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I spent the early morning watching this:

…but I still had enough time to notice

#6 Nebraska over #3 Texas A&M

#6 Oklahoma over #3 UCLA

#12 Kansas over #4 South Carolina

Glad there aren’t any upsets in women’s basketball.

Mechelle: Moore guides Huskers to Sweet 16 and Upsets by OU, Kansas cap big day for Big 12

Graham: Thomas leads Terps past Spartans

Now off to see some Prairie Chickens.

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(or the heavy favorite).

Just ask Louisville, which got a taste of why USF gave Notre Dame fits: down the Cardinals, 73-62.

Just ask Oklahoma State, which got stunned by previously Big 12 winless TCU, 64-63.

Just ask Purdue, which saw Indiana made excellent use of a time out with 12 seconds to go and get the winning basket as time expired. Hoosiers 62, Boilermakers 61.

Just ask Army, which may have been reveling in their win over Navy a bit. They got upended by Colgate’s (2-9, Patriot) strong second half, 60- 56. Navy returns to first place in the conference.

Just ask Fresno State, who couldn’t control the Wolf Pack (2-9, MW) in the second half, nor find the basket, and as a consequence lost 60-54.

Teams that didn’t have any issues: Penn State (12-1, Big 10),  Toledo Rockets (11-1, MAC), Hampton (12-0 MEAC), Charlotte (10-1, A10), Davidson (14-2 Southern, though it took overtime and they face the Mocs on the 25th), Quinnipiac (14-0 NEC and getting some press), St. Joe’s (10-1, A10), Central Michigan (10-2 MAC) and San Diego State, 11-1, MWC).

It’s not been the “season to build on” Magarity may have hoped for, but that didn’t prevent New Hampshire from knocking off Hartford.

Behind Smith’s 24/9, St. John’s is still making a run at the NCAA tournament.

Finally: Ohio got its first MAC win.

Ouch: Pittsburgh is still winless in the Big East.

Surprise win for Texas — they handle Kansas in a game Debbie would have liked, 93-83.

Some team news:

Their recent weekend of success may have something to do with this: Second-year spark ignites Penn women’s basketball – Resurgent Quakers have received significant efforts from a quintet of sophomore stars

Health news: CU Buffs’ Lexy Kresl remains day-to-day

It’s been a while since we’ve spoken about the impact of walk-ons: Ex-Memorial star Draper eager to aid Fresno State

From Bill Rabinowitz at the Columbus Dispatch: Coach, player develop bond at school for deaf

Coaching a college basketball team that loses 15 straight games can be discouraging.

The same applies for a senior whose playing time evaporates as a result.

That’s why Saturday’s season finale for the Gallaudet University women’s basketball team was so special for central Ohio natives Amy Bachtel and Stephanie Stevens.

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while work has been kickin’ butt?

A whole lotta Griner and Baylor kickin’ Big 12 butt.

Oklahoma is continuing to win, despite injuries, and continuing to make Aston’s welcome to the Big 12 miserable.

TCU ain’t enjoying the Big 12 much, neither.

Texas Tech getting a nice, and somewhat surprising win, over #23 Kansas — unless, of course, KU ain’t all that, or TTU is something more than that.

Sacred Heart got a little of it’s swagger back, and handed St. Francis (PA) its first NEC loss.

Those Stetson Hatters are now 7-0 in the A-Sun (school record 10 wins in a row). They meet up fellow 7-0ers, FGCU, on January 26th, in Florida. Looks to be fun game.

It’s been a tough year so far, but the Bonnies can still beat UMass.

The Big South is kinda feisty. Winthrop took down Presbyterian. Liberty beat the Fightin’ Camels, and face Conference leader Longwood (who came back from 17 down to get a victory) next.

With a squeaker over New Hampshire, the Terriers have moved to 6-0 in the America East. They face 5-0 Albany next.

I’m not reading too much in to it, but it looks like the youngsters at Villanova have gotten some seasoning — they’re 4-0 in Big East play.

I’m still not reading too much in to it, but St. Francis (NY) won another game. Yes, wins in the past have been that rare that I notice. Credit new coach John Thurston.

Central Michigan stomped all over Northern Illinois, and is now 4-0 in the MAC. Akron got surprised by Western Michigan, but Toledo took care of Buffalo.

Looks like coach Michelle Clark-Heard learned a lot at Louisville:  The Hilltoppers are now 8-1 in the Sun Belt. They’ll meet fellow 8-1ers MTSU in a couple of games, January 27th AT Murfreesboro..

Hampton had a nice second half over Morgan State, and is now 4-0 in the MEAC.

In the Battle of the Big Sky, Tricia’s Montana State took down Robin’s Montana, 58-49.

Gonzaga has put together three straight wins since its lost against the Gaels of St. Mary.

Nice win for IUPUI and coach Parkinson (remember when they were a hot-coaching mess?) as they handed the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State their first Summit Conference loss, 57-56.

In the battle of the birds, the Phoenix took down the Penguins, and Green Bay is now 4-0 in the Horizon.

Boink: The Shockers moved to 4-0 in the MVC, after they gave Creighton their first Conference loss, 67-45.

Hmmm… that’s Seattle U at 7-0 in the WAC. Not looking too far ahead, but… they’ll go up against Utah State (currently 5-2) on Feb 2.

Chattanooga gave Davidson just enough hope to keep the game interesting, but exited with the win, 60-56, taking them to 6-1 in the Southern. That helps them keep pace with Samford and Elon.

In the past two days, two Elon University basketball players had something special happen to them on the hardwood in Alumni Gym.

One of them started most of their first two seasons. Then after suffering an injury two games into their junior season and missing the rest of the year, their playing time lessened, all the way to playing just 42 minutes in ten games this season.

Another one played two games of their sophomore season before tearing their ACL and missing over a year of basketball before returning to action this week.

Both played efficient minutes in their respective teams’ most recent games, helping to spark their teams to victory.

Marist may not be making national noise, but their still winning in the MAC. They held Canisius to 9 points in the first half.

Win or lose, Ohio State still has the Dispatch’s Jim Massie’s fine writing to fall back on. He reflects on the Buckeye’s struggles: Ohio State wants to add to success

As the Big Ten losses mounted, the Ohio State women’s basketball team had to develop the kind of tunnel vision that spelunkers need while exploring a cave as confining as a coffin.

At 0-4 in the conference, the only direction the Buckeyes could move was forward. And even after Ohio State trounced Indiana 68-45 on Thursday to end its losing streak, the single-mindedness couldn’t change.

While Nate considered Three things we learned about Stanford from the Battle of the Bay, Chiney made sure UCLA didn’t get any ideas, and led Stanford to a Bruin-stomping, 75-49. Writes Michelle:

Maybe playing Stanford on Friday night was a little like stepping in front of a freight train.

The Cardinal stared at the business end of a three-game home losing streak, something that hadn’t happened since way back in the 1986-87 season when Tara VanDerveer was a second-year Cardinal coach and parachute pants were all the rage.

Tomorrow, undefeated Duke goes to Connecticut to play the Huskies. At DWHoops, Rob Clough has a preview:

UConn’s top priority will be disconnecting Chelsea Gray from the rest of the team. They’ll face-guard her in an effort to get her to give up the ball or never get it in the first place. They’ll flood passing lanes in an effort to pick off passes made under duress. They’ll let her take contested jump shots all she wants, especially if Gray hesitates before shooting. If you hesitate before taking a shot against UConn, then they’ve already won.

As for UConn, Hartley was better against Louisville, but rolled her ankle (again) against Syracuse.

At Mel’s blog, Mike Siroky has his SEC Report: New Uniform for Bone – Still an SEC Star

Kelsey Bone is used to coming out parties.

Maybe all children born on New Year’s Eve arrive with great expectations.

She is back in the SEC after once playing at South Carolina and earning Newcomer of the Year honors with nine double-doubles. She transferred to Texas A&M and sat out the required year, but stayed busy. Last season, as a sophomore, she was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and a member of the conference all-tournament team.

A good, but hard read, from Lady Swish: You’re Old Dominion’s Sara Jones, and here’s what that means

The doctor didn’t believe that the cancer had come back.

“For that to be so,” he explained to Sara Jones, “it would have to have eaten through the bone.”

Somehow, it did.

For the third time, Sara Jones had cancer. For the third time Sara Jones, 40 years old, has cancer. Metastatic cancer, and metastatic — the cancer has spread to other parts of the body — is one of those words —malignant, chemotherapy, tumor — that it hurts to say. Especially when you think you’ve beaten cancer not once, but twice. Remember, you weren’t supposed to even have it in the first place. That’s what the doctor said not once, but twice.

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Baylor: Kidnap Odyssey Sims

UConn: Take Olivia’s advice and “Get Physical”

Stanford: Smother Chiney.

Cal learned from their home court lost to Stanford, went in to Maples and broke a couple of impressive Cardinal streaks as they stifled Stanford and got coach Gottlieb a sweet win. (Doesn’t she look like she’s just out of college?)

Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb has tapped Tara VanDerveer’s basketball brain on more than one occasion.

One question she has asked the Hall of Famer, for example, is how VanDerveer has always been so good at making opposing teams uncomfortable, taking away the things they do best?

And then on Sunday, Gottlieb’s Bears used that advice against the No. 5 Cardinal.

BTW, that puts UCLA in the top spot in the PAC12.

Florida made Tennessee reeeeeeally uncomfortable, but the Vols used OT free throws to escape with a win.

I’m not going to think about the South Carolina – Georgia game and you can’t make me.

A little reality for Auburn, as they were rolled by TAMU.

Oklahoma State kept Texas 0-fer in the Big 12.

Dayton showed Butler the door, 82-39.

Kansas was no match for Baylor, as Griner went for 33.

Hmmmm… Quinnipiac is 3-0 in the NEC.

That’s BU at 4-0 in the Am. East.

FGCU sure loves their three’s!

In the battle of the H‘s, Hampton squeaked by Howard to stay undefeated in the MEAC.

D’em Jackwabbits are undefeated in the Summit.

D’em Hatters are undefeated in the A-Sun.

D’em Sugar Bears are undefeated in the Southland.

D’em Hilltoppers are now at 6-1 in the Sun Belt.

That “squeak” was Cal Poly escaping Pacific in triple OT, 96-95. That game photo says it all.

Yes, Beth is no longer there, but it’s still VCU, and it’s still a nice win for the Billikens: Saint Louis won its A-10 opener for the first time since defeating Fordham in the 2007-08 season

Louisville had to work far too hard to beat Providence. Next up for them: UConn, who soared over the Eagles.

How important is Ellenberg to Oklahoma? Wicked important.

Speaking of wicked important, Graham catches up with Toledo’s Naama Shafir

Amidst more humble, if quintessentially Midwestern, surroundings, Toledo beat Bowling Green 48-38 in a game far more entertaining than the final score suggested. A redshirt senior from Israel who wasn’t about to lose what might be her last appearance in that big game led the Rockets with 23 points.

Ranked No. 27 in the first official RPI release and receiving votes in one of the major polls when the week began (in addition, pardon the plug, to sitting eighth in espnW’s mid-major poll), Toledo came into Sunday’s game on the heels of a loss at home against Central Michigan that will likely cost them dearly in those measures of national recognition. A potential 0-2 conference record after a 12-1 start to the season hung heavy over their heads, all the more considering Bowling Green was 60-5 at home in MAC play over the past eight-plus seasons prior to Sunday.

Shafir was supposed to be playing professionally by now, but an ACL injury last season delayed her departure. It also saved the Rockets on Sunday. In a game that was exactly as physical, without being dirty, as could be expected in an Ohio derby, Shafir hit long jumpers and short pull-ups, finished drives and sought contact to get to the free throw line.

The Terps’ Thomas is espnW’s player of week and Michelle and Mechelle do the video thing.

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Taking over at Texas, Take 2

Coaches taking a new position often will use the phrase “dream job,” prompting eye rolls from a few of us more cynical media folks. Because of all the times we’ve seen coaches leave one “dream job” for another “dream job.”

With Karen Aston and Texas, though, there is no doubt that today really is a dream come true: She is, after more than two decades in the profession, the head coach at the place she wants to be more than anywhere.

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(What, are you crazy?) but, did I not mention Central Michigan was on a (freshmen) roll?

They take down Bowling Green, setting up an all-Michigan MAC final (first time for CMU since 1991) when they go up against Eastern Michigan, who took down Toledo, 59-57. This means you can catch a glimpse of Tavelyn James, a 5-foot-7 guard for the Eagles (and winner of the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award).

I’m thinking coach Cullop sticks around for the return of Shafir — but I wonder what happens after graduation. As for Bowling Green’s chance at the Dance? Lemme just say you couldn’t pay me enough to be on this year’s Selection Committee.

Oh, this could get ugly. The Mountain West finals pit San Diego State (24-6, 12-2) against New Mexico (11-19, 2-11), the first No. 7 seed to advance to the title game.

The #2 teams in the Southland went up against each others, and it was last year’s “darlings”, the McNeese State Cowgirls, earning their second strating invite to the Dance with their 60-56 win over Stephen F. Austin.

Cynthia Cooper’s old team, and Toyelle Wilson’s 2nd-year team, Prairie View A&M (16-15, 11-7 SWAC) upset Mississippi Valley State, 58-55, to earn a trip to the SWAC finals. They’ll face Alcorn State, who sorta upset Grambling State, 67-41.

Baylor is on a tear. Griner is, too. Loved this tweet from Mechelle: “Watching guards, especially, try to drive on Griner is like watching the unfortunate contestants on “Wipeout:” You know they’re doomed.” And this one after BG broke Andrea Riley’s  scoring record: “Griner new Big 12 tourney single-game scoring record with 45. She’s exited game. Rumor: Andrea Riley seeks game of HORSE, no dunks. :)”  In the Big 12 finals, the  Bears get to go up against a familiar, soon to be former, foe: Texas A&M. (With or without Tyra White.)

Oh, and here’s a little local commentary on Texas: Longhorns’ loss to Texas Tech dims future for team, coach.

You know, even if you took away EDD’s 21 points, they would have beaten Old Dominion. Not sure the Blue Hens would have survived without her 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks.

The Pac 12 semis got all Big East-ish, with Stanford surviving Arizona State and Cal eventually pulling away from Washington State.

Whoops. Tulane washed away Memphis’ home court advantage, and now it’s the Green Wave sweeping in to the C-USA finals against UTEP, who buried the UAB Blazers.

Debbie and Beth would have liked this game: UNC Wilmington 94, Hofstra 87. Seahawks play the Hens next.

Long Beach (7-9, Big West) is getting upset-happy: this time they took down Cal Poly (12-4), 51-48. And lookee who they get to face! Gauchos, we have missed ye: UCSB (8-8). They’ve split the season games: 46-34 and 47-35. That’s what happens when the top five teams in the Big West tournament go flop.

My apologies to Utah State — I promise I’ll never mention you again. The Aggies (11-3, WAC) got upset by La Tech, 73-69. And boy, were they upset! Postgame handshakes turn to punches. (Was Debbie Black in the house?) Spoon’s crew will face Fresno State, who chewed right through the Vandals.

As expected, the MEAC finals will be a battle of the H’s: Hampton v. Howard.

Lucky Detroit gets to go up against Green Bay IN Green Bay in the Horizon finals.

Equally fun? Northern Colorado (11-5) taking on the the Idaho State Bengals (15-2) on THEIR home court in the Big Sky finals.

Patriot League finals are tomorrow: Navy v. Holy Cross playing for the right to face UConn (according to Charlie).

Check in with Charlie’s latest bracketology.

Oh, and I have another question for ESPN. Why, when I check out the Men’s Scores during Conference Championship Time, does the board default to “All,” but on the women’s side it defaults to “Top 25?”

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“on the right side of the bubble,” even with their loss to Texas Tech. What do you think the Mike Finger at the Houston Chronicle thinks? Texas women suffer humiliating loss in Big 12 opener

After overcoming two months of torturous ineptitude and then staving off three potential death blows in recent weeks, the Texas women’s basketball team arrived at Municipal Auditorium as the Big 12’s great survivors.

Then the Longhorns spent two hours inventing horrific new ways to kill their season.

In a dismal performance that brought their supposedly safe at-large NCAA tournament bid back into question, the eighth-seeded Longhorns were humiliated by ninth-seeded Texas Tech 81-58 in the first round of the Big 12 tournament Wednesday.

Gail is a lovely person, and Texas has had it’s share of injuries, but if you ask me, I think Charlie’s talkin’ “big conference bull.” It’s a privilege, not a right, to go to the Big Dance. Risk the ire of the establishment horde and send, say, Appalachian State instead of this year’s sorry excuse for a big money program.

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with a little this and a little that:

NCAA Women’s Tournament 2012: Bracket Making And Myth Busting – A View From The Inside

2012 WNBA Draft Prospects: Making Sense Of Players Who Had Better Junior Than Senior Seasons

A Look At The Big 12 Freshman Of The Year Contenders, Headlined by Liz Donohoe

2012 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament: Kentucky Wildcats, Tennessee Lady Vols Are Joint Favorites

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Baylor’s Athletic Program Hits the Big Time

The faithful descended on Baylor University earlier this month, their cars stalled in traffic on University Parks Drive.

They came for another athletic extravaganza, a smorgasbord of sport that featured three nationally ranked teams (women’s and men’s basketball and equestrian), one that is still undefeated (women’s basketball) and one that is 6-2 (baseball). Here, at the world’s largest Baptist university, they no longer view such dates as unusual. Now, they call them Saturday.

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in her chat today: In Texas, it gets hot quicker – Goestenkors (Texas), Henrickson (Kansas), Curry (Texas Tech) have teams on bubble

The pleasantries are the same as always, but there’s not much reality behind them. You say, “Hi, how are you doing?” to Texas coach Gail Goestenkors. She says, “I’m good, how about you?”

You know, of course, that “good” is not how Goestenkors feels at all. It’s the morning after her Longhorns lost 80-59 to Baylor in a game they never looked to have a chance to win. It dropped Texas to 15-12 overall, 5-10 in the Big 12.

Right now, Texas is a perfect example of a team that I would not “reward” with a trip to the tourney just because they’re in a Big Six conference or have an RPI of note. I mean, why? Why not give it to a mid-major team who DESERVES a reward?

When it comes to bubble teams, I’m all for popping the Big 6.

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Texas Tech is 17-10, and all 10 of their losses, the latest one against a staggered Kansas, are in the Big 12.

Okay, so I jinxed’em. Tulsa (11-3, MAC) gets stifled by Eastern Michigan (12-2), 54-33.

What if the Big East Coach of the Year wasn’t Geno or Muffet, but Jamelle?

Amongst the many things I didn’t (and don’t) know: Pittsburgh is the youngest team in D-1 bball. They have nary a junior or senior. They might get a win against Seton Hall. Didn’t have a chance against a cranky UConn.

You know, when Ellenburg can give’em 23, the Sooners have a chance to beat ranked teams. Like tonight, in Norman, against #11 Texas A&M.

#25-with-a-bullet St. John’s keeps truckin’, taking down West Virginia, 63-54.

I know they were playing Baylor in Waco, and that is never a fun time for opponents, but really, Debbie? You think Gail is not in trouble? (True, Texas may not want to buy her out, but they do have the money.) Longhorns drop to 15-12 (5-10, Big 12) as the Bears earned the outright Big 12 title with an 80-59 win.

Double-take moment: Ms. Brittney “Player of the Year” Griner gets a double-double 4 out of every 10 games she plays.

Oh, and thanks to Hoopfeed: Coach Kim? Where’d ya get dem shoes? Fort Knox? (On edit: How did I miss this musical reference from Kirsty MacColl!)

Aaaand: Sonja Hogg in the House! (Hey! Where’s the white mink coat!)

But it’s not all grins and giggles in the arena: Baylor will be waiting on knee news for sophomore Shanay Washington — someone who’s had too much knee news already.

Coach Burns has her team sitting at 12-1 in the MWC. San Diego State’s five loses? Four were early in the season (one head shaker at Portland). I’m not going to jinx them by talking about how good their chances are in their conference tournament.

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All hail the Kansas resurgence?

Kansas State took #8 Texas A&M to OT and won the game on a last second lay-up.

Kansas traveled to Austin and won its big 12 opener against #25 Texas, 72-67. (“It was the fifth-straight year coach Gail Goestenkors and the Longhorns have lost the conference opener.”)

#17 Texas Tech held of a pesky Oklahoma State to earn a 58-53 win and stay undefeated. Great respect shown by the Raiders to the Cowgirls:

After the game, Tech and Oklahoma State players stood side by side with locked arms during an emotional playing of the OSU Alma Mater.

“There’s some things a lot bigger and more important than a basketball game,” Curry said. “I know Kurt and Miranda had the best seat in the house, and I know he was proud of the way both teams competed.”

Not so fast, there, other Mitten: Michigan State roared back in the second half to knock off Michgan.

More games Debbie and Beth would like: Miami (Ohio) took down Akron in OT, 95-85. The teams combined for 112 points in the second half and 32 in the overtime. Writes Matt Sussman at Hustle Belt:

Come for the women’s basketball information, stay for the Saturday Night Live mid-level skit references. But even sans gimmicky reasons to click-thru and read, this was truly a wild back-and-forth game. Courtney Osborn had an eye-popping game: 48 points, the most by a Division I player in the last two years.

How bare was the cupboard when McGuff left? With their 60-54 loss to the EIU Panthers, Xavier is now 3-10.

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a pause to ponder who to watch in (or out) of your neighborhood:

America East: Hartford sits atop the standings, but watch out for BU. And, might we have to learn New Hampshire’s mascot?

The Musketeers no longer rule the A-10. Perhaps Dayton will fly to the top, but at the moment it’s the Bonnies and Dukes who have the upper hand. Don’t ignore the Spiders…

It’s the Terps at 11-0 who are looking down at the rest of the ACC. Will the Tar Heels be able to right the ship during conference play? And while I don’t want to be too cavalier about the Cavalier’s 10-2 record, though their January 2nd game against Duke may give us a truer assessment of their mettle.

This is fun to type: The Hatters top the A-Sun. My gut says they won’t rule the FGCU Eagles.  Makes the NCST/FGCU game tomorrow worth keeping an eye on.

Yah, Mechelle says the Big 12 always offers an upset — but I’m not betting against Baylor running the table. Are the Red Raiders riding under the radar?

The Big East currently holds six ranked teams… but fess up, aren’t you really focusing on the two Irish/Huskies tilts? (Jan 7th and Feb 27th.)

Bloggin’ coach Tricia Binford…

Since I have been asked the question daily why we have two weeks between our North Dakota and Illinois games I thought I could just tell you all on my blog.

Scheduling preseason games is one of the most challenging tasks we have here at Montana State. That’s why I gave the task to Amy!

Scheduling away games is easy as EVERYONE wants a home game. Home games, however for a remote, and winterland tropicana, NOT SO EASY. If I was a California school I would be jumping at our offer to come play us. How many times do your players get to make snow angels or have a snowball fight.

…has her Montana State Bobcats (no, I’m NOT calling them the Lady ‘cats) high in the Big Sky. Of course, the sturdy Vikings of Portland State (though they’ve stumbled out of the gate a bit) are lurking.

Okay. Maybe typing this makes me happier: The Chanticleers rank above the Fighting Camels in the Big South (formerly the land where Liberty ruled). Oh, and since I know you’re wondering what, exactly, is a Chanticleer (no, it’s not these guys), click here to find out. Scanning the list, methinks the Big South has the best collection of nicknames….

Speaking of interesting collections, how about the handful of teams sitting at the top of the Big Ten? Yah, 13-0 Ohio State, but followed by Nebraska? Michigan? Northwestern (ouch)?

The Big West is a bit of a hot mess, to be honest. I can’t imagine working with the UC budgets is helping any of the programs thrive.

The big story out of the Colonial is Delaware, of course, but don’t sleep on the Hofstra Pride. They host the noteworthy Princeton Tigers at the Mack 4pm, Jan 29th. Hmmm… pondering a road trip.

C-USA is under construction next year, what with the realignment roundabout, but it looks like the Miners, Green Wave, Blazers and Tigers will go out with a bang.

There are only four teams listed amongst the Independents, and it looks like Nebraska-Omaha (aka, UNOs) and Joan Bonavicini’s Seattle U will fight for the top spot.

The Great West covers a lot of territory (New Jersey to Texas to North Dakota to Utah to Illinois) but not quite sure their talent level is that expansive.

I’m not saying that the 10-0 (and #10) Phoenix of Green Bay won’t rule the Horizon League, but c’mon! The Penguins are 6-4! (Call it the Ornithological Bias.) (Dang, 6-5.)

The Ivy League title seems destined to go to the Tigers, but are the Quakers shakin‘?

The Fairfield Stags of the MAAC stand at 7-3 (of course, they play UConn next. Oops.) followed by the Rider Broncs. The Red Foxes are at 5-5, but they might bite.

The MAC has been ruled by Bowling Green — they currently have the same record as the Miami (OH). Will coach Fantanarosa‘s Red Hawks topple coach Miller’s Falcons?

Looks like Hampton will pirate their way through the MEAC, but Bison are always unpredictable (check out the coach cam!).

In the Missouri Valley it’s the Bradley Braves (who lost to the Hatters), but I wonder if Missouri State and Northern Iowa will surge ahead of them once conference games come in to play.

The Mountain West is another conference in flux, but right now all eyes are on Kathy Olivier’s (ooo – did we catch this watn? Nikki Blue is assisting.) UNLV Rebels.

Usually I expect to see St. Francis (PA) Red Flash dominating the Northeast. Not this year — it’s Sacred Heart (CT). Interesting: the Pioneers play the Bonnies Jan 3nd.

Let’s let the Ohio Valley quietly sort itself out in conference play, shall we?

Yah, this will last: Pac-12 rankings have Colorado (11-0) in the top spot, followed by Arizona (who face UNLV tomorrow). Stanford clings to the #3 spot.

It’s all smushed up in the Patriot League, though American holds the #1 spot.

Yup, time for conference play in the SEC: You’ve got #6 Kentucky, #25 Vanderbilt, Arkansas, #17 Georgia and South Carolina. At 7-3, #7 Tennessee finds itself in 10th place.

Conference play is well underway in the Southern, but the top four teams (Furman, Appalachian State, Chattanooga and Davidson) have yet to play each other.

The Southland East (McNeese State) and West (Stephen F. Austin) are familiar. Looks like Central Arkansas might be the biggest threat to the Cowgirls.

As for the SWAC, please see Ohio Valley.

For the moment, I’ll say that for the Summit, see the SWAC. But it’s hard not to have a soft spot for the Jackrabbits.

Middle Tennessee is not the powerhouse it has been, but looks like they’ll still rule the Sun Belt (East). It will be interesting to see if Aston’s Mean Green North Texas team can challenge Denver.

In the West Coast Conference, Gonzaga’s gotten the (well deserved) press, but check out new-to-the conference BYU and its 11-2 record.

Last but not least, it looks like Spoon’s Techsters will have to hop to it to catch Fresno State.

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This could get amusing: Loftin responds to Mulkey’s comments

Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey took a shot at departing Texas A&M at Big 12 Media Days, saying “My feeling is this: If a man wants to divorce me and says our relationship has no value to him, and then he asks me if he can sleep with me, the answer is ‘No!’ ”

A&M president R. Bowen Loftin responded to the Austin American Statesman’s Kirk Bohls.

He said “I have never desired to sleep with her, sir.”

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Editorial: NCAA cheats Big 12 out of this year’s Final Four appearance

This weekend, the Baylor Lady Bears head to the Dallas Regional for the Sweet 16 and possibly the Elite Eight round of the NCAA tournament. The Big 12 is undoubtedly pleased to see one of its teams enjoy so much success and possibly earn a Final Four berth.

Unfortunately, the conference has to be angry about the combination of teams at the Dallas Regional, because if the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds reach the Elite Eight round, two very strong Big 12 teams will have to compete for one spot in the Final Four.

Geno Auriemma: UConn fans spoiled

Auriemma says he will ask UConn not to bid on NCAA

Where were all the fans? By Mike DiMauro

Geno Auriemma: How to lose fans and alienate people by Tracee Hamilton

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so I can, so I can
Wreak havoc on other guards between the lines.”

From Jere’: Baylor Guard Seeks Title as She Regains Vision

When Baylor’s Melissa Jones dived for a loose basketball on Feb. 27, it did not seem risky for a hard-nosed guard who played football in junior high, had gone skydiving and once acted on a dare by drinking a cup of hot sauce.

This time, though, Jones collided with a player from Oklahoma who landed on her. Jones’s head slammed to the court just above her right eyebrow. She got to her feet quickly, but her vision in her right eye began to grow dim, as if the lights were being turned down.

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From Golden Nuggets: Joanne Boyle Wants Her Team to Toughen Up

After her team lost to UCLA in the Pac-10 tournament semifinals, Joanne Boyle continually brought up an issue that has plagued the team all season: lack of toughness.

From Jim Massie at the the Columbus Dispatch: Growth of Hill is paying off – Sophomore guard filling several key roles for Buckeyes

As the Buckeyes (22-9) prepare for their ninth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament this week, the sophomore Hill has blossomed into perhaps the most versatile player on a versatile team.

From DWHoops: Devils In Detail – This March edition examines the season-to-date accomplishments and postseason roles of Duke’s 11 active players.

From Cheryl Coward at HoopFeed: For Kim Mulkey, Destiny Williams was the key in Baylor’s Big 12 tournament success

How can you explain Destiny Williams is not on the All-Tournament team?,” said Mulkey. “She plays three games and she goes 21 points and eight rebounds, 18 points and seven rebounds, and she has 11 big rebounds today and you’re the champion and you only get the same number that A&M did, the same number of All-Tournament people?”

From the Spokesman Review: Gonzaga and Courtney Vandersloot: Perfect match

One word that mesmerized fans and vanquished foes wouldn’t expect to be associated with Gonzaga’s record-breaking point guard is “shy.”

But when GU coach Kelly Graves suggested Courtney Vandersloot call up the greatest point guard in school history and ask him for help, “It took me a couple of weeks to build up,” she said. “I’m shy.”

Her need to win and her desire to get better finally prevailed.

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For those lobbying for Texas A&M getting a fair shot at a #1 spot, last night’s 71-67 loss to Kansas State was demoralizing.

Speaking of demoralizing, I bet Oklahoma enjoyed beating in-state rival Oklahoma State by 15. (And congrats to Coach Coale, who was named the Lemons/Hanson Award winner)

Jones-less Baylor stomped all over Missouri to clinch their second Big 12 conference title.

Oh, yah, the CAA tourney ought to be fun: UNC Wilmington lost to James Madison by 2, 79-77 and Old Dominion got beaten by Drexel, 65-51.

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Pester Graham at 4pmEST, see if he can untangle the Bracketology mess the Baylor loss has made.

Also, make sure you check out EPSN2 tonight when Georgia goes after #4 Tennessee (7pm EST) followed but the Big 12 match up between #23 Iowa State and Texas.

Ryan Black says the Lady Dogsare trying to ‘shut up’ the Lady Vols (not a very lady-like headline), Carroll Rogers of the AJC says Georgia is “looking for rarity against Vols — a win streak,” and Coach Landers thinks his team is ready for the “raucous arena.

Maria Cornelius at Inside Tennessee previews the game and Vol fans will be happy to know that Angie Bjorklund will be back in time for this SEC showdown.

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this might have been you at about the 3-minutes left mark in the second half of the Baylor/TAMU game:

“Are you freakin’ kidding me? I yelled at the television. (And yes, I did really say freakin’ because it’s Sunday. This has nothing to do with the lord but with the fact that the new school week starts tomorrow and I need to clean up my potty mouth before entering a classroom. )
And what did I get to see instead? Another game? Another nail biter? No, my friends, the Celtics pre-game show. A pre-scheduled 30 minute show for a game CSN wasn’t even airing.”

Yup. They cut away. And you missed it. And have you sent a “Are you freakin’ kidding me?!?!” email to your local provider? I hope so, or it’ll keep on happening.

As to the game. It kinda felt like a tight, back and forth mess. Great crowd (well, duh, it’s the Big 12). And, when it came to the end (that some of you didn’t see), I must say I thought it was over when Danielle Adams fouled out with one of the dopier fouls I’ve ever seen. But, credit the Aggies, they found a way to claw close.

And then the Odyssey spoke and the game was Baylor’s. (Can we say Frosh of the Year award is leaning heavily towards her?) Said A&M coach Gary Blair:

“That’s the difference,” Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said of Sims. “I don’t think there’s a freshman point guard in the country better than her. She’s got the ability to control in mid-air and bump into you and push off and be physical. Most freshman don’t know how to use that arm.”

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Baylor v. TAMU is sold out.

Check your local tv listings and you might be able to catch this (1pmEST) match up between 1 & 5.

Baylor star sophomore Brittney Griner, already a Final Four veteran, has played in enough big games to recognize one at hand. And they don’t get much bigger in the regular season than the top-ranked Lady Bears taking on sixth-ranked Texas A&M at noon today in a sold-out Reed Arena.

“This is good for our program,” Griner said of the hype surrounding the nationally televised showdown. “It’s good for both programs. You’ve got two top teams, going at it right here in Texas.”

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Mechelle blogs: UCLA simply no match for Stanford

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer is in this somewhat odd position a lot: talking up teams that her squad has every intention of going out and beating handily.

The Cardinal have consistently been at the top of the totem in the Pac-10 for so long that excitement bubbles anytime there’s even a hint that they might be challenged. VanDerveer likes the idea that eyes are focused on the Pac-10 … but she still wants the result to be same old, same old.

And more: Kansas can’t keep up with Baylor – Game snowballs out of control for Jayhawks, who struggle against Baylor defense

Yet another winter storm walloped these parts Wednesday, but Baylor’s Destiny Williams loved it. It reminded her of being home in Michigan. She hasn’t seen snow since moving to Waco, Texas, last year when she transferred from Illinois.

After the game, she would have been perfectly happy to go outside Allen Fieldhouse and play in the white stuff. And the Kansas Jayhawks probably would just as soon have engaged Baylor in a snowball fight. They might have had better luck than they did on the basketball court. At the very least, it couldn’t have been any worse.

And even more: Texas Tech on the right track in ’11 – Lady Raiders hope to make first NCAA tournament appearance since 2005

The past few years, it has been wise for Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry to keep in mind the motto of nothing ever being as good or bad as it seems. Except, of course, sometimes things really were that bad.

Just a little gallows humor here. When so much of your life is about winning basketball games in a place where people really do care a lot about that, it can be hard to know just what “perspective” is, let alone successfully keep it.

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From Ben Bolch at the LA Times: UCLA plays host to USC in women’s basketball
Both the Nikki Caldwell-coached Bruins and Michael Cooper-coached Trojans come into the Pac-10 regular-season game having had their best season start in years.

From Curt Rallo at the South Bend Tribune: Mental approach key for Irish

From the Des Moines Register: ISU, Iowa women hit the big stage Saturday

Nine hundred miles apart, Iowa and Iowa State will share the national stage in women’s basketball today.

Both teams will be part of Top 25 battles that will be nationally televised.

From Tommy Piatchek, Jr at the Missourian: Yvonne Anderson returns to Columbia as starter for Texas women’s basketball

Missouri basketball fans normally view Mike Anderson as a coach. It’s easy to forget that the leader of the men’s team is a father off the court.

Saturday the Missouri women’s basketball team will host Mike Anderson’s daughter Yvonne Anderson and the No. 22 Texas Longhorns in the Tigers’ first game of Big 12 Conference play. Mike Anderson says he supports his daughter’s decision to play for Texas.

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The Silent Majority Poll

A few weeks ago, we debuted our ranking of the top teams outside the BSC Conferences (ACC, Big Ten, SEC, Pac-10, Big East, Big 12). Now that the season’s started, we’re back for Round Two.

I also like their post-prediction, “Ummm, we can explain” lines.

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“Ah’m readdyyy” -Can Baylor’s Brittney Griner possibly get more intense?

Those words wander through the well-lit hallway in the catacombs of Baylor University’s basketball arena, carried on a Texas drawl. A few seconds later, in strides Baylor sophomore center Brittney Griner, a.k.a. BG, a.k.a. Big Girl. At first, all you see is a long, narrow expanse of dark sweat clothes topped by a mischievous smile framed by dreadlocks, and shod with, well, nothing. “Bet you never seen a 6’8″ girl barefoot before.”

She extends her arm for a handshake, and it keeps extending, ending in long, strong fingers that can easily palm a basketball. It’s a hand made for dunking, which she did twice in a game last season, tying an unofficial NCAA women’s record. It’s a hand made for blocking shots, which she did 223 times, shattering the previous official NCAA women’s record of 164. And it’s a hand that became infamous in a game against Texas Tech last March, when ­Griner used it to punch Tech’s Jordan Barncastle, setting off a noisy debate about gender roles, sports violence, athletes’ looks — even Big 12 basketball.

Don’t have is handy now, but would love for someone to do a compare and contrast of this article to the Candace Parker article a while back….

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All eyes on Baylor, Brittney Griner – Big 12 coaches vote Lady Bears as near-unanimous preseason league favorite

Wednesday at the Sprint Center in downtown was the 15th Big 12 women’s basketball media day — but the final one for what we’ve known since 1996 as the Jumbo Dozen.

Next year, Nebraska “moves” east to the Big Ten (12) and Colorado “moves” west to the Pac-10 (12). Then the Big 12 (10) will implement a true round-robin schedule, which most of the coaches seem to think will be just as well.

“I think it will bring our league closer together,” Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry said. “We can all be on the same page. I think it will eliminate some of the walls that have built up. It won’t be the North versus the South.”

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Mechelle does, and it’s from the Big 12 Media Day: OU’s Sherri Coale, Baylor’s Kim Mulkey, Brittney Griner speak at Big 12 media day

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putting the past in the past and welcoming the present:

Jordan Barncastle ready to move on

There was no apology from Baylor’s Brittney Griner to Texas Tech’s Jordan Barncastle at Big 12 media day. In fact, the two didn’t talk or even see each other.

Barncastle was on the receiving end of the punch from Griner that went viral last March. The 6-foot-8 dunking sensation broke Barncastle’s nose after the two tussled in the lane during a game in Lubbock, Texas.

Griner, who was suspended two games, issued a general apology for her actions, but she hasn’t told Barncastle directly that she’s sorry.

“I have not crossed paths with her,” Barncastle said Wednesday. “The Baylor team went in the early session this morning. Maybe by coincidence, maybe not, we were in the later session.”

Jessica Breland ready to return

Jessica Breland doesn’t mind the prodding questions about her health. The North Carolina forward is getting comfortable taking a front-and-center position in the fight against cancer.

Back on the basketball court 1½ years after being diagnosed with the disease, she wants others to find hope in her comeback story.

“A lot of people wouldn’t want to kind of put their business out there, probably, but I think it’s for a good cause,” Breland said Tuesday. “Every time I talk to someone about the cancer stuff, I can just tell that their spirits are uplifted — especially young kids.

“I get something back in return from it, because I experienced it,” she added.

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From Milton Kent: ‘Super Six’ Conferences Announce Women’s Basketball Series

The six Bowl Championship Series conferences, which happen to be the dominant leagues in women’s basketball, announced Wednesday a two year challenge series of games pitting 12 teams against each other.

The “Super Six” series begins this year and continues next year with two teams each from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Southeastern Conference and the Pac-10 competing during next month. One team from each league will host a game while the other league team will travel, with the matchups to be determined on the basis of perceived competitive balance.

Depending on the quality of the teams, could be a great way to develop twixt-conference rivalries.

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