Friday, December 6, 2019

Pick Six- Dirty Dozen edition

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Hard to believe another year is almost in the books of Pick Six. The annual dirty dozen edition is here as Baligian and Larimore are the only ones eligible to win it all still.

Standings:         GB

Baligian   56-28      -

Larimore  49-35     7

Lucas       41-43    15

Championship picks:

Utah vs Oregon (Pac-12 Ttile Game)
Baligian: Utah Larimore: Utah Lucas: Oregon

Baylor vs Oklahoma (Big 12 Title Game)
Baligian: Oklahoma Larimore: Oklahoma Lucas: Oklahoma

Louisiana at Appalachian St. (Sun Belt Title Game)
Baligian: App. State Larimore: App. State Lucas: App. State

Miami (OH) VS Central Michigan (MAC Title Game)
Baligian: CMU Larimore: CMU Lucas: CMU

Northern Iowa vs South Dakota State (FCS Playoffs)
Baligian: Northern Iowa Larimore: S. Dakota St. Lucas: Northern Iowa

UAB at Florida Atlantic (C-USA Title Game)
Baligian: Florida Atlantic Larimore: UAB Lucas: UAB

Cincinnati at Memphis (American Title Game)
Baligian: Memphis Larimore: Memphis Lucas: Memphis

Alcorn vs Southern (SWAC Title Game)
Baligian: Alcorn Larimore: Southern Lucas: Alcorn

Georgia vs LSU (SEC Title Game)
Baligian: LSU Larimore: LSU Lucas: LSU

Hawaii at Boise State (MWC Title Game)
Baligian: Boise State Larimore: Boise State Lucas: Boise State

Virginia vs Clemson (ACC Title Game)
Baligian: Clemson Larimore: Clemson Lucas: Clemson

Ohio State vs Wisconsin (Big Ten Title Game)
Baligian: Ohio State Larimore: Ohio State Lucas: Ohio State

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Green's five takeaways from DePaul's best start since the 1986-87 season

Photo Credit: Geno Green

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

In a back and forth affair with each possession serving as its own game, a three-point fest took over as DePaul (9-0) knocked off 2018 national runner-up Texas Tech (5-3), 65-60 in overtime, led by Jalen Coleman-Lands’ 18 points, on 6-of-14 from the field. Coleman-Lands leads off my five takeaways for CSO:

1) The land of the rising Coleman-Lands:

Things came full circle for the senior, whose DePaul career has been defined by the injury bug for the most part. Coleman-Lands has shown this season what he can bring to the table when 100 percent healthy and elevated things to another level with the go-ahead three-pointer from the wing with 8.3 seconds left in overtime.

“I think about it at that time last year when I was hurt, I learned to cherish the moments you not just in this game, but every game," Coleman-Lands said. "I would not be the player that I am today without the trials and tribulations for what I went in the previous couple of seasons."

2) Moretti’s blemish:

Texas Tech’s Davide Moretti came into Wednesday’s game as one of the top free-throw shooters in the country and appeared to be on his way to another flawless effort. 

As Moretti drained the first of two free throws, things looked good as the Red Raiders were up 53-50 with 17 seconds left, but the second attempt clanked the rim, which opened the door for Coleman-Lands’ three-point make.

Things went from bad to worse as the junior fouled out in overtime with 10 points, but Texas Tech coach Chris Beard did not put the blame on a single effort, but more of overall accountability.

“This is college basketball. There has never been a guy that played this game who shot 100 percent from the line,” Beard said. “Even the best shooters miss from time to time, but we are also a no-excuse culture. That wasn’t the reason we came up a little bit short because we have to have a defense that is good enough to earn the right to win games, but give DePaul a lot of credit.”

3) Moore’s defensive breakup:

While Charlie Moore had a game to forget from a shooting standpoint with six points, on 2-of-15 from the field, the junior adapted made an impact with a game-high 10 assists, but an impact play on defense in the final minute of overtime proved to be the highlight.

Up 61-60 and appeared to have been stripped by Chris Clarke, Moore made a heads up play on the other end knocking away the ball, which gave Coleman-Lands enough to get the turnover with 13 seconds left. The Red Raiders did not score after that play and Moore’s hustle provided the Blue Demons with a different way to win a game, which is something most fans are not used to hearing.

4) Shannon’s homecoming:

Former Lincoln Park standout and one-time DePaul commit Terrence Shannon put on a show in front of his family and friends as the freshman supplied the bulk of Texas Tech’s offensive firepower in the absence of leading scorer Jahmi’us Ramsey with a game-high 24 points, on 9-of-18 from the field.

Even in defeat, the potential was shown for Shannon to be a complementary piece alongside Ramsey when he returns to full health.

5) A heavyweight fight at Wintrust:

For the first time this season, DePaul had to adapt to another team’s style of play and Texas Tech’s grind-it-out pace forced them to play possession-by-possession as if they were in the middle of a 15-round heavyweight boxing fight.

The Blue Demons responded to every blow and came out on top. A potential 10-0 start if they can handle the Buffalo Bulls on Sunday could be a possible jump to the Associated Press top 25 on Monday.

Only time will tell, but if Wednesday's game was any indication, Wintrust Arena could be the place to be once Big East play begins at the end of the month.

Georgia Tech 73, Nebraska 56: Yellow Jackets buzz through the Cornhuskers

Photo Credit: Atlanta-Journal Constitution

By: Jon Opiela
Twitter: @jonopiela24

ATLANTA— In front of an underwhelming McCamish Pavilion crowd, the Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-4) went to battle with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-2, 1-0 ACC) in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. After a tightly contested first half of action, the Yellow Jackets pulled away on their home floor, coasting to a 73-56 victory. 

With the victory, Georgia Tech improves to 8-11 all-time in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, including a 6-3 record at home. Nebraska falls to 5-4 in the challenge since joining the Big Ten in the 2011-2012 season. 

After a back and forth first half, the Yellow Jackets ended the half on a 10-2 run, with Nebraska’s lone bucket coming with three seconds left. Michael Devoe led all scorers at the break with 11 points. Thus far, Devoe is the ACC’s leading scorer, averaging 23.4 points per game. 

In the first 20 minutes of play, Nebraska turned the ball over 12 times— exceeding its average of 11.9 turnovers per game. The Cornhuskers finished the game with 18 turnovers, exceeding their previous single-game high of 15 this season.

“One thing we’ve been good at is defense. This year, that’s a thing that’s been a constant… It’s the one thing that we can control because that’s an effort. Defense is about how hard you stunt, multiple efforts, you know, multiple plays during a possession. You’re flying around like your hair is on fire type of mentality defensively. It’s a motor. You can’t be good defensively if you’re cool, casual or cute,” said Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner. Defensively, you just got to muck it up and have kind of a grimy type of mentality and we do that. That’s our identity. We need to carry that over on the offensive end. I’m not cool, I’m not casual, and I’m definitely not cute.”

At the 16-minute media timeout, Georgia Tech built an 11-point lead to set the tone for the second half. After jumping out to a hot start after the break, the Yellow Jackets never looked back.

As a team, the Cornhuskers struggled to get anything going in the second half, shooting 25 percent from the floor. The shooting woes continued from behind the arc as Nebraska connected on just six of 26 tries from deep.

“We’ve actually been shooting the ball very well as of late. [In our] last four games, we’re almost 45 percent and making over nine per game,” said Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg. “[We] didn’t get off to a good start knocking down shorts.”

Nebraska’s senior guard Haanif Cheatham notched the first double-double of his career with 14 points and 11 rebounds, both of which were team-highs. Cam Mack, Jervay Green, and Thorir Thorbjarnarson paced Nebraska with 11 points each.

Coming into Wednesday’s contest, Georgia Tech led all NCAA Division I programs, averaging 8.0 blocks per game. The Yellow Jackets matched their average, sending away eight Cornhuskers shots throughout the contest. The nation’s leading shot-blocker, James Banks III swatted a pair of shots, down significantly from his average of 5.2 per game. 

Devoe led all scorers with 26 points, and also dished out seven assists and hauled in six rebounds for the Yellow Jackets. The only other Yellow Jacket to score in double-figures was Moses Wright who had 18 points, to go along with nine rebounds.

Up Next:

Georgia Tech wraps up a four-game homestand on Saturday against Syracuse at Noon ET when the Orange come to McCamish Pavilion, the game will be aired on the ACC Network. The Cornhuskers travel to Omaha on Saturday to take on Creighton University at 1:30 PM. The in-state battle will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

CSO Q and A: DePaul guard Charlie Moore

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Becker- USA Today Sports

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Welcome to another edition of CSO’s Q and A as I sit down with college coaches and players across college sports for in-depth questions sprinkled with a little bit of fun. The latest edition focuses on DePaul guard Charlie Moore.

Green: How does it feel to be back home in Chicago playing in the Big East conference compared to Kansas in the Big 12 and California in the Pac-12?

Moore: It feels great to be back home around family, friends and others. The atmosphere is great here and am excited to keep things up this season.

Green: What was your reaction when you unexpectedly got the waiver approved by the NCAA back in October to become immediately eligible?

Moore: I was very excited about the news and to be able to play right away in front of my family and friends. More importantly, to play for this university is an even better feeling.

Green: How does it feel to have modest expectations and to be one of the guys everyone looks up to?

Moore: It feels good. Pressure brings excitement and we have to go in and perform the right way to help us continue to come out with victories. We like the pressure because it makes us all work harder as a unit. 

Green: In being a part of the overseas tip over the summer, how did that help in terms of building team chemistry?

Moore: It was great. We practiced earlier in the summer for two to three weeks and you eventually get tired of practicing with the same players. We got a chance to go overseas and play against so many teams and people. We knew when to do the right things on the court and be aware of the spots where others were at. It helped build team chemistry as a result. 

Green: While overseas, were there any food items that stood out to you?

Moore: They had some pretty good grilled chicken and pizza, which stood out to me.

Green: Chicago is a great city for food options. Is there a go-to option for you when you are hungry?

Moore: Portillo’s, Harold Chicken, Maxwell Street Polish. It is hard to really pick one out of them because there are some many great food options in the city. I know when I get the feeling of eating, those places come to mind, although it can be tempting to try other places at times.

Green: A lot of athletes love to listen to music while they are working out, what is your favorite go-to artist on your playlist?

Moore: Lil’ Durk and Rod Wave are good go-to’s for inspiration in the gym. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

CSO Q and A: Loyola-Chicago coach Porter Moser

Photo Credit: Tom Pennington- Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Welcome to another edition of CSO’s Q and A as I sit down with college coaches and players across college sports for in-depth questions sprinkled with a little bit of fun. The latest edition focuses on Porter Moser, who is in his ninth season as head coach at Loyola-Chicago.

Green: The last couple of seasons have witnessed a resurgence in the Chicagoland college basketball scene with your team making a Final Four appearance in 2018 and DePaul getting some high-quality local talent resulting in its best start in decades, what is it like to have sustainability for a change in the area when it comes to recruiting?

Moser: Since I got the job in 2011, one of the questions I get from a recruiting standpoint is are you going to keep the top kids home or not? When we signed Milton Doyle right out of the gate, that was the first Chicago Public School league player Loyola had in 12 years. Since then, Donte Ingram had a great career, Doyle had a great career too and played for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA preseason and now Lucas [Williamson] has been a great player for us. I think what they are realizing is that they can getting a great education and win, while getting friends and family to see them, in which they have realized they really love how Chicago has embraced our team. We also now have Marquise Kennedy, who played in the Catholic League.

Green: A lot of college basketball fans across the country who have witnessed Loyola’s success over the past couple of years are likely not familiar with Milton Doyle and how he was your first big recruit. How instrumental was Doyle in influencing players, such as Clayton Custer and Donte Ingram to Loyola?

Moser: Milton was very instrumental with Donte and also had a well-known name amongst the players. All of the guys knew who Milton was and when he came here, Donte said that Milton started the trend of keeping these guys home. My staff and I recruited hard here and all of the Chicago coaches said that they saw me all over the city and have made it a point to recruit guys like Milton hard.

Green: You served as an assistant under Rick Majerus at Saint Louis from 2007-11, how has his coaching style rubbed off on your coaching at Loyola?

Moser: Everything. Rick had a huge influence on my life with the basketball, the teaching, but the confidence was the most significant. He served as a big motivation for me at that time and would not be where I am at today if not for him. 

Green: A lot of fans on social media have complemented you on your suit game. A lot of comparisons are made with your suits to Villanova coach Jay Wright. What’s the science behind selecting which suit you wear for each game?

Moser: Get someone who has really great tastes advising you. I think the Porter’s Jacket Twitter account helped propel me to get some better advice. Just like anything, I tell my players that if you want to be life-long learners, you got to learn and grow, so I am a life-long learner as I take advice and very coachable when it comes to suits. 

Green: Most campuses across the country have good food options. Is there a specific go-to place at Loyola if you are in need for something delicious?

Moser: My staff and secretary will tell you that I am notorious for bringing in my own lunch. I love it because it is easy and healthy. I always have a full house when it comes to food, so I always have leftovers. I will admit that having Raising Cane’s down the street has made it challenging at times to bring in a lunch from home. I have done a good job of not going there too much because you can get addicted to that place very easily. I would say my go-to on campus would be the Poke Bowl Aloha or I Dream of Falafel.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Rosenberg's Power Five Bottom Ten for Week 14

By: Jeremy Rosenberg

Join me each week as I unmask the worst of the best, the teams that play in big time conferences, but end up with small time accomplishments. My bottom ten is made up only of so-called power five conference members. I have little interest in haranguing the UTEPs or Bowling Greens or Rices of the world. Nope, I’m after schools with massive football budgets, coaches with obnoxious salaries, and legions of sheep-like fanboys and fangirls that refuse to admit their program sucks.

            We have the final rankings! It’s been a difficult process, wading through weekends of garbage football, but the reward is obvious— The Bottom Ten Final Four.

1) Rutgers vs. 4) Maryland (at Ypsilanti, MI)
2) Arkansas vs. 3) Vanderbilt (at Las Cruces, NM)

            Both are conference games, but only one is a rematch. I’ll have the final column of the year next week, along with results of a simulation which I will run on an old-school electronic football game board. Quite frankly, it is what these programs deserve.

10. Mississippi (4-8)

            Ole Miss makes their first appearance in the Bottom Ten, just in time for the final rankings. One stupid end zone stunt potentially costs them a game, and vaults them into infamy. Program embarrassed. Coach fired. Time to start over.

Prognosis: The Rebels are in the SEC West. More mediocrity, it probably doesn’t matter who the coach is.

9. North Carolina State (4-8)

            N.C. State cemented their place in the Bottom Ten with a 41-10 home defeat to North Carolina. That had to hurt.

Prognosis: Dave Doeren has done a nice job since taking over the Wolfpack. No reason he can’t bring them back to respectability. 

8. Arizona (4-8)

            Arizona fully gave up the ghost on their season, losing at home to in-state rival Arizona State. Kevin Sumlin has been a serious disappointment in Tucson.

Prognosis: Difficult to see this program turning the corner any time soon.

7. Northwestern (3-9)

            The Wildcats escape the Bottom Ten Final Four, handily beating Illinois 29-10. This win over a bowl eligible team, plus a few close losses were the difference.

Prognosis: Pat Fitzgerald gets the ‘Cats back into competitive form.

6. Georgia Tech (3-9)

            The Yellowjackets ended a miserable season by getting trounced by Georgia 52-7. An overtime win against a bad-but-bowl-eligible Miami team helps keep Tech out of the Bottom Ten Final Four.

Prognosis: Geoff Collins has begun a rebuild, dismantling Paul Johnson’s triple option offense. My guess is Tech is still two years away from respectability. 

5. Kansas (3-9)

            Les Miles and his plucky Jayhawks revert to form with a 61-6 blow out by the Baylor Bears. Wins over Texas Tech and Boston College help put KU just outside Bottom Ten Final Four.

Prognosis: I’m not sure if Miles can get this done, but it’s hard not to root for the guy.

4. Maryland (3-9)

            After a 2-0 start and a national ranking, the Terps fell to the bottom faster than a Maryland blue crab. I’m not sure what Terp fans envisioned in the first season under Mike Locksley, but I doubt it was a sad 3-9 season.

Prognosis: Maryland is a tough gig, sitting in the B1G East. I’m not sure who could possibly make this team better than 7-5 on a consistent basis.

3. Vanderbilt (3-9)

            Vandy beat a MAC team, East Tennessee State, and an imploding MIzzou team that just fired their head coach. Add a 34-10 home loss to UNLV and you have a reversion to their natural form as the academic prop of the SEC.

Prognosis: The Commodores have had some relative recent success, and it is good that they play in the SEC East. Still, prognosis is bleak.

2. Arkansas (2-10)

            Let’s see. Only wins over Portland State and Colorado State. A nine-game losing streak sparked by an embarrassing home loss to San Jose State. Head coach fired. Celebrations will break out in Fayetteville in thanks that the season is over.

Prognosis: The Hogs need to hire a new coach, and move to a new division and conference.

1.  Rutgers (2-10)

            At this point it feels cheap to pick on Rutgers, but since they are number one, let us examine their resume. Wins over UMass and Liberty. The Knights lost to Maryland and Indiana by a combined score of 83-7. It is rock bottom in Piscataway.

Prognosis: Greg Schiano is a good hire for Rutgers, but it is going to take multiple years just to get this team close to 6-6. Odds are, it won’t happen until they are shipped to the AAC.

Schedule Shaming ‘Game’ of The Week

            One of the most egregious offenses in college football is non-conference scheduling. Each week I will single out and ruthlessly shame one program for their gutless scheduling.

            Ah, Rivalry Week. The one week out of the season that schedule shaming can take a comfortable weekend off. Even the bad games are good. I hope the Power Five AD’s out there, who I know read this column religiously, felt cold shivers of shame up and down their collective spines for being called out. Shame. Try and do better in the future.