Arizona, Arizona St. amping things up

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College basketball is alive and well in the state of Arizona.

Thanks to three-straight 20-win seasons, Herb Sendek’s managed to make Arizona State hoops relevant. Arizona hasn’t fallen off the map in the post-Lute Olsen era thanks to Sean Miller’s recruiting efforts and coaching acumen. And everything’s only going to get better.

This Arizona Republic story says that thanks to the state’s improving high school players and the relative excellence and competitiveness between the schools that enthusiasm for college hoops is at a level it hasn’t been in years.

Wells Fargo Arena was stuffed with 14,305 fans, its largest crowd in 14 years. Arizona and Arizona State both were ranked in the top 15 for the first time in two decades. The score was tied at halftime before the Sun Devils pulled out a one-point victory.

It was Jan. 5, 1995, a time when college basketball was relevant in all pockets of the state.

Hallelujah. It’s happening again.

Sure, ASU has won six of the past seven games against Arizona. But Miller’s stocking the roster with talent, just like he did at Xavier. Sendek can’t expect his in-state victories to continue, which is a good thing. It creates quite the fan atmosphere – which fosters its own competition.

As Jeff Eisenberg recounts, Arizona fans pranked ASU thanks to some savvy web work. If you type www.sundevils.com into your browser, it’ll re-direct you to Arizona’s official athletic website. Not that ASU’s happy about it. From Eisenberg:

Nobody has come forward to take responsibility for this prank, but it’s probably safe to assume a group of clever Arizona students are behind this one. A look at the domain history of www.sundevils.com shows that an anonymous individual owns the URL and updated the site on Aug. 5.

A rivalry prank like this one might seem like harmless fun, but Arizona State officials apparently aren’t taking this lightly. According to the Arizona Republic, the university is exploring all legal options since this was done without its permission.

Like I said, college hoops is alive and well in Arizona. Would people care as much if it wasn’t?

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.

No. 13 Iowa State suspends Jameel McKay indefinitely

Iowa State forward Georges Niang, forward Jameel McKay, forward Abdel Nader and guard Deonte Burton celebrate after center Stuart Nezlek scored late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Coppin State, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 104-84 (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
AP Photo/Justin Hayworth
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Already lacking depth, No. 13 Iowa State will be short a key contributor Saturday when they take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

Friday night it was announced that senior forward Jameel McKay has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Steve Prohm and did not make the trip with the team. McKay, who’s been dealing with knee issues recently, is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game on the season.

Over the last six games he’s averaging 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest, shooting 60.6 percent from the field.

McKay has been asked to man the middle for a team lacking in both size and depth, with Georges Niang shifting over to the five when McKay needs a break for either rest or foul trouble reasons. Without McKay even more responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Niang, Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton in the front court.

The Cyclones are looking to end a two-game losing streak, and even with Oklahoma State’s struggles accomplishing that gets tougher with McKay out of the lineup.

News of McKay’s suspension was first reported by the Ames Tribune.

UNLV dismisses guard Daquan Cook from team

Illinois v UNLV
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LAS VEGAS (AP) UNLV junior guard Daquan Cook has been dismissed from the team.

Interim coach Todd Simon made the announcement on Friday, though no reason was given.

Cook was suspended for 13 games by previous coach Dave Rice in November after being arrested and charged with DUI.

Cook appeared in two games this season after being reinstated, scoring three points in four minutes. He missed the 2014-15 season after tearing his right ACL and played 28 games as a sophomore.