George W. Bush experiences UIC basketball in person


george-w-bush

Former U.S. President George W. Bush got to watch UIC basketball in person during the same exact week that torture dominated the headlines. Specifically, the torture carried out during the Bush 43 administration. So I guess it’s fitting that Bush 43 got to witness UIC Flames basketball first hand. Watching them is an unpleasant experience.

W. was at sold out Moody Coliseum in Dallas as team that doesn’t get Ws very often got man-hanlded by the home side, SMU.

[Read more…]

Big Ten Basketball: 17 worst losses this Pre-Conference season


mitch-mcgary-michigan-b1g-basketball

“Our effort was not up to standard tonight which i take very personally,” said Northwestern Coach Chris Collins after losing at home by 13 to a middle tier MAC team.

“I can’t explain it. If I had an answer for it I would tell you guys. We got out-everythinged,” he continued.

“We didn’t give them any resistance to start the game.”

Collins and the Wildcats getting dominated at home by Central Michigan is troubling, but it’s just one of many very bad losses that Big Ten basketball has suffered this non-conference season. Let’s break it down.

[Read more…]

B1G Basketball power rankings: the “we apologize” edition


mitch-mcgary-michigan-b1g-basketball

There are certain B1G basketball teams that owe an apology right now. Sure, one team nationally ranked in the preseason losing to a low-major that you’ve never heard of is excusable although unexpected. Upsets happen. However, two preseason AP top 25 teams losing to low-majors on two separate occasions? That’s kind of embarrassing. Plus the B1G hasn’t had a whole lot of signature wins to really counter-act those ugly losses.

Hey, at least they won the challenge versus the ACC

[Read more…]

Let’s drop the “why don’t top Chicago players stay home to play college hoops?” narrative


jahlil-okafor

The local media has really beat a dead horse with the “why don’t local players stay home” story line, and it’s time for us to move us past it. Re-hashing it gets us nowhere, and the only way it changes is if the Illini morph into a program on the level of Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, UCLA, North Carolina etc. The Illini are not a blue blood program, so for them to miss out on McDonald’s All-Americans is not something extraordinary. The blue bloods recruit nationally so they take the top 1% of talent from everyone’s base.

Just like Hollywood takes the top 1% most attractive women from everyone’s base to work in show business.

[Read more…]

Steve Lavin scores HUGE streak-breaking win at Syracuse


Steve Lavin St. John's

The Fighting Coach Lavs will be a factor in the Big East race this season. St. John’s look like they might finally be headed back to the NCAA Tournament as well come March. Sure, the Cuse are not the Cuse that we know, but tonight was still huge for Steve Lavin and the Johnnies.

69-57 victory over Syracuse on Saturday before 24,884 fans at the Carrier Dome, the largest crowd for a college basketball game this season. Phil Greene IV scored 11 straight points to power a 17-2 run over the final 4:06 sending St. John’s (6-1) to its first win at Syracuse in more than 15 years. The victory also snapped the Orange’s 55-game non-conference home win streak, which was the second-longest active streak in the nation.

[Read more…]

Is Butler basketball back to being Butler Basketball?


butler-BASKETBALL-blue-III

Is Butler basketball back? Back to the Butler basketball of the earlier part of this decade? With back to back national title game appearances in 2010 and 2011, Butler basketball supplanted Gonzaga as the one mid-major playing at the high-major level. Butler Blue was among the college basketball blue bloods. Then Brad Stevens bolted for Boston finally, after years of flirting with bigger jobs.

Brandon Miller took over and the first transition season was extremely rough- a 14-17 season that included a very embarrassing home loss to lowly DePaul. Prospects for Butler basketball are looking up in year two however.

[Read more…]

Hinkle Fieldhouse to get more national attention Saturday


butler bulldogs

The movie “Hoosiers” made it famous, but Butler’s 2010 National title game run made it a tourist destination. I made my first visit to the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse four years ago when I covered the Final Four for the Washington Times. Tomorrow I return to cover my first ever game at the basketball mecca. Northwestern at Butler will be the first nationally broadcast game on Fox Sports this season.

It leads directly into coverage of the Big Ten Football Championship Game, held just a few miles down the road at Indianapolis’s Lucas Oil Stadium.

[Read more…]

How is Myles Turner, #2 overall recruit, developing at Texas?


myles-turner-joel-embiid

Myles Turner of Euless Trinity High School (Texas) was the only uncommitted member of the 2014 McDonald’s All-American class when the game came along. As such he was quite the topic of discussion. The 6-foot-11 Turner, ranked second overall by various recruiting services, had SMU on his list of finalists along with Texas, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and Arizona.

However, it’s really just came down to his choosing Texas over Kansas.

So now that he’s with the Longhorns how is his development coming along?

[Read more…]

Longhorns should get Isaiah Taylor back for Big 12 season


isaiah taylor

The Texas Longhorns Isaiah Taylor was one of the more surprising freshmen in the country last season. He is capable of playing either backcourt spot and is rather interchangeable with fellow starter, Javan Felix. Taylor has been out with a wrist injury after he got hurt driving to the hoop in Texas’ win against Iowa in the 2K Classic on Nov. 20.

In the first three games this season, Isaiah Taylor is averaging 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists. In advance of the Horns’ big showdown against #1 Kentucky, Texas Coach Rick Barnes did a national media conference call.

[Read more…]

UCLA basketball (not Kentucky) is the #1 NBA factory


ucla-basketball

These days everyone seems to regard the Kentucky Wildcats as college basketball’s NBDL franchise. It’s understandable as Big Blue Nation has a huge presence in the NBA Draft lottery each year. As UK continues to win draft night each June, and people associate the rhyming phenomenon of “1-and-done” with John Calipari, UCLA basketball gets a bit overlooked. Kentucky is in second place when it comes to being a component of the NBA assembly line. UCLA is actually first.

The Bruins are the bluest of all basketball blue bloods when it comes to being a pipeline to the league.

[Read more…]

Wichita State, KC Royals among most surprising teams


wichita state shockers-2014-ncaa-tournament

Bruce Springsteen wrote and sang about the “Glory Days” of a high school buddy who was a huge baseball star. Of course, the glory days of the Kansas City Royals were back at almost the exact same time of the Springsteen single by the same name. KC last won the World Series in 1985, back when the Giants’ Tim Lincecum was still in diapers.

The Royals aren’t the first team to rise from obscurity and regain national headlines. Look back at some of the “really?” teams of sports in recent years. One team, Wichita State is right in there home state.

[Read more…]

2015 NCAA Tournament Bracketology


2015 final four

It is tip-off week for the 2014-15 college basketball season.  Here is an extremely early projection of the 2015 NCAA Tournament Bracketology.   You will notice on the Bracket Matrix grades that The Sports Bank’s bracketology has been more accurate than ESPN’s Joe Lunardi four of the past five years.

UPDATED: 10/10/14
[Read more…]