When No. 13 UCLA opened the renovated Pauley Pavilion – after 18-months and spending $132 million – the star freshman performance was expected to be from shooting guard Shabazz Muhammad
Instead, Muhammad was ruled ineligible before the game. Luckily, freshman guard Jordan Adams came off the bench to drop a game-high 21 points off 7-of-12 shooting, to go along with eight boards.
The Shabazz Muhammad-less Bruins were able to pull away from Indiana State in the second half to take the first game of the season 86-59
Adams provided a much-needed spark in a slow starting game. The Bruins were able to walk into halftime with a 36-27 lead, aided by an 8-0 run.
The second half is when UCLA got going. The Bruins ended the night with a 23-7 run.
There’s a lot of good and bad that comes from this game:
The good – UCLA won a game without Shabazz Muhammad. Not saying that they won’t need them, they will. But UCLA showed why the freshman class is so highly-touted with solid debuts from Adams and point forward Kyle Anderson.
David and Travis Wear combined for 3o points (13 for David, 17 for Travis). Both bigs were able to knock down mid-range jumpers and remained active and pick-and-roll/pop situations. Fellow North Carolina transfer, Larry Drew played well. He didn’t score the ball, but he had five assists to one turnover. Drew dislocated his finger in the second half, but will be fine, according to multiple reports.
The Bruins also held the Sycamores to a dreadful 31 percent shooting.
The bad – Not having Muhammad clearly tops this list. Josh Smith’s size still remains a question, finishing with five points and five rebounds.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne
The Big South is moving its 2016 men’s basketball tournament out of Coastal Carolina and a new site will be figured out by November. According to a release from the conference the Big South is using a league bylaw that stipulates that members leaving with less than two years of notice are not eligible to host championships. Coastal Carolina announced this summer that it would be leaving for the Sun Belt as of July 2016, so the Big South wants to find a new location that benefits teams staying in the league.
The Big South men’s and women’s conference tournaments are now also going to be split into two unique events, with the men’s championships being held Thursday-Sunday, March 3-6. The women’s event comes the next week from March 10-13. Bids for both events will come into the league and a new location will be selected in the next few months.
It will be interesting to see if the site of the conference tournament is moved to a campus site or placed at a neutral venue. That type of thing could alter how the NCAA tournament autobid gets played out. With Coastal Carolina coming off of back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, this obviously changes their approach to the postseason now that they have to leave their city.
Virginia Tech is trying to decide what to do with injury sophomore guard Ahmed Hill, who had surgery this summer to deal with a tear in his patella tendon in his left knee.
The 6-foot-5 Hill has still not been released to work out with the team, but he is about a week to 10 days ahead of schedule in his rehab. But the injury is still nagging enough that Hill might not be healthy enough to really contritbute this season. Head coach Buzz Williams is deciding soon whether he wants to redshirt Hill or not.
Hill started a team-high 30 games for the Hokies last season, averaging 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
“I don’t have a decision on (Hill),” Williams said to reporters on Monday. “I will make the final decision. I’ll let (him) and his mom be a part of it, but I want to make a decision using the wisdom of doing this for a long period of time. If you let a kid make the decision, they always want to play.
“Right now, I don’t feel comfortable that I would want to play him. It’s just too early to be able to have much more of an answer than that.”
It’s still a rebuilding year for Virginia Tech, but they do get Maryland transfer Seth Allen, who is a talented guard who can score. The Hokies were hoping to have Hill and Allen as complimentary perimeter scorers, but now the plans might have to be altered. Williams went on to say that he would like to make a decision on Hill’s status by Halloween.