Jeff Eisenberg

  • What to watch this weekend: Can Utah avenge its loss at Arizona?

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 21 hrs ago

    The most action-packed day of the college basketball regular season could be Saturday if the most highly anticipated matchups live up to the hype.

    Arizona visits Utah with first place in the Pac-12 on the line. Northern Iowa and Wichita State square off in a winner-take-all Valley showdown. And unbeaten Kentucky faces maybe its toughest test in SEC play when 18th-ranked Arkansas puts its seven-game win streak on the line.

    Below is a look at those three games and some of the other noteworthy games from this weekend's slate:

    Other noteworthy games:

    North Carolina at Miami (Saturday, 2 p.m. EST): Having already dropped five of their last seven games to fall out of contention in the ACC, the Tar Heels head to Coral Gables to face a Miami team desperate for a big win to get it on the right side of the bubble. The Hurricanes desperately need the Angel Rodriguez who scored 25 points on Florida State on Wednesday night rather than the one shooting 21.4 percent over his previous 11 games.

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  • Northern Iowa's Ben Jacobson rescued a stranded driver

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Twenty minutes after her car slid off the road and into a snow bank on her way home from school Wednesday afternoon, Abby Young admits she was starting to become concerned.

    Her car was stuck. Her phone was dead. And the few drivers who passed her whizzed by without stopping.

    "I tried to shovel my car out of the snow, but I couldn't get it out," the senior at Cedar Falls High School said. "I was starting to get worried I was going to be there a very long time."

    Young indeed might have spent the whole afternoon by the side of the road had a man with a familiar face not driven up and asked if she needed help. When the man got out of his car, Young thought he looked a lot like Northern Iowa basketball coach Ben Jacobson. Once she noticed his pants had a UNI basketball logo on them, she was even more certain.

    A spokesman for Northern Iowa athletics confirmed Friday that Young's savior actually was Jacobson. The coach of the nation's 10th-ranked college basketball team alternated between shoveling snow away from the tires and trying to drive Young's car to freedom until he had successfully dislodged it.

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  • Special-edition Kingsford Charcoal bag trolls the NCAA

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Don't expect to see any Kingsford Charcoal signage during the NCAA tournament next month.

    The company likely killed all hope of that Thursday when it unveiled special-edition bags of charcoal trolling the NCAA.

    The image on the front of the bag is that of Ed O'Bannon, the former UCLA star who last August won a lawsuit challenging the NCAA’s unwillingness to pay athletes for the use of their names and likenesses. The bags also feature the hashtag #PayEd and the slogan "Lights 25% faster. Doesn't burn athletes."

    "Kingsford Charcoal has become one of the many companies to use the likeness of a famous amateur basketball player for marketing purposes during that mad, mad month of March," a press release revealing the limited edition bags read. Kingsford is just adding a surprising twist: the charcoal brand is actually going to pay that player— Ed O’Bannon— for placing him on the front of a limited bag of charcoal."

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  • Vanderbilt coach quickly apologizes for postgame incident

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Irate that guard Wade Baldwin had clapped in the face of an opponent just after time expired Thursday night, Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings yanked the freshman out of the postgame handshake line and berated him for showing such poor sportsmanship.

    Stallings' message was spot-on. The way he worded it could have been better.

    TV microphones picked up Stallings profanely screaming at Baldwin "[expletive] apologize!" "don't do that!" and "I'll [expletive] kill you" after Vanderbilt's 73-65 victory at Tennessee. Stallings reiterated his disappointment in Baldwin in calmer fashion during his postgame news conference before quickly issuing a statement soon afterward apologizing profusely for what he said on the floor.

    While it's fair to wonder if Stallings would have been so quick to apologize had his words not made it onto the TV broadcast, it's also difficult to be too hard on him here.

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  • Michigan State pays for fouling on a three instead of fouling up three

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    One of the few complaints many Michigan State fans have about Tom Izzo is his disdain for the strategy of intentionally fouling when ahead by three points in the final seconds of a game.

    The foul the Spartans committed at the end of regulation Thursday night was probably not what their fans had in mind. 

    Instead of fouling to prevent the Gophers from having a look at a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation, Michigan State chose to defend straight up and then committed the ultimate sin. Gavin Schilling not only helped too far off Carlos Morris to recover, he also closed out too hard and fouled the Minnesota guard just after he released a left-wing 3-pointer to tie the game.

    Morris missed the go-ahead free throw with 2.2 seconds to go, but Minnesota emerged with a 96-90 victory in overtime. Fourteen of 20 free throw shooting during the extra session enabled the Gophers to finish off the upset and snap a 15-game losing streak in East Lansing that dates back to 1997.

    Izzo defended his decision not to foul that day and he did it again Thursday.

    Better to foul up three than to foul on a three.

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  • Oakland guard drops defender with a dazzling crossover

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    One of the most memorable ankle-breaking crossover in college basketball history occurred in the 1995 ACC tournament when Wake Forest's Randolph Childress dropped Jeff McInnis and took the time to taunt the North Carolina guard before burying a deep 3-pointer.

    The move Oakland's Kahlil Felder pulled off Wednesday night isn't in that class, but it's one of the better crossovers we've seen in a while.

    When Youngstown State forward Bobby Hain switched onto Felder after a high ball screen, the Oakland guard recognized the mismatch and tried to take the 6-foot-10 junior off the dribble. Felder drove left and then crossed over through his legs back to the right, freeing himself for a wide-open layup when the off-balance Hain tripped trying to recover.

    Felder's crossover was the signature moment of a 20-point, 10-assist night for the sophomore guard in an 82-71 Oakland victory. The Golden Grizzlies are now only one game behind first-place Valparaiso in the Horizon League standings, and Felder's emergence as the team's leading scorer and best facilitator is a big part of that.

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  • Ex-Louisville guard Chris Jones faces charges of rape, sodomy

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    It's now abundantly clear why Louisville dismissed starting point guard Chris Jones only two days after reinstating him from an indefinite suspension. 

    New disciplinary issues had arisen.

    Jones pleaded not guilty on charges of raping one woman and sodomizing another Thursday morning. A Jefferson County judge released Jones on home incarceration in lieu of a $25,000 bond.

    The alleged sexual assaults occurred Saturday night hours after Jones returned from suspension to lead Louisville to a victory against Miami. According to the arrest warrant obtained by the Louisville Courier-Journal on Thursday, one of the alleged victims was hospitalized Sunday. The women are 19 and 20.

    Louisville dismissed Jones Sunday evening with a terse 21-word statement that at the time did not offer an explanation for the decision. In Thursday's statement, the school said it discovered Sunday afternoon that Jones had violated curfew the previous night and that there were unspecified accusations against him.

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  • Xavier Rathan-Mayes erupts for 30 points in four-plus minutes

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    At a timeout with about five minutes left in Wednesday night's game between Florida State and Miami, one of Xavier Rathan-Mayes' teammates approached him with a challenge.

    "Montay Brandon looked at me and told me that he needed me," Rathan-Mayes said. "When one of your brothers says that he needs you, you're going to do anything you can to respond to that call."

    Florida State indeed desperately needed a spark from Rathan-Mayes after falling behind by 18 points on the road against a Miami team determined to play its way into the NCAA tournament. Whatever slim chance the defensive-oriented Seminoles had of mounting a comeback depended on their leading scorer emerging from a game-long slump and shooting them back into striking distance.

    Inspired by his teammate's words, Rathan-Mayes unleashed a late-game shooting display that will linger in the memory of those who witnessed it long after they've forgotten that Florida State still lost 81-77 in spite of his heroics. The 6-foot-4 guard scored 30 points in the final 4:38 of Wednesday's game, a stunningly swift barrage that included six 3-pointers, a pair of layups and eight free throws. 

  • VCU will need strong finish to secure Shaka Smart's first league title

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    The only hole in VCU coach Shaka Smart's otherwise sterling résumé is proving more difficult than expected for the Rams to fill.

    Their bid to secure Smart's first regular season league title is in jeopardy after city rival Richmond completed a season sweep Wednesday night with a thrilling 67-63 double-overtime victory.  

    Preseason Atlantic 10 favorite VCU (21-7, 11-4) now finds itself in a four-way tie for first place with Dayton, Rhode Island and Davidson. The Rams do not have an easy finishing schedule either as they host the Flyers on Saturday and visit the Wildcats a week from Thursday before closing at home against last-place George Mason. 

    VCU's inability to maintain control of the Atlantic 10 after a 7-0 start is a product of both ill-timed injuries and a rival who seems to play the Rams tougher than anyone else.

    The second loss to Richmond will be even more galling than the first for VCU because the Rams had to work hard to even force overtime. They trailed by eight with 90 seconds to go before launching a spirited rally aided by three missed free throws and two turnovers by the Spiders.

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  • Colleges are offering scholarships to LeBron's 10-year-old son

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    Whichever colleges are already recruiting 10-year-old LeBron James Jr. might be wise to back off for a few more years.

    It isn't making his father happy.

    The elder LeBron told reporters in Detroit at Cavaliers shoot-around Tuesday that colleges have already begun to send recruiting letters and offer scholarships even though his son won't finish fourth grade until this spring.

    "Yeah, he's already got some offers from colleges," James said. "It's pretty crazy. It should be a violation. You shouldn't be recruiting 10-year-old kids."

    The younger LeBron popping up on the radar of college coaches is a testament to his famous name, his prodigious talent and to the recruiting process starting younger and younger. College coaches occasionally offer scholarships to top prospects before they enter high school in hopes that those players will remember who showed interest first when they're ready to choose a college.  

    Video of LeBron James Jr. via TakeMyTalent.com:

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