- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger6 hrs ago
LAS VEGAS --- Hugh Greenwood had just finished explaining why New Mexico had been hoping to get a third crack at San Diego State all week when his coach interjected.
“Hugh that was really good,” Craig Neal told his junior guard. “You’ve just got to be careful about being real honest about things.”
Yes, now that New Mexico has defeated Boise State 73-70 in the Mountain West semifinals, it’s OK for the Lobos to admit the obvious. As much as they tried to keep their focus on Fresno State and Boise State this week, they’re thrilled to get the chance to redeem themselves for blowing a 16-point lead with 11 minutes to go last Saturday at Viejas Arena with the regular season league title at stake.
“It’s been in the back of our minds since that game,” Greenwood said. “We’ve always taken it one step at a time, one game at a time. We took care of Fresno, took care of Boise. Now we want a rematch. The city of Albuquerque wants a rematch. We’re definitely looking forward to the challenge.”
- Jeff Eisenberg at Yahoo Sports14 hrs ago
Eager to improve on his league's disappointing 2012-13 season in which it only produced three NCAA tournament bids, SEC commissioner Mike Slive confronted the problem head on.
He hired former NCAA tournament guru Greg Shaheen to advise the league's coaches on their non-conference schedules and asked that every team submit its non-league slate to the conference for guidance and approval.
Slive's plan is smart in the long run, but it apparently is going to take more than stronger schedules to improve whatever ails SEC basketball. One year later, the league looks likely to get only three NCAA tournament bids again, an embarrassing total for a 14-team power conference.
Top-ranked Florida of course is a lock, as is Kentucky. And bubble team Tennessee moved closer to joining the Gators and Wildcats in the field on Friday by taking out South Carolina to set up an intriguing SEC semifinal matchup with Florida.
Aside from that, however, the outlook is pretty bleak.
- Jeff Eisenberg at Yahoo Sports16 hrs ago
Even though the selection committee insists it doesn't assemble the bracket with an eye on creating must-see matchups, there has been plenty of evidence to the contrary over the years.
How many times has a coach faced his former school soon after leaving? And how many times have two programs met in a rematch of a previous epic NCAA tournament game?
If the selection committee has an eye on making some compelling matchups this season, there are plenty of realistic options. A look at five I'd love to see when the pairings are unveiled Sunday evening:
- Jeff Eisenberg at Yahoo Sports18 hrs ago
Four weeks after cracking the top 10 for the first time in nearly five decades, Saint Louis no longer looks like a threat to make a deep March run.
The top-seeded Billikens lost for the fourth time in five games on Friday, surrendering a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to St. Bonaventure's Jordan Gathers and crashing out of the Atlantic 10 tournament with a 74-71 quarterfinal loss.
St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt asked guard Charlon Kloof to attack the rim on the final possession, but he ran into a wall of Billikens defenders as he drove right. Instead Kloof shrewdly kicked back to Gathers spotted up behind a screen at the top of the key and the junior guard buried the game winner as time expired to spark a wild celebration from the victorious Bonnies.
- Jeff Eisenberg at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
LAS VEGAS --- Midway through the second half of his team's 82-63 Pac-12 quarterfinal victory over Oregon, UCLA guard Jordan Adams walked to the end of the bench, called over a trainer and pointed to his legs.
Déjà vu? Another season-altering injury at the Pac-12 tournament?
"Nope, just a cramp," Adams said with a chuckle.
UCLA is glad Adams survived intact because he was one of the keys to one of the Bruins' most impressive victories. The 6-foot-5 sophomore scored a team-high 15 points, grabbed five rebounds and nabbed three steals as the second-seeded Bruins broke open a tight game after halftime and advanced to a semifinal matchup against either Stanford or Arizona State.
Just being on the MGM Garden Arena floor against Oregon was a relief for Adams after what he endured this time last season. One night after scoring 24 points in a Pac-12 semifinal victory over Arizona but breaking his foot on the final play of the game, Adams helplessly sat on the bench with a cast on his foot as Oregon toppled UCLA 78-69 in the title game.
- Jeff Eisenberg at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
LAS VEGAS — At the end of a crushing Pac-12 quarterfinal loss in a game his team probably had to win, Cal coach Mike Montgomery tried to insist the Bears still had hope of hearing their name during Sunday's selection show.
Judging from their body language, however, not even his players believed it.
Senior guard Justin Cobbs sat at the far end of the podium with his chin resting in his hands and his eyes red from crying after the fourth-seeded Bears lost 59-56 to fifth-seeded Colorado on Thursday. Sophomore guard Tyrone Wallace sat alongside Cobbs, head down, eyes locked on the ground and a somber expression on his face.
The only one willing to make even a halfhearted case for the Bears was Montgomery, who insisted neither he nor the pundits who suggested Cal needed a win Thursday have any idea where the team actually stands. Only the selection committee, Montgomery said, can decide whether Cal's 19-13 record merits inclusion in the NCAA tournament.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger1 day ago
The only people in Winston-Salem who will be disappointed if Wake Forest fires Jeff Bzdelik are those who sell ad space on billboards.
Bzdelik's rocky four-year tenure has probably single-handledly paid for some of their kids' college education.
Wake Forest fans erected yet another billboard to show their displeasure with Bzdelik in advance of Thursday's 84-55 loss to fifth-seeded Pittsburgh on day two of the ACC tournament. This one read "We're Waiting ... Fire Jeff Bzdelik" with the hashtags "#buzzout" and "#wellmanout" written beneath.
It may not be a long wait for Wake Forest fans considering the way Bzdelik's fourth season finished.
This was the year Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman believed Bzdelik would break through after a dismal first three seasons in which he rebuilt the character of the program but went 34-60 overall and 11-42 in conference play. Instead the Demon Deacons dropped 10 of their last 13 games to finish 17-16 overall and tied for third-to-last in the 15-team ACC.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger1 day ago
Before America's infatuation with March Madness fully blossomed, former Michigan coach Bill Frieder remembers a simpler Selection Sunday.
A member of the selection committee would call the athletic directors of every NCAA tournament team to inform them their school made the field and provide details on their site and draw. Announcer Dick Enberg would often hastily reveal the four No. 1 seeds at the end of NBC's final regular season broadcast the Sunday before the NCAA tournament began, but the most of the public didn't see the entire bracket until it appeared in the newspaper the following morning.
"There wasn't the same commotion and you certainly didn't have Bracketology or anything like that," Frieder said with a chuckle. "You would just wait until that day, you'd get a phone call and then it would get published the next morning by the Associated Press or something. It was just kind of a routine thing back then. Like going home and checking a score."
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger2 days ago
LAS VEGAS --- As his assistant coaches stamped their feet, winced or screamed in frustration whenever Stanford made a miscue Wednedsay night, Johnny Dawkins remained mostly calm.
Not even after forward John Gage mistakenly thought he had a teammate in the corner and swung the ball into the first row of seats did Dawkins allow a hint of a grimace to wash over his face.
Dawkins' composure was remarkable considering what was at stake for him during Stanford's 74-63 Pac-12 tournament victory over Washington State. Questions about Dawkins' job security surely would have arisen with a loss considering his streak of five straight seasons without an NCAA bid, the Cardinal's tenuous position on the bubble and the high bar athletic director Bernard Muir set for the program this season.
- The Dagger2 days ago
Already squarely on the bubble after its WCC title game loss Tuesday night, BYU received some injury news Wednesday that may make their NCAA tournament hopes even more tenuous.
An MRI confirmed that the right knee injury all-conference guard Kyle Collinsworth suffered Tuesday night was indeed an ACL tear. Collinsworth, BYU's second-leading scorer and leader in rebounds and assists, will not be available for the postseason.
What will be interesting now is whether the selection committee will assess BYU differently because it won't have Collinsworth. There is precedent for the committee lowering the seeding of a team because of a key injury, a la Kenyon Martin and Cincinnati in 2000, but it's unclear what would happen if the team in question is in line to receive one of the final at-large bids.