Jeff Eisenberg

  • Scholarship reductions the punishment Syracuse will feel most

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 10 hrs ago

    The most damaging part of the NCAA's punishment of Syracuse isn't the suspension of Jim Boeheim, the elimination of more than 100 of his wins or the meaningless postseason ban during a year when the Orange weren't going to make the NCAA tournament anyway.

    Taking away so many scholarships is the wound that will actually bleed.

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    The NCAA will reduce the number of scholarships Syracuse can use by three for four consecutive seasons beginning either for the 2015-16 year or the year after depending on the school's preference. That means Syracuse will have a maximum of 10 scholarship players on its roster each of those seasons.

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  • Arizona State's Shaquielle McKissic scored a behind-the-head layup

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 13 hrs ago

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    A mere behind-the-back pass didn't provide the wow factor Arizona State's Shaquielle McKissic sought on Thursday night.

    The senior forward instead pulled off a behind-the-back layup during the Sun Devils' 67-62 victory over Stanford.

    Upon drawing contact from Stanford's Anthony Brown while chasing down a transition bounce pass from teammate Tra Holder, McKissic tossed up a shot behind his head just to make sure he got to the foul line. Improbably, the shot banked in, giving McKissic a three-point play opportunity and one of SportsCenter's top 10 plays Thursday night. 

    The layup was the highlight of an outstanding performance from McKissic. The Seattle native torched Stanford for 23 points, seven rebounds and four steals, propelling Arizona State to a victory that gives it realistic hope of earning the No. 5 seed in the Pac-12 tournament despite an 0-4 start to conference play. 

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  • Delaware State senior erupts for 33 points, 30 rebounds

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 23 hrs ago

    The headline on Delaware State's athletics site labeled Kendall Gray's performance Thursday night a "monster game."

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    Even that isn't doing it justice.

    The 6-foot-10 senior became only the fourth Division I player since 1980 to tally 30 or more rebounds in a single game. He played all 40 minutes and finished with 33 points and 30 rebounds in Delaware State's 104-92 victory over Coppin State.

    The last player to pull down 30 or more rebounds in the same game is Arkansas-Little Rock forward Rashad Jones-Jennings, who had 30 in a victory against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in Dec. 2005. Fresno State's Larry Abney had 35 in a Feb. 2000 loss to SMU and Southern's Jervaughn Scales had 32 in a Feb. 1994 victory over Grambling State. 

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  • Dunk City will not return to the NCAA tournament this March

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Bernard Thompson's college career ended Thursday night in the cruelest fashion imaginable.

    The Florida Gulf Coast senior missed the potential game-tying free throw with 1.4 seconds left in the Atlantic Sun semifinals, condemning the second-seeded Eagles to a heartbreaking 63-62 loss to third-seeded South Carolina Upstate.

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    FGCU trailed by three points in the dying seconds of regulation when Thompson zoomed up court and drew a foul attempting a top of the key 3-pointer. Thompson calmly made the first two foul shots for his 24th and 25th points of the night, but his third attempt was inches long and caromed off the back rim as time expired.

    The missed free throw sent South Carolina Upstate to the Atlantic Sun title game to face top-seeded North Florida. It also ensured FGCU will not have a chance to reenact its swashbuckling 2013 NCAA tournament run when it upset Georgetown and San Diego State, earned the moniker 'Dunk City' and became the first No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16.

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  • Bryant's Joe O'Shea delivers March's first buzzer beater

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    If March doesn't truly become March until the first postseason buzzer beater drops, then consider this the official start of college basketball's most beloved month. 

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    Third-seeded Bryant trailed sixth-seeded Sacred Heart by three points in the dying seconds of Wednesday night's Northeast Conference quarterfinal when Dan Garvin corralled the rebound of a Dyami Starks missed 3-pointer and saved it to Joe O'Shea. In desperation, the 6-foot-4 senior sank an off-balance 3-pointer from the left of the top of the key as the buzzer sounded, forcing overtime and enabling Bryant to escape with a 91-85 victory after the second extra session.

    The younger O'Shea is one of the big reasons Bryant (16-14, 12-6) finished tied for second in league play this season and has a realistic chance of securing an NCAA tournament bid. O'Shea averages 10.7 points per game this season and shoots 38.8 percent from beyond the arc. He had a team-high 23 points on Wednesday despite taking only 11 shots.

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  • Bubble breakdown: LSU's latest bad loss damages two teams

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    With less than two weeks remaining until Selection Sunday, the NCAA tournament bubble is beginning to take shape. Bubble Breakdown is the Dagger's daily look at the results that impact who's in and who's out.

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    LSU's latest loss to a lesser-talented team damaged more than its chances of securing an at-large bid.

    By falling 78-63 at home against rebuilding Tennessee on Wednesday night, the Tigers also may have torpedoed the hopes of an SEC rival.

    The only RPI top 75 victories Texas A&M (20-9, 11-6) has this season came via a pair of victories over LSU during SEC play. That sweep could have been meaningful for the Aggies except the underachieving Tigers have fallen back to the bubble with bad league losses against Missouri, Auburn, Mississippi State and now Tennessee.

    The lone remaining game for LSU is a visit to Arkansas. Win that, and the Tigers are surely safe. Lose, and they probably will need a win or two in the SEC tournament to head into Selection Sunday without any anxiety.

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

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days 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.

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    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.

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

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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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