Kevin Hu, Connor Lammert

Chaminade upsets Texas; Barnes’ second loss to Silverswords

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On the 30-year anniversary of Chaminade beating then-no. 1 ranked Virginia, the Silverswords get another upset victory in the tournament they host, upsetting Texas 86-73.

Greatest irony of the game: This is Rick Barnes second loss to Chaminade in the Maui Invitational. He was the head coach of the 1991-92 team that lost to the Silverswords in the first round. That Providence team finished 14-17.

In the 28th edition of the tournament, it was their first victory in the tournament since a 68-64 win over Oklahoma in the seventh place game in 2010 and just their fourth win in the first round of the tournament ever. They’re now 7-76 all-time in the tournament with all of their victories coming in either the opening round or seventh place game.

Of the three previous teams that have lost to Chaminade in the first round of the Maui Invitational, only one made the postseason. Villanova made the NIT in 2003-04.

Chaminade lead for a majority of the game, running out the clock in the final seconds and the team stormed the floor as the final seconds ticked off.

DeAndre Haskins had the game of his life for the Silverswords with 32. Javan Felix led Texas with 17.

Well, whoa. That’s about all you can say for Rick Barnes’ team. They got totally outclassed by a Division II squad. There’s no silver-lining for the Longhorns (pun intended). They miss Myck Kabongo dearly, and without him they don’t have a true second option at point guard. But that aside, losing to a Division II program isn’t something any high-major Division I program should do in a game that matters. Period.

The Longhorns shot 19-percent (4-for-21) from three-point range. They were out-rebounded 41-33 and sent Chaminade to the free throw line 39 times (the Silverswords made 34). Texas only hit 17-of-30 (56.7-percent) free throws of their own and committed 18 turnovers. Any one of those things can lead to a loss. All of those things together equal a loss to a Division II team.

Barnes has been able to get by with a lot in recent years in Austin. A few lame-duck recruiting classes in a row, some under-performing teams, etc. But few things are excusable at a school like Texas when they come in the form of a loss to a team in a lower classification of athletics. This is a glaring example of how deficient this Longhorns team has become. They allowed 55 points to Chaminade in the second half. What’s more, they only got the deficit to single digits once in that half. That’s flat out awful.

On the other hand, tons of congratulations go out to Chaminade. This program, year-in-and-year-out, hosts this tournament mainly to serve as a gift-wrapped victory for any team that plays them. A win for them is a special occasion. Not this time. They should truly be proud. Haskins was a former Division I player at Valparaiso and he played like he belonged on Texas’ team tonight. The Silverswords didn’t need a buzzer-beater or a big stop. They ran out the clock on a Division I school. And a big-time one at that. That campus should be rocking hard tonight.

But man, Rick, you’re team wasn’t just exposed in this game, they were made a laughing stock. A team that plays in one of the best basketball conferences in America just got beat by a team that finished 11-14 last season, again, in Division II.

Yes, teams take time to gel. No one expects greatness this early in the season, but Texas got flat out owned by a team they clearly had superior talent over. This is most definitely a cause for concern for the fanbase and the program. No one is going to call for Barnes’ head just yet, but if it does come to that, this would be a starting point to look back at.

There’s no excuse, Longhorns. That was bad. Just bad. Kabongo is a huge part of the team, but if taking one player out of the equation makes them bad enough to lose to a sub-.500 Division II school, then the Longhorns shouldn’t make any plans for a postseason trip in March. Anywhere.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him at @David_Harten.

Indiana lands four-star Class of 2017 wing Justin Smith

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Indiana landed an athletic wing commitment on Monday night as four-star small forward Justin Smith pledged to the Hoosiers on Twitter.

The 6-foot-6 Smith is a native of Lincolnshire, Illinois and comes from Stevenson High School as he’s regarded as the No. 105 overall prospect in the Rivals national Class of 2017 rankings.

A high-flying wing who is great in the open floor, Smith should fit the Hoosiers’ uptempo system perfectly and if he’s able to get a more consistent perimeter jumper then he has a chance to be a really nice piece for Indiana.

Smith joins three-star guard Al Durham in Indiana’s recruiting Class of 2017.

Michigan State addingTom Izzo Hall of History wing in remodeled Breslin Center

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 22:  Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans reacts against the Virginia Cavaliers during the third round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 22, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has already been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this fall and the longtime Spartans head coach is receiving another unique honor in the remodeled Breslin Center.

The school announced over the weekend that the Tom Izzo Hall of History will be added to the Breslin Center renovations as the building is supposed to be completed by the fall of 2017.

“The Tom Izzo Hall of History will become a great gathering place on our campus where together we can celebrate the excellence of Spartan Basketball and MSU Athletics,” athletic director Mark Hollis said in a release. “When this facility project is complete it will be the finest college basketball facility in the country, so it’s only fitting that Tom’s name will be a permanent part of it.”

Overall, this is a nice addition to the Breslin Center, especially since Izzo and Michigan State basketball will forever be associated with one another. It should be cool for fans to go through it and re-live great moments in Michigan State history and the wing is another nice recruiting tool that can help point out all of Izzo’s biggest accomplishments.

 

Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament moving to Orlando amid Zika concerns

Lon Kruger
(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
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Amid concerns over the Zika virus, the annual Puerto Rico Tip-Off announced a change in venue on Monday. Rather than staying on the island, the tournament will move to Orlando and all games will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney.

The dates and teams will remain the same for the event as it will be played Thursday, Nov. 17, Friday, Nov. 18 and Sunday, Nov. 20. The field for the event includes Arizona State, Clemson, Davidson, Missouri, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma, Tulane and Xavier.

“We enjoy the beauty and accommodations that are afforded in Puerto Rico and wanted to make every effort in playing the event in San Juan, but the concern for student-athlete and spectator welfare became the primary driver in the decision,” Pete Derzis, senior vice president of ESPN Events said in the official release.  “We intend to return to Puerto Rico in the future.”

Puerto Rico is currently under a Level 2 alert for Zika according to the CDC. Since there have been cases of Zika on the island with native mosquitoes, it’s probably a smart move to eliminate all concerns over the virus if they can easily move the tournament elsewhere. It probably isn’t ideal for fans who purchased travel packages to Puerto Rico to watch the event, but it’s a small price to pay for the safety of everyone involved.

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company is also upset with the decision as Executive Director Ingrid Rivera Rocafort released a statement on Monday night.

“We are disappointed about this decision that we believe has been based on fear not the facts about Puerto Rico,” the statement read.

“There is no public health reason to cancel the Puerto Rico Tip Off or any sporting event in Puerto Rico. There is no doubt that our strong fan base and local spectators would have turned out to support their teams. Less than one percent of Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million population has contracted Zika, a far cry from projections. The hype and misinformation is fostering irrational decisions.”

PHOTO: Purdue unveils statue of John Wooden outside Mackey Arena

John Wooden (Purdue Athletics)
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John Wooden will forever be associated with the UCLA program for what he did while coaching there.

10 national titles in 12 years, including seven in a row. Not bad, right?

What some people may forget is that before he got into coaching, Wooden was one of the best basketball players in the world. He played his collegiate ball at Purdue, where he was a three-time all-american and the 1932 National Player of the Year.

To honor Wooden’s legacy as one of the greatest Boilermakers ever, Purdue built a statue of Wooden and unveiled it in front of Mackey Arena this weekend:

“Not many people think of Johnny Wooden as a Boilermaker, but when I got here in 1957, some of the old-timers still remembered him as a player,” Jim Hicks, the alumnus that donated the statue, said. “I’m so delighted that people will see this statue and read his Pyramid of Success because I think the pyramid was his most important contribution.”

One of the neat touches of the statue: Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is right there for all to see.

North Carolina lands third commitment in 2017 class

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 23: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels looks on during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Iowa State Cyclones at the AT&T Center on March 23, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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North Carolina picked up their third commitment in the Class of 2017 on Monday in big man Brandon Huffman.

A four-star prospect who will play his final season of high school ball at Word of God Academy in North Carolina, Huffman’s strength at this point in his development is as a defensive presence around the basket. He stands 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan and should be able to help replace Kennedy Meeks, who graduates this spring.

Huffman’s development on the offensive end of the floor isn’t quite there yet. A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Huffman is still learning how to be more influential on that end.

Huffman joins Jalek Felton and Andrew Platek in UNC’s 2017 class.