overtime No. 2.

Former Assistant Sues Iona: Former Iona assistant Craig Holcomb has sued the school, alleging that he was fired due to his interracial marriage. Holcomb, a nine-year assistant at Iona, was fired May 7th, 2004, along with Iona assistant Tony Chiles. According to the New York Post, in addition to racially insensitive remarks lobbed his way, Holcomb alleges that he was told by then-athletic director Shawn Brennan not to bring his wife, Pamela Gauthier, who is African-American, to Goal Club events – the Iona athletics fund raising group, and that his marriage was affecting fundraising. While not commenting on the suit, Iona president Brother James A. Liguori had stated in September that he investigated the basketball program, and the two assistants were fired due to the athletic and academic performance of the team.

Nicholls State Infractions?: The NCAA announced yesterday that Nicholls State will appear before its Infractions Committee next month to discuss allegations of impropriety in the men’s basketball and football programs. Nicholls State president Stephen Hulbert, who previously had announced an investigation into academic fraud in the football program, yesterday stated that the men’s basketball team was also under investigation. The school had fired assistant Jeff Richards, and head coach Ricky Blanton had resigned in October due to family concerns, though he was not named in the investigation. The investigation centers around possible lack of oversight of correspondence courses taken by student-athletes through Brigham Young University. Up to 20 members of the Colonels’ football team had taken the courses.

Stukes Suspended: Georgia head coach Dennis Felton has announced the suspension of sophomore guard Levi Stukes for breaking an unspecified team rule. He did not play in the Bulldogs’ road game at Florida Tuesday night. Stukes, who is also nursing a sprained right ankle, is the Bulldogs’ leading scorer, averaging 16.3 points per contest. The injury caused him to miss last Saturday’s 68-59 win against Vanderbilt. Stukes is likely to be both recovered and reinstated in time for this weekend.

Lobo Breaks Foot: New Mexico head coach Ritchie McKay announced that junior point guard Kris Collins will miss the remainder of the season after breaking his foot in practice yesterday. Collins, who averages 8 points per game and leads the Lobos in assists, also dislocated his shoulder earlier this week in the contest against BYU. Other Lobos have been slightly more fortunate, as Danny Granger should be back soon from knee surgery January 8th, and David Chiotti injured his hip last week, but should return soon. An evaluation of Collins’ foot will take place after swelling subsides, and surgery was not ruled out.

Aztec Down, Out: Bad knees have ended the season of San Diego State senior guard Travis Hanour. In a statement by head coach Steve Fisher, Hanour was advised by team doctors not to play due to recurring injuries to both knees. Hanour miss all of last season with tendinitis in both knees, had two knee surgeries, and had only played in three games this season. A transfer from Arizona, Hanour will serve as the Aztecs’ student assistant for the remainder of the season.

Henson Street: Former Illinois head coach Lou Henson, who last week announced his retirement from New Mexico State due to health reasons, will be on hand for the University of Illinois’ Centennial Celebration this weekend. Coinciding with the event, the Champaign City Council voted to officially rename a section of First Street running near Assembly Hall after Henson, the all-time winningest head coach in Illini history. Henson was head coach at Illinois from 1975-96, compiling a 423-224 record, and has 779 wins in his career. His career was cut short due to a bout with on-Hodgkin’s lymphoma last season, and this season he was chose to retire due to continued problems with viral encephalitis, sidelining him since early October.

Gamecocks Get Good Grades: The University of South Carolina has announced that their men’s basketball team has posted its best academic semester ever. Head coach Dave Odom said that for fall semester, the squad finished with a 2.910 grade point average – the highest GPA since tracking started in the late 1980′s. The men’s basketball team had slipped to a 1.678 average as recently as 1999. All news wasn’t good in Columbia, as Lou Holtz’ football team scored a 2.217 average – lowest of all South Carolina athletics teams. Women’s golf was highest with a 3.671 average.

North Texas Text: The University of North Texas is test-marketing some new UNT graphic elements for students and alumni. The new elements, essentially new fonts – 4 for athletics and 4 for academics, are drawing the ire of both students and alumni, and are available for viewing with comments at a UNT branding website. According to Deborah Leliaert, vice president for university relations, marketing and communication, the graphics are part of a campus-wide effort to redefine the university’s identity, which has had eight name changes since its founding in 1890. The designs are available for comment until January 31st. Our recommendation? Go with “Choice 3″ (looks like a branding iron), but not at the expense of the current “Eagle” logo. Of course, the didn’t have to be the campus location for “Necessary Roughness” with the fictional Texas State Armadillos, either.

Big Man Actually On Campus: Baylor head coach Scott Drew’s first signee, 7-foot center Mamadou Diene, has arrived on the school’s Waco campus. Diene, a native of Senegal, attended class yesterday and will practice with the team for the remainder of the season. Diene will not suit up for the Bears in a game until next season, providing the big man time to adjust to school and living in the United States. Diene was signed by Drew in October of 2003, shortly after he took over the reins from Dave Bliss.

Morning Dish

by - Published January 13, 2005 in Conference Notes




The Morning Dish – Thursday, January 13th

Illini Stays Unbeaten: Raining down a school-record 15 three-point baskets, Illinois kept its record perfect at 17-0 with a 90-64 win against Penn State. Luther Head notched 19 and Dee Brown added 15 points against a Penn State zone defense that allowed plenty of outside shooting. Both players had five treys on the night. Geary Claxton scored 16 points for the Nittany Lions, while Ben Luber and Aaron Johnson each had 11 in the losing effort. Illinois pulled away with a 16-0 run in the first half and was on cruise control in the second. Illinois needs a win Saturday against Northwestern to tie the record for most consecutive wins by an Illini squad, currently 18 by the 1988-89 Final Four team.

The game was also held 99 years to the day after the first-ever Illini game, in which Champaign High School was downed 71-4. Also, it was announced that Illinois coaches and players had voted earlier this week to not participate in the ESPN-produced docu-drama “The Season.” The players felt that the presence of cameras and interviews during the next two weeks would be a major distraction. Some players had been interviewed in Las Vegas after the win against Cincinnati in a holiday tournament and felt that a full two weeks of questioning would not mesh with their winning ways. On the other side, to generate interest in their 6-10 season, Penn State has announced a “white out” for this weekend’s game against Michigan, hoping to whip the Nittany Lion fans into a frenzy.

Aggies Upset the ‘Horns: Acie Law led Texas A&M with 24 points, and the Aggies stayed hot as they downed No. 10 Texas 74-63 last night. A&M (12-1) used a high-pressure defense to defeat Texas for the first time in 10 tries at College Station, showcasing the turnaround coach Billie Gillispie’s has brought to Aggies fans. The team is off to its best start since 1959 and only has a road loss to No. 2 Kansas on its record. P.J. Tucker led the ‘Horns with 18 points and freshman LaMarcus Aldridge added 12 points and eight boards. The game also marked the return of Texas center Jason Klotz, who served a one-game suspension for throwing a punch against Memphis last week.

Vols Upset Bulldogs: As mentioned yesterday, Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson made the Vols players practice in their own clothes after the embarrassing start. Well, the message came through loud and clear, as Peterson’s charges knocked off No. 11 Mississippi State last night 64-63, ending MSU’s road winning streak at 16 games – previously longest in the nation. Tennessee was up 16 at the half and held on as the Bulldogs attempted a comeback. Scooter McFadgon notched 14 points and Brandon Crump added 12 in the midst of foul trouble. Lawrence Roberts, who missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have won it for the Bulldogs, led Mississippi State with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Shane Power added 17 points. The Bulldogs were without guard Winsome Frazier, the second-leading scorer on the squad who broke a bone in his left foot during the win against Mississippi last weekend.

Jayhawks Prevail in Ames: Kansas got some needed depth back last night, as injured forward Wayne Simien returned to help down the Cyclones 71-66. Simien, who underwent surgery on his left thumb Dec. 20, scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds – all while wearing a soft cast. The Jayhawks (12-0) were led by 18 points from Keith Langford, who has not expected to contribute because of a concussion in the victory against Kentucky Sunday. The loss was only the second in 27 home games for the Cyclones under coach Wayne Morgan. Curtis Stinson led the Cyclones with 18 points and had a bloody nose for most of the second half. Will Blalock scored 17 points, while Jared Homan had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

ACC Showdown: No. 3 North Carolina downed No. 8 Georgia Tech 91-69 in an ugly win for the Tar Heels. UNC had 19 turnovers and shot only 41 percent from the field but pulled away quickly from the shorthanded Yellow Jackets, who were without top guard B.J. Elder. North Carolina was led by Marvin Williams, who had 14 points, while Rashad McCants and Sean May each added 12. Jarrett Jack had 24 points and Luke Schenscher finished with 13 for the Jackets. North Carolina improved to 14-1, while Georgia Tech fell to 11-3 with the loss.

Roundup:

• No. 9 Kentucky rebounded from its loss Sunday to Kansas by downing Vanderbilt 69-54. Freshman guard Rajon Rondo notched 18 points in the victory, snapping Vandy’s seven-game winning streak. Corey Smith led the Commodores with 16 points.

• No. 18 Cincinnati stayed hot as they held off a feisty East Carolina squad 84-78. Jason Maxiell had 24 points and eight rebounds in the win, and the Bearcats improved to 18-1 on the season, with the only loss coming to No. 1 Illinois. East Carolina, now 0-7 all-time against Cincinnati, was led by Corey Rouse, who had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Mike Cook’s 19 points. Cincinnati’s junior guard Chadd Moore was limited to nine minutes because his injured back flared up again.

• No. 21 George Washington added to St. Bonaventure’s pain last night, downing the Bonnies 85-59. Pops Mensah-Bonsu scored 14 points for the Colonials, while T.J. Thompson added 13 and Ricky Lucas had 10 points in the win, which was coach Karl Hobbs’ 100th victory as a head coach. The Colonials improved to 11-2, while the Bonnies fell to 1-13 on the season.

• In Reno, UTEP downed Nevada 83-80 in overtime. The Miners’ Filiberto Rivera scored 23 points and the final three-pointer with three seconds left to force overtime. Nevada was led by Nick Fazekas, who scored 29 points.

Memphis Domestic Dispute: Memphis junior guard Jeremy Hunt is in some hot water with Memphis police. According to a Memphis Police report, Hunt allegedly pushed, shoved, grabbed and punched his ex-girlfriend, former Lady Tiger basketball player Tamika Rogers. Apparently, Hunt arrived at her house early Monday morning, and Hunt started attacking her as she approached his car, leading to a chase, in which Rogers was repeatedly thrown to the ground. Memphis coach John Calipari had no official comment and indicated that the university would cooperate during the investigation. It is not known if Hunt will be allowed to play in tonight’s game against Marquette. Hunt has played in six games this season and is averaging 5.3 points per contest.

Boatner Transferring to McNeese: Colorado State sophomore point guard Dwight Boatner has announced he will be transferring to McNeese State, to be closer to his Lake Charles, La. home. Boatner, who we reported yesterday was taking some time off to resolve some personal issues, received his release from coach Dale Layer. Boatner had started the majority of the Rams’ games, and averaged 8.1 points per contest.

I Want My C-USA TV on CSTV: Conference USA officials announced the signing of a six-year television deal with ESPN for football and men’s and women’s basketball, starting next season. Additionally, a more comprehensive broadcast package with College Sports Television (CSTV) was announced, with more than 50 football and 100 men’s basketball contests to be broadcast each season, plus conference tournament coverage. CSTV will also provide coverage for C-USA volleyball, softball and soccer and will produce the conference’s Web site as part of its collegesports.com enterprise.

Colonial Moving On: Prior to last night’s 85-59 victory against St. Bonaventure, George Washington forward Jaz Cowan had announced his intention to transfer to another program in search of more playing time. Cowan, a junior, has only seen action in six games this season, averaging six minutes of action. The Owings Mills, Md., native, who started as a walk-on his freshman year, saw limited action in the past two seasons.

Lee Going to Indians: Former Evansville forward Deywane Lee has announced that he will transfer to Arkansas State. Lee, the son of former Memphis great Keith Lee, was released from Evansville last season for “failure to meet team standards.” Lee has enrolled at Arkansas State and began practicing with the squad this week. He will have junior eligibility as a walk-on after the end of the 2005 fall semester. Lee averaged almost seven points and four rebounds per contest last season with Evansville.

Husky Down: Connecticut reserve forward Hilton Armstrong will likely miss the next week of action as he recovers from a sprained knee. Armstrong, who is averaging 3.6 points and four rebounds per contest this season, injured his right knee during the weekend in the 77-65 loss to Oklahoma. The diagnosis was a sprained medial collateral ligament. Armstrong will likely miss UConn’s upcoming games against Rutgers and Seton Hall.

Simmons Out at Wazzu: Washington State guard Isaiah Simmons has been declared academically ineligible for the remainder of the season, effectively ending his Cougar career. Simmons, a Tacoma native, walked on to the Cougars squad last season as a junior after transferring from Warner Southern College (Lake Wales, Florida). Simmons had played in 10 of 13 games thus far, averaging just more than one point and two rebounds per contest.

Morning Dish

by - Published December 30, 2004 in Conference Notes




The Morning Dish – Thursday, December 30th

La Salle’s Larkai to Stand Trial: Former La Salle basketball player Dzaflo Larkai has been ordered to stand trial on charges of raping a former member of the La Salle’s women’s team. Larkai, who was arrested this past summer based on allegations that he raped the woman in 2003. The scandal led to the resignations of both men’s head coach Billy Hahn, and women’s head coach John Miller after it was alleged they downplayed the claim when reported. Former players Gary Neal and Michael Cleaves were also implicated in a separate sexual assault case this past summer as well. Larkai will be arraigned January 18th.

Orange Center Out: Even though Syracuse won on the scoreboard over Albany Tuesday, they lost some depth, as backup center Darryl Watkins suffered an injury to his right (shooting) hand. Watkins, who had been coming on strong, notching a double-double against Drexel last week, will have surgery later today, and will miss at least six weeks with the injury, and potentially the rest of the season. The 6-11 sophomore had been averaging 5.3 points and 3.6 boards per contest so far this season.

Dolphin Released: Jacksonville announced that new starting center Joey Robinson has been dismissed from the Dophins squad for violating team rules. Robinson, a 6-6 junior who transferred from Redlands (Oklahoma) Community College this offseason, had been averaging 5.4 points and 4.9 rebounds so far this season. Head coach Hugh Durham did not release details of the dismissal.

BC Stays Unbeaten: Boston College needed a Craig Smith jump shot as the clock wound down to ensure their undefeated 10-0 record against Kent State last night, winning 67-65. The Eagles, who at one point were down 18 points, stormed back in the second half with a 14-0 run. Kent State was led by Jay Youngblood with 16 points, while BC was led by Sean Williams, who notched 15 points.

Indiana Downs Ball State: While Indiana handled Ball State 71-59 on Tuesday night, rumors spread around Bloomington yesterday that Mike Davis’ future for the Hoosiers had depended on the victory. WISH-TV in Indianapolis reported that Davis would be ousted if the Hoosiers lost to their cross-state rival, and that boosters were organizing a buyout of Davis’ contract following the Hoosiers’ six-game losing streak against top non-conference competition. In a statement, Indiana athletic director Rick Greenspan vehemently denied the report, stating “I don’t like dignifying B.S. I’m not dodging anybody. I don’t like to dignify crap.”

Colonials Fall: The suddenly-hot West Virginia Mountaineers downed the No. 20 George Washington Colonials 71-65 in Morgantown last night. West Virginia is now off to their best start (9-0) since 1959 (with Jerry West), while snapping the eight-game win streak of the Colonials. The Mountaineers were led by Mike Gansey’s 19 points and D’or Fischer’s 14, while GW was led by T.J. Thompson and J.R. Pinnock, each of whom had 14 points. West Virginia has won the last seven games against George Washington in Morgantown.

Badgers Turn Back Tide: Wisconsin upset the high-flying offense of No. 18 Alabama 76-62 in Madison last night, extending the Badgers’ home win streak to 36 games – currently the nation’s longest. Wisconsin was led by Alando Tucker, who notched 21 points, while the Tide was led by Chuck Davis and Kennedy Winston, who each had 18 points in the loss. Tucker had missed last season’s match with Alabama due to a foot injury. Three other Badgers finished with double-digit points – Mike Wilkinson (15), Zach Morley (13) and Sharif Chambliss (11). Wisconsin last lost at home in December of 2002, when they lost to Wake Forest in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, 90-80.

Pitt Survives Scare: The always-dangerous South Carolina Gamecocks let No. 10 Pittsburgh escape their clutches, allowing the Panthers to come back and win 72-68 to secure their unbeaten streak at 10-0. Pitt, who won its 48th consecutive non-conference home game, was led by Chevon Troutman’s 20 points. South Carolina was led by Carlos Powell and Josh Gonner, who each scored 15 points. The Gamecocks may have had the upset if they weren’t ice cold from three-point land, going 2-of-11 from downtown. South Carolina did hold a 5-0 series lead, though the last game was in 1976. Pitt has not lost a non-conference game at home since losing to Virginia Commonwealth in December, 1999.

Tubby Gets No. 200: No. 8 Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith notched his 200th win as a head coach of the Wildcats as they downed Campbell 82-50. Campbell, who have lost 39 of their last 40 road contests, was led by Anthony Atkinson, who had 14 points in the loss. Kentucky was led by freshman center Randolph Morris, who had a career-high 25 points, and Kelenna Azubuike, who added 14 points. Campbell made only two of its first 21 shots and shot sixteen percent from the field in the first half. Smith is the fourth head coach to reach 200 victories for the Wildcats, joining Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall and Smith’s predecessor, Rick Pitino. Smith is 200-53 at Lexington, and is 324-115 overall, including his Georgia and Tulsa gigs.

Boilermaker Back: Purdue junior forward Matt Kiefer will rejoin his teammates tonight against Baylor. Kiefer, who had torn the meniscus in his left knee during practice three weeks ago, had averaged 12.5 points per game in the team’s first six games prior to the injury. Head coach Gene Keady indicated that Kiefer will come off the bench for the next few games until he’s sure Kiefer’s knee is 100%. Also joining the Boilers will be Purdue football’s Charles Davis, who will join the team after Friday’s Sun Bowl against Arizona State. Davis, a 6-6 tight end, scrimmaged with the hoops team this summer.

Morning Dish

by - Published December 16, 2004 in Conference Notes




The Morning Dish – Thursday, December 16th

Wallace Hospitalized: Hawaii head coach Riley Wallace was hospitalized due to heart surgery yesterday. Wallace, in his 18th season at the helm of the Warriors, underwent angioplasty surgery, where a stint was inserted into his right coronary artery to improve blood flow. He had the same procedure six years ago on his left artery. Through a school spokesman, Riley indicated that he should be released sometime tomorrow, and will be on the sidelines for Monday’s game against Long Beach State, in the opening round of the Rainbow Classic.

A New Partnership: A new joint venture between college basketball coaches and the NCAA was announced yesterday at Madison Square Garden. The initiative, called the College Basketball Partnership, was announced by NCAA president Miles Brand and three head coaches, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Oklahoma’s Kelvin Sampson, and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim. The Partnership, who will meet formally at the Final Four in St. Louis in April, will consist of 25 coaches, administrators, commissioners, NCAA staff, and even the NCAA’s television partners. There is a possibility that even student-athletes could be added to the panel, and that a separate one for women’s basketball could be created. Early fruits of the discussions include last April’s repealing of the 5/8 rule, and some discussions of recruiting rules changes.

Brown Pleads Not Guilty: Montana State junior point guard Frank Brown pleaded not guilty in a Bozeman court house yesterday to charges of raping an under-age girl last month. Brown, who averaged 8.5 points and 4.5 assists last season. Brown, 20, is accused of two counts of rape against a 15-year old girl at his Bozeman apartment, once while she was passed out drunk. Brown, who was arrested November 23rd, posted bond and has returned to his Las Vegas home, having been suspended indefinitely from the team. If found guilty, Brown could face a maximum penalty of life in prison. Next up is a scheduling hearing February 14th.

Farley Dismissed: Louisville has dismissed freshman center Terrance Farley from the Cardinal team for a violation of team rules. Farley, a 6-10 Louisville native, had played in two games so far this season for a total of six minutes. In a statement, head coach Rick Pitino wished Farley well in his pursuit of another playing opportunity. No further details about the violation were released.

Another Bulldog Gone: Georgia has announced that sophomore forward Marcus Sikes has been dismissed from Dennis Felton’s squad. The loss of Sikes, who had not played yet this season due to serving a suspension for disciplinary reasons since the start of the semester in September, knocks the team down to seven scholarship players, all underclassmen. There are no seniors and only one junior walk-on on the team. Sikes played in 26 games last season and averaged 2.2 points and 2.1 rebounds per contest as a freshman last season.

Breathing Down Their Necks: San Diego State has started the first step towards rewarding alumni with Jack Nicholson-type seats. At the Aztec’s home games at Cox Arena, 12 top boosters are now seated at the scorer’s table, up-close-and-personal with the official scorer, scorekeeper, and the shot clock operator. Reaction has been mixed, as it’s not against any NCAA or Mountain West rules, and the move rewards some of the school’s biggest donors with a never-before experience. However in the Monmouth game a few weeks ago, it took longer than normal to adjust the game clock, as the timekeeper had been displaced by the boosters. Never mind the chance for a possibly biased work environment, and not to mention beer spilling on the scoreboard controls.

Storm the Court? Fine!: The SEC has announced that member institutions could face fines of up to $50,000 if their fans storm the football field or basketball court. The measure was approved by all schools and took effect December 1st. Fines will be incremented from $5,000 (first offense), $25,000 (second offense) to the grand-daddy fine. According to the new rules, fans that enter the playing area can be removed from the venue and arrested, and even prevented from future puchase of tickets. Students of the member schools can also be punished, and possibly could be expelled.

Keeping it Regional: The Big Sky Conference is shaping up its list of invitations, but Dakota schools won’t be coming to the party. The Big Sky will be looking to add the University of Northern Colorado for possbile membership, but declined to name other schools that have expressed a desire to join, including the Mid-Continent’s Southern Utah, along with independents North Dakota State and South Dakota State. Southern Utah was bypassed over objection from neighbor Weber State, while the conference’s Pacific Coast schools balked at traveling to the Dakotas. The move may trigger a collapse of the Great West Football Conference, as Northern Colorado, North Dakota State and South Dakota State all will be leaving, and the University of North Dakota is eyeing a D-I move as well. UNC could be a member of the Big Sky as soon as the 2006-07 season.

Not Yet: The University of North Dakota has announced that they won’t be making the leap to D-I until they can secure a conference membership. The likely suitor, the Big Sky Conference, announced yesterday that they will not be considering the Dakota schools for membership due to travel distance. UND, who is D-II, save for their D-I hockey program, will hold off on making a move until both a conference affiliation and necessary funding are available.

Stick to the Script: North Carolina State officials have asked student groups to stick to the original lyrics when the National Anthem is played at Wolfpack home events. Complaints came after the East Carolina football game this season after rowdy fans emphasized the “RED” in “rocket’s red glare”, and sang the “home of the WOLFPACK!” Chancellor James Oblinger received several complaint e-mails, and he notified the NC State band leaders, student government groups, and booster clubs to honor Francis Scott Key’s original version.

Morning Dish

by - Published January 10, 2004 in Conference Notes




The Morning Dish – Thursday, January 8th

Auburn Mess: The NCAA finally released the details of September’s notice of allegations to Auburn. In the notice, the NCAA claims that Auburn basketball representatives provided a car to the mother of Huntsville, Alabama prep star Chadd Moore, and also arranged wire transfers totaling over $3,000 to recruit Jackie Butler of McComb, Mississippi. Each player was on the AAU squad coached by Mark Komara of Huntsville, who the NCAA also claims is a representative of Auburn, a claim both the university and Komara deny. Moore signed with Cincinnati, and Butler is prepping at Coastal Christian Academy (Virginia Beach, Virginia) and has committed to play for Tennessee next season. Auburn officials only admit to secondary infractions during campus visits, and that they will be proposing appropriate penalties. Auburn will plead its case in February to the Infractions Committee, and can still appeal.

Meanwhile, another twist of the story became public yesterday, a dentist claims that Auburn assistant Shannon Weaver couldn’t possibly have offered a car to Moore’s mother, because at the time of the alleged offering, as he was undergoing dental work. Dr. Sam Holland, of Scottsboro, Alabama, stated that he provided the NCAA an alibi that Weaver was under Holland’s dental car in Scottsboro for three days, during which Moore’s mother allegedly was offered a new car. Hoopville looked at the map, and Huntsville and Scottsboro are only about 12 miles apart. Perhaps the NCAA will consult a map as well.

Mountaineer Out: West Virginia head coach John Beilein has announced that junior guard Drew Schifino has been suspended indefinitely for violating unspecified team rules. Schifino, WVU’s leading scorer, is averaging 17.6 points per game and 5 rebounds so far this season. His 48-game streak of scoring in double-digits was snapped Wednesday in teh school’s loss to Notre Dame.

Free Buffalo: Colorado senior guard Michel Morandais has been cleared to return on the Buffaloes basketball team after questions about his academics came to light last month. Morandais received an incorrect grade in a summer class, and when paired with his change of majors, he didn’t have enough credits towards his degree for eligibility this semester. The professor that gave the incorrect grade had been out of the country between semesters, exacerbating the situation. Now that the professor is back on campus, the correct grade was recorded, enabling the credits to be granted. Colorado has lost three straight games without Morandais, who is the Buffaloes second leading scorer, averaging 15.3 points per game.

New Cardinal: Ball State has announced that former Ohio State center Charles Bass has transfered to the Cardinal basketball program. Bass, a 6-9 center from Crete-Monee High School High School in Chicago, originally was recruited by Ball State, but signed with the Buckeyes for the 2002-03 season. Last season, Bass averaged 4.7 minutes of PT in 15 games, and had only played a total of four minutes this season. He will have junior eligibility when he suits up for the Cardinals after fall semester next season.

Record Breaker?: Duke’s J.J. Redick has tied the mark for the most consecutive free throws in the ACC with 48, and will go for the record in tomorrow’s matchup with Virginia. The record was set in 1979-80 by Virginia’s Jeff Lamp. Redick is 39-for-39 this season, and sank four in Duke’s win against Fairfield earlier this week.

Last Year on this Date: We were just finding out about the Nolan Richardson III blow-up at Tennessee State: Have you heard the one about the coach who brought a gun into the gym after one of his assistants hit him with a bag that contained a steel chain? Well, that coach quit his job on Thursday. Oh, and about the guy with the bag of chains, he’s the new head coach. Tennessee State head coach Nolan Richardson III, son of former Arkansas head man Nolan Richardson, resigned as men’s basketball coach Thursday, two weeks after he and assistant coach (and now interim head coach) Hosea Lewis were involved in an altercation.

Additionally, Missouri had just announced that they had landed VMI transfer Jason Conley, who led D-I in scoring as a freshman in 2001-02, in a story broken by Hoopville’s own Jed Tai.

Tonight’s Menu:

• There are quite a few ranked teams in action today, but the marquee matchup is between No. 4 Stanford at No. 6 Arizona. Arizona has won 9 straight, and Stanford has won all 12 of its games this season. Arizona has lost three consecutive home games to the Cardinal. Arizona head coach Lute Olson is looking to become Arizona’s all-time winningest coach, as he tied legendary head coach Fred Enke (coached 1925-61) with the win over Cal on Thursday. Arizona leads the all-time series 42-22, and Olson has a 30-12 record against the Cardinal.

• No. 21 Vanderbilt is one of only 10 undefeated teams left in the nation, and they will be putting that streak up against the No. 7 Kentucky Wildcats in Rupp Arena tonight. Kentucky is coming off their defeat of No. 14 North Carolina last week, and lead the all-time series 125-35.

• In Champaign-Urbana, No. 20 Illinois hosts the slumping No. 24 Purdue in Big Ten Conference action. Purdue leads the all-time series 84-77, but is only 29-51 at Illinois.

• Conference play rules the land in the rest of the 128 games. The Civil War is in Corvallis today. Princeton will try to slow down Kris Humphries and the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Kansas State and Colorado pick on D-1 Independents Savannah State and Northern Colorado, respectively. St. Francis (New York) is facing St. Francis (Pennsylvania). And Yale plays the only non-Division I opponent today, hosting the SUNY Old Westbury Panthers.

Morning Dish

by - Published January 9, 2004 in Conference Notes




The Morning Dish – Thursday, January 8th

More Baylor Mess: Earlier this week Baylor lost two players to academics for the rest of the season. Yesterday, former Baylor player Chad Elsey filed suit against Baylor and then head coach Dave Bliss alleging that Bliss breached an oral contract that Bliss would pay for Elsey’s law school if he transferred from SMU. As quoted by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “Chad, if you commit to me that you will come to Baylor, I will not only pay for an extra semester, but will pay for law school and any other degree that you are interested in, so long as you work diligently toward a degree.” During a conversation, Elsey asked Bliss about potential NCAA problems with the payments, and Bliss commented that “there are ways to get around NCAA rules.” The allegations, if found to be true, would be yet another stain on Bliss and the Baylor program, which is already under NCAA investigation. Elsey is claiming damages exceeding $100,000.

Cotton Plays Field: Michigan State freshman point guard Brandon Cotton is expected to announce his decision to leave the Spartan program in the next day. Cotton, a McDonald’s All-American and a Mr. Basketball runner-up in Michigan last year, has been injured most of this season, and has also missed time because his uncle was killed in a shooting in Detroit. Cotton has missed several practices of late, and MSU Tom Izzo told the Associated Press, “Brandon has had some personal problems, some of them he could control and some he couldn’t. I don’t know where his head is.”

Ram Out: Colorado State center Matt Nelson will be out indefinitely after injuring his right knee. Nelson, the Rams’ leading scorer with 15 points per game, was diagnosed with a sprain after colliding with a Montana State player in Colorado State’s loss to the Bobcats Monday.

Sooner Gone: Oklahoma has announced that freshman guard Jimmy Tobias has left the school, and will be transferring to Seminole Junior College (Sanford, Florida). Tobias, a Florida native, had averaged 2 points and 1.2 rebounds in six games so far this season. Tobias was disappointed with playing time during the regular season, as he had excelled in the Sooners’ summer exhibition games in Costa Rica, averaging 13 points and 5 rebounds.

Hoosier Sitting: Indiana freshman forward Jessan Gray-Ashley has been declared academically ineligible for the remainder of the season. A Davenport, Iowa, native, Gray-Ashley has seen action in seven games, averaging less than a point and rebound per game, playing an average of four minutes.

San Diego Update: San Diego’s Nick Lewis returned with the team to San Diego after being carried off the court against New Mexico. The prognosis? A concussion. Lewis was knocked out after hitting his jaw on the floor while scrambling for a loose ball. After being cleared by medical staff after a CT scan, head coach Brad Holland indicated that Lewis will be able to play January 15th against Loyola Marymount.

Top 25 Action:

• No. 10 Cincinnati stuffed Tulane in the C-USA opener for both teams. Reserve guard Tony Bobbitt was the unlikely hero against the Green Wave by notching 18 points, while Jason Maxiell and Field Williams each tallied 13 points in the win. Vytas Tatarunas had 15 points for the Green Wave. Cincinnati remains undefeated at 10-0.

• The No. 11 Louisville Cardinals downed Southern Miss in a defensive showcase 76-42 as both teams opened C-USA play. The Cardinals were led by Nate Daniels and his 15 points as Rick Pitino’s defense held the Golden Eagles to under 30% shooting from the field, including a 13-minute scoreless stretch.

• No. 12 Florida squeaked by South Carolina, 65-62. David Lee led the Gators with 21 points and 14 rebounds, covering for teammate Anthony Roberson, who was held to only 5 points. The Gamecocks got within one point on Renaldo Balkman’s layup with under a minute. Josh Gonner led South Carolina with 18 points.

• No. 14 North Carolina handled soon-to-be conference rival Miami 89-64 last night. Sean May had 23 points and 16 rebounds, and Jawad Williams, Rashad McCants, and Jackie Manuel each had 15 points in the Heels’ 200th win in the Dean Dome. Robert Hite led the Hurricanes with 27 points.

• No. 17 Syracuse edged St. John’s 65-59, as Gerry McNamara heated up late to notch 14 of his 23 points in the second half of a sloppy game. Hakim Warrick had 18 points and 11 boards for the Orangemen, who won their tenth in a row. St. John’s leading scorer Elijah Ingram, who averages 14 points per game, came up with only 3, and the Red Storm were led by Grady Reynolds’ 13 points.

• No. 20 Illinois downed Ohio State 85-63 in the Big Ten opener for both squads. Junior Nick Smith led the Illini with 22 points, including nine of nine from the charity stripe. Ohio State couldn’t handle the Illini press, and only scored six field goals in the first half. The Buckeyes were led by Terrance Dials and his 11 points.

• No. 23 Marquette handled Houston 65-52 in a C-USA matchup. Travis Diener scored 22 points on the strength of 5-for-10 shooting from three-point land for Marquette, and Scott Merritt had a 17/10 double/double in a game that was close until the final minutes. Houston, who trailed by only two late in the game, was led by Marcus Oliver and Andre Owens, who each had 12 points.

• No. 24 Purdue was upset by Iowa 71-61 in a tough road Big Ten opener. Iowa improved its free throw shooting from previous games, nailing 29 of 37 down the stretch. Meanwhile the Boilermakers only managed 7 free throws of 10 attempts. Pierre pierce led the Hawkeyes with 19 points, and Jared Reiner added 14 points. kenneth Lowe led the Purdue with 19 points.

Other Action:

• In the longest game of the night, SMS prevailed over Missouri Valley foe Evansville 95-85 in double overtime. Blake Ahearn scored 25 points for the Bears, who nailed 15 out of 18 free throw attempts in the second bonus stanza. The Purple Aces, who only have one win on the season, were up by as much as 16 in the second half and managed to let it slip away. Evansville was led by Clint Cuffle and his 18 points.

• Creighton, who is getting votes in the Hoopville Top 25 poll, narrowly avoided losing its first game of the season to Illinois State, 56-55. The Bluejays relied on Johnny Mathies free throw with 1.3 seconds remaining in regulation to pull out the victory. Brody Deren led the Bluejays with 12 points and seven rebounds. Najeeb Echols led the Redbirds with 13 points.

Tonight’s Menu:

• It’s big time on the West Coast tonight, as No. 4 Stanford faces off against Ike Diogu and Arizona State, while Cal visits No. 6 Arizona, setting up the match of Stanford-Arizona Saturday. Additionally, No. 16 Gonzaga faces Pepperdine in the West Coast Conference opener for both schools. While Pepperdine leads the all-time series 31-24, Gonzaga has won seven of the last eight.

College Basketball Tonight

COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, who will be joined by former Manhattan and Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show will air on AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on every Sunday from Selection Sunday to the Final Four. You can listen to the show here.

Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by

bostonuniversity

Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

March 9, 2014 by

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The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by

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Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

2013 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: St. Andrew's
Sept 10: Tilton
Sept. 11: South Kent School and Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 12: Putnam Science Academy
Sept. 16: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 17: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 23: New Hampton School
Sept. 24: Brimmer and May
Sept. 25: Proctor Academy
Sept. 26: Notre Dame Prep and Cushing Academy
Sept. 29: Worcester Academy and Vermont Academy
Oct. 6: Charlestown High School and Milton Academy
Oct. 13: Tabor Academy
Oct. 15: Brooks School

Hoopville Archives

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Travel team profile: All For One

All For One has been one of the better travel programs in Massachusetts for players before they reach high school

Travel team profile: Blackstone Valley Chaos

Size and options on the wing are not lacking for this year’s junior team

Travel team profile: Expressions Elite

Expressions Elite has quickly become one of the deeper programs in New England

Cesar Fulcar commits to Wentworth

The senior guard led Watertown to the state semifinal this past season

Travel team profile: Bay State Magic

Bay State Magic doesn’t have much size on their junior team this season, so they’ll have to win with execution and intangibles

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is already moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter