Cincinnati got some good news on Monday.
Seven-footer David Nyarsuk was not only cleared to be eligible immediately, he was already attending classes on campus. As a sophomore at Mountain State, an NAIA school in West Virginia, Nyarsuk averaged 9.8 points, 8.0 boards and 2.9 blocks last season.
“He immediately gives us depth,” coach Mick Cronin told Sporting News. “If he was a junior college player, he’d have been the No. 1 player in the country. He’s a center who can block shots and finish around the rim. He’s not a great back-to-the basket player, but that’s really not a part of what we’re doing anyway. He fits in as a shot-blocker and a dunker, and he’s got a great attitude. He really can run for a guy his size.”
Nyarsuk’s path to Cincinnati has been winding. He originally committed to West Virginia back in 2009, but he never qualified academically. Part of the reason that Nyarsuk had some question marks heading into this season at Cincinnati was that Mountain State had lost their accreditation.
Nyarsuk will add depth to an already strong Bearcat front line: Justin Jackson, Cheikh Mbodj, Jermaine Sanders and Kelvin Gaines are all back for another season, while Shaquille Thomas will be eligible this season along with JuCo transfer Titus Rubles.
That’s a great sign, especially when you consider that the back court will be Cincy’s strength this year, as Cashmere Wright, Sean Kilpatrick and JaQuan Parker all return.
Those will be some fun practices to watch next season.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.
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”: