Jeff Eisenberg

  • Bruce Pearl sinks trick shot from upper level at Auburn Arena

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 hrs ago

    Whether it was crashing a marketing lecture to promote Midnight Madness or agreeing to sit shirtless in a dunk tank for a fraternity's charity event, new Auburn coach Bruce Pearl has done some zany stuff to drum up interest in his program.

    This week Pearl has found a new way to generate publicity: Participating in a trick shot video.

    Alabama-based trick shot artists The Legendary Shots filmed a video at Auburn Arena that included a staged interruption from Pearl insisting that he wanted to show the crew how it's done. Pearl then hit a basket from the first row of the arena's upper level, punctuating his shot with an exuberant "War Damn Eagle!" Pearl also sank a second trick shot, though the hard part on that one was done by a guy holding a trampoline.

    Pearl's tactics appear to be working so far as Auburn has already sold out every home game this season and has reeled in a highly touted recruiting class that will arrive next fall. The Tigers may endure some growing pains this season, however, as they fell 90-59 at Pac-12 contender Colorado earlier this week.

    - - - - - - -

  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson dunks on college hoops' tallest player

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 5 hrs ago

    Yahoo Sports will chronicle the best dunks of the 2014-15 college basketball season. If you spot one we miss, let us know here or here.

    Previous Dunk of the Year nominees:

    Buffalo's Justin Moss throws down ferocious slamRondae Hollis-Jefferson dunks on college basketball's tallest player

    - - - - - - -

    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!

    Follow @JeffEisenberg

  • Gonzaga humbles Saint Joseph's in mesmerizing fashion

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 7 hrs ago

    It was eye-popping when they built a 13-point lead without missing a shot. It was jaw-dropping when they extended the lead to 38 by the time halftime mercifully arrived.

    It was downright scary when the margin ballooned to 49 less than three minutes into the second half even though they didn't bother to play four starters.

    Thirteenth-ranked Gonzaga dismantled Saint Joseph's 94-42 on Wednesday night, though the final score only hints at the real carnage. The Zags built a 60-11 second-half lead and harassed the Hawks into anemic 3 of 31 shooting before they finally took their foot off the gas pedal. 

    Said Gonzaga coach Mark Few to The Spokesman-Review, "It had to be one of the better, if not the best, defensive halves we’ve ever played. I thought we challenged pretty much every shot."

    Said Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Tomorrow’s my 38th wedding anniversary. It’s a hell of a gift.”

    Wednesday was a sign they'll be ready.

    - - - - - - -

  • Eric Bledsoe says Kentucky would 'definitely' defeat the 76ers

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 22 hrs ago

    Maybe he truly believes this is the rare season when college basketball's best team would pound the NBA's worst one. Maybe he was just talking with his heart more than his head.

    Whatever the explanation, former Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe didn't hesitate when he told Sirius XM NBA Radio that his alma mater would decisively win a seven-game series against the hapless Philadelphia 76ers.

    "I'll definitely take Kentucky," Bledsoe said. "I think Philly would probably get maybe one game."

    Then when told people in Philadelphia probably wouldn't like hearing that, Bledsoe said, "I know they're going to be mad, but I love my Wildcats."

    It takes unusual circumstances for anyone to even broach the subject of a NBA team losing to a college foe, but there's no doubt that perfect storm exists this season.

    Eric Bledsoe audio on Sirius XM:

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @JeffEisenberg

  • There are pros and cons to the NCAA releasing early seed projections

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    The intrigue created by the weekly release of the College Football Playoff rankings has apparently caught the attention of the Division I men's basketball committee.

    Dan Gavitt, NCAA vice president of men's basketball championships, told USA TODAY Sports that for the first time the men's basketball committee is considering releasing information prior to Selection Sunday. It almost certainly wouldn't be a full mock bracket, nor would it be likely to come any sooner than midway through conference play.

    "There was some discussion of four (one seeds) or sixteen (total seeds), the top four seeds in the four regions," Gavitt told USA TODAY Sports. "The way the committee left it was, we'll discuss it again (at meetings) in January. There wasn't enough time to fully vet it. But I'd say there's certainly some consideration being given to it."

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @JeffEisenberg

  • Steve Fisher scuttles talk of retirement by agreeing to contract extension

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    When San Diego State sent out a release late Tuesday night announcing Steve Fisher would hold a press conference to address the future of the program the following day, it understandably led to some anxiety among Aztecs fans. 

    They wondered if Fisher might announce he intends to retire at the end of the season considering he will turn 70 in March and is in the final year of a four-year contract. 

    The trepidation turned out to be baseless, however, because Fisher isn't ready to step away from basketball yet. San Diego State called the press conference to announce a contract extension for Fisher that ESPN is reporting will span the next three years.

    Though the extension reaffirms that Fisher is at least considering coaching beyond this season, in reality it probably doesn't change a whole lot. Fisher surely will still evaluate whether he wants to keep coaching every spring as he has the past few years, and San Diego State will undoubtedly have him back as long as he wants.

    - - - - - - -

  • Defense can carry San Diego State until it finds an offensive identity

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    SAN DIEGO — As Winston Shepard jogged down court after sinking a 3-pointer late in Tuesday night's first half, the San Diego State wing repeatedly clapped his hands as though he were giving himself a standing ovation.  

    It was a fitting reaction during a game in which made baskets were rare enough to be worthy of celebration.

    Sixteenth-ranked San Diego State edged No. 25 Utah 53-49 because its defense was smothering enough to atone for a sputtering offense still struggling to establish an identity without graduated star Xavier Thames. The Aztecs shot only 32 percent from the floor, tallied only four assists and didn't eclipse 40 points until just over three minutes remained in the second half, yet they led nearly from tip-off until the final buzzer because the Utes had even more trouble generating clean looks at the rim.

    "A year ago, we were good when X had the ball in his hands," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said. "Everyone knew that, and we wore X out. X was exhausted sometimes but we didn't take him out. We strategically took timeouts to keep him in the game."

    - - - - - - -

  • Whose stock has risen and fallen during the tip-off marathon?

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    A look at whose stock has risen and fallen during this year's college basketball tip-off marathon. Check back throughout Tuesday's action because this file will be updated all day: 

    Stock rising: Gonzaga

    Stock falling: Memphis

    It was alarming when Memphis lost to the best team it played on its summer tour of Canada by 32 points. It was disconcerting when the Tigers followed that by dropping a secret scrimmage to rebuilding Saint Louis and a preseason exhibition game to Division II Christian Brothers. And now that Memphis has been outclassed by 11th-ranked Wichita State 71-56 in their regular season opener, it's fair to wonder if the Tigers simply aren't very good. At the very least, Memphis' backcourt is a major concern after all four of their top guards graduated this past spring. Vanderbilt transfer Kedren Johnson was supposed to be the solution, but he went scoreless with four turnovers against the Shockers, looking nothing like the player who made such an impact in the SEC. The rest of the Memphis backcourt combined for all of 13 points on 5 of 16 shooting, not nearly enough to keep pace with Wichita State's formidable backcourt.

    - - - - - - -

  • Gonzaga student sinks craziest half-court shot you'll ever see

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    Gonzaga's torrid perimeter shooting wasn't limited to its players Monday night during its 72-56 rout of 22nd-ranked SMU.

    A student at the school also came out of the stands to win $500 by sinking a half-court shot in the most unlikely fashion imaginable during a second-half timeout.

    The shot bounced off the top of the backboard, caromed roughly 10 feet in the air and fell right through the rim as though the shooter planned it that way. The identity of the Gonzaga student who made the shot was not unavailable as of late Monday night and an email to athletic department spokesman Todd Zeidler was not immediately returned. 

    Whoever the shooter is, he deserves better than a $500 prize.

    Many students have won a full year's tuition for sinking a similar shot in more conventional fashion. This guy won barely enough to purchase a few books — or a few nights worth of drinks for him and his friends — for hitting a shot nobody could duplicate.

    More college basketball coverage from Yahoo Sports:

    - - - - - - -

  • Angel Rodriguez rallies Miami past Florida with late barrage

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    For the first 30 minutes of Monday night's game between Florida and Miami, the primary storyline was the eighth-ranked Gators' ability to withstand the absence of two critical frontcourt weapons.

    Then all that changed abruptly when Angel Rodriguez put his team on his back.

    Rodriguez scored 22 of his game-high 24 points in the final nine minutes of the second half to rally Miami to a 69-67 road victory over a Florida team that had won 33 straight at home. The point guard who transferred from Kansas State had a hand in almost every key play as the Hurricanes stormed back from a 14-point second-half deficit.

    There were his back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers that launched a game-changing 18-1 Miami spurt. There was the crossover dribble he used to free himself for a go-ahead 3-pointer over counterpart Kasey Hill with 18 seconds left in the game. And there was the game-saving charge he took in the lane to prevent Eli Carter from tying the game on Florida's ensuing possession. 

    It was then that Florida's lack of depth began to catch up with it.

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @JeffEisenberg