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Four NCAA teams you should not root for on Friday

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With day one in the books, we’re really nowhere near our quota for drama  for the first first/second round of the NCAA Tournament. Hopefully there’s plenty more to come with an excellent Friday that sets us up for a fantastic slate of games on Sunday.

For that to happen, though, we’re going to need to get rid of the riff-raft.

Ugly, low-possession basketball is pervading the sport. So to limit our chances of seeing this type of play as the tournament goes on, let’s collectively root against some teams that play sometimes un-watchable basketball.

If you like fun, and teams that know how to keep a basketball game moving at an acceptable pace, then you’re going to want to the following four teams eliminated today.

  • Virginia –  Not only are the Cavaliers boring (second in the country in defensive points-per-possession and points -per-game) but they are the one true hurdle preventing Missouri and Florida – ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in KenPom.com’s adjusted offense efficiency – from squaring off against one another in the third-round of the NCAA Tournament. That would be fun to watch. No, actually it would be absolutely awesome to watch. With scoring slowing declining year-over-year in college hoops, fans deserve to be treated to what will likely be a high scoring, guard oriented game. Tony Bennett’s club had a nice season, an overachieving season, but they’re just not cool enough to keep partying at this dance. We don’t need a team that can hold a Drexel to just 35-points marching on into the weekend.
  • Alabama – As part of an up-and-down season, the Crimson Tide reached the 70-point mark only once in their last 12 games. That was against Arkansas, so it shouldn’t even really count. Offensive-minded fans don’t want to see this team advance, because not only would it mean that the win came over Creighton, it would mean that Doug McDermott probably had a bad game. Even worse, it would prevent us from Doug McDermott play again until November, and that’s simply not unfair. We need more than just one game of Doug McDermott.  The local media isn’t glossing over Alabama’s offensive inferences, but for some reason players aren’t that concerned, and head coach Anthony Grant says the team’s game against the BlueJays is about playing to strengths. I appreciate the positive thinking, but sometimes you gotta be able to keep up on the offensive end and the Crimson Tide have had problems doing just that.
  • South Florida – Whether or not you think this team deserved an NCAA Tournament berth, they’re a really nice story, but boy are they excruciating to watch. The Bulls breed more boring basketball than I know what to do with, and their fans have every right to call me out for that statement. Why? Well their approach works, as Stan Heath has gotten this program to their first tourney appearance in 20 years because of sound defense and a we-don’t-care-who-scores offense.  The third slowest team in the country, and ranked 326th in scoring, the Bulls don’t try and score more points than their opponent, they try to get their opponent to score less points than them. I wish this team the best, but will happily look for a different game when they’re on the tube.
  • Notre Dame – If my reaction to Notre Dame’s approach to basketball was a movable GIF, it would be this. Xavier may have slipped a bit in the rootabiltiy index as part of the fallout from the Crosstown Brawl but, ugh, do you really want the prodding Fighting Irish to advance?  Not only would we  be subjected to their gimmick offense for another game, but it would likely be against Duke! These are like the two most hated athletic programs in the country. The pretentiousness would be billowing out of our flat-screens! I’m already nauseous thinking about it. Oh man somebody get me a cool towel to damp my face.

Follow Nick Fasulo on Twitter @billyedelinSBN

Jennings becomes seventh player to transfer from Kentucky

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell watches his team during the team's regional semifinal in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament against Washington in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 25, 2016. Washington won 85-72. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that sophomore forward Alexis Jennings will transfer, the seventh Wildcat to leave the program since last fall.

Jennings’ departure comes a week after Mitchell publicly addressed the mass exodus of players and assistant coaches and stressed the need for building stability. Jennings figured to be part of that process and the coach said in a release Wednesday night that “it saddens us that Alexis did not see a path for her at Kentucky. … She felt it was in her best interest to finish her career elsewhere and we owe her that opportunity.”

The 6-foot-2 Jennings started 18 of 33 games last season and averaged 10 points and 7.1 rebounds.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.