Myck Kabongo

Texas will be without Myck Kabongo and Jaylen Bond for Friday’s opener

Leave a comment

NCAA investigations can be a tough situation for both the player and the team for which they play, because there’s rarely a set timeframe in regards to the decision-making process.

The longer an investigation takes the more it becomes an undeclared suspension so to speak, with the player having to sit until the NCAA reaches a verdict (recall how long Renardo Sidney sat a couple years ago before the NCAA handed down a lengthy suspension).

Texas point guard Myck Kabongo finds himself in that spot, and it was reported that the sophomore would have to sit out the Longhorns’ season opener against Fresno State as a result of the NCAA continuing to look into his relationship with agent Rich Paul.

For a team with just two upperclassmen (seniors Andrew Dick and Dean Melchionni, who played in ten games combined last year) losing the player expected to lead the way is a tough blow heading into Friday’s opener.

And Kabongo won’t be the only player out of the lineup for Texas, as McComas also reported that sophomore forward Jaylen Bond is day-to-day with a sprained right ankle. Bond played in all 34 games for the Longhorns last season, starting five games and averaging 3.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

Losing Bond hurts but the loss of Kabongo is the bigger issue for Texas, especially when considering the fact that you never know how long an NCAA inquiry will take. Freshman Javan Felix is capable of running the show and he’ll be the one who gets the call tomorrow night, but the Longhorns can’t afford for Kabongo to miss an extended period of time.

You could have a spirited discussion over how the NCAA handles investigations, as well as whether or not a third party should handle the enforcement of rules.

But that won’t do Texas (or any other school in a similar situation) much good. All the Longhorns and their fans know for certain is that their point guard won’t play tomorrow night, and they don’t know when he’ll be back either.

Could that open the door for a young Fresno State team hoping to work towards being a formidable team in the Mountain West? Possibly.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej. 

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Some conference matchups play out before football

Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, left, reacts after scoring a basket against Utah during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Oregon defeated Utah 77-59. (AP Photo/George Frey)
(AP Photo/George Frey)
Leave a comment

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Utah at No. 16 Oregon, 4:00 p.m.

From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview:

Utah suffered one of the worst losses I’ve seen in a while on Thursday night, when Brandon Taylor, for some unknown reason, decided to foul an Oregon State player firing up a half court prayer at the buzzer. The Utes, who are arguably the second-best team in the Pac-12, will look to bounce-back on Sunday against the best team in the Pac-12, No. 16 Oregon at 4:00 p.m.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1. No. 12 SMU will attempt to stay atop the American standings as they travel to South Florida. While the Mustangs won the first matchup between these two teams at home by 14, they’ve dropped their last two games on the road.

2. A few more American contests are going down as East Carolina travels to UConn and Houston heads to Tulsa. The game between the Cougars and Golden Hurricane is especially interesting because both teams are sitting two games back of SMU and trying to make a move on the postseason.

3. No. 5 Iowa continues the soft part of the schedule as they face Illinois on the road. The Hawkeyes posted recent easy victories over Northwestern and Penn State and will be heavily favored again on Sunday.

4. Could be an intriguing game as No. 17 Miami travels to Georgia Tech. Although the Yellow Jackets aren’t a major contender in the ACC, they’ve been tough this season, especially at home. The Hurricanes fell victim to Georgia Tech last season while they were ranked by Marcus Georges-Hunt has to get back on track after a recent slump for that to happen.

5. There is an Atlantic 10 game that will be featured on NBCSN on Sunday: Saint Louis at St. Bonaventure (2:00 p.m.).

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Sunday afternoon.

Illinois State ends No. 21 Wichita State’s 12-game win streak

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
Leave a comment

Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.

In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.

And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.

Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.

And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.

This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.