Wednesday, March 21, 2012

News On The Horizon 3/21/2012

The Morning Mix--CollegeBasketballTalk

- It looks like Butler is going to join the Atlantic-10 Conference. The addition would be great for the conference. But the loss would absolutely crush the Horizon League, which had been relying on Butler’s success for the last half decade

Days of NBA Lives: Wherein Gordon Hayward stays himself--Ball Don't Lie
Utah Jazz: Riding a three-win streak, Jazz prepare to face the Thunder--Deseret News

Second-year swingman Gordon Hayward will also get time against Durant, and the Jazz's key reserve had an excellent defensive showing in the teams' first game in Utah this season (only 19 points).

Utah Jazz knock off the Oklahoma City Thunder 97-90--Deseret News

Paul Millsap's 20 points paced six Utah players in double figures. Al Jefferson added 16 points, Devin Harris 15, Gordon Hayward and Jamaal Tinsley 11 each and C.J. Miles 10 more for the Jazz. Derrick Favors grabbed nine rebounds and Hayward had eight.

Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder: Instant Analysis--Deseret News

Durant struggled as C.J. Miles and Gordon Hayward deserve credit for playing some tough defense. Both draped the superstar and bodied up on him just enough to assist in a very subpar six of 22 (27.3 percent) from the field outing — far below his 50.0 percent season average.
Balanced basketball: While the Jazz do not have the superstar cachet of their division rivals, Utah exuded teamwork with six players in double figures: Paul Millsap (20), Al Jefferson (16), Harris (15), Hayward (11), Tinsley (11), and Miles (10).
Quick hits:
Utah received the bad news that starting small forward Josh Howard will be missing the rest of the season with a knee injury. His 23.4 minutes per game average were divvied out to Miles (28 Tuesday, compared to his 19.2 average), Hayward (32 compared to 27.4) and rookie Alec Burks (25 compared to 13.9).

Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder: Report card--Deseret News

GUARDS: It wasn't a completely solid effort for Devin Harris, who scored 13 of his 15 points in a three-minute span in the third quarter. But that was an impressive display he put together in those three minutes, hitting three 3-pointers. Gordon Hayward started at shooting guard in place of Raja Bell. He didn't shoot all that well, but he helped out with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Russell Westbrook was Oklahoma City's best player on Tuesday night and kept the Thunder in the game. Thabo Sefolosha was a no-show.

Grade: B

Utah Jazz: Players buying in to Tyrone Corbin's philosophy, starting to shut down opponents--Deseret News

"Sacramento, they have some talent on their team," Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward said. "It's going to be another team effort and challenge to stop them defensively."

While Millsap has been on a stealing spree (including eight vs. Minnesota), Hayward and C.J. Miles are a couple of players whose defensive games have received the most attention recently. They hounded Kobe Bryant into a career-worst 3-for-20 shooting night, and the pair limited Kevin Durant to 18 points on 6-for-22 shooting on Tuesday.

"C.J. has done a tremendous job," Hayward said. "And I think the biggest thing, we've been able to have help from our other teammates when they drive. It's not just us guarding them. It's Paul stepping over or Al stepping over or Derrick stepping over and shutting them off. It kind of forces them to take tough jump shots and we're there to contest. It's a team defense."

Ah, those sweet words a coach loves to hear again.

Corbin emphasized that the improved defense leads to a better offense as well because the Jazz get more transition baskets, play in rhythm and feel better about themselves, which translates to confident playmaking.

Hayward senses a "renewed effort and a renewed focus" on the defensive end.

"I think we realize that we're getting down to crunch time," Hayward said. "Every game matters, especially in the West trying to make the playoffs."

And the proof of success is in the standings, where the Jazz (24-22) are only a half-game out of a playoff spot. It's no secret what they need to continue to do well and work on to leap into the top eight and get back into the postseason after a year out.

"Any time we can play well defensively," Hayward added, "that's when we're at our best."

Utah Jazz notebook: Tyrone Corbin toys with making room in the starting lineup for Raja Bell--Deseret News

Utah has played well with C.J. Miles in the first five the past three games, and Gordon Hayward replaced Josh Howard as a starter against the Thunder after the veteran small forward found out he'd need possible season-ending surgery on his left knee.
Hayward believes road success begins on one side of the court.

"Defense is always first," he said. "I think that's what we have to have here."

Monson: Jazz really believe they now can beat anybody--Salt Lake Tribune

But the Jazz’s Fab Four — Favors, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward — are improving as rapidly as their sometimes stubborn coach, Corbin, allows them minutes on the floor. That’s another difference between the two teams.

The Thunder, the league’s best young outfit, have completely turned their fate over to their youngsters. The Jazz have not yet done so.

On the other hand, the 23-year-old Durant turned pro four years ago. Westbrook, who also is 23, has been in the league for three seasons. Harden and Serge Ibaka are both 22.

They are just a tick or two ahead of Favors and Hayward, who are in their second seasons, and rooks Burks and Kanter.
Against the Thunder, six Jazz players scored in double figures, and nearly everyone, particularly Hayward, played strong defense against Durant and his normally high-flying offensive teammates.

It was impressive.

Jazz show confidence in win over West-leading Thunder--Salt Lake Tribune

There was Utah’s C.J. Miles and Gordon Hayward defensively pairing up, holding Durant to 6-of-22 shooting. The Jazz outscoring the Thunder 50-20 in the paint while forcing 20 OKC turnovers. Thirteen points in just 2 minutes and 47 seconds from Devin Harris, including three 3-pointers, which pushed Utah to a 14-point lead early during the third quarter.

Bell or Burks, Hayward or Miles: Jazz’s Corbin about to make big call--Salt Lake Tribune
As Butler hosts Pitt in CBI, memories of NCAA matchup loom--The Indy Star
‘Underdawgs’ excerpt: The Pitt game--Indy Star Butler Insider
Butler Closes Their 2011-2012 Campaign With Pittsburgh--Butler Blue Fever
Bulldogs Host Pitt In CBI

Three Heat Things: Dexter Pittman, Derek Fisher, Norris Cole--South Florida Sun Sentinel
Video: Ira Winderman: Has Norris Cole hit rookie wall?--South Florida Sun Sentinel
CSU bounced from NIT first round--The Cauldron

Vikings dismantled by Detroit, 79-43--The Cauldron

Oakland's Hamilton, UDM's McCallum named to mid-major All-American team--The Detroit News
McCallum Named Lou Henson

NCAA women's basketball: Kentucky ends UWGB's run--Green Bay Press Gazette
Women's basketball: Last-second miss can't diminish Phoenix's regular-season feats--Green Bay Press Gazette
Phoenix clash with Titans, claim crown--UWGB Fourth Estate
Phoenix rip through cyclones, advance--UWGB Fourth Estate
Phoenix rip through cyclones, advance--UWGB Fourth Estate
Phoenix’ season ends in heartbreak--UWGB Fourth Estate
Phoenix’ season ends in heartbreak--UWGB Fourth Estate

Phoenix men built for the future--UWGB Fourth Estate
Phoenix men built for the future--UWGB Fourth Estate

Valparaiso picks up transfer from the Big East--CollegeBasketballTalk
Valpo lands South Florida transfer--The Post-Tribune
Valparaiso adds Big East transfer in Dority--The NWI Times
Nuness is feeling sweet all over again--The NWI Times
Crusaders add two transfer guards--The NWI Times
Michigan State guard Brandon Wood cuts a winding path--The Detroit News

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