By Cory Mccartney
March 03, 2008
Michael Beasley
Beasley In Search Of Support
He's put his name alongside Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant with one of the great statistical freshman seasons, but no matter how many double-doubles Michael Beasley drops (25 and counting), he can't make up for Kansas State's inconsistencies. It's why the Wildcats won't likely make a deep NCAA tournament run -- if they even make it in. Bill Walker can deliver (31 points vs. Baylor), but missed all 14 of his shots in a loss to Texas, and when Beasley got into foul trouble in Saturday's 88-74 loss to Kansas, Walker was also hampered by fouls and played just 19 minutes. The Wildcats also have more turnovers (442) than anyone in the Big 12 and guards Clent Stewart and Jacob Pullen are 11th and 12th, respectively in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio. It's the supporting cast that will ultimately be the difference between Beasley and 'Melo (who won the 2003 NCAA title) and Durant because no matter how good Beasley is (34 points over the last five) he can't make up for mediocre play from his teammates.
The Heat Of The Knight
Give Pat Knight his due, because his tactics are paying off. After a 44-point loss to Texas A&M, he had his Texas Tech players running sprints carrying weights and doing tractor tire flip relays. In their next game, the Red Raiders knocked off fifth-ranked Texas 83-80. The Little General (or would it be Colonel? Or Major? Or Captain?) has produced two wins over top 25 teams in his first eight games as head coach and like his iconic father, he's doing it his way. Pat has added some 2-3 zone to the man-to-man defense his dad used almost exclusively and he's ramped up the offense (scoring 73 ppg to the 69.3 under his father this season), which resulted in 79.1 percent shooting vs. the Longhorns.
Better (And Worse) The Second Time Around
When Stanford and UCLA face off at Pauley Pavilion on Thursday, we'll see a couple of likely NBA draft lottery picks who are faring far differently in their second trips through the Pac-10 schedule. Bruins' freshman Kevin Love was scoring 19.8 points per game in his first trip through the conference but teams have adapted their defensive scheme, clogging up the middle and stopping him from getting the ball in the low post, and he's dropped to 14.3 in rematches. Meanwhile, the Cardinal's energetic -- and often volatile -- Brook Lopez has jumped from 16.9 ppg to 20. Whoever wins Thursday's showdown might have the edge for Pac-10 Player of the Year.
Pitt Panthers
In a microcosm of the Panthers' season, they trailed by 11 with less than four minutes remaining against Syracuse on Saturday but came back to win 82-77. It also all but wrapped up a seventh straight NCAA tourney bid for the Panthers, impressive when you consider this team played most of the season without Mike Cook and LeVance Fields, though Fields has returned.
Florida Gators
The two-time defending champion Gators may have to settle for the NIT. Florida likely needs a win in one of its two remaining games to secure an at-large bid. After Saturday's 68-59 loss to Mississippi State, the Gators have to beat Tennessee (which beat Florida by 22) or Kentucky to make the NCAA tournament.
Cornell Big Red
It was a big day for the Big Red and Andy Bernard. Cornell became the first team to lock up an NCAA tournament bid by winning its first Ivy League championship in 20 years as the Big Red dumped Harvard 86-53 on Saturday, no doubt giving The Office's Cornell graduate reason to sing.
Vanderbilt Commodores
Vanderbilt goes out and pulls the carpet out from under its in-state rival by knocking off No. 1 Tennessee and how do the Commodores follow it up? By pulling a Chris Webber? Ross Neltner's call for a timeout that the 'Dores didn't have helped Arkansas to a 78-73 win and added a down end to a big week in Nashville.
Baylor Bears
The feel-good story of Scott Drew's Bears keeps getting better. Baylor reached 20 wins for the fourth time in the program's 102-year history as it overcame a 13-point second-half deficit for a 100-89 win over Missouri on Saturday. The Bears' 20 wins are also the most since the 1987-88 team went 23-8.
Arizona Wildcats
The lesson learned in Sunday's 68-66 loss to UCLA? Kirk Walters, take the shot. Granted, he's averaging 0.7 points per game but with the Bruins clinging to a two-point lead in the closing seconds, Walters was left completely alone but instead he dishes the ball as Jerryd Bayless takes a difficult shot at the buzzer.
"Seriously, this is a brutal league. I've said many times, we're still sitting at the table -- Kenny Rogers' The Gambler, we'll count our money when it's done."
--Georgetown coach John Thompson III after the No. 11 Hoyas fought back to beat No. 21 Marquette 70-68 in overtime Saturday, keeping Georgetown atop the Big East.
"It was a big letdown. We definitely wanted this game. We just have to keep working hard and never let this happen again."
--Kent State guard Al Fisher after the No. 23 Golden Flashes, making their first appearance in the AP Top 25, lost to Bowling Green 89-83.
"I told him 'Pooh, you have to wake up; wake up for me.' And he woke up."
--Memphis guard Chris Douglas-Roberts's comments to freshman point guard Derrick Rose, who delivered 22 second-half points as the Tigers beat Southern Miss 76-67 to win a third straight outright Conference USA title.
Tyrese RiceG - Boston College
It was the most points scored by a Boston College player in more than 40 years and second-most in school history. But in the end, the 46 points Rice dropped on North Carolina went to waste. Once he "cooled" (Rice had 14 in the second half), BC had no answer for UNC's depth as the Tar Heels went on an 18-0 run en route to a 90-80 win.
Arizona 'AZ' ReidF - High Point
The Fast Break isn't above raising Arizona, or pimping the Coen Bros.' seminal comedy. Reid, the reigning Big South Player of the Year, scored a career-high 42 points and had 14 rebounds in a 99-88 win over VMI. He also stole the thunder from the Keydets' Reggie Williams, who was honored with a pregame tribute.
Stephen CurryG - Davidson
The Wildcats put the finishing touches on a 20-0 Southern Conference regular season behind a monster day from Curry. He scored 35 points on 13-of-17 shooting, including 7-of-9 on three-pointers in 26 minutes as Davidson beat Georgia Southern 89-69. Not bad for a guy playing through a wrist injury that will require surgery and two months of rehab.
Oklahoma held Texas A&M scoreless for 16:12 in the Sooners' 64-37 win on Saturday, setting what is thought to be a shot-clock era record. The old mark of 13:53 was set by Utah State against Idaho on Feb. 15, 2006.
Media darling Drake reached 25 wins for the first time since 1969 as the Bulldogs beat Wichita State 73-63 on Saturday in Des Monies. Drake also used the moment to celebrate the MVC title it had wrapped up two weeks ago.
Mike Krzyzewski is already in elite company with, among his accomplishments, records for NCAA tourney wins (68) and 30-win seasons (nine). Now he can add the 800-win club to his resume. Coach K reached the plateau with an 87-86 victory over North Carolina State.

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