Non-BCS schools inching closer to routine ‘upsets’

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Want to know the formula to how a non-BCS school pulls off that upset against a Big East, Big Ten or ACC school? Of course you do. So does every “mid-major” coach in the country.

Those coaches are working on it, though. Soon that blueprint will be easy to read and easier to execute. It’s just a matter of time.

“I think college basketball is getting to the point where mid-majors are beating Big East teams,” Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson told Kevin Duffy of the Connecticut Post. “I don’t think there’s a lot of room for moral victories anymore. I think these guys know that.”

That’s the opening to a solid story by Duffy, who details what schools like Wagner and Long Beach State have done this season to pull off upsets. (The obvious answer? Play Pitt.) But it went a little deeper than that, too, focusing on how teams make the transition from the “near upset” to ensuring those final few minutes don’t play out as we’ve become accustomed to.

Namely, where the big boys always win.

Wagner coach Dan Hurley says much of it relies on a team’s mental toughness and attitude. But Duffy notes that a team such as Long Beach State (or ’06 George Mason) is often filled with experienced, more physically developed players who can handle younger players, even if those younger players have more “talent.”

But in the end, it just comes down to making shots and keeping cool. It’s not easy, but it can be done.

“You get butterflies, but once you see that first basket drop, it all goes away, and it’s back to basketball,” LBSU forward T.J. Robinson told Duffy. “Because at the end of the day, we all just play basketball.”

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Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.