Pat Forde

  • The 20 college basketball teams that most need to win this weekend

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 4 hrs ago

    We are a mere nine days until Selection Sunday, which means it's do-or-die time for many college basketball teams nationwide. A look at the 20 teams that most need to win this weekend, and why:

    1. Kentucky. Game: Florida at home, Saturday. Sure, in the national championship sense this game is utterly meaningless. But the Wildcats are hunting bigger game now – an undefeated national championship and the chance to shoulder in alongside the great teams in college basketball history. To lose that now would be a colossal buzz kill – and to lose that at home, to this dysfunctional Florida team, would be a particularly depressing.

    2. North Florida. Game: Atlantic Sun final, Sunday. The Ospreys have never been to the NCAA tournament. They won the A-Sun title and finished four games in front of their opponent in the final, USC Upstate – but lost both meetings with the Spartans in the regular season. In fact, they've lost five straight in the series and were eliminated by Upstate last season in the tourney semifinals. Six straight, with everything on the line? That would be ugly.

    More college basketball coverage:

  • Sources: NCAA investigating whether family of Kansas' Cliff Alexander received impermissible benefits

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 8 hrs ago

    Kansas forward Cliff Alexander remains sidelined because of an NCAA inquiry into possible impermissible benefits received by one or more of his family members from an NBA agent, multiple sources have told Yahoo Sports.

    Alexander has not yet been interviewed by the NCAA, sources said, though not because of a reluctance by either the school or NCAA investigators. Sources said legal counsel has been retained by the Alexander family and that may be slowing the investigative process.

    Alexander will not be reinstated until after an NCAA interview occurs and a decision is made on whether benefits received by his family are impermissible. If it is ruled that a violation occurred, Alexander's eligibility for the remainder of the season could be affected.

    Mike Oliver, who coached the five-star recruit in Chicago at Curie High School, told Yahoo Sports Thursday that he visited Alexander Feb. 21 when the Jayhawks played TCU and was concerned.

    "I knew something wasn't right," Oliver said. "He just wasn't Cliff."

  • Forde Minutes: College basketball narrative takes dark turn as March arrives

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    Forty names, games, teams and minutiae making news in college basketball (Jerome entries sold separately):

    BAD TIMING FOR BAD HEADLINES

    We’ve finally made it to March, and what’s here greeting us? A pile of unpleasant stories. Not really what fans of the sport had in mind.

    But as is often the case, college basketball succeeds in being its own worst enemy. Earlier in the season, the dominant storyline was the sheer ugliness of the game – the painfully slow pace, the offensive futility, the inability to end a close game in anything less than an eternity. Now, with the Super Bowl, National Signing Day and the NFL draft combine all past and the calendar pretty much belonging to college hoops, here are the major stories currently in the news:

    Dating to the point-shaving scandals of the 1950s, college basketball has always been a sport that carries with it the faint but unmistakable aroma of corruption. Given the current embattled state of the game, these headlines aren’t helping to bring the casual fan back around to the excitement of March.

    COACH OF THE YEAR CAGE MATCH – TWO MEN ENTER, ONE MAN LEAVES

    PLAYER OF THE YEAR CAGE MATCH – TWO MEN ENTER, ONE MAN LEAVES

    BIGGEST BUBBLE GAMES

     

  • Mike Krzyzewski declines comment about Rasheed Sulaimon situation

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    Just hours after revelations of alleged sexual assaults by one of his former players were published by the Duke student newspaper, basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski stiffly and repeatedly declined comment on the issue Monday morning on the Atlantic Coast Conference basketball teleconference.

    In response to four inquiries about the story regarding former guard Rasheed Sulaimon – including one from Yahoo Sports – Krzyzewski responded, “I don’t have any comment about that.”

    At particular issue is the nine-month gap The Chronicle reported between when Krzyzewski and the Duke athletic administration was allegedly informed of the claims against Sulaimon and the player’s dismissal from the team.

    Sulaimon played in 34 of 35 games in the 2013-14 season and played in every game this season prior to his dismissal.

    Duke deputy director of athletics Mike Cragg then requested a meeting with Wensley, The Chronicle said. Six days after Wensley met with Cragg, Sulaimon was dismissed from the team.

     

  • Rick Pitino says he was 'blindsided' by Chris Jones' arrest on rape charges

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Rick Pitino loves talking about Peyton Siva, Gorgui Dieng, Luke Hancock and Russ Smith. With good reason. They were great college players who formed the nucleus of Louisville's 2013 national championship team.

    Often he will drop the names of Francisco Garcia, Taquan Dean and Larry O'Bannon. They led the Cardinals to the 2005 Final Four.

    Pitino has coached a lot of fine players at Louisville who have gone on to be fine men. Not just basketball winners, but winners in other facets of life.

    But the former player Pitino talked about Thursday afternoon is in jeopardy of losing everything – his freedom, his reputation, his future earning potential, quite possibly his entire basketball career. Chris Jones, abruptly dismissed from the team Sunday, was charged Thursday morning with rape and sodomy of two women stemming from an incident that took place Saturday night. What he lost is one thing; what he may have taken from two victims is all the more serious.

    "Shocked."

    "Saddened."

    "Blindsided."

  • When it comes to college athletics, it sure seems cheating pays

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    At Big 12 media days last July, commissioner Bob Bowlsby sent a ripple through college sports by declaring that “cheating pays.” He said the NCAA’s enforcement model was “broken” and that the risk of significant punishment didn’t outweigh the reward of winning.

    “They’re in a battle with a BB gun in their hand,” Bowlsby said. “They’re fighting howitzers."

    This set off a spasm of reaction and rebuttal, including NCAA president Mark Emmert and director of enforcement Jon Duncan defending the association’s ability to police itself.

    As we head into March Madness, you can expect the usual round of assessments of the college sports landscape and its ethical land mines. There will be cheerleaders who declare all is well, and there will be those who sail in after not paying attention at all to declare the place a disaster area. The truth is somewhere in the middle – but what’s transpired since Bowlsby’s startling July declaration gives credence to what he said. A Top 10 List of recent developments:

    Again, that’s the list since last July.

    More college basketball coverage from Yahoo Sports:

  • Forde Minutes: Coaching chaos, bubble watch and the battle for No. 1 seeds

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    Forty names, games, teams and minutiae making news in college basketball (where freshman ineligibility is the clubhouse leader for Dumbest College Sports Idea of 2015):

    IT’S LATE FEBRUARY; DO YOU HATE YOUR TEAM YET?

    Later Sunday, Nebraska coach Tim Miles (3) threw his team out of its own plush locker room for the foreseeable future, after the disappointing Cornhuskers laid down in a 28-point home loss against Iowa. Miles said the locker room will be padlocked from the outside and players will have to dress and shower elsewhere.

    “We gave up,” Miles said.

    All of which is fairly tame compared to what is happening at tailspinning Seton Hall (6).

    Welcome to the dog days of late February, often a time of simmering strife in college hoops. The excitement of March isn’t here yet, but the same nagging annoyances are. Roster turmoil abounds.

    Because they’re all in it together, right?

    OVERCOMING MISSING PERSONNEL

    SEVEN TEAMS, FOUR SPOTS

    THE SWEATIN’ SIXTEEN

    Bubble teams of particular intrigue going down the stretch:

    BEST MID-MAJOR CONFERENCE RACES

  • Louisville left in tough spot after dismissing third-leading scorer Chris Jones

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    A dramatic week ended badly for Louisville point guard Chris Jones.

    The senior went from suspended for the Cardinals’ game at Syracuse on Wednesday to starring Saturday against Miami to dismissed from the team Sunday, the school announced.

    Coach Rick Pitino declined comment to Yahoo Sports on why Jones was dismissed, saying only, “He’s finished.” It’s unclear what happened before this latest disciplinary action against the senior point guard.

    Less than 24 hours earlier, Jones had played extremely well in helping Louisville rally to beat Miami, 55-53. Jones had 17 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals against the Hurricanes.

    “Is it fun to coach him?” Pitino said Saturday afternoon. “Not like [former guard] Russ Smith – there’s not a lot of laughter coaching him. [But] you appreciate how hard he works, so you give him some latitude when things don’t go well. …Chris works hard at his game, all the time. That’s why I appreciate him.”

    Louisville plays at Georgia Tech on Monday.

  • UK's path to perfection driven by John Calipari's relentless attitude

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – At the 9:17 mark of the first half Saturday night, Kentucky led Auburn by the hide-the-women-and-children score of 30-4.

    Karl-Anthony Towns, your thoughts at that point?

    "How did they get four?" the freshman big man said.

    This is the Kentucky mindset, as it flows from coach John Calipari through his outrageously talented and deep roster. In the quest for a perfect season, try to play a perfect game. In the quest for a perfect game, try to have a perfect start. In the quest for a perfect start, begrudge outmanned Auburn its measly four points.

    This is why Calipari screams at his players for lapses, even during blowouts. This is why he lingers on the court at halftime to yell at an official, even when his team is up 26. This is why he says his team "did good" in demolishing Auburn 110-75, but still can scan the stat sheet and drill down on a few shortcomings.

    He's coaching for elimination time, with the knowledge that Kentucky's toughest competition between now and then is on the practice floor every day.

  • How to revive New York area’s struggling college hoops scene

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 14 days ago

    This is the kind of week that rekindles the seemingly eternal discussion of what is wrong with college basketball in the New York City area.

    On Tuesday night, bubble team St. John’s was routed in a very important game against Georgetown. At the same time, unraveling Seton Hall watched guard Sterling Gibbs shockingly club Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono in the face during the Pirates’ fifth straight loss. Thursday night, Rutgers is widely expected to absorb its 10th straight loss, at home against Iowa.

    Times are hard. Have been for a while. Last time one of those three programs made the NCAA tournament was 2011. Last time one of them won an NCAA tournament game was 2004.

    In one of the game’s most celebrated locales, that’s embarrassing. I talked to several people this week who are familiar with the New York college hoops scene, and one word kept coming up: “sad.”

    But instead of traveling down the well-worn laundry list of what’s gone wrong, it’s time to ask: Who can make it right?

    The current coaches do not seem like strong candidates to lead the long-awaited revival.

    Vaccaro said current ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla was the last New York-area, major-college coach who checked all the boxes.