By Cory Mccartney
February 25, 2008
D.J. White; Armon Bassett
Let The Healing Begin
In the aftermath of Kelvin Sampson's unceremonious departure from Indiana, a group of six players boycotted interim coach Dan Dakich's first practice. Chief among those six players was senior forward and team captain D.J. White, who just happened to deliver the most crucial moments in the final seconds of Saturday's 85-82 near-disaster at lowly Northwestern as he got a key defensive rebound and hit two free throws with 5.2 seconds remaining. So emotionally and physically drained was White (who played with "KS" scrawled on the back and sides of his shoes) that he received an IV for dehydration after the game. Sounds like a guy not willing to play for his new coach, right? Let's not jump the gun on chiding anyone for what happened in the hours after Sampson's exit, especially White. This is a guy who went through a similar situation when Mike Davis resigned in 2006. While he and the Hoosiers shouldn't have even allowed Northwestern to be that close, they pulled together when it mattered. IU made a show of unity Saturday in the post-Sampson era, subtle and underwhelming, but a show of unity under Dakich nonetheless.
No Charity At The Charity Stripe
There was something worse than Dick Vitale's Elvis impersonation Saturday in Memphis: the fatal flaw that cost the Tigers their No. 1 ranking and undefeated season. The Tigers came into the No. 1 vs. No. 2 clash with Tennessee last in the nation in free-throw shooting at 58.3 percent and they did nothing to better that statistic in the 66-62 loss, hitting 47.1 percent (8-of-17) from the line, including 1-of-6 in the final six minutes. Now, John Calipari can take some solace that his team was still in a one-possession game late despite those free-throw issues. But history doesn't bode well for the Tigers: not since 1950 when City College of New York shot 57.7 percent and won the national title, has a team shooting below 60 percent cut down the nets.
Some Seriously Ugly Ducklings
Leave it to fashion faux pas extraordinaire Oregon to make a pass at the worst uniforms in college basketball history. If you missed it, the Ducks wore all black unis, where only the numbers were visible, on Saturday at UCLA. It was also the third time this season Oregon had debuted new uniforms and lost as they relinquished an 11-point second-half lead in stumbling 75-65. At least Ernie Kent can rest assured his Ducks still rank behind Kentucky's 1996 denim duds on the all-time ugly scale.
Texas Longhorns
Kansas' stunning loss at Oklahoma State was very much the Longhorns' gain. Red-hot Texas, winners of its last seven in Big 12 play with Saturday's 62-45 victory over Oklahoma, took over first-place in the conference as the Jayhawks fell 61-60 in Stillwater.
Butler Bulldogs
The Bulldogs' nine-game winning streak came to a halt at the hands of ... the Bulldogs. Drake walked away the winners of the marquee BracketBuster matchup as Butler went cold for the last 3:34, scoring just four points on A.J. Graves' free throws. Hear that? It's a stampede to fill The Drake's bandwagon.
Nebraska Cornhuskers
Forget a signature win, it was a signature week for Nebraska coach Doc Sadler. The Cornhuskers followed Wednesday's win over No. 25 Kansas State by beating No. 22 Texas A&M 65-59 on Saturday. It was Nebraska's first consecutive wins over top 25 teams since 1999.
Akron Zips
After winning 22 in a row, at James A. Rhodes Arena (including 12 this season by an average of 16.5 points), the Zips are suddenly struggling at home. Virginia Commonwealth made it two straight home-court losses for the Zips, winning Saturday's BracketBuster game, 57-52.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Rick Stansbury's crew took a step toward its second straight SEC West crown as it dumped South Carolina 61-56 in overtime Saturday behind a devastating 2-3 zone to take a two-game lead over Arkansas with four regular-season games remaining. If MSU seals the deal, it would be the third time it repeats as West champs, following 1995-96 and 2003-04.
Ole Miss Rebels
Things aren't so hot on the other side of the Magnolia State. The once 13-0 Rebels, who have two victories over teams in the RPI top 25, may have to win the SEC tourney to earn an NCAA bid because their at-large hopes took a severe hit on Saturday as they lost 69-49 at LSU to fall to 0-6 on the road in the SEC.
"Coach [Jay Wright] kept telling us we were going to be good."
--Villanova guard Scottie Reynolds, who scored 18 points as the Wildcats ended UConn's 10-game winning streak 67-65. The win, 'Nova's third straight, strengthens its NCAA tourney resume.
"On defense, they locked up and we locked up. It was a typical Big Ten finish."
--Wisconsin center Brian Butch on the second half of the Badgers' 58-53 win over Ohio State on Sunday. The Badgers held OSU scoreless for the final 3:15 and allowed one field goal in the final 8 1/2 minutes.
"Defense, rebounding, running and sharing the ball; when we are at our pace, we're tough to beat. Everyone has to get involved."
--Marquette guard Wesley Matthews after the Golden Eagles forced 23 turnovers and shot 56.1 percent in rolling past Rutgers 78-48 on Saturday for their fourth-straight victory.
Michael BeasleyF - Kansas State
The Fast Break isn't keen on pimping a player's performance in a loss but B-Easy flipped the script on that policy. The freshman broke Kevin Durant's Big 12 record with 44 points as the Wildcats fell 92-86 to Baylor. Beasley also had 13 rebounds for his 23rd double-double, breaking Carmelo Anthony's freshman mark.
Al FisherG - Kent State
The Golden Flashes bolstered their chances of earning an at-large tourney bid -- and improved to 1-36 all-time vs. ranked opponents in the regular season -- behind a season-high 28 points from Fisher as they beat No. 23 Saint Mary's 65-57. Fisher, in his first year at Kent State as a junior, has scored 21 a game in the Flashes' current six-game streak.
Stefon JacksonG - UTEP
D.J. (which stands for "Draining Jumpers") can flat-out score, make mix CDs -- and he loves his grandma, too. C-USA's leading scorer at 24.3 points a game, delivered a career-high 41 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as the Miners beat East Carolina 91-62 on Saturday.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology polished off an 0-29 season with Saturday's 76-50 loss to Utah Valley State. NJIT set an NCAA record for losses in a winless season, surpassing Prairie View (1992) and Savannah State (2005).
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo earned his 300th career win with a 66-52 victory over Iowa on Saturday. Izzo remains 40 victories behind mentor Judd Heathcote on the Spartans' all-time wins list.
The Suttons became the third coaching family to reach the 1,000 wins plateau last Thursday night as Scott's Oral Roberts team beat Missouri-Kansas City. Only the Iba's (1,143) and Meyer's (1,032) have more wins.

You May Like