UConn and Central Florida may not be eligible for the postseason, but it appears neither program will lie down and roll over for opponents this year.
The Huskies served notice on Friday, downing a ranked Michigan State squad in a marquee matchup at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The Knights and Bulls met in a slightly less exotic environment, on the USF campus in Tampa. The two will become regular foes in the Big East in the very near future, but this was an interesting taste of what lies ahead, as the Knights won handily, 74-56.
The USF Bulls are nominally the stronger team, though that perception may have been fueled by the postseason ban facing the Knights. UCF trotted out an experienced roster in front of a home crowd, led by junior guard Isaiah Sykes, who put up 26 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and dished out eight assists. Forward Keith Clanton chipped in 16, Virginia transfer Tristan Spurlock had 14, and Kasey Wilson joined the double-figure parade as well, adding 13. The Bulls had only one player in double figures: senior guard Jawanza Poland, who led all scorers with 22.
Both teams exposed potential weaknesses in the in-state rivalry game. Central Florida got only two points from the bench, which won’t fly all year long. South Florida showed an astonishing weakness on the interior, where Victor Rudd, Toarlyn Fitzpatrick and Kore White are expected to flourish.
It’s early, but the Knights are letting America know that, post-season or no, they plan to show up.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.
Ohio State stayed hot on the recruiting trail on Wednesday as the Buckeyes landed a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Duane Washington.
The 6-foot-3 Washington is the second commitment for Ohio State and new head coach Chris Holtmann in the last two days after four-star forward Jaedon LeDee pledged to the Buckeyes on Tuesday.
One of the better shooters in the Class of 2018, Washington averaged 14.9 points per game on tremendous shooting splits (48% FG, 87% FT, 45% 3PT) playing with The Family in the Nike EYBL this spring. A Michigan native who now resides in California, Washington gives Ohio State a much-needed guard commitment in the Class of 2018.
With the Buckeyes needing to fill a lot of scholarships due to roster turnover, Washington is a solid start to their perimeter class. While Washington isn’t likely to play point guard, he can play multiple perimeter spots and should be a solid addition to the Buckeye rotation.
Dominick Parker, an 18-year old freshman who was added to the Syracuse roster as a walk-on just 12 days ago, was arrested last Friday and charged with sexual abuse in the first degree, reports Syracuse.com.
Parker is accused of having sexual contact with an 18-year old female student while she was incapable of giving consent. His name and picture have been removed from the Syracuse athletics website.
“Sexual and relationship violence is not tolerated at Syracuse University,” the school said in a statement. “We are now doing all that we can to support and provide assistance to those affected by the alleged incident. As this is an ongoing investigation, Syracuse University will not be providing further comment.”
As if it wasn’t already hard enough to win games at Koch Arena.
Starting this season, Wichita State fans will be able to buy beer during games at their home arena, a fact that should ensure that the raucous home environs that have made the Shockers so difficult to beat in Wichita remains the same.
That’s not a bad thing to add to a home court advantage while making the move into a new conference, the American, for the 2017-18 season.
Once a rarity, beer at college sporting events in a growing trend. Minnesota, Florida and Texas, among a number of others have added alcohol sales in recent years. Given the money that would seem likely to be generated, it’s a trend that will probably become even more pervasive in college athletics.
Let’s just make sure that everyone partakes in moderation.
Blue Ribbon, the college basketball bible, has released their top 25 and preseason all-american awards, the first publication to do so as far as I know.
Their top five — Arizona, Michigan State, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky — contains the same teams as my top five will, only in a different order. The only crazy ranking that I see in their top 25 comes with Miami checking in at No. 16. I have a feeling they are going to end up regretting that by the end of the season.
What is somewhat crazy, however, is Blue Ribbon’s all-american teams.
Bonzie Colson is their Preseason National Player of the Year. That’s not my pick, but it’s justifiable. But having Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american? Angel Delgado as a fourth-team preseason all-american? I disagree with both of those picks.
But that will all play out during the season.
And, frankly, I haven’t exactly had the best track record predicting all-americans in recent years, not after I opted to rate Skal Labissiere as a first-team preseason all-american over Buddy Hield.
That was a miss.
It happens to the best of us.
But I feel pretty comfortable saying that Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american will end up being a miss.
With Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas entering their senior seasons, adding front court options in the 2018 class was something that Purdue needed to do. Purdue added its second front court commitment in the 2018 class Tuesday evening, as four-star center Emmanuel Dowuona reportedly made his pledge. News of Dowuona’s commitment was first reported by the Lafayette Journal & Courier.
Dowuona, a 6-foot-11 big man who attends Westwood Christian School in Miami, joins fellow four-star prospect Trevion Williams in Purdue’s 2018 class to date.
Dowuona’s commitment comes just days before he was reportedly to visit Tennessee. Among the other programs to have offered Duwuona were Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami and UConn.
Dowuona played for the Team Breakdown program on the Under Armour Association circuit during the summer, averaging 7.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 59.3 percent from the field. While still a bit raw offensively, the native of Ghana provides value as a defender and rebounder. Dowuona is joining a program that during Painter’s tenure as head coach has done a good job of developing big men.
Dowuona and the aforementioned Williams will look to compete for playing time in 2018-19 alongside current redshirt junior Jacquil Taylor and 7-foot-3 redshirt freshman center Matt Haarms.