Boeheim turns in another epic press conference

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New rule. Every Jim Boeheim press conference should be streamed live on the Internet.

Less than a week after letting loose regarding the Syracuse media coverage – video is here, text exchanges are here – the Orange coach was refreshingly candid following Monday’s 69-64 win at Villanova.

To be blunt, he could give a fig about playing “tough” games, whether they’re during the non-conference schedule or during Big East play.

Jonathan Tannewald from Soft Pretzel Logic got the good stuff down:

Reporter: You came up with an overtime win at home [against Rutgers on Saturday], and then a tough, tough game on the road here. Do games like this help you at this stage of the conference season?

Boeheim: I think that’s all [cow-based fertilizer], you know. All that stuff, it’s all [cow-based fertilizer]. We could play next week and get in the same game next week and lose. We could have ten of these in a row and win them, then get in a tournament and have one and you lose it. It’s all [cow-based fertilizer].

But that’s just for starters. The next exchange really made me laugh.

Reporter: Does this league toughen a team up or beat a team up?

Boeheim: I don’t know. That’s like that other question. You can’t – it’s not that it’s bad. It’s just that the whole thing about toughening a team up, I don’t think it hurts you. They see they can make a play. But it’s like schedules.

They say, play a tough non-league schedule and it will help you for the league. Georgetown had the toughest non-league schedule in our conference and what did they start out in our league? 1-4. We had a fairly easy one and we were 5-0.

Does that mean our schedule wasn’t tough enough? Or it took a little bit longer to kick in that it wasn’t tough enough? That’s all nonsense. It’s what kind of team you have. You play a fairly decent schedule, whatever it is. You could play 14 easy games and a couple tough ones just to see, and then you can start playing.

I mean, what happens the year you start out with a tough game? You didn’t have anything to get ready for. All that stuff is just, you know – it used to be that it wasn’t so bad because we just had you guys. Now you’ve got all these people doing this all the time. Now you’ve got eight million answers to one question that only needs one answer.

We’ve got a talk show guy in Syracuse who never comes to press conferences, and he says, “They don’t ever ever ask Boeheim the tough questions.” So I called him. On the air. I said, “Okay, ask me a tough one.”

[He said] “Well, what do you mean?” I said, “No, ask me a tough question. You know”

He said one week I took [Brandon] Triche out when he hit two shots. I said, “Well his back was bothering him, and he said he had to come out for a minute.”

[And the talk show host said] “Oh. I didn’t know that.”

[To which Boeheim replied] “No [fertilizer].”

[The talk show host then said] “But you know, I’m not a journalist.”

I said, “You didn’t have to tell me that. I already knew that.”

Questioner: I just thought I’d ask.

Was Boeheim over the top? Maybe. But give the guy credit for speaking his mind. The last thing the world needs is more boring coachspeak.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Drexel sets Division I record with 34-point comeback

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A Drexel basket brought the score to an innocuous 5-3 in the first two minutes of its game against Delaware. The next 38 minutes were a lot more interesting.

The Blue Hens went on a 48-16 run to take a 34-point first-half lead on the Blue Hens, only to cough it up as Dragons outscored them 66-30 the rest of the way to complete the largest comeback in Division I history in an 85-83 victory.

The 34-point comeback tops the previous record of 32 by Duke on Dec. 30, 1950. That’s more than 67 years ago, for those keep score at home.

Delaware had a win probability of at least 99 percent for about 11 minutes in the middle of the game, but still lost.

Drexel shot 56.8 percent from the floor and 53.8 percent from 3-point range after halftime and got 29 points from Tramaine Isabell.

After shooting 61 percent from the floor in the first half, Delaware connected at just a 37.9 percent clip after the break.

The great thing about college basketball is you can get a historic performance out of Drexel and Delaware on a random Thursday night. And it’s not even March.

Allonzo Trier ruled ineligible by NCAA; Arizona appealing

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Arizona junior guard Allonzo Trier has been declared ineligible by the NCAA due to a second positive test for a banned substance, it was announced Thursday. The school is appealing the decision, claiming the positive test was leftover from of a substance that was found in Trier’s system in 2016.

Trier was tested in late January and the test “revealed the reappearance of a trace amount of a banned substance,” Arizona said in a statement. “The amount detected was miniscule by scientific standards and appears to be a remnant of a substance, which the NCAA agreed, Allonzo had unknowingly taken in 2016.

“The University is appealing the decision and is hopefully that Allonzo will regain his eligibility soon.”

This is a potential massive blow for a Wildcats team that began the season as one of the top national championship contenders, but has spent much of this season dealing with disappointment and distraction, from their part in the FBI corruption investigation to inconsistency on the floor and now this regarding one of its top players.

Trier is averaging 19.6 points and shooting 54.1 percent from the floor, including 43 percent from the 3-point range.

The Wildcats play at Oregon State tonight and at Oregon Saturday before finishing the regular season at home against Stanford and Cal.

Attention will now turn to the NCAA appeals process – how quickly can it move and what determination will it make? Trier’s status will impact one of the most talented teams in the country, which by extension means it will impact the national championship race next month.

For a team that’s been in the center of controversy all season, and somehow has added another layer to a wild season.

Bubble Banter: Will the Pac-12’s bubble picture gain some clarity?

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As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Thursday.

It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:

  • Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus

The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.

YET TO PLAY

WASHINGTON
UCLA
UTAH

Duke’s Bolden undergoes surgery to repair nasal bone

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Duke sophomore Marques Bolden underwent surgery Thursday to repair a fractured nasal bone, the school announced.

Bolden is not expected to miss any time for the Blue Devils, who host Syracuse on Saturday.

The 6-foot-11 forward is averaging 4.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in 13.1 minutes per night. Bolden has already missed time this season with a knee injury and has recently been playing through the pain of his fractured nose.

A five-star prospect coming out of Texas in the Class of 2016, Bolden hasn’t been a major presence for the Blue Devils the last two years, but has given Blue Devils good minutes since returning from that knee injury over the last month.

After hosting Syracuse this weekend, Duke, which is 23-5 overall and 11-4 in the ACC, plays at Virginia Tech and then welcomes North Carolina to Durham to finish off the regular season.

Michael Porter, Jr. cleared to return to basketball activities

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Missouri may be adding a lottery pick to its roster for the stretch run.

Michael Porter, Jr., who began the year projected as a potential No. 1 overall NBA draft pick, has been medically cleared to return to basketball activities after missing the entire season with a back injury, a source confirmed to NBC Sports.

CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein was the first to report the news.

The 6-foot-11 freshman played the opening minutes of the Tigers’ opening game against Iowa State to start the year, but has been sidelined ever since. It is currently unclear if he’ll move from being cleared to play to actually hitting the floor for the Tigers.

It seemed unlikely that Porter would ever play college basketball because of the injury, but throughout the season he has never ruled out the possibility. Now that he has reportedly been cleared to play, the question undoubtedly will become should he?

Even without playing another second of college hoops, Porter will be a top pick in June’s draft. Some teams may even consider him for the top pick, if his health screenings check out, just based on workouts and the track record of his dominating play on the AAU circuit for years.

Still, if he’s healthy enough to play and wants to play, it’s unquestionable that it is a decision that is completely his. And it would make Missouri one heck of an interesting team.

The Tigers are 18-10 overall and 8-7 and appeared poised to make the NCAA tournament in coach Cuonzo Martin’s first year in Columbia. For their next game, they play – of course they do – Kentucky on Saturday. Talk about added intrigue for that game.