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2016 College Basketball Invitational Advances to Semifinals

The 2016 College Basketball Invitational quarterfinals wrapped up late Monday night. With four games on the docket, the bracket keeps getting smaller and smaller, as the CBI moves on to the semifinals. We have a recap of all of Monday night’s action below.

Duquesne vs. Morehead State

Morehead State led for most of their match against Duquesne as the Eagles defeated the Dukes, 82-72. Brent Arrington had 17 points for Morehead State, including a midcourt shot at the buzzer to put them up, 43-36, at the half. Morehead State never trailed in the second half and never saw their lead get below nine points as they soundly defeated Duquesne. Morehead State moves on to face Ohio on Wednesday.

UNCG vs. Ohio

Ohio rallied back from a 15 point deficit with 7:45 left to play to defeat UNCG, 72-67, on Monday night. Ohio closed the game off with a 25-5 run as UNCG had no answer for Jordan Dartis and Jaaron Simmons in the second half. Dartis and Simmons ended the game with 14 points and 19 points and eight assists respectively. Ohio advances to face Morehead State on Wednesday.

Eastern Washington vs. Nevada

Tyron Criswell and Cameron Oliver scored more than half of Nevada’s 85 points as they lead the Wolfpack to an 85-70 win over Eastern Washington. The Eagles was without star player Venky Jois, who injured his knee in their previous game. Nevada will host Vermont on Wednesday night.

Vermont vs. Seattle

For the second year in a row, the Catamounts will play in the CBI semifinals. In a 73-54 win over Seattle that saw Kurt Steidl lead all scorers with 17 points, Vermont had no problems handling Seattle in this match. The Catamounts never trailed at all in the game and closed it out with a second half scoring surge that included a 12-0 run. Vermont will play Nevada on Wednesday.

The semifinals for the College Basketball Invitational begin on March 23rd at 7:00pm. The rest of the bracket is listed below.

cbi schedule

Bracket courtesy of Gazelle Group

Email Kevin at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @kmcgheee.

College Basketball Invitational Moves to Quarterfinals

The College Basketball Invitational first round action wrapped up last night, with seven games being played. We have a recap of all of the action, starting with Morehead State vs. Siena on March 15.

Morehead State vs. Siena

In their first postseason victory since upsetting Louisville in the NCAA Tournament in 2011, Morehead State defeated Siena, 84-80, in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational. Senior Lyonell Gaines had a career-high 20 points and 11 rebounds and junior Xavier Moon scored 17 points as the Eagles hit 7-of-8 free throw attempts to seal the victory in the closing moments. Morehead State will host Duquesne on Monday night.

Nebraska-Omaha vs. Duquesne

In a game where defense was optional, Duquesne defeated Omaha120-112 on Wednesday night. Both teams broke the CBI single-game scoring record set by Creighton and Davidson in 2011. Derrick Colter scored a career-high 28 points for Duquesne as his Dukes move on to face Morehead State on Monday.

Albany vs. Ohio

Ohio redshirt senior forward Treg Setty recorded a career high 30 points to go with 10 rebounds to lift Ohio to a 94-90 win in overtime on Wednesday night. Setty hit a corner three with a hand in the face to give the Bobcats an 87-86 lead with 1:34 left in the game. After an Albany miss, Setty grabbed the rebound and hit a clutch layup to give Ohio an 89-86 lead they would not lose. Ohio moves on to face UNCG on Monday night.

Houston Baptist vs. UNCG

The UNCG men’s basketball team earned their first-ever postseason tournament victory on Wednesday as UNCG fought out a 69-65 victory over Houston Baptist. UNCG rallied from a six-point second half deficit before going on a 20-2 second half run to take the lead for good. UNCG will face Ohio in the quarterfinals on Monday night.

Western Carolina vs. Vermont

Kurt Steidl scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his 100th career game as Vermont beat Western Carolina, 79-74 on Wednesday night. Vermont led the entire game until a 15-0 run tied the game at 39 with 16:43 left to play.  Vermont used a 10-2 run to take the lead for the rest of the game and move on in the tournament. They face Seattle in the quarterfinals on Monday.

Pepperdine vs. Eastern Washington

Eastern Washington earned their first victory in a national tournament as a member of NCAA Division I by defeating Pepperdine, 79-72 on Wednesday night. The victory came as a gift for head coach Jim Hayford, who coached in his 500th career game as a collegiate head coach. Eastern Washington will face Nevada in Reno on Monday night.

Montana vs. Nevada

Nevada rallied back from a 12 point deficit with just over 15 minutes to play to defeat Montana, 79-75 on Wednesday. Junior guard D.J. Fenner scored eight consecutive points to tie the game at 56-56, but the Grizzlies took control of the game and lead 63-57 with 4:50 left. It took a three pointer by Lindsey Drew to put the Wolf Pack up for good at 70-68. Six free throws and a three pointer for the Pack made the final score 79-75. Nevada will host Eastern Washington on Monday night.

Idaho vs. Seattle

Seattle used a balanced game of offense and defense to defeat the University of Idaho, 68-63 on Wednesday night. In a game that featured 11 lead changes, it look two three pointers by Zack Moore and Brendan Westendorf to put Seattle up for good at 43-42. Westerndorf shot 8-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-5 from three as he lead the Redhawks with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists. Seattle will face Vermont on Monday night.


The rest of the tournament bracket is listed below. The rest of the CBI action kicks of on Monday night with the quarterfinals.

tournament bracket
Bracket courtesy of Gazelle Group.

The Week 1 Rundown: Overreactions Abound

What the hell’s goin on out here? Famous quote by legendary coach Vince Lombardi, and a fair question to ask after a college football Week 1 that saw some thought-to-be contenders struggle and other Power 5 teams fall flat on their face. So what actually went on out there? The overreactions to opening games are expected and you can see the wave of them coming as soon as each game ends. I’m here to bring some enlightenment on what we saw, knock some fan bases off their high horse, and likely mystify you with my post-weekend Top 4. Welcome to the Week 1 Rundown.

Week 1 kicked off with an ugly game between North and South Carolina, but that was really just a prelude to the meaningful start of college football, TCU facing off with Minnesota. If it’s possible to have momentum when your team hasn’t played in 8 months, TCU had all of it. Coach Gary Patterson is probably glad that his Horned Frogs will have to build new momentum after struggling against the Golden Gophers on Thursday night. But as Damien Bowman points out here, TCU should get credit for playing an opening week road game against a quality opponent. This game says more about the Golden Gophers who, with the defense they played in the opener, should contend in the Big Ten West considering this is by far the best offense they’ll have to play outside of a November 7th trip to Columbus.

Elsewhere in the land of not-so-elegant Big Ten play, Northwestern knocked off preseason sleeper Stanford in a game where the Cardinal never woke up. A slow start could have been expected in a game that was a 9:00 a.m. local kickoff for the Cardinal players, but they came nowhere near matching the intensity of the Wildcats throughout the whole game. Northwestern and Minnesota’s performances muddle up a Big Ten West division picture that was already cloudy to begin with. On the other side, Penn State did the opposite of look like a contender, losing 27-10 to a Temple program who hadn’t beaten them since 1941. That entire conference was mostly part of ugly games, so if numbers are what you’re looking for the Big 12 is a good place to start. Baylor QB Seth Russell’s numbers stood out on Friday night both for what they were and also for what they weren’t. Even against an SMU squad that likely won’t sniff a bowl game, Russell put up 300+ yards on just 15-30 passing. Those astronomical yards per attempt and yards per completion numbers are to be expected from a quarterback who many thought would take more chances downfield than departed signal caller Bryce Petty, but who is also less accurate. It’s nice to be able to bomb the ball downfield with arguably the best WR corps in the country, but it makes me wonder if Russell will be accurate enough to make key throws in tight spots later in the season when a game is on the line.

Nashville was another place where the scoreboard operator was busy, as the Tennessee Volunteer hype train rolled into town only to get hit with an aerial assault they might not have seen coming. The Volunteer defense allowed a boatload of yards to the Bowling Green Falcons, including 424 yards passing from quarterback Matt Johnson. Fortunately for Vols fans, the offense was dynamic in rolling up 600 yards of offense of its own, and Bowling Green may be the best offense they play all year. If you thought the 59-30 game between Tennessee and Bowling Green was a doozy, Oregon does what Oregon does and one-upped that by delivering a 61-42 win in a defensive struggle. As in the defenses struggled. A lot. Vernon Adams was successful in his Ducks debut and appears to have avoided serious injury after a scary late hit. The Ducks’ offense looked like it has the last few years, but the defense will obviously have to improve immensely if they want to be a playoff contender. If they gave up 42 points (including a 15-246-3 line to ONE Eastern Washington receiver) to an FCS team, what’s going to happen in Pac-12 play?

Fortunately for Oregon, the rest of the Pac-12 was hit or miss as well. The previously discussed Stanford Cardinal has seen most of their bandwagon emptied after a shocking loss against Northwestern and the offense looks like it could be their undoing again in 2015. In the other division, USC did what they should have against a lackluster opponent, and Utah survived a scare in Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan debut. Arizona State got ambushed by a Texas A&M defense that looks light years ahead of where they have been previously during Kevin Sumlin’s tenure. Arizona State was thought of as a Pac-12 South contender and possible playoff sleeper. They looked anything but on Saturday night. The offensive line was abysmal, and I think the Sun Devils are going to miss Jaelen Strong more than many realize. DJ Foster is a playmaker, but he’s only about 6’ 200 lbs so I’m not sure Arizona State will have that player who can “go get it” when the game is on the line. It would help if quarterback Mike Bercovici wasn’t on his back looking at the sky half the game.

Speaking of hits and misses, Ole Miss delivered plenty of blows against Tennessee-Martin and started the SEC on a roll that they would stay on all Saturday. Yes, I know it was a lowly opponent. But this is Ole Miss, Ole Miss doesn’t score 50 points in a game, let alone 76 (!). And it was the way they did it. The defense was its usual stifling self, but the offense is what has to have Rebel fans excited. Chad Kelly looked like he should be a good fit in the new, more up-tempo offense, and this offense has playmakers. Laquon Treadwell looked like his old self, and Jaylen Walton is a dynamic RB that should give Kelly a safe check down option in future games if nothing is working downfield. On the flip side, Ole Miss will need stud LT Laremy Tunsil, who is being held out while an improper benefits investigation takes place, once SEC play arrives.

It was definitely a bad day for SEC haters as the conference went 12-1. Alabama, Texas A&M, and Auburn all had victories over quality opponents from other Power 5 conferences, and the Aggies victory over Arizona State was an early season blow to those on the Pac-12 > SEC bandwagon. As for those Aggies? You already see the playoff contender hype now. Personally, I can’t wait until they vault into the Top 15 only to finish 8-4. That’s right, I think this A&M season will play out similarly to last year’s when the Aggies steamrolled a ranked opponent in the season opener only to be exposed as the season went on. The defense may be better under John Chavis, but it’s not going to have 18 sacks every game (ok it just felt like that many). And color me unimpressed with the offense. It generated just 10 points of offense the first 3 quarters before the wheels fell off the Sun Devils defense in the 4th quarter. The constant shuffling of quarterbacks by Sumlin? That’s not gonna fly once conference play rolls around. Plus it’s not like either guy set the world on fire. Kyle Allen was inconsistent, including an awful interception. Kyler Murray’s idea of offense is running around until the defensive backs are 40 yards downfield and then taking off. He also added an awful interception of his own. It probably sounds like I hate Texas A&M. I really don’t. I just think the hype is going to be out of control after one game and they will get exposed against better teams.

One of those better teams is Alabama, who silenced some doubts there were about the offense. Jacob Coker looked, dare I say, impressive in his first start and the defense didn’t let the Wisconsin offense get anything going. Be prepared, I’m about to go all negative on an SEC team again. I think this looks like the same old Alabama team we’ve seen the last couple years. The one who looks great against similar teams but struggles against dynamic offenses. I thought they still lacked a pass rush (until Wisconsin got down big and Bama knew they had to pass) and the back seven wasn’t challenged much. I’m not predicting doom and gloom for the Tide this season, but I’d be shocked if they don’t finish with a couple losses. Ok I take it back, I am predicting doom and gloom.

On the other side, I think Wisconsin is going to be fine this year. Alabama is just about the worst opponent for them, a team that plays a similar style on offense and defense but with much more talent at almost every position. And though Alabama felt in control most of the game, Wisconsin was a missed chip shot field goal away from being down just 14-10 at half. I have no idea who that was playing quarterback Saturday, but it didn’t look anything like the Joel Stave we saw last year. He looked good, and with their running game, I don’t see any reason they shouldn’t win 9 games this year.

You know who won’t be fine this year? Texas, who got housed by a Notre Dame team that looked every bit the playoff contender some thought. The Longhorns looked light years away from being relevant and the Irish took full advantage in every facet.

With Week one mostly in the books, I’m already looking forward to Week two to see which teams sustain their opening week momentum and which results were a mirage.

Top 4
Ohio State
Ole Miss

Just Missed: Notre Dame, Alabama

The Pipeline – August 29, 2015: A Firing, some Fines, and a new Television Deal

1. Illinois Fires Tim Beckman Seven Days before Season Opener

Our top news story in this week’s Pipeline comes from the University of Illinois.  (Never thought you’d read that, did you?)  Yes, the Illini have attracted national attention, at least for a couple days.

Head coach Tim Beckman was fired Friday afternoon just seven days before Illinois opens its season against Kent State.  Director of Athletics Mike Thomas dismissed Beckman due to the findings of an external investigation into the mistreatment of players.

Beckman is alleged to have deterred the reporting of player injuries, and pressured players to avoid or postpone medical treatment and play through injuries.  There are also some questions as to whether or not seniors were treated fairly with respect to their scholarship status during the spring semester once they were done playing.  He has, of course, denied that the allegations are accurate, setting the stage for a future lawsuit.

These are very serious accusations.  And there must have been quite a lot of damning evidence to substantiate these claims for Thomas to can Beckman so close to the season opener.

Bill Cubit will take over for the 2015 as interim head coach.  He joined the Illini coaching staff in 2013 as offensive coordinator.

The issue of player safety became real for us last fall when Brady Hoke and the Michigan training staff failed miserably in protecting quarterback Shane Morris.  Excuse the video quality, but you should hear how Mike Patrick and Ed Cunningham brought this to a live audience.  Now that a coach has been fired for mismanaging his players, it’s officially a hot button issue.

2. Fining College Football Players?

On Wednesday, Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster said some things he shouldn’t have about the possibility of fining players.  Athletic director Whit Babcock was quick to shut the idea down, saying Tech would be doing no such thing.

On Thursday a list of all finable offenses is spotted outside the Tech locker room.  A picture is taken.  The picture makes its way around the internet.  And Foster’s words are legitimized, proving that there was a plan in place to fine Hokie players for misbehavior.

Then, Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville seconds Foster’s motion.  The AD in this case, UC’s Mike Bohn does not squash his coach’s idea, but instead agrees with him.

There’s some confusion about whether this is legal.  NCAA rules state that taking money from a student’s scholarship is impermissible.  However, there is supposedly some language in these financial aid contracts which states the school may subtract aid if the violations go against department policy or the student code of conduct.

I’m no legal eagle.  I’ll let the lawyers decide what exactly the contracts allow schools to do with players’ financial aid.  I can say that this will undoubtedly add another convoluted layer to the already complicated cake that is the controversy over compensating college athletes.

3. Pac-12 Network on DirecTV

As our own Mike Wilson wrote last week, west coast football fans might be able to relax soon.  After years of not carrying the Pac-12 Network on their cable package, DirecTV will finally give fans out west what they want.

DirecTV, which was recently bought by AT&T, began testing on Friday that appears to be the first step towards bringing the Pac-12 Network to their customers’ television sets.

Imagine the frustration of paying for sports packages you’re not interested in while your favorite conference’s network is unavailable to you.  This is what some fans have been dealing with since the Pac-12 Network’s inception in 2012.

Luckily for them it seems to be coming to an end just in time for the 2015 season.

4. Sarkisian Apologizes for “Inappropriate” Behavior

Steve Sarkisian addressed the media on Tuesday concerning his “inappropriate” behavior at a USC donor event last Saturday.  Apparently, he had too much to drink and had taken some pills he was prescribed.

The press conference was short, but notably odd.

There were unnecessarily personal questions about specifically what medication Sarkisian was referring to in his statement.  Rightfully, he declined to disclose that information.

When asked if he had a drinking problem, Sarkisian said, “No, I don’t believe so, but through Pat [Haden] and the University, I’m going to find that out.”

“I don’t know if I even need rehab,” Sarkisian said.  “That’s part of the process, and I credit Pat Haden for this, that he has put things in place for me to have meetings to figure that out.”

He was quick to ‘swear off’ drinking for the rest of the season, and clarified that while there was never any alcohol in the players’ locker room, it will now be completely banned from all USC football facilities.

The USC players had their coach do a set of down-ups, just as they would have had to do for breaking team rules.

The team has moved on and so should the media.  This was a big mistake, but it was not an accurate reflection of Sarkisian’s character.

5. Vernon Adams Wins Oregon’s Starting QB Job

Anyone who was following the quarterback battle at Oregon knew there was a good chance Vernon Adams would end up winning the job.  The Ducks’ week one depth chart was released on Friday, and sure enough Adams was at the top.

This is news mostly because it wasn’t news to those of us who were paying attention.

Adams is a graduate transfer student who played three seasons at Eastern Washington.  He put up the type of numbers you see from Oregon quarterbacks, throwing for 10,438 yards and 110 touchdowns while with the Eagles.  With Marcus Mariota gone to the NFL and the rest of the team in place, the Ducks needed a new quarterback who could step in and preform immediately.  In Adams, they’ve got just that.

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Interestingly, Adams will make his first start against his alma mater next weekend when the Ducks host the Eagles.  That’s right, just three weeks after graduating from Eastern Washington he will take the field against his former team.

Ahh, what a glorious loophole in the NCAA’s transfer rules.