Jeff Eisenberg

  • Bubble breakdown: Creighton restores hope with marquee win

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 11 hrs ago

    On the fringes of the bubble picture entering Tuesday night, Creighton landed the marquee win it needed to get back to within striking distance of an NCAA tournament bid.

    Point guard Maurice Watson scored 32 points and dished out five assists to lead the Bluejays to a 70-56 upset of visiting fifth-ranked Xavier.

    Creighton's victory gives it hope of a late surge during the final three weeks of Big East play. The Bluejays are 16-9 overall and 7-5 in the Big East, but their most noteworthy wins prior to Tuesday night came against fellow bubble teams Seton Hall, Butler and Georgetown.

    Now the Bluejays at least have one truly big win on their resume. Xavier (21-3, 9-3) had been just a game behind first-place Villanova in the Big East standings prior to suffering its third conference loss.

    Of Creighton's six remaining Big East games, four are on the road against Xavier, Providence, Butler and Marquette. The Bluejays probably need to win at least two of those and hold serve at home against St. John's and Marquette to have realistic hope entering the Big East tournament.

    TUESDAY'S BUBBLE WINNERS:

    TUESDAY'S BUBBLE LOSERS:

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  • College basketball's All-time Starting Five: Arizona Wildcats

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 12 hrs ago

    With March Madness right around the corner, The Dagger is picking an all-time starting five from some of college basketball's most tradition-rich programs.

    Our picks were based on a variety of factors, including stats, tourney success, All-America selections, and of course, our opinions.

    First up: Arizona Wildcats.

    Who we considered from Arizona:

    1. Sean Elliott, F, 1985-89 (19.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg) 2. Damon Stoudamire, G, 1991-95 (15.0 ppg, 5.4 apg) 3. Mike Bibby, G, 1996-98 (15.4 ppg, 5.4 apg) 4. Bob Elliott, F/C, 1973-77 (18.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg) 5. Steve Kerr, G, 1983-88 (11.2 ppg, 3.4 apg) 6. Miles Simon, G, 1994-98 (14.6 ppg, 4.0 apg) 7. Jason Terry, G, 1995-99 (11.3 ppg, 3.8 apg) 8. Jason Gardner, G, 1999-2003 (14.6 ppg, 4.6 apg) 9. Khalid Reeves, G, 1990-94 (15.0 ppg, 3.1 apg) 10. Derrick Williams, F, 2009-11 (17.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg)

    Arizona's All-time Starting Five

    G — Mike Bibby

    G — Damon Stoudamire

    F — Sean Elliott

    F — Derrick Williams

    C — Bob Elliott

    That's the five we're going with. Who would you take?

  • Roy Williams 'doing OK' after vertigo-related collapse

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 13 hrs ago

    As he returned to the bench after arguing with a referee during Tuesday night's victory over Boston College, North Carolina coach Roy Williams collapsed to the ground.  

    Williams walked slowly to the locker room with the help of team trainer Doug Halverson and remained there for the final 14 minutes, 35 seconds of the game. He did return to the court after the final buzzer to take part in the postgame handshake line. 

    North Carolina said Tuesday night that Williams' collapse was "vertigo-related" and that he was "doing OK" in the locker room. Williams has suffered from vertigo intermittently throughout his coaching career, but typically he has been able to continue coaching even after a flare-up.

    Williams is expected to travel back to Chapel Hill with the team Tuesday night. He gave a brief statement to reporters in Boston after the game.

    Issue, happens, Roy says, when he jerks his head quickly. Which is what happened tonight.

    "What I want to do is tell you I'm alive, I'm well. I'm kicking. I'm not well, mentally."

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  • Kansas' big win sets up another high-stakes clash with Oklahoma

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 13 hrs ago

    Five weeks after their epic triple-overtime classic with the No. 1 ranking on the line, Oklahoma and Kansas will meet again with plenty at stake.

    First place in the Big 12 will be on the line Saturday afternoon in Norman when the third-ranked Sooners get their rematch with the sixth-ranked Jayhawks.

    With Oklahoma edging Texas on Buddy Hield's last-second 3-pointer on Monday night and Kansas fighting its way to a 75-65 victory over West Virginia the following night, the two Big 12 favorites will enter Saturday tied for first place. The winner of Saturday's game will leave in no worse than a first-place tie with West Virginia, while the loser will face an uphill climb over the final three weeks of the regular season.

    The Big 12 title race is especially meaningful because of the quality and depth of the league and the history at stake. Kansas is trying to extend its remarkable run of league titles to 12 in a row, while Oklahoma, West Virginia and the rest of the contenders are eager to end the streak.

    Regardless, the winner of Saturday's Kansas-Oklahoma game will certainly be in excellent position.

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  • Buddy Hield caps late barrage with 3-pointer to beat Texas

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    The national player of the year favorite scored the Sooners' final 12 points in their 63-60 victory over Texas including a go-ahead last-second 3-pointer.

    With the score tied and the final seconds melting away, Hield lined up at the free throw line, cut hard to the left wing and received a pass with enough time left to drive or shoot. Hield jab stepped to get Texas guard Kendal Yancy back on his heels, took a sideways dribble toward the corner and then buried the go-ahead 3-pointer to give the Sooners a come-from-behind victory.

    That Oklahoma was in a position to win at the buzzer was largely due to Hield's surge over the previous three-plus minutes.

    He had a huge 3-pointer to cut Texas' lead to three with 3:20 to go. Then came a smooth driving layup and four straight free throws to put Oklahoma ahead by two. Texas star Isaiah Taylor answered with a pair of free throws with 57 seconds left, but Hield delivered the dagger two possessions later.

    Hield finished with a game-high 27 points, all but six of which came after halftime. He was 3-for-14 shooting from the field before his late-game barrage began.

    Regardless, the call went against Texas, setting the stage for Hield.

  • Duke wins crucial opening leg of upcoming four-game gauntlet

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    As Grayson Allen missed a 3-pointer late in the second half on Monday night, the most winnable game of Duke's toughest stretch of the season was in jeopardy of slipping away. 

    The Blue Devils had squandered the entirety of a 15-point second-half lead and were tied with Louisville with just over three minutes remaining.

    It was then that Marshall Plumlee outfought several Louisville players for an offensive rebound, drew a foul and sank two free throws to put Duke back in front. The Blue Devils fed off Plumlee's aggressiveness for the rest of the game and pulled away for a crucial 72-65 victory over the 13th-ranked Cardinals.

    Duke's victory was vital because wins should be hard to come by during a two-week stretch in which the Blue Devils (18-6, 7-4) face nothing but the ACC's top three teams. They host No. 7 Virginia on Saturday before visiting No. 9 North Carolina and this same Louisville team next week.

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  • Intentionally missed free throw sets up a game-winning 3-pointer

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    University of Rochester guard Sam Borst-Smith is a 76.6 percent free throw shooter, but it's the 6-foot-2 junior's skill at missing foul shots that's receiving national attention.  

    Borst-Smith intentionally missed a free throw so adroitly late in his team's 77-76 victory over the University of Chicago that it perfectly set up a game-winning shot.

    With Rochester trailing by three on Saturday, Chicago fouled Borst-Smith intentionally with 2.7 seconds left so that the Yellowjackets would not be able to attempt a game-tying 3-pointer. Borst-Smith made the first free throw but fired the second free throw hard at the front rim in such a way that the ball came directly back to him.

    Borst-Smith grabbed the rebound and kicked to a wide-open teammate in the left corner. Mack Montague buried the game-winning 3-pointer as time expired, giving Rochester an unlikely 77-76 victory that has since garnered plenty of attention for the small Division III program.

    "I don’t know if anyone quite expected that to happen, but we were certainly going to try," Flockerzi said. "You don’t ever really practice missing it.

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  • A side-by-side look at the leading contenders to rise to No. 1

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    With top-ranked Oklahoma and second-ranked North Carolina both losing on Saturday night, it's likely that college basketball will have a new No. 1 team on Monday.

    The question is who should it be?

    In a jumbled mess of a season with plenty of good teams but no elite ones, there is no clear-cut answer to that question. The margin between the top teams is so paper-thin that at least six teams can make a legitimate case to be No. 1 on Monday including Oklahoma in spite of its 11-point road loss at Kansas State.

    Here's a side-by-side look at the six leading contenders to be No. 1 in order of how I'd rank them. Unless the Sooners retain the No. 1 ranking, their heir apparent will be the sixth different team to claim the top spot this season, joining North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan State and Kansas.

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    Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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  • Saturday's upsets reinforce the lack of a true No. 1 this season

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    The next AP Top 25 poll should probably just start at No. 2. 

    In a chaotic, upset-riddled season with lots of good teams but no great ones, it's abundantly clear nobody is worthy of the No. 1 spot.

    Oklahoma became the latest top-ranked team to fall on Saturday night when the Sooners lost 80-69 on the road against a Kansas State that had previously won only two conference games. Second-ranked North Carolina also lost about an hour later, suffering an 80-76 upset at Notre Dame five days after it also lost to Louisville. 

    The back-to-back losses from the Sooners and Tar Heels marked only the seventh time in NCAA history that No. 1 and No. 2 fell against unranked opponents on the same day. The last time it happened was Jan. 21, 2006 when Duke lost at Georgetown and Florida lost at Tennessee.

    It's highly likely a new team will replace Oklahoma atop the polls next week, but good luck predicting who that will be.

    Whichever one of that quartet inherits the top spot from Oklahoma will become the sixth team to be ranked No. 1 already this season. North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan State and Kansas have also each been No. 1 at some point since mid-November. 

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  • Bubble breakdown: San Diego State escapes with crucial victory

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    Sometimes it seems like San Diego State's win streak when ahead with five minutes to go is sheer sorcery.

    How else can you explain how the Aztecs won their Mountain West showdown with New Mexico in overtime on Saturday extended the streak to 161 in a game they trailed by five with less than 20 seconds to go?

    San Diego State still trailed by three when Winston Shepard scored a driving layup with 14 seconds to go, but New Mexico controversially turned the ball over on the ensuing inbound play. Referees ruled that Xavier Adams had not established himself as out of bounds in order to inbound the ball, a call the Mountain West office acknowledged was incorrect late Saturday night because Adams had one foot down out of play.

    A cold-shooting San Diego State team still needed a 3-pointer on its final possession to tie and the Aztecs got that from an unlikely source. Malik Pope scored his only basket of the night and the biggest basket of his career, a deep 3-pointer with  6.6 seconds left that sent the game into overtime and enabled the Aztecs to escape with a 78-71 victory.

    SATURDAY'S BUBBLE WINNERS

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