Russ SMith, Anthony James

VIDEO: No. 2 Louisville outlasts Northern Iowa

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No. 2 Louisville knocked off Northern Iowa 51-46 in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Thursday night in a game that was just as ugly as we expected. The two teams combined to shoot 32.4% from the floor, 26.8% from three and turn the ball over 41 times. (Although, somewhat surprisingly, there were only 29 fouls called and 19 foul shots taken.)

Louisville used a 21-2 run over 10 minutes that spanned both halves, opening up a 40-22 lead on the usually stingy Panthers. But you better believe that the Panthers had a run in them, as they immediately answered with a 22-5 run that cut Louisville’s lead to 45-44 with two minutes left.

The Cardinals pulled away in the final minutes, with an and-one lay-up from Russ Smith being the dagger.

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Frankly, there really wasn’t much to take out of this game that we didn’t already know heading in.

Louisville is going to be a tough team to play due to their size and athleticism inside and the pesky, quick defenders at the front of their press. They are going to be a tough team to watch offensively, at least early in the season, as Rick Pitino’s club figures out what, exactly, they want to do and what they are capable of doing offensively. Right now, the Cardinals are not a team that can be counted on to score a lot of points.

Northern Iowa also wasn’t a secret heading into the season if you were paying attention. They are probably the second best team in the Missouri Valley, and there were some out there that thought the Panthers had a real chance to win this game. They have size, they defend, they are experienced and they have a couple of talented, veteran guards. That’s a good combination.

Smith finished with 16 points, five assists, five boards and four steals for Louisville, who will play Missouri at 9:30 ET tomorrow night in the semifinals.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

PHOTO: Baylor shows off new uniforms

Scott Drew
Associated Press
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Wednesday afternoon the Baylor basketball program sent out some images of its uniform combinations for the upcoming season, and the volt color way that first made a splash in 2012 is back. Baylor’s got four different uniforms it can wear this season: home (white), away (green) and two alternate uniforms.

While there is some volt green in each of the four uniforms, its presence is relatively tame compared to the uniforms Scott Drew’s program wore back in 2012. Of course those uniforms were part of adidas’ AdiZero uniform release (Baylor is now outfitted by Nike), with two other schools (Cincinnati and Louisville) wearing colorful uniforms with shorts that had “interesting” patterns on them.

While some of the new uniform designs in college sports have received some pushback from fans and alums, this stuff is about the players and recruits programs look to land for the future. Everyone likes free stuff, and when it comes to apparel for young athletes having something that’s both free and “exclusive” is seen as a positive.

Pressure is on new coach Steve Prohm at Iowa State

Steve Prohm
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AMES, Iowa (AP) Five months ago, Iowa State’s Steve Prohm was the coach at mid-major Murray State. Now he’s in charge of one of the big favorites in the Big 12.

Prohm officially began his first season in charge of the Cyclones on Tuesday with the team’s annual media day.

Iowa State has all the pieces to make a run at the league title and more – provided that Prohm can handle coaching college basketball at the highest level, of course.

In the minds of Prohm’s players, the Cyclones have nothing to worry about.

“Coach (Prohm) is in here earning our trust and our respect every day,” said senior forward Georges Niang. “Even though he’s not trying to cross any of our toes, he puts his foot down when he needs to and lets us know that stuff needs to get done. I think he has a great combination of how to keep us motivated…and still be stern and be able to get the most out of us.”

Fred Hoiberg’s departure for the Chicago Bulls after five mostly successful seasons gave Prohm a shot at a national title. The roster Hoiberg left behind for Prohm is loaded.

Niang, a likely preseason first-team All-American, second-team All-Big 12 point guard Monte Morris and league defensive player of the year Jameel McKay headline one of the nation’s most talented starting units. Throw in veterans like Naz Long, Matt Thomas, Abdel Nader and transfer Deonte Burton, and Prohm might just have the best roster a new Power Five coach has inherited since Bill Guthridge took over for Dean Smith at North Carolina in 1997.

Guthridge reached the Final Four with his first team.

Prohm isn’t shying away from the notion that Iowa State is among the handful of teams with serious national title aspirations.

“Yeah, they’re realistic,” Prohm said when asked about the sky-high expectations for this year’s team. “I think we have the opportunity to have a very special season.”

The similarities between what type of styles Prohm and Hoiberg use was cited as a big reason why Iowa State hired him. Hoiberg even lobbied for Prohm to athletic director Jamie Pollard during the hiring process.

To that end, Prohm is going to let his players have a ton of input on how they play. Prohm doesn’t plan many changes, just tweaks that mostly involve techniques to improve Iowa State’s somewhat inconsistent rebounding and defense.

“I don’t need to say, `This is the way we’re doing things guys because this is the way I did it.’ That’s stupid,” Prohm said. “I need to meet these guys halfway.”

Prohm also acknowledged that he’ll be doing quite a bit of learning himself this season. But Prohm said he intends to embrace the unique opportunity he’s been afforded.

“This is a great situation to walk into. No question,” Prohm said. “Is there pressure? Yeah. But who wants a job with no pressure?”