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Thursday, April 12, 2012

2012 NHL Playoff Schedule - Meyer defends his time at Florida - UCLA Lands Nations Top Recruit

UCLA Lands Nations Top Recruit
Wednesday was quite a day for Shabazz Muhammad.

The 6-foot-6 senior shooting guard from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman started his day by being named the top player in the final Rivals150 for the class of 2012. Muhammad finished it by announcing his decision to attend UCLA for what will most likely be his one year of college basketball.
While Ben Howland's Bruins had been the favorites to land the powerful scorer, neither Howland nor Bruin fans could celebrate until Muhammad went on ESPNU and made things official on Wednesday night.
Shabazz Muhammad chose UCLA over Duke and Kentucky.
"It was down to Kentucky, Duke and UCLA and I chose to be a Bruin," Muhammad said during a televised appearance on ESPNU. "I'll be at UCLA next year."
According to Muhammad, he felt the most comfortable with the UCLA staff and was intrigued by the challenge of helping to bring the Bruins back to national prominence.
"I just think it's a challenge," Muhammad said. "Knowing how bad they were these last two years, it's a challenge to really get them back up to the top knowing they are the leaders in all-time championships with 11."
The commitment of the nation's top player should go a long way to helping ease the sting of recent negative publicity for the UCLA program. The Bruins have missed the NCAA tournament, watched players come and go either due to dismissal or early entry to the NBA Draft, and been the subject of a not-so-flattering look behind the scenes of the program courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
But the Muhammad commitment isn't about easing the sting of a few rough years. It's all about helping one of college basketball's bluebloods accelerate a return to prominence.
Not only do the Bruins have the nation's top player coming next year, they also have the nation's third-best player in Kyle Anderson and the No. 62 overall player, Jordan Adams, joining them. The trio will mix with a solid group of veterans and add serious perimeter firepower to a team that will not lack for interior options.
Anderson may benefit the most from the addition of Muhammad. A product of Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony, Anderson is one of the most dynamic and unique playmakers to head to the college level since Jalen Rose went to Michigan. With near 6-foot-9 size, Anderson is capable of playing anywhere on the floor from the point to the power forward. With a scorer such as Muhammad on board - someone who commands the respect of the defense on all three levels of the offensive end of the floor - Anderson is free to roam and make plays, knowing that he has options on the interior and the perimeter.
"Kyle Anderson is a great addition to that program with Jordan Adams," said Muhammad. "Hopefully Tony Parker will come and there's a lot of bits and pieces with that team that could make it a great team in the future."
Though the UCLA class is only at three players total, the fact that the Bruins have two of the nation's top three players gives them a recruiting class that is least among the nation's top three and will challenge for the overall top spot when team rankings are updated on Friday.

2012 NHL Playoff Schedule
Eastern Conference
First Round

(1) New York
(8) Ottawa Game 1: Ottawa at N.Y. Rangers, 4/12, 7 p.m., NHL Network
Game 2: Ottawa at N.Y. Rangers, 4/14, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 3: N.Y. Rangers at Ottawa, 4/16, 7:30 p.m., CNBC
Game 4: N.Y. Rangers at Ottawa, 4/18, 7:30 p.m., CNBC
Game 5*: Ottawa at N.Y. Rangers, 4/21, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 6*: N.Y. Rangers at Ottawa, 4/23, TBD
Game 7*: Ottawa at N.Y. Rangers, 4/26, TBD

(2) Boston
(7) Washington Game 1: Washington at Boston, 4/12, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 2: Washington at Boston, 4/14, 3 p.m., NBC
Game 3: Boston at Washington, 4/16, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 4: Boston at Washington, 4/19, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 5*: Washington at Boston, 4/21, 3 p.m., NBC
Game 6*: Boston at Washington, 4/22, TBD
Game 7*: Washington at Boston, 4/25, TBD

(3) Florida
(6) New Jersey Game 1: New Jersey at Florida, 4/13, 7 p.m., NHL Network
Game 2: New Jersey at Florida, 4/15, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 3: Florida at New Jersey, 4/17, 7 p.m., NHL Network
Game 4: Florida at New Jersey, 4/19, 7 p.m., NHL Network
Game 5*: New Jersey at Florida, 4/21, 6:30 p.m., NHL Network
Game 6*: Florida at New Jersey, 4/24, TBD
Game 7*: New Jersey at Florida, 4/26, TBD

Flyers lead 1-0
(4) Pittsburgh
(5) Philadelphia
Game 1: Philadelphia 4, Pittsburgh 3 (OT) | RECAP | BOX | HIGHLIGHTS
Game 2: Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, 4/13, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 3: Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, 4/15, 3 p.m., NBC
Game 4: Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, 4/18, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 5*: Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, 4/20, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 6*: Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, 4/22, TBD
Game 7*: Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, 4/24, TBD

Western Conference
First Round

Kings lead series 1-0
(1) Vancouver
(8) Los Angeles Game 1: Los Angeles 4, Vancouver 2 | RECAP | BOX | HIGHLIGHTS
Game 2: Los Angeles at Vancouver, 4/13, 10 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 3: Vancouver at Los Angeles, 4/15, 10:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 4: Vancouver at Los Angeles, 4/18, 10 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 5*: Los Angeles at Vancouver, 4/22, TBD
Game 6*: Vancouver at Los Angeles, 4/24, TBD
Game 7*: Los Angeles at Vancouver, 4/26, TBD

(2) St. Louis
(7) San Jose Game 1: San Jose at St. Louis, 4/12, 7:30 p.m., CNBC
Game 2: San Jose at St. Louis, 4/14, 7:30 p.m., CNBC
Game 3: St. Louis at San Jose, 4/16, 10 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 4: St. Louis at San Jose, 4/19, 10:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 5*: San Jose at St. Louis, 4/21, 7:30 p.m., CNBC
Game 6*: St. Louis at San Jose, 4/23, TBD
Game 7*: San Jose at St. Louis, 4/25, TBD

(3) Phoenix
(6) Chicago Game 1: Chicago at Phoenix, 4/12, 10 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 2: Chicago at Phoenix, 4/14, 10 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 3: Phoenix at Chicago, 4/17, 9 p.m., CNBC
Game 4: Phoenix at Chicago, 4/19, 8 p.m., CNBC
Game 5*: Chicago at Phoenix, 4/21, 10 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 6*: Phoenix at Chicago, 4/23, TBD
Game 7*: Chicago at Phoenix, 4/25, TBD

Predators lead 1-0
(4) Nashville
(5) Detroit Game 1: Nashville 3, Detroit 2 | RECAP | BOX | HIGHLIGHTS
Game 2: Detroit at Nashville, 4/13, 7:30 p.m., CNBC
Game 3: Nashville at Detroit, 4/15, 3 p.m., NBC
Game 4: Nashville at Detroit, 4/17, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Game 5*: Detroit at Nashville, 4/20, 7:30 p.m., CNBC
Game 6*: Nashville at Detroit, 4/22, TBD
Game 7*: Detroit at Nashville, 4/24, TBD

Ohio State's Meyer defends his time at Florida

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- In his first speaking engagement with his Big Ten coaching peers, new Ohio State coach Urban Meyer had to defend what he did in his last coaching job.
Meyer said he was disappointed by a story this week in the Sporting News which said he showed favoritism to star players during his six-year tenure at Florida and that his Gators program winked at disciplinary problems.
"When you start saying preferential treatment to players, that's probably a correct statement. We did do that. We do that here. We did it at Bowling Green and Utah," said Meyer, mentioning his previous coaching stops while speaking Wednesday on the Big Ten coaches spring teleconference. "If you go to class, you're a warrior, you do things the right way off and on the field, and you're completely committed to helping us win, you're going to get treated really good."
Meyer bristled at the inference by former players, some identified and some not, who said that there was a different set of rules for star players such as wide receiver Percy Harvin.
"I'm extremely proud of what we did down there. And throwing great players - not good players, great players - under the bus like that, I don't get the intent," he said. "I'll fight for those guys, man. Those guys did a lot of great things for the University of Florida. And to sit there and call them out four or five years later, I'm not sure of the intent, once again.
"But I'll always fight for those guys."
Meyer won two national championships at Florida but twice left the program, each time citing health issues. He retired after the 2010 season, then later took a job as a college football analyst with ESPN for a year. He was hired last November to pick up the pieces of an Ohio State program which has suffered through player suspensions and departures, NCAA sanctions and the forced resignation of coach Jim Tressel due to a memorabilia-for-money scandal.
The Buckeyes, who were 6-7 a year ago and lost their last four games including, ironically, the Gator Bowl to Florida, are on NCAA probation and have been banned from playing in a bowl game after the 2012 season.
Meyer said he had talked to several former Florida players and coaches who were upset by the Sporting News story.
The story cited multiple sources who confirmed that during the 2008 season Harvin, now a member of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, physically attacked Florida wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales, grabbing him by the neck and throwing him to the ground. It said that after Harvin was pulled off Gonzales by two assistant coaches, he was never disciplined.
Gonzales, now an offensive coordinator at Illinois, issued a statement earlier on Wednesday.
"In response to a recent story alleging an incident between Percy Harvin and me and while at Florida, the story is inaccurate," he said in the statement. "It didn't happen."
Meyer said he and his staff met or exceeded all standards in terms of graduation rate, wins, abiding by NCAA rules and recruiting quality players.
The story had said there was a "circle of trust" which enabled and pandered to elite players. Meyer denied it on Wednesday.
Asked if he disagreed in particular with a certain contention in the story, Meyer said, "Oh, more than one."
He seemed particularly upset by the inference that he and his staff had flaunted NCAA bylaws.
"I want to say this real clear: There is no violation that we had as far as that whole conversation," Meyer said. "I'm not sure why that keeps coming up. So, if you would bold that for me, underline it - there is not an NCAA violation."
Since taking the Ohio State job, Meyer has bumped heads with several Big Ten coaches - principally Wisconsin's Bret Bielema - over the recruiting of players who have already verbally committed to other Division I programs. But Bielema has said that was a misunderstanding which has been corrected.

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