- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger: College Basketball Blog10 hrs ago
Having accidentally flung his shoe into the third row of Duke's infamous student section after it slipped off during Tuesday night's first half, Michigan sophomore Nik Stauskas faced an unusual problem at the next stoppage of play.
He had to ask the Cameron Crazies for his shoe back.
Not only did the Duke student who caught Stauskas' shoe actually return it, a handful of Duke fans also jokingly offered their shoes too. That was about the only thing that went right the whole night for Stauskas, who scored only four points and missed his only two shots from the field as 10th-ranked Duke throttled 22nd-ranked Michigan 79-69 behind an uncharacteristically strong defensive effort.
Aware that Stauskas entered the game averaging 20.3 points per game, Duke focused its defensive efforts on limiting his touches. Tyler Thornton and freshman Matt Jones shadowed Stauskas everywhere he went on the floor in an effort to make someone else on Michigan play the role of go-to scorer.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger: College Basketball Blog13 hrs ago
The last time Indiana attempted to solve Syracuse's vaunted 2-3 zone in the Sweet 16 last March, it took the Hoosiers six minutes to score their first field goal, 10 minutes to score their second and more than 18 minutes to sink their first three-pointer.
Indiana fared no better eight months later in Tuesday night's rematch.
Unable to efficiently score inside against Syracuse's long, athletic front line or to knock down shots from the perimeter with any consistency, the Hoosiers fell out of striking distance early in the second half and lost 69-52 in a Big Ten-ACC Challenge matchup. The ferocious Orange defense held Indiana to 36.6 percent shooting and 34 points shy of its season average.
Not having success against the zone had to be especially frustrating for an Indiana team motivated to avenge last March's season-ending loss. Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford led the high-scoring Hoosiers to a Big Ten title and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but they fell behind fourth-seeded Syracuse by 18 early and never seriously threatened in a 61-50 loss.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger: College Basketball Blog16 hrs ago
Florida may have to endure the remainder of the most daunting part of its schedule without a point guard.
Two weeks after decorated freshman Kasey Hill suffered a high ankle sprain expected to sideline him at least through mid-December, incumbent point guard Scottie Wilbekin went down with a similar injury Monday night at UConn. X-Rays on Wilbekin's right ankle came back negative on Tuesday and the timetable for his return is unknown.
The timing of Wilbekin's injury is not ideal with games against Kansas and Memphis up next on Florida's schedule. Assuming neither Wilbekin nor Hill can return to the lineup for either of those two contests, ball handling and distributing responsibilities will fall to players unaccustomed to that role.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger: College Basketball Blog20 hrs ago
Months before the fields for most of next year's holiday tournaments are revealed, it's already safe to say which one will be the strongest.
The Battle 4 Atlantis clinched that honor Tuesday with the announcement of an eight-team field rife with marquee programs.
National powers North Carolina, UCLA and Florida headline the 2014 incarnation of an event that has quickly emerged as one of the premier tournaments on the college hoops calendar. Recent Final Four teams Butler (2010, 2011), Georgetown (2007), Oklahoma (2002) and Wisconsin (2000) also will participate in the tournament, as will a UAB team that is on the rise under second-year coach Jerod Haase.
That the Battle 4 Atlantis was able to draw such a loaded field reflects its desire to unseat the Maui Invitational as the most prestigious holiday tournament. In the first few years of its existence, the Battle 4 Atlantis has drawn the likes of UConn, Duke, Louisville and Kansas to the Bahamas.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger: College Basketball Blog23 hrs ago
When passengers who were supposed to be on Delta Airlines flight 5059 looked out the window at Gainesville Regional Aiport on Sunday afternoon, they were undoubtedly surprised by what they saw.
Members of the Florida basketball team were boarding the plane they were supposed to be taking to Atlanta.
The Gainesville Sun reported Monday night that Delta canceled the Sunday afternoon flight from Gainesville to Atlanta so the Gators could use the plane instead to fly to Storrs, Conn., for their game against UConn. A maintenance delay had grounded the charter flight the team was originally scheduled to take.
Asked to explain why Delta appeared to give priority to a college basketball team over the 50 regular customers on the Atlanta-bound flight, spokesman Morgan Durrant told Yahoo Sports that Delta's intention was to try to get both flights off the ground as close to on time as possible.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger: College Basketball Blog1 day ago
Austin Texas is known for its bats and one of them earned some national television time Monday.
For the second time in 10 months, a bat disrupted a college basketball game. This one swooped into the action on numerous occasions at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin where the Longhorns defeated Vanderbilt 70-64.
In January, a bat interrupted a Marquette home game against Providence. It turned out to be hilarious entertainment for hoops fans that Saturday. The arena sound system blared the Batman theme song and an Ozzy Osbourne song at one point and players and coaches threw white towels into the air in an effort to snare the little troublemaker.
Rick Barnes' young Texas team managed to hang on to a slim lead in the final 30 seconds thanks in part to a costly unforced Vanderbilt turnover. The Longhorns earned their first victory over a team from a major conference and improved to 7-1 as part of the Big 12-SEC Challenge. Vanderbilt slipped to 4-3.
Oh, and apparently Texas cheerleaders caught the bat. No word on what they did with it.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger: College Basketball Blog1 day ago
Connecticut is still perfect and it might be charmed.
Credit senior Shabazz Napier.
The Huskies guard seized control of a see-saw game against No. 15 Florida on Monday night in the final minute. He converted a four-point play to give his team the lead with 33 seconds left. When Florida scored to go up by one Napier nearly fumbled away the ball before regaining composure to hit a buzzer beater from the foul line and give his team a 65-64 home win (video below).
It's the fourth win of the season for the Huskies in games decided by two or fewer points. They have also beaten Maryland, Boston College and Indiana in nail-biters.
Shabazz sprinted to the opposite end of the court after hitting the decisive shot and into a tunnel where most of his team tracked him down for a celebration. March is still three months away but this sure felt like a moment for the month of madness.
Napier finished as the game's leading scorer with 26 points. He made five 3-pointers and was generally a thorn in the side of the Gators all night, making three steals.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger: College Basketball Blog1 day ago
Maybe they don't enjoy the tropical weather. Maybe they've overlooked some opponents they should have beaten. Maybe they need more time to jell before they're ready for the step up in competition.
Whatever the reason, Xavier teams have fared about as well at holiday tournaments the past few seasons as Charlie Brown does kicking Lucy's football.
In appearances at the Old Spice Classic, Paradise Jam, Diamond Head Classic, Anaheim Classic and Battle 4 Atlantis the past five seasons, Xavier has amassed a 5-8 record and has finished better than fifth only once. Losses against teams like Marquette or Baylor were excusable. Losses against Hawaii, Pacific and Old Dominion were a bit more perplexing.
The latest holiday tournament meltdown came this past weekend in the Bahamas when the previously unbeaten Musketeers dropped three straight games to finish last in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger: College Basketball Blog2 days ago
ANAHEIM — At the end of San Diego State's 67-59 victory over Marquette in the title game of the Wooden Legacy tournament, Xavier Thames knew just what to do with the championship trophy.
Thames climbed into the Honda Center stands, held the gleaming silver ball aloft and allowed a throng of black-clad San Diego State students to join in the revelry.
"I just wanted to give everyone who gave up their Thanksgiving break to come watch us a chance to touch the trophy," Thames said. "They travel wherever we go, whether it's Las Vegas, Anaheim or New Mexico. I wanted to show love to them for sticking behind us."
Hoisting the trophy was especially fulfilling for Thames and his teammates Sunday night because few believed San Diego State would have such moments this winter. This was supposed to be a transition year for the Aztecs with standouts Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley moving on last spring, no double-digit scorers returning and a top 10 recruiting class not set to arrive until next summer.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger: College Basketball Blog2 days ago
Josh Pastner is off the hook.
It took 14 tries over five seasons but the Memphis coach and his Tigers captured the first victory over a top-25 team in Pastner's tenure Sunday by beating No. 5 Oklahoma State 73-68 in the championship game of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando.
Pastner was 0-13 against top 25 teams prior to beating the Cowboys. The drought dogged Pastner every time the Tigers have faced a ranked opponent.
It's not like his record against ranked teams won't continue to be mentioned - at least until The Tigers earns a few more victories against the top 25 - but finally earning this first win has to be a relief.
The No. 21 Tigers also avenged an ugly loss two weeks ago at Oklahoma State.
Senior guard Joe Jackson promised Memphis would at least redeem itself with a more competitive game than the 21-point loss it suffered in Stillwater. The Tigers made good by doing a better job defending Cowboys' star Marcus Smart who scored a career best 39 points in the first meeting.
Smart finished with 12 points and eight rebounds Sunday and committed two crucial turnovers in the final 12 seconds that allowed Memphis to seal the victory at the foul line.