Late Night Snacks: Mike Brey should always wear sleeves

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Games of the Day

1. Arkansas State 73, Central Arkansas 72: Cameron Golden hit a three with 4.8 seconds left to cap off an 8-0 run over the last two minutes as the Red Wolves knocked off Corliss Williamson’s club. UCA called a timeout to diagram a play, but they turned the ball over when LaQuentin Miles stepped out of bounds with 2.2 seconds left. After Raeford Worsham missed both ends of a 1-and-1, a prayer from Miles was almost answered when a heave hit the front of the rim.

2. Kansas State 66, Delaware 63: Cramping in the legs of Jamelle Hagins and Jarvis Threatt allowed the Wildcats to go on a quick, 15-8 surge to take a 54-43 lead with eight minutes left in the game. But Delaware’s Devon Saddler brought the Blue Hens back. Saddler, who played the final eight minutes without two-thirds of the team’s big three, scored 32 points and hit a number of tough jump shots to give the Blue Hens a fighting chance in the final minutes.

With 1.0 seconds left, Saddler was fouled on a three-pointer down 66-62, but he missed the first of three free throws.

3. No. 4 Michigan 67, Pitt 62: Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardway Jr combined for 61 of Michigan’s 67 points, but it wasn’t until the second half, when John Beilein used those four to go small and throw a 1-3-1 zone at the Panthers that the Wolverines finally made a run to take the lead. Pitt looked very good, but a lack of penetrators on the wing made it tough for Jame Dixon’s team to attack the zone.

Important Outcomes

1. Wichita State 75, Iowa 63: I know this is going to sound weird, but this is somewhat of a statement win for Wichita State. Granted, Iowa is still a middle of the pack Big Ten team, but they are improved enough that they should compete for an NCAA tournament spot this season. Wichita State graduated quite a bit of talent from last year’s team, but have now improved to 6-0 on the season, which includes a win at VCU. Cleanthony Early, a 6-foot-8 JuCo transfer, had 25 points and nine boards while Malcolm Armstead finished with 14 points, five assists and five boards.

2. No. 8 Kentucky 81, Morehead State 70: We’ve all seen the video of Sean Woods losing his temper on a player on the sideline, so I’m not going to get into that here. Instead, I’ll talk about the fact that Kentucky struggled against the pressure that the Eagles were able to provide without Ryan Harrow on the floor. Archie Goodwin finished with 28 points and four assists, yes, but without Harrow in the mix, Kentucky has even more work left to do.

3. SMU 83, Rider 70: Don’t look now, but SMU is 5-0. Granted, only four of those wins came against D-I schools, only one of those four came against a team from a BCS conference, and that team happened to be TCU. But keep in mind, this team went 13-19 last year and own just three Conference USA games. Beating bad teams is an improvement from last year.

Starred

1. James Southerland, Syracuse: Southerland had arguably his best game at Syracuse on Wednesday night, finishing with 22 points, grabbing five steals and hitting 4-6 from beyond the arc in a 73-53 win over Princeton. His role on this team is to be problematic in their zone and to knock down open threes. I think it’s safe to say he did just that.

It’s also worth noting that, as a team, Syracuse had 19 steals in the game. The length they have in that zone is not fun to go up against.

2. George Beamon, Manhattan: Beamon was the biggest reason that Manhattan entered this season as the favorite to win the MAAC, but he began the season on the bench as he battled an ankle injury. He made his debut in grand fashion on Wednesday, scoring 29 points on 10-15 shooting to lead the Jaspers to a 67-56 win over a Hofstra team that had just beaten Marshall and South Dakota State.

3. Michael Lyons, Air Force: I love big-time scorers that fall below the national radar, and Lyons plays that role to perfection. He had 29 points on 11-15 shooting on Wednesday night as the Falcons knocked off Montana State 86-72.

Struggled

1. DePaul: The Blue Demons lost to Western Kentucky. Six days after losing to Gardner-Webb.

2. Anyone on Butler not named Rotnei: Those named Rotnei were 10-19 from the floor and 6-13 from three for 27 points. Those not named Rotnei were 12-42 from the floor and 1-15 from three for 34 points in a 78-61 loss to Illinois in the Maui Invitational title game.

3. Chris Udofia, Denver: Udofia came into Wednesday’s game with Colorado State averaging 17.7 points. He finished with two points on 1-6 shooting. Denver lost, 60-53.

4. Robert Covington, Tennessee State: Covington entered the season with some NBA folks curious about his potential. Through six games, TSU is 1-5, and he’s averaging 12.7 points while shooting 33.3% from the floor and 24.0% from three. An 81-70 loss to Monmouth was rock bottom, as Covington was 3-14 from the floor, 0-3 from three and had just 12 points.

Three Facts

1. Vander Blue: Blue took an ugly fall late in Marquette’s 72-64 win over USC out in Maui, but it looks as if it’s nothing too serious. “One doctor here said he didn’t tear his ACL, just sprained it,” Buzz Williams said.

2. Ian Miller: Miller suffered a bone bruise in his right foot and was in a walking boot, but he’s expected back by Tuesday. The Seminoles struggled to beat North Florida without him.

3. Mike Brey: Brey is a George Washington alum, a former player and now the head coach at Notre Dame. This is how he showed up to his postgame press conference:

source:

(Photo credit: @cbrinks5)

Notable Results

Texas 69, Mississippi State 55

SDSU 79, Arkansas Pine-Bluff 43

Elon 65, South Carolina 53

Player Of The Year Power Rankings: Devonte’ Graham, Jock Landale need more attention

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1. TRAE YOUNG, Oklahoma: Trae Young finished with 48 points and eight assists in an overtime loss at Oklahoma State on Saturday, and it has sent the internet into a tizzy because Young finished with 39 shots on the night, only making 14 of them.

And that is frustrating to me, mainly because I think that people are getting on Young for all of the wrong things.

Young’s performance last week against Kansas State was problematic because the way he was playing didn’t work. He was forcing offense, he was turning the ball over and he wasn’t making the right reads. That how he ended up with 12 turnovers — the most by a high-major player in this millennium — on a night where the Sooners lost by 18 points. I wrote all about that here.

On Saturday, however, I thought Young looked like himself. The problem was that his teammates didn’t carry the weight. If you’re going to criticize Young for shooting 14-for-39 from the floor, you need to also acknowledge that his teammates shot 14-for-43 from the floor. Many of those were open looks that Young created. We discussed that on the podcast this week:

That happens sometimes. The result was Young going into takeover mode, and it almost worked.

The real issue with his performance had nothing to do with turnovers or tough threes or taking too many shots; it’s that he shot 6-for-19 from inside the arc. Many of those shots he missed were makable floaters or layups that were considered but could — even should — have been finished. It looked a lot like these:

On the season, Young is shooting just 45 percent around the rim and ranks in the 33rd percentile in PPP on those shots.

That is what should concern Oklahoma fans and the people that think Trae Young can be Steph Curry.

Not a night where he had to put the team on his back because his supporting cast had an off-night.

2. JALEN BRUNSON, Villanova: Brunson’s efficiency is still at an unheard of level, and there’s an argument to be made that what he is doing on his usage is more impressive than what Young is doing with his usage, particularly given how things have gone since league play began. Here is a complete list of players with an offensive rating of better than 130 on KenPom with a usage rate above 22.9 since the 2003-2004 season:

3. MARVIN BAGLEY III, Duke
4. DEANDRE AYTON, Arizona

5. DEVONTE’ GRAHAM, Kansas: There were a lot of question marks about whether or not Devonte’ Graham was going to be able to handle taking over for Frank Mason II as the star guard in the Kansas back court. With just over half of the season gone by, Graham is averaging 18.1 points, 7.3 assists and 2.0 steals while shooting 43.5 percent from three on 7.3 attempts per game with an assist-to-turnover ratio that’s clocking in at 2.6:1. He’s shooting a higher percentage from three this year than he did last year while taking more and playing as a point guard, meaning he’s getting fewer catch-and-shoot rhythm threes.

Oh, and should I mention that he is doing this for a Kansas team that is currently sitting all alone in first place by two full games in the loaded Big 12 despite getting exactly zero minutes from Billy Preston this season and needing to enroll a backup big man early just so that they don’t have to play a 6-foot-3 walk-on at center?

Since Big 12 play started, Graham has come off the floor for a grand total of 10 minutes in seven games.

If he isn’t a first-team all-american for you at this point in the season you need to have your voting privileges revoked.

6. JOCK LANDALE, Saint Mary’s: Landale is averaging 22.4 points, 10.2 boards and 2.0 assists for a Saint Mary’s team that is one bad weekend at the Wooden Legacy away from being undefeated with a win at Gonzaga under their belt. Landale is not just a big guy overwhelming mid-majors opponents. All of these highlights come from that win in Spokane as Landale showed the entire arsenal while carrying SMC to a win. It’s worth noting that the guy guarding him here, Johnathan Williams III, is considered an above-average to very good defender, and Landale makes light work of him.

If you love big men with dainty feet and a soft touch, this clip will be basketball porn for you:

7. KEITA BATES-DIOP, Ohio State
8. JEVON CARTER, West Virginia
9. CARSEN EDWARDS, Purdue
10. TREVON BLUIETT, Xavier

ALSO CONSIDERED: MIKAL BRIDGES, Villanova; MILES BRIDGES, Michigan State; KEENAN EVANS, Texas Tech; TRA HOLDER, Arizona State; CHANDLER HUTCHISON, Boise State; CALEB MARTIN, Nevada; YANTE MATEN, Georgia; LUKE MAYE, North Carolina; SHAKE MILTON, SMU; ALLONZO TRIER, Arizona

VIDEO: Buzz Williams forgets when TV timeouts happen

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There was a funny moment in the second half of Virginia Tech’s win over No. 10 North Carolina on Monday night.

With the Hokies leading the Tar Heels and less than 12 minutes left on the clock, VT head coach Buzz Williams strolled on the court to high-five his players after a foul was called. There was just one problem: It wasn’t actually a TV timeout.

Everyone was confused.

The mixups seems to stem from referee Michael Stephens, who apparently told Buzz that the TV timeout would be taking place on that whistle.

It doesn’t make the moment Buzz realized what was happening any less funny:

Bubble Banter: Kansas State, Virginia Tech add crucial wins to help overcome poor schedules

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As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Monday night.

It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:

  • Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus

The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.

WINNERS

KANSAS STATE (RPI: 55, KenPom: 37, NBC seed: Play-in): The Wildcats went and added two — potentially three — Quadrant 1 wins in their last three games, beating Oklahoma and TCU at home last week before picking off Baylor (currently 76th in the RPI, but I’d guess they’re top 75 to end the year) on Monday night. A home loss to Tulsa (RPI 112) is going to stick out, as will a non-conference SOS that ranks 344th. Those two things means that the Wildcats have a very small margin for error, but with the way they are playing, I think that they’ll do enough to get in with a seed that seems too low for them.

VIRGINIA TECH (RPI: , KenPom: 54, NBC seed: Out): The Hokies did quite a bit to change their NCAA tournament chances on Monday by knocking off North Carolina at home. It’s easily the best win on their résumé, and given that their only other Quadrant 1 win came on a neutral against a Washington team ranked 50th in the RPI, it is easily their most important win. A Nov. 16th loss to Saint Louis (RPI 147) looks really bad, but VT still has Miami twice, Duke twice, Virginia, Louisville and Clemson left on their schedule. Those are all potential top 20 wins. They’ll need them to overcome a non-conference schedule that ranked 319th.

TEXAS (RPI: 42, KenPom: 43, NBC seed: 9): The Longhorns did what they needed to do against Iowa State at home, picking up a win to help shake off the whooping they took at West Virginia on Saturday. Believe it or not, but Texas currently has four Quadrant 1 wins to their name without anything worse than a high Quadrant 2 loss — at Baylor, at Oklahoma State, Gonzaga on a neutral, Michigan at home.

LOSERS

MARYLAND (RPI: 47, KenPom: 38, NBC seed: Next four out): The Terps picked up their worst loss of the season, falling at Indiana. In a year where Mark Turgeon’s club has already lost Justin Jackson and where it seems like they suffer a new injury just about every week, a tournament berth seems increasingly unlikely. Their next two games are at home against Michigan State and at Purdue. They might beed to win both.

NEBRASKA (RPI: 64, KenPom: 67, NBC seed: Out): The Cornhuskers missed out on a golden opportunity to add a marquee win to their résumé as they lost by five at Ohio State, a top 15 team in the RPI. The Cornhuskers currently do not have a Quadrant 1 win to their name — their best win comes at home against Michigan — and the only chance they’ll have to add one the rest of the regular season comes at Minnesota, who could very well drop off that level. There are only two teams left on Nebraska’s schedule that are in the top 100 of the RPI.

BAYLOR (RPI: 76, KenPom: 39, NBC seed: First four out): Baylor lost at home to Kansas State on Monday night. They’re now lost six of eight to start Big 12 play and their next two games are at Florida and at Oklahoma, both of which would be marquee wins the Bears currently lack.

VIDEO: Kenrich Williams posterizes West Virginia

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I am not sure what was more impressive tonight, Kenrich Williams going for 14 boards and six assists against No. 7 West Virginia, the fact that he played the point for them against that press … or this dunk:

It was the dunk.

Definitely.

Alex Robinson leads TCU past No. 7 West Virginia

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You’d be forgiven if you thought that TCU’s season was done and dusted when starting point guard Jaylen Fisher went down with a knee injury that will cost him the rest of the season.

Fisher was the team’s third-leading scorer at 12.3 points and ranked second in assists. He was shooting 43.9 percent from the floor. More importantly, he was backcourt defensive presence that doesn’t exist elsewhere on the TCU roster.

When the Horned Frogs lost Fisher, they were coming off of their second loss to Oklahoma in the span of two weeks and their fourth loss in the first five games of league play. With two games against both West Virginia and Texas Tech, and a trip to Allen Fieldhouse, left on their schedule, this had all the warning signs of a season in danger of sliding into oblivion.

On Monday night, in TCU’s third game without Fisher, Jame Dixon’s club put together their best performance of the season. They held No. 7 West Virginia to 33.3 percent shooting from the floor and led by as many as 20 points in an 82-73 win in Fort Worth, a win that puts an entirely knew feel on where this season can and will go.

The biggest reason for that may be Alex Robinson.

A 6-foot-1 hometown kid and a redshirt junior that transferred into the program from Texas A&M, Robinson has seemingly always been overlooked in this TCU program. Part of that is because he’s not a great scorer or shooter. Part of that is because he isn’t really a defender. And part of is, frankly, is because he never quite got his chance.

And now, with Fisher out, Robinson is not only getting his chance, but he is making the most of it.

TCU is 2-1 in their three games without Fisher, and Robinson has been the star, averaging 12.3 points, 4.7 boards and 10.7 assists. Against West Virginia, one of the nation’s most difficult defenses to deal with, Robinson finished with 17 points, nine assists and seven boards despite barely stepping foot off of the court. He got some help from Kenrich Williams, TCU’s best player, a 6-foot-7 forward that was a high school point guard and did the heavy-lifting when it came to breaking that press.

But that shouldn’t put a damper on how Robinson played on Monday.

And it shouldn’t take away from what he has been able to do with Fisher out.

Suddenly, TCU looks like a team that found themselves on the wrong side of lucky through the first seven games of Big 12 play. They lost five games during that stretch by an average of 3.3 points. Two of those losses came when the Horned Frogs missed game-winning shots at the buzzer.

They were and have been a top 25 team that found out the hard way how tough it is to win close games in this league.

And at this point it is probably fair to say that hasn’t changed despite having a new player running the point.