Late-Night Snacks: No BCS chaos over here

Leave a comment

Games of the Day

1. Florida State 73, Saint Joseph’s 66  Carl Jones made his return for the Hawks but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Seminoles from winning the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn. Terrence Shannon went for 15 points and ten rebounds, with 11 of his points coming in the final 13:45, to lead Florida State.

2. Nevada 71, Green Bay 69  – A Deonte Burton three-pointer with 1.3 seconds remaining in overtime pushed the Wolf Pack past Green Bay in Reno. Burton, who now has exactly 1,000 points for his career, led Nevada with 19 points. Alec Brown, whose three gave Green Bay a 69-68 lead with 11 seconds to go, was one of four Phoenix to reach double figures.

3. Pittsburgh 72, Oakland 62 (OT)  – Oakland led by as many as 18 points in regulation but they couldn’t hold off the hard-charging Panthers, who forced overtime and then took over in the extra session. J.J. Moore scored 16 points to lead Pittsburgh, which remained undefeated ahead of its meeting with No. 5 Michigan in the Preseason NIT semis on Wednesday.

Important Outcomes

1. No. 20 Notre Dame 78, BYU 68 – Someone was leaving the Barclays Center with two losses, and the Fighting Irish made sure it wasn’t them. Jack Cooley posted a double-double (19 points, 13 rebounds) and Jerian Grant added 19 and five assists to lead Notre Dame.

2. Washington 84, Seton Hall 73 (OT) – The Huskies nearly blew this one in regulation but key three-pointers in overtime from Scott Suggs (he hit two) and Andrew Andrews provided the boost the Huskies needed. Lorenzo Romar’s squad gets No. 4 Ohio State on Sunday, and that’s an opportunity for a big non-conference win for a team that missed the NCAA tournament due to a meager non-conference resume.

3. No. 25 San Diego State 60, Missouri State 44 – It wasn’t pretty but the Aztecs found a way to leave JQH Arena with a non-conference road victory. Jamaal Franklin tallied 22 points and 13 rebounds as SDSU survived shooting 32.2% from the field and 4-of-18 from three.

Starred

1. G Josh Greene (Cal State Northridge) – Greene was a major factor in the Matadors’ 92-76 win over Tulsa, accounting for 28 points, seven assists and five steals. Northridge is now 5-0 for the first time since the 1981-82 season, when they won their first nine games to start the season.

2. G Sean Armand (Iona) – Iona beat Wake Forest like they stole something in the consolation bracket of the Paradise Jam and the sharpshooting Armand was a big reason why. Armand shot 10-of-14 from the field (7-0f-10 3PT), scoring 28 points to go along with six assists and five rebounds.

3. G D.J. Seeley (Cal State Fullerton) – 32 points (10-of-13 FG), seven assists and seven steals in the Titans’ 112-69 whipping of Southern Utah.

Struggled

1. Wake Forest – Losing a game 94-68 as the Demon Deacons did is bad. But did you know that Wake Forest at one point trailed 41-5?

2. G Sterling Carter and F Clarence Trent (Seattle) – You can’t place all of the blame on these two for the Redhawks’ 83-43 loss at Virginia, but they combined to shoot 4-of-20 from the field and commit ten turnovers.

3. Players other than Daniel Mullings and Tyrone Watson (New Mexico State) – Those two combined to shoot 11-of-27 in the Aggies’ 62-49 loss to Bucknell. The rest of the team: 3-of-21.

Three Facts 

1. SMU wins again – SMU is now 3-0 thanks to a 78-75 win at Texas State. Nick Russell (25 points) and Jalen Jones (24) led the way for Larry Brown’s squad, and this is the first time in 12 years that SMU has started a season 3-0.

2. Eastern Kentucky 3-0 for first time since 2004-05 – The Colonels moved to 3-0 for the first time since the 2004-05 season with a 71-69 win over Towson. Deverin Muff made four free throws in the final 26 seconds to seal the victory.

3. Chris Fouch goes down – The negative that came out of Drexel’s 61-59 win over Penn was the ankle injury suffered by shooting guard Chris Fouch. No word as to how long he’ll be out of the lineup, but the Dragons can’t afford to be without him for too long.

Other Notable Outcomes

1. No. 17 Memphis 65, Samford 54It wasn’t pretty but the Tigers’ work at the foul line down the stretch locked up the win. But while Samford wanted to play at a deliberate pace, Memphis’ next opponent (VCU) will do anything but.

2. Montana 66, Idaho 63 – Montana trailed by as many as 15 in the second half but stormed back with a 24-7 run to take a 59-57 lead with 4:12 remaining.

3. No. 4 Ohio State 69, Rhode Island 58 – Deshaun Thomas led the Buckeyes with 25 points and ten rebounds, and while Dan Hurley’s Rams fell better days lie ahead for Rhody.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Syracuse’s Tyus Battle to test NBA draft waters

Abbie Parr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Syracuse announced on Friday afternoon that sophomore guard Tyus Battle will be declaring for the NBA draft without signing with an agent, giving him until the NCAA’s May 30th deadline to withdraw from contention and return to school.

Battle averaged 19.2 points as a sophomore for the Orange, who made a surprising run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

He is a projected late-first round or early-second round pick given his size, shooting ability and skill with the ball in his hands.

Losing Battle would be a massive blow to a Syracuse team that is already going to be without Matthew Moyer, who transferred out of the program, and Dareus Bazley, who is heading to the G League instead of enrolling in college.

Maryland’s Kevin Huerter declares for NBA draft, won’t hire agent

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
1 Comment

Maryland wing Kevin Huerter announced on Friday afternoon that he will be declaring for the NBA draft without hiring an agent, giving him the option of returning to school by May 30th.

“This will be a great experience for Kevin to get honest feedback from NBA teams and executives,” said head coach Mark Turgeon. “Taking advantage of this opportunity will allow Kevin and his family to make an informed decision about his future.”

Huerter is a 6-foot-7 wing known for his ability to shoot from the perimeter. He averaged 14.8 points and shot 42 percent from three as a sophomore.

He is also the third player from Maryland to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft. Justin Jackson, a borderline first round pick who missed time last season with a shoulder injury, has signed with an agent while Bruno Fernando is testing the waters. Maryland, who has an excellent recruiting class coming in, will be a preseason top 20 team if Huerter and Fernando both return to school.

Huerter is a borderline first round pick.

Michigan’s Charles Matthews to test NBA draft waters

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Michigan guard Charles Matthews announced on Friday that he will be declaring for the NBA draft, but that he does not intend to sign with an agent, meaning he has until May 30th to withdraw from the draft and return to school.

“After careful consideration with my parents and coaching staff, I am excited to announce that I will be declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft without hiring an agent,” said Matthews. “I give thanks to the Lord for this amazing opportunity, as well as the entire University of Michigan for their support. Go Blue!”

Matthews, a redshirt sophomore that averaged 13.0 points and 5.5 boards for the national runners-up, was a four-star prospect coming out of Chicago and spent his freshman season at Kentucky.

Matthews is a likely second round pick with the potential to climb into the first round should he prove to be a more consistent three-point shooter. He shot just 31.8 percent from beyond the arc this past season.

Virginia’s Hunter to return to school for sophomore season

Eric Espada/Getty Images
Leave a comment

De’Andre Hunter announced on Friday afternoon that he will not be entering his name into the NBA draft and will return to Virginia for his redshirt sophomore season, a decision that will have as much of an impact on the 2018-19 college basketball season as any that is made this spring.

Hunter, now a potential top ten pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, was one of the breakout stars of the 2017-18 season. A 6-foot-7 combo-forward with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Hunter averaged 9.2 points and 3.5 boards while shooting 38.2 percent from three in just under 20 minutes a night for a Virginia team whose pace severely limits the kind of numbers a player like him can put up.

Throw in his ability to defend on the perimeter and in the paint, and Hunter is precisely the kind of player that NBA teams are looking to land as basketball becomes more and more built on positional versatility and the ability to space the floor.

And it’s that versatility that will make Hunter so important for the Cavaliers next season.

Let’s go beyond the simple fact that he is going to be the only guy on the Virginia roster that can create his own shot against length and athleticism and that there is a chance that he could end up being an all-american next season if things play out the right way. What makes Hunter so important to Virginia his that his defensive versatility is what allows Virginia to matchup with teams that want to try and play small-ball against them.

That’s precisely what UMBC did in the first round of the NCAA tournament, a game that Hunter missed with a broken wrist. We all know how that played out, and I’m not even dumb enough to pin all the blame of a 20-point loss to a No. 16 seed on a guy that played less than 20 minutes a night.

Virginia choked once they realized that there was a chance this could happen, but I would argue that a major reason they couldn’t ever truly assert their dominance was because they were unable to matchup with UMBC’s four-guard lineup without Hunter.

With Hunter back, Virginia is the No. 6 team in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25. If he had declared for the draft and signed with an agent, I’m not sure I would have had the Wahoos in the top 20.

He takes Tony Bennett’s club from simply being good to once against being a contender for the ACC regular season title.

Vanderbilt the sixth Kentucky player declares for the NBA draft

Michael Reaves/Getty Images
1 Comment

Jarred Vanderbilt is now the sixth Kentucky Wildcat to declare for the NBA draft this spring, joining P.J. Washington and Wenyen Gabriel in testing the waters without signing with an agent.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo have all declared for the draft and signed with an agent.

Vanderbilt announced his decision on Friday afternoon.

“This season wasn’t easy for me,” Vanderbilt said. “At the end of the day, my goal has always been to make it to the NBA.”

“I know I have more to my game to show, but now I’ve got to figure out if the time is right for me to do it at the next level or if I would be better to return to school.”

Vanderbilt missed the first 17 games of his freshman season with a left foot injury, a foot that he had injured twice before during his high school career. He then missed all four of Kentucky’s postseason games with a left ankle injury, and there is a chance that he could end up needing surgery to correct this issue this offseason.

All told, the 6-foot-9 Vanderbilt played in 14 games as a freshman, averaging 5.9 points and 7.9 boards in just 17 minutes a night. But issues with his ability to shoot from the perimeter and a lower left leg that has proven to be extremely problematic, there is a good chance that Vanderbilt would go undrafted should he decide to turn pro.