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Path: /college-basketball/wichita-state-upsets-gonzaga-first-no-1-upset-ncaa-tournament

Wichita State finally has its moment in the spotlight, and it might last a little longer.

The Shockers became the first team to dispatch a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament by defeating Mark Few's Gonzaga 76-70 in a game when Wichita rarely trailed.

As the top teams in the West region crumble, No. 8 Wichita State is suddenly the highest seeded team in its regional semifinal, with No. 12 Ole Miss and No. 13 La Salle facing off Sunday. One of those three teams will go to the Elite Eight.

For several years, Wichita State and its coach, Gregg Marshall, have been waiting for a postseason breakout. The Shockers advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2006 -- its only Tourney appearance between 1988 and 2012 -- but lost to a Final Four-bound George Mason team. Meanwhile, the sixth-year coach Marshall will head to his first Sweet 16 in his career after going 1-8 in the Tournament at Wichita State and Winthrop.

On Saturday, Gonzaga showed its close call with 16th-seeded Southern in the round of 64 was not a fluke. Against Gonzaga, Wichita State launched 14 of 26 three-point attempts, including five field goals beyond the arc in the final 6:06.

The Bulldogs, though, continue to have trouble advancing in the NCAA Tournament. The Zags are four years removed from their last Sweet 16 and haven’t reached an Elite Eight since 1999 under Dan Monson.

<p> Wichita State upsets Gonzaga for first No. 1 upset in NCAA Tournament</p>
Post date: Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 23:42
Path: /college-basketball/marquette-butler-wraps-best-game-2013-ncaa-tournament-so-far

Only Marquette could win a game this dramatic in this Tournament. Only Butler could make the final five seconds this heart-pounding.

Two days after Marquette’s Vander Blue ended a two-Tournament drought of game-winning and game-tying shots in the final 10 seconds with his layup against Davidson, Marquette again had a flair for the dramatic in a 74-72 win in the round of 32.

Butler and Marquette played the game of the Tournament so far, a game that was separated by four points or fewer for most of the second half. Butler, who used a steal of an inbounds play to beat Gonzaga earlier this season, had a chance to win despite trailing by four in the final four seconds thanks to another fortunate inbounds play that bounced of the hands of a Marquette player. The turnover set up an ill-fated Andrew Smith three-point attempt to seal Marquette's win.

The two teams traded scores for most of the day, but Marquette sealed the win for a remarkable run in Milwaukee. The only Big East team to reach the NCAA Tournament every year since expanded now has three consecutive Sweet 16s.

And Vander Blue, with 29 points against Butler and 16 against Davidson, may be the MVP of the opening weekend.

<p> Marquette-Butler wraps up best game of the 2013 NCAA Tournament so far</p>
Post date: Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 23:08
Path: /college-basketball/ram-kid-lost-tooth-distract-saturdays-lopsided-ncaa-tournament-games

A slow afternoon of NCAA Tournament games means we’re watching the sideshow.

Colorado State’s unofficial mascot won’t be making an appearance in the Sweet 16, as his Rams lost 82-56 to Louisville.

But, hey, what’s a mid-major without a great story to accompany it?

Justin Stank, 16, has been wearing Colorado State mascot gear since he was six months, the latest editions have been stitched together by his mother, writes the New York Times.

While he yawned during a late-night Colorado State rout of Missouri on Thursday, the lopsided loss to Louisville brought out the worst in the Rams’ superfan.

Photo from Card Chronicle

But what more could he say of Colorado State’s performance -- or rather Louisville’s domination. The Cardinals’ press continued to dismantled opponents as it has since the Big East Tournament. Colorado State shot better than 50 percent for most of the game (and finished shooting 46.3 percent) yet lost by 26. The culprit was 19 turnovers.

That’s not a fluke: Louisville’s last five opponents -- since the start of the Big East Tournament -- have averaged 21.4 turnovers.

Harvard has little reason to smile
Maybe that’s a good thing? At least for guard Siyani Chambers. The freshman took an elbow to the face and chipped a tooth. The best part? Chambers’ teammates picked up the pieces of tooth on the court.

Speaking of bruised egos, Harvard fell behind 17-2 to Arizona.

Photo from The Big Lead

Related: D.J. Stephens' monster block

Elsewhere in a game already decided...
Michigan State pulled away easily from Memphis in a 70-48 win, but try telling Derrick Nix and Keith Appling.

Even with Michigan State leading comfortably, Nix and Appling -- high school teammates at Detroit Pershing -- got into a bit of a disagreement during a timeout.

And back to basketball
Michigan answered any skepticism about their Final Four credentials with a dismantling of VCU. Where Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. picked up the scoring slack from Trey Burke in the round of 64 against South Dakota State, Mitch McGary did the same in the 78-53 win over the Rams. McGary scored 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting while adding 14 rebounds.

And how’s this for an encouraging sign? Michigan is in the Sweet 16 without Trey Burke playing at his best. Burke was 2 of 12 from the field in the round of 64 and turned the ball over seven times in the win over VCU.

<p> Ram Kid, a lost tooth distract from Saturday's lopsided NCAA Tournament games</p>
Post date: Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 20:22
Path: /college-basketball/memphis-dj-stephens-enters-name-block-tournament-contention

Memphis' 6-foot-5 guard D.J. Stephens continued to audition for the NCAA Tournament highlight reel with this athletic block of Michigan State's Adreian Payne in the first half.

Stephens' four blocks in the first half, including on back-to-back Michigan State possessions, helped Memphis crawl back from a 13-point deficit to a three-point Michigan State lead at halftime.

Memphis coach Josh Pastner gets plenty of credit for recruiting McDonald's All-Americans, but Stephens was a true find. Pastner admits he lucked into landing a "no-star" recruit, who now may be his most valuable player.

And in another lucky break, viewers got Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery on the call for Memphis in the Tournament.

<p> Memphis' D.J. Stephens enters name in Block of the Tournament contention</p>
Post date: Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 15:56
Path: /college-basketball/2013-ncaa-tournament-march-madness-schedule-saturday

The NCAA Tournament has moved into the weekend where tickets to the Sweet 16 will be punched. Now that we’re into the Saturday slate of games, hopefully you don't have to sneak away from work to catch the action.

Here’s everything you need to know for Saturday’s slate of games, including the TV schedule, the network, announcers, predictions and bits of knowledge for all eight games to start the weekend.

From Friday's action:
Florida Gulf Coast upsets Georgetown

Henderson carries Ole Miss

La Salle sets up unlikely matchup

All times p.m., Eastern

No. 5 VCU vs. No. 4 Michigan
Time and TV: 12:15, CBS
Site and region: Auburn Hills, Mich., South
Announcers: Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery
What to watch: Every other No. 4 seed will catch a No. 12 in the round of 32, but Michigan catches a VCU team that defeated undermanned Akron 88-42. The Rams’ 46-point win was the biggest margin of victory for a team seeded third or lower until Syracuse defeated Montana by 47.
Game in a Tweet: VCU’s winning number for forcing turnovers is 15, a mark Michigan hit once this season.
Prediction: VCU

No. 6 Memphis vs. No. 3 Michigan State
Time and TV: 2:45, CBS
Site and region: Auburn Hills, Mich., Midwest
Announcers: Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery
What to watch: Josh Pastner finally picked up his first NCAA Tournament win as Memphis’ coach. His prize? Michigan State, which suddenly has another big force in Derrick Nix (23 points, 15 rebounds in the round of 64 against Valparaiso).
Game in a Tweet: Tom Izzo is 10-2 in the round of 32.
Prediction: Michigan State

No. 8 Colorado State vs. No. 1 Louisville
Time and TV: 5:15, CBS
Site and region: Lexington, Ky., Midwest
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel
What to watch: Colorado State’s Dorian Green, limited with an ankle sprain late in the season, scored 26 points against Missouri. Now, he’ll face the Louisville press that had 20 steals against North Carolina A&T.
Game in a Tweet: Colorado State has five all-time Tourney wins, or one fewer than Louisville had last year.
Prediction: Louisville

No. 14 Harvard vs. No. 6 Arizona
Time and TV: 6:10, TNT
Site and region: Salt Lake City, West
Announcers: Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb
What to watch: Mark Lyons, a question mark entering the Tournament, scored 23 points in his round of 64 matchup against Belmont.
Game in a Tweet: Who says Harvard is a year away? Can Crimson match Cornell’s 2010 Sweet 16 from the Ivy?
Prediction: Arizona

No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 4 Saint Louis
Time and TV: 7:10, TBS
Site and region: San Jose, Midwest
Announcers: Brian Anderson, Dan Bonner
What to watch: Saint Louis’ Dwayne Evans will face off against defensive whiz Arsalan Kazemi (29 rebounds the last two games).
Game in a Tweet: The two teams trailed for a combined 2:13 in their wins Thursday.
Prediction: Saint Louis

No. 6 Butler vs. No. 3 Marquette
Time and TV: 7:45, CBS
Site and region: Lexington, Ky., East
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel
What to watch: Who gets hot from long range first? Butler started 0 of 13 from three-point range against Bucknell, Marquette started 1 of 12 from three against Davidson.
Game in a Tweet: Marquette is seeking to be one of five teams with a chance to play in the last three Sweet 16s.
Prediction: Butler

No. 9 Wichita State vs. No. 1 Gonzaga
Time and TV: 8:40, TNT
Site and region: Salt Lake City, West
Announcers: Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb
What to watch: Where did Wichita State’s Cleanthony Early come from? He scored 21 points against Pitt after scoring a total of 15 in the Missouri Valley Tournament. The same could be said of Malcolm Armstead who scored 50 combined in the MVC final and against Pitt.
Game in a Tweet: Of the 11 No. 1s with a single-digit scare vs. No. 16, only two lost their next game.
Prediction: Gonzaga

No. 12 Cal vs. No. 4 Syracuse
Time and TV: 9:40, TBS
Site and region: San Jose, East
Announcers: Brian Anderson, Dan Bonner
What to watch: Cal switched from a primarily man-to-man defense to a full-time zone to defeat UNLV. For its efforts, Cal draws Syracuse’s steadfast zone defense.
Game in a Tweet: Syracuse had 21 assists on 27 field goals in the Montana rout.
Prediction: Syracuse

<p> 2013 NCAA Tournament: March Madness Schedule for Saturday</p>
Post date: Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: 2013 March Madness, College Basketball
Path: /college-basketball/florida-gulf-coast-knocks-georgetown-biggest-upset-2013-tournament

Andy Enfield has already been living a Cinderella existence. For starters, he convinced a supermodel to go to a St. John's NIT game for a first date. Then he married said supermodel.

For at least a day or so, the former Amanda Marcum will be the second-most famous name in her marriage. Enfield turned Florida Gulf Coast into the story of the NCAA Tournament so far as the 15th-seeded Eagles upset Big East champion Georgetown 78-68.

There are Cinderella stories, and there’s Florida Gulf Coast. For starters:

♦ Florida Gulf Coast didn’t have its first student until 1997.
♦ When it’s campus opened in Fort Myers, the student body got up close and personal with wildlife: “There were a couple dorm rooms and that was it. You’d see wild animals — wild boar, bobcats, alligators — crossing the road. It was unbelievable," FGCU senior Eddie Murray told the Newark Star-Ledger.
♦ FGCU wasn’t even eligible for the NCAA Tournament until two seasons ago.

From an upset perspective, the wins for No. 15 seeds are starting to pile up.

After No. 2 seeds went undefeated in the first round from 2003-11, two lost in the round of 64 last season (Duke to Lehigh and Missouri to Norfolk State). Now, three No. 2 seeds have lost in two seasons.

Or in other words, three of the seven No. 15 wins in the first round have come in the last two tournaments.

As Florida Gulf Coast cheers, Georgetown looks for answers. The Big East regular season champion Hoyas have exited the Tournament in the first weekend in each of their last five trips to the Tournament since reaching the Final Four in 2007.

The teams that upset Georgetown: No. 10 seed Davidson in 2008, No. 14 Ohio in 2010, No. 11 VCU in 2011, No. 11 NC State in 2012 and now No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast.

This latest Georgetown loss wasn’t even close at times. The Hoyas missed 10 consecutive shots at one point in the second half and trailed by as much as 19 in the second. Only a late burst powered by Markel Starks’ free throws and back-to-back threes made it close late.

<p> Florida Gulf Coast knocks off Georgetown for biggest upset of 2013</p>
Post date: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 22:10
Path: /college-basketball/ole-miss-la-salle-sets-2013s-most-unlikely-ncaa-tournament-pairing

The Sweet 16 will feature either Ole Miss or La Salle.

Let that sink in a bit. Ole Miss and La Salle have been also-rans in their leagues for roughly a decade, and now one of them will reach the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

Just to be clear, the fact that Ole Miss is a No. 12 seed and La Salle is a No. 13 is probably the least strange part about this round of 32 matchup:

♦ Neither program made the NCAA Tournament from 2002 to this season. La Salle hadn’t been to the Tournament since 1992 and had won only one Tournament game since 1955.

♦ Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson made one field goal in the first half, and the Rebels still defeated Wisconsin. La Salle hit only three field goals in the second half against Kansas State and still won.

♦ Both coaches entered the season under some pressure to reach the NCAA Tournament. The pressure was more on Ole Miss’ Andy Kennedy, who had the Rebels in the NIT in five of the previous six seasons. La Salle’s John Giannini had not won 20 games in a season at La Salle through his first seven seasons before winning 21 last season.

And both have an affinity for the Landshark gesture (gif from The Big Lead):


<p> Ole Miss-La Salle sets up 2013's most unlikely NCAA Tournament pairing</p>
Post date: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 18:18
Path: /college-basketball/henderson-keeps-ole-miss-advancing-ncaa-tournament-upset

The Marshall Henderson Experience continues.

College basketball’s most divisive player will be mandatory watching for at least one more game as the Oe Miss guard heated up in the second half in the Rebels’ 57-46.

Henderson struggled to make shots for most of the game, but the law of averages being what it is, Henderson scored 16 of his 19 points in the final 11 minutes. Henderson started 1 of 13 from the field, but starting midway through the second half, he hit five of his final eight shots, including a 30-footer.

Wisconsin entered the game  allowing opponents to make 3.9 three pointers per game and shot 29.2 percent from the field. Ole Miss didn’t even match that but still earned a comfortable win. The Rebels hit three three-pointers (all from Henderson) and shot 20 percent from beyond the arc.

During his post-game press conference, Henderson, as usual, departed from the sports cliches:

MARSHALL HENDERSON:  "Yeah, I was just waiting for that first three to go down.  Couple of you guys in here followed us throughout the entire year.  Y'all know I told you all along Coach Kennedy has told me I've got to be, what is it?"
COACH ANDY KENNEDY:  "Serial killer.  But we won't say that in this environment."

And then a moment of introspection on his early struggles:

"How does this happen?  I've shot like 20 hundred million shots in my day.  Now that I make the NCAA tournament, why does this happen? The only thing that was running through my head was the Pittsburgh game, Tray Woodall, he's done so much for that program.  I thought he shot 1 for 12, probably played his worst game.  I felt so bad for him after everything that he had done, that was kind of going through my head.  'Man, I'm a fluke.'"

As a side note, how much of an intriguing coaching candidate will Andy Kennedy be? The Ole Miss coach started the season on the hot seat after going to the NIT in five or six seasons, and now he’s led the Rebels to their fourth NCAA Tournament win in school history and first since 2001.

Will he be considered a product of Henderson’s play or will he be given credit for not letting Henderson’s antics derail the season? It’s worth noting Ole Miss held Wisconsin, a 42.5 percent shooting team, to 15 of 59 from the field. The Rebels’ underrated frontcourt of Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner combined for 19 points, 21 rebounds and six blocks.



<p> Henderson keeps Ole Miss advancing in NCAA Tournament upset</p>
Post date: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 15:47
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketballs-absolute-worst-coaching-tenures-1984-85

Sometimes a coach inherits a bad team or steps into a program where the university simply does not invest in basketball. In some cases, through recruiting, Xs and Os and inspiration, that coach can turn a bad team into a good or even great one.

The guys on this list are not those coaches. Here are the 20 worst coaching tenures in the six major conference since the NCAA Tournament expanded in 1985.

1. Dave Bliss, Baylor
Years: 1999-2003
Record: 61-57, 19-45 Big 12
Before his undoing at Baylor, Bliss took three teams to the NCAA Tournament (Oklahoma, SMU and New Mexico), but his downfall at Baylor remains one of college athletics biggest disgraces. One player, Carlton Dotson, pleaded guilty to murdering teammate Patrick Dennehy in 2003, and Bliss' actions in the aftermath did not help an already tragic situation. Bliss was found to have paid part of Dennehy’s tuition and that of another player (both NCAA violations), and then asked an assistant and players to lie to investigators about the payment, saying Dennehy had been dealing drugs. That, among other NCAA and recruiting violations put Baylor under harsh sanctions through 2010. On the court, Baylor had one winning season and never finished better than 6-10 in the Big 12.

2. Bob Wade, Maryland
Years: 1986-89
Record: 36-50, 7-35 ACC
Wade took over after the drug-related death of All-American Len Bias, who had just been drafted second overall by the Boston Celtics. With an academic scandal at the end of coach Lefty Driesell’s tenure as well, Wade did not take over in College Park under ideal circumstance when he was hired from the high school ranks from Baltimore Dunbar. After three seasons, including two where Maryland went 0-16 and 1-14 in the ACC, Wade resigned amid his own allegations of NCAA violations. He was replaced by Gary Williams, who resuscitated the program and won 461 games with the Terps.

3. Bob Staak, Wake Forest
Years: 1985-89
Record: 45-69, 8-48 ACC
Staak took over for Paul Tacy, who had reached the postseason in five consecutive years (three pre-expansion NCAAs, two NITs) before Staak arrived. The former Xavier coach and Connecticut player went 8-21 and winless in the ACC in his first season and never won more than three conference games during his four years at Wake. He resigned amid an NCAA inquiry into recruiting violations and was replaced by Dave Odom, who would lead the Demon Deacons to their most successful era in the 1990s and early 2000s.

4. Bill Foster, Northwestern
Years: 1986-93
Record: 54-141, 13-113 Big Ten
The only program from a major conference not to have reached the NCAA Tournament, Northwestern has had its share of futile coaching tenures. Foster’s, though, was the worst. The Wildcats finished in last place in six of his seven seasons, went 2-16 in the Big Ten five times and winless once. His successor, the late Ricky Byrdsong, reached the NIT in his first season with Northwestern. And interesting footnote: Foster also preceded Mike Krzyzewski at Duke.

5. Paul Graham, Washington State
Years: 1999-2003
Record: 31-79, 9-63 Pac-10
The Cougars aren’t known for their basketball success, but before Graham, Washington State built a solid program under Kelvin Sampson and reached the NIT under Kevin Eastman. After Graham, Dick Bennett and son Tony Bennett built Washington State into an NCAA Tournament team. A rash of play departures also didn’t help Graham’s short-lived tenure at Wazzu.

6. Jeff Bzdelik, Wake Forest
Years: 2010-present
Record: 34-60, 11-39 ACC
Bzdelik has coached in the NBA and took Air Force to the NCAA Tournament in 2006, so it’s a mystery why Bzdelik has had such meager results at a program that has been a consistent power in the ACC. The Demon Deacons have had their share of player departures, due to transfers and off-court issues, so those are possible reasons. That said, Bzdelik had more ACC wins in his third season (six) than he did in his first two combined (five).

7. Sidney Lowe, NC State
Years: 2006-11
Record: 86-78, 25-55 ACC
Hopes were high that Lowe, a former NC State player and longtime NBA assistant, would help the Wolfpack take the next step after an unspectacular run under Herb Sendek. As NC State learned, things weren’t so bad under Sendek, who reached the NCAA Tournament in each of his last five seasons in Raleigh. Lowe recruited well, but the results didn’t come on the court as NC State never won more than six ACC games in a season and finished ninth or lower each year. Successor Mark Gottfried, however, took advantage of the influx of talent under Lowe with a Sweet 16 appearance in his first season.

8. Melvin Watkins, Texas A&M
Years: 1998-2004
Record: 60-112, 21-75 Big 12
Watkins’ predecessor, Tony Barone, also was a candidate for this list, which says something about the Aggies’ basketball program in the ‘90s. Watkins, though, capped his tenure in College Station with a winless Big 12 season and a 7-21 overall record. The Aggies won 10 or fewer games three times in his six seasons. If there was a silver lining, Watkins did bring Acie Law and Antoine Wright to Texas A&M. Under Law and Gillispie, Texas A&M reached the NIT in 2005 and the Sweet 16 in 2007.

9. Brian Mahoney, St. John’s
Years: 1992-96
Record: 56-58, 29-43 Big East
After the departure of the program’s most successful coach, St. John’s promoted assistant Brian Mahoney to replace Lou Carnesecca, but Mahoney turned out to be the first coach in a line of four who weren’t able to restore St. John’s to the glory days. Mahoney reached the NCAA Tournament in his first season, but  reached only one NIT in the three seasons thereafter. Mahoney went 17-37 in the Big East.

10. Matt Doherty, North Carolina
Years: 2000-03
Record: 53-43, 23-25 ACC
Doherty played for Dean Smith at North Carolina and was a teammate of Michael Jordan’s. Those were better days for the Tar Heels. Doherty went 26-7 and 13-3 in the ACC in his first season taking over for Bill Guthridge, but he went 27-36 and 10-22 in conference the following two seasons. During his short-lived tenure, Doherty clashed with Guthridge and Smith by replacing longtime assistants and ran off players with his abrasive style. In North Carolina’s second attempt to pursue Roy Williams, the Tar Heels landed him to replace Doherty in 2003. With some of Doherty’s recruits, Williams won a national title in 2005.

11. Eddie Payne, Oregon State
Years: 1995-2000
Record: 50-90, 20-70 Pac-10
Since the retirement of Ralph Miller in 1989 until the hire of current coach Craig Robinson, none of the coaches in Corvallis had distinguished tenures. Payne’s best season was 7-11 in the Pac-10, but the Beavers went 3-15 in conference or worse in three of his five seasons.

12. Billy Gillispie, Kentucky
Years: 2007-09
Record: 40-27, 20-12 SEC
Hopes were high for Texas A&M’s Gillispie he took over for Tubby Smith, a national title coach who never wowed the Kentucky fan base. A first-round loss in the NCAA Tournament to Marquette followed by an NIT ended his tenure in Lexington after only two seasons.

13. Larry Shyatt, Clemson
Years: 1998-2003
Record: 70-84, 20-60 ACC
Shyatt took over after a successful run under Rick Barnes and was replaced by Oliver Purnell, who remade the Tigers into a postseason contender. In between, Shyatt had only two winning seasons and never finished better than 5-11 in the ACC.

14. Jerry Wainwright, DePaul
Years: 2005-10
Record: 59-80, 20-51 Big East
DePaul clearly was not ready to be competitive in the Big East and had long since fallen behind in recruiting the Chicago area. An Illinois native, Wainwright couldn’t help matters. He was fired midway through the 2009-10 season amid a stretch in which DePaul went 1-35 in Big East games.

15. Fred Hill, Rutgers
Years: 2006-10
Record: 47-77, 13-57 Big East
Like Jerry Wainwright and DePaul, Rutgers hoped Hill’s local ties would help revive a moribund Big East program. Hill signed McDonald's All-American Mike Rosario (who later transferred to Florida), but he never won more than five Big East games in four losing seasons at Rutgers. Hill caused further problems for his program when he got into a shouting match with the Pittsburgh baseball coach after a game between the two schools (Hill’s father is the Rutgers baseball coach). Hill disobeyed his athletic director by attending later games in the series, a development that played a role in his ouster.

16. Jeff Bzdelik, Colorado
Years: 2007-10
Record: 36-58, 10-38 Big 12
Bzdelik makes his second appearance on the list. Again, he won at Air Force and coached in the NBA, but he couldn’t manage a winning season at Colorado. Successor Tad Boyle, meanwhile, took over to lead the Buffaloes to back-to-back postseason appearances.

17. Todd Lickliter, Iowa
Years: 2007-10
Record: 38-57, 15-39
Perhaps a cautionary sign for Brad Stevens that the grass isn’t always greener. Lickliter left Butler after a Sweet 16 appearance for a failed tenure with the Hawkeyes. Iowa was a postseason regular under four coaches since the late ‘70s, but the Hawkeyes finished eighth or lower in the Big Ten each season under Lickliter.

18. Ricky Stokes, Virginia Tech
Years: 1999-2003
Record: 29-55, 10-38 Big East
The above record does not include Stokes’ first season when the Hokies were a member of the Atlantic 10, which was also his only winning season (16-15) in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech was already struggling before joining the Big East as a basketball member in 2000, so the Hokies’ first three seasons in the league were no big surprise.

19. Jay John, Oregon State
Record: 72-97, 28-69 Pac-10
Again, Oregon State has never been an easy basketball job since and hasn't been a consistent winner since the '80s. John led Oregon State to its first postseason appearance in 15 years when the Beavers went to the NIT in 2005. But four years later he also laid the groundwork for a 6-25 season in which the Beavers went winless in Pac-10 play. John did not finish that season, however, as he was fired after 18 games.

20. Darrin Horn, South Carolina
Years: 2008-12
Record: 60-63, 23-41 SEC
In his first season, Horn led South Carolina to its first SEC winning record in 11 years, but it was downhill from there. The Gamecocks' overall and conference record declined in each of Horn’s final three seasons, bottoming out at 10-21 overall and 2-14 in the SEC last season.

<p> College Basketball's Worst Coaching Tenures since 1984-85</p>
Post date: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 12:00
Path: /nascar/earnhardt-jr-consistent-will-wins-follow

1. Strong start, but when does Dale Earnhardt Jr. win?
Depending on how you judge these things, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is off to the most impressive start to a NASCAR Sprint Cup season in his career. The claim comes with Earnhardt, now second in the point standings, putting together his best average finish (5.0) after four races since he started full-time in 2000.

Or, you could say that it's just been a really consistent start for NASCAR's top-billed man that rivals the start he worked in 2004. That season, he won the Daytona 500 and the season's fourth race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a start only derailed by a miserable day at Las Vegas in the season's third race.

Each, of course, has their merits. But only one — the incredibly consistent current campaign — matters now. It also begs the question we've asked of Earnhardt plenty in the last half decade: when he is going to win?

A trip to Auto Club Speedway for Earnhardt may provide that answer. It's a track that he both welcomes as a driver's venue and one where he's shown moderate past success. It doesn't hurt that four of the last nine races have been won by Hendrick Motorsports.

"You can run the bottom; you can run on the apron; you can run on the top. It’s a very fun racetrack to drive," Earnhardt said. "And so I’ve got a good attitude about it. I think Steve (Letarte, crew chief) is going to give me a good car. We ran good last year because Steve gave me a good car.”

Earnhardt was scored third last year when rain ended the race on lap 129, good for his fourth top 5 at ACS in 20 career starts.

"There are opportunities to pass when you run a guy down, you can change the line you’re running and get some clean air on your car," Earnhardt said. "You feel confident that if you do the right thing and drive the car well, that you can make a pass. I love that about that racetrack."

2. Toyota still waiting on the checkers to blow their way.
Another Sprint Cup entity hoping to break in to the win column Sunday is a bit larger than even Earnhardt. Toyota, winners of the last nine Nationwide Series races contested at ACS, has yet to find Victory Lane in a Sprint Cup car at the southern California speedway that stands closest to the Torrence, Calif.-based Toyota Racing Development facility where all TRD engines and other parts are manufactured for Toyota teams.

To do so Sunday, they'll have to break a five-race streak of wins held by the Chevrolet camp in NASCAR's top division. Helping the cause will be the addition of Matt Kenseth to the Toyota fold. The former Roush Fenway Racing Ford driver has three wins in Fontana. Kenseth, already a winner at Las Vegas two weeks ago, appeared on pace to grab another before Jeff Gordon's flat tire forced his exit at Bristol last week.

Kenseth will be pushed by his teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny Hamlin was running second last year until an ill-advised pit stop as rain closed in on the track dropped him back in the pack to finish 11th. Kyle Busch was also plenty strong a year ago at ACS, leading 80 of 129 completed laps before taking second to Tony Stewart.

“We’ve had really fast race cars everywhere we’ve gone so far. Fontana is another place where I’ve always fared well over the years, and I’m hoping we can finally get that victory we’ve been looking for this weekend," Busch said.

<p> Five storylines to follow as the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit heads to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.</p>
Post date: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 11:33
All taxonomy terms: Golf
Path: /golf/top-20-golfers-2013-majors-no-14-ian-poulter

They’re the cream of the major championship crop, circa 2013 — the Athlon Major Championship Dream Team. Leading up to The Masters, we'll be unveiling Athlon Sports’ 20 players to watch for majors season, with commentary on each from the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee.

No. 15: Ian Poulter

Born: Jan. 10, 1976, Stevenage, England | Career PGA Tour Wins: 2 (12 on the European Tour)  | 2012 Wins (Worldwide): 1 | 2012 Earnings (PGA Tour): $1,715,272 (45th) World Ranking: 11


Brandel Chamblee's Take

Prior to 2012, Poulter had played in 35 majors and managed only three top tens. But in 2012, he finished in the top ten in three of the four majors and did not miss a cut on either the PGA or European Tours. To cap his consistency, he won the WGC HSBC Champions for his 16th career worldwide win and once again proved that he has the perfect combination of flare and competitiveness, as he almost single-handedly compelled the Europeans to victory in the Ryder Cup. He is one of the most marketable players on the planet, for good reason.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 40
Wins: 0

2012 Performance:
Masters - 7
U.S. Open - T41
British Open - T9
PGA Championship - T3

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - 7 (2012)
U.S. Open - T12 (2006)
British Open - 2 (2008)
PGA Championship - T3 (2012)
Top-10 Finishes: 6
Top-25 Finishes: 15
Missed Cuts: 6

—Brandel Chamblee is lead analyst for the Golf Channel. Be sure to follow him @ChambleeBrandel on Twitter.

Athlon's 2013 Golf annual provides in-depth previews of this year's four majors, including the top 20 players to watch this season. One of these elite players, reigning FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker, also takes you tee to green with full-swing instruction and short game essentials. BUY IT NOW.

<p> Athlon Counts Down the 20 Golfers to Watch for Majors Season</p>
Post date: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 11:05
All taxonomy terms: College Football, College Basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB
Path: /college-basketball/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-18

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for March 22.

Bleacher Report gives us the 60 hottest fanbases of March Madness. I feel sorry for the eight schools that got left out.

• We've had our first moment of true madness: 14 seed Harvard over 3 seed New Mexico. Harvard's most famous hoops alum took to Twitter to celebrate.

• New Mexico's loss came after Marquette staved off a similar fate with a last-second layup against Davidson.

• In the SEC, there's always a football angle, even when the subject is basketball. Here are five SEC hoops stars who would excel on the gridiron. Speaking of basketball, here's a post that should be titled, "Man, the SEC sucks at hoops."

• The NCAA Tournament can result in some late start times. The Ram was apparently up past his bedtime.

This Onion post is almost too close to the truth to be funny. Almost.

Today, on Ow, My Balls: NCAA Edition.

• Weird injuries to baseball players is an always-amusing genre. Here are spring training's weirdest mishaps.

• Note to self: Never ask Phil Mickelson a dumb question. He may talk about it behind your back.

• Second note to self: Never date Jennifer Capriati and then break up with her.

• If anybody has an excuse to bemoan the physical nature of football, it's Earl Campbell, who's essentially disabled now. But he refuses to do so. Let's hope Roger Goodell is listening.

• New candidate for Dunk of the Year. Extra points for between the legs — and because the dude is 5-9.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

March 21

• Florida Gulf Coast plays Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday. Given the upset that FGC coach Andy Enfield pulled when he married model Amanda Marcum, I'm going with the Eagles. That's her in the photo; you can find his picture in this article. Talk about a mismatch.

NCAA Tournament figures and their lookalikes. My favorite is probably Marshall Henderson and Sid from "Toy Story."

• In case you're feeling nostalgic, here's what many feel is the Greatest Game Ever Played: Duke-Kentucky, regional final, 1992, in its entirety.

• The final shot of that game naturally made this list: the 10 most memorable moments in tournament history.

• Oops. Papa Johns used a coach who lost in the first round of the NIT in its NCAA Tournament promotion.

• One last cheat sheet: 64 teams, 64 factoids about this year's tournament participants.

• King James is ruler of all he surveys, and we are merely his loyal subjects. Last night, the Heat trailed the Cavs by 27 when LeBron went to work. When he was finished, James had a triple-double and the Heat had their 24th consecutive win.

• Classy move: The Lakers took their team photo and left one seat open for their late owner.

• Note to Lou Piniella: Never start a sentence with the phrase "I don't want to say the word 'raped'..."  If you don't want to say that word, just don't say it.

Arnold Palmer is having a dinner date with Kate Upton. It's good to be The King.

• Many of us will spend the first day of the tournament pining for football. Here are 10 reasons why college football crushes its hoops counterpart.

• Not only did the Heat win their 24th straight, but a guy stormed the floor in the middle of the game to get close to his hero.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

March 20

• To get you ready for the impending Madness, here's a slideshow of cheerleaders from each No. 1 seed.

Here's how the NCAA Tournament would go if it were based on alumni salaries. Reminds me of the old cheer: "That's alright, that's okay, you'll be working for us someday."

• Words I never thought I'd write: Kentucky lost to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT, resulting in a pretty cool court-storming. Afterwards, former Wildcat running back Derrick Locke called out Big Blue Nation for their fair weather-ness.

• Putting the Fightin' in Fightin' Illini: Former Illinois hoops player and current analyst Kendall Gill tried to beat up a colleague who criticized his analysis. Kendall, in case you're wondering, I think you're doing just fine.

Tom Brady's family photos are better than your family photos.

• That stupid celebrity diving show started last night, but it did result in these fabulous GIFs of Katherine Webb during rehearsals. Or, if that's not your thing, here's a strangely mesmerizing GIF of Louis Anderson's dive. His feet don't stay together; of course, maybe they can't.

The most important players in the SEC West this season.

Bill Walton photobombing Bill Walton. Not sure why this is so funny, but it is.

A Hooters ballgirl committed two errors in one inning and got booed. She's still on track to start in the Mets outfield, though.

• Chris Webber took to the telestrator to break down a guy and girl sharing ice cream. Well done.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

March 19

• It's official: Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are dating. They announced it on Facebook, posted pictures like this one, and then said, "Leave us alone." Good luck with that.

• Some of this year's NCAA Tournament apples didn't fall far from their trees. Tourney players with athletic pedigrees.

• Les Miles doing the Harlem Shake? Les Miles doing the Harlem Shake.

• The Miami Heat are making history. They earned their 23rd consecutive win in a epic throw-down with the Celtics and now own the second-longest winning streak in NBA history. Jason Whitlock says what they're doing, and the way they're doing it, is revolutionary.

• LeBron James dunked Jason Terry into the Stone Age. Naturally, somebody slapped a Jim Ross call on it.

• A game-deciding call went against the Bulls. Coach Tom Thibodeau was not pleased.

• You could own a piece of cinematic history: The house from "Rocky II" is for sale.

A Hawks cheerleader took a nasty spill and knocked herself out cold.

The NCAA suspended two controversial recruiting deregulation proposals.

• Today's Headline of the Day.

• Billionaires behaving badly: Donald Trump and Mark Cuban have been trolling each other on Twitter.

• If this doesn't get you excited for March Madness, nothing will: The 26 best buzzer-beaters of the season, all in one video.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

March 18

• Lolo Jones came out and admitted that her foray into bobsled is all about her desperation for Olympic gold. Apparently she's not satisfied with being one of Maxim's Sexiest Athletes on Instagram (pictured).

• Kentucky and Tennessee fans can skip to the next item. It's time for March Madness, and to get you ready, Athlon breaks down the Tournament by the numbers.

• One of the bittersweet things about the NCAA Tournament is that you fall in love with players who promptly disappear from your life. Here are 10 seniors worth following in this tournament who you'll probably never hear from again.

• Along those same lines, a guy you've never heard of can come along and destroy your bracket (anyone remember Weber State's Harold "The Show" Arcineaux?). Here are five relative unknowns who could make some noise and bust some brackets.

• This guy, you've heard of. Nobody can enrage quite like Ole Miss' Marshall Henderson. Here are 20 NSFW Henderson death threats and f-bombs via Twitter. Needless to say, Henderson is one of the four most hated players of this year's tournament.

• To get you ready for wall-to-wall Dickie V on the Worldwide Leader, here's the world's biggest hoops fan failing to realize he's on live TV but then recovering nicely.

The 10 Most Shocking Live TV Moments. The World Series earthquake is on the list.

The bizarre Elvis Dumervil Fax-gate saga. In related news, agent Marty Magid is looking for a job.

• Getty Images captured a nice series of still shots featuring Blake Griffin dunking while the Knicks stood around watching. What else are they going to do? Try to block it and end up on a poster?

• Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin got into it at Bristol. Attention, Sprint Cup drivers: More of this, please.


--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

<p> The best sports links from the NFL, college football and basketball, MLB, the NBA, NASCAR and the world of entertainment.</p>
Post date: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 10:44
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Baseball, MLB, Fantasy, News
Path: /mlb/2013-fantasy-baseball-sleepers-and-busts-relief-pitcher

Using Athlon Sports' Big Board as the barometer, here are some potential relief pitcher sleepers who get the ball late in games to keep an eye on, as well some possible busts to potentially be wary of. Keep in mind that the "bust" tag doesn't necessarily mean that player won't produce, it's more an indication of concern that he won't do so in relation to his position on the Big Board.

Note: Relief pitcher includes players who have RP eligibility, according to Yahoo!. The player's ranking on the Big Board (200 players ranked) is listed, if applicable. UR means player was not ranked among the top 200. Player rankings from 2012 referenced are from a Yahoo! league that uses the following pitching statistics: W-SO-SV-HLD-ERA-WHIP.

Fantasy Baseball Positional Rankings: Big Board | C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | DH | SP | RP

2013 Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher (RP) Sleepers

Ryan Cook, OAK, RP (UR)
Part of the trade that sent Trevor Cahill to Arizona in December 2011, Cook was a key cog of the A’s bullpen last season. He made 71 appearances, posting a 6-2 record, 2.09 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. For fantasy leagues that use holds, Cook should certainly merit your attention, as he collected 21 of them in 2012. He also is a good source for strikeouts (80 in 73 1/3 innings) and he has to be considered the closer-in-waiting should something happen, health-wise or performance-related, to incumbent Grant Balfour. And speaking of Balfour’s health, he underwent knee surgery in February and is just now getting back on the mound in spring training. Besides being a valuable setup guy, the opportunity could be there for Cook to get some save chances early in the season.

Kyuji Fujikawa, CHC, RP (UR)
The Cubs signed the Japanese lefthander to a two-year, $9.5 million contract to bring him over to the states. The 32-year-old pitched in Japan from 1999-2012 where he posted a 1.77 ERA in 562 games with 914 strikeouts in 692 1/3 innings. Even though he will have to make the adjustment to pitching in the U.S. and against major-league hitters, it should be just a matter of time before Fujikawa, and not incumbent closer Carlos Marmol, is finishing games for the Cubs. Marmol most likely will be traded at some point as the team continues its rebuilding process, and Fujikawa has plenty of experience in the closer role, as evidenced by his 220 career saves in Japan.

David Hernandez, ARI, RP (UR)
All you really need to know about Hernandez is that he struck out 98 batters in 68 1/3 innings last season. He picked up 25 holds and also collected four saves as the Diamondbacks’ setup man, posting a 2.50 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in the process. Even though the team added veteran closer Heath Bell in the offseason, Hernandez figures to get the call should incumbent J.J. Putz, who blew five saves last season, stumble or simply need a day off.

Glen Perkins, MIN, RP (UR)
A starter for the Twins in 2006, Perkins has successfully made the transition to the bullpen. First used primarily as a lefty specialist, Perkins worked his way up the bullpen ladder to setup man in 2011 and the first part of ’12 and then shared the closer duties with Jared Burton from late June on last season. Whether the closer-by-committee continues this season remains to be seen, but don’t be surprised if Perkins ends up with the gig on a full-time basis. All he did in the second half of last season was go 12-for-13 in save chances with a 1.93 ERA, 0.58 WHIP, while posting an 11.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio. If Perkins does end up with the closer job all to himself, he could be good for 30 or more saves at a ridiculously cheap price.

Vinnie Pestano, CLE, RP (UR)
Pestano is one of the more under-appreciated relievers in fantasy baseball, but that could change this season. He finished last season second in the majors in holds with 36 and has a total of 59 for the Indians over his last two campaigns. He’s a reliable source of strikeouts (76 in 70 innings) and doesn’t hurt you in the ERA (2.57) and WHIP (1.10) categories either. Most importantly of all, however, is that Pestano has a good chance of starting the season as Cleveland’s closer since incumbent Chris Perez has been sidelined by a shoulder strain. Perez said he expects to be ready by Opening Day, but if he’s not new manager Terry Francona won’t hesitate to hand the ball over to Pestano. You shouldn’t either for your fantasy team, even if you play in a league that doesn’t use holds.

2013 Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher (RP) Busts

Joel Hanrahan, BOS, RP (No. 180 overall)
Hanrahan has been one of the most effective closers the past two seasons, racking up 76 saves in 84 chances for the Pirates. This season, however, he will be changing not only teams, but also leagues, as he takes over the closer role in Boston. Hanrahan’s fly ball rate jumped quite a bit last season, as evidenced by the eight home runs he allowed compared to just one in 2011, and his new home park is not exactly known as being a pitcher’s haven. Fenway ranked third last season in the majors in terms of runs scored, while Pittsburgh’s PNC Park came in at no. 28, according to’s Park Factors. Unless the wheels come completely off, there’s no reason to not expect Hanrahan to save 30 or more games for the Red Sox this season. Just be willing to pay a potentially high price, say in terms of ERA and WHIP, for those saves if you do end up drafting him.

Jim Johnson, BAL, RP (No. 146 overall)
Johnson came out of nowhere last season to lead the league in saves (51) for a surprising Orioles team. Understandably, Johnson went from someone drafted well outside of the top 200 (if at all) in 2012 to a guy who sits comfortably inside of that range for this season. My skepticism related to Johnson’s current Big Board standing as the No. 11 RP has to do with his skill set and the team he pitches for. For one, Johnson is not a strikeout guy (41 in 68 2/3 innings), as he relies on his stuff to produce ground balls. As effective as he is with this strategy, there’s always some concern with guys who pitch more to contact than missing bats. There’s also the matter that Baltimore went 29-9 in one-run games last season, a situation that a closer like Johnson no doubt benefited greatly from. The chances of the Orioles repeating such a performance seem highly unlikely, which in and of itself could be a difference of around 10 saves, if not more. Remember, for a pitcher like Johnson saves are what primarily drive his value since he’s not going to collect a lot of strikeouts.

Craig Kimbrel, ATL, RP (No. 45 overall)
Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way – I am not saying that Kimbrel is a bust, as his stats (3-1, 42 SV, 1.01 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 116 SO in 62 2/3 innings) speak for themselves (and rather loudly at that). What I am saying is be careful to not overpay for saves, which I think you run the risk of based on his top-50 overall standing on the Big Board. Jonathan Papelbon is the next reliever on the Big Board, and he comes in at No. 83. The difference between taking Kimbrel in the fifth round and Papelbon in the ninth is pretty substantial, don’t you think? While Kimbrel may be one of the top RPs available, is he really so valuable that he’s worth taking so early? Don’t forget that Jim Johnson and Fernando Rodney both finished with more saves than Kimbrel last season, while Jason Motte and Rafael Soriano had just as many. Even with the high number of strikeouts and an outstanding ERA and WHIP, it’s not like Kimbrel lapped the rest of the RP field in 2012. Also, Atlanta made a concerted effort last season to lessen Kimbrel’s workload as his appearances dropped by 16 games and his innings went down by nearly 15. What’s not to say that this trend doesn’t continue in 2013? After all, the Braves did add former Angels closer Jordan Walden to a bullpen that already has reliable options in Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty. I have no problem whatsoever with Kimbrel being the first RP drafted. I would just caution you on pulling the trigger too soon.

Related Content:
2013 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Big Board
2013 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Infield
2013 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Outfield
2013 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Starting Pitcher
2013 Fantasy Baseball: Closer Grid
2013 Fantasy Baseball Deep Sleepers
Fantasy Baseball Studs to Avoid in 2013
Fantasy Baseball 2013: Which Injured Players are Worth Drafting?

<p> 2013 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Relief Pitcher</p>
Post date: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/5-players-watch-sec-spring-practice

With spring practice underway across college football, most of interest will focus on quarterback battles or incoming freshmen that enrolled early to get a jumpstart on making an impact for 2013.

However, there’s always a handful of players – outside of the quarterback position – that fly under the radar that need to have a big spring practice for their team. Whether it’s a running back replacing a 1,000-yard rusher or a lineman stepping into a starting role for an all-conference player, there’s plenty of names that will be under the spotlight this spring.

Athlon continues its spring practice previews with a look at five under-the-radar players to watch in each conference during spring practice. 

5 Players to Watch in SEC Spring Practice

Paul Harris, WR, Tennessee
It’s always risky to bank on true freshmen to make an impact in their first season on campus, but Tennessee desperately needs Harris to deliver on his recruiting hype. With Justin Hunter, Cordarrelle Patterson and tight end Mychal Rivera departing, the cupboard is bare with proven receiving options on Rocky Top. Harris is getting a jumpstart on learning the offense, as he enrolled early and is participating in spring practice. He ranked as the No. 7 player in Maryland and was a four-star recruit by At 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, Harris has the size to be an immediate factor in the redzone and should help Tennessee’s new quarterback (likely Justin Worley) ease into the starting lineup. Fellow freshman MarQuez North will join the fray in the fall, but Harris has a chance to impress and earn a starting spot this spring.

Related Content: 2013 Tennessee Spring Preview

Danielle Hunter/Jermauria Rasco, DE, LSU
We are going to cheat just a bit and list both of LSU’s starting defensive ends in this space. The Tigers were arguably the team hit the hardest by early departures to the NFL, as defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo and tackle Bennie Logan were just three of 11 LSU players to forego their eligibility in Baton Rouge. With the defensive line replacing six players from last season’s unit, Hunter and Rasco are being counted on to fill the void left behind by the departed linemen. Neither player made a start last season, but they combined for 24 tackles and two tackles for a loss. The Tigers appear to be set at tackle with Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson stepping into the lineup. Now LSU needs to see two former top recruits (Hunter and Rasco) live up to their billing at defensive end.

Related Content: 2013 LSU Spring Preview

Henry Josey, RB, Missouri
Before a devastating knee injury, Josey was on his way to being one of college football’s top running backs. In 10 games in 2011, he rushed for 1,168 yards and nine touchdowns and was averaging a ridiculous 8.1 yards per carry. Considering the seriousness of Josey’s injury, there’s no guarantee he is able to return to full strength in 2013. However, the Texas native is participating in spring practice and worked hard rehabilitating his knee last season to get back on the field. Even if Josey doesn’t return to his 2011 form, he should still be a major contributor in Missouri’s backfield. And this spring should give the coaching staff a good idea of what can be expected from the junior in 2013.

Related Content: 2013 Missouri Spring Preview

Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
With the departure of three of the nation’s best blockers and a new coach, the line is a major area of focus for Nick Saban this spring. Considering the recruiting classes Saban has been able to reel in, there’s no shortage of talent waiting to step into the starting lineup. However, the Crimson Tide has to get all five starters on the same page, along with developing depth in case of injury to one of the new linemen. Kelly is expected to replace Barrett Jones at center this year, and the Ohio native has big shoes to fill. Not only was Jones an excellent player, but he also played a key role in terms of leadership on the offensive side. Kelly was impressive in a backup role last year, as he recorded playing time in 10 games. There will be a drop off from Jones to Kelly. However, if Kelly’s performance last season was any indication, the Crimson Tide’s offensive line isn’t going to take too much of a step back in 2013.

Related Content: 2013 Alabama Spring Preview

Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas
Thanks to the departure of quarterback Tyler Wilson and running backs Dennis Johnson and Knile Davis, the Razorbacks are essentially starting from scratch on offense. Coordinator Jim Chaney has been successful at each of his stops, but Arkansas’ offense has a lot of work to do this preseason. With touted freshman Alex Collins arriving this summer, Williams needs to impress the coaching staff this spring to stake his claim for the No. 1 job. In his freshman campaign in 2012, Williams rushed for 231 yards on 45 attempts and caught eight passes for 208 yards and two scores. The Texas native averaged 5.1 yards per carry and rushed for 61 yards against South Carolina. Williams showed potential in limited work last season. And with Collins expected to push for the No. 1 spot on the depth chart, he needs to have a big spring to put some distance on the talented freshman.   

Related Content: 2013 Arkansas Spring Preview

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 10 Defensive Players on the Rise for 2013
Ranking the Top 15 Alabama Teams in School History

College Football's Top Transfers to Watch for 2013

College Football's Top 5 Wide Receivers to Watch for 2013

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2013

SEC 2013 Spring Preview and Storylines to Watch

<p> 5 Players to Watch in SEC Spring Practice</p>
Post date: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 07:50
Path: /college-football/florida-state-seminoles-2013-spring-preview

With the departure of seven all-conference performers and six new assistant coaches, Florida State’s spring practice is all about getting everyone on the same page and acclimated with all of the new faces. Despite the turnover on the roster and coaching staff, the Seminoles are still one of the top-15 teams in the nation and will be Clemson’s biggest threat to an ACC title. The battle to replace EJ Manuel at quarterback will get most of the attention this spring, but Florida State must replace a handful of key contributors on defense, including defensive end Bjoern Werner and cornerback Xavier Rhodes. With all of the changes, there will be an adjustment period in Tallahassee. However, there’s still plenty of talent returning, which could keep Florida State in contention for 10 wins in 2013.

Florida State Seminoles 2013 Spring Preview

2012 Record: 12-2 (7-1)

Spring practice dates: March 20-April 13

Returning Starters: Offense – 6, Defense – 4

Returning Leaders:

Passing: Clint Trickett, 22 of 34, 272 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Devonta Freeman, 111 car., 660 yards, 8 TDs
Receiving: Rashad Greene, 57 rec., 741 yards, 6 TDs
Tackles: Christian Jones, 95
Sacks: Demonte McAllister, 3.5
Interceptions: Tyler Hunter, 3

Redshirts to watch: QB Jameis Winston, WR Marvin Bracy, DE Chris Casher, DB Colin Blake, DT Justin Shanks, LB Ukeme Eligwe

Early Enrollees to Watch: LB Freddie Stevenson, DE Demarcus Walker

JUCO Transfers to Watch: DE Desmond Hollin

2013 Schedule

Sept. 2 at Pittsburgh
Sept. 14 Nevada
Sept. 21 Bethune-Cookman
Sept. 28 at Boston College
Oct. 5 Maryland
Oct. 19 at Clemson
Oct. 26 NC State
Nov. 2 Miami
Nov. 9 at Wake Forest
Nov. 16 Syracuse
Nov. 23 Idaho
Nov. 30 at Florida

Offensive Strength: Outside of quarterback, the Seminoles are set on offense. Running backs Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. could be the ACC’s best one-two punch in 2013. Also, five players that caught 20 or more passes are back, and the offensive line returns four starters.

Offensive Weakness: It’s only one area, but it’s a big one: Quarterback. EJ Manuel expired his eligibility after the Orange Bowl, which leaves Jacob Coker, Clint Trickett, Jameis Winston and Sean Maguire to battle for the starting job.

Defensive Strength: The strength of Florida State’s defense last year was clearly the defensive line. With Bjoern Werner leaving early for the NFL and Everett Dawkins and Cornellius Carradine expiring their eligibility, the strength of the defense has shifted to the back seven. The Seminoles should have one of the ACC’s top linebacker and secondary units in 2013.

Defensive Weakness: It’s hard to call Florida State’s defensive line a weakness considering the talent this group possesses. However, the Seminoles will have a drop off in performance at this position with the departure of four key players from last season.

Spring Storylines Facing the Seminoles

1. Who starts at quarterback? The biggest question facing the Seminoles in spring practice is the battle to replace EJ Manuel under center. Although he had his moments of inconsistency, Manuel finished his career with 7,741 yards and 47 touchdowns. Four quarterbacks are vying to replace Manuel, but the battle is most likely between junior Clint Trickett and redshirt freshman Jameis Winston. Trickett has two starts under his belt and has 947 passing yards in his career. Winston was regarded as the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the 2012 signing class and spent last season learning the ropes as a redshirt. Winston is playing baseball this spring but is not expected to miss any practice time. Considering the talent at the skill positions, Florida State doesn’t need Trickett or Winston to be an All-ACC quarterback. If Winston is ready, he should be the Seminoles’ No. 1 quarterback for the season opener against Pittsburgh.

2. Shuffling on the offensive line? With four starters back, Florida State should have one of the ACC’s best offensive lines in 2013. However, there’s some uncertainty surrounding this group, as Menelik Watson departed early for the NFL and Daniel Glauser expired his eligibility, which completely vacated the depth at right tackle. So who steps into Watson’s starting spot? Junior Bobby Hart is expected to get a chance to claim the right tackle job, and he has 19 games of experience under his belt. If Hart is unable to claim that spot, center Bryan Stork could slide to right tackle. If Stork does slide to the outside, junior Austin Barron would claim the top spot at center. Other options to watch at right tackle will be sophomore Ruben Carter or junior Sterling Lovelady, along with incoming freshman Wilson Bell. The best scenario for Florida State is for Hart to claim the right tackle position, which would keep Stork at center. Depth could be an issue for the Seminoles on this unit, so keeping the five starting linemen healthy will be a priority.

3. Rebuilding the defensive line. Although Florida State must replace ends Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine and tackles Everett Dawkins and Anthony McCloud, this unit could still rank among the best in the ACC. Sophomore Mario Edwards is a future star, and sophomore Giorgio Newberry and redshirt freshman Chris Casher were touted recruits coming out of high school. Incoming freshman Demarcus Walker and junior college recruit Desmond Hollin are expected to play a significant role in the rotation in 2013. The tackle position should be set with Timmy Jernigan and Demonte McAllister sliding into the starting lineup, along with the return of Jacobbi McDaniel from a redshirt year. Even with the talent stepping into the lineup, this unit will take a step back. However, if there’s little adjustment from Mark Stoops to Jeremy Pruitt as the coordinator, Florida State’s rush defense should once again rank in the top-10 nationally.

4. Shuffling in the secondary. The Seminoles only have one departure in the secondary, but it’s a big one. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes left early for the NFL after earning first-team All-ACC honors in 2013, and he is expected to be a first-round selection in April. Replacing Rhodes is no easy task, but Florida State has depth in the secondary. Lamarcus Joyner is expected to slide from safety to cornerback in spring practice, and he was a first-team All-ACC pick last year. With Joyner moving to corner, the Seminoles shouldn’t miss a beat in pass defense. The other corner spot has a handful of players competing for time, including Tyler Hunter, Ronald Darby, Nick Waisome, incoming freshman Jalen Ramsey and redshirt freshman Colin Blake. With Hunter, Darby and Waisome out for spring practice, Blake will have a head start on claiming the other corner spot. Regardless of who starts at the other corner spot, Florida State has plenty of options and should be stingy against the pass once again. Expect Terrence Brooks and Karlos Williams to get the starting nod at safety.

5. Replacing Dustin Hopkins at kicker. The departures on offense and defense will get most of the attention in the spring, but Florida State has a huge void to fill on special teams. Kicker Dustin Hopkins set the NCAA career scoring record for kickers and was a Groza Award finalist in 2012. Junior Drew Zloch and redshirt freshman Roberto Aguayo are the only kickers on the spring roster, with Aguayo the likely frontrunner. Hopkins was one of college football’s top kickers during his career at Florida State and will be missed. Will Aguayo ease concerns about Hopkins’ departure this spring? Or will the kicking battle continue into the fall?

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 10 Defensive Players on the Rise for 2013

College Football's Pre-Spring Top 25 Heisman Contenders for 2013

5 Players to Watch in ACC Spring Practice

College Football's Top Transfers to Watch in 2013

College Football's Top 5 Wide Receivers on the Rise for 2013

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2013

<p> Florida State Seminoles 2013 Spring Preview</p>
Post date: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 07:45
All taxonomy terms: 2013 March Madness, College Basketball
Path: /college-basketball/harvard-scores-first-major-upset-2013-ncaa-tournament

From eight United States presidents to Mark Zuckerberg, no Harvard student ever watched the Crimson win an NCAA Tournament game until Thursday.

Harvard scored the biggest upset of the first day of the 2013 NCAA Tournament by defeating Mountain West regular season and tournament champion New Mexico 68-62.

As Belmont, Bucknell and South Dakota State were trendy upset picks entering the Tourney, a young Harvard team flew under the radar to defeat the 29-6 Lobos. Harvard, which had an NCAA Tournament drought from 1947-2011, rarely trailed in its first NCAA Tournament victory, turning a Final Four contender into the first major upset victim of the season.

In other key developments from the NCAA Tournament on Thursday:

After Harvard, limited upsets.
Belmont, Bucknell, Davidson and South Dakota State all looked like teams primed for key NCAA wins. But other than Davidson, all lost by significant margins Thursday. Butler was overwhelmed by Arizona’s talent advantage, Butler neutralized Bucknell’s Mike Muscala, and Michigan’s supporting cast of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III more than made up for the stalemate between Trey Burke and Nate Wolters. Marquette needed late-game heroics to defeat Davidson, so score four for the big teams.

Pac-12 acquits itself
Remember when 12-5 upsets used to be a big deal? Not when two of those teams finished in the top four of the Pac-12. Cal and Oregon answered for their lackluster seeding by defeating No. 5 seeds in the first round. Oregon made easy work of Oklahoma State while Cal defeated a UNLV team that struggled to find its offense for most of the game.

Routs for VCU, Syracuse
VCU’s 88-42 win over Akron wasn’t a shock, given the Zips’ limitations with a suspended starting point guard and two key players recovering from the flu. VCU’s 46-point win was the largest in NCAA Tournament history by a team seeded No. 3 or lower for a few hours before No. 4 Syracuse defeated Montana 81-34.

<p> Harvard scores first major upset of 2013 NCAA Tournament</p>
Post date: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 01:15
Path: /college-basketball/gonzaga-survives-scare-no-1-seed-ncaa-tournament

The first win for a No. 16 seed over a No. 1 seed will have to wait. At least until tonight or tomorrow, if not next season.

Southern gave Gonzaga a scare keeping its round of 64 game close all the way to to the end in a 64-58 loss Thursday. Southern had the game tied at 56 with 3:47 remaining before guard Kevin Pangos led Gonzaga’s comeback with seven of the Bulldogs’ last 10 points and an assist on Gary Bell Jr.'s three-pointer.

In a game that included the son of John Stockton (Gonzaga's David Stockon) and Manute Bol (Southern's Madut Bol) Southern followed a tried-and-true method for an NCAA upset by hitting 10 of 23 three-point shots, but Gonzaga’s star center Kelly Olynyk  was too much in the second half for the SWAC champs.

If there was going to be a No. 16 over a No. 1 upset in this Tournament, Gonzaga’s game was a likely candidate. The Bulldogs were the last team selected as a No. 1 seed, and Southern was the only No. 16 seed to win both its regular season and conference tournament titles.

So what does this mean for Gonzaga? The Bulldogs are the 12th No. 1 seed of the 64-team era to defeat a No. 16 seed by fewer than 10 points and only the second since 1997.

Here’s how the others fared for the remainder of the Tournament. The tally includes one team reaching the title game, two reaching the Final Four, two reaching the Elite Eight, three reaching the Sweet 16 and two losing in their second-round game.

2013: Gonzaga def. Southern 64-58
2012: Syracuse def. UNC Asheville 72-65 (lost in Elite Eight to Ohio State)
1997: North Carolina def. Fairfield 82-74 (lost in Final Four to Arizona)
1996: Purdue def. Western Carolina 73-71 (lost in second round to Georgia)
1996: Connecticut def. Colgate 68-59 (lost in Sweet 16 to Mississippi State)
1990: Michigan State def. Murray State 75-71 in OT (lost in Sweet 16 to Georgia Tech)
1989: Georgetown def. Princeton 50-49 (lost in Elite Eight to Duke)
1989: Oklahoma def. East Tennessee State 72-71 (lost in Sweet 16 to Virginia)
1989: Illinois def. McNeese State 77-71 (lost in Final Four to Michigan)
1986: Duke def. Mississippi Valley State 85-78 (lost in championship game to Louisville)
1986: St. John’s def. Montana State 83-74 (lost in second round to Auburn)
1985: Michigan def. Fairleigh Dickinson 59-55 (lost in second round to Villanova)

<p> Gonzaga survives scare as No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament</p>
Post date: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 19:23
Path: /college-basketball/vander-blue-keeps-marquette-alive-ncaa-tournament

Marquette busted out of a three-pointer slump just in time against Davidson, but the Golden Eagles didn’t dash the Wildcats’ upset hopes until a layup in the final seconds.

Marquette’s Vander Blue picked up the first bona fide game-winning shot of this year's Tournament on a drive to the basket in the final second of play for a layup to give the Golden Eagles a 59-58 win.

Davidson led by as much as nine in the second half, but went cold from long range and the free-throw line. The Wildcats missed two three-pointers and the front end of two one-and-ones to allow Marquette to narrow the gap.

Marquette, a 30.1 percent three-point shooting team during the regular season, missed 11 of its first 12 shots beyond the arc but quickly hit a hot streak late with three three-point shots in a row, including one from Blue to narrow the lead to two.

Before Blue’s game-winner, Davidson attempted to save a loose ball rolling out of bounds but failed, setting up Marquette for the go-ahead possession.

 The win helped Marquette pick up a round of 64 win in four of five seasons under Buzz Williams.

<p> Vander Blue keeps Marquette alive in NCAA Tournament</p>
Post date: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 18:26
Path: /college-basketball/memphis-avoids-becoming-ncaa-tournaments-first-buzzer-beater-victim

The whirlwind travel schedule finally caught up to Saint Mary’s.

After traveling from Moraga, Calif., to Dayton on Monday to defeat Middle Tennessee in the First Four on Tuesday, the Gaels skipped out of Ohio to go to Auburn Hills, Mich., against Memphis.

Memphis led by nine with three minutes to go, but Eividas Petrulis hit a three-pointer in the final five seconds to give Saint Mary’s a chance at the win. The Gaels’ deflected Memphis’ inbound pass of Tigers guard Joe Jackson to set up the potential game-winning shot.

The Tournament’s first chance at a buzzer-beater, though, missed wide with an airball from Matthew Dellavedova.

On the other side, Memphis got a much-needed NCAA Tournament win, the first under coach Josh Pastner. The fourth-year coach had been under pressure for a lack of big wins in his tenure, including Tournament losses to fifth-seeded Arizona and ninth-seeded Saint Louis. Pastner will have a shot at an even bigger win Saturday against third-seeded Michigan State.

<p> Memphis avoids becoming NCAA Tournament's first buzzer-beater victim</p>
Post date: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 17:50
Path: /college-basketball/ranking-every-coach-2013-ncaa-tournament

The NCAA Tournament is a results-based business for coaches. Having the best players or fanbase or reputation isn’t enough. Dean Smith couldn’t even make the Final Four with a team that had Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Brad Daugherty and Kenny Smith. Jim Valvano ran wild after motivating a group of nobodies past the future Hall of Fame-laden “Phi Slamma Jamma” of Akeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler.

Like it or not, the NCAA Tournament is a proving ground for coaches. And the best in the business inevitably rise to the top. Who are the best suits with dry erase boards in this year’s Field of 64? (Sorry First Four losers.)

Here’s a rundown of the coaches in this year’s NCAA Tournament, broken down by tier — in terms of best results in previous tournaments — and ranked within their group of similarly accomplished peers.

NCAA Champions
It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got a ring. These are the nine coaches who have cut down the nets, for a combined 14 NCAA titles between them. It’s a mix of program builders and powerhouse caretakers. But each has proven capable of sealing the deal with a championship on the line.

1. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
29th NCAA Tournament
11 Final Fours
4-time Champion (1991, ’92, 2001, ’10)
4-time Runner-up (’86, ’90, ’94, ’99)

Coach K finds a way, even if it takes a miracle shot from Christian Laettner to advance or an unanswered Hail Mary from Gordon Hayward at the buzzer to hold on for the win.

2. Rick Pitino, Louisville
18th NCAA Tournament
6 Final Fours
1996 Champion
1997 Runner-up

Pitino has famously taken three different schools (Providence, Kentucky and Louisville) to the Final Four and carries a perfect 10–0 record in Sweet 16 contests. 

3. Tom Izzo, Michigan State
16th NCAA Tournament
6 Final Fours
2000 Champion
2009 Runner-up

The method to Izzo’s March Madness has proven successful year after year, thanks to a physical, possession-by-possession, down-and-distance strategy that is football-like.

4. Roy Williams, North Carolina
23rd NCAA Tournament
7 Final Fours
2-time Champion (2005, ’09)
2-time Runner-up (1991, ’03)

Ol’ Roy has been an underachieving nice guy with several teams at both Kansas and North Carolina. But there’s no denying the Tourney success of Dean Smith’s protégé.

5. Billy Donovan, Florida
13th NCAA Tournament
2-time Champion (2006, '07)
2000 Runner-up
Billy the Kid went from being Rick Pitino's go-to-guy and right-hand-man to having one more title ring than his mentor along with a Pitino-esque 5–1 record in Sweet 16 contests.

6. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
30th NCAA Tournament
2003 Champion
2-time Runner-up (1987, ’96)

Boeheim was a victim of IU’s Keith Smart and a dominant UK team before riding Carmelo Anthony to a title. Still, the overrated Orange are usually overripe by March.

7. Bill Self, Kansas
15th NCAA Tournament
2008 Champion
2012 Runner-up

Self has coached three schools (Tulsa, Illinois and Kansas) to the Elite Eight, but also staggered to early losses — Round of 64 in 2005 and ’06, Round of 32 in ’10 — at KU.

8. Tubby Smith, Minnesota
17th NCAA Tournament
1998 Champion

Won it all — with “Pitino’s players,” according to the Big Blue Nation — in his first season at Kentucky, after leading both Tulsa and Georgia to the Sweet 16 previously.

9. Steve Fisher, San Diego State
13th NCAA Tournament
1989 Champion
2-time Runner-up (1992, ’93)

Made the NCAA title game three times in his first five seasons at Michigan, winning a championship as an interim coach and losing twice with the Fab Five. Not much since.

These guys have come within one win of a big pay raise and bump in historical status. They’ve been there, but they haven’t quite done that. Keep in mind, four of the top six coaches on this list lost the NCAA title before they climbed the ladder to cut down nets.

10. Brad Stevens, Butler
5th NCAA Tournament
2-time Runner-up
(2010, '11)
It doesn’t take Nate Silver or Joe Lunardi to know that the 36-year-old wunderkind Stevens is a chess master in March.

11. Ben Howland, UCLA
10th NCAA Tournament
3 Final Fours
2006 Runner-up

Howland’s star has faded considerably since making three straight trips to the Final Four (2006-08) in his early days at UCLA.

12. Thad Matta, Ohio State
11th NCAA Tournament
2 Final Fours
2007 Runner-up

It took a healthy Greg Oden to get Matta to the title game. Generally speaking, the Buckeyes treat NCAA games like BCS bowls.

13. Bruce Weber, Kansas State
9th NCAA Tournament
2005 Runner-up

The bottom has fallen out on Weber’s brackets since Deron Williams and Dee Brown led the Illini to the final Monday in 2005.

Final Four
This group has either shocked the world or barely lived up to Final Four expectations. Experiencing the final weekend is huge. Handling the hype is easier said than done, but much easier after seeing how it’s done — albeit from a loser’s prospective.

14. Shaka Smart, VCU
3rd NCAA Tournament
2011 Final Four
Havoc ensues when Smart’s teams take the court. No one should be Shaka-ed if and when the Rams win in March.

15. Jim Larranaga, Miami
6th NCAA Tournament
2006 Final Four

Leader of arguably the greatest Cinderella story in Big Dance history — CAA at-large berth George Mason’s run to the Final Four.

16. Jay Wright, Villanova
10th NCAA Tournament
2009 Final Four
4 Sweet 16s

The best-dressed coach has never been best in show at the Big Dance but Wright has lived up to expectations most years.

17. Tom Crean, Indiana
7th NCAA Tournament
2003 Final Four
2 Sweet 16s

Dwyane Wade showed flashes of otherworldly superstardom en route to Marquette making the Final Four. Can Crean take credit?

18. John Thompson III, Georgetown
9th NCAA Tournament
2007 Final Four
2 Sweet 16s

The son and namesake of the 1984 NCAA champion Georgetown coach, JT3 has yet to match is dad’s level of Tourney success.

19. Lon Kruger, Oklahoma
14th NCAA Tournament
1994 Final Four
3 Sweet 16s

Kruger has taken five schools (Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma) dancing, but has just three Sweet 16 trips.

20. Mike Montgomery, Cal
16th NCAA Tournament
1998 Final Four
3 Sweet 16s

Monty knew how to disappoint when he was the boss On the Farm at Stanford. Luckily, hopes haven’t been as high at Cal.

Elite Eight
These coaches have all been one win away from the promised land of the Final Four, where the buffalo wings are hot, the beer is cold and the brackets are completely broken.

21. Sean Miller, Arizona
6th NCAA Tournament
2 Elite Eights
3 Sweet 16s

22. Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
12th NCAA Tournament
2005 Elite Eights
5 Sweet 16s

23. Bob McKillop, Davidson
7th NCAA Tournament
2008 Elite Eight

24. Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh
9th NCAA Tournament
2009 Elite Eight
3 Sweet 16s

25. John Beilein, Michigan
8th NCAA Tournament
2005 Elite Eight
2 Sweet 16s

26. Mark Gottfried, NC State
9th NCAA Tournament
2004 Elite Eight
2 Sweet 16s

27. Larry Eustachy, Colorado State
5th NCAA Tournament
2000 Elite Eight

Sweet 16
The second weekend of the NCAA Tournament is the bare minimum for some programs and a rare thrill for others. There’s plenty of name recognition in this group. But the potential has yet to match the production in March.

28. Buzz Williams, Marquette
5th NCAA Tournament
2 Sweet 16s

29. Mark Few, Gonzaga
14th NCAA Tournament
4 Sweet 16s 

30. Steve Alford, New Mexico
7th NCAA Tournament
1999 Sweet 16

31. Mike Brey, Notre Dame
11th NCAA Tournament
2003 Sweet 16

32. John Groce, Illinois
3rd NCAA Tournament
2012 Sweet 16

33. Mick Cronin, Cincinnati
5th NCAA Tournament
2012 Sweet 16

34. Randy Bennett, Saint Mary's
4th NCAA Tournament
2010 Sweet 16

35. Tommy Amaker, Harvard
3rd NCAA Tournament
2000 Sweet 16

Round of 32
Coaches who have a win on Thursday or Friday, but have yet to triumph on Saturday or Sunday in order to punch their tickets to the second weekend of the Big Dance. For a few small school underdogs, one win in the Tourney is a David vs. Goliath story that lives forever. For others, failing to move forward is a major step backward.

36. Fred Hoiberg, Iowa State
2nd NCAA Tournament
2012 Round of 32

37. Bob Thomason, Pacific
4th NCAA Tournament
2 Rounds of 32

38. Dana Altman, Oregon
9th NCAA Tournament
2 Rounds of 32

39. Travis Ford, Oklahoma State
4th NCAA Tournament
2010 Round of 32

40. Mike McConathy, Northwestern State
3rd NCAA Tournament
2006 Round of 32

41. Greg McDermott, Creighton
5th NCAA Tournament
2012 Round of 32

42. Gregg Marshall, Wichita State
9th NCAA Tournament
2007 Round of 32

43. Fran Dunphy, Temple
15th NCAA Tournament
2 Rounds of 32

44. Tad Boyle, Colorado
2nd NCAA Tournament
2012 Round of 32

45. Jim Crews, Saint Louis
5th NCAA Tournament
1989 Round of 32

46. Frank Haith, Missouri
3rd NCAA Tournament
2008 Round of 32

Winless in NCAA
Earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament implies either a conference tournament championship or national respect — or both. But it doesn’t guarantee a win once the Tourney tips off. These coaches have yet to earn a ‘W’ in the Dance.

47. Rick Byrd, Belmont
0–5 in NCAA Tournament

48. Will Brown, Albany
0–2 in NCAA Tournament

49. Marvin Menzies, New Mexico State
0–2 in NCAA Tournament

50. Keith Dambrot, Akron
0–2 in NCAA Tournament

51. Josh Pastner, Memphis
0–2 in NCAA Tournament

52. Dave Rice, UNLV
0–1 in NCAA Tournament

53. Dave Paulsen, Bucknell
0–1 in NCAA Tournament

54. Scott Nagy, South Dakota State
0–1 in NCAA Tournament

55. Wayne Tinkle, Montana
0–2 in NCAA Tournament

56. Tim Cluess, Iona
0–1 in NCAA Tournament

First Four Winners
Still trying to figure out the First Four. Still not liking it. But they’ve survived and “advanced,” I guess.

57. Cy Alexander, North Carolina A&T
6th NCAA Tournament
2013 First Four

58. Ray Harper, Western Kentucky
2nd NCAA Tournament
2012 First Four

59. John Giannini, La Salle
1st NCAA Tournament
2013 First Four

60. Matt Brady, James Madison
1st NCAA Tournament
2013 First Four

First Big Dance
A great group of coaches making their debut in the NCAA Tournament, highlighted by Mr. One Shining Moment and a man whose supermodel Mrs. has been stealing the show.

61. Bryce Drew, Valparaiso

62. Andy Enfield, Florida Gulf Coast

63. Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss

64. Roman Banks, Southern


<p> Ranking Every Coach in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, including Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, Tom Izzo, Roy Williams, Billy Donovan, Jim Boeheim, Bill Self, Tubby Smith, Steve Fisher, Brad Stevens, Ben Howland, Thad Matta, Bruce Weber, Shaka Smart, Jim Larranaga, Jay Wright, Tom Crean, John Thompson III, Sean Miller, Bo Ryan, Bryce Drew and Andy Enfield.</p>
Post date: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 17:30
Path: /college-basketball/ncaa-tournaments-first-big-star-sim-bhullar-emphasis-big

Photo courtesy of

The breakout star of the early round of NCAA Tournament games was kind of like the pace of the first block of games: Slow and lumbering.

The nation got to know New Mexico State’s Sim Bhullar, who happens to be the tallest player in college basketball at 7-foot-5 and 340 pounds.

Bhullar, a Toronto-born freshman who played at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, is a defensive force, as one would imagine. He scored 10.2 points per game in the WAC and blocked a school record 82 shots. In the 64-44 loss to Saint Louis, he had 11 rebounds and scored four points.

But he was the star of the Tourney for a few minutes. That is, until his brother, Tanveer Bhullar, lands on a college roster. He's a mere 7-3.

Here's what others are saying about Sim Bhullar on Twitter:





<p> The NCAA Tournament's first "big" star: Sim Bhullar (emphasis on big)</p>
Post date: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 16:46
All taxonomy terms: 2013 March Madness, College Basketball
Path: /college-basketball/2013-ncaa-tournament-march-madness-viewers-guide-march-22

Thursday (March 21) and Friday (March 22) will feature 16 NCAA Tournament games across four networks. An almost-continuous stream of college basketball will be fun, but it could be tiring.

Here’s everything you need to know for Friday’s slate of games, including the TV schedule, the network, announcers, predictions and bits of knowledge for each game Friday.

| Midwest | South | West

All times p.m., Eastern.

Related: Thursday NCAA Viewers Guide

No. 15 Albany vs. No. 2 Duke
Time and TV: 12:15, CBS
Site and region: Philadelphia, Midwest
Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore and Reggie Miller
What to watch: How valuable is Ryan Kelly? Duke lost to Lehigh last season without him. The Blue Devils are 18-1 this season with him in the lineup and 108-14 during his career.
Game in a Tweet: Seth Curry, Quinn Cook and Ryan Kelly spent their entire careers ranked in the AP top 10.
Prediction: Duke

Related: Our best tips for your bracket pool

No. 12 Ole Miss vs. No. 5 Wisconsin
Time and TV: 12:40, truTV
Site and region: Kansas City, West
Announcers: Marv Albert and Steve Kerr
What to watch: Word of caution for the Badgers’ ability to advance: Wisconsin ranked 322nd nationally in free throw percentage (63.3 percent)
Game in a Tweet: Wisconsin limited opponents to 3.9 threes per game. Good luck, Marshall Henderson.
Prediction: Wisconsin

Related: 10 Cinderella candidates for 2013

No. 9 Temple vs. No. 8 NC State
Time and TV: 1:40, TBS
Site and region: Dayton, Ohio, East
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg
What to watch: Temple guard Khalif Wyatt averaged 15.8 shots from the field and 11.4 attempts from the free throw line in his last five games. Can NC State limit his scoring chances?
Game in a Tweet: Temple has only one NCAA Tournament win in the last decade.
Prediction: Temple

No. 15 Pacific vs. No. 2 Miami
Time and TV: 2:10, TNT
Site and region: Austin, Texas, East
Announcers: Tim Brando, Mike Gminski
What to watch: Jim Larranaga had more Tournament wins during George Mason’s Final Four run in 2006 than his enitre roster has NCAA Tournament appearances (one, belonging to Florida transfer Kenny Kadji).
Game in a Tweet: Bob Thomasen has been at Pacific since 1988-89, three years after Miami re-started basketball.
Prediction: Miami

No. 10 Cincinnati vs. No. 7 Creighton
Time and TV: 2:45, CBS
Site and region: Philadelphia, Midwest
Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore and Reggie Miller
What to watch: Cincinnati ranked ninth in the country in defensive efficiency (allowing 0.872 points per possession) and now faces the highest-scoring player in the field in Doug McDermott.
Game in a Tweet: Creighton had the highest effective field goal rate (59.1 percent) since 2006-07 Florida.
Prediction: Creighton

No. 13 La Salle vs. No. 4 Kansas State
Time and TV: 3:10, truTV
Site and region: Kansas City, West
Announcers: Marv Albert and Steve Kerr
What to watch: Like guard play? Four of La Salle's top five scorers are guards. Five of Kansas State's top six scorers are in the backcourt.
Game in a Tweet: Bruce Weber went 7-2 in the NCAA Tournament in his first two seasons at Illinois.
Prediction: Kansas State

Related: Ranking the top 16 teams’ chances of reaching the Sweet 16

No. 16 James Madison vs. No. 1 Indiana
Time and TV: 4:10, TBS
Site and region: Dayton, Ohio, East
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg
What to watch: James Madison did just fine without suspended leading scorer Rayshawn Goins for a half in the First Four. Up next: Indiana.
Game in a Tweet: Indiana used the same starting lineup in all but one game this season.
Prediction: Indiana

No. 10 Colorado vs. No. 7 Illinois
Time and TV: 4:40, TNT
Site and region: Austin, Texas, East
Announcers: Tim Brando, Mike Gminski
What to watch: The Illinois-Colorado game features the bottom two teams in the field in terms of assists per field goal (42 percent).
Game in a Tweet: Illinois and Colorado went a combined 20-20 after Jan. 1.
Prediction: Colorado

No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast vs. No. 2 Georgetown
Time and TV: 6:50, TBS
Site and region: Philadelphia, South
Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore and Reggie Miller
What to watch: Otto Porter carried Georgetown a Big East title, can he carry the Hoyas to a Final Four?
Game in a Tweet: Georgetown’s last Final Four (2007) was FGCU’s last season before joining Division I.
Prediction: Georgetown

No. 15 Iona vs. No. 2 Ohio State
Time and TV: 7:15, CBS
Site and region: Dayton, Ohio, West
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg
What to watch: Iona features one player who averages 20 points per game (Arizona transfer Lamont Jones) and another who averages a double-double (David Laury)
Game in a Tweet: Ohio State hasn’t needed Deshaun Thomas to score 20 in any of its eight consecutive wins.
Prediction: Ohio State

No. 9 Villanova vs. No. 8 North Carolina
Time and TV: 7:20, TNT
Site and region: Kansas City, South
Announcers: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr
What to watch: Villanova leads nation by scoring 28.1 percent of its points on free throws.
Game in a Tweet: North Carolina is a No. 8 seed, its lowest since 2000, when it advanced to the Final Four as an 8.
Prediction: North Carolina

No. 14 Northwestern State vs. No. 3 Florida
Time and TV: 7:27, truTV
Site and region: Austin, Texas, South
Announcers: Tim Brando and Mike Gminski
What to watch: Florida leads the field in scoring defense (53.4 ppg) while Northwestern State is the “fastest” team in the field in terms of offensive possessions per game.
Game in a Tweet: The Gators were 0-6 in games decided by single digits. Who will be the first to challenge Florida?
Prediction: Florida

No. 10 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 San Diego State
Time and TV: 9:20, TBS
Site and region: Philadelphia, South
Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore and Reggie Miller
What to watch: San Diego State has only two NCAA Tournament wins in school history. Both came in 2011, over Northern Colorado and Temple.
Game in a Tweet: Lon Kruger is the first coach to take five teams to the Tourney (Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV, OU)
Prediction: Oklahoma

No. 10 Iowa State vs. No. 7 Notre Dame
Time and TV: 9:45, CBS
Site and region: Dayton, Ohio, West
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg
What to watch: Iowa State has nine players averaging between nine and 15 points per game. Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley is one of six players in the field averaging a double-double per game.
Game in a Tweet: Iowa State leads the field by scoring 37.1 percent of its points on threes.
Prediction: Iowa State

No. 16 Western Kentucky vs. No. 1 Kansas
Time and TV: 9:50, TNT
Site and region: Kansas City, South
Announcers: Marv Albert and Steve Kerr
What to watch: Kansas has held opponents to less than 40 percent shooting every season under Bill Self, including a nation-leading 36 percent this season.
Game in a Tweet: Kansas starts four seniors. Western Kentucky has two seniors on the roster.
Prediction: Kansas

No. 11 Minnesota vs. No. 6 UCLA
Time and TV: 9:57, truTV
Site and region: Austin, Texas, South
Announcers: Tim Brando, Mike Gminski
What to watch: Jordan Adams’ was UCLA’s leading scorer during the last four weeks of the season. His absence gives UCLA a six-man rotation.
Game in a Tweet: Pressure is on Howland and Tubby, is it deserved?
Prediction: Minnesota

Related: All Athlon Sports 2013 NCAA Tournament content

<p> 2013 NCAA Tournament: March Madness Viewer's Guide (March 22)</p>
Post date: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 15:30
Path: /college-football/mississippi-state-bulldogs-2013-spring-football-preview

Mississippi State started 7-0 last year before running into the eventual national champs, the eventual Heisman Trophy winner, LSU, in-state rival Ole Miss and a Northwestern team that celebrated its first bowl win since 1949. Needless to say, the end of the season didn't go as Dan Mullen had planned. That said, Mullen still led State to its third straight bowl game and its second 4-4 SEC record in three seasons. In a loaded SEC West, sledding will always be tough for the Bulldogs. However, State is 24-15 over the last three years and Mullen has the program consistently overachieving. To maintain this new level of success, Hail State will have to fill plenty of holes this spring.

Mississippi State Bulldogs 2013 Spring Preview

2012 Record: 8-5 (4-4)

Spring practice dates: March 21-April 20

Returning Starters: Offense – 6, Defense – 5

Returning Leaders:

Passing: Tyler Russell, 231-of-394, 2,897 yards, 24 TD, 10 INT
Rushing: LaDarius Perkins, 205 car., 1,024 yards, 8 TDs
Receiving: LaDarius Perkins, 19 rec., 160 yards, 2 TDs
Tackles: Benardrick McKinney, 102
Sacks: Preston Smith, 4.5
Interceptions: Nickoe Whitley, 3

Redshirts to Watch: LB Richie Brown, LB Beniquez Brown, OL Devon Desper, DL A.J. Jefferson, DB Quadry Antoine

JUCO Transfers to Watch: DB Justin Cox, WR Jeremy Chappelle

2013 Schedule

Aug. 31 Oklahoma State (Houston)
Sept. 7 Alcorn State
Sept. 14 at Auburn
Sept. 21 Troy
Sept. 28 Bye Week
Oct. 5 LSU
Oct. 12 Bowling Green
Oct. 19 Bye Week
Oct. 24 Kentucky (Thur.)
Nov. 1 at South Carolina
Nov. 9 at Texas A&M
Nov. 16 Alabama
Nov. 23 at Arkansas
Nov. 30 Ole Miss

Offensive Strength: The backfield and line. Tyler Russell and LaDarius Perkins form one of the best 1-2 punches of any ground attack in the SEC. And four, possibly five, offensive linemen will be back as well.

Offensive Weakness: Pass catchers. The top four receivers are gone from last year's roster, including star wideout Chad Bumphis and dependable tight end Marcus Green.

Defensive Strength: Front seven. One key member of the defensive line (Josh Boyd) and the linebacking corps (Cameron Lawrence) will need to be replaced. However, seven of the top eight defensive linemen and six of the top seven linebackers return.

Defensive Weakness: Cornerback. Stars Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay moved on to the NFL and safety Corey Broomfield departed as well. The secondary needs to find covermen.

Spring Storylines Facing the Bulldogs:

1. Lockdown corners are needed. Banks and Slay were stalwarts for Mullen on the backend of his defense as was Broomfield at safety. Finding lockdown corners to step in and take over will be extremely difficult this offseason but spring practice offers a chance to evaluate the competition. Jamerson Love, Kendrick Market and Taveze Calhoun all saw time last year and are poised to battle for starting time in Starkville this spring. However, junior college transfer Justin Cox (6-3, 190) could be a huge addition this spring as his size and frame gives him the chance to contribute all over the defensive backfield. Will Redmond and Cedric Jones also will get plenty of looks as Mullen and defensive coordinator Geoff Collins try to rebuild their secondary.

2. Find some pass catchers. Receivers Chad Bumphis, Chris Smith and Arceto Clark combined for 141 catches last year while tight end Marcus Green added six touchdowns. All four (and Brandon Heavens) are gone from the Bulldogs roster and Mullen is left to restock his entire receiving corps. Robert Johnson brings size (6-1, 220) and a vertical threat to the offense — as well as a truly legendary Mississippi blues name. He caught 17 passes and two scores last year. Jameon Lewis (5-9, 185) complements Johnson well with shifty slot ability. Joe Morrow, Fred Brown and Ricco Sanders will figure heavily in the mix as well. The wildcard could be junior college transfer Jeremy Chappelle and his prototypical 6-2, 215-pound frame. A big, physical receiver seems to be one of the few positions that has eluded Mullen in Starkville. Malcolm Johnson appears poised to take over for Green at tight end and has intriguing upside.


Fill leadership voids on defense. While most of the depth chart returns at linebacker and defensive line, but there are two major voids of leadership departing. Lawrence was a second-team All-SEC performer and the team’s leading tackler with 120 stops last year. Boyd was an NFL-type talent at tackle up front. And the departing trio in the secondary has been well documented. Kaleb Eulls, Denico Autry and Preston Brown have experience and talent but need to become leaders. Benardrick McKinney and Deontae Skinner are in the same situation at linebacker. There is tons of depth along the line and at linebacker but the huddle needs a new leader with all of the departing senior leadership. Look for younger upside players like Quay Evans to step into much more prominent roles.

4. Keep up with the Joneses. There is no rest for the weary in the SEC, especially in the West. Five of the last six national champions play in the West and it doesn’t appear LSU or Alabama are slowing down. Meanwhile Texas A&M has joined the mix in a big way. Over the last three seasons, Mississippi State is achieving at a higher level than it has since 1998 but still struggled down the stretch last year. Are Mullen and his Dogs destined to finish fifth or sixth every season or can this program rebuild quick enough to challenge the big boys? It likely comes down to coaching and this spring is where Mullen can gain ground on guys like Les Miles.

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<p> Mississippi State Bulldogs 2013 Spring Football Preview</p>
Post date: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 12:25
All taxonomy terms: Dustin Johnson, Golf
Path: /golf/top-20-golfers-2013-majors-no-15-dustin-johnson

They’re the cream of the major championship crop, circa 2013 — the Athlon Major Championship Dream Team. Leading up to The Masters, we'll be unveiling Athlon Sports’ 20 players to watch for majors season, with commentary on each from the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee.

No. 15: Dustin Johnson

Born: June 22, 1984, Columbia, S.C. | Career PGA Tour Wins: | 2012 Wins (Worldwide): 1 | 2012 Earnings (PGA Tour): $3,393,820 (19th) World Ranking: 20


Brandel Chamblee's Take

Johnson appears unaffected by the pressures of golf, perhaps owing to his length and the easy birdies that come his way. He has won in every year he has been on Tour dating back to 2008, and even though he was sidelined due to injury for two months in 2012, he managed a win at Memphis and finished off the year with four top 10s in a row, before opening 2013 with a win at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. At 28 years old, he has plenty of time to fulfill his almost limitless potential. If he improves his short game, he will be in the Hall of Fame someday.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 29
Wins: 0

2012 Performance:
Masters - DNP
U.S. Open - Cut
British Open - T9
PGA Championship - T48

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - T30 (2009)
U.S. Open - T8 (2010)
British Open - T2 (2011)
PGA Championship - T5 (2010)
Top-10 Finishes: 5
Top-25 Finishes: 7
Missed Cuts: 3

—Brandel Chamblee is lead analyst for the Golf Channel. Be sure to follow him @ChambleeBrandel on Twitter.

Athlon's 2013 Golf annual provides in-depth previews of this year's four majors, including the top 20 players to watch this season. One of these elite players, reigning FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker, also takes you tee to green with full-swing instruction and short game essentials. BUY IT NOW.

<p> Athlon Counts Down the 20 Golfers to Watch for Majors Season</p>
Post date: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 10:55
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Baseball, MLB, Fantasy, News
Path: /mlb/2013-fantasy-baseball-sleepers-and-busts-starting-pitcher

Using Athlon Sports' Big Board as the barometer, here are some potential starting pitcher sleepers who toe the rubber to keep an eye on, as well some possible busts to potentially be wary of. Keep in mind that the "bust" tag doesn't necessarily mean that player won't produce, it's more an indication of concern that he won't do so in relation to his position on the Big Board.

Note: Starting pitcher includes players who have SP eligibility, according to Yahoo!. The player's ranking on the Big Board (200 players ranked) is listed, if applicable. UR means player was not ranked among the top 200. Player rankings from 2012 referenced are from a Yahoo! league that uses the following pitching statistics: W-SO-SV-HLD-ERA-WHIP.

Fantasy Baseball Positional Rankings: Big Board | C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | DH | SP | RP

2013 Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitcher (SP) Sleepers

Homer Bailey, CIN, SP (No. 177 overall)
Teammates Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Aroldis Chapman (who has been moved back to the bullpen as the Reds' closer) get more publicity and are ranked higher on the Big Board, but don’t overlook Bailey. For starters, his ERA and WHIP have both decreased in each of the past four seasons, as his ERA alone dropped by three-quarters of a run (from 4.43 to 3.68) in 2012. Further, look what Bailey did in the second half of last season: 6-4, 3.21 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 92 SO in 103 2/3 innings. He capped of his strong finish by pitching seven innings of one-run, one-hit ball against the Giants in the NLDS with 10 strikeouts and just one walk. Bailey will turn 27 in May and this season may be the time the No. 7 overall pick of the 2004 MLB Draft finally puts it all together.

Alex Cobb, TB, SP (UR)
With reigning American League Cy Young winner David Price, 2011 AL Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson and flamethrower Matt Moore fronting the rotation, it’s easy to lose track of Cobb. However, the 25-year-old righthander more than held his own in his first season in the majors in 2012, going 11-9 with a 4.03 ERA in 23 starts. His development was one of the reasons the Rays were willing to part with James Shields in the offseason, and if his spring training numbers (14 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 23 SO in 19 1/3 innings so far) are any indication, he could be in for a breakthrough campaign in 2013.

Ross Detwiler, WAS, SP (UR)
The 27-year-old lefthander could be the most valuable fifth starter in the National League, if not all of baseball. Detwiler went 10-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 33 games (27 starts) for the Nationals last season. Though he’s not a high strikeout guy like teammates Stephen Strasburg or Gio Gonzalez, Detwiler minimizes the damage done by opposing hitters (149 hits allowed in 164 1/3 innings) effectively. With the Nationals’ lineup supporting him, there’s no reason to not expect another double-digit win season out of Detwiler, who could take that next step as a pitcher if he’s somehow able to improve on his control (52 BB vs. 105 SO in 2012).

Derek Holland, TEX, SP (UR)
A 16-game winner in 2011, Holland managed just 12 wins last season as his ERA went from 3.95 to 4.67. Injury could be somewhat to blame, however, as the Rangers’ lefty came down with a nasty stomach virus in June that apparently led to shoulder fatigue and caused him to miss about a month. The good news is he returned and pitched much better as the second half progressed, finishing the season with a 3.96 ERA and 37 strikeouts over his final six starts (38 2/3 innings). If healthy, Holland should have a chance to get back to his 2011 production, if not better as the 26-year-old continues to mature on the mound.

Paul Maholm, ATL, SP (UR)
Spending his first seven seasons in Pittsburgh, Maholm toiled in obscurity for the most part. This changed in 2012, as the veteran lefty was a reliable starter (9-6, 3.74 ERA) for the Cubs prior to getting traded to Atlanta. Maholm went just 4-5 in 11 starts for the Braves, but he posted an ERA of 3.54 and a WHIP of 1.19 over 68 2/3 innings. If he’s able to maintain that sort of performance for the Braves over a full season with their revamped offense supporting him, there’s no reason to think Maholm can’t match, if not surpass, his career-high win total of 13 from last season. And while he may not strike out a ton of batters (140 total in 189 innings last season), he probably won’t hurt in the ERA or WHIP categories either.

2013 Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitcher (SP) Busts

R.A. Dickey, TOR, SP (No. 52 overall)
Dickey was a deserving recipient of the National League Cy Young award last season, as his knuckleball caused opposing hitters headaches in 2012. My concern with Dickey, who is the No. 12 SP on the Big Board, has to do with his change of scenery. Besides switching teams, Dickey also is changing leagues, going from the NL to the AL. This means he will have to face the DH and some of the tougher lineups in baseball, such as the Tigers, Angels and Rangers. This switch in leagues alone is enough to expect some sort of increase to his ERA, which could also impact his win total. In the end, while I’m not expecting Dickey to fall apart in his first season in Toronto, I think we’ve already seen his ceiling, which means he only has one way to go from here. He should still be a valuable and productive SP, but don’t draft him expecting a repeat of his 2012 masterpiece.

Zack Greinke, LAD, SP (No. 53 overall)
The pitcher with the second-largest contract (six years, $147 million) in baseball history, Greinke hasn’t exactly produced like it since his 2009 American League Cy Young season. Since 2009, Greinke has averaged around 14 wins a season while posting an ERA no lower than 3.48 in any one campaign. A reliable source of strikeouts, Greinke’s overall body of work doesn’t exactly jump off the page, especially considering his new contract numbers. Add to this the fact he’s already been diagnosed with elbow inflammation before the season even starts, and you may want to think long and hard before drafting him among the top 15 SPs and top 50 players overall.

Roy Halladay, PHI, SP (No. 71)
A two-time Cy Young winner, Halladay has been one of baseball’s most dominant and feared pitchers over the past decade. Unfortunately, on the heels of last season’s disappointing performance (11-8, 4.49 ERA) and given his struggles in spring training, it appears that Halladay’s status as an elite fantasy option is in serious jeopardy. Back issues led to shoulder problems last season, reasons why he made just 25 starts and posted his highest ERA since 2000 and fewest strikeouts since 2005. A bigger concern, however, is his troubling spring training numbers (13 H, 9 ER, 3 HR, 7 BB, 10 SO in 12 IP) and the fact he was removed him from his most recent start after just one inning. The team said he was pulled because of illness, not injury, but that has done little to quell the whispers that he is hurt or the reports of diminished velocity, a lack of movement and inability to locate when he has been on the mound. The plan is for Halladay to get back out on the mound on Saturday. At this point, however, the chances of the veteran, who will turn 36 in May, being a top-20 SP in 2013 seem remote at best.

Josh Johnson, TOR, SP (No. 122)
The National League’s ERA champ in 2010, Johnson dealt with shoulder issues that limited his '11 workload to nine starts and followed that up with an 8-14, 3.81 ERA campaign in 2012. While he did rebound to pitch nearly 200 innings and poor run support can be somewhat blamed for the lack of wins, what’s more telling is that Johnson struck out 165 in 191 1/3 innings last season, compared to 186 in 183 2/3 innings in 2010. There have been reports that Johnson didn’t have near the same velocity in 2012 as he once did, so this is something to monitor this season. Johnson, like his new teammate R.A. Dickey (see above), also is switching leagues this season, so don’t be surprised to see the former Marlin go through some growing pains as he deals with the DH and AL lineups. Johnson was barely a top-75 SP-eligible performer in 2012. Even with a likely uptick in wins, it’s hard for me to buy him as a borderline top-30 SP in 2013, which is his current Big Board standing.

James Shields, KC, SP (NO. 78)
Shields was a reliable workhorse for Tampa Bay over the past six seasons. During that span he made at least 33 starts in all but one season and pitched no fewer than 203 1/3 innings in any one campaign. He also won 31 games combined in 2011-12 with an average of 224 strikeouts. Traded by the Rays to Kansas City in the offseason, he now serves as the Royals’ ace. Shields’ consistency aside, it’s the change of venues that have me worried somewhat regarding his outlook for 2013. For his career, Shields is 47-31 with a 3.34 ERA at Tropicana Field compared to a 39-42 mark with a 4.54 ERA in road starts. His road numbers include a 2-1 record with a 6.38 ERA in four career starts at his new home park, Kauffman Stadium. Shields was a top-20 SP in both 2011 and 2012, and that’s where he is currently positioned for this season. As reliable and productive as he’s been the past two seasons, don’t bank on him providing that type of production for a third straight campaign.

Related Content:
2013 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Big Board
2013 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Infield
2013 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Outfield
2013 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Relief Pitcher
2013 Fantasy Baseball: Closer Grid
2013 Fantasy Baseball Deep Sleepers
Fantasy Baseball Studs to Avoid in 2013
Fantasy Baseball 2013: Which Injured Players are Worth Drafting?

<p> 2013 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Starting Pitcher</p>
Post date: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 09:00