Jeff Eisenberg

  • Kansas, Indiana highlight this year's Maui Invitational bracket

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 19 hrs ago

    It's no mystery what potential title game Maui Invitational organizers wanted to create when they designed this year's bracket.

    They were trying to set up a championship clash between Kansas and Indiana when they placed the two blue bloods on opposite sides of the draw.

    The Maui Invitational bracket released Tuesday has the reigning Big 12 champion Jayhawks pitted against host Chaminade in the opening round of the tournament. Assuming Kansas avoids an upset of monumental proportions, it would meet the winner of UCLA-UNLV in the semifinals.

    Indiana will open against Wake Forest on its side of the bracket. The winner of that game will likely meet a much-improved Vanderbilt team that finished last season on a hot streak unless the Commodores fail to get past rebuilding St. John's in the opening round.

    A Kansas-Indiana matchup would be an appealing one given that both teams will likely begin next season ranked in the top 15 in the nation.

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  • Ole Miss star guard Stefan Moody arrested for DUI

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left tibia, Ole Miss guard Stefan Moody's offseason got even worse this past weekend.

    The SEC's leading returning scorer was arrested early Saturday morning near campus for DUI. The Jackson Clarion-Ledger first reported the news on Monday. 

    The news is far from ideal for an Ole Miss program that is counting on Moody to be its leader next season.

    The 5-foot-10 senior guard started 33 of 34 games last season and averaged 16.6 points and 2.4 assists while leading the Rebels to a surprise NCAA tournament bid. He also led the SEC in free throw percentage and 3-point field goals made and finished third in steals. 

    Moody is expected to recover from his injury in time for the start of the season. Ole Miss has yet to make an announcement regarding whether he'll face punishment for his DUI arrest.

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  • Coveted Memphis transfer Austin Nichols picks Virginia

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    Virginia's chances of remaining an ACC title contender beyond next season improved significantly on Sunday when the Cavaliers landed a transfer many of the top programs in the nation coveted.

    Austin Nichols, Memphis' leading scorer and shot blocker this past season, chose Virginia over a host of other suitors, a source confirmed Sunday afternoon to Yahoo Sports.The 6-foot-9 forward will have two years of eligibility left after he sits out next season. 

    It's no surprise Virginia secured Nichols since Tony Bennett's team has been considered the favorite since earlier this month when Memphis lifted transfer restrictions that would have prevented the Cavaliers staff from speaking with the forward.

    Virginia heavily recruited Nichols out of high school before the former top 50 prospect chose hometown Memphis instead. The Cavaliers also have a built-in advantage due to the connection between Nichols' ex-AAU coach Ernie Kuyper and the family of John Paul Jones, the man after whom Virginia's arena is named.

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  • Severity of violations show Tennessee was right to fire Donnie Tyndall

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    When Southern Mississippi released the notice of allegations it received from the NCAA on Friday evening, the severity of the violations allegedly committed by former coach Donnie Tyndall proved two things.

    Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart did not do a good enough job vetting Tyndall before hiring him almost 16 months ago, but Vols officials made the correct decision acknowledging that mistake and firing him after just one season this past spring.

    The most severe allegation against Tyndall asserts that he arranged fraudulent academic credit for seven prospective student athletes during his two-year tenure at Southern Miss from 2012-2014. That allegedly includes one instance in which Tyndall paid for the online courses himself. 

    It will be Tyndall's ability to refute the most severe of the allegations that will probably determine whether he will work again in college basketball anytime soon.

    That checkered history will not be easy to overcome.

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  • Three Arkansas players arrested on suspicion of forgery

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 5 days ago

    Arkansas was already poised for a fall next season after stars Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls both opted to enter the NBA draft.

    What happened Wednesday won't help.

    Arkansas has indefinitely suspended guard Anton Beard and forwards Jacorey Williams and Dustin Thomas after they were arrested on suspicion of first-degree forgery.

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that surveillance cameras caught all three players using counterfeit bills at three different locations last Friday and Saturday. First-degree forgery is a Class B felony in Arkansas that can carry a prison sentence of five to 20 years.

    "We have become aware of a pending legal issue involving three men's basketball student-athletes," a statement from the Arkansas athletic department said. "The student-athletes have been suspended indefinitely from the men's basketball program. Our continued expectation is that our student-athletes conduct themselves in an appropriate manner at all times."

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  • Kentucky self-reports minor recruiting violation involving Drake

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 6 days ago

    The most memorable part of Drake's ill-fated appearance at last year's Big Blue Madness may no longer be him donning Kentucky warmups, participating in the pre-scrimmage layup line and missing a jump shot by an embarrassingly large margin.

    That has been surpassed by something that happened a couple hours later.

    A Freedom of Information Act request by SportingNews.com revealed Wednesday that Kentucky has self-reported a minor NCAA rules violation stemming from impermissible communication between Drake and three prospective recruits who attended Big Blue Madness. Kentucky actually went so far as to send a cease-and-decist letter to Drake after he posed for photos with guard Charles Matthews, forward Carlton Bragg and center Stephen Zimmerman. 

    Me and Drake 😈😈 pic.twitter.com/f2gaOj8HVH

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  • Ex-North Carolina player: Women's basketball being made a 'scapegoat'

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 6 days ago

    Even though North Carolina likely won't respond to the NCAA's Notice of Allegations for another few weeks, one of the school's former women's basketball players fears she knows what's coming.

    Meghan Austin expects the Tar Heels athletic department to sacrifice its tradition-rich women's basketball program in hopes of avoiding serious punishment for its two biggest revenue producers, football and men's basketball. 

    Austin, a 2008 North Carolina graduate currently coaching at Montreat College, penned an editorial for the Raleigh News & Observer on Monday accusing the Tar Heels athletic department of already showing signs of making its women's basketball program "the scapegoat." Austin noted that men's coach Roy Williams got a contract extension earlier this summer but women's coach Sylvia Hatchell has thus far not received the same show of support.

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  • Why an AAU team chose to name itself the Motor City Muslims

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 7 days ago

    Only a few weeks before their debut tournament this past spring, members of the nation's only known all-Muslim AAU basketball team were still grappling with an important decision.

    Did they want to select a team name that would make it easier to blend in on the AAU circuit or one that would highlight the differences between themselves and their opponents?

    A brainstorming session among the players produced some tolerable yet unimaginative possibilities, from the Ballers, to the Warriors, to the Mustangs. Coach Clarence Archibald offered a more daring alternative when he suggested the team show pride in its faith and culture by opting for a name featuring either the word "Muslim" or "Islam."

    "Some of them were a little hesitant, but I pushed pretty hard," Archibald said. "We all know Islam often is unfortunately portrayed in a negative way in the media. I wanted to be sure we were easily identifiable as an all-Muslim team because it gave us an opportunity to change people's mindsets by showing them we're as American as home runs and apple pie."

    Video highlights of the Motor City Muslims:

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  • NCAA's tweaks to selection process are subtle but much-needed

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 8 days ago

    The NCAA announced a pair of subtle but smart tweaks to its selection and seeding process on Monday, one to prevent last March's biggest controversy from reoccurring and the other to avoid a potential issue that nearly arose at the top of the bracket.

    The first change ensures that the last four at-large teams voted into the 68-team tournament field no longer automatically are sent to the First Four. Now the selection committee has the freedom to elevate one or more into the main draw if the ensuing seed scrubbing process reveals they a stronger resume than a team initially voted in ahead of them.  

    “It’s a small, yet significant, alteration to the language outlining our seeding process,” said Joseph R. Castiglione, the vice president and director of athletics at the University of Oklahoma and the chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee for the 2015-16 season.

    The other adjustment to the selection process gives the committee greater flexibility to balance the top two seed lines.

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  • In a pressure-packed season, UNLV still opts for a tough schedule

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 12 days ago

    Many coaches whose jobs are in jeopardy assemble a cupcake-heavy schedule designed to make getting to 20 wins as attainable as possible.

    Dave Rice certainly did not take such an easy way out.

    The embattled UNLV coach has put together a schedule laden with challenging opponents entering what appears to be a sink-or-swim season for him and his staff. The Rebels haven't won an NCAA tournament game in Rice's first four seasons and they haven't reached the postseason at all the past two years.  

    The first big challenge for UNLV will be the Maui Invitational, which includes national powers Kansas, Indiana and UCLA and improving Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. The Rebels would probably have to pull an upset to finish with a winning record in Lahaina. 

    UNLV has enough to talent to survive that gauntlet in spite of the early departures of first-round draft pick Rashad Vaughn and undrafted forward Christian Wood.

    UNLV will have to hope its newcomers mesh with its returners in time to enjoy some success in Maui and against some of the tough December opponents.

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