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

USC lands four-star 2018 guard Elijah Weaver

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USC landed an important commitment for its future on Monday night as four-star Class of 2018 guard Elijah Weaver.

Regarded as the No. 35 overall prospect in the Rivals’ national Class of 2018 rankings, the 6-foot-5 Weaver gives the Trojans a floor leader to build around for the future as he provides great size in the backcourt. Capable of playing multiple guard spots, Weaver has a lot of upside for a program that has done a very solid job of developing backcourt talent under head coach Andy Enfield.

Weaver’s commitment is also important for the Trojans because it comes despite the looming FBI investigation that the program is dealing with thanks to former assistant coach Tony Bland. USC had recently lost a four-star commitment from forward J’Raan Brooks, so the commitment of Weaver is a huge momentum boost for them as they get right back on track in the Class of 2018.

With Weaver in the mix, USC now owns three four-star pledges in the 2018 class as he joins four-star forward Taeshon Cherry and four-star guard Kevin Porter.

Jim Larranaga believes he’s ‘Coach-3’ in FBI investigation

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Despite losing key contributors Davon Reed and Kamari Murphy from last season’s NCAA tournament team, the Miami Hurricanes are expected to be a player both within the ACC and nationally this season. But instead of having the focus solely on the likes of JaQuan Newton, Bruce Brown and Lonnie Walker, Jim Larrañaga’s program is also having to deal with the impact of the ongoing FBI investigation into corruption and fraud in college basketball.

While no one connected to the Miami men’s basketball program was arrested last month, the program is referenced in the FBI report. On Monday, Larrañaga stated during a press conference that he believes that he is “Coach-3” in the FBI report. Larrañaga also maintained his innocence, saying that he had done nothing wrong while also being thankful that none of his assistant coaches were involved.

“It’s been a strain, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually,” Larrañaga said according to the Palm Beach Post. “It’s something that’s there. I have to deal with it. I have the support of my wife and a wonderful family. I have the support of the university, my staff and players.”

According to the FBI report, “Coach-3” requested that payments totaling $150,000 be funneled to “Player-12” in order to ensure his commitment to their university. It has been reported that “Player-12” was 2018 five-star prospect Nassir Little, who has also stated that he had done nothing wrong. Two of the schools recruiting Little at the time, Arizona and Miami, have been entangled in the FBI investigation to varying degrees.

While Miami has not had anyone connected to its program arrested, Arizona assistant coach Emmanuel “Book” Richardson was one of the four Division I coaches were were indicted. As a result Little removed both Arizona and Miami from consideration before ultimately committing to North Carolina earlier this month.

There’s no telling what the FBI investigation will ultimately uncover, which for the schools involved could take a heavy toll not only for the 2017-18 season but for future years as well. The FBI case has been comparatively quiet since the first set of indictments, with future moves likely to be influenced by what authorities learn from the ten individuals named in the first announcement.

Miles Bridges discusses being offered money during recruiting process

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With the FBI launching an investigation into corruption and fraud in college basketball last month, the entire sport has found itself under the microscope. Ten people, including four Division I assistant coaches, were arrested and there’s no telling just how long the FBI’s investigation will last or what information it will produce.

Michigan State forward Miles Bridges is considered by many to be the leading candidate for national Player of the Yeah honors, and he had the opportunity to turn pro after a good freshman season. But Bridges made the decision to return to East Lansing, and with that comes questions as to why he would do that as opposed to cashing in on his NBA potential as soon as possible.

In an interview with Brendan Quinn of The Athletic (subscription required) Bridges discussed a host of issues, including being offered money by people while going through the recruiting process.

“I mean, if you get caught, that might be the end of your career. I wanted to play in college really bad,” Bridges told Quinn. “I don’t know — materialistic things, they don’t really get to me. So when people were offering me money, I would say no right away, because I wanted to be able to live out my college experience. But really, I don’t know, it is hard, especially because I was so young at the time — 17.”

Given the ongoing investigation, high-profile players and teams will be on the receiving end of increased scrutiny even if they aren’t part of the FBI probe. It’s an unfair situation for a player like Bridges to deal with, as even in the actual cases of alleged wrongdoing the players themselves are essentially commodities whose services are being auctioned as opposed to the main characters looking to cash in.

Unfortunately, due to recent events a decision like the one made by Bridges will result in some questioning whether or not the player received something from the school or another entity/individual. And that’s a tough — and unfair — thing for a young player to have to deal with.

Broken hand sidelines North Carolina PG Joel Berry II

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North Carolina’s defense of its national title will likely begin without its most important player, as it was announced on Monday that senior point guard Joel Berry II will miss approximately four weeks due to a broken bone in his right hand.

Berry started at the point each of the last two seasons, earning Most Outstanding Player honors in April as the Tar Heels defeated Gonzaga to win the national title. As a junior, Berry averaged 14.7 points, 3.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game and started 37 of the 38 games in which he played. Berry shot 42.6 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from three, with the latter percentage being the best on team amongst players who attempted at least two three-pointers per game.

Berry was named an NBC Sports Preseason Third-Team All-American in late September.

With Berry out of the lineup, North Carolina loses its floor general as well as one of their top perimeter shooters. Sophomore Seventh Woods and freshman Jalek Felton become more important options at the point as a result of Berry’s injury, and the team doesn’t lack for perimeter shooters either with Cameron Johnson, Brandon Robinson, Kenny Williams and freshman Andrew Platek all being capable of helping to pick up the slack.

North Carolina opens its regular season on November 10 against Northern Iowa.

Bill Self’s stance on Kansas/Missouri series remains unchanged

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Sunday afternoon in Kansas City, bitter rivals Kansas and Missouri got together on the basketball court for the first time since 2012, with the Showdown for Relief raising $1.75 million for recent hurricane victims. In what was an entertaining game, the Jayhawks won by the final score of 93-87 with point guard Devonté Graham leading the way for the winners with 25 points and ten rebounds.

Kansas finished the game with five players in double figures, including Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman (17 points) and center Udoka Azubuike (16). On the other side freshman Michael Porter Jr. paced four Tigers in double figures with 21 points while younger brother Jontay grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds off the bench.

However despite the excitement for the two rivals being on the same court in any capacity, Sunday’s meeting was different given the circumstances. Following the game Kansas head coach Bill Self was asked about the possibility of the two teams meeting in a regular season game, and he maintained the stance he’s held since Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC.

“I’m not going to say never, but I don’t think there’s been any change in our position as far as the university goes,” Self said following Sunday’s exhibition. “I’m the spokesman, I guess, on this but trust me, I’m not the only one that feels that way.”

While it would certainly benefit college basketball if Kansas and Missouri were to renew acquaintances down the line, it is understandable that Self — and maybe some others on the Kansas side of things — would have reservations. The programs, even with the arrival of Cuonzo Martin in Columbia and the freshman class led by the aforementioned Michael Porter Jr., are in different places right now.

The Jayhawks have their sights set on a 14th consecutive Big 12 title and a run at their first national title since 2008, Missouri is looking to fast-track a rebuilding process after struggling mightily under former head coach Kim Anderson. Yet with that being said, the state of the two athletic departments during realignment likely has more to do with the teams not playing each other.

Missouri was a school with options earlier this decade before joining the SEC, but that was not the case for Kansas. Had the Big 12 broken up as some believed would be the case, where would the Jayhawks have landed? Fortunately for the school the Big 12 survived the realignment craze, losing four schools (Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, Colorado to the Pac-12 and Nebraska to the Big Ten) and adding TCU and West Virginia to get their membership number to ten.

Given that, the best bet for college basketball fans who want to see this rivalry played during the regular season may be to hope for the programs wind up in the same in-season tournament. Even better, how about the same NCAA tournament region?