- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger13 hrs ago
Syracuse's overall record suggests it's still in decent position to sneak into the NCAA tournament despite its 93-83 loss at North Carolina on Monday night.
A closer look at the Orange's remaining schedule, however, reveals reason for concern.
Yes, Syracuse is 14-7 so far this season. Yes, Syracuse is a respectable 5-3 in the ACC. But the Orange need to pile up wins before Valentine's Day because their schedule is back-loaded and their final seven regular season games may be the nation's toughest finishing kick.
Between Feb. 14 and March 7, Syracuse will face fourth-ranked Duke twice, travel to eighth-ranked Notre Dame and dangerous NC State and host unbeaten Virginia, 10th-ranked Louisville and former Big East foe Pittsburgh. Aside from maybe the Pittsburgh game, the Orange almost certainly will not be favored to win any of those games.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger16 hrs ago
Robert Upshaw is a former consensus top 50 recruit, a potential first-round pick in next June's NBA draft and a rim protector so gifted that he leads the nation in blocks despite coming off the bench almost every game he played this season.
What does it say about his off-court issues then that a 7-footer so talented has been unable to stick at either school he has played for?
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar announced Monday that he has dismissed Upshaw from the program for an unspecified violation of team rules. Fresno State previously booted Upshaw after his freshman season in 2013 when coach Rodney Terry grew tired of suspending the promising center and decided keeping him on the team was more trouble than it was worth.
“We wish Rob well as he moves forward in his life," Romar said Monday in a statement "We will do our best to support him in the future."
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger19 hrs ago
The locker room speech Mike Krzyzewski gave Sunday after his 1,000th win echoed the public sentiments he shared with reporters a few minutes later.
The Duke coach deflected credit for his accomplishments onto the players, coaches and administrators who have helped him reach 1,000 wins. Krzyzewski also lauded his players for rising to the occasion in the final 10 minutes, transforming a double-digit deficit against St. John's into a memorable road win.
"To see the emotion you guys had when you were making plays to come back was astounding," Krzyzewski said. "We made so many big-time hustle plays. So many. So many. That's what happens when you're consumed with winning, and I appreciate that."
When Krzyzewski was done speaking, his players, still clad in "1,000 wins and Kounting" T-Shirts, presented him with the game ball. Krzyzewski thanked them and then asked Duke athletic director Kevin White and school president Richard Brodhead to share a few words.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger23 hrs ago
The list of midseason national coach of the year contenders is remarkably diverse.
One coach was still an assistant when the school year began. Another was a fixture on every "hot seat" list this past summer. A third inherited a roster without a single player who averaged more than four points per game last season.
There's a coach who's unbeaten with nine McDonald's All-Americans and a coach who's unbeaten without any. There's also a coach who's contending in his league despite only six scholarship players and nobody taller than 6-foot-6.
Below is a look at my list of midseason coach of the year candidates. Feel free to quibble with my order in the comments section or let me know who I missed.
1. Tony Bennett, Virginia
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger1 day ago
The only type of narrow loss Northwestern had managed to avoid during its first six Big Ten games was one in which the Wildcats let a late lead slip away.
Now they can scratch that off the list too.
Star-crossed Northwestern blew an 11-point lead in the final four minutes at Maryland on Sunday night, suffering a 68-67 loss in a game in which it didn't trail until the final 30 seconds. A go-ahead jumper by Tre Demps with 11 seconds left could have averted disaster for the Wildcats, but Northwestern couldn't get the stop it needed, surrendering an acrobatic fall-away put-back from Maryland's Dez Wells in the final seconds after Melo Trimble's 3-pointer rimmed out.
Sunday's loss followed an all-too-familiar formula for Northwestern: Earn respect pushing a more talented opponent to the brink, yet find a way to lose in the final minutes. Four of the Wildcats' six Big Ten losses are by five or less points including two-point heartbreakers against Ohio State and Michigan last week. A fifth loss came by seven points in overtime at Michigan State.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger1 day ago
Squander an 18-point first-half lead in startlingly quick fashion? Check. Give away a four-point lead in the final minute of regulation? Check. Have a potential game-saving shot in the final seconds of overtime go halfway down but come back out? Check.
NC State's 81-78 loss to eighth-ranked Notre Dame featured almost every punch to the gut a heartbreaking NC State loss should include. About the only thing that was missing Sunday night was a Karl Hess cameo, but you can be sure the polarizing former ACC referee was cackling in front of a TV somewhere.
The Wolfpack appeared to have their second signature win of the month sewn up with a four-point lead and possession of the ball with less than a minute to go in regulation, but they let it slip away in a hail of costly turnovers and defensive breakdowns.
Cody Martin missed a jumper with 38 seconds to go. Demetrius Jackson cut Notre Dame's deficit in half with a layup 16 seconds later. Then things began to unravel for NC State when Trevor Lacey tried an ill-advised three-quarters-court inbound pass that resulted in a turnover.
- Anthony Sulla-Heffinger at The Dagger1 day ago
“I’ve been lucky.”
Forgive me – and the entire basketball world – for questioning Mike Krzyzewski’s choice of words, but 1,000 wins doesn’t simply happen by chance.
Krzyzewski, the most dominant men’s college basketball coach of the past 40 years – if not ever – captured his landmark win against St. John’s in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden.
Technically, it was a home game for the Red Storm but, just as it did for Krzyzewski when he won his 903 rd game to become the all-time leader in men’s college basketball, history seems to take precedence as Madison Square Garden.
“I like my place, Cameron, but this is a magical place and we beat a really good team and a storied program,” Krzyzewski said. “To win in this setting against a storied program makes it even better.”
If it were up to Krzyzewski, the swarm of media which descended on Madison Square Garden would not have been there to speak to, or about, him.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger1 day ago
They came to Madison Square Garden to witness a coronation.
Former Duke players flew in to see Mike Krzyzewski become the first Division I men's coach to win 1,000 games. Dozens of reporters traveled from every corner of the country to pen odes to the greatest college basketball coach of his era. Some of the sport's most prominent coaches even took the time to tape fawning video messages that aired on FOX's broadcast throughout the game.
Yes, everything was in place for a perfect celebration in Krzyzewski's honor except for one thing: For a while, it appeared St. John's wouldn't let the Duke coach make history at its expense.
Fifth-ranked Duke escaped with a 77-68 road win on Sunday afternoon despite trailing St. John's by 10 points with just over eight minutes left in the game. Only after Krzyzewski made the unlikely decision to insert seldom-used backup center Marshall Plumlee alongside starter Jahlil Okafor did the Blue Devils finally clamp down on defense and begin showing signs of life.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger2 days ago
Next time your team is down by three points or less with 1 second remaining in the game and the length of the court to travel and you think all is lost, remember Brandon Peel.
The 6-foot-7 forward snatched a baseball pass out of the air near the 3-point line, spun and shot Saturday in game that was tied 50-50. The ball splashed through the nylon and Central Connecticut State snapped an 11-game losing streak with an improbable buzzer-beater 53-50 victory over Wagner.
It was CCSU's first victory since Dec. 10 and only its third win of the season. It was also the first time the Blue Devils walked off the court victorious in a Northeastern Conference game this season.
Peel, a junior from Forestville, Maryland, scored 17 points in the game with 13 rebounds. It was his fifth double-double of the season.
Here is another view of Peel's game-winner.
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- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger2 days ago
To avoid relinquishing first place in the Big Ten for the first time this season, Wisconsin had to survive a far tougher game at Michigan than many surely expected.
Only a big overtime period from national player of the year candidate Frank Kaminsky enabled the Badgers to escape Ann Arbor with a 69-64 victory.
Kaminsky gave Wisconsin the lead for good on the opening possession of overtime by getting into the middle of Michigan's three-two zone, attacking the rim and drawing a foul for a three-point play. The skilled 7-foot senior added five more points later in overtime and finished with a game-high 22 as Wisconsin salvaged a win despite blowing an 11-point second-half lead.
Wisconsin's victory elevates the Badgers to 18-2 overall and 6-1 in the Big Ten, a half game in front of second-place Indiana entering the Hoosiers' visit to Ohio State on Sunday. The only two games Wisconsin has lost this season are a December showdown with a Duke and a stunner at Rutgers in which the Badgers were without Kaminsky and lost starting point guard Traevon Jackson to injury.