Tony Woods and Oregon could be an ideal match. The one-time prized recruit gets a chance to start over at a school on a different coast, while the Ducks get a much-needed inside presence.
Neither is a sure thing. But it’s smart for both sides.
Woods made headlines last year when an alleged assault on his girlfriend landed him a suspension from the school. He eventually pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor assault and had to complete 100 hours of community service and an anger management program. He was granted a release from the program in October.
The experience was “humbling” as Woods moved to Louisville, worked for UPS and eventually settled on the Ducks. But expect him to deal with added scrutiny when he arrives in Oregon, at least until he proves there won’t be any off-court incidents.
As for on the court, Woods remains a tantalizing mix of size and skill.
The 6-11, 250-pound center wasn’t an impact player at Wake, but he’s not far removed from the player scouts saw as an mobile big man who had potential for growth. He’ll certainly get the chance to shine at Oregon. (He’ll be eligible to play immediately.)
The Ducks – coming off a 21-18 season – lost their main post presence in Joevean Catron. They bring in Louisiana Tech transfer Olu Ashaolu, but Woods is far bigger. Pairing those two with returning frontcourt players Jeremy Jacob and E.J. Singler (who really more of a wing) is a dream for coach Dana Altman, who also brings in 5-star recruit Jabari Brown.
But hey, it wouldn’t be Oregon if Altman didn’t have to fit a few pieces together of an odd puzzle.
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.
For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.
The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.
2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.
3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.
4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.
5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
- No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
- No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.
Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.
But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.
It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:
After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”: