Jeff Eisenberg

  • Virginia holds Harvard to a record-tying one first-half field goal

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 21 mins ago

    When Kentucky walled off the paint with its array of towering big men and held UCLA to an embarrassing seven first-half points Saturday afternoon, it seemed like the Wildcats had delivered an early favorite for the best defensive half of the season. 

    Less than 24 hours later, sixth-ranked Virginia provided competition

    The Cavaliers' 76-27 victory over Harvard on Sunday afternoon was every bit as dominant as Kentucky's rout of the Bruins the previous day. Last year's ACC champions squeezed the life out of the Crimson early, opening leads of 30-4 after 15 minutes, 39-8 at halftime and 45-9 a few minutes into the second half.

    The lopsided score showed what happens when a pack-line defense at the top of its game runs across a mid-major that lacks the elite athleticism needed to attack off the dribble and the outside shooters to bomb from behind the arc. Virginia stayed compact defensively and Harvard could do nothing to force the Cavs to extend, hitting just 1 of 20 shots in the first half and 8 of 50 for the game.

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  • The Report Card: Washington thwarts Oklahoma's comback bid

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 14 hrs ago

    DATE: Saturday, Dec. 20

    A- — Washington

    It's time to start including Washington when listing the best teams in the West. The 16th-ranked Huskies proved they belong in the group just behind Arizona and Gonzaga on Saturday when they withstood a valiant comeback from 15th-ranked Oklahoma and emerged with a 69-67 neutral-court victory.

    Washington's win improved the Huskies to 10-0 with victories over San Diego State, UTEP and Oklahoma. That's an impressive enough resume for Washington to stake its claim to the title of biggest threat to Arizona in the Pac-12 and to feel good about its chances of breaking a three-year NCAA tournament drought.

    The Huskies appeared to be in position to post an easy victory when they opened up a 37-17 lead but Oklahoma gradually clawed back by forcing turnovers and parlaying them into transition chances. But the Sooners never managed to tie or take the lead, even wasting four chances on one late possession as Washington clung to a two-point advantage.

    B+ — Indiana

    C — Ohio State

    F — Michigan State

    NOTES:

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  • Kentucky holds overmatched UCLA to seven first-half points

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 21 hrs ago

    All the pregame talk regarding the impact of UCLA's lack of depth sure seems pretty silly now.

    The Bruins couldn't stay competitive against top-ranked Kentucky through the first TV timeout, let alone long enough for their starting five to get worn down.

    The top-ranked Wildcats throttled UCLA 83-44 Saturday in Chicago in a game that was even more lopsided than the margin of victory indicated. Kentucky led 24-0 before surrendering a point, 41-7 at halftime and 43-7 before the overmatched Bruins finally reached double figures.

    UCLA's seven first-half points were the least it has ever scored in a half, shattering the program's previous all-time low of 14. The only sliver of good news for the Bruins was that they avoided eclipsing the program's worst-ever loss, a 109-61 throttling at Stanford in 1997 known as the "Maples Massacre."

    Saturday's margin of victory reflected the chasm of a talent gap between two of college basketball's most decorated programs. 

    In spite of those differences, the beatdown UCLA endured Saturday was eye-opening. 

    The team that topples Kentucky certainly will not be UCLA.

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  • Improbable comeback keeps Villanova undefeated

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 22 hrs ago

    What happened next defied imagination.

    Seventh-ranked Villanova forced overtime against all odds and emerged with an 82-77 overtime victory that the Wildcats will talk about for years and the Orange will do their best to forget.

    Arcidiacono regained his dribble and spotted a wide-open Josh Hart spotted up on the left wing. Hart buried a 3-pointer to trim the lead to two. Michael Gbinije couldn't find a teammate to inbound the ball to and threw it away trying to get it to Rakeem Christmas. And in the scramble for the ball, Arcidiacono recovered it and fed JayVaugh Pinkston for a layup that forced overtime.

    Whatever hope Syracuse had of salvaging a win in overtime vanished quickly when the Orange fell behind. Eleven of Villanova's 13 points in overtime came at the foul line as the Wildcats improved to 11-0 and avenged a loss at the Carrier Dome last season to their former Big East rivals.

    Villanova's comeback from a 15-point deficit further cemented that the Wildcats are one of the nation's better teams. They've now beaten Illinois, VCU, Michigan and Syracuse to take an unbeaten record into the start of Big East play next week.

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  • Heartwarming sequence brightens Michigan's fourth straight loss

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 23 hrs ago

    Zak Irvin did more than just cut Michigan's deficit to one Saturday afternoon against SMU when he sank a corner 3-pointer late in the first half.

    The sophomore wing also coaxed a smile out his teary-eyed younger sister

    TV cameras caught eighth grader Tayah Irvin bawling in the stands after her older brother was undercut by SMU's Keith Frazier as he rose for a layup off a nice backdoor feed from Ricky Doyle. Zak Irvin crashed hard to the ground back-first and pounded his fist on the court in pain for several seconds before rising gingerly to his feet.

     Scary as the fall looked when it happened, Irvin proved he was OK when he chased down the long rebound of his missed free throw. Eventually the ball came back to him in the corner, enabling him to bury a 3-pointer and singlehandedly deliver a five-point possession.

    Seeing Zak go from flat on his back to knocking down a 3-pointer left Tayah Irvin an emotional wreck. The eighth grader buried her face in her hands and then her shirt out of relief that her older brother was OK.

    For more Michigan news, visit TheWolverine .

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  • Mick Cronin will miss Cincinnati's game due to unruptured aneurysm

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Mick Cronin wasn't in his usual spot on the bench Saturday afternoon against VCU.

    The Cincinnati coach missed his team's ugly 68-47 loss after doctors discovered he has an unruptured aneurysm. Cronin had asked for a routine check-up because he had been experiencing lingering headaches.

    "Thank you to everyone for your concern, prayers, and support. I am ok. I am very fortunate to have such great friends and family," Cronin tweeted just before tip-off. "I want everyone to know I am going to be ok!! I just can't coach for precautionary reasons with my medical condition.

    "Obviously not coaching was a tough pill to swallow, but as a teacher I ask my players to be smart and make the right decisions. To listen to the people that know what's best for you. It is time for me to listen now, to my Doctors and follow their game plan. I hope to be back ASAP but that will not be my call. As I love to say "I am always day to day." so that really applies now."

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  • What happened to Miami in its 28-point loss to Eastern Kentucky?

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    The outcome of Friday night's game between Miami and Eastern Kentucky was certainly a major surprise.

    The margin of victory was even more eye-popping.

    The 18th-ranked Hurricanes suffered their most lopsided home loss since 1997 when the Colonels came into Coral Gables and rolled to a 72-44 rout. Eastern Kentucky outscored Miami 45-19 in the second half and limited the Hurricanes to 29.3 percent shooting for the game.

    How could Miami lose by that many points at home against a Colonels team that entered with a 5-4 record, zero noteworthy wins and losses to East Tennessee State and Valparaiso? Well, it didn't help that star point guard Angel Rodriguez was ill entering the game, per ESPN's broadcast.

    Rodriguez scored only one point on 0-for-6 shooting and had as many assists as turnovers. In Miami's two losses this season against Green Bay and Eastern Kentucky, Rodriguez has played his worst two games and has shot a combined 2 of 21 from the field.

    All those factors added up to a shocking score and a loss that will surely knock Miami out of the Top 25 when the new polls come out Monday.

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  • Adidas put the wrong logo on a Wisconsin forward's warmups

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    When Wisconsin's Duje Dukan took a close look at the latest gear Adidas sent on Friday, the senior forward noticed the shoe-apparel giant had made a slight mistake.

    Wisconsin's familiar colors and "W" were there, but someone had mistakenly stitched a Cincinnati Bearcats logo on the sleeve.

    Hey @adidasHoops thanks so much for the official Wisconsin Bearcats warmup! pic.twitter.com/riHFHSB0fe

    Of course Wisconsin's mascot is the Badgers, not the Bearcats, but Dukan can look on the bright side. Now he has a one-of-a-kind collector's item.

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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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  • Robert Upshaw's long journey from bust to budding stardom

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    Basketball coach Pat Geil has removed many players from practice for lackluster effort or shoddy performance.

    Only once has he yanked a kid off the court for doing too well .

    When Robert Upshaw enrolled at San Joaquin Memorial High School four years ago, the highly touted 6-foot-11 junior initially could only practice with his new team because of California transfer rules. Geil put Upshaw on the scout team in practice until the center's knack for swatting away shots in the paint created an unusual problem.

    "He was blocking so many shots and making it so difficult to score that our starting big guys began losing confidence," Geil said. "When they got in games, they were hesitant to shoot. Eventually, we had to tell Rob, 'Why don't you sit out for a while.' Our big guys couldn't get up any shots against him in practice and it was killing us."

    Upshaw's evolution into an impact college player and an NBA prospect is a testament to his perseverance because there were times when it seemed his basketball career had stalled.

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    Before Upshaw could evolve into an elite basketball prospect, he first had to give the sport a chance.

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  • UConn needs more from heralded transfer Rodney Purvis

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    Each time Kevin Ollie answered a question about NC State transfer Rodney Purvis during last season's national title run, the UConn coach referred to the former McDonald's All-American as "a Ferrari sitting in the garage that I can't drive."

    The Ferrari finally emerged from the garage this November, but so far Ollie hasn't gotten enough mileage out of it.

    In the six games Purvis has played so far this season, he is scoring a modest 7.2 points per game, shooting only 35.1 percent from the field and averaging more turnovers than assists. He also was suspended for UConn's season opener against Bryant and sat out against Texas as a result of a lingering sprained ankle that was hampering his ability to attack the rim. 

    Purvis was healthy for UConn's 66-56 loss to Duke on Thursday night, but the sophomore wing still wasn't very effective. On a night when the Huskies desperately needed other scorers to emerge in support of star guard Ryan Boatright, Purvis played 30 minutes but sank only 4 of 11 shots and finished with eight points and three turnovers.

    There are a handful of players capable of filling that scoring void for UConn going forward.