Articles By David Fox

All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/most-glaring-weaknesses-college-basketballs-top-national-title-contenders
Body:

Every team has a weakness. Even Kentucky.

 

Winning and losing in the NCAA Tournament is almost always about the matchups. A bad draw or a little bad luck in the first weekend of the Tournament can turn a potential championship season into a disappointment. The key for upset-hungry teams in March will be their ability to pounce when the time is right.

 

The teams that will be among the favorites to advance to Final Four have earned that status by being balanced, sound teams on both side of the court. Only one of them can be a champion, though.

 

Here’s how things could unravel for some of the nation’s top teams.

 

Kentucky

Fatal flaw: A backcourt collapse

The nation’s only undefeated team and undisputed No. 1 has so few flaws, it’s tough to pick out the weak spots that could doom a run to the Final Four. An opponent getting ridiculously hot from 3 would seem to be a must to beat Kentucky, but how could the Wildcats beat themselves? The guards might do it. Point guard Andrew Harrison has had his lapses at times, though’s also had his share of standout games this season. The offense has run better for stretches this season with Tyler Ulis at the point, but will Calipari put his team into the hands of a 5-9 freshman in the Tournament? Kentucky’s 3-point shooting (160th nationally at 34.3 percent) and free throw shooting (100th at 71 percent) is also the only other non-elite part of the Wildcats’ game.

 

Virginia

Fatal flaw: Closing out wins

For the time being, the Cavaliers have overcome this flaw, preserving wins over Pittsburgh, Florida State, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech with ease. But there was a stretch in late January and early February where lopsided games early in the second half became more dramatic in the final seconds. This is how Virginia lost its only game of the season to Duke on Jan. 31, but even Wake Forest in Charlottesville and Virginia Tech in Blacksburg made the Cavs work to preserve a lead.

 

Duke

Fatal flaw: Defending attacking guards

The diminished depth is a major concern, though it will be less so when benches shrink in the NCAA Tournament. Instead, the biggest problem for Duke has to be problems defending guards. Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant shredded Duke’s guards earlier this season. So did Miami’s duo of Angel Rodriguez and Manu Lecomte. Virginia Tech took Duke to overtime a week ago thanks to its guards getting to the rim. Duke was a bad defensive team a year ago and got burned by Mercer in the Tournament. Could history repeat itself?

 

Villanova

Fatal flaw: Rebounding

Villanova isn’t necessarily an undersized team — particularly by Villanova standards — but the Wildcats aren’t a big team, either. The 6-foot-11 Daniel Ochefu is the only regular taller than 6-7. He averages 8.3 boards per game. Every regular is 6-2 or taller and top guard Darrun Hilliard is 6-6. Yet Villanova ranks 115th in offensive rebound rate and 160th in defensive rebound rate on KenPom.com.

 

Arizona

Fatal flaw: Scoring from its stars

Arizona won’t play many games tougher than the Wildcats’ win in Salt Lake City on Saturday night. Utah’s a great defensive team, but Arizona should still wonder if it can score enough to make it to the Final Four. Freshman Stanley Johnson went 3-of-19 from the field, which would be a footnote if not for Arizona’s struggles a week ago against UCLA. In that game, Gabe York and Dusan Ristic came off the bench to bail out the starters in a 57-47 win over the Bruins. 

 

Wisconsin

Fatal flaw: Frontcourt depth

Good thing Frank Kaminsky never gets into foul trouble. Wisconsin has proven that it can keep winning even without its starting point guard, but surviving any absence of Kaminsky would seem to be slim. Kaminsky is the only player on the roster taller than 6-9. That said, Kaminsky foul trouble is a true rarity. He hasn’t played with more than three fouls in a game all season.

 

Gonzaga

Fatal flaw: Free throw shooting

Gonzaga has one of the most balanced and efficient offenses in the country, making it all that more baffling that the Bulldogs can’t hit free throws. Gonzaga is converting only 69.8 percent of free throws this season, raking 150th nationally. 

Teaser:
Fatal Flaws for College Basketball National Title Contenders
Post date: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: NASCAR, Overtime, News
Path: /nascar/seriously-spongebob-your-newest-nascar-title-sponsor
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Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

 

The next sponsor of a NASCAR Sprint Cup race, that’s who.

 

Brace yourself. This is not a joke. The NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway on May 9 will be dubbed the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 as part of Nickelodeon’s sponsorship.

 

It’s true. This is a press release.

 

The race, to be broadcast on Fox Sports 1, will feature “a weekend of Bikini-Bottom-themed activities and un for the entire family.”

 

Wonder if they’ll serve Krabby Patties.

 

Also worth noting the president of Kansas Speedway is named Patrick. Again, no joke.

 

“I’m excited to partner with Nickelodeon for the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 on May 9,” said Patrick Warren, Kansas Speedway President. “This is a great opportunity for us to engage SpongeBob fans of all ages to racing with a great partner.”

 

 

Teaser:
Seriously, SpongeBob is your Newest NASCAR Title Sponsor
Post date: Monday, March 2, 2015 - 17:26
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/best-sports-movies-documentaries-and-tv-shows-streaming-netflix
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The weather may have you stuck inside the house or summer sports just don’t do it for you. Either way, you’re grasping at some kind of sports programming in these difficult times.

 

Maybe it’s time to fire up Netflix and see what you can find. Let us be your guide, sports fan. There may be something you’ve missed on America’s favorite streaming service. Trust us, there’s a lot.

 

The Athlon staff has compiled its favorite sports programming on Netflix — films, documentaries and television series — right here. Luckily all of ESPN’s 30 for 30 programming, not to mention SEC Storied, ESPN Films and Soccer Stories are all available. If you notice that our list is a little 30 for 30-centric that’s because... a) those documentaries are very good and... b) they make up the overwhelming majority of the sports content on Netflix right now.

 

Feel free to bookmark this page or check back. We’ll do our best to keep up with the monthly changes.

 

1. Hoop Dreams (1994)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Basketball

Hoop Dreams one of the greatest sports documentaries of all time — or simply one of the greatest documentaries period. Steve James follows two African-American teenagers in Chicago, William Gates and Arthur Agee, as they try to pursue the NBA from a young age. The film is more than 20 years old (and the footage more than 25), but the themes are all too universal — issues of race, poverty, the education system and precocious kids expected to shoulder the load for an entire family. “People ask me will I remember them if I make it,” Gates says. “I tell them, will you remember me if I don’t.”

 

 

2. Jerry Maguire (1996)

Genre: Drama

Sport: Football

Perhaps Jerry Maguire became too quotable for its own good — “show me the money!” and “you had me at hello” — but it’s the perfect crowd-pleaser. A movie about a sports agent just barely fits into the sports movie category but it has enough drama and sports to fit outside of the romantic comedy box. Jerry Maguire is full of sports cameos, and like any Cameron Crowe film, it has a perfect soundtrack. Jerry Maguire took home a best supporting actor nod (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and was nominated for best actor (Tom Cruise) and best picture.

 

 

3. The Two Escobars (2010)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Soccer

Arguably the top installment of ESPN’s acclaimed 30 for 30 series, The Two Escobars is bigger than a sports documentary and portrays a level of politics and organized crime more dramatic than any fiction. The film traces the intertwined stories of drug lord Pablo Escobar, a passionate supporter of Colombian soccer, and defender Andres Escobar, whose own goal cost the country the 1994 World Cup.

 

 

4. Friday Night Lights (2006-11)

Genre: TV drama

Sport: Football

The low-rated but beloved television series has little in common with the classic Buzz Bissinger book and the movie aside from the title, the West Texas setting and Connie Britton. The on-field action is quality, and the off-field drama is heavy. Just power through that subpar second season, y’all. Trust us.

 

 

5. Rudy (1993)

Genre: Drama

Sport: Football

People either love or hate Notre Dame, and the Hollywood version of Daniel Ruettiger’s story may take a few liberties here and there. Still, Rudy is a classic sports movie, the underdog story of the walk-on too small to play college football. But the film doesn’t have to be totally true to life for us to get misty eyed near the end.

 

 

6. Without Bias (2009)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Basketball

Basketball fans of a certain generation vividly remember the when the learned of the death of Len Bias, the Maryland basketball star who died in 1986 after a cocaine-induced heart attack. As college players, Bias was mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan. Bias' death, brought about by casual drug use, shook the sports world. 

 

7. You Don’t Know Bo (2012)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Football/Baseball

Bo Jackson holds no major professional sports records. His trophy case includes “only” a Heisman Trophy and an MLB All-Star MVP award. Yet he was one of the most spellbinding athletes of a generation. This doc, one of the best installments in the second run of 30 for 30s, explains why he came around at the perfect time — just at the start of the modern sports marketing, highlight and video game age and just before the cynicism of the steroid era took over.

 

 

8. The Best that Never Was (2010)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Football

Before Rivals.com, before five-star recruits, before 24-hour coverage of National Signing Day and before televised commitment announcements, there was Marcus Dupree. In 1981, Marcus Dupree of Philadelphia, Miss., was one of the most coveted recruits of the era. The high point of his career, though, was his freshman season at Oklahoma. This is how a promising future can detour.

 

9. Bad News Bears (1976)

Genre: Comedy

Sport: Baseball

Yes, that’s the original Bad News Bears with Walter Matthau, not the more PC remake featuring Bad News Bears. It’s a classic, but this is not one of those saccharine kids sports movies. The language, the casual racism and sexism, the drunk coach — how did this movie get made?

 

10. Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns (1994)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Baseball

Baseball romanticism is laid on pretty thick, especially after all that’s happened to the sport in the last 20 years — the dominance of football as the nation’s new pastime, the baseball strike and steroids. Still, no documentary more perfectly portrays baseball as a part of American culture. With 10 installments, Ken Burns’ Baseball is exhaustive, but all of it is necessary.

 

11. I am Ali (2014)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Boxing

No summation of great sports films would be complete without representation from The Greatest. This isn’t necessarily best Muhammad Ali documentary — When We Were Kings would be in that discussion, but it’s unavailable on Netflix now — but it does show a different side of one of the greatest athletes in American history.

 

12. Knuckleball! (2012)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Baseball

Pitchers are all a little strange. And there’s no stranger pitch in the arsenal than the knuckleball. The exclusive fraternity of knuckleballers — Tim Wakefield, Phil Niekro, Charlie Hough and R.A. Dickey — discuss why the pitch saved their careers and why a knuckleballer is always flirting with disaster. The film centers on Wakefield, but the moments with Dickey, filmed a year before he won the NL Cy Young in 2012, are especially poignant.

 

 

13. Pony Excess (2010)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Football

What does it look like when an athletic program gives into the dark side (at least as far as NCAA rules are concerned)? This is the answer. SMU football wasn’t the biggest rule-breaker in the history of college athletics, but it was among the most brazen and certainly the most harshly punished.

 

14. Varsity Blues (1999)

Genre: Drama?

Sport: Football

Don’t trust anyone born between 1980-85 who can’t identify a character (Billy Bob), a line (“I don’t want your life”), an artist represented on the soundtrack (Foo Fighters, Green Day) or a scene (whipped cream bikini) from this film, the apex of 90s teen movies.

 

15. Days of Thunder (1990)

Genre: Drama

Sport: Racing

We could dismiss Days of Thunder on a few counts: It’s “Top Gun in a Stock Car,” it’s a not-great Tom Cruise movie when the actor could do little wrong, it’s John C. Reilly’s second-best racing movie. Or we could point out all the plot holes and head scratching moments. No, Days of Thunder hasn’t aged very well — if it was any good back in 1990 — but it’s plenty nostalgic for moviegoers of a certain age.

 

16. Coach Carter (2005)

Genre: Drama

Sport: Basketball

Before Samuel L. Jackson was in Avengers movies and Channing Tatum was in ... everything, they starred in this high school basketball film. The story is a familiar one as a coach lays down the law for a troubled basketball team in the inner city. Jackson, though, is the perfect badass to take the title role.

 

17. Survive and Advance (2013)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Basketball

There was only one Jim Valvano. One of the most colorful personalities in college basketball is known now as much for his ESPYs speech and the Jimmy V Foundation as his 1983 national title at NC State. That’s a good thing.

 

18. No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson (2010)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Basketball

Before he was one of the most electrifying NBA guards ever, Allen Iverson was a “transcendent” high school athletes in the words of Hoop Dreams director Steve James. James tells the complicated story of the trial and conviction of Iverson after a riot in a bowling alley in Virginia when Iverson was 18. James, also a native of Hampton, Va., takes great care in portraying the racial tensions surrounding the arrest of a local legend.

 

19. Elway to Marino (2013)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Football

Think the NFL Draft is bonkers now? How about the 1983 first round that featured three Hall of Fame quarterback alone. The first one taken (John Elway) wanted nothing to do with the team that drafted him. The last one taken in the first round (Dan Marino) fell due to rumors drug use.

 

20. Run Ricky Run (2010)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Football

In 2004, Ricky Williams may have been one of the most polarizing athletes of the time when the star running back abruptly left the Miami Dolphins amid repeated failed drug tests. Was Williams selfish? Was he battling bipolar disorders? Or was he misunderstood? Director Sean Pamphilon pulls back the curtain and we’re not quite sure.

 

21. Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL? (2009)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Football

Before Donald Trump became ... whatever you think he is now ... he was the most important owner in the USFL. Director Michael Tollin, who worked for Trump and the New Jersey Generals, retraces the history of a league that took on the NFL and produced six Pro Football Hall of Famers. Was Trump’s ownership the death knell of the league or was any competitor to the NFL doomed for failure?

 

 

22. Once Brothers (2010)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Basketball

As basketball became a worldwide sport, many of the NBA’s international players couldn’t help be impacted by political strife back home. Few conflicts were as bloody as the breakup of Yugoslavia. In Once Brothers, former Lakers center Vlade Divac of Serbia, revisits his relationship with Drazen Petrovic of Croatia. The two won a World Championship for Yugoslavia but were driven apart by civil war in their home country. The two were unable to reconcile before Petrovic’s death in 1993.

 

23. The U (2009)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Football

How did the Miami Hurricanes of the 80s and 90s go from being a college football afterthought to one the biggest villains in sports history? Let the players, coaches and Luther Campbell explain.

 

24. Kings’ Ransom (2009)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Hockey

The first installment of ESPN’s 30 for 30 was the perfect table-setter for the rest of the series — a major story told in a new way by an expert director. Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) examines the unthinkable trade that sent the greatest hockey player in history from Edmonton to Los Angeles.

 

25. The Karate Kid (1984)

Genre: Kids
Sport: Martial arts
Does it count as a sports movie? A coach, a kid, an underdog. Yep. Wax on, wax off.

 

 

Others of note:

 

The Fab 5 (2011)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Basketball

In the 1990s, starting this many freshmen was revolutionary. Not to mention the baggy shorts, black socks and shaved heads. So much about basketball we take for granted in 2014-15 started with Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. The story, of course, wasn’t all rosy.

 

Jordan Rides the Bus (2010)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Basketball/Baseball

Remember when Michael Jordan left basketball in the prime of his career to play minor league baseball and not all that well? The writer and director of Bull Durham takes a look in this 30 for 30 installment.

 

Straight Outta L.A. (2010)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Los Angeles

Ice Cube directs what would become one of the staples of the 30 for 30 series, in particular how a sports team or athlete becomes intertwined with a community, this time with Los Angeles and the Raiders.

 

The Legend of Jimmy the Greek (2009)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Gambling

The 30 for 30 series took more risks early on, and few are more emblematic of that spirit than The Legend of Jimmy the Greek. A doc about rough-around-the-edges gambling guy narrated by a stand-in for Jimmy the Greek? That spirit had dimmed in following installments.

 

June 17th, 1994 (2010)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Basketball, O.J. Simpson, et al

It’s hard to imagine a day in the life of sports being more dramatic than this day in 1994 when O.J. Simpson’s Ford Bronco was chased on the streets Los Angeles, when the Knicks were playing in the NBA finals and when Arnold Palmer played his last round in the U.S. Open. It also captured a time when all of this played out on live television rather than social media.

 

Necessary Roughness (1991)

Genre: Comedy

Sport: Football

Sinbad, Rob Schneider, Scott Bakula and Kathy Ireland. The only way this movie could be more 90s is if it were on VHS.

 

The Last Gladiators (2011)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Hockey

Hockey fans love enforcers, but the life of Chris “Knuckles” Nilan was more than fights on the rink.

 

Bigger Stronger Faster (2008)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Steroids

Director Christopher Bell explores the 2000s steroid scandals from a different angle, that of the non-professional athlete, and takes a look at the image of mixed messages (Gov. Schwarzenegger) and other performance enhancements in sports.

 

Everest (1998)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Mountain climbing

Originally filmed in IMAX, but now that enough viewers have HD big screens and surround sounds, it’s time to take this picturesque to the “small” screen.

 

Requiem for the Big East (2014)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Basketball

Why were sports fans sad to watch the traditional Big East slip away? This is the reason. The Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry, the colorful coaches, the physical play, Madison Square Garden. The league started from humble roots, built itself up on ESPN and then collapsed under the weight of football.

 

Silly Little Game (2010)

Genre: Documentary

Sport: Fantasy sports

Find out why you need to blame a bunch of newspaper schlubs and professors meeting in a rotisserie restaurant created the biggest time vampire for football and baseball season.

Teaser:
The Best Sports Movies, Documentaries and TV Shows Streaming on Netflix
Post date: Monday, March 2, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/what-going-kansas-freshman-cliff-alexander
Body:

Forget the question of why isn’t Cliff Alexander playing for Kansas. Now, the quesiton why isn’t Cliff Alexander available at all.

 

The Jayhawks’ freshman forward will not play Saturday against Texas due to what Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger has described as a precautionary measure related to Alexander’s eligibility.

 

“The NCAA has alerted us to an issue that could affect Cliff’s eligibility,” Zenger told KUSports.com. “As a precautionary measure Cliff will not take the court until we have resolved the issue.”

 

Alexander’s absence is another development in a strange season for the highly touted freshman, who was ranked the No. 4 prospect in the class.

 

In his last three games, Alexander has played 27 total minutes, no more than 11 minutes in a game. During that span, he’s converted just one field goal. Coach Bill Self has been more likely to play junior Jamari Traylor and sophomore Laden Lucas with Perry Ellis in his frontcourt, even if Alexander’s statistical profile at least indicates he’d be the most productive option.

 

At this stage of the season, a top-five prospect and potential NBA lottery pick averaging just 17.6 minutes and 7.1 points per game is bizarre, but this isn’t the first time this season Self has limited one of his star freshmen.

 

Forward Kelly Oubre, ranked No. 8 in the class, was seldom used in November and early in the Big 12 schedule. Oubre has started every game since Dec. 20 and played 32 minutes as recently as Feb. 16 against West Virginia.

 

What all this means for Kansas’ postseason and BIg 12 hopes remains unclear. The Jayhawks have won 10 consecutive Big 12 titles but have only a one-game lead in the standings with three regular season games to go.

Teaser:
What is Going on With Kansas Freshman Cliff Alexander?
Post date: Saturday, February 28, 2015 - 16:12
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/terry-rozier-louisville-learning-win-without-chris-jones
Body:

Louisville’s other starting guard seems determined not to let the abrupt dismissal of Chris Jones damage the Cardinals’ season. 

 

Sophomore Terry Rozier saved Louisville from a bad loss to Georgia Tech when he had 22 points on Monday in a come-from-behind 52-51 win. Against the Yellow Jackets, Rozier shot 8-of-19 (42.1 percent) from the field as the rest of his teammates shot 12-of-35 (34.3)

 

He got more of his teammates’ support Saturday against Florida State, but the effort was just as key as he moved into the point guard role. Rozier had a rough shooting day, converting only 3-of-14 from the floor for 10 points. He contributed in other ways as he added a career-high nine assists and six steals in an 81-59 rout of Florida State in Tallahassee.

 

Just as important, Wayne Blackshear emerged for 18 points against the Seminoles. The Louisville forward has all too often been a non-factor but has scored in double figures in each of the last three games after being shutout by Syracuse on Feb. 18.

 

If this is enough for Louisville to make a run in the NCAA Tournament, the Cardinals will find out in the next week. Louisville’s two wins without JOnes have come against Georgia Tech and Florida State — two teams ranked 80th or lower on KenPom.com. The Cardinals’ last two games are at home against Notre Dame and Virginia.

Teaser:
Terry Rozier, Louisville Learning to Win Without Chris Jones
Post date: Saturday, February 28, 2015 - 14:57
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-game-preview-and-prediction-arkansas-razorbacks-kentucky
Body:

No question, SEC basketball is better than it has been in a number of years.

 

The league should send its most teams to the NCAA Tournament since 2011, including the presumptive No. 1 overall seed in Kentucky.

 

The question, though, is if any of these teams can touch the Wildcats. Granted, few teams in any league can approach the Wildcats this season. There's no shame if Arkansas, Georgia, Texas A&M and Ole Miss can't finish off the Wildcats; Kentucky isn’t 28-0 because the SEC is a mediocre league.

 

At the same time, though, Kentucky hasn’t played a ranked team since a 58-50 win over Louisville on the road on Dec. 27. That changes Saturday when unanimous No. 1 Kentucky faces No. 18 Arkansas.

 

Does that mean that win streak will come to an end at Rupp Arena? Even though Arkansas is having its best season since at least 2008, upsetting Kentucky, at least so far this season, has been impossible.

 

Arkansas at Kentucky

 

Site: Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.

Time: Saturday, 4 p.m. Eastern

TV: CBS

 

What’s up for grabs?

Kentucky’s undefeated season. If Kentucky is going to go to the SEC Tournament undefeated, this week may be the toughest stretch of the year. The Wildcats will face arguably the No. 2 team in the league in Arkansas and then face a solid Georgia team in Athens — the Bulldogs lost in Lexington on Feb. 3 without top player Marcus Thornton.

 

You’ll tune in to watch: Bobby Portis vs. Willie Cauley-Stein

The top contender for SEC Player of the Year may play for Arkansas rather than the nation’s No. 1 team. That’s as much of a reflection of Kentucky’s overall talent and balance as Portis’ season itself at 17.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-11 sophomore takes on the toughest assignment for any forward in the country against Cauley-Stein and Kentucky’s bigs. 

 

Pivotal player: Andrew Harrison

Kentucky’s sophomore point guard has been all over the place in recent weeks, 23 points and seven assists against Georgia one game, one point and two assists against Florida the next. Coming off of five points, three assists and no turnovers against Mississippi State, Harrison now faces the toughest pressing and trapping team in the SEC. Arkansas is 15th nationally in defensive turnover rate (23.3 percent).

 

Pivotal player II: Michael Qualls

Arkansas swept its regular season meetings against Kentucky last season largely due to the 6-foot-6 guard Qualls. The junior scored 18 points against Kentucky in Fayetteville and 14 points in Lexington, shooting a combined 11-of-17 from the field. Will Qualls and Anthlon Bell be able to knock down shots from the perimeter to keep Kentucky’s defense honest?

 

Biggest question: By how much will Kentucky rule the offensive glass?

This is the biggest advantage Kentucky will have against Arkansas, or most teams. The Wildcats lead the SEC in offensive rebound rate in league games (36.9 percent) while the Razorbacks are last in the league in defensive rebound rate. In Arkansas’ last game, an 81-75 win over Texas A&M, the Aggies destroyed the Hogs on the glass for 22 offensive boards.

 

Predictions

David Fox: Kentucky 70-60

Mitch Light: Kentucky 73-64

Jake Rose: Kentucky 81-65

Teaser:
College Basketball Game Preview and Prediction: Arkansas Razorbacks at Kentucky Wildcats
Post date: Friday, February 27, 2015 - 16:20
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/why-nc-state-will-be-ncaa-tournament-spoiler
Body:

Selection Sunday may yet be a dramatic day for NC State. Yet if and when the Wolfpack get into the field, NC State may be one of the most dangerous teams in the bottom half of the bracket.

 

A team that lacked back-to-back wins for more than two months is suddenly riding a three-game win streak. The latest was NC State’s biggest statement of the season as the Wolfpack defeated North Carolina 58-46 for the Pack’s first win in Chapel Hill since 2003.

 

The uneven resume — including losses to Wofford, Clemson and Wake Forest — means NC State will be in the bottom half of the bracket. But wins over teams like Duke, Louisville and now North Carolina signal a team solid enough on a good day to beat some of the nation’s best.

 

If you’re a fan of a top-five or -six seed, here’s why you don’t want your team to have any part of NC State.

 

Cat Barber is the Cat Daddy

 

No one has been more instrumental to NC State’s turnaround than Anthony “Cat” Barber, Mark Gottfried’s top recruit from the 2013 class.

 

During the last six games, he’s averaged 18 points per game. He’s taking more shots. He’s getting to the free throw line (10-of-13 against Louisville alone) and he’s become a more efficient distributor.

 

Compare his last six games to his first 21 this season:

 

Cat BarberPPGFGMFGAFG%A/TO
Last six games186.513.847.03.1
First 21 games103.27.444.21.72

And about that nickname? Does Gottfried call him Anthony or his childhood nickname Cat?

 

“I call him the Cat Daddy, and I want him to play like the Cat Daddy,” Gottfried said during the ACC conference call last week. “I think there's been times where he's tried so hard to run a team and get our team into the offense that he hasn't utilized that great speed and quickness that he has. Lately my message to him has been to turn it loose, cut it loose, let's go.”

 

BeeJay Anya is a rim protector

 

Barber’s 2013 classmate has been a fan favorite through his two seasons, but like Barber, he’s just now heating up. The 6-9 forward has 17 blocked shots in his last four games.

 

His six blocked shots contributed to an overwhelming defensive effort against North Carolina, which averaged just 0.77 points per possession against the Wolfpack. The Tar Heels make their living in the lane, but scored just 22 points in the paint — six in the first half — against NC State.

 

Trevor Lacey is a rock

 

The Alabama transfer has scored precisely 14 points in each of his last four games and 19 points in each of the two before that. That’s pretty remarkable when you think about it.

 

The larger point, though, is that Gottfried has a veteran forward on whom he can rely to score about 15 points in every game. Only two teams since December have held Lacey to fewer than 10 points, and they’re both low-possession, defensive-minded teams — Virginia and Cincinnati.

 

History may be on Gottfried’s side

 

While NC State and Gottfried have been part of some epic flameouts — a team ranked sixth in the preseason in 2012-13 lost as a No. 8 seed, for starters — the Wolfpack are four years removed from a surprise Sweet 16 run.

 

NC State went to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 11 seed in 2012 and upset No. 6 San Diego State and No. 3 Georgetown before giving No. 2 Kansas all it could handle in a 60-58 Sweet 16 loss.

 

At Alabama, Gottfried was just as erratic in the tournament. In 2003, he led a team that was ranked No. 1 in December but ended up losing as a No. 10 seed to Indiana in the first round. A year later, he presided over a team that went 8-8 in the SEC yet upset No. 1 seed Stanford and No. 5 Syracuse on the way to the Elite Eight.

Teaser:
Why NC State Will be an NCAA Tournament Spoiler
Post date: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 14:26
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/maryland-students-execute-another-perfect-flash-mob
Body:

Flash mobs are still a thing, especially at Maryland.

 

For the third consecutive year, the Terrapins student section executed a flash mob during a big game, this time near halftime of last night’s upset against Wisconsin.

 

Pull off one of these when it’s the hot trend? That’s one thing. Pull off this kind of choreography three years in a row? We commend you, Maryland students.

 

Things start getting good around the 1:10 mark.

 

 

Here’s another angle from Tuesday night:

 

 

Here’s Flash Mob Part II during a game against Syracuse on Feb. 24, 2014

 

 

And the inaugural flash mob and Harlem Shake in 2013 (bonus points: see if you can spot ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt).

 

Teaser:
Maryland Students Execute Another Perfect Flash Mob
Post date: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 12:32
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/see-if-you-can-spot-difference-new-cleveland-browns-logo
Body:

If you have a sharp eye, you may notice a new look for the Cleveland Browns in 2015.

 

Granted, the record might not be totally different, but the Browns will be playing in a bolder, brighter shade of orange for the 30th anniversary of the Dawg Pound.

 

The Browns revealed Tuesday what they’re calling a “logo evolution.” The changes are subtle compared to other recent redesigns. The updated design gives the helmet a brown, rather than gray, facemask. The shade of orange is “brighter and richer,” say the Browns. 

 

The Dawg Pound logo features the most dramatic new change, replacing the old dog face with a more cartoonish look.

 

 

 

 

Here are the main changes from the Browns' web site:

 

Teaser:
See if You Can Spot the Difference in the New Cleveland Browns Logo
Post date: Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 11:20
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/every-nights-best-college-basketball-now-until-end-season
Body:

The first conference tournament game begins a week from Tuesday.

 

Crazy, right?

 

The college basketball season is entering its final stretch with teams trying to seal NCAA bids, clinch top seeds or find something resembling momentum entering the postseason.

 

If you’re just getting started as a viewer in college hoops or if you’ve been watching every game on the edge of your seat, there’s something for you every day from here until the end of the year.

 

Here are the best games you need to watch every night from now until the end of the regular season.

 

All times Eastern

 

DayDate  TimeTV
Tue.Feb. 247 p.m.ESPN

The Badgers play three of their final four regular season games on the road with a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament on the line.

Wed.Feb. 259 p.m.ESPNU

After that team in Lawrence, Baylor and Iowa State may be the Big 12’s best hope to advance deep into the NCAA Tournament.

Thu.Feb. 2611 p.m.Pac-12 Networks

Stanford has slipped to 8-6 in the Pac-12. The Cardinal could play its way into the NIT with a loss to overachieving Oregon State.

Fri.Feb. 2710 p.m.ESPNU

This game could be for the top seed in the Horizon tournament, provided Valpo doesn’t clinch Wednesday against Detroit.

Sat.Feb. 284 p.m.CBS

True story: Kentucky hasn’t played a ranked team since Dec. 27 against Louisville. That changes against No. 18 Arkansas.

Sun.March 17:30 p.m.Big Ten Network

What will Purdue need to do in the Big Ten tournament to clinch an NCAA bid? Perhaps not much if the Boilers can pick up this key road win.

Mon.March 29 p.m.ESPN

Two red-hot teams in the Big 12 will try to make a last-ditch effort to deprive Kansas of its 11th consecutive conference title.

Tue.March 39 p.m.ESPN

Georgia gave Kentucky trouble in Lexington without Marcus Thornton. Could the win streak end against the full-strength Bulldogs in Athens?

Wed.March 47 p.m.ESPN2

Louisville wraps up the regular season against the Irish and Virginia at home ... and without point guard Chris Jones.

Thu.March 59 p.m.ESPNU

Davidson pulled itself out of a slump, and VCU can still win without Briante Weber. The Atlantic 10 is crowded at the top.

Fri.March 68 p.m.American Sports Network

These are the only two teams in contention for the Ivy’s NCAA bid. Harvard could clinch outright or Yale, which lost to the Crimson on Feb. 7, could force a playoff.

Sat.March 79 p.m.ESPN

North Carolina missed a golden opportunity to redefine its season in the first meeting against Duke. What does the matchup have in store?

Sun.March 84:30 p.m.CBS

One of the last games of the regular season features Frank Kaminsky and D’Angelo Russell on the same court.

 

Teaser:
Every Night's Best College Basketball from Now until the End of the Season
Post date: Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/these-redesigned-college-football-helmets-are-awesome
Body:

A couple of weeks ago, Deeyung Entertainment, a graphic design firm based in Oklahoma, presented its take on alternate helmet designs for all 32 NFL teams.

 

In recent weeks, Dylan Young has presented his ideas on alternate college football helmets, in many cases using the secondary logos as primary logos.

 

We think they’re pretty cool and maybe some of these athletic departments should take him under advisement. All of them can be found on Twitter at @FFHelmets and on Instagram at FreshFootballHelmets.

 

What do you think?

 

 

Teaser:
These Redesigned College Football Helmets Are Awesome
Post date: Monday, February 23, 2015 - 17:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/ranking-nations-top-football-basketball-coaching-tandems
Body:

Building a consistent winner in one college sport is tough enough. Building two in the most high-profile sports? That’s something special.

 

Only so many programs can contend for both college football and college basketball championships in the same calendar year. Only a handful can keep their fans cheering in bowl games and the NCAA Tournament every year.

 

This list celebrates the rare schools that have found the coaching pairs who can deliver such feats.

 

The goal of our coach tandem rankings is to look at each football and basketball duo as a pair. In general, we’re looking at the duos most likely to keep each school’s fans happy and entertained from the start of football season through the end of basketball season.

 

 

1. Ohio State

Football: Urban Meyer | Basketball: Thad Matta

Meyer and Alabama’s Nick Saban are the Nos. 1A and 1B of college football coaching with good reason. After Ohio State’s improbable run to the 2014 national championship, Meyer and Saban are the only coaches to win national titles at two different schools. Meyer is 38-3 with the Buckeyes and has six AP top five finishes at Utah, Florida and Ohio State. Matta has one of the most underrated careers in college basketball, partly because he’s never won a national title and partly because of his low-key personality. Remember, when Matta took over at Ohio State, the Buckeyes were emerging from NCAA sanctions. Since then, Ohio State has won 30 games three times and reached the Final Four twice. In 15 seasons as a head coach, he’s won at least a share of eight regular season conference titles.

 

2. Duke

Football: David Cutcliffe | Basketball: Mike Krzyzewski

Krzyzewski’s resume is self-explanatory: More than 1,000 career wins, 11 Final Fours and four national titles. Early NCAA Tournament exits (Mercer in 2014, Lehigh in '12) have vexed the Blue Devils, but that appears to be unlikely with the group Coach K has assembled this season. Cutcliffe has done the unthinkable with the football program by turning the perennial ACC bottom-feeder into a factor in the league race. Duke has won 19 games the last two seasons, reached three consecutive bowl games and won the ACC Coastal Division in 2013.

 

3. Arizona

Football: Rich Rodriguez | Basketball: Sean Miller

Less than a decade ago, Arizona’s basketball and football programs were searching for an identity. The end of the Lute Olson era was a protracted experience with two interim coaches, and football found only limited success with Mike Stoops. Miller and Rodriguez have transformed all that. Miller has led Arizona to two Elite Eights and two regular season conference titles. The football program isn’t going to be USC, but Rodriguez is the right fit for an underdog program. His 10 wins last season was the most for Arizona since the Desert Swarm days, and 26 wins in three seasons in the most for the Wildcats in a three-year period since the 1970s.

 

4. Auburn

Football: Gus Malzahn | Basketball: Bruce Pearl

During the course of two seasons, Auburn made two hires that changed the trajectory of its football and basketball program. Football had been relatively consistent back to the Pat Dye era, but it was clear Malzahn and his up-tempo, run-oriented offense brought something special to the Tigers. He was the offensive coordinator of the 2010 championship team and took Auburn back to the title game in the first season after his return in 2013. The ascent won’t be as rapid for the basketball program under Pearl, who has reached the Sweet 16 or better in four of his last seven seasons as head coach. Still, he’s brought in elite recruits and already has Auburn basketball fans following his cult of personality.

 

5. Michigan State

Football: Mark Dantonio | Basketball: Tom Izzo

This duo rarely makes a big splash with major recruits, but Dantonio and Izzo both excel at developing upperclassmen capable of winning in the Big Ten and the postseason. Dantonio has elevated Michigan State football to one of the powers in the Big Ten. He’s led Michigan State to four seasons of 11 wins or more in the last five and back-to-back top-five finishes, something that hasn’t happened in East Lansing since 1965-66. Izzo is in interesting territory. He is enduring his longest Final Four drought (five seasons, boo hoo) and his team is in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997. The track record, though, is elite: Izzo has six career Final Fours and a national title.

 

6. Michigan

Football: Jim Harbaugh | Basketball: John Beilein

Give credit to both of these coaches for not taking the easy route: Harbaugh’s first head coaching job was at San Diego of the non-scholarship Pioneer League; Beilein’s was at Erie Community College. All Michigan is asking of its new hire Harbaugh is to do what Beilein has done — return a program to national contention. In basketball, the Wolverines reached the Final Four in 2013 and the Elite Eight in 2014. Harbaugh would seem to be up to the task at his alma mater. He built Stanford into a Pac-12 contender and took the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl.

 

7. Louisville

Football: Bobby Petrino | Basketball: Rick Pitino

The Petrino/Pitino duo is back at Louisville for the first time since 2006. Having both coaches is still a boon for the Cardinals. Petrino went 9-4 and finished in the top 25 in his first season back with the Cardinals, a notable feat considering the revolving door at quarterback and that it was the football program’s indoctrination into the ACC. Petrino has finished in the top 25 in six of 10 seasons as a head coach, including four times in five total seasons at Louisville. Pitino has seven Final Fours and two national championships, including the 2013 title. 

 

8. Oklahoma

Football: Bob Stoops | Basketball: Lon Kruger

Even though Stoops is coming off an 8-5 campaign, the most disappointing since he’s been a head coach, Oklahoma has the most solid coaching duo in the league. Stoops has won at least 10 games in four of the last five seasons and made more BCS games than any other coach under the old system. Kruger, whose forte is rebuilding programs, has completed his reclamation of OU basketball with his best team this season. No program is more likely to be in a major bowl game and the NCAA Tournament in the same season as Oklahoma.

 

9. Notre Dame

Football: Brian Kelly | Basketball: Mike Brey

Is Notre Dame a year-in and year-out powerhouse in either sport? Not yet. Still, both coaches deserve credit for putting the Irish back into the mix. The Irish are two years removed from an undefeated regular season in football, and Kelly is the first Notre Dame coach to post five consecutive winning seasons since Lou Holtz. Mike Brey’s consistency — six NCAA appearances in eight years — gets overlooked because his team hasn’t made it to the Sweet 16 since 2003. Now if only both of them could go a season without losing a player to an academic-related suspension...

 

10. Baylor

Football: Art Briles | Basketball: Scott Drew

The year before Briles was hired, Baylor football was riding 12 consecutive losing seasons. When Drew was hired, Baylor was emerging from one of the biggest scandals in college basketball history. It’s tough to find a duo who improved their school’s situation more from the day they were hired until 2015. Briles had Baylor on the verge of the College Football Playoff and won the last two Big 12 titles. And Drew has twice taken Baylor basketball to the Elite Eight and once to the Sweet 16.

 

11. Florida State

Football: Jimbo Fisher | Basketball: Leonard Hamilton

Florida State’s football program is the healthiest it has been since Bobby Bowden was in his prime. In the last three seasons, Fisher has led the Seminoles to a national title, 29 consecutive wins, a College Football Playoff appearance and three ACC titles. The basketball program was on a nice hot streak from 2009-12 under Hamilton with four consecutive NCAA appearances, an ACC tournament title and a trip to the Sweet 16. In three seasons since, FSU has yet to post a winning ACC record.

 

12. Oregon State

Football: Gary Andersen | Basketball: Wayne Tinkle

Oregon State pulled off one of the biggest coups of the college football coaching carousel this season when it pulled Andersen from Wisconsin. The former Badgers coach was 19-7 overall and 13-3 in the Big Ten after winning 11 games and a WAC title at Utah State. Just as important, though, was the arrival of Tinkle with the basketball program. He took Montana to the NCAA Tournament and won two Big Sky regular season titles in his final three seasons. His first team at Oregon State is already competitive in the Pac-12. Both of the Oregon State coaching jobs are among the toughest in the Pac-12, but both coaches can win here. 

 

13. North Carolina

Football: Larry Fedora | Basketball: Roy Williams

North Carolina fans don’t like to hear this, but both coaches leave us wanting more these days. Williams is a Hall of Fame coach with seven career Final Fours and two national championships. Yet his team will have five or more ACC losses for the third consecutive season. If Carolina doesn’t reach the Sweet 16 this season, Williams will face his longest Sweet 16 drought since 1998-2000 at Kansas. Fedora’s win total has decreased every season at Carolina, and he’s never finished better than 5-3 in the league.

 

14. Virginia Tech

Football: Frank Beamer | Basketball: Buzz Williams

On career achievements, this duo should rank higher. Virginia Tech is a factor in football because of Beamer, who has been the coach since 1987. And despite 22 consecutive winning seasons, the Hokies are having a bit of identity crisis. The 10- and 11-win seasons have become seven- and eight-win seasons during the last three years. Williams’ credentials at Marquette were impeccable — two Sweet 16s, an Elite Eight and five consecutive NCAAs through 2013 — but he’s working through a major rebuilding project in his first season in Blacksburg.

 

15. Stanford

Football: David Shaw | Basketball: Johnny Dawkins

Stanford has a pair of coaches that — at least for now — appear to be trending in opposite directions. Shaw picked up where Jim Harbaugh left off and led Stanford to 34 wins, three major bowl games and two Pac-12 titles in his first three seasons. The 2014 season, though, ended with five losses and a trip to the Foster Farms Bowl. Dawkins seemed to be in trouble entering last season before taking Stanford to the Sweet 16. The Cardinal should head to a second consecutive NCAA Tournament this season.

 

16. Utah

Football: Kyle Whittingham | Basketball: Larry Krystkowiak

Times were better for Whittingham and Utah football in the Mountain West, when the Utes went 33-6, including an undefeated season in 2008, in their last three seasons in the league. Wittingham delivered Utah’s best season in the Pac-12 last year — 9-4 overall and 5-4 in the league — but coaching staff tumult has put the future in question. Basketball, on the other hand, is surging forward. Krystkowiak went 6-25 with a broken program in his first year, reached 21 wins in his third and has a top-10 team in his fourth. The Utes have arguably their best team since Rick Majerus was the coach.

 

17. Oregon

Football: Mark Helfrich | Basketball: Dana Altman

Helfrich picked up where Chip Kelly left off, reaching the national title game in his second season as head coach and winning 11 games and finishing in the top 10 in his first season. He’s laid-back demeanor is a change for the program, but the most pressing issue is winning without Marcus Mariota. Altman has survived an offseason of controversy to have Oregon in contention for its third consecutive NCAA Tournament bid. In his last 17 seasons at Creighton and Oregon, Altman has 16 20-win seasons.

 

18. UCLA

Football: Jim L. Mora | Basketball: Steve Alford

Mora has pulled UCLA out of its funk, leading the Bruins to back-to-back 10 win seasons and top-25 finishes for the first time since 1997-98. With the way he has recruited, more should be on the way. Alford got over his NCAA Tournament bugaboo by reaching the Sweet 16 in his first season at UCLA. If the Bruins even get into the field this season, it will be something of a victory. Alford has been around longer than you might think — he’s taken four teams to the Tournament and should get to 450 career wins next season. 

 

19. Wisconsin

Football: Paul Chryst | Basketball: Bo Ryan

Ryan was already one of the best coaches in the country when he led Wisconsin to top-four finishes in the Big Ten every year since 2002. Now, he’s looking to take the Badgers to back-to-back Final Fours. And he’s done all of that without a ton of major recruits on his roster. Wisconsin football has had an unbroken record of success under Barry Alvarez, Bret Bielema and Gary Andersen. Chryst, a former Badgers player and offensive coordinator, knows the territory. His record at Pittsburgh — 19-19 overall, 10-13 in the ACC — was nothing special, but he took over program with a tumultuous coaching situation.

 

20. Cincinnati

Football: Tommy Tuberville | Basketball: Mick Cronin

The well-traveled Tuberville has kept the momentum going at Cincinnati, going 9-4 in each of his first two seasons and winning a share of the American title last year. Cronin has missed most of this season while he deals with a health issue, but he’s returned the Bearcats to contender status after a difficult rebuild. Cincinnati has reached the NCAA Tournament in the last four seasons and reached the 2012 Sweet 16.

 

21. SMU

Football: Chad Morris | Basketball: Larry Brown

The Mustangs have spent recent years clawing for renewed relevance in both sports. The Hall of Famer Brown, despite NCAA troubles this season, has delivered. His team is on the way to its first NCAA bid since 1993 a year after winning 27 games and going to the NIT. Morris was one of the hottest names in the coaching carousel after taking his high-flying offense to Clemson. His Texas high school connections should serve him well as he tries to rebuild in Dallas.

 

22. Miami

Football: Al Golden | Basketball: Jim Larranaga

Golden left Temple with the reputation of a miracle worker and walked into the Nevin Shapiro mess at Miami. After a self-imposed bowl ban in his first two seasons, Miami went 9-4 in his third year before falling to 6-7 last season. With quarterback Brad Kaaya starting his second season, Golden is entering a critical fifth year. Larranaga has taken George Mason to a Final Four and won the ACC at Miami. That’s a pretty darn good career right there, never mind that he has 547 career wins otherwise.

 

23. San Diego State

Football: Rocky Long | Basketball: Steve Fisher

What Fisher has done at San Diego State was once unthinkable. A program that hadn’t won an NCAA Tournament game before Fisher arrived is a perennial postseason team. The Aztecs have twice won 30 games and twice reached the Sweet 16 during the last five years. Football isn’t the same contender as the basketball program, but the longtime underachiever has reached a bowl game all four seasons under Long.

 

24. BYU

Football: Bronco Mendenhall | Basketball: Dave Rose

Five or six years ago, the stock for the BYU duo would have been higher than it is now. Back then, Jimmer Fredette was on the court for BYU, and the Cougars had won at least 10 games in four of five seasons. BYU is still trying to find its way as an independent and West Coast Conference member, but both are still regulars in the postseason.

 

25. Kansas State

Football: Bill Snyder | Basketball: Bruce Weber

Kansas State failed to sign a top 50 recruiting class in 2015, but that doesn’t matter. We’ll end up talking about the Wildcats as a top 10 team at some point anyway. That’s the deal for Snyder, whose teams have been the biggest overachievers in college football. Weber’s team has fallen below expectations this season, but he’s still two years removed from a 27-win season and a share of the Big 12 title.

Teaser:
Ranking the Nation's Top Football-Basketball Coaching Tandems
Post date: Monday, February 23, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/nebraska-basketball-wear-1950s-throwbacks-sunday-vs-iowa
Body:

Nebraska basketball will wear throwbacks to the 1954-55 team for Sunday’s game against Iowa.

 

The replicas are designed to commemorate the 60th anniversary of coach Jerry Bush’s first Cornhuskers team during Legends Weekend. Stan Matzke, a captain in 1954-55, will speak to more than 50 former Nebraska players spanning eight decades.

 

The uniforms will look great, but the memories? Not so much. The 1954-55 team went 9-12 in the original unis.

 

 

 

Teaser:
Nebraska Basketball to Wear 1950s Throwbacks Sunday vs. Iowa
Post date: Sunday, February 22, 2015 - 11:09
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/north-carolina-runs-four-corners-honor-dean-smith
Body:

In North Carolina’s first home game since the passing of legendary coach Dean Smith, the Tar Heels ran a fitting tribute to the man whose name graces the arena.

 

The Tar Heels ran Smith’s famous Four Corners offense on their first offensive possession. Roy Williams, a Smith protege, signaled in the play, and Marcus Paige passed to a cutting Brice Johnson for North Carolina’s first points in an 89-60 win over Georgia Tech.

 

Here’s the play:

 

 

"That was one of the most nerve-racking moments of my life just because I feel like if I would've turned it over, if I would've messed it up or something that I was letting down the way we were going to pay homage to Coach Smith," Paige told reporters after the game. "I'm just glad Brice caught it and laid it up. He made me look good."

 

Here's what it looked like from above:

 

Teaser:
North Carolina Runs Four Corners to Honor Dean Smith
Post date: Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 18:36
Path: /college-basketball/ranking-pac-12s-football-basketball-coaching-tandems
Body:

Recent years have brought an influx of impact football coaches into the Pac-12 — Rich Rodriguez, Todd Graham and Jim L. Mora have all taken their schools to new heights. Mark Helfrich and David Shaw picked up where their predecessors left off.

 

Now, the league hopes basketball will hold up its end of the bargain. Sean Miller, for example, has returned Arizona to national powerhouse status, giving the Wildcats the best duo in the league. Utah's Larry Krystkowiak and Colorado's Tad Boyle have remade their respective programs, and Wayne Tinkle may be on the way to doing the same at Oregon State.

 

The moves have given the Pac-12 an impressive lineup of coaching duos at the top while the rest of the league is starting to catch up.

 

The goal of our coach tandem rankings is to look at each football and basketball duo as a pair. In general, we’re looking at the duos most likely to keep each school’s fans happy and entertained from the start of football season through the end of basketball season.

 

1. Arizona

Football: Rich Rodriguez | Basketball: Sean Miller

Less than a decade ago, Arizona’s basketball and football programs were searching for an identity. The end of the Lute Olson era was a protracted experience with two interim coaches, and football found only limited success with Mike Stoops. Miller and Rodriguez have transformed all that. Miller has led Arizona to two Elite Eights and two regular season conference titles. The football program isn’t going to be USC, but Rodriguez is the right fit for an underdog program. His 10 wins last season was the most for Arizona since the Desert Swarm days, and 26 wins in three seasons in the most for the Wildcats in a three-year period since the 1970s.

 

2. Oregon State

Football: Gary Andersen | Basketball: Wayne Tinkle

Oregon State pulled off one of the biggest coups of the college football coaching carousel this season when it pulled Andersen from Wisconsin. The former Badgers coach was 19-7 overall and 13-3 in the Big Ten after winning 11 games and a WAC title at Utah State. Just as important, though, was the arrival of Tinkle with the basketball program. He took Montana to the NCAA Tournament and won two Big Sky regular season titles in his final three seasons. His first team at Oregon State is already competitive in the Pac-12. Both of the Oregon State coaching jobs are among the toughest in the Pac-12, but both coaches can win here. 

 

3. Stanford

Football: David Shaw | Basketball: Johnny Dawkins

Stanford has a pair of coaches that — at least for now — appear to be trending in opposite directions. Shaw picked up where Jim Harbaugh left off and led Stanford to 34 wins, three major bowl games and two Pac-12 titles in his first three seasons. The 2014 season, though, ended with five losses and a trip to the Foster Farms Bowl. Dawkins seemed to be in trouble entering last season before taking Stanford to the Sweet 16. The Cardinal should head to a second consecutive NCAA Tournament this season.

 

4. Utah

Football: Kyle Whittingham | Basketball: Larry Krystkowiak

Times were better for Whittingham and Utah football in the Mountain West, when the Utes went 33-6, including an undefeated season in 2008, in their last three seasons in the league. Wittingham delivered Utah’s best season in the Pac-12 last year — 9-4 overall and 5-4 in the league — but coaching staff tumult has put the future in question. Basketball, on the other hand, is surging forward. Krystkowiak went 6-25 with a broken program in his first year, reached 21 wins in his third and has a top-10 team in his fourth. The Utes have arguably their best team since Rick Majerus was the coach.

 

5. Oregon

Football: Mark Helfrich | Basketball: Dana Altman

Helfrich picked up where Chip Kelly left off, reaching the national title game in his second season as head coach and winning 11 games and finishing in the top 10 in his first season. He’s laid-back demeanor is a change for the program, but the most pressing issue is winning without Marcus Mariota. Altman has survived an offseason of controversy to have Oregon in contention for its third consecutive NCAA Tournament bid. In his last 17 seasons at Creighton and Oregon, Altman has 16 20-win seasons.

 

6. UCLA

Football: Jim L. Mora | Basketball: Steve Alford

Mora has pulled UCLA out of its funk, leading the Bruins to back-to-back 10 win seasons and top-25 finishes for the first time since 1997-98. With the way he has recruited, more should be on the way. Alford got over his NCAA Tournament bugaboo by reaching the Sweet 16 in his first season at UCLA. If the Bruins even get into the field this season, it will be something of a victory. Alford has been around longer than you might think — he’s taken four teams to the Tournament and should get to 450 career wins next season. 

 

7. Arizona State

Football: Todd Graham | Basketball: Herb Sendek

Will Graham be the coach to fully tap into Arizona State’s potential? Graham is already the first Sun Devils coach to finish in the top-25 in back-to-back years since 1996-97 and the first to win 10 games in back-to-back years since Frank Kush. Next up is a Pac-12 title. Sendek has two NCAA appearances in nine seasons and he’s fresh out of James Hardens.

 

8. Colorado

Football: Mike MacIntyre | Basketball: Tad Boyle

Colorado stepped back from 4-8 to 2-10 in MacIntyre’s second season, but the Buffaloes lost four Pac-12 games by a touchdown or less. Despite a lackluster season this year, Boyle has turned Colorado into a relevant basketball program. He’s the only coach in school history to lead the Buffaloes to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments and four consecutive postseasons.

 

9. Washington

Football: Chris Petersen | Basketball: Lorenzo Romar

Petersen’s first season in a power conference was forgettable as the Huskies went 8-6 and lost to Oklahoma State in the Cactus Bowl. Petersen is 16-11 in his last two seasons, an unthinkable mark after his first seven years. Romar’s Washington tenure has seen its share of peaks and valleys, and right now is a valley. The Huskies are about to miss the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive season and fail to win 20 games for the third year in a row.

 

10. USC

Football: Steven Sarkisian | Basketball: Andy Enfield

Sarkisian went 9-4 in his first season at USC, but with NCAA sanctions finally gone and an elite recruiting class arriving, expectations are about to be sky high. The rebuild of USC hoops is going to take time, but Enfield is still two years removed from taking Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16.

 

11. Washington State

Football: Mike Leach | Basketball: Ernie Kent

Reaching the postseason is tough for the coach in either sport. Leach has sandwiched a 6-7 season with two 3-9 years. Kent, the former Oregon coach, has already eclipsed last year’s win total but there’s a long way to go.

 

12. Cal

Football: Sonny Dykes | Basketball: Cuonzo Martin

Dykes oversaw one of the most improved teams in the Pac-12, going from 1-11 to 5-7 in his second season. He led a similar turnaround at Louisiana Tech. Martin will hope to approach 20 wins in his first season at Cal, a place where it’s not easy to win big immediately.

Teaser:
Ranking the Pac-12's Football-Basketball Coaching Tandems
Post date: Friday, February 20, 2015 - 08:30
Path: /college-basketball/ranking-big-tens-football-basketball-coaching-tandems
Body:

For several years, the Big Ten has had a roster of basketball coaches that could rival only the ACC.

 

Now, the league is working to make sure its roster of football coaches rivals only the SEC.

 

Names like Tom Izzo, Bo Ryan, John Beilein and Thad Matta are on the top of anyone’s list of college basketball coaches. Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh would be the same among college football coaches.

 

Those additions on the football side — plus Penn State’s James Franklin — give the Big Ten one of the most interesting rosters of coaching tandems in the country.

 

The goal of our coach tandem rankings is to look at each football and basketball duo as a pair. In general, we’re looking at the duos most likely to keep each school’s fans happy and entertained from the start of football season through the end of basketball season.

 

1. Ohio State

Football: Urban Meyer | Basketball: Thad Matta

Meyer and Alabama’s Nick Saban are the Nos. 1A and 1B of college football coaching with good reason. After Ohio State’s improbable run to the 2014 national championship, Meyer and Saban are the only coaches to win national titles at two different schools. Meyer is 38-3 with the Buckeyes and has six AP top five finishes at Utah, Florida and Ohio State. Matta has one of the most underrated careers in college basketball, partly because he’s never won a national title and partly because of his low-key personality. Remember, when Matta took over at Ohio State, the Buckeyes were emerging from NCAA sanctions. Since then, Ohio State has won 30 games three times and reached the Final Four twice. In 15 seasons as a head coach, he’s won at least a share of eight regular season conference titles.

 

2. Michigan State

Football: Mark Dantonio | Basketball: Tom Izzo

This duo rarely makes a big splash with major recruits, but Dantonio and Izzo both excel at developing upperclassmen capable of winning in the Big Ten and the postseason. Dantonio has elevated Michigan State football to one of the powers in the Big Ten. He’s led Michigan State to four seasons of 11 wins or more in the last five and back-to-back top-five finishes, something that hasn’t happened in East Lansing since 1965-66. Izzo is in interesting territory. He is enduring his longest Final Four drought (five seasons, boo hoo) and his team is in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997. The track record, though, is elite: Izzo has six career Final Fours and a national title.

 

3. Michigan

Football: Jim Harbaugh | Basketball: John Beilein

Give credit to both of these coaches for not taking the easy route: Harbaugh’s first head coaching job was at San Diego of the non-scholarship Pioneer League; Beilein’s was at Erie Community College. All Michigan is asking of its new hire Harbaugh is to do what Beilein has done — return a program to national contention. In basketball, the Wolverines reached the Final Four in 2013 and the Elite Eight in 2014. Harbaugh would seem to be up to the task at his alma mater. He built Stanford into a Pac-12 contender and took the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl.

 

4. Wisconsin

Football: Paul Chryst | Basketball: Bo Ryan

Ryan was already one of the best coaches in the country when he led Wisconsin to top-four finishes in the Big Ten every year since 2002. Now, he’s looking to take the Badgers to back-to-back Final Fours. And he’s done all of that without a ton of major recruits on his roster. Wisconsin football has had an unbroken record of success under Barry Alvarez, Bret Bielema and Gary Andersen. Chryst, a former Badgers player and offensive coordinator, knows the territory. His record at Pittsburgh — 19-19 overall, 10-13 in the ACC — was nothing special, but he took over program with a tumultuous coaching situation.

 

5. Penn State

Football: James Franklin | Basketball: Patrick Chambers

Penn State is nearing full strength after severe NCAA sanctions, and it has the right coach to lead the program back to national prominence. Franklin is the only coach in Vanderbilt history with back-to-back nine-win seasons and three bowl appearances. In his first season at Penn State, he capitalized on the Nittany Lions’ first post-Paterno bowl bid with a win over Boston College. There’s only so much Chambers can do with Penn State basketball, so flirting with a winning record in consecutive seasons has to be taken in context.

 

6. Nebraska

Football: Mike Riley | Basketball: Tim Miles

Riley’s move to Nebraska was one of the most puzzling of the offseason on two fronts — first that Riley would leave Oregon State after 12 years of resisting overtures to go elsewhere and second because Nebraska would hire a coach who averaged fewer than six wins in his last five seasons. But he can unearth and develop recruits, which is what Nebraska might need. In basketball, the momentum has stalled in Miles’ third season in Lincoln, but two NCAA appearances in four years at places like Colorado State and Nebraska is no small feat.

 

7. Minnesota

Football: Jerry Kill | Basketball: Richard Pitino

Opposing coaches will tell you how good a coach Kill is — his teams are routinely one of the toughest to play in the Big Ten. Top 25 finishes and major bowl games aren’t plentiful at Minnesota no matter the coach, but Kill has led the Gophers to back-to-back eight-win seasons for the first time since 2002-03. The 32-year-old Pitino is one of the names to watch in the sport, and not just because of his bloodlines. He his first season at Minnesota, he led the Gophers to an NIT championship, and in his only season at FIU, he led the Golden Panthers to their best season in 17 years.

 

8. Maryland

Football: Randy Edsall | Basketball: Mark Turgeon

Maybe Big Ten affiliation will be good for Maryland in ways beyond finances. Turgeon should get to double-digit conference wins for the first time during his tenure at Maryland, and Edsall presided over wins over (weakened) Iowa, Penn State and Michigan squads in his Big Ten debut. Progress is good, but there’s still a lot of work for both coaches. Football hasn’t won eight games or won a bowl game since 2010 and basketball hasn’t reached the Sweet 16 since 2003. Edsall and Turgeon are on the clock.

 

9. Northwestern

Football: Pat Fitzgerald | Basketball: Chris Collins

Two years ago, it would be tough to find a hotter name in coaching that Fitzgerald. In 2012, he had led the Wildcats to a 10-win season and five consecutive bowl appearances. He’s 5-7 in each of his two seasons since. Some hard-luck injuries have been a factor, but either way, the momentum in Evanston has stalled. Hopes are high that Collins, a former Duke assistant, will be the one who turns things around for Northwestern hoops, but it’s a long climb.

 

10. Iowa

Football: Kirk Ferentz | Basketball: Fran McCaffery

Neither coach will win a popularity contest. Ferentz is 34-30 in his last five seasons and struggling to live up to the standard he set with three top-10 finishes from 2002-04. McCaffery is prickly with the media and combustable on the bench, but his team ended an eight-year NCAA Tournament drought last season.

 

11. Purdue

Football: Darrell Hazell | Basketball: Matt Painter

After two losing seasons, Painter is leading Purdue to its best season since Robbie Hummel left. During one stretch, Painter led the Boilermakers to six consecutive NCAA appearances, including two Sweet 16s. Hazell is 4-20 in two seasons with the football program.

 

12. Indiana

Football: Kevin Wilson | Basketball: Tom Crean

Give Indiana credit for featuring two coaches who put up a ton of points but can’t seem to stop anyone from scoring. Crean pulled Indiana out of the depths of NCAA sanctions stemming from the Kelvin Sampson era, but what has it done for the Hoosiers in terms of sustainability? Indiana won 29 games and spent much of the season ranked No. 1 in 2012-13 — yet it yielded a Sweet 16 at the end of that season and a 17-win campaign the next. Indiana football is as good as any Big Ten team on offense — yet hasn’t reached a bowl game in four seasons under Wilson.

 

13. Illinois 

Football: Tim Beckman | Basketball: John Groce

Give Groce credit for making the most of this season despite some bad luck. He missed on some key recruits and had players miss stretches due to injury. But Illinois could reach the NCAA Tournament this year or should at least win 20 games for the third time under Groce. Beckman has led a two-game improvement at Illinois every season as head coach.

 

14. Rutgers

Football: Kyle Flood | Basketball: Eddie Jordan

Three consecutive bowl games at Rutgers is still a notable feat, and Flood has done it in his first three seasons. Rutgers basketball is destined for 10 or more conference losses, no matter the conference or the coach.

Teaser:
Ranking the Big Ten's Football-Basketball Coaching Tandems
Post date: Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, College Basketball, News
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Step back five years and the list of football-basketball coaching tandems in the ACC looks pretty crazy.

 

That Mike Krzyzewski is the basketball representative at Duke probably makes sense, but what about the Blue Devils having a successful football coach?

 

Now, that’s weird.

 

And what about the No. 2 and No. 3 teams on our list: Louisville and Notre Dame were hardly a glimmer in the eye of the ACC several years ago. Notre Dame, of course, isn’t a full member, but we’ve included the Irish here since men’s basketball is an ACC team and the football team by contract plays its fair share of ACC schools.

 

Semantics aside, with Duke football plus Louisville and Notre Dame in the fold, the ACC has assembled a solid group of football-basketball coaching duos.

 

The goal of our coach tandem rankings is to look at each football and basketball duo as a pair. In general, we’re looking at the duos most likely to keep each school’s fans happy and entertained from the start of football season through the end of basketball season.

 

1. Duke

Football: David Cutcliffe | Basketball: Mike Krzyzewski

Krzyzewski’s resume is self-explanatory: More than 1,000 career wins, 11 Final Fours and four national titles. Early NCAA Tournament exits (Mercer in 2014, Lehigh in '12) have vexed the Blue Devils, but that appears to be unlikely with the group Coach K has assembled this season. Cutcliffe has done the unthinkable with the football program by turning the perennial ACC bottom-feeder into a factor in the league race. Duke has won 19 games the last two seasons, reached three consecutive bowl games and won the ACC Coastal Division in 2013.

 

2. Louisville

Football: Bobby Petrino | Basketball: Rick Pitino

The Petrino/Pitino duo is back at Louisville for the first time since 2006. Having both coaches is still a boon for the Cardinals. Petrino went 9-4 and finished in the top 25 in his first season back with the Cardinals, a notable feat considering the revolving door at quarterback and that it was the football program’s indoctrination into the ACC. Petrino has finished in the top 25 in six of 10 seasons as a head coach, including four times in five total seasons at Louisville. Pitino has seven Final Fours and two national championships, including the 2013 title. 

 

3. Notre Dame

Football: Brian Kelly | Basketball: Mike Brey

Is Notre Dame a year-in and year-out powerhouse in either sport? Not yet. Still, both coaches deserve credit for putting the Irish back into the mix. The Irish are two years removed from an undefeated regular season in football, and Kelly is the first Notre Dame coach to post five consecutive winning seasons since Lou Holtz. Mike Brey’s consistency — six NCAA appearances in eight years — gets overlooked because his team hasn’t made it to the Sweet 16 since 2003. Now if only both of them could go a season without losing a player to an academic-related suspension...

 

4. Florida State

Football: Jimbo Fisher | Basketball: Leonard Hamilton

Florida State’s football program is the healthiest it has been since Bobby Bowden was in his prime. In the last three seasons, Fisher has led the Seminoles to a national title, 29 consecutive wins, a College Football Playoff appearance and three ACC titles. The basketball program was on a nice hot streak from 2009-12 under Hamilton with four consecutive NCAA appearances, an ACC tournament title and a trip to the Sweet 16. In three seasons since, FSU has yet to post a winning ACC record.

 

5. North Carolina

Football: Larry Fedora | Basketball: Roy Williams

North Carolina fans don’t like to hear this, but both coaches leave us wanting more these days. Williams is a Hall of Fame coach with seven career Final Fours and two national championships. Yet his team will have five or more ACC losses for the third consecutive season. If Carolina doesn’t reach the Sweet 16 this season, Williams will face his longest Sweet 16 drought since 1998-2000 at Kansas. Fedora’s win total has decreased every season at Carolina, and he’s never finished better than 5-3 in the league.

 

6. Virginia Tech

Football: Frank Beamer | Basketball: Buzz Williams

On career achievements, this duo should rank higher. Virginia Tech is a factor in football because of Beamer, who has been the coach since 1987. And despite 22 consecutive winning seasons, the Hokies are having a bit of identity crisis. The 10- and 11-win seasons have become seven- and eight-win seasons during the last three years. Williams’ credentials at Marquette were impeccable — two Sweet 16s, an Elite Eight and five consecutive NCAAs through 2013 — but he’s working through a major rebuilding project in his first season in Blacksburg.

 

7. Miami

Football: Al Golden | Basketball: Jim Larranaga

Golden left Temple with the reputation of a miracle worker and walked into the Nevin Shapiro mess at Miami. After a self-imposed bowl ban in his first two seasons, Miami went 9-4 in his third year before falling to 6-7 last season. With quarterback Brad Kaaya starting his second season, Golden is entering a critical fifth year. Larranaga has taken George Mason to a Final Four and won the ACC at Miami. That’s a pretty darn good career right there, never mind that he has 547 career wins otherwise.

 

8. Syracuse

Football: Scott Shafer | Basketball: Jim Boeheim

Boeheim probably would like us to spend more time thinking about the four Final Fours, the 2003 championship and the 964 career wins rather than the last 12 months. The Orange were the last undefeated team in the country last season and ended on a 3-6 skid. And now, due to NCAA issues, Syracuse forfeited its chance to go to the postseason this year (in a season that likely would have ended in the NIT anyway). Shafer has had a rough two seasons since taking over for Doug Marrone. Syracuse football is 10-15 overall and 5-11 in the ACC under Shafer.

 

9. Virginia

Football: Mike London | Basketball: Tony Bennett

Bennett is quickly becoming college basketball’s best miracle worker. Despite no McDonald’s All-Americans on his roster, Bennett has the Cavaliers en route to a second consecutive ACC regular-season title. He also has a pair of Sweet 16 appearances under his belt at Virginia and Washington State. London may have saved his job with a three-game improvement in 2014, but the Cavs’ football coach still has three losing season in five years.

 

10. Pittsburgh

Football: Pat Narduzzi | Basketball: Jamie Dixon

Few coaching tandems seem so perfect for their particular school. Dixon has already established a rugged, blue collar program with Pitt basketball, and Narduzzi did the same with his defenses at Michigan State. Dixon’s overall resume at Pitt is great (10 NCAA appearances in 12 seasons), but Pitt is flirting with its second NCAA miss in four years. The Panthers also haven’t reached the Sweet 16 since 2009. Narduzzi is a first-time head coach, but he was in demand as one of the best DCs in the country at Michigan State.

 

11. Clemson

Football: Dabo Swinney | Basketball: Brad Brownell

Swinney has returned Clemson to national prominence. The Tigers have won 10 or more games in four consecutive seasons and finished four seasons in a row in the AP top 25, the first time either has happened since the late '80s/early '90s. The lingering question for 2015 is if he can do it without offensive coordinator Chad Morris. Clemson is no basketball power, but Brownell hasn’t exactly elevated the Tigers, either. He has one NCAA appearance in five seasons. His win in the 2011 First Four is Clemson’s only NCAA win since 1997.

 

12. Georgia Tech

Football: Paul Johnson | Basketball: Brian Gregory

Just when it appeared Georgia Tech hand slid into mediocrity, Johnson led the Yellow Jackets to an 11-win season, a top-10 finish and an Orange Bowl victory. Johnson is unconventional beyond the option offense, but he led Georgia Tech to an ACC title in 2009 and has never had a losing conference season. Gregory is headed to his fourth consecutive season with at least 12 conference losses in four seasons in Atlanta.

 

13. NC State

Football: Dave Doeren | Basketball: Mark Gottfried

Doeren improved from 3-9 overall and 0-8 in the ACC in his first season to 8-5 and 3-5 in his second. Now, the question is if he can take that momentum into his third season. Gottfried has upped the talent level for the basketball program but has delivered sporadic results. Consistency, though, eludes the Wolfpack in basketball right now.

 

14. Boston College

Football: Steve Addazio | Basketball: Jim Christian

Addazio has two identical seasons of 7-6 overall and 4-4 in the ACC, two seasons which actually exceeded preseason expectations. Boston College will have its fourth consecutive losing season overall in Christian’s first season with the program. He has a long climb ahead.

 

15. Wake Forest

Football: Dave Clawson | Basketball: Danny Manning

Clawson and Manning had successful runs at Bowling Green and Tulsa, respectively, but Wake Forest hasn’t given them much to work with in their first seasons in Winston-Salem.

Teaser:
Ranking the ACC's Football-Basketball Coaching Tandems
Post date: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 08:30
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It’s not just you: The Duke-North Carolina rivalry is played a little later these days.

 

The two Tobacco Road foes meet for the first time on Feb. 18 this season. Last year, they didn’t meet for the first time until Feb. 20. Compare that to years past when the first game generally will be played in early February.

 

The late start doesn’t make the meeting any less interesting. Perhaps even it raises the stakes as both teams have more of their regular season resumes behind them. A win for Duke would be another item on a ledger for a potential No. 1 seed. A win for North Carolina would be a key building block for the Tar Heels’ postseason run.

 

North Carolina at Duke

 

Site: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C.

Time: Wednesday, 9 p.m. Eastern

TV: ESPN

 

What’s up for grabs?

Duke will look to continue its recent dominance of the rivalry. The Blue Devils are 8-3 against North Carolina since 2009 with only one of those losses coming at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Beyond that, postseason considerations are at play. Both teams will have trouble catching Virginia for the ACC regular season title, so both will try to hang onto a top-four finish in the standings and a bye to the quarterfinals in the ACC tournament. Duke is No. 3 in the league at 9-3 while North Carolina is tied for fourth with Louisville at 8-4.

 

You’ll tune in to watch:

Another strong Duke performance or a bounceback effort from North Carolina. The second-half comeback against Virginia on Jan. 31 seemed to re-energize Duke. At that point, the Blue Devils had gone 3-3 in their last six games. Starting with the Virginia win, Duke has won five in a row, including a 30-point rout of Notre Dame. North Carolina will need to be better than what it has shown if it’s going to stop Duke’s momentum. The Tar Heels are starting to look like a team with a clear ceiling. They’ve lost three of their last four to Louisville, Virginia and Pittsburgh and have not defeated a sure-fire NCAA Tournament team since Jan. 10.

 

Pivotal player: Justise Winslow

Duke’s Big Two freshmen of Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones is back to being a Big Three. Winslow is averaging 14 points per game since going scoreless against St. John’s on Jan. 25. Duke is averaging 120 points per 100 possessions during Winslow’s hot streak.

 

Biggest question: Can North Carolina stop anyone?

North Carolina is coming off a miserable defensive performance against Pittsburgh. The Panthers couldn’t miss against the Tar Heels, averaging 1.44 points per possession, shooting 65 percent from the field and assisting on 30 of 37 made field goals. Roy Williams says North Carolina guarded capably in that game, and Pitt just made shots. That may be true, but UNC is 10th in the ACC in defensive efficiency and hasn’t held an opponent to under one point per possession since facing Wake Forest on Jan. 24.

 

Predictions:

David Fox: Duke 80-67

Mitch Light: Duke 76-70

Jake Rose: Duke 78-66

Teaser:
College Basketball Game Preview: North Carolina at Duke Preview and Predictions
Post date: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 08:20
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Seton Hall suspended guard Sterling Gibbs for two games for throwing a punch at Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono while fighting for a loose ball during the Wildcats’ 80-54 win Monday.

 

Gibbs was ejected for a flagrant foul for the incident in the second half.

 

Gibbs was clearly remorseful after the incident, apologizing publicly to Arcidiacono on Twitter. To the Villanova guard’s credit, he accepted the apology and moved on.

 

 

In a statement after the game, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said:

 

“I am extremely disappointed in Sterling’s actions tonight. Our student-athletes are entrusted to uphold the morals and values of good sportsmanship and personal conduct that we preach to them on a daily basis. Tonight’s incident involved a young man of high character showing poor judgement in the heat of competition. It was regrettable, and we will address the issue.”

 

In the immediate aftermath, ESPN analyst Jay Williams tweeted that Gibbs should be suspended for the remainder of the season.

 

 

 

 

The Gibbs incident is the latest setback in a season that started with promise for Seton Hall. The Pirates, who have not reached the NCAA Tournament since 2006, started 12-2. However, Seton Hall has lost five in a row and eight of its last 10 in conference play.

 

Gibbs and star freshman Isaiah Whitehead nearly came to blows after a loss to Georgetown last week, reported The Setonian, the school’s campus newspaper. Starting guard Jaren Sina abruptly left the team last week.

 

Willard attempted to downplay the issues surrounding his team.

 

“There is no chaos outside the program,” Willard told NJ.com. “The only chaos is you guys (the media).”

Teaser:
Seton Hall's Sterling Gibbs Suspended After Punching Villanova's Ryan Arcidiacono
Post date: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 13:52
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Path: /mlb/jim-cantore-shares-incredible-images-fenway-covered-snow
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Opening Day is less than two months away.

 

Just keep repeating that, Boston Red Sox fans. Maybe it will help warm the soul. After one look at Fenway Park, though, maybe not.

 

Boston is enduring its snowiest month on record, and not even Fenway can escape.

 

The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore and his producer Steve Petyerak tweeted several images of Fenway buried in snow during the last few weeks. The white stuff is piled up to the right field wall but not quite to the Green Monster. Yet.

 

The images are pretty remarkable.

 

The Red Sox home opener is April 13 against the Nationals, assuming the snow can be cleared by then.

 

 

 

 

 

Teaser:
Jim Cantore Shares Incredible Images of Fenway Covered in Snow
Post date: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 11:16
All taxonomy terms: College Football, College Basketball, SEC, News
Path: /college-basketball/ranking-secs-football-basketball-coaching-tandems
Body:

The SEC in general is regarded as the nation’s most football-mad conference. That much is true, but no longer is that coming at the expense of basketball.

 

Football coaches in the league generally will have among the highest salaries in the country and the most tools at their disposal to contend for national championships.

 

Outside of Kentucky, basketball hasn’t been as much of a consistent priority.

 

All it takes to see that this is changing is a quick peek at Auburn. The Tigers have one of the top football coaches in the league in Gus Malzahn, arguably the best offensive mind in the SEC. Now, they have one of the top basketball coaches.

 

After rolling the dice on Jeff Lebo and Tony Barbee, Auburn went with a proven winner in the SEC and a big-time personality in Bruce Pearl. That move gives Auburn the best one-two coaching punch in the SEC.

 

The goal of our coach tandem rankings is to look at each football and basketball duo as a pair. In general, we’re looking at the duos most likely to keep each school’s fans happy and entertained from the start of football season through the end of basketball season.

 

So even though Alabama has a great football coach and Kentucky has a great basketball coach, their counterparts on the other side of the athletic department are working to pick up the slack — with varying degrees of success.

 

1. Auburn

Football: Gus Malzahn | Basketball: Bruce Pearl

During the course of two seasons, Auburn made two hires that changed the trajectory of its football and basketball program. Football had been relatively consistent back to the Pat Dye era, but it was clear Malzahn and his up-tempo, run-oriented offense brought something special to the Tigers. He was the offensive coordinator of the 2010 championship team and took Auburn back to the title game in the first season after his return in 2013. The ascent won’t be as rapid for the basketball program under Pearl, who has reached the Sweet 16 or better in four of his last seven seasons as head coach. Still, he’s brought in elite recruits and already has Auburn basketball fans following his cult of personality.

 

2. Kentucky

Football: Mark Stoops | Basketball: John Calipari

Calipari has simply led the Kentucky basketball program to an undefeated start this season — and that’s on the heels of an appearance in the national championship game. Simply put, no one in the game is better at recruiting top talent, and he may never get the credit he deserves in managing the egos of players who are one step away from the NBA Draft lottery. The football program is a tougher sell, but Stoops is doing good work. Stoops signed a top-25 class in 2014 and kept the 2015 class respectable. Kentucky improved from 2-10 to 5-7 in Stoops’ second season and could have been bowl eligible if not for close calls with Florida and Louisville.

 

3. Arkansas

Football: Bret Bielema | Basketball: Mike Anderson

Say this about Arkansas’ coaching duo: They create a clear identity. Bielema knows exactly what he wants to do with his program — build a punishing run game behind an imposing offensive line. That led to a surprising turnaround in his second season with the Hogs, going from 3-9 to 7-6 in 2014. Anderson has a similar identity with the 40 Minutes of Hell inspired by his mentor Nolan Richardson. The turnaround has been a little slower for Anderson, though this will be his best season — and first NCAA appearance — in four years at Arkansas.

 

4. South Carolina

Football: Steve Spurrier | Basketball: Frank Martin

We liked this duo a little more a year ago. At that point, Spurrier had South Carolina on a streak of three consecutive 11-win seasons and top-10 finishes. On the basketball side, Martin deserved the benefit of the doubt as he tried to revive South Carolina’s moribund basketball program. History still says these guys will figure it out, but this has not been a great year for South Carolina’s football and men’s basketball programs. Six combined conference wins makes this a year to forget.

 

5. Alabama

Football: Nick Saban | Basketball: Anthony Grant

Saban has few peers in college football coaching. In a ranking of football coaches alone, Saban would be at or near the top, depending on where Ohio State’s Urban Meyer fits. Basketball is another story. Grant arrived at Alabama as one of the hot young coaches in the sport after his tenure at VCU. The Crimson Tide, though, have been inconsistent on the court despite talented rosters. One NCAA Tournament appearance in six seasons might not be enough for Grant to stay in Tuscaloosa.

 

6. Florida

Football: Jim McElwain | Basketball: Billy Donovan

The Spurrier-Donovan and Meyer-Donovan duos were among the best tandems in the country. The constant has been Donovan, who is having an uncharacteristically subpar season after three Elite Eights and a Final Four. That said, he should win 500 career games by the time he’s 50. McElwain’s track record as a head coach is only three years long, but he took Colorado State from four wins to eight to 10.

 

7. Ole Miss

Football: Hugh Freeze | Basketball: Andy Kennedy

Freeze has led Ole Miss on a steady rise on the football field from seven wins to eight to nine. The latest season was not a hollow nine wins by any means as the Rebels were ranked as high as No. 3 and reached one of the coveted Playoff contract bowl slots in the Peach Bowl. Meanwhile, Kennedy has been Ole Miss for nine years, hard to believe as it is. He finally got over the NIT hump in 2013 with a trip to the NCAA round of 32. He should lead Ole Miss to the second NCAA berth of his tenure this season.

 

8. Texas A&M

Football: Kevin Sumlin | Basketball: Billy Kennedy

Sumlin has proven that Texas A&M will be a factor in the SEC and in recruiting. He’s delivered upsets of No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Auburn, a Heisman trophy and a top-10 finish — yet overall his teams are 13-11 in the SEC. Kennedy has yet to deliver a 20-win season to the Aggies in four seasons in basketball. If that doesn’t change this year, it probably will next season when the Aggies add a highly touted signing class.

 

9. LSU

Football: Les Miles | Basketball: Johnny Jones

Perhaps no coaching duo in the country causes more high blood pressure among its fans. Miles’ teams have won 10 more games in four of the last five seasons, but end-of-game situations have been — shall we say — dramatic. Jones’ teams have had the talent to go toe-to-toe with teams like Kentucky, but they’ve been susceptible to puzzling losses during the last two seasons. LSU’s conference record in football has declined every year since 2011, and the basketball program has yet to reach the NCAA Tournament under Jones.

 

10. Georgia

Football: Mark Richt | Basketball: Mark Fox

The Marks make up the longest-tenured football/basketball tandem in the SEC with 19 seasons combined. They’ve also been the victim of a little bad luck in recent years. Richt has watched key injuries claim some of his top players on offense (though his team won 18 games the last two seasons anyway), and Fox watched players unexpectedly leave early for the NBA Draft (though his team should reach the NCAA Tournament this season). Georgia football hasn’t won an SEC title since 2005, and Georgia basketball hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 2002.

 

11. Mississippi State

Football: Dan Mullen | Basketball: Rick Ray

Mullen enjoyed a breakout last season, taking a consistent bowl team to College Football Playoff contention. Mullen was already the first Mississippi State coach to go to four consecutive bowl games before going 10-3 and reaching the Orange Bowl last season. Ray has a major rebuild on his hands with the basketball program, but the Bulldogs have already eclipsed last year’s SEC win total (from three to five) and could pass their overall win total (14) from his first season.

 

12. Missouri

Football: Gary Pinkel | Basketball: Kim Anderson

Since 2007, Pinkel has led Missouri to two Big 12 championship games and two SEC championship games. The Tigers are 0-4 in title games, but Mizzou’s status as an overachiever in both conferences under Pinkel is ironclad. Missouri isn’t a recruiting powerhouse by any means, but the Tigers have been competitive with the powers in two conferences at the top of their games. In basketball, Anderson gets an incomplete grade at best. Coming from Division II, Anderson was a questionable hire to begin with, and his first roster at Mizzou is hardly SEC-ready.

 

13. Tennessee

Football: Butch Jones | Basketball: Donnie Tyndall

For the first time since Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee may have a football coach who will stick. Jones delivered the Volunteers’ first winning season since 2009 and picked up major momentum in recruiting during the last two cycles. Optimism is at a high point, but the Volunteers are still seeking their first winning conference season since 2007. Tyndall, a standout coach at the mid-major level, has done fine work with a rebuilding basketball team in his first season, but NCAA issues from Southern Miss are following him in Knoxville.

 

14. Vanderbilt

Football: Derek Mason | Basketball: Kevin Stallings

Mason has the unfortunate task of following up James Franklin at a place that just started to get used to competing in the SEC. Mason went 3-9 overall and 0-8 in the SEC in his debut season and immediately shuffled his coaching staff. Stallings is the second-longest tenured basketball coach in the league after Donovan and is generally regarded as one of the league’s best minds. Yet since the Jeffery Taylor/John Jenkins/Festus Ezeli class left, Vanderbilt is 19-29 in the SEC in three seasons.

Teaser:
Ranking the SEC's Football-Basketball Coaching Tandems
Post date: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
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Michigan freshman basketball player Austin Hatch will receive the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Most Courageous Award for 2015 for his perseverance in the face of unthinkable adversity.

 

If you haven’t heard about Hatch’s background, you should. It’s been one of the most inspiring stories of the basketball season.

 

Hatch survived two separate plane crashes over the course of eight years, but lost members of his immediate family in both. Four years ago, after the second plane crash, Hatch spent two months in a coma with a traumatic brain injury.

 

After intensive rehab, Hatch eventually enrolled at Michigan where John Beilein honored his scholarship. He’s played in four games this season.

 

When Hatch was 8, he and his father survived a plane crash that claimed the life of his mother, older sister and younger brother. In 2011, after Hatch’s commitment to Michigan, Hatch was involved in another plane crash that claimed the life of his father and stepmother.

 

Hatch has shared his story several times this season. It’s worth your time to check it out:

 

 

 

Here’s a clip from Hatch’s first appearance in an exhibition game against Wayne State:

 

 

Teaser:
Michigan's Austin Hatch Receives USBWA Most Courageous Award
Post date: Monday, February 16, 2015 - 18:26
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/too-soon-rivals-will-actively-monitor-two-sixth-grade-prospects
Body:

Projecting how high school athletes might perform on the college and pro level is difficult enough.

 

Now, Rivals.com will monitor at least two sixth graders for the first time in the history of the site.

 

In a post last week about a camp in Boston for middle school athletes, Rivals mentioned Tyson Thornton of Springfield, Mass., and Daron Bryden of Enfield, Conn., will be the first sixth grade prospects the site will “actively monitor.”

 

Monitoring eighth graders isn’t new for Rivals. The site is tracking as many as 15 eighth graders, but no seventh graders, according to SI.com. Even colleges have been known to take commitments from prospects as young as 13 or 14, even though they can’t by rule hand out written scholarship offers until the start of their senior years.

 

Sixth graders — that’s the class of 2021, by the way — is new and questionable ground.

 

Just as a point of clarity, let’s point out that the two sixth graders were moved up at the camp to compete with the eighth graders, so at least in the eyes of the NextGen Boston organizers, these kids are ahead of the curve. And Thornton is a 5-foot-11, 167-pound sixth grader.

 

But Bryden is a 5-foot-2 quarterback. By “actively monitor,” does Rivals intend on charting the kids’ growth spurts in real time? How often will Rivals recruiting analysts be in touch with middle school kids (or parents)?

 

Bryden actually has a pretty interesting story. Both his mother and father are deaf, though he and his siblings are not. Bryden also appeared on “Kids Do the Darndest Things” when he beat NFL quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in an accuracy competition.

 

 

But this is all pretty weird, right? Covering 11-year-olds as recruiting athletes or college or pro prospects is a little overboard isn’t helpful to anybody, is it?

 

Teaser:
Rivals Will Start to Actively Monitor At Least Two Sixth-Grade Prospects
Post date: Monday, February 16, 2015 - 17:25
All taxonomy terms: College Football, College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/ranking-big-12s-football-basketball-coaching-tandems
Body:

The Big 12 academic year has been an experiment in contrasts in recent years.

 

In football, new powers have taken over with Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State claiming championships since 2011.

 

Yet in basketball, the old guard — the only true blue blood in the league — continues to rule as Kansas appears headed to its 11th consecutive Big 12 title.

 

It makes sense, then, that of the top football-basketball coaching tandems on our list, one comes from a traditional power and the other comes from a new-age contender.

 

Oklahoma tops our list even after a lackluster football season by Bob Stoops’ standards. The Sooners, in general, are contenders in both football and men’s basketball under Stoops and Lon Kruger, respectively.

 

That said, Baylor is quickly gaining. Art Briles has claimed the last two Big 12 football titles, and basketball coach Scott Drew looks to have one of the better teams of his tenure, only a year after reaching the Sweet 16.

 

Indeed, these are strange times in the Big 12 when Baylor — a non-factor in both sports a decade ago — is pressing to have the most competitive program in an academic year.

 

The goal of our coach tandem rankings is to look at each football and basketball duo as a pair. In general, we’re looking at the duos most likely to keep each school’s fans happy and entertained from the start of football season through the end of basketball season.

 

That means it may look at little strange to see a top football coach or top basketball coach near the bottom of the rankings. That’s nothing against, say, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self. Rather, the football side is the one that has to kick it up a notch to at least give Jayhawks fans something to cheer in September and October before basketball season rolls around.

 

1. Oklahoma

Football: Bob Stoops | Basketball: Lon Kruger

Even though Stoops is coming off an 8-5 campaign, the most disappointing since he’s been a head coach, Oklahoma has the most solid coaching duo in the league. Stoops has won at least 10 games in four of the last five seasons and made more BCS games than any other coach under the old system. Kruger, whose forte is rebuilding programs, has completed his reclamation of OU basketball with his best team this season. No program is more likely to be in a major bowl game and the NCAA Tournament in the same season as Oklahoma.

 

2. Baylor

Football: Art Briles | Basketball: Scott Drew

The year before Briles was hired, Baylor football was riding 12 consecutive losing seasons. When Drew was hired, Baylor was emerging from one of the biggest scandals in college basketball history. It’s tough to find a duo who improved their school’s situation more from the day they were hired until 2015. Briles had Baylor on the verge of the College Football Playoff and won the last two Big 12 titles. And Drew has twice taken Baylor basketball to the Elite Eight and once to the Sweet 16.

 

3. Kansas State

Football: Bill Snyder | Basketball: Bruce Weber

Kansas State failed to sign a top 50 recruiting class in 2015, but that doesn’t matter. We’ll end up talking about the Wildcats as a top 10 team at some point anyway. That’s the deal for Snyder, whose teams have been the biggest overachievers in college football. Weber’s team has fallen below expectations this season, but he’s still two years removed from a 27-win season and a share of the Big 12 title.

 

4. TCU

Football: Gary Patterson | Basketball: Trent Johnson

In only TCU’s third season in the Big 12, the Horned Frogs won a share of the league and were in playoff contention until the final week of the season. Most of all, Patterson deserves credit for altering his offensive philosophy for a 12-1 season in 2014, not an easy ask for any coach who had already been wildly successful earlier in his career with two BCS bowls out of the Mountain West. Johnson, who took both Nevada and Stanford to the Sweet 16, has an uphill battle with TCU’s neglected basketball program, but the Frogs’ 14 wins this season is the most of his tenure.

 

5. Texas

Football: Charlie Strong | Basketball: Rick Barnes

Is there any reason why Texas shouldn’t have the best coaching tandem in the league? Not long ago, Texas indeed had one of the top duos. From 2003-05, the Longhorns reached a Final Four and won a football title under Mack Brown and Barnes. Now, both programs are in a state of flux. Strong is entering Year Two of his project to return the Longhorns to national contention. Barnes has reached the NCAA Tournament in 15 of 16 seasons at Texas, but this season is shaping up to be another disappointing campaign. Barnes’ preseason top 10 team is flirting with a losing record in the Big 12.

 

6. Oklahoma State

Football: Mike Gundy | Basketball: Travis Ford

Are either Gundy or Ford the most accomplished coaches at their individual sports in the Big 12? No. But remember, this is a ranking of tandems, and it’s tough to argue Oklahoma State keeps things interesting from the start of football season until the end of basketball season. Gundy has led Oklahoma State to four of Oklahoma State’s 10 top 20 finishes all time, including No. 3 and a Big 12 title in 2011. Ford has made up for last season’s disappointing 21-13 campaign with a surprising top-25 team this year.

 

7. Kansas

Football: David Beaty | Basketball: Bill Self

Remember: This is a ranking of coaching tandems as a duo. Self is is on his way to his 11th consecutive Big 12 title, but football is on its third football coach since its last bowl game. The football side made a bold move in hiring the 44-year-old ace recruiter Beaty. The former Texas A&M position coach is an unknown commodity, but being an unknown is a step up from his predecessor, who was known to not be very good.

 

8. Iowa State

Football: Paul Rhoads | Basketball: Fred Hoiberg

Iowa State needs to be creative to be competitive. The Cyclones have creativity at both spots. Hoiberg as turned Iowa State into Transfer U and one of the few places that plays an up-tempo — and successful — offensive system. Rhoads has been notable for his impassioned speeches, but he has one winning season and a career 14-48 Big 12 record in six years.

 

9. West Virginia

Football: Dana Holgorsen | Basketball: Bob Huggins

No doubt, this is one of the more interesting college pairings in terms of personality. And as a Big East tandem, it was one of the best. Holgorsen won the Big East in his first season, but he’s 18-20 in three seasons in the Big 12. Huggins has 758 career wins and reached the Final Four with WVU in 2010, but he’s yet to reach the NCAA Tournament as a Big 12 member.

 

10. Texas Tech

Football: Kliff Kingsbury | Basketball: Tubby Smith

This would make an interesting buddy cop show. The two are separated in age by 28 years. Kingsbury is Coach Cool. Tubby Smith is ... not as cool. What would make both coaches more cool, though, would be more wins. Since starting his career with seven consecutive wins, Kingsbury is 5-13. Meanwhile, Smith led Kentucky to the 1998 national title but hasn’t had a winning conference record in the Big Ten or Big 12 since leaving Kentucky. 

Teaser:
Ranking the Big 12's Football-Basketball Coaching Tandems
Post date: Monday, February 16, 2015 - 08:20
Path: /college-football/minnesota-mascot-annoying-other-big-ten-teams-cheesy-valentines
Body:

Watch out, @TheOregonDuck, you’re about to have company as the best college  mascot on Twitter.

 

@GoldyTheGopher is finding a fond place in our hearts — appropriately — this Valentine’s Day weekend with Valentines for the other Big Ten mascots.

 

Just like in elementary school, everyone in the class gets a Valentine.

 

If you like the Big Ten, Valentines and bad puns, this should be a delight:

 

Teaser:
Minnesota Mascot is Annoying Other Big Ten Teams With Cheesy Valentines
Post date: Friday, February 13, 2015 - 12:04

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