CollegeBasketballTalk’s 2012-2013 season previews

Leave a comment

Starting October 1, CollegeBasketballTalk will be showcasing our 2012-2013 college hoops preview package. From Monday through Friday, at 9 a.m. ET and just after lunch, we’ll have something new for you to read (and probably argue about), including our Top 25, conferenced previews and more.

Consider it your essential hoops stop until the season tips off on Nov. 9.

WHERE’S YOUR TEAM?
Preseason NCAA tournament bracket projections

BURNING QUESTIONS
Best team in Kentuckiana?
Best team in the Triangle?
Conference champion picks
Surprise All-Americans
Top players most likely to fall short of expectations
Which Top 25 team misses the Big Dance?
Who’s making a surprise Final Four run?

THE LISTS

Oct. 1: Must-see non-conference games
Oct. 2: Coaches on the hot seat
Oct. 3: Impact freshmen
Oct. 4: Best dunkers
Oct. 5: Programs on the rise
Oct. 8: All-America teams
Oct. 9: Mid-majors likely to crash the dance
Oct. 10: Mid-major Power Rankings
Oct. 11: Mid-major All-Americans
Oct. 12: All-Name team, All-Name team Part II
Oct. 15: Breakout stars
Oct. 17: Impact transfers
Oct. 19: X-Factors
Oct. 24: Top backcourts
Oct. 25: Top frontcourts
Oct. 29: Top 20 point guards
Oct. 30: Top 20 shooting guards
Oct. 31: Top 20 small forwards
Nov. 1: Top 20 power forwards
Nov. 2: Top 20 centers

CONFERENCE PREVIEWS

Oct. 10: Colonial Athletic
Oct. 11: Conference USA
Oct. 15: Missouri Valley
Oct. 16: Mountain West
Oct. 17: Pac-12
Oct. 18: Atlantic 10
Oct. 19: WCC
Oct. 22: ACC
Oct. 23: Big East
Oct. 24: Big Ten
Oct. 25: Big 12
Oct. 26: SEC
Oct. 29: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South
Oct. 30: Big West, Great West, Horizon, Ivy
Oct. 31: MAAC, MAC, MEAC, NEC
Nov. 1: OVC, Patriot, SoCon, Southland
Nov. 2: Summit, Sun Belt, SWAC, WAC

TOP 25 COUNTDOWN

Oct. 1: Others Receiving Votes
Oct. 1: No. 25 UCLA Bruins
Oct. 2: No. 24 St. Joseph’s Hawks
Oct. 3: No. 23 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Oct. 4: No. 22 St. Louis Billikens
Oct. 5: No. 21 VCU Rams

Oct. 8: No. 20 North Carolina Tar Heels
Oct. 9: No. 19 Gonzaga Bulldogs
Oct. 10: No. 18 Creighton Bluejays
Oct. 11: No. 17 Arizona Wildcats
Oct. 12: No. 16 Duke Blue Devils

Oct. 15: No. 15 Florida Gators
Oct. 16: No. 14 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels
Oct. 17: No. 13 Memphis Tigers
Oct. 18: No. 12 Michigan State Spartans
Oct. 19: No. 11 San Diego State Aztecs

Oct. 22: No. 10 Baylor Bears
Oct. 23: No. 9 Michigan Wolverines
Oct. 24: No. 8 NC State Wolfpack
Oct. 25: No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes
Oct. 26: No. 6 Kansas Jayhawks

Oct. 29: No. 5 Missouri Tigers
Oct. 30: No. 4 Syracuse Orange
Oct. 31: No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats
Nov. 1: No. 2 Louisville Cardinals
Nov. 2: No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers

Hokies continue winning ways, beat No. 15 Clemson 65-58

(Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Justin Robinson and Kerry Blackshear Jr. scored 14 points each to lift Virginia Tech to a 65-58 victory over No. 15 Clemson on Wednesday night.

Robinson continued his stellar play of late, scoring in double figures for the 14th time in the past 15 games for the Hokies (20-8, 9-6 ACC), who have won six of their last eight games and moved into a tie for fifth place in the conference standings. Blackshear struggled from the floor, but was 3 for 4 on free throws in the final 33 seconds to preserve the win.

Virginia Tech, which won its third straight over the Tigers (20-7, 9-6), broke open a close game midway through the second half. The Hokies trailed 38-34 after Clemson’s Marcquise Reed hit a 3-pointer with 13:43 remaining, but they went on a 10-0 run punctuated by Ahmed Hill’s layup to take the lead for good.

The Hokies led by as many as 14 with 2:33 left before the Tigers put on a furious rally. They used an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 61-56 on a 3-pointer by Gabe DeVoe with 41 seconds remaining.

Virginia Tech scored the next four points — all from the free-throw line — with Blackshear making 3 of 4 and Chris Clarke 1 of 2, which was just enough as the Tigers missed three 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds.

Reed paced the cold-shooting Tigers, who now have lost three straight games, with 23 points, while Elijah Thomas had his eighth double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Clemson shot just 38.6 percent from the floor (22 of 57).

BIG PICTURE

Clemson: The Tigers are struggling at the worst possible time, and much of their troubles can be blamed on injuries. Donte Grantham (14.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg) is out for the season with a torn ACL and Shelton Mitchell (11.8 ppg, team-best 96 assists) missed his second straight game with a concussion. Clemson plays great defense, but with those two guys out, it needs a scorer to emerge.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies are peaking at just the right time and have put themselves in great position to make the NCAA Tournament for a second straight year. Their win over the Tigers marked their third over a team in the top 10 of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) and their fourth top-50 win.

UP NEXT

Clemson: The Tigers host Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies host Louisville on Saturday.

Jerome leads No. 1 Virginia past Georgia Tech, 65-54

(Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Ty Jerome scored 18 points and top-ranked Virginia held off depleted Georgia Tech 65-54 on Wednesday night, clinching the regular season title and top seed next month in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

The Cavaliers (25-2, 14-1), who also got nine points each from De’Andre Hunter and Mamadi Diakite, led just 31-30 at halftime and didn’t open a double-digit lead until just 5:14 remained.

Ben Lammers scored 22 points to lead the Yellow Jackets (11-17, 4-11), who lost their sixth in a row and 10th in the last 11 games. Tadric Jackson added 15.

Virginia led just 49-45 before Devon Hall hit a pair of free throws and Jerome followed with a 3-pointer, making it 54-45 with 8:46 to play. The Cavaliers finally got it to double figures on a dunk by Diakite that made it 60-49. Their largest lead all night was 12.

The regular-season title is the eighth in Virginia’s history and third in five years.

The ACC Tournament is March 8-10 at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.

BIG PICTURE

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets are up against it, having lost their top two freshmen for the rest of the year with injuries, including No. 2 scorer Jose Alvarado (12.1 ppg), but Lammers and Jackson kept them in the game. Sophomore Josh Okogie started the game 50 shy of 1,000 for his career, but missed 7 of 10 shots and scored just seven points. Reinforcements will be appreciated.

Virginia: The Cavaliers were not sharp at either end in their first game in eight days. It could be that their flatness was in part because, after facing the struggling Yellow Jackets, they are to face a team in even worse shape, Pittsburgh.

UP NEXT

The Yellow Jackets face another ranked team on the road, playing at No. 15 Clemson on Saturday.

Virginia goes on the road to face Pittsburgh, which entered the night winless in league play.

Hobbled Keenan Evans can’t help as No. 6 Texas Tech upset by Oklahoma State

(Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Oklahoma State used a hot-shooting second half to race past No. 6 Texas Tech for a 79-71 Big 12 home win on Wednesday night.

The Cowboys knocked down five consecutive three-pointers and seven straight shots to jump out to a double-digit lead in the second half as they earned the upset win over the Red Raiders. Kendall Smith (21 points), Lindy Waters III (18 points) and Jeffrey Carroll (14 points) supplied most of the offense for Oklahoma State as the team was a blistering 11-for-22 from three-point range.

Although this win gives first-year head coach Mike Boynton another quality effort, the biggest takeaway is how Kansas has regained complete control of the Big 12 thanks to Texas Tech losing its second straight game.

Even though the Jayhawks have lost four games in conference play, while looking beatable at home, they find themselves one game ahead of the Red Raiders ahead of Saturday’s huge Big 12 clash in Lubbock. And it’s all because of a toe injury to Texas Tech All-American senior guard Keenan Evans.

Injured against Baylor over the weekend, Evans hasn’t been able to complete his last two games — both Red Raider losses. Evans only played in 18 minutes of Texas Tech’s loss to Baylor over the weekend as he was 1-for-6 from the field. In the loss to Oklahoma State on Wednesday, Evans attempted to gut it out. It proved to be a mistake as Evans didn’t look ready to play. Evans deserves credit for showing toughness by playing 25 minutes, but he was only 1-for-7 from the field and 0-for-5 from three-point range as he sat out a Texas Tech rally from the bench. As noted in the broadcast, Evans was short on four of his five three-point attempts — which makes you wonder if the toe was hampering him there.

Even with the back-to-back losses, Texas Tech remains a top-10 team and the second best team in the toughest top-to-bottom league in the country. Unfortunately, the Red Raiders have likely lost their chance to win the Big 12 title because of this two-game slide and the injury to Evans. This recent stretch showed just how important Evans has been to Texas Tech this season.

Without its All-American contender in the lineup, Texas Tech dropped two straight games to lower-level Big 12 teams. They haven’t had the same flow on offense. Evans has been brilliant at times this season and he’s perhaps the nation’s most underrated Player of the Year candidate.

The timing of the injury also makes you wonder how Evans might look over the next week of play when the Red Raiders have two more difficult games. Texas Tech has to follow up these two losses with games against Kansas and on the road at West Virginia. The end of the regular season doesn’t get any easier. If Evans shows any more lingering issues then Texas Tech could continue a slide that sees them finish behind West Virginia in the standings heading into the Big 12 tournament.

It’s unfortunate that such a promising conference season could be derailed by a toe, but that is what Texas Tech is currently dealing with heading into the final stretch of the regular season. The Red Raiders might have potentially lost the Big 12 regular-season race, but they can still close out the season in strong fashion in the postseason if Evans can regain his health and his prior form.

Marshall helps No. 4 Xavier beat Georgetown 89-77

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

WASHINGTON — Naji Marshall scored a career-high 21 points and No. 4 Xavier beat Georgetown 89-77 on Wednesday night, bouncing back from its loss to No. 3 Villanova.

J.P. Macura added 20 points, including four 3-pointers, while Quentin Goodin had 19 points as the Musketeers (25-4, 13-3 Big East) swept the season series with Georgetown for the second straight season.

Xavier’s leading scorer Trevon Bluiett scored a season low two points on 1 for 10 shooting in 23 minutes. Xavier has now won five straight road games.

Jamorko Pickett tied a career high with 21 points to lead Georgetown (15-11, 5-10) while Jessie Govan added 15 points and 11 rebounds. Pickett made a career high six 3-pointers.

Xavier trailed 40-38 at the half but used a 12-0 run to take a 59-50 lead with 12 minutes remaining. Georgetown closed to 63-58 on a Jahvon Blair 3-pointer but the Hoyas never drew closer.

Blair finished with 12 points for Georgetown while Kaleb Johnson added 11.

Xavier outrebounded Georgetown 38-29 including an 11-6 edged on the offensive glass.

BIG PICTURE

Xavier: The Musketeers kept pace with Villanova for the top seed in the conference as well as kept alive their shot at being a top seed in the NCAA Tournament with the victory.

Georgetown: The Hoyas fell to 0-4 against Top 25 teams this season and have lost seven straight against ranked opposition going back to last season.

UP NEXT

Xavier: Musketeers have a week off before hosting Providence on Feb. 28 in their final home game of the season.

Georgetown: Hosts Providence on Saturday and then Marquette on Monday to close out their home slate of games.

Report: FBI’s case could reveal detailed information about cheating in college hoops recruiting

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

The dealings of NBA agent Andy Miller and former business associate Christian Dawkins could unravel a lot of key information in college basketball over the next several months.

According to a report from Pete Thamel and Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports, financial records, documents and wiretaps from Miller and Dawkins have given a surprising level of detail into payments of college players and their families. In Thamel and Forde’s report, it states that many cases include the exact dollar figures and intricate documentation of how payments were made.

“There are spreadsheets detailing who got paid, how much they got paid and how much more they were planning to pay,” one source familiar with the investigation said in the Yahoo report. “The feds got everything they wanted and much more. Don’t think it will only be players who ended up signing with ASM that got paid. Those spreadsheets cast a wide net throughout college basketball. If your school produced a first-round pick in the past three years, be worried.”

All of this information threatens college programs, head coaches and current players as NCAA amateurism rules come into play for a number of potential players.

The FBI’s investigation into college basketball corruption has been ongoing over the last several months with three seperate criminal cases set over the next 14 months. It’s unclear how this potential information from Miller and Dawkins might be revealed, so it’s difficult to speculate about any potential ramifications until we know exact details.

Even if those details aren’t used in any criminal proceedings, the NCAA also has to render separate rulings on these findings based on how they see fit. Overall, it will be a messy few months for all levels of basketball as many in college hoops brace themselves for the potential fallout.