Wed, 02/23/2011 - 18:40 — Raphielle Johnson
Despite some solid opportunities still left on their schedule the Baylor Bears (17-9, 6-6) need to rattle off some wins in a hurry thanks to an overall resume that lacks bulk in addition to some eye-opening losses. The most recent result was a 78-69 loss at home to Texas Tech, which doesn't qualify as a statement that Scott Drew's team wants to make at this point in the season. Tonight brings about the challenge of solving the Missouri (21-6, 7-5) press, and the way in which the Bears have protected the ball at times this contest has the potential to get out of hand if they aren't careful.
Tue, 02/22/2011 - 17:45 — Raphielle Johnson
Usually a concern to play a bit reckless when in his hometown of Philadelphia, Scoop Jardine had no such issues on Monday night in leading Syracuse to a 69-64 win over Villanova at the Well Fargo Center. Jardine made seven of eleven shots from the field, finishing with 20 points along with six assists and four rebounds and fellow Philadelphian Rick Jackson added 18 points and five rebounds. Offensively this contest was a far cry from the first meeting between the two, an 83-72 Villanova win that featured a combined 21 three-pointers made with the Wildcats making 11.
Mon, 02/21/2011 - 19:04 — Raphielle Johnson
While many cite the way in which Villanova (21-6, 9-5) shot the three in their 83-72 win at the Carrier Dome last month, it may have been the foul line that did in Syracuse (22-6, 9-6) on that Saturday afternoon. Jay Wright's team hit 11 of 24 from deep but the Orange were nearly as good, making 10 on 26 attempts. That's where the foul line, and Villanova's ability to get there, made the difference as they knocked down 22 of 24 to Syracuse's 8-for-12 performance.
Sun, 02/20/2011 - 17:19 — Raphielle Johnson
Saturday night's matchup between Illinois and Michigan State didn't set up to be the marquee meeting expected when the season began, but it definitely didn't lack for importance with both teams needing wins to ensure an NCAA Tournament appearance. And in a battle of seniors who needed to step up it was Kalin Lucas who came through, scoring 25 points in Michigan State's 71-67 win over the Illini.
Sat, 02/19/2011 - 08:01 — Raphielle Johnson
One of the more important games of the day doesn't involve a ranked team, but because of the inconsistent nature of both teams they find themselves in need of a victory. Michigan State (14-11, 6-7) hosts Illinois (17-9, 7-6) in an important contest both teams need in regards to their NCAA Tournament hopes. Tom Izzo's had to deal with maddening inconsistency from some of the players expected to be leaders, not to mention the dismissal of backup point guard Korie Lucious that's sapped them of their depth at the point.
Tue, 02/15/2011 - 18:17 — Raphielle Johnson
"I'm not going to the NIT. I won't play basketball in the NIT. I'm saying that now. If we lose, and we have to go to the NIT, I will not play."
Those were the words of Kansas State senior guard Jacob Pullen to Kellis Robinett of the Kansas City Star on January 12th, but from that point forward neither Pullen nor the rest of his teammates had done much to avoid such a decision.
Mon, 02/14/2011 - 18:20 — Raphielle Johnson
It's now or never for Frank Martin's Kansas State Wildcats, who have been among the most disappointing teams in America. Having lost at Colorado on Saturday night K-State (16-9, 4-6) is in desperate need of a signature win, and the blessing of being in the Big 12 is that they have multiple opportunities to pick one up. Tonight certainly qualifies with in-state rival Kansas (24-1, 9-1) visiting Bramlage Coliseum, and with Thomas Robinson out and Josh Selby banged up (and likely to sit as well) the Jayhawks will be down in the depth department.
Thu, 02/10/2011 - 10:02 — Raphielle Johnson
The question going into Wednesday's matchup between rivals North Carolina and Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium was how the young Tar Heels would respond to the atmosphere. They responded quite well in the first half, scoring the first seven points of the game and leading by as many as 16 points before taking a 43-29 lead into the locker room. If anything the first half was a case of the more experienced Blue Devils being caught up in the moment, as getting away from the things they do best in addition to failing to truly compete inside landed them in the early hole.
Wed, 02/09/2011 - 07:59 — Raphielle Johnson
A lot of the talk leading into Tuesday's matchup between Kentucky and Tennessee at Rupp Arena surrounded the return of Bruce Pearl to the Tennessee sidelines after an eight-game SEC suspension. The Vols won five of eight with associate head coach Tony Jones in charge but there's something to be said in regards to the comfort level a team has when their head coach is on the bench. But the return to normalcy means nothing if you get outworked and that's exactly what happened to the Vols, ultimately falling 73-61 to the 18th-ranked Wildcats.
Tue, 02/08/2011 - 17:19 — Raphielle Johnson
Missouri played one of their best offensive halves of the season in the first half on Monday night, making 57.7% of their shots and scoring 42 points. But they were down four at the break thanks to the combination of suspect defense and superior execution by the Kansas Jayhawks. And as the Tigers slid closer to their season average in regards to field goal percentage Kansas got even better offensively, making 66.7% of their shots in the second half to win going away 103-86.