2012 Horizon League BracketBusters Pairings--Horizon League Hoops
St. Mary's & Murray St. highlight BracketBusters--Eye On College Basketball
Defensive battle: Cleveland State and Drexel won’t wake you up if you’re tired on Saturday morning. However, the game will feature two of the better defensive teams in the country.
Game not to overlook: Valparaiso could be a threat in the Horizon heading into the final month, only a half-game out of first place. Meanwhile, Loyola Marymount has surprised some and already has a nice collection of wins.
Bracket Busters Breakdown--College Sports Madness
2012 NCAA Tournament: Four Teams (or More?) Primed To Dance From Indiana--SB Nation Indiana
Conference Tournament or Bust:
Valparaiso Crusaders - 15-8, 8-3 Horizon League - Valpo won't get an at large bid, but they are only a half game out in the Horizon League and they have a win over leader Cleveland State. They won 72-66 at home against the Vikings, and that could come into play with the conference tournament. The No. 1 seed hosts the league tourney and the top 2 seeds receive a bye to the semi-finals. That means Valpo would be two home wins away from the NCAA Tournament if they win the Horizon League.
On February 9 Valpo heads to Cleveland State for what could be a huge conference game. Win that, and Valpo will be looking very good.
Butler Bulldogs - 12-11, 6-5 Horizon - If Butler is going to go to a sixth straight NCAA Tournament they will have to do it the hard way, but never count them out. Butler was swept in Wisconsin this past weekend and is now 6-5, well off the pace in the Horizon League. Their best win is over Purdue, so there is no chance of an at large, but the Bulldogs have shown in the past they can get hot at the best time.
Tuesday Truths--BASKETBALL PROSPECTUS
Horizon: A post-Norris-Cole league
W-L Pace PPP Opp. PPP EM
1. Cleveland St. 8-2 63.4 1.09 0.94 +0.15
2. Detroit 6-5 64.3 1.07 1.01 +0.06
3. Milwaukee 7-4 63.8 0.95 0.91 +0.04
4. Valparaiso 8-3 63.3 1.05 1.02 +0.03
5. Youngstown St. 6-4 62.3 1.03 1.00 +0.03
6. Wright St. 6-5 61.2 0.94 0.93 +0.01
7. Butler 6-5 64.4 0.94 0.96 -0.02
8. Green Bay 5-6 66.2 1.00 1.02 -0.02
9. UIC 2-9 62.4 0.95 1.04 -0.09
10. Loyola 0-11 57.7 0.86 1.07 -0.21
AVG. 62.9 0.99
In the past two weeks Cleveland State has achieved separation from the rest of the Horizon, and the fact that the Vikings have done so the year after saying goodbye to 2011 Horizon POY Norris Cole calls to mind the year Ohio State had in 2010-11 after bidding adieu to national POY Evan Turner. Gary Waters, I salute you! Your men still foul too much, but you have the best team in the Horizon. Carry that flag proudly. Your league has quite the NCAA tournament record the past couple years.
Utah Jazz extra: The 'OOOOs!' have it, where's Beyonce, Jimmer got Jazzed?--Deseret News
2. Been there, done that
Indiana's version of Jimmermania is Hayward hysteria. Or something like that. Gordon Hayward gets to go back next week. The ex-Butler hero's hoops homecoming was something to see and hear last year as dozens and dozens of Pacer loyalists sported No. 20 Jazz shirts in his honor. Conseco Fieldhouse went bonkers when he dunked over Paul George.
With that in mind, Hayward wasn't shocked by the positive reception the Kings' guard received in Jazzland.
"I was involved in that when I went home last year," Hayward fondly recalled. "It was the same type of thing, just on the opposite side for us (Saturday). It's good that we got the win."
A 21-point night from Hayward wasn't too shabby, either.
Utah Jazz: Raja bell out tonight, Al Jefferson ankle still causing problems--Deseret News
With the two veterans out, the Jazz will go with a starting lineup that includes point guard Devin Harris, shooting guard Gordon Hayward, small forward Josh Howard, power forward Paul Millsap and center Derrick Favors.
Cold-shooting Jazz trail by six at halftime to Blazers--Deseret News
Gordon Hayward, who's playing his natural shooting guard position in Bell's absence, has really struggled going 0-for-8 from the field in the half.
Utah Jazz-Portland Trailblazers: Instant Analysis--Deseret News
Ugly First Half: Where to begin? Here’s where the Jazz sat after 24 minutes: 14 of 46 from the field (30.4 percent), just 1 of 6 on three-pointers, and 10-15 from the free throw line. They had more turnovers (seven) than assists (just five) on the stat sheet. And after managing just 20 points in the first quarter, they were unable to match that in the second (19).
The individual shooting: Gordon Hayward 0-8, Paul Millsap 2-7, Enes Kanter 1-5, Alec Burks 0-2.
All that said, thanks to some strong rebounding work (27 boards) and some decent defense (five steals, four blocked shots), Utah found themselves down by just six at halftime — 45-39.
Not So Ugly Second Half: Minus a bout of nervous free throw shooting, the second half was an entirely different story. There was increased activity, teamwork, and defensive effort. As has been the case many times this year, Earl Watson was the leader with his energy being contagious.
After that miserable first half, Hayward settled down, going 3 for 4 from the field, while drilling a pair of treys. He also was clutch down the stretch, blocking a Jamal Crawford lay-up, stealing the ball from Nicolas Batum, and snaring the offensive board of a missed free throw with two second left and subsequently sinking the clinching free throws.
Utah improved greatly by hitting 18 of 38 field goals (47.3 percent). They also upped their assists (10) and decreased the miscues (four second-half turnovers).
Utah Jazz Report Card--Deseret News
GUARDS: Devin Harris played efficiently with 13 points, four assists and just one turnover in 23 minutes. Gordon Hayward, who moved over to shooting guard from his usual small forward spot with Raja Bell sitting out, followed up a disastrous first half with a solid second half. He had 12 points after halftime, and his offensive rebound after a missed free throw by C.J. Miles in the final seconds was one of the game's biggest plays.
Jazz rally to pick up exciting 93-89 win over Portland--Deseret News
C.J. Miles and Gordon Hayward each hit key free throws (making up for a couple of misses) to wrap up the win in the final seconds.
Utah Jazz: Missing pieces not a problem in Jazz win over the Trail Blazers--Deseret News
Earl Watson 's revitalizing energy, Gordon Hayward's revived aim, Paul Millsap's resolve and rebounding, Devin Harris ' recharged drive and re-engerized contributions down the roster helped restore and rev up both the home team and the crowd.
Miles finished with 15 points off the bench, Harris had 13 points and four assists, Hayward shook off an 0-for-8 start to dial in a dozen and fill-in starter Josh Howard (Bell's replacement) added 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Paul Millsap, Jazz rally for 93-89 win over Portland--Salt Lake Tribune
Josh Howard played a part, as did Paul Millsap. The same for Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and Devin Harris. Then Miles and Watson created sparks in the fourth, while Utah burned the Blazers in transition, dominated the boards and consistently punched Portland in the mouth.
NBA: Trail Blazers fizzle late in road loss to Jazz--Salt Lake Tribune
Sensing an opening, Utah took advantage, forcing turnovers and converting at the other end. It was Portland’s misfortune that Jazz forward Gordon Hayward played better in the second half, scoring 12 points after going 0-for-8 from the field in the first half.
Josh Howard cracks Jazz starting lineup--Salt Lake Tribune
With Howard at the 3, Gordon Hayward bumped down to the 2, while Derrick Favors replaced an injured Al Jefferson at center.
Millsap scores 19 as Jazz rally past Blazers 93-89--Miami Herald
Latest Butler book goes on sale--Indy Star Butler Insider
Roosevelt Jones Receives Honorable Mention for the StatSheet Horizon Freshman of the Week - January 30th, 2012--Butler Blue Fever
The Biggest 3-Pointer In Butler Basketball History--ButlerSports.com
Butler Draws State Foe In Sears BracketBusters X--ButlerSports.com
Beth Couture Show - Episode 6--ButlerSports.com
Week in Review: Mike Moser shines, Notre Dame appears--Ballin' is a Habit
Teams deserving a shout out:
Cleveland State: The Vikings have taken full control of the Horizon League race, taking a one game lead on Valpo and a two game lead on Milwaukee and Youngstown State. How'd they do it? By beating Youngstown State by 20 on the road just six days after a 26 point win over Milwaukee.
A Viewer's Guide to BracketBusters: Ranking the TV games--Ballin' is a Habit
Make sure to record these games and watch them as NCAA Tournament prep work
4. Sat. 11:00 am: Drexel at Cleveland State (ESPNU): The odds of either of these teams earning an at-large bid is fairly slim. Both are sitting at or near the top of a competitive mid-major league; the Vikings currently lead the Horizon while Drexel is tied with three other teams at second place in the CAA. Where this game gets interesting is on the defensive end of the floor, where both teams thrive. Cleveland State thrives with a trapping pressure defense where Drexel is more equipped for grind-it-out half court games, winning games based on their ability to force tough shots and clean the defensive glass.
The Pulse of the NBA--Miami Herald
The Heat gladly welcomed Dwyane Wade back to the lineup on Friday, but they did just fine without him, winning eight of the nine games he was sidelined, including one in which LeBron James sat also. Chris Bosh, who has been tentative at times offensively, and has had to take a back seat to Wade and James since coming to Miami, really stepped up during Wade's absence, averaging 25.7 ppg during that stretch. The Heat were also helped by the fact they have a much deeper team this season with the additions of Shane Battier and rookie point guard Norris Cole.
Heat shake off slow start, beat Hornets 109-95--Miami Herald
Cleveland State, Akron earn TV spots in BracketBuster matchups--Cleveland Plain Dealer
ESPN Screws CSU With Poor Bracketbuster Game and Start Time--Let's Go Vikes!
D`Aundray Brown Receives Honorable Mention for the StatSheet Horizon Player of the Week - January 30th, 2012--Vikings Ball
Vikings Host Drexel in Bracket Buster Contest--csuvikings.com
Kelly To Receive 2011 Cleveland Clinic Courage Award--csuvikings.com
The NC-Double-Eh Stat Leaders - Week 12--Raptors HQ
Jason Calliste, Detroit - 30.1
Detroit Mercy star Ray McCallum Jr. named Horizon League player of the week--The Detroit News
McCallum Named Horizon League Player of the Week--detroittitans.com
Detroit Draws James Madison for Sears BracketBusters Tilt--detroittitans.com
Flames Draw Eastern Illinois for BracketBusters Contest--uicflames.com
Loyola Invites Fans And Students To Attend Jesuit Jam Friday Night--LoyolaRamblers.com
Loyola Draws Bradley On Sears BracketBusters Weekend--LoyolaRamblers.com
Big day for UWGB women's basketball: Top 10 ranking, New York Times story--Green Bay Press Gazette
Women's basketball: UWGB rises to 10th in Associated Press poll--Green Bay Press Gazette
Men's basketball: UWGB hosts low-scoring Eastern Michigan in BracketBusters game--Green Bay Press Gazette
Rob Demovsky column: UWGB men's basketball team can build around young point guard Keifer Sykes--Green Bay Press Gazette
UWGB to play Eastern Michigan in BracketBuster; Sykes in the spotlight--UWGB Basketball
Alec Brown Wins the StatSheet Horizon Player of the Week - January 30th, 2012--Phoenix Fever
VIDEO: Three Jerseys, One Gutsy Effort for Sykes--uwgbathletics.com
Wojta Garners Player of the Week Honors--uwgbathletics.com
UWM to play Fairfield in BracketBuster--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
It’s official: ESPN and the Horizon bone us again--PantherU
News and notes on Monday--PantherU
Icing the Penguins--PantherU
Milwaukee (14-9) Goes Up Against Youngstown State (11-9)--UWM Update
Panthers Finish Up Homestand With Tuesday Contest Against Penguins--uwmpanthers.com
Video: Panthers Set To Take On Hot-Shooting Penguins--uwmpanthers.com
Panthers Draw Defending MAAC Champion Fairfield For BracketBusters--uwmpanthers.com
VU gets Loyola Marymount in Bracketbusters--The Post-Tribune
Valparaiso and the ESPN BracketBuster--The NWI Times
Crusaders heading to California for BracketBuster--The NWI Times
Valparaiso gets Loyola Marymount in BracketBuster--Inside VU Sports
Michael Rosenberg: Michigan State, somehow, just keeps on winning--The Detroit Free Press
"Brandon Wood and Branden Dawson have to improve their defense," Izzo said. "They're getting better. But can they get enough better to play the way we're going to have to play against these top teams?"
Crusaders to Take On Loyola Marymount on ESPNU in BracketBusters--valpoathletics.com
WSU, Miami learn BracketBusters foes--Dayton Daily News
Wright State will travel to Missouri-Kansas City in BracketBusters event--Wright State University Sports
Raiders to Play at UMKC as Part of BracketBusters--wsuraiders.com
Demmings Receives Player of the Week Honor--wsuraiders.com
Improved Thompson makes mark for YSU--Youngstown Vindicator
Youngstown State (11-9) Battles Milwaukee (14-9)--Guin Report
Penguins prep for three-game road trip--The Jambar
Men's Basketball to Face Austin Peay in 2012 Sears BracketBusters--ysusports.com
Men's Basketball Begins Week-Long Road Trip at Milwaukee--ysusports.com
Cleveland State, Valpo Tabbed for TV Matchups in Sears BracketBusters X--Horizon League Network