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

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