Jeff Eisenberg

  • Kansas State turns four-point lead into two-point loss in 3.8 seconds

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 hr ago

    Between the strength of the Big 12 and a dearth of quality non-conference wins, Kansas State already faced an uphill climb to reach the NCAA tournament entering Sunday's game against Texas Southern

    The path is now even steeper for the Wildcats after they collapsed in stunning fashion during the final seconds of their 58-56 loss to the Tigers.

    Kansas State led by four points when guard Jevon Thomas made the mistake of fouling Tonnie Collier while contesting his 3-point attempt with 3.8 seconds to go. Collier sank the first two free throws and intentionally missed the third one, a play that almost never works except this time when Chris Thomas scored a game-tying put-back with 0.9 seconds to go after Kansas State's Nino Williams crumbled to the ground on the box-out.

    Kansas State's loss is especially damaging because Texas-Southern entered Sunday's game with a 2-9 record this season. Though the Tigers have played a tough schedule and own an impressive win at Michigan State earlier this month, the SWAC contenders are still 178th in the KenPom rankings and will surely drag down the Wildcats' RPI.

  • The Report Card: Two bad losses highlight Pac-12's rough night

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 hrs ago

    DATE: Sunday, Dec. 28

    A- — Alabama

    From Maryland's Mark Turgeon, to Seton Hall's Kevin Willard, to Indiana's Tom Crean, many of the coaches that entered the season under the most pressure to win are off to good starts. Add Alabama coach Anthony Grant to that list after the Crimson Tide's 56-50 victory over visiting UCLA on Sunday evening.

    This is far from a vintage UCLA team but Alabama's defense was still impressive. Norman Powell went 1 of 8 from the field and Bryce Alford missed two wild 3-point attempts in the final 38 seconds as the Bruins shot just 30.8 percent from the field for the game. Ricky Tarrant provided all the offense Alabama needed, scoring 24 points and outscoring UCLA in the first half by himself 18-17.

    Alabama's victory improves the Tide to 9-3 with no bad losses and now a pair of decent wins against UCLA and Arizona State. Meanwhile the Bruins (8-5) have dropped three straight against Gonzaga, Kentucky and Alabama with road games at Colorado and Utah and home games against Stanford and Cal still to come before the toughest stretch of their schedule concludes.

    C- — Harvard

    F — Kansas State

    F — Washington, Cal


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  • Michigan ticket prices soar in hopes of Jim Harbaugh sighting

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 23 hrs ago

    The most expensive Michigan basketball game on StubHub isn't for the Wolverines' matchups against Big Ten favorite Wisconsin, in-state foe Michigan State or ancient rival Ohio State.

    None of those are even close to as expensive as Tuesday's run-of-the-mill game against unranked Illinois. 

    The reason the cheapest ticket for the game against the Illini is selling for $132.35 as of Sunday morning is that Michigan fans are willing to spend big bucks for the chance to see Jim Harbaugh speak at halftime. reported that Michigan has reached an agreement with the San Francisco 49ers coach and that he will be introduced as the school's next football coach at a news conference Tuesday morning.

    Tickets to the Illinois game are selling for as much as four or five times the price of similar seats to Michigan's other Big Ten games.

    (Thanks, Reddit College Basketball)

  • The Report Card: Gonzaga passes its biggest WCC test

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    DATE: Saturday, Dec. 27

    A — Gonzaga

    What should be the toughest challenge it faces in WCC play is now behind Gonzaga before the calendar even turns to January. The Zags rallied for an 87-80 victory at BYU on Saturday evening in a battle between the perennial WCC favorite and probably its biggest challenger this season.

    Gonzaga led by 16 in the first half and trailed by six midway through the second half, but the Zags closed out the game with a Kevin Pangos-led surge. The point guard scored 18 points in the second half and hit a trio of huge threes that silenced a roaring BYU crowd and flipped momentum to Gonzaga's side.

    It's certainly not a foregone conclusion Gonzaga will go unbeaten in WCC play — winning at Saint Mary's and San Diego will be a challenge and the Zags have a history of dropping an unexpected road game somewhere against an opponent more motivated than they are. Nonetheless, Gonzaga will be a heavy favorite in every game it plays from now until the postseason and will have a good chance to enter March Madness with just one loss at Arizona. 

    A- — Tyler Ulis

    B+ — Josh Smith

    B- — Colorado State


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  • DeMarcus Cousins was not impressed by Chris Jones' flopping

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    One of Louisville's biggest problems during Saturday afternoon's loss to Kentucky was that its starting point guard turned out to be better at acting than shooting.

    When Kentucky's Dakari Johnson swung his elbows to try to clear space after securing a rebound early in the second half, Jones flailed and fell to the ground as though he had been struck in the face. He continued the charade by getting up wincing and holding his jaw while referees went to the monitor to review the play.

    Of course, replays proved that Jones had delivered an acting job worthy of academy award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, who was in attendance clad in a Louisville hat and shirt and cheering on the Cardinals. Johnson's elbow missed Jones' face by such a wide margin that ESPN analyst Jay Bilas described the point guard's flop as "embarrassing."

    Jones' acting also inspired a series of amused tweets from former Kentucky star and current Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins.


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  • Tyler Ulis helps top-ranked Kentucky thwart Louisville's upset bid

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Top-ranked Kentucky can thank the smallest player on its team for helping it survive its biggest challenge of non-conference play.

    Five-foot-9 freshman Tyler Ulis provided a much-needed offensive spark in a battle between the nation's two best defenses, leading the Wildcats to a 58-50 road victory over previously undefeated fourth-ranked Louisville.

    With starting point guard Andrew Harrison suffering through a nightmarish six-turnover performance against Louisville's relentless ball pressure, Kentucky coach John Calipari turned to Ulis for much of the second half. The Chicago native validated that trust by stabilizing an error-prone offense and delivering a team-high 14 points, all but two of which came in the decisive second half when the Wildcats built a double-digit lead and hung on for a fairly comfortable win.

    Suffering another defeat against Kentucky has to be extremely frustrating for a Louisville team that hoped to avenge its Sweet 16 loss to the Wildcats from last March.

    That performance from Ulis was much-needed during a game in which defense reigned at both ends of the court.

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  • Mike Lonergan's tactical move fuels George Washington's upset

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    The most memorable part of Wednesday night's luau thrown for participants in the Diamond Head Classic was George Washington coach Mike Lonergan donning a coconut bra and grass skirt, jumping on stage and performing a hula dance.

    The way his team performed in Thursday's tournament title game, Lonergan probably had to resist the urge to dance a second straight night. 

    George Washington notched its most impressive win of the season, defeating 11th-ranked Wichita State 60-54 to win an in-season tournament for the first time in a decade. The Shockers have come back to win several games this season, but the Colonials did it at Wichita State's expense Thursday night, finishing the game on a 20-6 surge thanks to a strategic move Lonergan made in the second half. 

    Two steals by Kethan Savage sparked the George Washington comeback. He swiped careless passes by Darius Carter and Tekele Cotton and turned both into transition layups, trimming an eight-point deficit to one and forcing a rare timeout from Gregg Marshall with just over five minutes to play.

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  • Freshman-laden UNLV grows up in time to upset Arizona

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 5 days ago

    A youthful but talented Rebels team replacing all five starters from last season had to jell quickly enough to avoid being buried by a non-league slate featuring a trio of top 15 opponents, three more power-conference foes and several tricky mid-majors.

    Progress had been slower than UNLV would have liked until Tuesday night when the Rebels unleashed by far their best performance of the season on unsuspecting third-ranked Arizona. Sophomore Christian Wood and freshman Rashad Vaughn combined for 45 points to rally host UNLV to a 71-67 victory in a game the Rebels trailed by as many as eight points late in the first half.

    Toppling Arizona improved UNLV to 8-3 so far this season and gave the Rebels the profile-enhancing signature win they had been lacking.

    What powered UNLV in the second half oddly enough was actually abandoning its motion offense and attacking Arizona's vaunted defense with isolation plays designed to take advantage of specific matchups. Wood in particular thrived as a result of that change, scoring 16 of his 24 points in the second half, many by attacking Brandon Ashley off the dribble from the elbow.

  • Stanford topples Texas to secure a badly needed marquee win

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 5 days ago

    DePaul has not beaten a power-conference team that went on to make the NCAA tournament during Oliver Purnell's five-year tenure, so it was tempting to give up on Stanford after its mind-numbing 15-point loss to the Blue Demons over Thanksgiving weekend. 

    In retrospect, perhaps that was a little too hasty. 

    Stanford showed it may yet live up to its preseason billing as an upper-echelon Pac-12 team Tuesday night when it became the first team besides top-ranked Kentucky to defeat Texas this season. Chasson Randle and Anthony Brown scored a combined 47 points to lead the visiting Cardinal to a 74-71 overtime victory over the ninth-ranked Longhorns.   

    Upsetting Texas improves Stanford's record to 7-3 and ensures it won't enter conference play without a marquee win. The Cardinal had been in a funk since the DePaul loss, requiring second-half comebacks to escape at home against LMU and Denver before falling 79-77 at BYU on Friday night.

    Texas has survived without Taylor for nearly the past six weeks, but Tuesday's loss showed why the Longhorns need him to recover from his broken wrist in order to contend in the Big 12 or make a deep NCAA tournament run.

  • Two-time plane crash survivor Austin Hatch scores for Michigan

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 5 days ago

    At a time when his school's football team is home for bowl season and his school's basketball team is suffering through a miserable December, Austin Hatch still gave Michigan fans something to cheer about Monday night.

    The two-time plane crash survivor scored his first point in a regular season game late in the Wolverines' 72-56 victory over Coppin State.

    On Hatch's first possession after checking into the game with 1:22 remaining and Michigan leading by 21, the 6-foot-6 freshman was fouled attempting a top of the key 3-pointer. Hatch missed his first and third free throws but drained the second one, earning him pats on the back and high fives from his teammates and a standing ovation from the Crisler Arena crowd. 

    The free throw was monumental for Hatch and the Wolverines because of what it took for the Indiana native to still be playing basketball these days.

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