Monday, February 13, 2012

News On The Horizon 2/14/2012

Power Rankings: Week 14--Horizon League Hoops

For Butler, a Bumpy Road Back--New York Times
Utah Jazz take a moment for team bonding outside the basketball courts--Deseret News

Richard Smith, the Jazz's director of basketball operations, came up with the non-basketball bonding idea.

Corbin called it "eye-opening" for players, who experienced a four-century look at the evolution of black rights in the U.S. The historical museum includes a touching documentary — showing how Dr. King was killed in Memphis while trying to help garbage men get better wages — a detailed audio tour, exhibits such as a replica of the infamous Rosa Parks' bus, and opportunities to stand in the old motel a few feet away from the spots where the inspirational preacher/movement leader was murdered and from where the killer shot his rifle across the courtyard.

"A lot of us have probably learned that in history class growing up, but it's always more powerful when you're at the location that it happened," 21-year-old swingman Gordon Hayward said. "Being able to walk back through time, see all of that stuff and learn all of the details, it was really moving."
— Asked about Gordon Hayward's second season, Corbin credited the swingman for making the "largest strides" on defense even while facing the other teams' top scorers sometimes.

"I think he's doing a great job of taking that challenge personally, getting up in the guys," Corbin said.

The coach is convinced that Hayward's offensive game has benefited from the way he's played physical defense and made opponents "work for everything," like he did in helping hold Kevin Durant to just 19 points in Friday's loss.

Jazz-Hornets: Report card--Deseret News

Forwards: Just one day after combining for 39 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, Gordon Hayward and Paul Millsap combined for just 12 points on 5-15 shooting with five turnovers. Derrick Favors played more than Millsap in this contest and he was solid, scoring 14 points on 6-11 shooting in 26 minutes. But the Hornets' Gustavo Ayon, a 4.6 points-per-game scorer, scored 13 points on 6-7 shooting while grabbing nine rebounds. GRADE: D+

Utah Jazz stop three-game skid with steady performance in win over Memphis Grizzlies--Deseret News

Their chances will increase if they continue to get individual performances within the team play that they did in particular from Gordon Hayward and Al Jefferson.

Hayward continued his strong play of late, scoring a season-high 23 points on 8-for-12 shooting while dishing out five assists with two steals.

"He (was) the Butler Gordon," Jefferson said, smiling. "I told him he's here for a reason. He was drafted high for a reason. He just got to go out there and do his thing and that's what he did tonight."

Hayward credited his defensive aggressiveness for opening up a confident, in-rhythm offensive game, which came into play early with a steal-and-slam followed by a 3-pointer that put Utah up 7-0.

"That's the Gordon that we need — to be aggressive and to make plays," Jazz forward Paul Millsap said. "He's a playmaker."
The Grizzlies, led by Rudy Gay's 22 points, only shot 43.6 percent. But it was Utah's quick start — up 22-10 early — that set the tone.

"We lean on our home arena's energy. We were able to bring some of our own tonight," Hayward said. "And we've got to do that the next night and then again the next night. It will be a tough challenge (tonight), but I'm looking forward to it."

Utah Jazz-New Orleans Hornets: Instant Analysis--Deseret News

Young Bucks: If there was a silver lining to a very bleak loss, it was that the four NBA lottery picks — Derrick Favors , Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks — went most of the fourth quarter as an ensemble. Quarterbacked by veteran Earl Watson , the quartet did all they could to give Utah a chance to win. Their energy and fearlessness driving the ball to the hoop brought them within one or two plays of a win.

Quick Take: Utah Jazz lose to four-win New Orleans Hornets, 86-80--Deseret News

The Junior Jazz and Gordon Hayward made it interesting in the fourth quarter.

After falling behind by as many as 20 points with a completely inept night by most of the main Jazz players, the mix-and-match crew rallied to within three points with 21.6 seconds remaining.

Utah Jazz notebook: Road doesn't get any better after a hard time in Big Easy--Deseret News

Corbin liked how the group including Gordon Hayward, Earl Watson, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks trimmed a 17-point deficit down to just three in the final moments. Other than that, well, there wasn't a whole lot of positive that came out of New Orleans. Maybe that his starters are well-rested?

At times, Corbin didn't think his team ran hard, set good screens, executed or played well in transition.

"We're a team trying to develop an attitude and a reputation," the second-year coach said of his playoff-bubble 14-13 team. "We have to play a certain way to get that done and…if we don't do that, this kind of thing happens."

The starters, in particular, struggled as a unit and especially in the third quarter. Corbin benched all of them but Gordon Hayward in the fourth.

Al Jefferson had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Bell hit three 3-pointers en route to 11 points (all in the first half). But Paul Millsap was 2-for-9 and just had four points and five rebounds. And starting point guard Devin Harris struggled again, compiling all of two points and four assists with three turnovers.

Hayward had a good fourth quarter, but he only scored eight points a night after dropping in 23. He also had three turnovers (as did Earl Watson and Derrick Favors).

Non-Conference Opponents' Update: February 13--Hammer and Rails

Butler Bulldogs - 15-12, 9-6 Horizon, RPI: 114 - It's about damn time, Butler! The Bulldogs swept Youngstown state and Cleveland State this week to make a near 40 point jump in the RPI. Their next three are very winnable games at home before going to Horizon leader Valparaiso. Winning all four gets them to 19-12, 12-6, and they still have an outside shot of hosting the Horizon League Tournament then. As we know, this is about when Butler turns it on, and this can still be an NCAA team if they win the Horizon Tourney. That also likely would move them out of the "bad loss" category by getting them back in the top 100. Of course, we help that too by winning and improving their profile.

Jazz throw away progress, fall 86-80 to lowly Hornets--Salt Lake Tribune

A Jazz second unit composed of 32-year-old reserve point guard Earl Watson and four players 21 or younger — Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors — trimmed New Orleans’ 63-43 lead with 3 minutes, 30 seconds left in the third to just three points with 21.6 to go.
Jefferson backed his coach, saying he and the remainder of the Jazz starters not named Hayward had no right returning to a game they willingly threw away.

Matt Howard signs with team in Germany--The Indy Star
Butler's Roosevelt Jones named Horizon League player of week--The Indy Star
Men's college basketball preview: Loyola at Butler--The Indy Star
Hayward continues evolution--Indy Star Butler Insider
Roosevelt Jones Wins the StatSheet Horizon Freshman of the Week - February 13th, 2012--Butler Blue Fever
Butler (15-12) vs. Loyola (Chicago) (6-18)--Butler Blue Fever
Roosevelt Jones Earns League
Bulldogs Begin Final Homestand Against

Beth Couture Show - Episode

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Week 13--Eye On College Basketball

Roaming outside the Pyramid:

♦ Out this week: Cleveland State, Iona. In: Virginia Commonwealth, Long Beach State.
♦ It was appropriate last week’s two teams who didn’t feel like they belonged, Cleveland State (14) and Iona (15) promptly got the boot this week.

Cleveland State looking for an improved Jeremy Montgomery vs. Milwaukee--Cleveland Plain Dealer
Butler 52, Cleveland State 49--Cleveland State Hoops
Cleveland State (20-6) Takes On Milwaukee (15-12)--Vikings Ball
Anton Grady is Runner-Up for the StatSheet Horizon Freshman of the Week - February 13th, 2012--Vikings Ball
Vikings Travel to Milwaukee for Tuesday

Doug Anderson tops chart for gravity-defying dunk vs. Valparaiso--The Detroit News
Former Titan Courts His Dream Job in the

Brown Earns Third Horizon League Player Of The Week Honor & Madness National High-Major

UIC at Valparaiso--The Chicago Tribune
Flameout on North side--Whoosh! Net
UIC (7-17) Takes On Valparaiso (18-9)--Flame Fanatic
Marc Brown Receives Honorable Mention for the StatSheet Horizon Freshman of the Week - February 13th, 2012--Flame Fanatic
Flames Travel to First-Place Valparaiso

Loyola at Butler--The Chicago Tribune
Loyola (Chicago) (6-18) vs. Butler (15-12)--LU Wolf Ball
Registration Now Open For 2012 Porter Moser Basketball
Men's Basketball Blog Entry #10: Jordan

Men's basketball: Tonight's UWGB-Youngstown State preview--Green Bay Press-Gazette
Rob Demovsky column: UWGB men should get cozy at Kress Center-Green Bay Press-Gazette
Green Bay (10-14) Takes On Youngstown State (14-11)--Phoenix Fever

Women's basketball: Home loss drops Phoenix women to No. 11 in AP poll--Green Bay Press-Gazette

UWM finds someone to spell Williams--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Panthers would host first round at Klotsche Center--PantherU
Discussing the potential of a HLT home game--PantherU
Milwaukee (15-12) Faces Cleveland State (20-6)--UWM Update
Panthers Back Home Tuesday To Host Cleveland
UWM Granted Permission To Host League Tourney First Round Game At Klotsche

Four Thoughts on Ohio State vs. Michigan State--Rush The Court

William Buford’s No-Show — Buckeyes supporters have been clamoring for the senior, who is on pace to go down as one of the most accomplished players in program history, to play with a bit more fortitude and consistency. After going off for 29 against Purdue, he fell back well below his average Saturday as Brandon Wood and Branden Dawson held Buford to a quiet four points on 2-for-12 shooting. He logged 36 minutes but was 0-for-2 from three-point range in his first single-digit scoring performance since January 7.

Defensive resurgence drives Michigan State--YardBarker

Defending the 3-point line has become a crucial part of success in college basketball. Opponents are shooting 28.9 percent behind the arc, the lowest allowed by Michigan State since the NCAA adopted a 3-point line 25 years ago.

"It all starts at the point," Izzo said. "Keith Appling is an incredible defender for us. What's surprised me is I think we've been very solid inside with both our bigs. One has size (Derrick Nix), one has athleticism (Adreian Payne).

"The X factors have been (Branden) Dawson and (Brandon) Wood and (Austin) Thornton. They weren't very good defenders, but when you surround yourself by some good ones, you become part of that.

"I've been most impressed with our overall defense. There's been a little bit of a commitment."

Anthony Davis should be POY front-runner--Andy Katz Blog

• Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew won't win national coach of the year. But he better win the Horizon League honor. I saw this team in an exhibition game in November. There was no reason to suspect the Crusaders would be leading the Horizon and on their way to a possible NCAA tournament berth. If you had to take which Drew brother would be in first place on Feb. 13 in his respective conference, it wouldn't have been close. Scott Drew of Baylor would have been the choice.

MMR: League races head to the finish--ESPN

It's been a while since we've looked at the mid-major conference races. But with the NCAA tournament just a month away, it's time to take the pulse of the mid-major scene once again.
Horizon League

Valparaiso leads the league with an 11-4 record. And the Crusaders' last three conference games are at home. Cleveland State is a half game back at 10-4. Youngstown State, Detroit and Butler are all tied for third place at 9-6. Still, the conference tourney will ultimately dictate who represents this league in March.
The Mid-major Power 15
(MWC, A-10 and C-USA are not included)

1. Wichita State: Can't understand how this team failed to crack the latest coaches' poll.
2. Saint Mary's: Loss at Gonzaga stopped Gaels from running away with WCC title.
3. Long Beach State: Monson's squad is 12-0 in the Big West and faces Creighton this week.
4. BYU: New kid on the block still in WCC fight with 9-3 record and second matchup versus Zags coming.
5. Gonzaga: Bulldogs' reign over WCC ending? Not so fast.
6. Murray State: It was bound to happen at some point. First loss might take pressure off.
7. VCU: Shaka Smart's team has won 11 in a row but has a tough week ahead.
8. George Mason: Paul Hewitt's new team entered the week in a three-way tie for first in CAA.
9. Drexel: This CAA squad has won 13 in a row. Forgive me for overlooking Dragons in past polls.
10. Harvard: Amaker's squad suffered its first Ivy League loss against nemesis Princeton.
11.Creighton: The Bluejays' success story has taken a hit with three straight losses.
12. Valparaiso: The Crusaders beat Cleveland State on the road last week and sit atop the Horizon.

Top Horizon League seed in Valparaiso’s grasp — again--The Post-Tribune
BracketBuster causing scheduling headaches for Valparaiso--Off The Mark
Valparaiso (18-9) Faces UIC (7-17)--Valpo Daily
Ryan Broekhoff Wins the StatSheet Horizon Player of the Week - February 13th, 2012--Valpo Daily
Valpo Comes Home Tuesday to Face

Wright State still has hopes of hosting--Dayton Daily News
Wright State fighting for first-round league tournament home game--Wright State University Sports
Take Our Survey and Receive Two WSU Baseball

Women's Basketball

Kendrick Perry is Runner-Up for the StatSheet Horizon Player of the Week - February 13th, 2012--Guin Report
Youngstown State (14-11) Faces Green Bay (10-14)--Guin Report
Men's Basketball Visits Green Bay for Valentine's Day

Different mindsets, one common goal--The Jambar

Butler's Jones Snares Men's Basketball Player of the Week Honor--Horizon League Network

Detroit's Shareta Brown Named Women's Basketball Player of the Week--Horizon League Network

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