Jeff Eisenberg

  • Like
  • Follow
Author
  • Dillon Brooks' inextinguishable competitive fire has fueled Oregon's rise

    As the rest of his teammates warm up before games, Oregon star Dillon Brooks typically retreats to a quiet corner of the locker room, plants himself in a chair and drapes a towel over his head.

    Eyes closed and mind clear, Brooks spends the next few minutes getting into a game-ready mindset. It is here that he sheds the laid-back, soft-spoken temperament he exhibits off the court and morphs into college basketball’s notorious instigator.

    “It’s the competitiveness I have that brings it out of me,” Brooks said. “When I’m off the court chilling or relaxing, I like to be very composed and calm. When the game starts, I’m so intense and so locked in that nothing can really deter me from what I want. If I acted like I do on the court all the time, people would think I was crazy.”

    Striking the proper balance between playing with passion and knowing when to show restraint has been a career-long battle for Brooks. The fiercely competitive junior forward often walks a fine line between

    Read More »from Dillon Brooks' inextinguishable competitive fire has fueled Oregon's rise
  • Ranking this week's Sweet 16 games from most to least compelling

    In a year in which most of the NCAA tournament’s slingshot-wielding underdogs missed their mark, the Sweet 16 is lacking small-conference charm.

    Fifteen of the remaining teams hail from the six power conferences. The 16th is Gonzaga, which long ago shed its mid-major label.

    The only double-digit seed left is Xavier, which upset Maryland and Florida State to make its seventh Sweet 16 appearance since 2004. The other major surprise is South Carolina, which beat Marquette and Duke for its first NCAA tournament wins in 44 years.

    Aside from the Musketeers and Gamecocks, much of the rest of the field consists of teams that expected to make a run at a Final Four when the tournament began. Here’s a look at each of the eight Sweet 16 matchups ranked from most to least compelling:

    1. Kentucky (2) vs. UCLA (3) (Friday, 9:39 p.m., CBS): The South Region going to form so far is a fortunate break for viewers this week. It ensures a Sweet 16 rematch pitting second-seeded Kentucky against third-seeded

    Read More »from Ranking this week's Sweet 16 games from most to least compelling
  • Rawle Alkins has sparked Arizona with his toughness, winning mentality

    Rawle Alkins (AP)

    When Oregon snapped Arizona’s national-best 49-game home win streak 14 months ago, Sean Miller feared he had lost more than just a basketball game.

    The Arizona coach worried that the five-star prospect visiting campus that day might lose interest after seeing the Wildcats beaten on their home floor.

    To Miller’s surprise, that loss only made Rawle Alkins more eager to come to Tucson. Seeing the slumped shoulders, red eyes and devastated faces of the Arizona players proved to Alkins that he’d found a program that threw everything into the pursuit of winning rather than merely paying lip service to it.

    “It was like someone had died, like their world had ended, Alkins said. “They never lost at McKale. Coach Miller thought he lost me in the recruiting process at that point, but I told him seeing that helped a lot.”

    Crushing losses like that one have been rare for Arizona since Alkins’ arrival this season. The 6-foot-5 freshman is one of the pillars of a 32-win Wildcats team

    Read More »from Rawle Alkins has sparked Arizona with his toughness, winning mentality
  • Will Wade leaves VCU after just two years to become LSU's next coach

    Will Wade reportedly is leaving VCU for LSU (Getty Images)

    Will Wade made exactly the type of move Shaka Smart annually resisted.

    Instead of staying at VCU until an elite job comes open, Wade is leaving for a program that has been to the Sweet 16 twice in the past 30 years.

    LSU announced Monday night that Wade will be its next head coach. Wade is replacing the recently fired Johnny Jones, who missed the 2016 NCAA tournament despite having Ben Simmons on his roster and then nosedived toward the bottom of the SEC standings this season.

    It’s a safe bet that Wade will be an upgrade over Jones, whose teams typically boasted elite talent yet badly underachieved. Wade, 34, boasts a 91-45 record in four seasons as a head coach, the first two at Chattanooga and the most recent two at VCU.

    Why would Wade leave VCU after two seasons in which the Rams finished in the top two of the Atlantic 10 and made the NCAA tournament?

    One reason could be the appeal of LSU, a school with modest expectations for

    Read More »from Will Wade leaves VCU after just two years to become LSU's next coach
  • The best and worst of the NCAA tournament's opening week

    Oregon’s Tyler Dorsey has upped his game in the postseason so far. (AP)

    A surprisingly dull, predictable opening round of the NCAA tournament gave way to a second round rife with dramatic finishes and stunning upsets. Here’s a look at the best and worst of the past four days of college basketball.

    PLAYER WHO SHINED IN THE SPOTLIGHT

    In some games, he has been his team’s best player. In other games, he has been nearly invisible. Thankfully for Oregon, Tyler Dorsey has gotten hot at the best possible time. The streak-shooting sophomore has scored at least 21 points in all five of the Ducks’ Pac-12 tournament or NCAA tournament games. He had 27 points on 9-for-10 shooting Sunday against Rhode Island including the biggest shot of the game. With the score tied and just over 40 seconds left, Dorsey pulled up from a few feet beyond the top of the key and buried the game-winning 3-pointer in his team’s thrilling come-from-behind 75-72 victory over the Rams.

    PLAYER WHO SHRANK IN THE SPOTLIGHT

    The

    Read More »from The best and worst of the NCAA tournament's opening week
  • Stunning second-round loss a fitting end to Duke's bizarre, enigmatic season

    Duke’s bizarre season ended with a second-round loss to South Carolina. (AP)

    In a year in which Duke was impossible to predict from start to finish, the shocking way its season ended was only fitting.

    The Blue Devils lost to a team very few believed could beat them.

    Having not won a single NCAA tournament game in 44 years prior to Friday night, South Carolina is about as tradition-bereft as Duke is tradition-rich. The seventh-seeded Gamecocks were far from a certain bet to end their drought this season either after skidding into the NCAA tournament with six losses in their previous nine games.

    The same South Carolina team that only scored 53 points in an SEC quarterfinal loss to Alabama just nine days ago torched Duke for more than that in the second half alone on Sunday night. The Gamecocks overtook the Blue Devils eight minutes into the second half and maintained at least a two-possession lead the rest of the way en route to an 88-81 upset as stunning as any result from the NCAA

    Read More »from Stunning second-round loss a fitting end to Duke's bizarre, enigmatic season
  • Tyler Dorsey caps dramatic Oregon comeback with game-winning three

    Tyler Dorsey has scored 21 or more points in his last five games (AP)

    Dillon Brooks isn’t the only Oregon player with a knack for late-game magic.

    Tyler Dorsey showed once again he too isn’t afraid to take a big shot with his team’s season on the line.

    With the score tied and just over 40 seconds left in Sunday’s second-round matchup between Oregon and Rhode Island, Dorsey chose not to let anymore time melt off the clock so the Ducks would have a chance to go 2-for-1. The 6-foot-4 sophomore pulled up from a few feet beyond the top of the key and buried the game-winning 3-pointer in his team’s thrilling come-from-behind 75-72 victory over the Rams.

    Dorsey’s heroics were a fitting conclusion to a day in which he scored 27 points and sank 9 of 10 shots he attempted. The streak-shooting sophomore is heating up at the right time, having scored 21 or more points in all five of Oregon’s

    Read More »from Tyler Dorsey caps dramatic Oregon comeback with game-winning three
  • Jim Boeheim wins back the right to retire on his own terms

    Jim Boeheim will coach Syracuse beyond the 2017-18 season. (AP)

    So much for the retirement timetable Syracuse attempted to force on Jim Boeheim after a flurry of NCAA violations occurred on his watch.

    The most powerful man at the university has won the struggle to determine his own exit date.

    Syracuse announced Sunday that Boeheim has agreed to a contract extension that will extend his tenure beyond the 2017-18 season, the year that was supposed to be the last for the Orange’s legendary head coach. The school said in 2015 that Boeheim would retire in three years after an NCAA investigation uncovered academic misconduct, extra benefits violations and impermissible booster activity in the men’s basketball program.

    The revelation that Boeheim, 72, will coach beyond next season arrives hours after Syracuse’s coach-in-waiting left to become the next head coach at Washington. Mike Hopkins had passed on other job opportunities in the past, but it’s clear he felt he could wait no longer with

    Read More »from Jim Boeheim wins back the right to retire on his own terms
  • Kentucky's two clutch blocked shots foil Wichita State's bid for revenge

    Three years after unbeaten Wichita State fell to talent-laden, underseeded Kentucky in a classic second-round matchup, the Shockers couldn’t quite get the revenge they craved.

    They stormed back from a late seven-point deficit to pull within one in the final minute, but they lost 65-62 because they could not generate the clean look they needed to retake the lead.

    With no timeouts remaining and the shot clock under 10, Markis McDuffie tried to get Malik Monk on his heels with a hard dribble to the right, but the Kentucky freshman recovered quickly and blocked the Wichita State sophomore’s 3-point attempt. The Shockers had one final chance to tie after Monk sank a pair of free throws, but Bam Adebayo swatted away Landry Shamet’s heavily contested, desperation 3-point attempt just before the buzzer sounded.

    Second-seeded Kentucky’s two massive defensive stops were a fitting finish to an Elite Eight-caliber game we probably shouldn’t have seen until next weekend. Wichita State won 31 games

    Read More »from Kentucky's two clutch blocked shots foil Wichita State's bid for revenge
  • Protesters fly Confederate flag next to NCAA tournament arena in Greenville

    The NCAA tournament is back in South Carolina for the first time since 2002. (AP)

    A small group of protesters marred the return of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament to the state of South Carolina.

    They flew a large Confederate flag from the back of a pickup truck located atop a parking garage adjacent to the arena where two second-round games were being played Sunday evening.

    The Associated Press reported that Greenville police had the protesters move the truck about 50 feet away, citing safety concerns if the flag tipped over. The protesters told the Associated Press they hope to make their presence known to the NCAA.

    For more than a decade, the

    Read More »from Protesters fly Confederate flag next to NCAA tournament arena in Greenville

Pagination

(2,998 Stories)