Saturday, December 31, 2011

News On The Horizon 12/31/2011

Where Boys Become Men, If Anyone Cares To Take Notice--The Mid-Majority

Utah Jazz edge Philadelphia 76ers 102-99 for first win--Deseret News

Fellow second-year player Gordon Hayward also made a big impact in this game, hitting a clutch jumper in the final minute and scoring 15 points.

Utah Jazz vs. Philadelphia 76ers: Instant analysis--Deseret News

Super sophomores: The future is not the just future; it is the now, and Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward proved it. This was capsulated by the big shots each made down the stretch and a unlikely tip in by Favors with 1:25 left followed by Hayward’s clutch 17-footer 45 seconds later.

With Jefferson sitting out, Favors got the start at the center spot and played extremely well. He managed to stay out of foul trouble for the first time this young season, which enabled his 20-point, 11-rebound outing in the middle.

Not to be outdone, Hayward turned in a very efficient evening: 15 points (5-of-9 FG, 1-of-2 3-pointers, 4-of-4 FT) along with three assists and two blocked shots. He played heady defense against Philadelphia’s impressive group of swingmen.

Utah Jazz report card vs. Philadelphia 76ers--Deseret News

FORWARDS: Paul Millsap had an off shooting night and is taking too many 3-pointers, but played hard like usual and finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Gordon Hayward hit a clutch jumper with 30.2 seconds left to give the Jazz a 101-97 lead, and also made some nice passes in crunch time. Howard played 24 minutes and did a decent job, although he shot just 2-for-6 from the field. Grade: B+

Utah Jazz fans can breathe sigh of relief--Deseret News

With four starters — Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Gordon Hayward and Paul Millsap — scoring in double figures, and two of them — Millsap and Favors — coming up with double-digit rebounds as well, this lineup looked much more focused and cohesive than the one that got slapped around in those lopsided losses at L.A. and Denver.
But Miles, Kanter, Watson, Favors, Howard, Hayward and Harris took turns coming up with huge plays down the stretch to put Utah back on top, feeding off the home-court crowd and refusing to let the Sixers regain the lead.

Utah Jazz give their fans big 'Favors' in a win--Deseret News

"We did a lot better," starting small forward Gordon Hayward said. "We weren't perfect and we made a lot of mistakes, and we still have a lot of work to do. (But) we definitely played with a lot more energy. We played like teammates, and it was a good start for us."
Hayward also had his best outing of his second season, scoring 15 points, including a clutch jumper in the final minute, and totaling three assists, two rebounds, two blocks and a steal.

NBA • Jazz show maturity by shaking off mistakes in closing moments--Salt Lake Tribune

“It was great to win, especially in front of our fans,” said Gordon Hayward. “They were great. … Obviously, we still have a lot of work to do. But this feels good to win.”
Hayward came off a screen by Derrick Favors and buried an open 18-footer to make it a two possession game with 30.2 seconds left.

“We had run that a lot during the night and had some success, so we stuck with it,” Hayward said. “D-Fav set a monster screen and got me open.”

Significantly, Hayward was ready and willing to take the shot.

“They had sagged off before,” he said. “I knew if they did the same thing I’d be ready to pull the trigger.”
Hayward shrugged and said, “I think we were just competing, playing hard, playing with more energy. When you do that you are going to make mistakes -- trying to be aggressive.

“We’re a young team. We’re going to make mistakes. We’re not going to be perfect. But it’s about how you respond to those and we did a much better job tonight.”

Live Analysis: Jazz defeat 76ers for first win of season--Salt Lake Tribune
Jazz get first win of the season over Philadelphia, 102-99--Salt Lake Tribune

When the battle was over, coach Tyrone Corbin breathed easier, laughed loudly and spoke with pride. Gordon Hayward, 21, talked of confidence — reacting instead of thinking, pulling the trigger instead of just passing. And Derrick Favors? The 20-year-old power forward who didn’t learn he was starting at center until he saw Al Jefferson’s name removed from a locker-room dry-erase board about 45 minutes before tipoff took the next step toward what he spent last summer striving for.
Forced to go young with Jefferson out, Corbin turned to Favors, Hayward and 19-year-old Enes Kanter during crucial stages of the game. Kanter responded with six big rebounds and two strong, quick moves in the paint. Hayward finished with 15 points on an efficient 5-of-9 shooting, and he drilled a key 18-foot jump shot with 30.2 seconds to go that made it 101-97 Jazz.

The basket put Philly away and was the first sign the No. 9 overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft could one day be a deadly late-game closer for a Utah team without a true No. 1.

“That’s one thing about becoming a pro: You’ve got to be able to take those shots,” Hayward said.

At a Glance: Milwaukee at Butler--The Indy Star
Dunham always draws a crowd--Indy Star Butler Insider
Know The Opponent: Milwaukee--Bark of Hinkle
Bulldogs Host League-Leading

LeBron James has a winning birthday--Miami Herald

GROWING PAINSRookie point guard Norris Cole struggled in the second game of his first home-away back-to-back. After exploding for 20 points against the Celtics on Tuesday, Cole was 2 of 8 from the field for five points on Wednesday against Charlotte. He then took the day off on Thursday, choosing to rest rather than attend an optional practice.“It was an adjustment; it was different,” Cole said. “But it’s something I can definitely get used to. I’m going to have to, obviously.”

Dwayne Wade wins it again for Miami Heat despite bad foot--Miami Herald

Heat rookie Norris Cole scored eight points in eight minutes midway through the second quarter. His running floater with gave the Heat 39-26 lead. Cole finished with 12 points 30 minutes, his most as a pro.

Wade, James hold off Timberwolves--Miami Herald

Norris Cole scored 12 for the Heat.
True to form, he scored 15 points in the first quarter, and the Heat flustered the young Wolves into six turnovers and 39 percent shooting. Cole then scored six of the Heat's first eight points in the second quarter for a 39-26 lead, and it looked like Miami was pulling away.
Then James turned the third quarter into a one-man dunk contest, soaring through the air for three straight that put the Heat back in control. He threw down a windmill, a baseline lob from Cole and a final one-handed hammer for a 78-72 lead.

Youngstown State Penguins at a Glance--Let's Go Vikes!
Carlos English Newest Members of the Harlem Globetrotters--Let's Go Vikes!
Norris Cole Scores 20 in Heat Win--Cleveland State Hoops
Cleveland State Resumes Horizon League play Saturday--Cleveland State Hoops

Today's UWGB vs. Loyola women's basketball preview--Green Bay Press Gazette
Phoenix Closes the Year Hosting Loyola Saturday at 2

Today's UWGB vs. Valparaiso men's basketball preview--Green Bay Press Gazette
Green Bay (6-7) Faces Valparaiso (8-6)--Phoenix Fever
Green Bay Plays New Year's Eve Affair at Valpo

Rivalry renewed at Hinkle #BeatButler #HLMBB--PantherU

VU women visit Detroit--The Post-Tribune

Broekhoff fights through the pain--The Post-Tribune
Horizon League leader UWM faces potential scheduling conflict--Off The Mark
Staying on the court is key for VU's Buggs--The NWI Times
Valparaiso (8-6) Takes On Green Bay (6-7)--Valpo Daily

Preview: Wright State vs. Illinois-Chicago--Dayton Daily News
WSU shooting well during winning streak--Dayton Daily News
Wright State student government hoping to spread “Raider Spark”--Wright State University Sports
Game 16 Preview: Wright State (7-8, 2-1) at Illinois-Chicago (5-8, 1-2)--Wright State University Sports

Friday, December 30, 2011

News On The Horizon 12/30/2011

Friday's Pregame Beat: Slow weekend highlighted by UK-UL--Ballin' is a Habit

Four more mid-major matchups to watch
Sat. 2:00 pm: Milwaukee @ Butler: Milwaukee looks like they may end up being the class of the Horizon League this season. But until Butler loses their grip -- completely, as in they are knocked out of the Horizon League tournament -- I won't believe that anyone else is going to win a game in that conference.

Conference Reset: Cleveland State, not Butler, should be tops in Horizon--Eye On College Basketball

Jazz-Nuggets: Instant analysis--Deseret News

Odds and ends: Some other observations from Wednesday's game:
Gordon Hayward had a career-high seven assists.

Nuggets-Jazz: Report card--Deseret News

FORWARDS: Starting power forward Derrick Favors grabbed 10 rebounds, but scored just two points on 1-of-4 shooting in less than 17 minutes of play. It was a performance that doesn't necessarily scream to Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin that he deserves to start over Paul Millsap, who scored 13 points on an effective 6-of-9 shooting with eight rebounds in nearly 22 minutes.

Gordon Hayward had a nice line with 10 points and seven assists, but backup Josh Howard didn't quite maintain his play against the Nuggets in shooting just 2-of-9 from the field. Jeremy Evans was essentially a non-factor in 13 minutes. It hardly seemed like anyone could put a body on Nene, who scored 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting. Grade: C

Utah Jazz: Defense sputters in Mile High air--Deseret News

Center Al Jefferson scored 10 of his team-best 19 points in the first quarter after missing 14 of 16 shots against the Lakers. But Utah's starting five of Devin Harris, Raja Bell, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Big Al still didn't completely click, falling behind 28-23 after the first 12 minutes.
C.J. Miles also had 13 points, while Hayward and Harris added 10 points apiece.

But Utah had 22 turnovers — "sign of a careless team," Corbin said — and got outrebounded 45-39 by a squad that obviously wanted this one more.

"It's early and we do need to find out who we are," Hayward said. "I think it will be good to go home and have a day to watch some film, find out who we are as a team and hopefully come back and play with a vengeance."

No place like home to get the Utah Jazz season on the right track--Deseret News

"We'll see what type of team we are the next couple of games," second-year Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward said.

Utah Jazz notebook: 'Round Mound' Charles Barkley thinks Jazz should go young--Deseret News

That means Utah fans hoping to see more playing time allotted to Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter might be in the weird position of agreeing with and laughing at something Barkley had to say.

Utah Jazz: Millsap gets starting nod tonight--Deseret News

The other four starters will remain the same, with Devin Harris (point guard), Raja Bell (shooting guard), Gordon Hayward (small forward) and Al Jefferson (center).

Utah Jazz notes: Alec Burks enjoying crazy dream of life in NBA--Salt Lake Tribune

Despite hinting after the loss to the Lakers he might tweak Utah’s starting lineup, Corbin decided to stick with an initial rotation of Devin Harris, Raja Bell, Gordon Hayward, Favors and Al Jefferson against the Nuggets.

Late 3-pointer seals Butler's win over Green Bay--The Indy Star
Butler's youth demonstrate poise against Green Bay--The Indy Star
For Butler, it takes a village--Indy Star Butler Insider
Butler prevails at the end, beats Green Bay--Victory Firelight
Green Bay vs Butler: Recap Notes--Butler Blue Fever
Butler Picks Up Win Over Green Bay, 53-49--Butler Blue Fever
Butler (7-7) and Milwaukee (10-4) Face Off--Butler Blue Fever
Know The Opponent: Green Bay--Bark of Hinkle
Post Game: Butler defends home court against Green Bay--Bark of Hinkle
Bulldogs Edge Green Bay,

Detroit Beats Butler
New Year's Eve Party: Butler At Wright

12-2 Cleveland State Set to Begin Horizon League Play--Let's Go Vikes!
Cleveland State (12-2) Goes Up Against Youngstown State (6-6)--Vikings Ball
Vikings Return to League Play Against Youngstown

Vikings Open Horizon League Play At Youngstown State

College basketball roundup: Detroit Mercy falls short vs. Illinois-Chicago--The Detroit Free Press
Detroit vs UIC: Recap Notes--Titans Update
UIC Gets Win Over Detroit, 63-59--Titans Update
Detroit (6-9) Faces Loyola (Chicago) (5-8)--Titans Update
Host Flames Hang-On for 63-59 Win

Titans Cage Bulldogs,
FREE ADMISSION As Titans Host Crusaders On

Talton's career-high 21 leads UIC to victory--The Chicago Tribune
Illinois-Chicago holds on to beat Detroit 63-59--Daily Herald
UIC keeps cool under pressure--Whoosh!Net
Detroit vs UIC: Recap Notes--Flame Fanatic
UIC Tops Detroit, 63-59--Flame Fanatic
UIC (5-8) Goes Up Against Wright State (7-8)--Flame Fanatic
Flames Collect First Horizon League Win, 63-59 over

Flames Drop Horizon League Opener to #14 Green Bay,

Loyola falls to Wright State, drops to 0-3 in Horizon--The Chicago Tribune
Mays lifts Wright State past Loyola, 64-48--Daily Herald
Wright State vs Loyola (Chicago): Recap Notes--LU Wolf Ball
Loyola (Chicago) Falls To Wright State, 64-48--LU Wolf Ball
Loyola (Chicago) (5-8) vs. Detroit (6-9)--LU Wolf Ball
Turnovers Plague Loyola In 64-48 Loss To Wright
Ramblers Close Out 2011 By Hosting Detroit Saturday

Loyola Defeats Milwaukee, 81-73, in Horizon League
Ramblers Search For Weekend Sweep With New Year's Eve Matinee in

No. 18 Green Bay women top UIC
Women's basketball: UWGB beats Illinois-Chicago 80-63 despite off night--Green Bay Press Gazette
Eichler Pours in Career-High 19 in Horizon League

Men's basketball: Butler hands Phoenix first Horizon League loss--Green Bay Press Gazette
Green Bay vs Butler: Recap Notes--Phoenix Fever
Green Bay Flops In 53-49 Loss to Butler--Phoenix Fever
Late Butler Three Sinks Green Bay on the Road,

Williams, Panthers get good bounce to beat Valparaiso--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Making it count--PantherU
Milwaukee vs Valparaiso: Recap Notes--UWM Update
Milwaukee Gets Close Win Over Valparaiso, 57-55--UWM Update
Milwaukee (10-4) Battles Butler (7-7)--UWM Update
Postgame Report - Milwaukee at Valparaiso--Panther Blog Zone
Late Three By Williams Sends Panthers Past
Panthers Wrap Up 2011 With Saturday Contest At

Panthers come up just short--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Late Rally Not Enough As Panthers Fall In League
Milwaukee Looks To Bounce Back Against

Cold Crusaders fall at home--The Post-Tribune
Milwaukee at Valparaiso, Dec. 29, Live Blog--Off The Mark
Crusaders fire blanks in loss to Milwaukee men's basketball team--The NWI Times
Live from the ARC: Valparaiso vs. Milwaukee (MBB)--Inside VU Sports
Milwaukee vs Valparaiso: Recap Notes--Valpo Daily
Milwaukee Wins Close One, 57-55 Over Valparaiso--Valpo Daily
Game Wrap Up: What went wrong?
--Section EE
Conference PPS--Section EE
Crusaders Drop Tight Horizon League Home
Valpo Men Hosting New Year's Eve

Crusaders Head to Detroit for New Year's Eve Day Clash with the

WSU's Vest still fighting foot, ankle injuries--Dayton Daily News
WSU dominates Loyola to win third straight--Dayton Daily News
Mays driving Wright State winning surge--Dayton Daily News
Game 15 Preview: Wright State (6-8, 1-1) at Loyola (5-7, 0-2)--Wright State University Sports
Wright State dominates Loyola to win third straight, 64-48--Wright State University Sports
Wright State vs Loyola (Chicago): Recap Notes--Rowdy Review
Wright State Beats Loyola (Chicago), 64-48--Rowdy Review
Wright State (7-8) vs. UIC (5-8)--Rowdy Review
Men Win Third Straight at

On this day 12 years ago - Dec 29, 1999--Guin Report
Youngstown State (6-6) Takes On Cleveland State (12-2)--Guin Report
Men's Basketball Closes Out 2011 With Saturday Matinee at Cleveland

Nail-biters Continue to Define Horizon League Play--Horizon League Network
Championship Rematch Highlights Game of the Week, Saturday Slate--Horizon League Network

Thursday, December 29, 2011

News On The Horizon 12/29/2011

2011 B.I.A.H End-of-the-Year Awards, Part-I--Ballin' is a Habit

Best Team in 2011

Butler Bulldogs
Resume: 28-10. Horizon League Regular Season and Tournament Champions. National Runners-Up. won 14 consecutive games. Currently 6-7 with wins over Purdue and Stanford.
Best Game of 2011
No.8-seed Butler 71, No.1-seed Pittsburgh 70, NCAA Tournament - March 19th
Best Coach in 2011

Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
Jim Calhoun, UConn
Jon Calipari, Kentucky
Steve Fisher, San Diego State
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
Thad Matta, Ohio State
Shaka Smart, Virginia Commonwealth
Bill Self, Kansas
Brad Stevens, Butler
Buzz Williams, Marquette

Gone streaking: Which of the 25 longest Tourney streaks will continue?--Run The Floor

Butler Bulldogs (6-7) - 5 years. Prediction: 20%

Brad Stevens' club is lucky to have two very solid wins against Purdue and at Stanford. But there's not a realistic chance for them to do enough to get in as an at-large. Which means they'll need to win the Horizon. And losses to Evansville, Valpo and Ball State don't make that prospect seem all that likely.

Live Analysis: Jazz’s Corbin sticks with same starters vs. Nuggets--Salt Lake Tribune
Men' college basketball preview: Green Bay at Butler--The Indy Star
Bulldogs' growing pains--The Indy Star
Butler tries to sustain momentum--Indy Star Butler Insider
Important weekend starts with Green Bay--Victory Firelight
On this day 10 years ago - Dec 28, 2001--Butler Blue Fever
Butler (6-7) vs. Green Bay (6-6)--Butler Blue Fever

Dawgs Open League Schedule At

MAC Basketball Review: No Return Policy--Hustle Belt

Cleveland State 72, Toledo 64 — With all the Military Bowl wackiness keeping us busy, little did we have time for a sneakily good game which had the Rockets up by six points at halftime against the Horizon League's best team. But turnovers cost them down the stretch as the CSU seniors salted away what turned out to be a very mellow victory for them. Curtis Dennis led all Rockets with 14 points.

Also, if you didn't hear, Ryan Majerle, Thunder Dan's nephew, is transferring. Odd time for this to happen, but he probably did this now so he'll only have to sit out two more semesters and pull a Curtis Dennis; rejoin someone after the fall 2012 semester.

A Brief, By the Numbers Look at Vanderbilt--Anonymous Eagle

(3) When the O goes broke, they're toast. The common theme in Vandy's four losses is easy enough to identify: vs. Cleveland State: 0.83 points per possession; vs. Xavier: 0.91 points per possession; vs. Louisville: 0.91 points per possession; vs. Indiana State: 0.83 points per possession. In every other game (save for the rock fight against Oregon State), the 'Dores have produced an offensive efficiency of at least 113 (1.13 points per possession).

There isn't a single consistent culprit for the low offensive outputs in those four losses: the losses against Cleveland State and Indiana State, for example, were the product of hideous shooting days (39.2 eFG% against CSU, and 44 eFG% against ISU) and a ton of turnovers (21 vs. CSU, 15 vs. ISU), while the loss against Xavier seems tied to Vandy's inability to get to the line (just 12 throws attempted, for a free throw rate of 18.8%) and getting slaughtered by X on the offensive glass (Xavier had 25(!!!) offensive rebounds, good for a 51% O-reb rate).

Vanderbilt isn't exactly bad defensively (no opponent has cleared an offensive efficiency of 112 against them), but they're not great either, and when the going gets tough, they haven't been able to get enough stops to make up for their inconsistent offense. Xavier, as noted earlier, grabbed offensive rebounds at their leisure, and Indiana State managed an eFG% of 52.9 in their win at Vandy.

Miami Heat rookie Norris Cole trending in NBA--Miami Herald
Miami Heat’s Mario Chalmers bounces back big--Miami Herald

After a long night on Tuesday in the Heat’s 115-107 win over Boston — one in which backup Norris Cole stole the spotlight and most of the playing time — Chalmers rebounded with a season-high 15 points and four assists against just one turnover.
Chalmers had committed six turnovers against Boston and watched as Cole played 29 minutes and scored 20 points.
Cole played just 10 minutes, and finished with five points and one assist. Chalmers said he’s fine with the way Spoelstra goes with the point guard who’s playing the best on any given night.

Spoelstra sees Coles, Chalmers as ideal partnership--South Florida Sun Sentinel
Is it (gulp) Norris Cole's team?--South Florida Sun Sentinel
Former Cleveland State guard Norris Cole helping Miami Heat dominate in early going--Cleveland Plain Dealer
2nd half run lifts CSU over Toledo--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Vikings Topple Toledo 72-64--Let's Go Vikes!
Superfans Celebrate Road Win In Toledo--Let's Go Vikes!
Cleveland State vs Toledo: Recap Notes--Vikings Ball
Cleveland State Picks Up Win Over Toledo, 72-64--Vikings Ball
Strong Second Half Lifts CSU Past Toledo,

Vikings Hold Off Lake Erie To Earn 62-48

Detroit (6-8) Goes Up Against UIC (4-8)--Titans Update
Titans Hit Windy City

Butler In Town To Open HL Play On

Thursday's matchup: Detroit at UIC--The Chicago Tribune
UIC (4-8) vs. Detroit (6-8)--Flame Fanatic
Flames Resume Horizon League Play versus Detroit Thursday
Former UIC Standout Paul Carter Signs with D-League's Idaho

UIC Opens League Play at #18/14 Green Bay on

On this day 8 years ago - Dec 28, 2003--LU Wolf Ball
Loyola (Chicago) (5-7) Squares Off With Wright State (6-8)--LU Wolf Ball
Men's Basketball Blog Entry #8: Jordan

Loyola Opens Horizon League Play At

Men's basketball: Today's UWGB vs. Butler preview--Green Bay Press Gazette
Green Bay (6-6) Goes Up Against Butler (6-7)--Phoenix Fever
Green Bay Begins Road Road Stretch Thursday at

Women's basketball: Today's UWGB-UIC preview--Green Bay Press Gazette
No. 18/14 Green Bay Opens Conference Play Thursday Hosting

UW-Milwaukee returns to Horizon League play--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee (9-4) vs. Valparaiso (8-5)--UWM Update
Video: Panthers Ready For Weekend League Tests In

Valparaiso women fall in Horizon League opener--The Post-Tribune
Crusaders can't hold off Wright State perimeter attack--The NWI Times
Wright State Downs Valpo Women in Horizon League

Lazerus: Will the real VU please stand up?--The Post-Tribune
Howard Little joins local NWI team--Off The Mark
Conference play is on the Horizon for Valparaiso--The NWI Times
Valparaiso (8-5) vs. Milwaukee (9-4)--Valpo Daily
Preview: Green Bay--Section EE
HL weekend picks--Section EE
Crusader Men Return to Horizon League

Wright State women win Horizon opener--Dayton Daily News
Women Pull Away for 58-42 Win Over

Preview: Wright State vs. Loyola--Dayton Daily News
WSU must adjust to tough Horizon League format--Dayton Daily News
Wright State hoping to improve Horizon League marks in conference play--Wright State University Sports
On this day 15 years ago - Dec 28, 1996--Rowdy Review
Wright State (6-8) Squares Off With Loyola (Chicago) (5-7)--Rowdy Review

Women's Basketball Starts League Play Saturday vs. Cleveland

Cleveland State Grabs Non-Conference Win on Wednesday--Horizon League Network
Conference Play Resumes Thursday Night--Horizon League Network

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

News On The Horizon 12/28/2011

Around the Horizon League: Week 7--Hoopville

Women's Basketball Games of the Week 12/27 - 12/29--College Sports Madness

ILLINOIS-CHICAGO at No. 19 GREEN BAY (8 p.m. Thursday at Kress Events Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin)

Horizon League play gets underway Thursday for these two schools, and whoever wins this game will have a slight upper hand with plenty more basketball yet to play. UIC (7-4) has wins over Northern Illinois, Roosevelt and Eastern Illinois in its last three games following a three-game losing streak. Green Bay (10-0) has handled two Mid-American schools and one Big Ten squad in the last three victories. The Phoenix’ 65-49 win over Wisconsin was most impressive, keyed by 29 points and eight rebounds from Julie Wojta. This could be a close game, but don’t be surprised if Green Bay runs away with the contest. If the Phoenix blow out UIC, then Green Bay might skate all the way to the Horizon League title.

Biggest college hoops stories of '11--Sports Illustrated

3. Wunderkind coaches, More mid-major madness. The Butler Magic that made the 2010 NCAA tournament one of the most memorable of all time was expected to be a one-year phenomenon -- a fairy tale only fit for the Bulldogs' hometown of Indianapolis. And then it happened again, in more improbable fashion. Three seed lines lower this time (at No. 8), Butler had to prevail in back-to-back, down-to-the-buzzer games against Old Dominion and top-seeded Pitt (an upset that featured the most absurd, foul-ridden ending I've ever seen), solve Wisconsin's hyper-efficient offense and then survive overtime against Florida to reach the Final Four ... where it turned out the Bulldogs weren't even the biggest surprise in Houston.

VCU, one of the teams in the inaugural "First Four" -- a nice way of saying it was among the last teams picked for the newly expanded field of 68 -- reeled off a string of five upsets to become the first 11-seed to reach the Final Four since George Mason, in 2006. The Rams introduced the nation to Team Swag, and the motivational tactics and charisma of 33-year-old coach Shaka Smart made him an overnight star. The only coach who could derail the VCU express was the game's preeminent wunderkind, 34-year-old Brad Stevens, who completed one of the greatest feats in modern tournament history by getting Butler to back-to-back title games. That the Bulldogs lost the finale in miserable fashion shouldn't overshadow that achievement.

A look back at college basketball’s 10 best moments of

4. Inexplicable foul helps Butler beat Pittsburgh: Snake-bitten Pittsburgh has fallen short of a Final Four berth each season under Ben Howland and Jamie Dixon, but never have the Panthers been denied March glory in such a heartbreaking way. First Pittsburgh appeared to benefit from a referee's whistle when Shelvin Mack fouled Gilbert Brown with Butler ahead by one and 1.4 seconds remaining. Then it was the top-seeded Panthers who were victimized when Brown's second free throw rimmed out and Nasir Robinson went over the back of Matt Howard vying for the rebound. The result was a 71-70 Butler victory that left both teams dazed and propelled the Bulldogs to their second straight appearance in the national title game.

Utah Jazz starting lineup named; Millsap to play--Deseret News
Utah Jazz instant analysis vs. Los Angeles Lakers--Deseret News

Growing pains: Each of the young guys—Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, and Enes Kanter—took his lumps in the season opener. Due to two quick fouls, Favors sat out the final 20 minutes of the first half. He finished with eight points and six rebounds in 19 minutes. After a dominant performance the last time he visited STAPLES Center, Hayward was quiet with seven points.

Jazz weaknesses painfully obvious in blowout loss to Lakers--Deseret News

FORWARDS: Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors combined for 15 points on 7-15 shooting from the field and matched Lakers starters Devin Ebanks and Josh McRoberts. However, Los Angeles' Metta World Peace scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds in 27 minutes to give the Lakers the edge. Paul Millsap seemed to be the only Jazzman that deserved to be on the same floor as the Lakers, scoring 18 points on 7-15 shooting from the floor with eight rebounds in 27 minutes. Josh Howard's play was encouraging, scoring 10 points while playing half the game. Grade: B-

Jazz starting lineup a mix of young and old--Deseret News
Utah Jazz: Corbin shakes up lineup; Millsap off bench--Salt Lake Tribune
Jazz notes: Tyrone Corbin pushes Utah’s youth movement forward--Salt Lake Tribune
Jazz start two sophomores--Salt Lake Tribune
Gordon Monson: Youth movement means baby steps for Jazz--Salt Lake Tribune
Jazz set franchise low in 96-71 blowout loss to Lakers--Salt Lake Tribune

Coach Tyrone Corbin cautioned against overreacting. Center Al Jefferson said the Jazz must stick together. Devin Harris and Gordon Hayward know Utah missed way too many makeable shots.
Down by 29 during the fourth quarter, Utah watched early-game miscommunication turn into in-game yells, and the faces of everyone from Raja Bell to Gordon Hayward tightened.

2014 Butler target, Sean Sellers, talks season, recruiting--Bark of Hinkle
Bulldogs Return To League Play Against Green

Stone Cole: Heat rookie scores 14 in 4th quarter and Miami holds off Boston, 115-107--Washington Post
Miami Heat rookie Norris Cole makes a big-time impact--Miami Herald
What Miami Heat fans have been waiting for is finally here--Miami Herald

Even with Wade and LeBron on this team, Norris Cole still provides a spark — an extra gear that the Heat doesn’t get from Mario Chalmers, and certainly didn’t get from any of its point guards last season.Cole only cemented his place in Heat fans hearts this early in the season by hitting a pair of huge jump shots late in the game, when the Celtics closed to within arm’s reach of the Heat and continued to play that zone that forced Miami into a few too many outside shots.It doesn’t hurt that he apparently loves the big moments, with 14 of his 20 coming in the final period.

With ‘almost’ not good enough, Miami Heat’s changes look impressive--Miami Herald

The more aggressive offense suits the Big 3, and so does the increased familiarity with one another. Udonis Haslem’s return to health makes a big difference. Defense-minded veteran Shane Battier was a smart addition. And rookie point guard Norris Cole will be a significant energy charge off the bench if Tuesday night’s whirling-dervish show by him was an indication.Underline that last sentence.Cole was on the floor in the crucial closing minutes Tuesday, and had 20 points.“A pace-changer,” Spoelstra called him. “Our immediate spark plug.”As an aside, can you imagine being this kid coming into this team?“My first week of training camp my eyes were a little big,” he admitted before Tuesday’s game, with a smile. “You see LeBron, D-Wade, Chris Bosh, Juwan Howard of the Fab Five … it was an eye-opening experience.”Cole has the potential to make starting point guard Mario Chalmers slowly disappear, and is one reason why the Heat is better. By a lot.

Norris Cole steals the show as Miami Heat defeats Boston Celtics--Miami Herald
Heat hold off Celtics 115-107 in home opener--South Florida Sun Sentinel
LeBron James talks about Heat, Norris Cole.--South Florida Sun Sentinel
Vikings Basketball Report Returns January 3rd on STO--Let's Go Vikes!
Norris Cole - Rookie of the Year?--Let's Go Vikes!
Cleveland State (11-2) Takes On Toledo (7-5)--Vikings Ball

Vikings Set to Host Lake Erie

On this day 14 years ago - Dec 27, 1997--Titans Update

Shearer Tabbed HL Player Of The

'Twas the Game Before Christmas--The Mid-Majority
Hard-luck road continues--Whoosh!Net

Averkamp Named To Jesuit Basketball Weekly Honor

Men's basketball: Butler still team to beat in Horizon--Green Bay Press Gazette
Cougill shares Horizon League weekly honor--UWGB Basketball
Cougill Shares Horizon League Player of the Week

Preview: Milwaukee --Section EE
Women's Hoops Opens Horizon League Play Wednesday at Wright

Wright State junior named Horizon League men’s basketball co-player of the week--Wright State University Sports
Wright State overtime win inspires memories of other buzzer-beaters--Wright State University Sports
Mays Named HL Co-Player of the

Women's Basketball's Road Winning Streak Ends at Stony

Green Bay's Cougill, WSU's Mays Split Men's Basketball Player of the Week Honors--Horizon League Network

Detroit's Senee Shearer Named Women's Basketball Player of the Week--Horizon League Network

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

News On The Horizon 12/27/2011

Mid-Major Mid-Terms 2011--Run The Floor

5. Horizon League (58-52)
Versus Pomeroy top-50: 2-15 (Butler 2-2)
Versus top-25: 0-14

It's unclear who's on top of the Horizon. Butler (6-7) has made a late charge with attention-grabbing wins over Stanford and Purdue following head-scratching losses to Ball State and Evansville. Meanwhile, Milwaukee's losses are all against top-50 teams, and Cleveland State (11-2) runs the most efficient defense in the conference, at 0.92 ppp.

No offense is ranked higher than 100th among the teams in the Horizon (at 1.04 ppp, Valparaiso is ranked 100 by Pomeroy).

Roosevelt Jones Wins the StatSheet Horizon Freshman of the Week - December 26th, 2011--Butler Blue Fever

I Am the 83 Percent--The Mid-Majority
Jazz still need to figure out who's their alpha dog--Deseret News

The Jazz open the season tonight, having addressed some pressing issues. In the last 18 months, they've added players who can fill more than one position, such as Josh Howard, Al Jefferson and Gordon Hayward. They've become bigger by picking up Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. And they got deeper by bringing on Earl Watson and Alec Burks.

What the Jazz haven't resolved is who should be their alpha dog. Right now, there is no team leader. They govern by committee. If a player has something to say, he just says it. There's nobody really there to set him straight.
Favors is too inexperienced and soft spoken. Josh Howard is too new and his future with the Jazz unclear. C.J. Miles is too laid back, Watson too temporary, Gordon Hayward too agreeable, Enes Kanter too, well, Turkish.

Utah Jazz: It'll be a wild, bumpy 'Route 66' for Jazz this season--Deseret News

But, realistically, unless everything falls into place and guys like Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap, Devin Harris, Raja Bell, Josh Howard, Miles and Jefferson exceed expectations, it looks like this "Route 66" will wind up with something more in the neighborhood of a 31-35 finish.

New season a fresh start for Utah Jazz--Deseret News

That Jazz team is an interesting combination.

It features a handful of exciting youth who offer hope for the future in Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Enes Kanter and Jeremy Evans.

Utah Jazz biographies--Deseret News


6-foot-8, 210 pounds

2nd season; 21 years old

Role: Guard/forward looks to pick up where he left off as rookie, giving team added outside shooting, defense and athleticism.

Quote: "Excited, ready to get this under way — definitely. After watching the games (Sunday), it makes you want to play basketball. It'll be good to finally start playing."

Utah Jazz’s 2011-12 season will highlight battle of veterans, youth--Salt Lake Tribune

Will Utah’s offense again feature a methodical half-court, inside-out attack that saw power forward Paul Millsap and center Al Jefferson combine to average 35.9 points and 17.3 rebounds during the 2010-11 season? Or will second-year coach Tyrone Corbin gradually open up the Jazz’s offense in the attempt to increase outside scoring options and take inside pressure off his bigs, in turn giving more freedom to everyone from Harris and C.J. Miles to Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks?
But what could separate the 2011-12 Jazz from last season’s failure is depth, which is mainly derived from youth. Howard and Jamaal Tinsley should improve Utah’s standing at small forward and point guard; Miles finally appears comfortable with the idea of consistency; and the emergence of potential young stars such as Derrick Favors and Hayward could give Corbin a variety of options to choose from in the nightly attempt to exploit matchup advantages.

Utah Jazz notes: Tyrone Corbin knows who is starting, but he’s not saying--Salt Lake Tribune

If Al Jefferson starts at center and Devin Harris opens at point guard, Corbin’s biggest decisions will be Gordon Hayward or C.J. Miles at small forward and Paul Millsap or Derrick Favors at power forward.

Corbin could start Hayward and Miles and bring veteran shooting guard Raja Bell off the bench, but he might want Bell to open as the primary defender on Kobe Bryant.

Kragthorpe: Jazz’s rebuilding starts at home--Salt Lake Tribune

The Jazz’s 18-23 road record tied for the 11th best in the NBA, more than adequate for a playoff team. But they were only 21-20 at home, tied for 22nd. Beyond that, only a few memorable performances came at home: The Jazz scored the game’s last 11 points against the Lakers, Deron Williams and C.J. Miles combined for 58 points against Orlando, and Gordon Hayward scored 34 points in the finale against Denver.
The Jazz do have a promising future, with Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks and the potential of two more lottery picks in 2012. The issues are how long it will take them to get back to the playoffs, just how bad they will get before getting better and how their fans will view them during that process.

We’ve seen these Wizards before--Washington Post

John Wall is still flying upcourt at warp speed, trying to see if the fourth-youngest team in the league can catch up with him. They can’t, which is part of the problem.

You almost wish rookie point guard Shelvin Mack played alongside Wall on occasion just to slow the tempo down, so that many of the half-court set Wizards could contribute offensively.

Norris Cole makes his NBA debut--Cleveland State Hoops
Vikings Return to Action at Toledo on

Titans Add Ellisha Crosby To Fall

After Holiday Break, Loyola Resumes League Play Versus Wright
Loyola To Hold Toy Drive At Wright State Game

Panthers Return To Action With League Contest At

Late signees powering Wright State--Dayton Daily News
Week 7 Horizon League Power Rankings: Butler adding statement wins--Dayton Daily News

Monday, December 26, 2011

News On The Horizon 12/26/2011

Missouri Survives Illinois, Butler Knocks Off Stanford--Basketball Predictions

Who will be the Utah Jazz's starting 5?--Deseret News

He won't reveal starters until today or possibly Tuesday.

For what it's worth, the five players who began Wednesday's preseason game against Portland were on the floor together when the Jazz began practice Saturday with a zone defense refresher.

That group included point guard Devin Harris, shooting guard Raja Bell, small forward Gordon Hayward, power forward Derrick Favors and center Al Jefferson.

Utah Jazz: Top 10 games of 66-game season--Deseret News

4. The Lake Show

Tuesday, Dec. 27: Jazz at Lakers

It is an away game, so Jazz fans have to wait until Jan. 11 to thank ex-Utah fan-fav-turned-villain-for-some Derek Fisher for his labor-strife role. Utah can also thank the NBA because its Game No. 1 will be the last night of a back-to-back-to-back for L.A. You won't hear a smarmy word from Phil Jackson. He's retired. This will be the Jazz's first match-up with the Mike Brown-coached Lakers. Fun reminder: Gordon Hayward scored 22 and the Jazz beat the Lakers when they visited in April.
Also worth watching:
Feb. 7 — Jazz at Pacers: Who goes more berserk: Indiana fans for beloved Butler star Gordon Hayward or ex-Ute coach Jim Boylen on the bench?

Merry Christmas--Bark of Hinkle

David Stern: Miami Heat not a lock for title--Miami Herald

Cole’s debut Norris Cole: get used to the name.The Heat’s backup point guard wasted little time introducing himself to NBA fans Sunday, playing nearly 24 minutes in his regular-season debut. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra praised the fearlessness of his rookie, who scored seven points on 3-of-8 shooting to go along with two rebounds, three assists and four turnovers. By comparison, Heat starting point guard Mario Chalmers played 42 more seconds and scored three points with four assists, four steals and two turnovers.“We have good veteran leadership here, so they made me feel comfortable on the court,” Cole said. “I didn’t really get nervous.”

And So This Is Christmas--The Mid-Majority
'tis the season for statistics--SectionEE

In Horizon League, 14 four-year players prepare for return to conference play--Wright State University Sports
Comparing Wright State’s 6-8 start with other 14-game beginnings--Wright State University Sports

Women's Basketball to Close Non-Conference Play at Stony