Thursday, February 28, 2008

NBA Teams Stock Up on Veterans

P.J. Brown is back in the league. Yesterday, the 6' 11", 240 pound Brown (who had previously been out of the league this season) signed with the Celtics.

Brown attributes his decision to play for the Celtics to the urging of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen:

"They just pulled me over and said, 'Man, we'd really love to have you on the team,' " said Brown before last night's game against the Cavaliers. " 'With your experience, we think you can help our young guys and add some stability to our team. As a player, we still think you can play. Your defense and rebounding fits in with what we're trying to do."


And P.J. Brown isn't the only veteran big man who has caught on with a playoff bound NBA team in the last couple of days. Jamaal Magloire just joined the Dallas Mavericks.

According to the 6'11", 265 lb. Magloire, the decision to go to Dallas was easy:

"I've admired the team and the organization," he said. "I had a chance to come here and jumped at the opportunity. I've worked tremendously hard, even not playing in New Jersey. I'd be the first one in and the last one to leave and I hope I'm able to show that out on the court.

"Everything pointed in the right direction. There were other teams, but I thought this was the best fit. What also made the decision easy is this is a team that does have an opportunity to win a title. And to be a part of that is special."



And the Detroit Pistons are looking into the possibility of bringing back veteran forward Dale Davis:

"Former Piston Dale Davis could re-sign with the Pistons as early as Thursday, according to his agent.

"We're in pretty serious talks with them," said Chubby Wells, Davis' agent. "We hope to have something done soon."

Davis needs to sign with a team by the end of this week in order to be eligible for the playoff roster.

"He'll be signed in time for that," Wells said."



Every year, playoff bound teams look to add playoff tested veterans, especially big men. Don't be surprised to see a few more late additions to teams before playoff rosters have to be set.


On A Side Note:

Isiah Thomas has indicated that Stephon Marbury may have played his last game as a Knick. According to the New York Daily News, Thomas told reporters:

"Going into next season, we're still going to need another guard," Thomas said. "There's certain things that Nate (Robinson) and Jamal (Crawford) are extremely good at, but to have them do it for 48 minutes a night, you still need a third guard to kind of come in and help with some ball-handling and do some other things. And Fred (Jones) has done a good job. But we need to get better back there."

When asked if Marbury could be that guard, a suddenly nervous Thomas replied: "Let's talk about the Bobcats. Can I get a question about the Bobcats?"


Marbury is out for the season after undergoing ankle surgery. But Isiah has told him to stay away from the team:

"Marbury, who has appeared in just 24 games, decided to have season-ending ankle surgery last month. He no longer attends games and, according to one team source, Thomas has told Marbury to stay away.

Marbury will earn $22 million next season, his final year under contract."


Not that Marbury is likely to be too upset about not having to play for the rest of the season. After all, since he's recovering from ankle surgery, he's probably enjoying having a legitimate excuse for hanging around the crib all day, high on drugs (prescription painkillers, of course).

Aww hell, who are we kidding? It's not like Marbury actually needs Vicodin or Oxycontin. That cat smokes more weed than Snoop Dogg.

Stephon Marbury is one of the most perpetually blazed dudes in the league.

Check out this video of an obviously baked Marbury appearing on the local sports show, "Mike'd Up," on NBC Channel 4 in New York.

The video is kind of long (about 9 minutes), but it's well worth watching it all the way through. The weed seems to kick in harder as the interview unfolds. By the 5 minute mark, he's clearly losing it. By the 8 minute mark, he's really, really fkuced up.

But the most amazing part of the video isn't Marbury's obvious altered state, but rather the amazing professionalism displayed by the show's host (especially when confronted by Marbury's erratic behavior near the end of the segment).

More About Vanderbilt, Memorial Gymnasium



Yesterday, in the wake of Vanderbilt's win over #1 Tennessee, we made note of Vanderbilt's impressive historical record of defeating #1 teams in games played at Vanderbilt's Memorial Gymnasium.

"Vanderbilt (24-4, 9-4) has hosted the No. 1 team nine times in its 56 years at Memorial Gym, and the Commodores improved to 6-3 overall in those games with victories in the past four, including then-No. 1 Florida last year. The Commodores also now have won all 18 home games this season and 31 of their last 32."


Rush the Court has more about the legendary Memorial Gymnasium.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

St. Anthony Vies to Remain Undefeated, Win State Title


Today's New York Times has a feature on the #1 high school team in America, the 26-0 St. Anthony Friars of Jersey City, NJ:

"St. Anthony High School of Jersey City has the No. 1-ranked boys basketball team in the country, according to two polls. Six of its nine seniors have already signed to play for Division I teams, and two juniors are likely to follow. Their season is the focus of a documentary."


St. Anthony is coached by the legendary Bob Hurley, father of former Duke point guard Bobby Hurley.

Vanderbilt Knocks Off #1 Tennessee


Four days after winning the biggest game in the history of their basketball program (Saturday's 66-62 win over then #1 Memphis), Tennessee was upset by #18 Vanderbilt 72-69 Tuesday night.

Tennessee was ranked #1 for the first time in school history when this week's AP Top 25 was released on Monday, but the Volunteers' stay at #1 appears certain to be short lived.

In the wake of Saturday's historic win over Memphis, head coach Bruce Pearl and his Tennessee squad were the beneficiaries of a tremendous amount of media attention. Tennessee, it was said, had climbed the mountain to elite basketball status. So it's fitting that Tennessee's sudden downfall came at the hands of their old in-state conference rival Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt has a history of knocking off #1 teams. As the above Sports Illustrated article says (see the link in the first paragraph of this post):

"Vanderbilt (24-4, 9-4) has hosted the No. 1 team nine times in its 56 years at Memorial Gym, and the Commodores improved to 6-3 overall in those games with victories in the past four, including then-No. 1 Florida last year. The Commodores also now have won all 18 home games this season and 31 of their last 32."


Over the course of the last four days, two different basketball programs from the state of Tennessee have held the #1 ranking in the nation, and both of those programs have been knocked off by in state rivals.

This season, the state of Tennessee has become the epicenter of college basketball; a title that has, historically, belonged to states that border Tennessee: Kentucky and North Carolina. And despite the college basketball mania to its North and East, college football has always been king in the Volunteer state.

But, at least for 2008, things have definitely changed.

One more thing: although he's built a great program at Vanderbilt (and may well be content to stay there), head coach Kevin Stallings is certain to be a hot prospect to fill one of the big name coaching vacancies that will arise at the conclusion of the college basketball regular season. One can expect to hear his name associated with some of the more well publicized coaching searches (especially Indiana).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Underrated Freshmen


2008 has been called the "year of the freshman" in college basketball. Superstar freshmen like Indiana's Eric Gordon, Memphis' Derrick Rose, UCLA's Kevin Love and Kansas State's Michael Beasley have been among the most hyped college players in recent memory, regardless of class. And O.J. Mayo has practically had a network (ESPN) devoted to chronicling his every move.

Today, Jason Brubaker of Collegehoops.net takes a look at some freshmen who've been having outstanding seasons, despite being largely overlooked by the national media machine.

Brubaker highlights Purdue's Robbie Hummel, Mississippi's Chris Warren, Vanderbilt's A.J. Ogilvy, St. Mary's Patrick Mills and Gonzaga's Austin Daye.

But Drive and Dish wonders: where's the love for Hummel's Purdue teammates Scott Martin and E"Twaun Moore? And why no mention of Ohio State's duo of Kosta Koufos and Evan Turner?

What's more, Duke fans will cry foul over the slighting of Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith. And Kentucky fans will wonder why there was no mention of Patrick Patterson.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tennessee #1 in AP Top 25

The AP Top 25 for the week of February 25, 2008, was released today.

Tennessee is the new #1 college basketball team in the nation. On Saturday, the Volunteers handed Memphis their first loss of the season. Today, they replace Memphis as the #1 team in the land.

Memphis fall to #2. North Carolina and UCLA occupy the #3 and #4 positions. And Texas moves up into the top five for the first time this year.

NCAA Division I: AP Top 25

RANK TEAM RECORD PTS PVS
1. Tennessee (69) 25-2 1,797 2
Last Week: Def. Auburn 89-70 (2/20), Def. Memphis 66-62 (2/23)
This Week: 2/26 at Vanderbilt (23-4), 3/2 vs. Kentucky (15-10)
2. Memphis 26-1 1,682 1
Last Week: Def. Tulane 97-71 (2/20), Lost to Tennessee 66-62 (2/23)
This Week: 2/27 vs. Tulsa (15-10), 3/1 at Southern Miss (15-11)
3. North Carolina (2) 26-2 1,668 3
Last Week: Def. North Carolina State 84-70 (2/20), Def. Wake Forest 89-73 (2/24)
This Week: 3/1 at Boston College (13-12)
4. UCLA (1) 24-3 1,593 6
Last Week: Def. Oregon State 84-49 (2/21), Def. Oregon 75-65 (2/23)
This Week: 2/28 at Arizona State (17-9), 3/2 at Arizona (17-10)
5. Texas 23-4 1,478 7
Last Week: Def. Texas A&M 77-50 (2/18), Def. Oklahoma 62-45 (2/23)
This Week: 2/25 at Kansas State (18-8), 3/1 at Texas Tech (15-11)
6. Kansas 24-3 1,368 4
Last Week: Lost to Oklahoma State 61-60 (2/23)
This Week: 2/27 at Iowa State (14-13), 3/1 vs. Kansas State (18-8)
7. Duke 23-3 1,344 5
Last Week: Lost to Miami (FL) 96-95 (2/20), Def. St. John's 86-56 (2/23)
This Week: 2/27 vs. Georgia Tech (11-14), 3/1 at North Carolina State (15-12)
8. Stanford 22-4 1,264 9
Last Week: Def. California 79-69 (2/24)
This Week: 2/28 vs. Washington (15-13), 3/1 vs. Washington State (21-6)
9. Xavier 24-4 1,228 10
Last Week: Def. Rhode Island 81-77 (2/18), Def. Duquesne 75-48 (2/21), Def. Dayton 57-51 (2/24)
This Week: 3/1 vs. George Washington (8-14)
10. Wisconsin 23-4 1,175 11
Last Week: Def. Illinois 71-57 (2/20), Def. Ohio State 58-53 (2/24)
This Week: 2/28 vs. Michigan State (22-5)
11. Georgetown 22-4 1,101 12
Last Week: Def. Providence 68-58 (2/18), Def. Cincinnati 73-53 (2/23)
This Week: 2/27 vs. St. John's (10-16), 3/1 at Marquette (20-6)
12. Indiana 23-4 969 15
Last Week: Def. Purdue 77-68 (2/19), Def. Northwestern 85-82 (2/23)
This Week: 2/26 vs. Ohio State (17-10), 3/2 at Michigan State (22-5)
13. Louisville 22-6 828 18
Last Week: Def. Syracuse 61-50 (2/18), Def. Pittsburgh 75-73 (2/24)
This Week: 2/28 vs. Notre Dame (21-5), 3/2 vs. Villanova (17-9)
14. Butler 25-3 752 8
Last Week: Def. Illinois-Chicago 51-46 (2/20), Lost to Drake 71-64 (2/23)
This Week: 2/28 vs. Wright State (20-7), 3/1 vs. Detroit (7-20)
15. Connecticut 21-6 688 13
Last Week: Def. DePaul 65-60 (2/19), Lost to Villanova 67-65 (2/23)
This Week: 2/26 at Rutgers (10-18), 3/1 vs. West Virginia (19-8)
16. Purdue 21-6 655 14
Last Week: Lost to Indiana 77-68 (2/19)
This Week: 2/27 vs. Minnesota (17-9), 3/1 vs. Northwestern (7-18)
17. Notre Dame 21-5 630 21
Last Week: Def. Pittsburgh 82-70 (2/21), Def. Syracuse 94-87 (2/24)
This Week: 2/28 at Louisville (22-6), 3/2 at DePaul (10-16)
18. Vanderbilt 23-4 627 20
Last Week: Def. Georgia 86-74 (2/23)
This Week: 2/26 vs. Tennessee (25-2), 3/1 at Arkansas (18-8)
19. Michigan State 22-5 625 19
Last Week: Def. Penn State 86-49 (2/20), Def. Iowa 66-52 (2/23)
This Week: 2/28 at Wisconsin (23-4), 3/2 vs. Indiana (23-4)
20. Drake 24-3 621 16
Last Week: Lost to Bradley 72-71 (2/19), Def. Butler 71-64 (2/23)
This Week: 2/26 at Missouri State (14-15), 3/1 vs. Wichita State (10-18)
21. Marquette 20-6 389 25
Last Week: Def. St. John's 73-64 (2/20), Def. Rutgers 78-48 (2/23)
This Week: 2/25 at Villanova (17-9), 3/1 vs. Georgetown (22-4)
22. Washington State 21-6 364 17
Last Week: Def. Arizona State 59-47 (2/21), Lost to Arizona 65-55 (2/23)
This Week: 2/28 at California (15-10), 3/1 at Stanford (22-4)
23. Kent State 23-5 125 NR
Last Week: Def. Buffalo 76-66 (2/19), Def. Saint Mary's 65-57 (2/24)
This Week: 3/1 at Bowling Green (12-14)
24. Gonzaga 21-6 94 NR
Last Week: Def. San Diego 59-55 (2/18)
This Week: 2/25 at Portland (8-19), 3/1 vs. Saint Mary's (23-4)
25. Saint Mary's 23-4 77 23
Last Week: Def. Pepperdine 100-64 (2/18), Lost to Kent State 65-57 (2/24)
This Week: 2/25 vs. San Diego (16-12), 3/1 at Gonzaga (21-6)

Others Receiving Votes
Miami (FL) 62, Davidson 40, Clemson 26, Texas A&M 21, Brigham Young 20, South Alabama 14, Kansas State 14, Arizona 11, USC 11, Mississippi State 8, Pittsburgh 7, Stephen F. Austin 7, Virginia Commonwealth 4, Western Kentucky 3, Kentucky 3, Florida 3, Arizona State 1, Cornell 1, UAB 1, New Mexico 1.

Dropped From Rankings

Texas A&M 22, Kansas State 24.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tennessee Knocks Off #1 Memphis


#1 Memphis was undefeated going into tonight's much anticipated non conference in state showdown with #2 Tennessee. But Memphis is undefeated no more. Tennessee beat Memphis 66-62.

When the new rankings are released on Monday, Tennessee will be the #1 ranked basketball team in the nation -- for the first time in the school's history.

Bracketbuster Saturday


By Mark Buckets

As is fashionable on the annual “Bracketbuster Saturday,” there were games strewn across the country with pairings we don’t ordinarily get to see.

The highly anticipated duel between Drake and Butler was the headliner on this RPI-boosting Saturday.

In a battle of Bulldogs, Drake escaped historic Hinkle Fieldhouse with a 71-64 victory over Butler.

It wasn’t pretty to the naked eye - both teams uncharacteristically shot under 30% from three point range - but was a well played game nonetheless.

This was a game where post play was virtually non-existent. These teams will experience difficulties matching up with bigger and quicker teams come Tournament time.

From a purists’ standpoint, however, this was a masterpiece. Both teams displayed the kind of fundamentals executed in an instructional video. These teams are stockpiled with kids who “get it.” The general unselfishness of these players should be noted.

USA Basketball should save this tape and show it at their “Skills Camp” during the offseason.

They could learn a thing or two from Drake and Butler.

Mike DeCourcy on Indiana


Today, Mike DeCourcy has a must read article in the Sporting News regarding Indiana University's Kelvin Sampson scandal. DeCourcy says that Indiana faces a difficult road now that Sampson is gone. He thinks that it will be difficult for IU to avoid falling into irrelevance in the coming years. And he predicts low crowd turnouts at Bloomington's assembly Hall in the near future.

But if what DeCourcy predicts comes to pass, Indiana has no one to blame but themselves. The blame for IU's current predicament lies firmly on Indiana's shoulders for hiring Sampson despite having full knowledge of his prior transgressions.

Sampson was brought to Indiana for the specific purpose of preventing home grown stars from continuing to snub the opportunity to suit up for the crimson and creme .

During the Bob Knight era, the best players from Indiana wouldn't have thought of playing their college basketball anywhere other than IU. But under Mike Davis, the best players from Indiana all chose to play elsewhere. Sean May chose North Carolina. Mike Conley and Greg Oden left for Ohio State. And Eric Gordon committed to Illinois.

Kelvin Sampson was hired to "lock down the borders." And he says that Indiana knew what they were getting with regard to Sampson's baggage. It's just that they didn't care.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sampson Out at Indiana


The Kelvin Sampson era is over at Indiana.

The Bloomington Herald Times is reporting that the, now former, Indiana University head basketball coach has agreed to a $750,000 buyout of his contract.

Dan Dakich will coach the Hoosiers for the remainder of the season.

NBA Trade Deadline Passes Without Much Activity

Outside of the three team trade that saw Ben Wallace get shipped to Cleveland, no major trades were made before the NBA trade deadline passed last night.

There were, however, some minor (very minor) trades that went down before the deadline.

Here's a link to the specifics about those trades: NBA trade details.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ben Wallace Traded to Cleveland


With just hours left before the NBA trade deadline, Chicago has sent veteran big men Ben Wallace and Joe Smith packing. In part of a three team trade between Chicago, Cleveland and Seattle, Chicago sends Wallace and Smith to Cleveland. In exchange, Chicago receives Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons and Shannon Brown.

Cleveland now adds Wallace, Smith, Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak -- while only losing Gooden and Hughes -- to a core team that reached the NBA Finals in 2007.

Outside of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James is probably the most talented and most reliable "go to guy" in the league. Wallace, who has a wealth of playoff and NBA Finals' experience, should give Cleveland some much needed interior toughness, defense and rebounding. And while Gooden was a good post scorer for Cleveland, Smith's offensive production at the power forward position should, essentially, neutralize Gooden's loss. Plus, Szczerbiak gives Cleveland a reliable perimeter shooter at the 3.

The Celtics are clearly the favorite team to win the East. But Cleveland's position whould seem to be be strengthened by today's trade.

Damning the Devils

By Mark Buckets

While surfing the internet - and waking up from a long night at the office - I stumbled across an enticing article for all venomous Duke bashers out there.

Since I cannot link on this computer for some reason, I'll refer you to a piece composed by SI.com's Stewart Mandel entitled "Dissecting Duke" on the front page of SI's College Basketball page.

Now, before I go on any further, I must warn all of you mouth-watering anti-Duke militia out there: Stewart Mandel covers College Basketball for a total of 3 months out of the year. When his College Football duties - which he devotes far more time to - are completed, he moves over to College Hoops to stir up the pot and offer uninformed opinions.

In this case, however, he makes some valid points regarding the state of Duke Basketball.

Others, not so much.

If you have any comments or questions regarding our opinions - and yours especially -feel free to post them in the "comments" section of Drive & Dish.

This should generate some juicy reaction.

For the Love of the Game: North Carolina's JV Team Exists in Anonymity


Two weeks ago, ESPN's Dana O'Neil wrote an excellent piece about North Carolina's Junior Varsity basketball team. I neglected to link to it at the time because it ran the day of the North Carolina / Duke game. But it's a must read article, so I've linked to it today.

North Carolina's JV team is a hold over from the days when freshmen weren't eligible to play Varsity college basketball. Freshmen have been eligible play on the Varsity for decades now, but North Carolina never did away with their JV team.

North Carolina's JV team is made up entirely of walk ons. And although there's always a chance that players will be called up to play for the Varsity Tar Heels (a few JV players get invited to try out for the Varsity each year), North Carolina's JV Heels play primarily for the love of the game.

I've always loved the fact that UNC continues to maintain JV basketball. And I think it's too bad that JV basketball is, for the most part, a thing of the past in Division I basketball (thanks, largely, to Title IX). Kentucky still maintained its JV team as recently as the Rick Pitino era, but I'm pretty sure that Kentucky JV basketball is just a memory now, as well.

Drive and Dish just wants to show some love to Roy Williams for insisting on keeping JV basketball part of the North Carolina basketball tradition.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Miami holds off Duke 96-95


By Mark Buckets

Duke was once again shocked by an unranked conference opponent, this time on the road, dropping a close one to Miami 96-95.

The Devils stormed back from 20 points down in the second half and closed the final margin to one.

Jon Scheyer led Duke with 27 points, while Miami's athletic one-two of Dwayne Collins - who, as we'll document later, taunted the Duke bench all night - and Jack McClinton combined to torch Duke for 48 total points.

This marks Duke's second leauge loss in a row, tightening up the standings at the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Drive and Dish Tidbits


By Trashtalk Superstar

It's mid February, it's 10 degrees in Chicago, the second half of the NBA season has officially begun, college basketball's regular season is heading into its stretch run, and Drive and Dish presents another installation of the ever popular Drive and Dish Tidbits:

1.) North Carolina coach Roy Williams has taken umbrage with remarks made by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, with regard to "certain" college basketball teams' reporting of injuries.

Much has been made by the media -- both local (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) and national -- of the injuries that have plagued several members of the North Carolina basketball team this season. On Sunday, Krzyzewski stated that Duke doesn't discuss injuries, "unlike other schools."

Williams interpreted Krzyzewski's statement to be a backhanded jab at him and at his North Carolina program.

On his Monday radio show, Williams opined that an unnamed coach should "coach (his) own damn team, I'll coach my team."

And in a Tuesday news conference, Williams revisited the topic: "It's not like I'm getting a dadgum plane and flying it around to say, 'Roy fell against a wall and banged his nose' or anything." Williams continued, "We have to do those things (talk about injuries) and everybody's hurt. But there's different stages of being hurt."

"If you're hurt and missing games, that's not exactly like having a hangnail. And so we do have some people that are getting hurt and missing games. I don't think that somebody should say we're putting it in front of the public."

Apparently, Coach K's comments really got under Roy Williams' skin. According to the linked article:

When a reporter attempted to ask a follow-up question, Williams said he didn't want to discuss the comments further and have "battles through the media." But when the news conference ended, Williams came back to the topic once more.

"I said before we played Duke it's impossible to have any more respect than I do for Mike," Williams said, "but I felt like that comment was aimed towards us."


After thoroughly researching the subject matter, and following hours of intense deliberation, the Drive and Dish editorial staff has arrived at the following revelation: Coach K and Roy must really not like each other as much as they say they do.


2.) ESPN's Pat Forde says that a "source close to the unsettled coaching situation at Indiana University" has told him it's likely that Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson will be suspended "for the purpose of future termination."

Drive and Dish has heard this before. Our official position is: we'll believe it when we see it.


3.) Speaking of the Indiana/Sampson scandal, Toki Wartooth at Paint the Town Orange reminds readers that Indiana knew exactly what they were getting when the hired Sampson in 2006.

IU was well aware that Sampson had a history of violating NCAA bylaws at Oklahoma. They simply didn't care.

Last Thursday, Drive and Dish discussed Sampson's history, his hiring at Indiana, and his shady behavior since arriving in Bloomington.

Indiana used to be one of the cleanest programs in major college basketball.

But integrity has been in short supply in the IU Athletic Department as of late.

Hopefully, Indiana will have to pay a price for their indifference toward the following of NCAA bylaws (just to be clear: Drive and Dish likes Indiana University and IU basketball [and we've got several friends and associates who are IU alumni] ... we just don't like Kelvin Sampson, or what Indiana basketball has become under his stewardship).


4. ) Also at Paint the Town Orange: despite being a few days old, Mr./Ms. Wartooth's post game account of the Penn State / Illinois game provides a great synopsis of Illinois' 2007/08 season.


5.
) Tuesday's upset victory over #16 Drake marked Bradley's sixth game of the season against the four Division I basketball programs from the state of Iowa. Bradley has now defeated all four of Iowa's Division I teams.

Bradley beat Iowa State (65-56) Nov. 14 at Carver Arena in Peoria, beat Iowa (67-56) Nov. 23 at the South Padre Island Thanksgiving Tournament and beat Northern Iowa (75-73) Jan. 12 in Cedar Falls, IA.

According to the official website of the Bradley Athletic Department:

"Of the states that boast multiple NCAA Division I institutions, Bradley has not swept every Division I team a state has to offer since beating both Arizona (67-59) and Arizona State (92-85) during the 1963-64 season (Northern Arizona was not yet playing Division I men’s basketball at the time)."


6.) Drive and Dish doesn't like to discuss recruiting, but since we've been so Duke/North Carolina-centric lately (and since hardcore Duke fans account for a significant portion of the Drive and Dish community), we'll pass along the following recruiting buzz: Duke appears to be the likely destination for 6'11" power forward Mason Plumlee, of the Christ School in Arden, NC.


7.) More Duke stuff: DeMarcus Nelson takes viewers on a tour of Duke's practice facilities at Dukeblueplanet.com.


8.) As the NBA trade deadline approaches, two league sources have indicated that Denver is in "full pursuit" of troubled Sacramento forward Ron Artest.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bradley Upsets #16 Drake


With 11 seconds left in regulation, Jeremy Crouch head faked, watched a defender fly past him, then stepped up and hit a long 2 point field goal that gave visiting Bradley a 72-71 lead over Missouri Valley regular season champion Drake. Crouch's jumper proved to be the game winner, as Bradley held on to upset #16 Drake.

Tonight's 1 point win was a payback of sorts for Bradley, who lost to Drake by 1 point at home in January, 69-68. Crouch finished with 23 points for Bradley (16-12, 9-7 Missouri Valley).

Josh Young led Drake with 23 points.

Much has been made of Drake's recent basketball renaissance. Today's Peoria Journal Star has a one such article.

But despite all the attention that Drake has received, Bradley shouldn't be overlooked. True, the Braves struggled early in the season. But they've won 8 of their last 10 games and have looked like a much better team since the return of point guard Daniel Ruffin (who was sidelined for part of the season due to hernia surgery).

Bradley is surging.

Drake may have won the Missouri Valley regular season championship, but Bradley could be dangerous in the Missouri Valley Tournament.

Indiana, Purdue, and the Rest of the Big Ten

In today's Chicago Tribune, Skip Myslenski previews tonight's showdown between the Big Ten's first place team, Purdue, and its third place in state rival, Indiana.

Myslenski also gives an overview of the Big Ten race, and provides a brief analysis of each conference member's season to date.

Kidd Trade Final


After nearly a week in the balance, the Jason Kidd trade from the Nets to Dallas has been finalized.

Jason Kidd will return to Dallas, where he began his NBA career 13 years ago.

Along with Kidd, the Nets will send forwards Malik Allen and Antoine Wright to Dallas. In turn, Dallas will send he Nets second year point guard Devin Harris, center DeSagana Diop, small forward Trenton Hassell, guard Maurice Ager, forward Keith Van Horn (who has been out of the league for two years) via sign-and-trade, first-round draft picks in 2008 and 2010 and $3 million in cash.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Presidents' Day Special


By Mark Buckets

Today marks Presidents' Day on the Calender. This is a day to reflect on past Commander in Chiefs. A day to pay hommage to those who have served us well.

No mail? No problem.

What better way to fill in your afternoon duties than some early afternoon College Basketball?

ESPN2 has served up a dandy in the form of Georgetown and Providence.

The atmosphere? As stale as a rack of donuts near midnight at a local Dunkin' Donuts. How ironic, since this game is taking place in the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Hi-yo.

The teams? Georgetown and Providence. Georgetown has been skating on thin ice all year to remain on top in the Big East - D&D would also like to point out that the Providence Bruins play hockey in the Dunkin' Donuts Center too. Okay, I'll stop now. ESPN really picked a winner by showing Georgetown and Providence. Providence's basketball team has lost 7 of its last 8 games.

This game has been as exciting as a George W. Bush State of the Union Address.

Both teams are doing what they do best: Georgetown is taking care of the basketball, and Providence is chucking up threes and missing them.

Hail to the Chief! (Pipe down Illinois fans)

Kidd Trade to Dallas Appears to be Back On


Last Thursday, Jason Kidd appeared to be on his way to Dallas, as Dallas and the Nets agreed to a blockbuster trade that would have sent Kidd to Dallas in exchange for Devin Harris, Jerry Stackhouse and other considerations.

But the trade stalled as Devean George initially blocked the trade and, later, some errant comments by Jerry Stackhouse allegedly caused the NBA to reconsider its approval of the deal.

However, today the Dallas Morning News reports that the Jason Kidd trade is back on.

Memphis, Tennessee #1 and #2 in AP Top 25 (2/18/08)

Unbeaten Memphis remains atop the AP Top 25 for the week of Feb. 18, 2008.

Tennessee has overtaken Duke as the #2 team. North Carolina has moved up to #3. Kansas and Duke round out the top 5.

Also of note: Butler is #8, Drake is #16, and Pittsburgh has fallen out of the Top 25 (despite Mark Buckets' schmoozing with Jamie Dixon and the Pitt staff/players/media).

NCAA Division I: AP Top 25

RANK TEAM RECORD PTS PVS
1. Memphis (72) 25-0 1,800 1
Last Week: Def. Houston 68-59 (2/13), Def. UAB 79-78 (2/16)
This Week: 2/20 at Tulane (15-9), 2/23 vs. Tennessee (23-2)
2. Tennessee 23-2 1,699 4
Last Week: Def. Arkansas 93-71 (2/13), Def. Georgia 74-71 (2/16)
This Week: 2/20 vs. Auburn (13-10), 2/23 at Memphis (25-0)
3. North Carolina 24-2 1,592 5
Last Week: Def. Virginia 75-74 (2/12), Def. Virginia Tech 92-53 (2/16)
This Week: 2/20 at North Carolina State (15-10), 2/24 vs. Wake Forest (16-8)
4. Kansas 24-2 1,567 3
Last Week: Lost to Texas 72-69 (2/11), Def. Colorado 69-45 (2/16)
This Week: 2/23 at Oklahoma State (13-12)
5. Duke 22-2 1,519 2
Last Week: Def. Maryland 77-65 (2/13), Lost to Wake Forest 86-73 (2/17)
This Week: 2/20 at Miami (FL) (17-7), 2/23 vs. St. John's (10-14)
6. UCLA 22-3 1,498 6
Last Week: Def. USC 56-46 (2/17)
This Week: 2/21 vs. Oregon State (6-19), 2/23 vs. Oregon (15-10)
7. Texas 21-4 1,310 11
Last Week: Def. Kansas 72-69 (2/11), Def. Baylor 82-77 (2/16)
This Week: 2/18 vs. Texas A&M (20-5), 2/23 vs. Oklahoma (17-8)
8. Butler 24-2 1,228 9
Last Week: Def. Wisconsin-Milwaukee 83-75 (2/12), Def. Youngstown State 89-73 (2/14), Def. Cleveland State 51-46 (2/16)
This Week: 2/20 at Illinois-Chicago (14-12), 2/23 vs. Drake (23-2)
9. Stanford 21-4 1,156 7
Last Week: Lost to Arizona State 72-68 (2/14), Def. Arizona 67-66 (2/16)
This Week: 2/24 vs. California (15-9)
10. Xavier 21-4 1,122 12
Last Week: Def. Charlotte 62-60 (2/13)
This Week: 2/18 at Rhode Island (20-5), 2/21 vs. Duquesne (16-8), 2/24 at Dayton (17-7)
11. Wisconsin 21-4 1,033 15
Last Week: Def. Indiana 68-66 (2/13), Def. Minnesota 65-56 (2/16)
This Week: 2/20 at Illinois (11-15), 2/24 at Ohio State (17-9)
12. Georgetown 20-4 989 8
Last Week: Def. Villanova 55-53 (2/11), Lost to Syracuse 77-70 (2/16)
This Week: 2/18 at Providence (13-12), 2/23 vs. Cincinnati (12-12)
13. Connecticut 20-5 925 17
Last Week: Def. Notre Dame 84-78 (2/13), Def. South Florida 74-73 (2/16)
This Week: 2/19 vs. DePaul (10-14), 2/23 at Villanova (15-9)
14. Purdue 21-5 877 19
Last Week: Def. Michigan State 60-54 (2/12), Def. Northwestern 71-56 (2/16)
This Week: 2/19 at Indiana (21-4)
15. Indiana 21-4 796 13
Last Week: Lost to Wisconsin 68-66 (2/13), Def. Michigan State 80-61 (2/16)
This Week: 2/19 vs. Purdue (21-5), 2/23 at Northwestern (7-16)
16. Drake 23-2 612 14
Last Week: Lost to Southern Illinois 65-62 (2/13), Def. Northern Iowa 65-55 (2/16)
This Week: 2/19 vs. Bradley (15-12), 2/23 at Butler (24-2)
17. Washington State 20-5 581 21
Last Week: Def. Oregon State 70-57 (2/14), Def. Oregon 62-53 (2/16)
This Week: 2/21 vs. Arizona State (16-8), 2/23 vs. Arizona (16-9)
18. Louisville 20-6 543 23
Last Week: Def. DePaul 88-68 (2/12), Def. Providence 80-72 (2/16)
This Week: 2/18 vs. Syracuse (17-9), 2/24 at Pittsburgh (19-6)
19. Michigan State 20-5 503 10
Last Week: Lost to Purdue 60-54 (2/12), Lost to Indiana 80-61 (2/16)
This Week: 2/20 vs. Penn State (12-12), 2/23 vs. Iowa (11-15)
20. Vanderbilt 22-4 432 24
Last Week: Def. Kentucky 93-52 (2/12), Def. Florida 61-58 (2/16)
This Week: 2/23 vs. Georgia (12-11)
21. Notre Dame 19-5 361 20
Last Week: Lost to Connecticut 84-78 (2/13), Def. Rutgers 71-68 (2/17)
This Week: 2/21 vs. Pittsburgh (19-6), 2/24 vs. Syracuse (17-9)
22. Texas A&M 20-5 345 16
Last Week: Lost to Oklahoma State 59-54 (2/16)
This Week: 2/18 at Texas (21-4), 2/23 vs. Nebraska (14-9)
23. Saint Mary's 22-3 302 25
Last Week: Def. Santa Clara 54-50 (2/11), Def. Loyola Marymount 80-49 (2/16)
This Week: 2/18 at Pepperdine (9-17), 2/24 vs. Kent State (21-5)
24. Kansas State 18-6 247 18
Last Week: Lost to Texas Tech 84-75 (2/13), Def. Missouri 100-63 (2/16)
This Week: 2/20 at Nebraska (14-9), 2/23 at Baylor (17-7)
25. Marquette 18-6 176 NR
Last Week: Def. Seton Hall 89-64 (2/12), Def. Pittsburgh 72-54 (2/15)
This Week: 2/20 at St. John's (10-14), 2/23 vs. Rutgers (10-17)

Others Receiving Votes

Pittsburgh 59, Brigham Young 43, Clemson 39, Gonzaga 18, Arizona 8, Mississippi State 7, Rhode Island 6, Kent State 3, Stephen F. Austin 2, Western Kentucky 1, Cornell 1.

Dropped From Rankings
Pittsburgh 22.

Wake Forest Upsets Duke


Last night, #2 Duke traveled to Winston-Salem to face Wake Forest, in what was supposed to be a relatively easy win for the red hot Blue Devils. Instead, Wake Forest upset Duke 86-73.

In an uncharacteristically sloppy showing by coach Mike Krzyzewski's Devils, Duke committed 22 turnovers and saw all five of its starters foul out of the game.

Early in the season, Wake Forest looked awful. Drive and Dish even made special mention of Wake's dismal showing at Iowa in the Big Ten/ ACC Challenge because both teams appeared to be so inept (Wake did manage to beat Iowa, which looked to be the worst team in major college basketball at the time). After the shocking off-season death of head coach Skip Prosser, the young Demon Deacons struggled to adjust to new coach Dino Gaudio.

But Wake has been hot as of late. They're 14-1 at home. They have talented youngsters in Jeff Teague and James Johnson. And with last night's win, the Demon Deacons may have punched their NCAA Tournament card.

What's more, Wake Forest has an outstanding recruiting class waiting in the wings for next season. When those players arrive and combine with Wake's current young stars, Teague and Johnson, Wake Forest should have the talent to be a legitimate player in the ACC.

And since Wake has found its groove under Gaudio, has turned its season around and is likely headed to the NCAA Tournament, Wake Forest's program will have a strong foundation in place when the vaunted 2008 recruiting class arrives on campus.

Although his coaching tenure didn't start out on the best of terms, Dino Gaudio has clearly established himself as the leader of the Wake Forest basketball program. He's no longer merely the guy who took over in the wake of Skip Prosser's untimely passing. Tonight's win only served to reinforce that. Thus, when the highly regarded 2008 recruiting class arrives on campus in the Fall, Wake Forest will definitely be Dino Gaudio's program.

Wake Forest figures to be one of the top teams in the ACC in 2009.

If Wake Forest basketball were publicly traded, Drive and Dish would issue it a strong "buy" rating.

As for Duke, last night's loss is nothing more than a mere bump in the road. Duke will be fine.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

NBA All Star Game


By Trashtalk Superstar

The 2008 NBA All Star Game was played tonight. Drive and Dish's Trashtalk Superstar was suffering from a bad headache and was fast asleep when the game originally aired. Fortunately, TNT rebroadcast the game after 10:00 PM.

I'm glad that I didn't miss this game.

This year's All Star Game was exciting and fun to watch again -- unlike last year's game. Drive and Dish readers may recall the awful dreck that was the 2007 NBA All Star Game. The 2007 All Star Game was probably the worst All Star game of all time (which may have had something to do with the fact that the game was played in Las Vegas, and players probably weren't exactly 100% rested and motivated to play by game time).

But tonight, the NBA All Stars went out and put on a fast paced display of offensive skills and slick passing -- exactly what the All Star Game is supposed to be all about.

The NBA All Star Game is one of my favorite sporting events of the year. If I were an NBA player, I'd salivate at the opportunity to play in that game, since it allows players to have fun, forget about playing defense and put on a display of skills/clever passing. The NBA All Star Game is basketball played the way that every basketball player fantasizes about playing (if only once), but knows that he could never get away with playing during the season because no coach would ever allow it. Thus, the NBA All Star Game represents the mythical "perfect run" that basketball players dream about, as it's an up and down the court showcase of skills and fancy passing, played in a pressure free atmosphere.

And where Major League Baseball's All Star Game and the NFL'S Pro Bowl have fallen off in popularity and significance, the NBA All Star Game is still interesting and fun to watch. Although the game isn't as spectacular as it was in the NBA's Dr.J/Magic Johnson/Larry Bird/Charles Barkley/Clyde Drexler/Patrick Ewing days, or the Michael Jordan "golden era," it remains a showcase for the league's stars to go out and put on a show. NBA regular season games are often tedious, with their slow paced, isolation centered offensive sets and aggressive, physical defense. But the NBA All Star Game, by contrast, is a wide open, up tempo, loose affair in which players try to show off what they can really do (but could never get away with doing in a real game).

LeBron James was named MVP of the All Star Game
. But several other players stood out as well. Steve Nash and Jason Kidd always drop jaws in the All Star Game, with their fancy passing and unparalleled court vision. Both players impressed again tonight.
And Chris Paul showed that he's got all the tools of an elite NBA point guard too.

Celtics Paul Pierce and Ray Allen looked great. So did Denver's Carmello Anthony. Big Dwight Howard, who plays in relative anonymity in Orlando, got the chance to introduce himself to a national audience. He showed that he's quickly becoming one of the most dominant big men in the league.

The NBA All Star game will probably never regain the luster that it had in the Michael Jordan era. Jordan always put on a show, gave 100% from tip off to the final buzzer, did his best to win the All Star MVP, and turned up the intensity in the fourth quarter in an attempt to win the game.

But tonight's game was fun again. And, like Jordan used to do, the players actually did dial up the intensity in the fourth quarter and actually did try to win the game.

After an awful 2007, The NBA All Star Game is back.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Stories from the Hyatt

By Mark Buckets

It was Valentine’s Day 2008. Naturally, I thought it would be fun to spend it with my lovely girlfriend who enjoys basketball from time to time.

So where better to spend it then the Hyatt in Downtown Milwaukee - which happened to house the Pittsburgh Men’s Basketball team for the weekend.

This post isn’t a recap of tonight’s victory for Marquette at the Bradley Center. Nor is about the struggles of the Pitt Panthers without two of their most important players, Mike Cook and Levance Fields.

This is about networking. It’s about spending Valentine’s Night waiting in the hotel bar adjacent to the conference room where the Panthers were spending their night collectively watching Casablanca - or studying game film.

I met a writer from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - whose name will remain confidential - and we shot the breeze for hours. I tried to convince him to join Drive & Dish - apparently we couldn't pony up the cash - as a guest columnist.

And just as the team was adjourning from their meetings, a familiar face emerged from the double doors of the Gilpatrick Conference Room: It was Head Coach Jamie Dixon, who was as unassuming as he appears in public.

As he left and headed for the elevator, I bid adieu to my newfound contact in journalism, and walked - okay, I walked briskly - towards the lift.

Jamie Dixon held the elevator door for me - I was like a kid in a candy store.

And even though I was unable to delve into the litany of questions I had scrambled on a hotel napkin- needless to say we weren't able to talk much - it was an eye-opening experience and dispelled the rumors of how uptight coaches really are.

As a blogger - thanks for the correction T.S. - you find stories in the unlikeliest of places.

I know I did.



Trashtalk Superstar Adds:

Wow. Mark Buckets is a "journalist" now.

Not me.

I'm just a blogger (and some would say a muckraker and a new media, internet punk).

But I guess Mark Buckets is going highbrow.

Good lookin' out, dawg.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What's Holding Up the Jason Kidd Trade?


Yesterday, Mark Cuban and Dallas worked a trade in order to acquire Jason Kidd from the Nets. But Dallas' Devean George exercised his "Larry Bird" rights, and nixed the deal. Dallas then attempted to convince George to change his mind.

But something is preventing the trade from going through.

Is it George? Or is the NBA objecting to the trade because of comments made by Jerry Stackhouse?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Indiana, Sampson Finally Taking Some Heat


By Trashtalk Superstar

It's no secret that Indiana head basketball coach Kelvin Sampson has had trouble following NCAA rules.

Sampson committed recruiting violations when he was the head basketball coach at Oklahoma. And Indiana was well aware of Sampson's checkered past when they hired him to replace Mike Davis.

When it became obvious that Sampson was continuing to skirt NCAA rules at Indiana, IU conducted an internal investigation which resulted in their "self reporting" some of Sampson's "minor" violations -- relating to improper phone calls that had been placed to recruits -- to the NCAA.

The results of that investigation were released in November.

But Wednesday, the NCAA accused Sampson of committing five major infractions while at Indiana.

IU is now in an unenviable position.

Indiana has been one of college basketball's traditionally elite programs. But they endured some trying times during Mike Davis' tenure as head coach. Davis' Hoosiers missed the NCAA Tournament in 2005. Indiana did get back to the Tournament in '06, but they made an unexpected early exit -- despite the fact that they'd been expected to be one of the top teams in college basketball that year.

And recruiting had fallen off significantly under Davis' watch.

Although he's considered a player's coach, Mike Davis struggled to recruit top talent to Indiana. To make matters worse, Davis was unable to "lock down the borders" of the talent rich Hoosier state. That is, Davis couldn't convince the state's best high school players that it would be in their best interest to continue their basketball careers in Bloomington (donning the Crimson and Creme Indiana uniform).

Bloomington's Sean May chose North Carolina. Indianapolis' Mike Conley and Greg Oden left for Ohio State. And Eric Gordon (also of Indianapolis) originally committed to Illinois (before Davis was let go, Sampson was hired and Gordon reneged on that commitment).

In just two seasons at Indiana, Kelvin Sampson has guided the Hoosiers back to national prominence.

Sampson has one of the most talented teams in college basketball. Eric Gordon is one of the most electrifying freshman in the game. The Hoosiers have either been atop, or near the top of the Big Ten standings since the start of the season. And, this year, Indiana has been a fixture in top 15 of the AP Top 25.

But Kelvin Sampson has infected the once proud (and clean) Indiana basketball program with his slimy, shady ways.

And it's finally catching up to him

After ignoring Sampson's legacy of sleaze for years, members of the national media are beginning to call Sampson out.

And there are even voices in the local Indiana media that are starting to cry foul.

In today's Indianapolis Star, Bob Kravitz labels Sampson "slime" and calls for his ouster at Indiana.

The NCAA won't rule on Indiana's fate for several months. So IU has time to decide what to do with coach Sampson and its basketball program.

But the university is already deliberating in order to consider its options with regard to Sampson.

It's a shame to see what Kelvin Sampson has done to the image and reputation of Indiana basketball. The Indiana basketball brand used to be synonymous with hard work, teamwork and old school values. Bob Knight may not have always been the nicest guy in the world, but he ran a clean program and focused on teaching/motivating his student athletes to be the best basketball players that they could be -- both as individuals and as a team. Over the years, many of Knight's players left the program early, but among most of those who remained in the program (especially the guys who played before the mid 90's), there exists a deep, profound loyalty to coach Knight and to what his Indiana basketball program represented.

Kelvin Sampson has taken one of the most storied institutions in college basketball and turned it into a renegade program.

Indiana should be better than that.

Pat Knight Gets First Win


Last night, Pat Knight netted his first win since taking over for his father, Bob Knight, as head basketball coach at Texas Tech.

Knight's Red raiders upset #18 Kansas State, 84-75.

Since taking over last week, Knight is 1-2.

Alan Voskuil scored 30 points (a career high) and was 5-of-6 from 3-point range. Voskuil's 7 rebounds matched his career high for carems.

Key line:


"Man, it feels great," Voskuil said. "I love Pat. He's the one who recruited me and so it just feels good to do something for him for once."

Texas Tech is now 13-10 overall and 4-5 in the Big 12.

Drake Falls to Southern Illinois

Drake's 21 game winning streak is over.

Last night, the Bulldogs walked into Carbondale, IL, with a gaudy 22-1 record and ranked #14 in the nation.

But Southern Illinois defended its home court and pulled out a 65-62 nail biting upset win over conference rival Drake, the Missouri Valley's first place team.

Southern Illinois (13-12) has struggled mightily throughout the season. But they remain undefeated at home in Missouri Valley play.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Spectacle of Clemens' Congressional Testimony


As the sports media falls all over itself to breathlessly report and dissect every intricacy of Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee's Congressional testimony, Drive and Dish retains its laser like focus on college basketball.

However, I do think it's worth mentioning the Roger Clemens' testimony for one purpose: to question question what business Congress has in injecting itself into Major League Baseball's steroid/performance enhancing drug scandal.

Paul Mirengoff eloquently calls out our grandstanding United States Representatives.

Vanderbilt Hands Kentucky 41 Point Loss

Yesterday, Drive and Dish marveled over how new coach Billy Gillispie and Kentucky had righted their ship and were beginning to make up for their early season woes.

We noted that Kentucky had won its previous five games. We mentioned their upset wins over Vanderbilt and Tennessee. We even said that Kentucky basketball was undergoing a resurgence.

Well, no sooner did Drive and Dish coronate Kentucky college basketball's "comeback kids" of 2008, than did Kentucky stumble off Vanderbilt's raised court as the owners of a 41 point loss courtesy of the same Vanderbilt Commodores team that they had triumphantly upset a mere month ago.

Vanderbilt embarrassed Kentucky, 93-52.

Call it payback. Call it revenge. Call it schadenfreude.

Call it what you will.

But whatever you call it, there's no denying what Vanderbilt did to Kentucky last night: Vandy absolutely put the smack down on Billy Gillispie and the Wildcats.

Just when Kentucky was starting to surge, they went out and got handed the program's worst loss since an ignominious 150-95 drubbing by Kansas in 1989 (Rick Pitino's first year as Kentucky's coach).

Kentucky is now 12-10, and 6-3 in the SEC.

The Wildcats are still, technically, on the post season bubble. But tonight's humiliating loss put a crushing halt to Kentucky's recent momentum. Worse yet, the damage done by tonight's beat down could be enough to derail Kentucky's "resurgence" altogether.

Time will tell.

But Billy Gillispie is on the clock (again).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Resurgence of Kentucky Basketball?


Today, Jason Brubaker at CollegeHoops.net argues that Kentucky basketball is undergoing a resurgence under first year head coach Billy Gillispie.

Gillispie got off to a rough start at Kentucky as the Wildcats lost to several "cupcake" teams early in the season, including an embarrassing season opening loss to Gardner Webb.

But Kentucky has been playing much better since the new year and the start of SEC play.

Don't look now, but Kentucky has won five straight games, has pulled off big upsets of Vanderbilt and Tennessee, and is currently ranked second in the SEC East.

In November and December, Kentucky fans were busy debating how long Billy Gillispie would last as the Wildcats' coach. Now they're debating how highly the Cats will be seeded in the NCAA Tournament.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Memphis, Duke Remain Atop AP Top 25

For the second straight week, Memphis and Duke are ranked #1 and #2 in the AP Top 25 (for the week of 2/11/08).

Kansas remains at #3, while Tennessee (which is ranked #4) moves back into the top 5 after a two week hiatus.

UCLA dropped out of the top 5 after yesterday's loss to Washington, and North Carolina -- which lost at home to Duke earlier in the week -- fell to #5.

NCAA Division I: AP Top 25


RANK TEAM RECORD PTS PVS
1. Memphis (72) 23-0 1,800 1
Last Week: Def. Southern Methodist 77-48 (2/6), Def. UCF 85-64 (2/9)
This Week: 2/13 vs. Houston (18-4), 2/16 at UAB (16-7)
2. Duke 21-1 1,714 2
Last Week: Def. North Carolina 89-78 (2/6), Def. Boston College 90-80 (2/9)
This Week: 2/13 vs. Maryland (16-8), 2/17 at Wake Forest (14-8)
3. Kansas 23-1 1,662 4
Last Week: Def. Missouri 90-71 (2/4), Def. Baylor 100-90 (2/9)
This Week: Lost to Texas 72-69 (2/11), 2/16 vs. Colorado (10-13)
4. Tennessee 21-2 1,553 7
Last Week: Def. Florida 104-82 (2/5), Def. LSU 47-45 (2/9)
This Week: 2/13 vs. Arkansas (17-5), 2/16 at Georgia (11-10)
5. North Carolina 22-2 1,511 3
Last Week: Lost to Duke 89-78 (2/6), Def. Clemson 103-93 (2/10)
This Week: 2/12 at Virginia (11-11), 2/16 vs. Virginia Tech (14-10)
6. UCLA 21-3 1,383 5
Last Week: Def. Washington State 67-59 (2/7), Lost to Washington 71-61 (2/10)
This Week: 2/17 at USC (15-8)
7. Stanford 20-3 1,354 9
Last Week: Def. Oregon 72-43 (2/7), Def. Oregon State 71-56 (2/9)
This Week: 2/14 at Arizona State (15-7), 2/16 at Arizona (15-8)
8. Georgetown 19-3 1,207 6
Last Week: Def. South Florida 63-53 (2/5), Lost to Louisville 59-51 (2/9)
This Week: Def. Villanova 55-53 (2/11), 2/16 at Syracuse (16-8)
9. Butler 21-2 1,132 10
Last Week: Def. Valparaiso 71-68 (2/5), Def. Wisconsin-Green Bay 62-57 (2/9)
This Week: 2/12 at Wisconsin-Milwaukee (12-10), 2/14 vs. Youngstown State (8-16), 2/16 vs. Cleveland State (16-10)
10. Michigan State 20-3 1,071 11
Last Week: Def. Northwestern 70-55 (2/9)
This Week: 2/12 at Purdue (19-5), 2/16 at Indiana (20-3)
11. Texas 19-4 1,014 12
Last Week: Def. Oklahoma 64-54 (2/6), Def. Iowa State 71-65 (2/9)
This Week: Def. Kansas 72-69 (2/11), 2/16 at Baylor (17-5)
12. Xavier 20-4 962 13
Last Week: Def. Saint Louis 70-68 (2/7), Def. Saint Joseph's 76-72 (2/10)
This Week: 2/13 at Charlotte (14-8)
13. Indiana 20-3 933 14
Last Week: Def. Illinois 83-79 (2/7), Def. Ohio State 59-53 (2/10)
This Week: 2/13 vs. Wisconsin (19-4), 2/16 vs. Michigan State (20-3)
14. Drake 22-1 863 15
Last Week: Def. Illinois State 73-70 (2/5), Def. Evansville 73-65 (2/9)
This Week: 2/13 at Southern Illinois (12-12), 2/16 at Northern Iowa (14-10)
15. Wisconsin 19-4 816 8
Last Week: Def. Iowa 60-54 (2/6), Lost to Purdue 72-67 (2/9)
This Week: 2/13 at Indiana (20-3), 2/16 vs. Minnesota (15-7)
16. Texas A&M 20-4 713 18
Last Week: Def. Iowa State 69-51 (2/5), Def. Missouri 77-69 (2/9)
This Week: 2/16 vs. Oklahoma State (11-12)
17. Connecticut 18-5 658 19
Last Week: Def. Syracuse 63-61 (2/6), Def. Georgia Tech 80-68 (2/9)
This Week: 2/13 vs. Notre Dame (18-4), 2/16 at South Florida (10-14)
18. Kansas State 17-5 486 20
Last Week: Def. Nebraska 74-59 (2/6), Def. Oklahoma State 82-61 (2/9)
This Week: 2/13 at Texas Tech (12-10), 2/16 vs. Missouri (13-11)
19. Purdue 19-5 467 24
Last Week: Def. Penn State 67-53 (2/5), Def. Wisconsin 72-67 (2/9)
This Week: 2/12 vs. Michigan State (20-3), 2/16 at Northwestern (7-14)
20. Notre Dame 18-4 465 22
Last Week: Def. Seton Hall 95-69 (2/6), Def. Marquette 86-83 (2/9)
This Week: 2/13 at Connecticut (18-5), 2/17 at Rutgers (10-15)
21. Washington State 18-5 419 17
Last Week: Lost to UCLA 67-59 (2/7), Def. USC 74-50 (2/9)
This Week: 2/14 at Oregon State (6-17), 2/16 at Oregon (14-9)
22. Pittsburgh 18-5 301 21
Last Week: Def. West Virginia 55-54 (2/7)
This Week: 2/12 vs. Providence (13-10), 2/15 at Marquette (16-6)
23. Louisville 18-6 246 NR
Last Week: Def. Marquette 71-57 (2/4), Def. Georgetown 59-51 (2/9)
This Week: 2/12 at DePaul (10-13), 2/16 at Providence (13-10)
24. Vanderbilt 20-4 222 23
Last Week: Def. Georgia 67-59 (2/6), Def. South Carolina 66-65 (2/9)
This Week: 2/12 vs. Kentucky (12-9), 2/16 vs. Florida (19-5)
25. Saint Mary's 20-3 204 25
Last Week: Def. Gonzaga 89-85 (2/4), Def. San Francisco 76-51 (2/8)
This Week: Def. Santa Clara 54-50 (2/11), 2/16 at Loyola Marymount (5-20)

Others Receiving Votes
Marquette 82, Arkansas 71, Florida 23, Rhode Island 15, Gonzaga 14, Arizona 11, Brigham Young 9, Clemson 6, Baylor 5, Maryland 2, Mississippi State 2, UNLV 2, Utah State 1, South Alabama 1.

Dropped From Rankings
Marquette 16.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

North Carolina Beats Clemson in Double Overtime


North Carolina came back from being 15 points down late in the second half to beat Clemson in double overtime, 103-93.

Tyler Hansbrough and Wayne Ellington were the catalysts for the Tar Heels. Hansbrough went off for 39 points, 13 of which came in the two overtime periods. Ellington finished with 28 points and accounted for the basket that sealed the win for North Carolina: a difficult driving shot in the lane that came in the final minute of the second overtime.

North Carolina remains undefeated (53-0) in home games against Clemson.

And with this win, the Tar Heels set a new NCAA record for consecutive home wins against a single opponent, besting Princeton's 52 straight home victories over Brown from 1929-2002.

Washington Upsets # 5 UCLA


On paper, today's road contest at Washington was supposed to be an easy game for UCLA. After all, UCLA entered today's game sitting atop the Pac-10 at 9-2, and ranked #5 in the AP Top 25. And Washington's struggling Huskies were 13-11 overall and hovering near the bottom of the Pac-10, with a ninth place 4-7 conference record.

But Washington came out and took it to UCLA, finishing with a 71-61 victory.

Washington took the lead for good at the midway point of the first half. UCLA tried to make a run late in the second half, but they just weren't ever quite able to put it together long enough to pose a serious threat. And UCLA never matched the hustle and intensity that Lorenzo Romar's Huskies exhibited in the second half.

Washington just played like they wanted this game more than UCLA did
.

And Washington point guard Justin Dentmon ran circles around UCLA's All American point guard Darren Collison. Dentmon came off the bench to score 20 points, but it was his tenacious defense that most affected Collison, who turned in his worst performance of the season.

Darren Collison, Kevin Love and UCLA looked like they didn't know what hit them.

This game was supposed to be a sure thing for the Bruins. Instead, Washington pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the year.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

NCAA Mulls Creation of Division IV


As if competing in Division III wasn't enough of a stigma for college athletes, the NCAA has announced that it's considering the creation of a Division IV.

The NCAA currently has three divisions for intercollegiate athletics: Division I, Division II and Division III.

There are 440 member institutions of NCAA Division III. But the NCAA has proposed creating Division IV in order to better serve the needs of the smallest Division III schools.

Having been a Division III athlete, I'm well aware that there are two tiers of Division III athletics. Although Division III athletes aren't allowed to receive athletic scholarships, and although Division III schools play to little fanfare, there's clearly a top level within Division III that's made up of conferences in which the athletes and teams are bigger, better and more competitive than the athletes and teams from other (lower level) conferences.

I think that the creation of an NCAA Division IV would be a good thing.

It would allow schools from the smaller conferences a legitimate chance to compete for national championships.

As Division III is presently constituted, the schools from those lower level conferences simply don't stack up against D3's "big boys."

I like the idea of Division IV.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Illinois Apologizes for Fans' Behavior


One day after Illinois fans put on a spectacle of poor sportsmanship during Illinois' home contest with Eric Gordon and Indiana, the University of Illinois has formally condemned the behavior of their unruly fans.

Illinois called their fans' behavior "disappointing and intolerable."

The Big Ten said that they don't plan to take any action against Illinois for their fan's behavior.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Indiana Krushes Illini Hearts


By Mark Buckets

Eric Gordon was harassed all night, both on and off the court. The Orange Krush, as the Illinois Student Section is affectionately called, voiced their displeasure with Eric Gordon and Indiana all night.

If you don’t know about that situation, you’ve been living without Drive & Dish for a long while.

Eric Gordon had originally committed to Illinois. But he changed his mind right before the November signing day. Bruce Weber and Illinois were left standing at the alter as Eric Gordon showed up at Indiana's Midnight Madness on November 1, 2006 and pledged his commitment to Kelvin Sampson and Indiana.

As for tonight's game, this was a critical loss for Illinois: not so much in the win-loss record category, but for the psyche of an already crumbling Illini team. They gritted for every loose ball. They played with a boatload of heart.

But in the end, it wasn’t enough.

Demetri McCamey, it must be stated, was the player of the game - for both teams. He outshone Eric Gordon, who had a quiet 19 points. McCamey’s 32 kept this Illinois team in the game.

The kid had ice water in his veins tonight.

If it weren’t for a three-point prayer from Eric Gordon to essentially send the game into OT, along with four Shaun Pruitt missed free throws down the stretch and in overtime - Illinois would have won this game.

This game was an absolute microcosm of the Illinois season.

Aside from the Eric Gordon-Kelvin Sampson saga, this was a game in which Illinois needed to make a statement.

There is no doubt that they did just that.

Not in the way they wanted to, however.


Edit (Friday, 2/8/08):

Trashtalk Superstar adds:


Eric Gordon's reneging on his commitment to Illinois set the Illini basketball program back about four years.

Because he'd secured an early commitment from Gordon, Bruce Weber didn't bother to recruit other shooting guards for the class of '07. When Gordon slithered out of his commitment at the last minute, it left Weber and Illinois without the player they had planned to build their program around.

But it also left the Illini without any options.

Since Illinois hadn't recruited any other shooting guards, the Gordon fiasco left them with a gaping hole in the middle of their lineup. This year's Illinois team can't score to save its life. But that wouldn't be the case if Eric Gordon were suiting up for the Illini.

Having said that, I think that Illinois fans need to get over their hatred for Eric Gordon. Their anger toward Gordon was understandable a year ago. But by making this game a grudge match centered around Eric Gordon, the Illinois basketball program and their fans looked like childish losers.

Furthermore, Bruce Weber needed to state that he and the program are officially "over" being spurned by Eric Gordon.

But the Illini Nation is reveling in their hatred for Eric Gordon. And Bruce Weber -- the leader and public face of the Illinois basketball program -- hasn't done anything to discourage that sentiment.

The truth is, Bruce Weber appears to be every bit as furious at Eric Gordon, the Gordon family and Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson as any of the nutty, orange clad Illini fans who packed Champaign's Assembly Hall last night. And one can hardly blame Weber for being mad at Sampson and the Gordon family.

Eric Gordon is, at least, partially responsible for Illinois' dismal season. Despite their poor wins and losses record, these Illini aren't an abysmal team by any stretch of the imagination. They've been competitive in almost every game they've lost. They have a decent team of roll players. But they don't have a scorer.

Eric Gordon was supposed to be that guy.

This Illinois team was put together with the understanding that Eric Gordon would be its "go to" guy. And with Gordon, Illinois would probably be fighting for third or fourth place in the Big Ten, and for a decent seeding in the NCAA Tournament.

But by leaving Weber and the Illini standing at the alter, Eric Gordon effectively relegated Illinois to the status of Big Ten doormat.

Eric Gordon lied to Bruce Weber up until the last minute. He kept telling Weber that even though Indiana's Sampson was trying to persuade him to back out of his commitment to Illinois, he would remain steadfast in that commitment.

Thus, when he switched to Indiana without giving Weber any indication of his change in plans (which prevented Weber from being able to recruit another player to replace him), Gordon absolutely decimated Illinois' best laid plans.

So Bruce Weber had every right to be upset . . . a year ago.

But Bruce and the Illini Nation need to move on.

Look, there's no doubt that Eric Gordon did Weber and Illinois wrong. Yet by behaving with such a lack of civility toward Gordon and his family, Illinois fans actually make Eric Gordon look like the sympathetic party. Gordon and his family come off as the victims of Illinois' vicious hostility.

Besides, by maintaining their grudge against Eric Gordon, Weber and the Illini Nation have effectively ceded him the power to continue tormenting them.

Let's be honest: almost anyone would agree that any guy who couldn't get over having been dumped by his girlfriend a year and a half after she left him would be a pathetic, self-flagellating, wussy, girlyman.

And that's exactly how Bruce Weber and the Illini Nation must have looked to the national television audience that tuned into last night's game.

Illinois should be better than that.

You'd expect that kind of thing from Iowa.

But now Illini fans are making themselves look like backwater fools.

Duke Dunks UNC 89-78 !


By Mark Buckets

On a night when the former stars of North Carolina Basketball were out - and the big names rolled in from everywhere for this game - it was one of Duke’s more criticized players that took center stage. Many people will attribute this lackluster performance from Carolina to the much-publicized ankle of Ty Lawson, but there were other factors at work.

For one, North Carolina needed to play some defense.

Duke continually sliced and diced the Carolina defense from all angles. The Tar Heels allowed Greg Paulus, of all players, to penetrate and find shooters all night long. From around the back passes to wide open shooters in the corner, to off-balance three pointers, it was Paulus’ night.

Opposing fans - And a good faction of Duke supporters - have been unfairly harsh of Paulus this year. He has answered the bell time after time, and seems to be at his best when the pressure is on.

Lance Thomas was a player that Drive and Dish expected to play a key role for Duke tonight.

The rangy - but occasionally spastic - Thomas didn’t disappoint.

His constant hustling on the offense glass ( which led to easy put backs) was invaluable for the Devils tonight.

Tyler Hansbrough got his double double. Outside of Clemson (which can throw two of the conference’s best big men at opponents) no team has really controlled Hansbrough this year. And even though he struggled against Clemson, the man they call “Psycho T” had double digit rebounds.

But it was Duke’s ability to adjust and maximize their strengths that ultimately led to Carolina’s demise.

As a Duke supporter, I was thrilled that the Devils pulled this one out. As if the team needed a confidence boost, this game solidified them as a Final Four contender.

A scary thought for the rest of the ACC, indeed.

Duke Takes It To North Carolina In Dean Dome


Last night, visiting Duke beat North Carolina 89-78 in Chapel Hill.

Duke looks like they're for real.

I had thought that Duke's limitations on the front line would be their downfall this season, and would likely spell doom for them against Tyler Hansbrough and the Tar Heels.

Especially in Chapel Hill.

Guess that's not the case.

I stand corrected.

Duke looks like they're the real deal.

Shaquille O'Neal Traded to Phoenix


Miami has traded Shaquille O'Neal to Phoenix in exchange for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.

Miami has issues. Drive and Dish has discussed this before. More here.

But Phoenix's motivation for making the trade is more interesting than Miami's.

After falling short of the NBA Finals with their electric and semi-revolutionary style of wide open, up tempo basketball, O'Neal's arrival signals that Phoenix has decided to slow the pace down and emphasize the half court game (which, historically, has been the most successful style of basketball in the playoffs).

Phoenix has been the most fun team to watch in the NBA because of that wide open style.

But Phoenix is changing that style.

It's a big gamble for Phoenix General Manager Steve Kerr.

Time will tell if it was the right move.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Drake's remarkable rise


By Mark Buckets

By now, you've surely heard about the resurgence of the Drake Bulldogs. The little private school in Des Moines represents all that is good and pure about college basketball. Let's examine how this Missouri Valley Conference charter member has risen to heights unseen before by the university.

Dr.Tom Davis, whose integrity has been lauded by the mainstream media, launched Drake's meteoric rise to the top of the MVC and into the Top 25. Although the Bulldogs have been to the Final Four (1969 Third Place Finish), they failed to capitalise off of that success. When Davis was hired in 2003, the pressure was nonexistent. Drake Basketball was irrelevant, thereby allowing Davis the time to install his system. It must be said that, although Davis has retired, he does have a page dedicated to his career on the Drake Basketball Website. They haven't forgotten about the old man.

Even though Davis notched only one winning season while in Des Moines, he laid the foundation for son and current National Coach of the Year candidate (and favorite in this bloggers opinion), Keno Davis. The Bulldogs are, to say the least, three-point shot dependant. There are no true "centers" on the roster, as every player is a threat to hit the outside shot. As one glances up and down the Drake roster, you come across a stark reality: Most of these kids were not only overlooked by major Division 1 basketball programs, but ignored all together. Current MVC rebounding leader Jonathan Cox, was in fact, a walk-on. Players like him truly personify the Bulldog Program.

Not to be confused with the Loyola Marymount teams of the early 1990's, this Drake team prefers to slow the pace down to a crawl. They make you defend every second of every offensive possession, another staple of Tom Davis's most successful teams at Iowa. The way this team plays is a breath of fresh, Midwestern air. As cliche as it may sound, Drake plays the way basketball is meant to be played. They are a basketball purist's dream.

In the case of all collegiate sports programs that experience a new found success, there comes the inevitable question: Will the coach be lured away by a bigger, tradition-laden school? In the case of Drake, Keno Davis is secured through the 2011 season. In this day and age, however, larger programs will do whatever it takes (and that includes a costly buyout) to get their dream coach. I would be shocked if Davis was to remain in Des Moines through next year.

Drake Basketball is a wonderful story. They combine small-school innocence and big-time results. The ultimate track of this program, however, is unknown. Drake fans need to sit back, and enjoy the ride.