Thursday, February 28, 2013

Penn State drops Michigan, 84-78, Behind Jermaine Marshall's 25 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Somehow, we all knew it was going to happen sooner or later. The cocky - and often sloppy - attitude of the Michigan Wolverines would catch up to them, and, on Wednesday night, it finally did, as Penn State took advantage of home court and 15 Michigan turnovers to upend the Wolverines, 84-78, shining a very bright light on star point guard Trey Burke, who committed six turnovers himself and made just one of four shots from outside the three-point arc.

Michigan took a slim, three-point lead into the break, but the Nittany lions simply outplayed them in the second stanza, making three-pointers and trips to the foul line as they pressured the Michigan defense on each possession. Leading the charge was junior guard Jermaine Marshall, who led all scorers with 25 points on shooting of 8-for-17, nailing six of ten from downtown.

Marshall, the Lions' second-leading scorer among active players at 15.4 ppg (Tim Frazier has an average of 16.3, but has played just four games this season), also grabbed six rebounds, had three assists and a couple of steals in the upset victory.

With nothing to lose, the Penn State players made the most of their opportunity to make headlines. They are 9-18 overall, and, up until Wednesday night, were 0-14 in Big Ten play.

NOTABLE: Still receiving far too little acclaim, the St. Louis Billikens won their tenth straight game, whipping St. Joseph's, 70-53, maintaining their one-game lead in the Atlantic-10 over 10-3 VCU with an 11-2 conference record.

The Billikens haven't lost since back-to-back defeats at Temple and against Rhode Island, back on January 12 and 19 and need to forge wins at George Washington and Xavier before their season finale at home against LaSalle in order to take the conference title outright.

There will be plenty of hand-wringing come selection Sunday for all the teams in the PAC-12 other than the one which wins the post-season conference tournament. That's because the contenders in the conference haven't done much in the way of presenting a strong case by which the committee can single them out for an at-large bid. Currently, Oregon and UCLA lead the standings at 11-4, followed by Arizona and Cal at 11-5 and 10-5, respectively. Colorado is 9-6; Arizona State is 9-7 and USC improved to 8-7 after dropping Arizona Wednesday night, 89-78.

Winning records have been achieved by these seven - each of which believe they are worthy of at-large tourney selections - largely at the expense of Utah, Oregon State and Washington State, the conference cellar-dwellers with a combined conference record of 8-36.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Minnesota Dumps #1 Indiana as Trevor Mbakwe Outplays Zeller

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Big men in the Big Ten play important roles in their teams' successes, but none was bigger than Minnesota's 6'8" senior, Trevor Mbakwe, as he powered the Golden Golphers to a 77-73 defeat of top-ranked Indiana Tuesday night.

Mbakwe posted his ninth double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds, significantly outplaying Indiana's Big Ten player of the year candidate, Cody Zeller, who was held to just nine points on 2-for-9 shooting and a mere seven rebounds before fouling out late in the second half.

Mbakwe's prowess on both ends of the floor were evident as Minnesota dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Hoosiers, 44-30, and snaring an incredible 23 offensive rebounds. Mbakwe was 8-for-10 from the field and 5-for-7 from the foul line, completing what was surely one of his best effort as a collegian.

Indiana's loss is college basketball's gain. It's the seventh time this season a #1-ranked team has tasted defeat, setting up an exciting, unpredictable NCAA tourney, which commences in just three weeks. It also gives hope to the chasers in the Big Ten, as Indiana drops to 12-3 in the conference. Michigan State and Wisconsin are tied for second at 11-4; Michigan is 10-4 and Ohio State is 10-5.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Michigan Hammers Illinois Behind Trey Burke's 26 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 24, 2013

Battling in the Big Ten has become something akin to sumo wrestling at times this season, with heavyweights taking each other up and off the court in a manic scramble to the top spot in the standings.

Currently, top-ranked Indiana holds sway in the conference with a 12-2 mark, with Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State - all ranked - playing catch-up.

On Sunday, Trey Burke provided ample offense for the Wolverines to tear up overmatched Illinois - a solid team that despite a 7-8 record in the conference still stands a good chance of receiving an at-large invitation to the national tournament - with a game-high 26 points in a 71-58 laugher that didn't seem very funny when the Illini took a three-point lead into intermission.

Michigan scored 43 second half points, limiting Illinois to 27, to run away for the home win. Burke proved quite the marksman, making eight of 11 shots, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. He also nailed eight of 10 free throws and added eight assists while committing just one turnover.

The win left the 10-4 Wolverines two games back of the Hoosiers with one more crack at them in the regular season finale - a mark 10 home game.

Adding to the mix was Ohio State, which did its part to keep the Big Ten the most fascinating conference in the country, with a 68-60 win over Michigan State. The 10-5 Buckeyes have just three games left on their conference calendar, one of them a trip to Indiana on March 5.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Otto Porter Jr. Leads Georgetown over Syracuse with 33 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 23, 2013

With just five days left in the month of February, college hoops is being taken to a new level. Upcoming conference closeout games and tournaments await, with the victors getting the all-important post-season tourney invitations.

The most anticipated game of the day was at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, as the Orange hosted Georgetown, a game that produced a college record crowd for an on-campus meeting of 35,012.

For the locals, the outcome was disappointing, as Georgetown's Otto Porter Jr. proved nearly unstoppable, scoring a career-high 33 points on the Orange in a 57-46 Hoya win, a victory which will forever stand as a testament to one of college hoops' greatest rivalries, one which is ended as Syracuse departs the Big East for the ACC next season.

In a game in which the winners shot just 35% (SU was held to 34%), Porter was like a blazing supernova, making 12 of 19 shots from the floor, including five of 10 three-pointers and canning all four of his free throws.

When he wasn't killing the home team with relentless scoring, the 6'8" sophomore from Missouri was hitting the boards hard, collecting eight of Georgetown's 34 rebounds. He played all forty minutes, the second time he's done so this season.

The win was Georgetown's ninth straight, and resulted in giving them sole possession of first place in the Big East with a 11-3 mark, as Marquette fell to Villanova, 60-56 and Louisville defeated Seton Hall, 79-61, producing a three-way tie for second place, with the Orange, cardinals and Golden Eagles all at 10-4.

There are still four regular season games left for each of the Big East contenders, so the regular season race is far from concluded.

Elsewhere, the ACC got a little more interesting, as Wake Forest upset Miami, 80-65, the first Hurricane loss in conference play. The 13-1 Hurricanes have four more conference games remaining, three of them at home, against Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Clemson, though next Saturday's meeting at 10-3 Duke looms large.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mike McCall Jr. Has 19 as St. Louis Whips Butler for 9th Straight

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 22, 2013

The St. Louis Billikens set a school record Friday night when they beat #15 Butler, 65-61, their fourth win of the season over a ranked opponent.

In control of the Atlantic-10, the Billikens have a 10-2 conference mark, one better than 9-3 VCU, whom St. Louis bettered, 76-62, this past Tuesday.

Mike McCall Jr. notched a season-high 18 points to lead all scorers, going 5-for-10 from the field with a pair of three-pointers, canning six of eight from the foul line. McCall also grabbed three boards and had an assist and a steal, helping the Billikens overcome a five-point half time deficit to take control early in the second half and never relinquish the lead.

St. Louis has topped Butler twice this season en route to a 21-5 record overall, the best in the A-10 and a mark that should surely catch the eyes of the tourney selection committee come March. They've won nine in a row after starting out the conference schedule with a 1-2 mark.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Connecticut Previals in OT over Bearcats as Shabazz Napier Drops 27

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 21, 2013

Only two top 25 teams were in action on Thursday; #6 Duke trampled Virginia Tech, 88-56, and, #22 Oregon was upended on a buzzer-beater by Cal's Justin Cobbs, 48-46, sending the Golden Bears to their fourth straight win and leaving them, at 9-5, a game behind PAC-12 co-leaders Oregon and Arizona - both 10-4.

With UCLA at 9-4 and Arizona State posting a 9-5 mark, the conference title is still up for grabs and the post-season tournament should prove to be a wide open affair.

The tightest game of the night ended in overtime, when Connecticut's Shabazz Napier took over the game and scored 11 of his game-high 27 points for the 73-66 victory over Big East rival, Cincinnati.

UConn took a three-point lead into intermission, scored just 18 points in the second half, but then equalled that total in overtime as Napier drove the Huskies to their third win in their last four games. The win sent Connectivut to a 9-5 record and dropped the Bearcats to a pedestrian 7-7, endangering their acceptability as an NCAA tourney at-large invitee.

Napier - UConn's leading scorer at 16.7 ppg - was 7-for-14 from the field, going 6-for-9 from beyond the arc, adding seven of eight from the charity stripe.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera's 33 Points leads Georgetown; Showdown at Carrier Dome Looms

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Big East will break apart at the end of this season, but there's no lack of enthusiasm as old foes meet for what may be the last times.

Upcoming is an epic meeting between Syracuse and Georgetown, a rivalry that dates back decades, including the likes of coaches John Thompson and Jim Boeheim (still coaching) and players as diverse as Patrick Ewing, Carmello Anthony, Rony Seikaly and many others.

Both teams were in action Wednesday night, tuning up for the showdown for first place this Saturday at the Carrier Dome.

The Orange rode 20 points and 11 rebounds by C.J. Fair to an 84-59 rout of Providence, improving the Syracuse mark to 10-3 in the conference.

Georgetown was also on the winning end, whipping DePaul, 90-66, behind D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera's 33 points, a career high for the freshman guard.

Smith-Riavera came off the bench, as he has in all of Georgetown's games this season, to hit 10 of 12 from the field, including a 5-for-6 mark from three-point range. He also canned eight of 10 from the foul line and added three rebounds, an assist and a steal.

The Hoyas improved to 10-3 in conference play, tying Syracuse and Marquette for the top spot in the Big East.

Saturday's contest in Syracuse may be the last meeting between the two for some time, as Syracuse will move to the ACC next season. The game, which tips off at 4:00 pm, is already a sell-out, and will likely set a record for the largest crowd ever to witness an on-campus, regular season NCAA game, estimated at 35,012. The Hoyas are ranked #11 in the AP Poll; Syracuse checks in at #8.

NOTABLE: The Big 12 has heated up, as #9 Kansas valiantly tries to record its ninth straight regular season title. On Wednesday, the Jayhawks had to go to double overtime to defeat #14 Oklahoma State, 68-67, tying them with Kansas State at 10-3, for the conference lead. Kansas has already beaten the Wildcats twice and has a chance of running the table, with five regular season games remaining.

#21 Memphis was an 81-74 winner over Houston, extending the nation's longest winning streak to 17 games and a 12-0 mark in Conference USA. The 23-3 Tigers haven't felt the sting of defeat since a 87=78 loss at Louisville on December 15.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Indiana Tops Michigan St.; Jordan McRae's 34 Leads Tennessee to 4th Straight SEC Victory

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 19, 2013

As hotly anticipated was the Big Ten showdown between top-ranked Indiana and #4 Michigan State, the result was hardly a shock, even though Indiana hadn't come away with a win from East Lansing in 17 years, but the Hoosiers - and especially Victor Oladipo - had more game down the stretch and cemented their #1 status with a 72-68 victory.

Oladipo finished with nine boards and 19 points, including the final six points on a stick-back, a dunk and a pair of clutch free throws. The win put the Hoosiers on a direct path to the regular season conference title and a possible #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. They are 12-2 with the win, dropping the Spartans to 11-3. The Hoosiers have just four games left, though the last two will be testers as they face Ohio State at home and go on the road to Michigan for the final contest.

A couple of upsets marked Tuesday night's action, as Missouri stunned #5 Florida, 63-60 and St. Louis routed #24 VCU, 76-62.

#2 Miami topped Virginia, 54-50, to remain unbeaten in the ACC (13-0), but the team to keep an eye on is Tennessee, which won its fourth straight with an 82-72 win over LSU.

Junior Jordan McRae poured in a career-high 34 points for the Vols, making 13 of 18 shots from the field, including a perfect 6-for-6 from three-point land. The 6'5" swingman also grabbed six boards and snatched a trio of steals. At 7-6 in the SEC, the Volunteers have a good shot at getting a bid to the big dance. With just five games remaining - including home tests against Florida and Missouri - the Vols aren't likely to win the conference, but may make enough of a late season showing to impress the selection committee.

Also making noise is Northern Iowa, winners of six straight in the Missouri Valley Conference after their 69-63 road win at Missouri State. The Panthers are two games behind conference leader Wichita State and a game back of Creighton, neither of who are on the Northern Iowa schedule down the stretch. A good showing in the conference tourney should get the Panthers an invite to the NCAAs.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fred Sturdivant Leads Texas Southern to 8th Straight Win

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 18, 2013

Seldom getting any press, the SWAC has turned into a three-way dogfight for the regular season title with Southern University, Texas Southern and Arkansas Pine Bluff all within a game of the top spot, currently held by 13-2 Southern, Texas Southern 1/2 game back and the Pine Bluff Golden Lions a full game out.

All three were in action Monday, each posting a win. Texas Southern put on a second half thumping of Mississippi Valley State, outscoring the Delta Devils, 38-16, after heading into the half down six points. The 73-57 victory was the eighth straight for the Tigers, last tasting defeat at Pine Bluff on January 19.

Fred Sturdivant posted his tenth double-double of the season, scoring 21 points with 17 rebounds, the 6'7" senior absolutely controlling the paint with eight blocked shots.

Sturdivant was 8-for-13 from the field, but needs some work on his free throws, going just 5-for-18 from the stripe. On the season, he's a 60% shooter from the field, while just 48.5% from the line.

The win puts the Tigers in a position to capture the SWAC title. They have just four games left, one of them a home contest with Southern, in which they plan to avenge a 63-57 road loss with which they opened conference play.

The regular season crown may well be worth the fight, but everyone knows that winning the conference tournament is what it's all about, as that team gets the automatic nod to the NCAA tourney.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Trey Burke, Glenn Robinson III Lead Michigan to Win at Penn St.

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 17, 2013

With #2 Duke losing to Maryland on Saturday, a few of the highly-ranked teams figure to move up when the new poll is released Monday.

For #3 Miami, their meteoric rise in the rankings nearly came to an abrupt halt at Clemson as one of the more defensive-oriented games of the season came down to the final seconds as Kenny Kadji nailed a long three-pointer with 36 seconds left to give the Hurricanes a 45-43 victory and keep their ACC record unblemished at 12-0.

#4 Michigan had an easier time of it, whipping the Penn State Nittany Lions, 79-71, behind Trey Burke's 29 points and Glenn Robinson III's double-double.

Burke, the Wolverine point guard, took matters more into his own hands, dishing just five assists, but hitting nine of 16 shots, including three 3-pointers. He was nearly flawless at the line, make eight of nine.

Robinson was perfect from the field, going 6-for-6, adding 9-for-11 from the stripe for 21 points to go with his 10 boards.

The win was important for Michigan, coming off consecutive road losses to Wisconsin and Michigan State. At 9-4, Michigan is tied with Wisconsin for third place in the Big Ten, behind co-leaders Indiana and Michigan State, both with 11-2 marks.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Duke Upset at Maryland; Michael Lyons Scores 45 for Air Force in Defeat

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 16, 2013

Eighteen of the nation's top 25 teams hit the hardwoods on Saturday. All but one game pitted ranked vs. unranked, that being the Big East battle won by #18 Marquette, besting #16 Pittsburgh, 69-59, tying the Golden Eagles for first place in the conference with Syracuse and Georgetown at 9-3.

Notre Dame (21) was one of the few ranked teams to suffer defeat, running into a buzz-saw at Providence, where Vincent Council scored just seven points for the Friars, but dished 11 assists and snatched the same number of rebounds in the 71-54 rout.

Another losing effort was seen at Tennessee, where the Volunteers whalloped #25 Kentucky, 88-58. At 17-8 (8-4, SEC) and without flashy frosh, Nerlens Noel, for the rest of the season, the Wildcats are in deep trouble.

#1 Indiana powered past Purdue, 83-55, but #2 Duke took it on the chin at the Verizon Center as the Maryland Terrapins - despite 26 turnovers - upset them, 83-81. It was the final meeting between the two schools as ACC participants, Maryland moving over to the Big Ten next season. Mason Plumlee was held completely in check by the Terrapins' seven-footer, Alex Len, who scored 19 points and grabbed nine boards while limiting Plumlee to season lows in points (4) and rebounds (3).

The performance of the day, however, came in a losing effort by Air Force, the Falcons coming up just short in an 86-83 defeat by #22 Colorado State. Michael Lyons, a 6'5" senior guard, pumped in a career-high 45 points on 17-for-25 shooting, making seven of 13 from three-point range and five of eight from the foul line. Lyons also chipped in a couple of rebounds and a pair of assists.

Lyons' effort was the most scored by a Mountain West player this season, the most ever by a Falcon in a conference game and just five short of the school record of 50, set by Bob Beckel in 1959.

Colorado State's win left them 1/2 game behind conference-leading New Mexico with an 8-2 record. The Lobos (9-2) kept their edge with a 60-50 win over Boise State.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Kenyatta Smith Leads Harvard to Big Road Win; Big East Scambled

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 15, 2013

The Harvard Crimson got a huge effort from sophomore center Kenyatta Smith, winning on the road at Penn, 73-54, to maintain a 1/2 game lead over Princeton in the Ivy league.

Smith put up a career high with 20 points on 8-for-9 shooting, adding 4-for-5 from the foul line. A monster in the paint, Smith also set a career high with nine rebounds and set a school-record with 10 blocked shots. Riding Smith's inside prowess, the Crimson expanded a ten-point half time lead to win by 19.

If Harvard is to continue on to capture the conference crown - and earn a trip to the NCAA tourney in the process - they'll have to compete hard over the next five games. Following Saturday's home game with Princeton, the Crimson embark on a pair of weekend road trips - at Brown and Yale next weekend and at Princeton and Penn the following Friday and Saturday.

Harvard is 14-7 overall with a 6-1 mark in the Ivy. Last season they went 25-6, won the Ivy League and lost to Vanderbilt, 79-70, in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

NOTABLE: In a rare Friday night Big East tilt, #15 Georgetown improved to 9-3 in the conference with a 62-55 victory at Cincinnati. The win gave them a 1/2 game lead over Syracuse and Marquette, both at 8-3. The Orange play at Seton Hall Saturday night; Marquette hosts Pitt earlier in the day.

The Big East scramble is monumental, with six teams within a game of the lead. In addition to the top three, Louisville, Pitt and Notre Dame have each posted 8-4 conference marks. All six of the leading contenders in the conference are ranked.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Davidson Closing on Division Crown as Jake Cohen Racks 32

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Davidson Wildcats took another step towards wrapping up the Southern conference South division title with a 75-59 victory at Charleston Thursday night, boosting their record in the conference to a gaudy 13-1, with four games remaining on their regular season schedule.

Led by 6'10" senior, Jake Cohen, the Wildcats have a three-game bulge in the division over the Cougars. Cohen was simply unstoppable as an offensive force from anywhere on the court, but especially in the paint. Scoring a career-high 32 points, Cohen was 13-for-24 from the field, including 3-for-7 from outside the arc. He added three rebounds, an assist, a steal and four blocked shots in 31 minutes of action as the Wildcats won their ninth straight.

Davidson broke open a close contest in the second half, outscoring Charleston 43-29 in the period, hitting 10 of 24 from three-point range (42%).

The Wildcats have a February 27 date with North division leader, Elon, though by that time the outcome should be academic. Davidson can wrap up the division with wins over their next two opponents - Citadel and Furman - who have a combined conference record of 6-21.

NOTABLE: Central Connecticut State's sophomore Kyle Vinales scored a career-high 42 points in the Blue Devils' 101-82 loss at Wagner, making eight of 13 three-pointers. Vinales is fifth in scoring nationally, checking in at 22.1 points per game. At 10-13, the Blue Devils are unlikely to reach any higher than possibly an NIT invitation, so Vinales massive talents won't be on display for the nation to see.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Markel Brown's 7 Treys Lead Oklahoma State Rout of Texas Tech

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 13, 2013

With just a few weeks remaining before the end of regular season conference schedules, it's time to start winnowing down the field of possible entrants to the field for the NCAA tournament.

In the Big 12, Baylor - a possible player in March - and Oklahoma State did some narrowing of the field on Wednesday, topping, respectively, West Virginia, 80-60, and Texas Tech, 91-67.

In Lubbock, Texas, Oklahoma State took care of business in the first half, on their way to the massive, 24-point rout of the Red Raiders, getting a game-high 25 points from Markel Brown, who hit seven first half three-pointers as the Cowboys took a 55-34 lead into intermission.

Brown, who had just 25 minutes of playing time, added four assists, a pair of rebounds and a couple of steals. The #17 Cowboys are locked into a three-way tie with Kansas and Kansas State atop the conference standings, each with 8-3 records. The good news for OK-State is that they play both of their chief rivals at home, with Kansas coming to town February 20 and the Wildcats visiting on March 9, the regular season finale. The Cowboys have won six straight.

NOTABLE: There was more than enough Top 25 action on Wednesday to satisfy everyone, with the top two teams, Indiana and Duke, both hitting the hardwoods. #1 Indiana cruised past Nebraska, 76-47, while the Blue Devils came from behind to upend North Carolina, 75-68, at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

#3 Miami won their 12th straight, invading Florida State for a 74-68 victory, maintaining their two-game lead in the ACC over 9-2 Duke with an 11-0 record.

Upsets included #6 Syracuse getting whacked by arch-rival UConn, 66-58, and Charlotte dumping #11 Butler, 71-67, producing quite the scramble in the A-10, as seven teams are within two games of each other, vying for the top spot, currently claimed by VCU and St. Louis, both with 7-2 marks.

Flying stealthily under the radar, Memphis has moved up to #22, winning over UCF, 93-71, their 15th straight victory. The Tigers are a perfect 10-0 in Conference-USA play, two ahead of 8-2 Southern Miss., and are 21-3 overall.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

State of the Hoop: Florida, Michigan State Romp; Nick Minnerath Leads Detroit with 34 and 12

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 12, 2013

President Obama's State of the Union address wasn't particularly exciting, and neither were Tuesday's pair of top 25 match-ups, though they looked as though they might be prior to the opening tips.

In Gainseville, the 20-3 Florida Gators cemented their lead over the rest of the SEC with a 69-52 breeze past #25 Kentucky, dropping the Wildcats into a second-place tie with Alabama at 8-3 in the conference standings. 7th-ranked Florida, winners of 12 of their last 13, improved to 10-1 in the SEC with the victory, holding the Wildcats to just 42% shooting.

While the president was speaking, Tom Izzo's Spartans were making a statement of their own, dumping #4 Michigan, 75-52. The win moved #8 Michigan State into first place in the Big Ten with a 10-2 record, a half game better than 9-2 Indiana. The Spartans took an early lead, were up 14 at the half, and never looked back.

Following a game at Nebraska this Saturday, the Spartans embark on a rugged four-game stretch against Indiana, on the road for Ohio State and Michigan, and then back home for #20 Wisconsin. How Michigan State survives the upcoming schedule will largely determine the standings in the Big Ten, and will surely prepare the Spartans for the Big Dance in March.

In Detroit, Nick Minnerath was making his presence felt in a 92-62 rout of Cleveland State. Minnerath scored a game-high 34 points on 12-for-22 shooting with a pair of threes, and went 8-for-10 from the charity stripe. He also nabbed 12 boards, six on the offensive end.

Detroit is chasing Valparaiso in the Horizon League, the Titans in second place at 9-4 with Valpo on top with a 10-2 mark. The two meet for the second time this season on Saturday, February 16. In their first meeting, Valparaiso came out of the Titans' home court with an 89-88 victory. The Titans will be looking to return the favor.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Jayhawks End 3-Game Losing Streak as Ben McLemore Pumps in 30 for Win over K-State

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 11, 2013

A pair of games Monday matched up ranked teams in conference play.

At the Verizon Center in Washington DC, the #15 Georgetown Hoyas held off #18 Marquette, 63-55, despite shooting just 39% from the field. Marquette was sloppy with the ball, turning it over 19 times, and were also out-rebounded, 32-28, allowing 11 offensive boards by the Hoyas. Otto Porter scored 21 points for the Hoyas to lead all scorers.

Having lost three straight - the last two on the road at TCU and Oklahoma - the Kansas Jayhawks were pleased to be back at Allen Fieldhouse to face #10 Kansas State in an attempt to regain some winning form and hopefully tied the Wildcats for first place in the Big 12.

Freshman Ben McLemore provided ample firepower, making six of 10 from beyond the arc on 9-for-13 shooting overall in an 83-62 blowout.

McLemore was also a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line and collected six rebounds en route to scoring an even 30 points.

Seven-footer, Jeff Whithey had his usual dominant inside game, scoring 17 points with 11 boards and five blocked shots. The Jayhawks fell from $5 in the nation last week to #14 in Monday's poll.

Monday's result produced a tie between the Jayhawks and Wildcats for the Big 12 lead, both teams at 8-3, with Oklahoma 1/2 game back with a 7-3 mark. The Jayhawks play at Oklahoma State, Wednesday, February 20, looing to erase their 85-80 loss to the Cowboys on February 2nd.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Indiana May Retain #1 Ranking off Victor Oladipo's 26 in Win at Ohio State

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 10, 2013

After Thursday's last-second loss at Illinois, the Indiana Hoosiers weren't about to let another game go down to the wire, so they took out their frustrations at Ohio State, taking a 41-33 lead into half time en route to an 81-68 laugher.

6'5" Victor Oladipo took the game to the Buckeyes, his 26 points good for a share of the high-scoring honor with Ohio State's DeShaun Thomas. A match-up nightmare, Oladipo - too quick for big men and too big for smaller guards - made eight of 10 from the field, none of 10 from the foul line and helped out on the boards with eight rebounds. He added three assists and two steals in 33 minutes of playing time.

Indiana took the lead early and were never seriously threatened, cruising to their 21st win against three losses, tying Michigan State for the top spot in the Big Ten, at 9-2. Michigan and Wisconsin are a game back at 8-3, the loss sending the Buckeyes down to fifth place, with a 7-4 mark.

When the new poll is released on Monday, the Hoosiers may retain their number one ranking despite their loss earlier in the week, in part because Illinois continued their winning way on Sunday, topping #18 Minnesota, 57-53. Also, #4 Duke barely squeaked by Boston College, winning, 62-61, at BC.

Elsewhere, the Cal Golden Bears got 31 points out of Allen Crabbe and knocked off #7 Arizona, 77-69, and James Southerland returned to the Syracuse lineup after a six-game academic absence to score 13 points as the #9 Orange manhandled St. John's, 77-58.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Alex Oriakhi Scores 22 with 18 Boards as Missouri Prevails over Mississippi

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 9, 2013

Even though they're only 6-4 in SEC play, the Missouri Tigers - along with Florida - are among the elite teams in the conference, evidenced in their 98-79 rout of Mississippi Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers have one of the country's best point guards in Phil Pressey, who scored 22 points in the win, tying him with Alex Oriakhi for high scoring honors.

While Pressey generally controls the perimeter and pace, Oriakhi, the 6'9" senior transfer from UConn, has given the Tigers a new look with a ferocious presence inside and on the boards. Oriakhi's 22 points was a career high on 7-for-10 shooting, helped along by his 18 rebounds, 10 of which came on the offensive end.

Missouri's glass cleaning resulted in the game's most lopsided statistic, as they out-rebounded the Rebels, 50-32.

The 21st-ranked Tigers improved to 17-6 overall, avenging an earlier, 64-49, loss at Ole Miss, but they are still only in fifth place in the conference standings, led by #2 Florida, at 9-1, after putting it on Mississippi State, 83-58.

The 19-3 Gators rebounded from Tuesday's 80-69 loss at Arkansas and have won 11 of their last 12. They are likely to remain in the top five - and may even be #1 - come Monday's new poll, as #1 Indiana and #3 Michigan both suffered defeats this week, the Hoosiers losing on a buzzer-beater to Illinois on Thursday, 74-72, and Michigan going down to Wisconsin in overtime Saturday, 65-62.

The #1 ranking may fall, by default, to Duke, which plays at Boston College on Sunday, in a game they are widely expected to win.

#5 Kansas also will be further down in the rankings after losing at Oklahoma, 72-66, their third straight loss. Likely to take the Jawhawks' place is Miami, the Hurricanes winning their 11th straight on Saturday with an 87-61 pounding of North Carolina. The #8 Hurricanes are all alone atop the ACC standings, at 10-0.

Further down the rankings, #23 Pitt overwhelmed #17 Cincinnati in the second half for a 62-52 win; #11 Louisville's Chane Behanan scored 30 points and had 15 rebounds - both game highs - but came up short in five overtimes to #25 Notre Dame, 104-101.

#15 New Mexico lost at UNLV, 64-55, and #16 Creighton continued to slide, losing their second straight in a 75-72 home loss to Illinois State, setting up a three-way tie for first place in the Missouri Valley Conference with Wichita State and Indiana State, each team at 9-4.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Siyani Chambers Keeps Harvard on Top in Ivy with 18 over Cornell

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 8, 2013

Siyani Chambers scored a game-high 18 points to go with 11 assists and five boards as the Harvard Crimson prevailed on the road over Cornell's Big Red, 67-65.

A freshman guard averaging 13.5 points per outing, Chambers had a solid shooting night, making eight of 12 from the field, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc.

Harvard held on for the close victory in the face of a furious Cornell comeback. The Crimson led by 16 at the break, only to see the Big Red whittle away their edge with 43 points in the second half.

The win was the fifth straight - without a loss - in the Ivy league, keeping them a half-game ahead of Princeton at 4-0 after defeating Brown on Friday, 63-46.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Brandon Paul, DJ Richardson Lead Illinois to Upset of #1 Indiana

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 7, 2013

Holding onto the #1 ranking in college basketball this season is becoming an exercise in futility, akin to grabbing a live salmon with oiled hands.

The Indiana Hooisers need no explanation or reminder after what happened to them at Assembly Hall in Champagne, as the Fighting Illini came from eight points down with under three minutes to play to defeat the Hoosiers, 74-72, the go-ahead bucket coming on an easy layup by Tyler Griffey off an inbounds pass with 0.9 seconds left.

Griffey, a senior, scored 14 for the Illini, but none were bigger than what was one of the easiest buckets of his career. With the score tied at 72, Illinois inbounded the ball from the sideline, about six feet from the baseline, setting up their players near the perimeter. Griffey slipped by Tyler Zeller and raced to the basket, where the pass from Brandon Paul hit him in stride without no Indiana player within ten feet of him.

Paul scored 21 points, while teammate D.J. Richardson had a game-high 24, eight of them coming on consecutive trips under three minutes when he hit two threes and a deuce to tie the game at 70. The Illini traded a pair of Paul free throws after a Victor Oladipo basket to knot the game at 72, setting up the decisive score.

Richardson was 8-for-15, hitting four of eight from three-point range with three steals. Paul was less accurate, making six of 14 from the floor with three treys, but he added two rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Illinois turned the ball over just nine times, as compared to 14 for the Hoosiers.

Prior to the win, Illinois had lost eight of their last 11 and were just 2-7 in conference play. The Indiana loss produced a three-way tie atop the Big Ten, with Indiana, Michigan and Michigan State each with identical 8-2 records.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

A-10 Tightens as Dwayne Evans Leads St. Louis over Fordham

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 6, 2013

An interesting night in college hoops was in evidence Wednesday as eleven Top 25 teams took to the hardwood, with four taking losses.

Topping the list was #5 Kansas, a 62-55 loser at TCU. Indiana State tightened the Missouri Valley Conference race with a 76-57 win over #16 Creighton. Kadeem Batts ripped Cincinnati for 25 points and nine rebounds, sending the #17 Bearcats to a 54-50 defeat; while in the Big Ten, #12 Michigan State trounced #18 Minnesota, 61-50.

The most interesting development was in the Atlantic-10 conference, where all eyes are focused on Butler, an easy, 77-58 winner over St. Bonaventure, though the result from St. Louis, where the unranked Billikens swamped Fordham, 90-73, causing a three-way tie for first place with Butler, St. Louis and VCU all at 6-2.

Dwayne Evans, who leads St. Louis in scoring and rebounding, was a nightmare for the Rams, scoring a game-high 24 points to go with his 10 boards. Evans was 10-for-12 from the field, adding four points on six attempts from the foul line. A 6'5" junior, Evans appears to be rounding into late-season form, having scored in double figures the past five games. Wednesday's effort was his first double-double of the season.

Since back-to-back mid-January losses to Temple and Rhode Island, the Billikens have strrung together five straight wins, and can look ahead to Tuesday, February 19 and Friday, February 22, when they will host VCU before traveling to play at Butler. The pair of games will go a long way toward not only determining the overall winner of the A-10 regular season, but how many teams from the often-overlooked conference will be heading to the NCAA tourney in March.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Tim Hardaway Jr. Hits Six 3-Pointers as Michigan Defeats Ohio State in OT

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 5, 2012

Tuesday night's Big Ten showdown between #2 Michigan and #10 Ohio State turned out to be as good as expected, the teams battling to a 72-all tie in regulation, with the home-standing Wolverines eventually coming out on top in a defensive overtime period which produced just six points total for a 76-74 Michigan victory.

While the Buckeyes shot 52% for the game, Michigan was kept in the contest by Tim Hardaway Jr., who scored a game-high 23 points on 7-for-14 shooting, making six of nine from beyond the arc. Hardaway's buckets came at critical points of the game, often putting the Wolverines ahead or answering a Buckeye basket.

Trey Burke, hounded by Ohio State's Aaron Craft throughout, chipped in with 16 points and eight assists, turning the ball over just twice against Craft's relentless defense.

The victory pushed the Wolverines into second place in the Big Ten, behind Indiana, which has an 8-1 conference record. Michigan is 8-2 in the Big Ten, with a stellar, 21-2 record overall, Tuesday's win avenging an earlier, 56-53, loss at Ohio State. Their other loss was on the road to the Hoosiers, coming out on the wrong end of an 81-73 score.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

CJ Fair Scores 18 as Syracuse Ends 2-Game Slide

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 4, 2013

With two straight Big East road losses - at Villanova and Pitt - the Syracuse Orange were happy to be back within the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome for their Monday night match-up with Notre Dame.

The Orange slipped from #6 to #9 in the latest poll, and a win was needed to get them back on the right track.

C.J. Fair came to the rescue, scoring a game-high 18 points in the 63-47 Syracuse victory.

Fair, a 6'8" junior with fast-developing skills both inside and out, made five of 10 shots from the floor, including a three-pointer, went 7-for-8 from the foul line and corralled 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season.

Fair and his teammates clamped down on the Irish defensively, holding them to 35% shooting, forced 13 turnovers, made seven steals and out-rebounded the South Bend invaders, 32-28.

The win put SU a half game ahead of 6-2 Marquette, in first place in the Big East at 7-2. The Orange won't meet the Golden Eagles until Monday, February 25, at Marquette.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Shabazz Napier Hoists Huskies over South Florida, 69-64

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 3, 2013

Shabazz Napier scored a game-high 24 points as the Connecticut Huskies overcame a 12-point half time deficit to defeat South Florida, 69-64, handing the Bulls their fourth straight Big East loss.

Napier made five of ten three-pointers on 7-for-15 shooting from the field, adding eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.

The Huskies have won three straight, but are on the road their next two games - at St. John's and Seton Hall - before returning home to host #6 Syracuse on Wednesday, February 13. Connecticut is 5-3 in the conference, trailing 6-2 Syracuse and Marquette for the top spot. In its final season under the current alignment, the Big East is a jumble, with nine teams within two games of first place.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Super Bowl XLVII Special: Latest Odds and Picks

Super Bowl Latest Odds and Picks

Super Bowl XLVII pits the Baltimore Ravens against the San Francisco 49ers. Game time is 6:30 pm ET, and Doc's Sports, one of the oldest, classiest and best handicapping services on the internet has up-to-date odds as time winds toward the first ever showdown between brothers in the Super Bowl. Jim Harbaugh is the coach of the 49ers; older brother John coaches the Ravens.

Just go to for the latest odds. Doc's also has plenty of other features on the site, including odds and handicapping advice for all major sports.

If you still aren't sure which side you'll be backing, and need analysis and picks, check out Fearless Rick's Super Bowl pick. Rick's been handicapping the NFL since 1982 and usually has the figure for big games right on the money.

Enjoy the game with the latest odds and best picks.

Indiana Tops #1 Michigan, 81-73, Behind Cody Zeller's 19 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 2, 2013

Michigan may have been #1 for a week, but that week ends Sunday, and, along with it, their short stay atop the college hoops rankings.

Finding few ways to counter the front line of the #3 Hoosiers' Cody Zeller, Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo, the Wolverines fell at Indiana's Assembly Hall, 81-73, and with that, another team - most likely either Indiana or #4 Florida - will assume the position of the nation's top team... for a while.

For the first five weeks of the season, the Hoosiers were ranked #1, but a loss in mid-December boosted Duke to the top spot for four weeks, until Louisville got the nod on January 14. Duke took it back on the 21st, relinquishing it to Michigan this past Monday. If there anything for certain, nobody knows which team is the best at this point.

In their win over Michigan, the Hoosiers took back first place in the Big Ten, posting a record of 8-1 in the conference, but they are by no means alone. The Wolverines, along with Michigan State and Ohio State are all just a game back, at 7-2, and Indiana still has two games with the Buckeyes and one each with the two Michigan teams before the regular season ends.

What the Hoosiers have, however, is possibly the best front line in the country, emphatically proven in their win over Michigan. Cody Zeller had one of his finest games, scoring 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting, with 10 rebounds (his 7th double-double of the season) and two blocked shots in 34 minutes. Watford pitched in 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Mr. Do-it-all, Oladipo, had 15 points, two boards, two assists and a pair of steals.

Despite 16 turnovers, the Hoosiers dominated the rest of the game, hitting at a 52% clip with seven three pointers. They also out-rebounded the Wolverines, 38-29. Most telling was the free throw line. Indiana went to the stripe 25 times, making 22 (88%), while Michigan was only 6-for-7.

NOTABLE: #2 Kansas will not be elevated to the #1 spot come Monday, as they suffered their second loss of the season in an 85-80 loss to Oklahoma State. Markel Brown led the Cowboys with 28 points. #14 Miami won their ninth straight, topping #19 NC State, 79-78. Pitt topped #6 Syracuse, 65-55, #10 Oregon lost at Cal, 58-54, #15 Wichita State fell at Iowa State, 57-52, and #22 San Diego State dropped a 70-67 decision at Air Force.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Nick Minnerath's 27 Points Lead Detroit over Youngstown State

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 1, 2013

With a very light schedule (9 games) in college hoops Friday, the top two teams from the Horizon League were in action, as first place Valparaiso (7-2) defeated Wisconsin Milwaukee, 71-40, and second place Detroit (7-3) got 27 points from Nick Minnerath en route to an 88-77 victory over Youngstown State.

A 6'9" forward, Minnerath was a shooting machine, making 11 of 25 shots, including 2-for-5 from beyond the arc. He added five boards and a pair of steals, his point total the second highest of the season for the senior.

The Titans' leading scorer, Ray McCallum, tossed in 23 points in the winning effort, keeping Detroit a half-game back of Valpo. In their first meeting with Valparaiso earlier this season, McCallum was held to a season-low six points, but Minnerath picked up the slack, scoring a career high 36 against the Crusaders in an 89-88 defeat.

The Titans travel to Valaraiso for a rematch on Saturday, February 16, a game which will go a long way toward determining the eventual conference champion.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Keith Appling Leads Spartans to 80-75 Victory over Illinois

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 31, 2013

Big Ten basketball is not for the feint of heart.

There are five ranked teams and that list doesn't presently include Wisconsin and Illinois, both of which were ranked earlier in the season and are safe bets to be heading to the NCAA tournament in about six weeks, assuming they can grind out tough schedules in conference play.

The Fighting Illini came out smoking at Michigan State Thursday night, but eventually fell to the Spartans, 80-75, in a pivotal match-up for both squads.

Illinois took a ten-point, 37-27, lead into the half, but the Spartans responded with 12 straight points to open the second half, taking the lead and never relinquishing it.

Point guard Keith Appling took over the game when it counted the most, scoring 19 of his game-high 24 points after the break. Quietly emerging as a team leader, Appling dazzled the Illini with crossover dribbles and deft passes, dishing the ball seven times to teammates, twice finding Brandon Dawson (12 points, 9 rebounds) at the rim for thunderous, momentum-building dunks.

The 6'1" junior was 7-for-12 from the field, making two of four from three-point land and eight of 12 at the charity stripe. He also snagged a season high eight boards as the Spartans out-rebounded Illinois, 33-24.

The win was crucial for the 13th-ranked Spartans, following their 75-70 loss at Indiana this past Sunday.

For the Illini, the loss was their fifth in their last six games, lowering their Big Ten mark to a putrid 2-6. In the midst of a challenging stretch, Illinois has already lost consecutive games to Michigan and Michigan State, and have Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota straight ahead.

Michigan and Indiana top the conference at 7-1, followed by the 7-2 Spartans.