Jeff Eisenberg

  • Star-crossed Penn State is the victim of a bafflingly bad foul call

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 4 hrs ago

    At the end of a star-crossed season in which it has lost 10 conference games by nine or fewer points, Penn State received another ill-timed dose of misfortune Wednesday night.

    The Nittany Lions were the victim of one of the most baffling foul calls of the season early in their 77-67 loss to Ohio State.

    As senior forward Ross Travis was preparing to finish a fast break with an uncontested dunk, teammate D.J. Newbill was trailing the play. Somehow Newbill was whistled for an offensive foul negating the dunk even though, if anything, Ohio State forward Amir Williams shoved him out of the way.

    That the call went against Newbill on senior night was especially cruel. The Penn State guard is already one of the nation's most unappreciated stars because he averages 20.4 points per game on a below-the-radar team that's 3-13 in the Big Ten and has no other double-digit scorers.

    [Fill out a Tourney bracket and get a free Big Gulp Drink]

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  • Remembering Hank Gathers on the 25th anniversary of his death

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 7 hrs ago

    Picture Hank Gathers on the basketball court, and one of the first things you'll inevitably remember is how strong he was.

    The chiseled 6-foot-7 former Loyola Marymount star was a scoring and rebounding machine around the rim. He was the self-proclaimed strongest man in America, a scorer so automatic he earned the nickname "Hank the Bank," a future NBA star whose coach referred to him as a "walking thunderbolt."

    Those qualities were part of the reason Gathers' death 25 years ago today was so sad and so shocking. On March 4, 1990, a 23-year-old man who was outwardly invincible slammed home a long lob pass during a game against Portland, then stumbled, collapsed and tragically never got up.

    The death of Gathers still evokes strong feelings from the six-year-old son who barely got to know his dad and from the teammates who famously honored him with a stunning Elite Eight run that began just days after his death. They spoke to Yahoo Sports last year for the above video about Gathers' legacy and the 1990 NCAA tournament run.

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  • Indiana's season is teetering after seventh loss in 11 games

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 8 hrs ago

    Thanks to an impressive list of quality wins that includes SMU, Butler, Maryland and Ohio State, Indiana has probably accomplished enough already this season to make the NCAA tournament without winning another game.

    The Hoosiers appear unwisely hell-bent on testing that theory.

    A non-competitive 77-63 home loss against Iowa on Tuesday night was Indiana's seventh loss in 11 games since cracking the national rankings on the morning of Jan. 23. All four of the Hoosiers' victories came over non-NCAA tournament contenders and the most recent three losses were home games against Purdue and the Hawkeyes and a road game at Northwestern. 

    Indiana (19-11, 9-8) still appears in virtually every mock bracket in spite of that stretch, but the Hoosiers would certainly be playing with fire if they lost their regular season finale against Michigan State on Saturday and again early in the Big Ten tournament. Although four victories against surefire NCAA tournament teams compares well with other bubble teams, Indiana's non-league strength of schedule was awful and it hasn't exactly left the strongest impression on the committee recently.

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  • Three potential bid thieves bubble teams should dread

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 12 hrs ago

    When Saint Joseph's went from the fringes of the NCAA tournament picture to winning the Atlantic 10 tournament last March, it was bad news for bubble teams hoping to hear their names called on Selection Sunday.

    The Hawks claimed an automatic NCAA tournament bid, forcing teams with stronger profiles from their league into the at-large pool and reducing the number of spots available to bubble teams by one.

    This March, there will surely be an interloper or two that uses an unexpected league tournament run to make its way into the NCAA tournament field this season. Here's a look at some potential bid thieves that fans of potential bubble teams should watch out for during the next two weeks of conference tournament action.

    Three other dark horses:

    Saint Mary's (21-8, 13-5): Gonzaga is the WCC's juggernaut and BYU is the top challenger, but the best of the rest in that league is the Gaels. They've split with the Cougars this season and led the Zags deep into the second half in Moraga 10 days ago. They also boast one of the nation's most undervalued players in Brad Waldow.

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  • Latest escape has Kentucky one win from perfect regular season

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 23 hrs ago

    They stormed back from six down late in the second half at LSU. They survived overtime against Ole Miss and Texas A&M. They thwarted Florida's spirited upset bid.

    In a year in which Kentucky has needed to engineer some artful escapes against SEC opponents to preserve its undefeated record, the Wildcats saved one of their best for last.

    Kentucky moved within one win of an unbeaten regular season with a 72-64 road victory over a Georgia team that had the Wildcats teetering several times in the second half. The Bulldogs shredded Kentucky's typically formidable defense most of the night by spreading the floor and attacking the rim, enabling them to open leads of nine with nine minutes to play and six with five minutes to play.

    Just like it has in previous tests, Kentucky gathered itself and responded, this time seizing back control with a game-ending 16-2 surge. Freshman center Karl-Anthony Towns scored a game-high 19 points for the Wildcats including the go-ahead basket with 2:53 to go when he recovered his own miss, absorbed contact and laid the ball in.

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  • Archie Miller should be one of this spring's most coveted coaches

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    There's no need to wait until after the NCAA tournament to identify who the most coveted coach on the market will be this spring. 

    Dayton's Archie Miller has already secured that title by doing an even more remarkable job this season than he did last year when he led the Flyers to the Elite Eight.

    When Miller had to dismiss his only two big men in December, it left Dayton with only six scholarship players and nobody taller than 6-foot-6. The Flyers responded by vowing not to make any excuses, reinventing themselves on the fly and exceeding all expectations.

    Dayton's 75-59 rout of co-Atlantic 10 leader Rhode Island on Tuesday night moved the Flyers within one win of securing at least a share of their first conference title since joining the Atlantic 10 in the 1995-96 season. If Dayton (23-6, 13-4) wins at La Salle on Saturday, Davidson (21-6, 12-4) will have to win its final two games against VCU and at Duquesne just to forge a tie.      

    The secret to Dayton's success the past couple months has been finding ways to exploit its quickness advantage on offense without getting pummeled in the paint or on the glass defensively.

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  • Arkansas sent its entire team to watch its top recruit

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    When a college basketball coach wants to demonstrate a prospect is a priority, he'll occasionally show up to one of that player's games with all three assistants in tow as a message that there's no one else the staff values more.

    Arkansas coach Mike Anderson even topped that on Monday night. The entire Razorbacks team joined him at Fayetteville High School to watch elite class of 2016 prospect Malik Monk.

    The entire Razorback basketball team showed up to watch Malik Monk tonight. pic.twitter.com/IjQ9LRBYJG

    Every Arkansas player sat side-by-side in the first row of the bleachers for Bentonville High School's lone visit to Fayetteville this season. Monk led Bentonville with a game-high 26 points, but Fayetteville pulled a 72-59 upset in the regular season finale for both teams. 

    The recruiting ploy from Arkansas reflects Monk's stature as one of the most coveted prospects to come out of the state in the past decade.

    Video highlights of Malik Monk:

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  • Costly technical foul ignites massive Iowa State comeback

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Oklahoma's Isaiah Cousins awakened the Cyclones from their game-long slumber with a technical foul that he now probably wishes he hadn't committed.

    When Oklahoma's Ryan Spangler swatted a shot by Georges Niang out of bounds with his team leading by 20 points five minutes into the second half, Cousins shouted something profane in the direction of the Iowa State bench. Referees assessed a technical foul on Cousins for abusive language, igniting an unfathomable run from the Cyclones that propelled them to a 77-70 victory.

    Iowa State scored on seven straight possessions immediately after the Cousins technical, stringing together stops and parlaying them into transition opportunities. The surge reached 22-0 when Dustin Hogue buried a corner 3-pointer to give the Cyclones their first lead of the game and 37-8 when Monte Morris sank a jumper to extend the advantage to nine with five minutes to go.  

    Iowa State's victory ensured Kansas will win at least a share of the Big 12 crown for an astonishing 11th straight season. The only league title streak longer than that of the Jayhawks in college basketball history belongs to UCLA, which captured 13 straight from 1967-79.

  • Texas still has a pulse thanks to Isaiah Taylor's game-winning floater

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    The first time Texas had a chance to hold for the final shot on Monday night, the outcome was a contested 25-foot jumper from Jonathan Holmes that barely even drew iron.

    The Longhorns were a bit more successful the second time.

    With Texas and Baylor tied in the final seconds of overtime, Javan Felix drove right, drew the attention of the defense and zipped a cross-court pass to teammate Isaiah Taylor. Lester Medford and Taurean Prince got caught watching the ball and were slow to rotate, enabling Taylor to split them both off the dribble and sink a floater to give his team a potentially season-saving 61-59 victory.

    Had Texas not overcome a 10-point deficit in the final seven minutes of regulation against the No. 14 team in the nation and then found a way to win in overtime, its flickering hopes of earning an at-large NCAA bid likely would have been snuffed out.

    In reality, Texas (18-12) will still have work to do to make the NCAA tournament even if it wins its final Big 12 game to improve to 8-10 in the league.

    Members of both teams jawed at one-another again as Baylor left the floor after postgame handshakes, a bad look for both under the circumstances.

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  • Report: Sexual assault allegations preceded Rasheed Sulaimon's dismissal

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    A bombshell report from Duke's student newspaper Monday shed light on the school's mysterious decision to dismiss guard Rasheed Sulaimon five weeks ago.

    Two female Duke students had accused Sulaimon of sexual assault during the 2013-14 school year, the Duke Chronicle reported.

    Both students spoke with their peers about the alleged sexual assaults during a pair of off-campus retreats designed to promote open discussion of social issues, but neither formally reported them to the police nor to Duke's Office of Student Conduct. The fear of backlash from the Duke fan base was a factor in the decision the two female students made to not pursue the allegations, according to the Chronicle.

    The allegations were brought to the attention of a team psychologist in March 2014, the Chronicle reported. High-ranking Duke officials, including the coaching staff and athletic director Kevin White, learned of the allegations later that month.

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