Late Night Snacks: NC State, Georgetown shine in the Jimmy V

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Games of the Night

Arkansas 81, Oklahoma 78: Marshawn Powell finished with 33 points, six boards and five assists, shooting 11-17 from the floor and 4-6 from three, but he wasn’t the hero for the Razorbacks. After back-to-back threes from Steven Pledger game Oklahoma their first lead of the second half, BJ Young answered with his second straight tough, driving layup in the final minute, giving Arkansas the lead for good.

No. 25 NC State 69, UConn 65: Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright got UConn out to a quick start, jumping out to a 20-9 lead. And while the Huskies battled valiantly with the Wolfpack, NC State was simply too big and too athletic in the front court. Richard Howell had 13 points and 10 boards (seven of which were offensive, posting a double-double in the second half) while CJ Leslie added 16 points, 13 boards and four assists. This is going to happen to UConn; this is who they are this year. But the question here: can NC State thrive on the nights it can’t over power teams inside? Lorenzo Brown had 16 points and five assists … and six turnovers.

No. 21 UNLV 68, Portland 60: Playing without Mike Moser, Portland jumped out to an early lead on their home floor, taking a 28-22 lead into the break. But a second half surge from UNLV — capped by back-to-back triples from Justin Hawkins — gave the Rebels a lead they would never relinquish. Anthony Marshall led the way with 16 points, but I’m still not convinced he’s the point guard that can take this team to the promised land.

Important Outcomes

Harvard 79, Boston College 63: Harvard has now beaten Boston College five straight times. I’ll say it again: Harvard has won five straight games over Boston College, with all five taking place at BC. If you throw in last season’s win over Florida State, the Crimson have won six straight against the ACC. That’s stunning, when you think about it. Harvard?!?

Anyway, Siyani Chambers was the star, finishing with 21 points, six assists and just two turnovers. The left-handed freshman is quickly becoming one of my favorite point guards in the country.

Wyoming 81, Illinois State 67: At one point in the fist half, Illinois State hit seven straight three-pointers on seven straight possessions. They were up by 14 at the break, by as much as 18 in the second half and by a score of 58-42 with 13 minutes left in the game. From there, the Redbirds completely collapsed, giving up a 39-9 run to lose by 14 points. All five starters scored in double-figures for the Cowboys, who only got 12 minutes from their bench. Jackie Carmichael had five points and just five field goal attempts.

No. 8 Arizona 63, Southern Miss 55: Nick Johnson had 23 points and Kevin Parrom added 14, including a tie-breaking three that put the Wildcats up 54-51, as Arizona avoided an upset at the hands of Southern Miss. Mark Lyons was 0-7 from the floor, 0-5 from three and finished with just two assists and three turnovers.

Arizona, as a team, finished with 27 turnovers. Seriously. 27. We wrote about this extensively yesterday, but there are major point guard issues with this Wildcat team right now. The good news? They turned the ball over 27 times and still won, but that’s probably because Southern Miss had 22 turnovers of their own.

Starred

Laurence Bowers, Missouri: Missouri’s biggest issue without Michael Dixon is that they lost their best pure scorer, their go-to guy. Phil Pressey can’t fill that role, as evidenced by the ten point halftime deficit the No. 12 Tigers had against Southeast Missouri on Tuesday. Bowers took over in the second half, however, finishing with 26 points in the 81-65 win.

Cody Doolin, San Francisco: Doolin went for 18 points and 14 assists — with just two turnovers — as San Francisco knocked off visiting St. John’s.

Ian Clark, Belmont: The Bruins swept the Battle of the Boulevard this season by a grand total of 63 points. Clark finished with 30 on Tuesday in the 100-66 win over Lipscomb.

Struggled

Texas: The Longhorns are bad. They managed just 41 points in a loss to No. 15 Georgetown. A major reason for that? Beyond the fact that the Hoyas are really good defensively? They don’t have Myck Kabongo (who is dealing with an NCAA investigation) or Jaylen Bond (he’s banged up and played just six minutes this season). Getting them back will help, but Texas needs a lot more than just two players.

D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s: Harrison, the Johnnie’s leading scorer, had 14 points but shot 5-16 from the floor as they lost to San Francisco by 16 points.

Baylor’s front line: Isaiah Austin, Rico Gathers and Cory Jefferson combined for 26 points on 9-18 shooting, which isn’t bad until you consider the fact that they were playing Northwestern. They also had a combined 12 boards as the much smaller and less athletic Wildcats pounded them on the glass.

The Rest of the Top 25

  • No. 3 Michigan 73, Western Michigan 41
  • No. 5 Louisville 80, Charleston 38
  • No. 13 Illinois 72, Western Carolina 64
  • No. 14 Minnesota 88, South Dakota State 64

Notable Scores

  • Kentucky 88, Samford 56
  • Bucknell 76, Kent State 60
  • Tennessee State 76, Drexel 66

Three Stats

– Nevada lost at Pacific tonight. They are now 1-22 in their last 23 games in Stockton. The Wolf Pack must watch Sons of Anarchy.

– San Francisco picked up their first-ever win over a Big East team by beating St. John’s. They’ve beaten teams that are now in the Big East that weren’t when they played.

– The last time that Texas scored fewer than 41 points in a game? 1987, in a 52-37 loss to TCU.

– The top six teams in the Mountain West — Colorado State, Wyoming, New Mexico, UNLV, San Diego State, Boise State — are now 41-3 on the season.

Sweet 16 Preview: Thursday’s picks, predictions, betting lines and channels

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The Sweet 16 kicks off on Thursday night, and the games are going to be terrific.

Oregon-Michigan should be thrilling, Gonzaga-West Virginia is a fascinating contrast of styles and Kansas-Purdue features arguably the two best players in college basketball.

Oh, and then there’s Arizona-Xavier, with Sean Miller and Chris Mack doing battle.

For an in-depth look at each region, check these out:

SWEET 16 PREVIEW: Midwest | West | South | East

No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 7 Michigan (-1.5), 7:09 p.m. (CBS): So this run that Michigan on, is it a fluke?

Frankly, I don’t think that it is. Derrick Walton has been awesome for the better part of two months while Michigan’s perimeter shooters have always been shooters and the duo of D.J. Wilson and Mo Wagner are legit. I honestly do not believe that the Wolverines are a team of destiny after the plane crash. They are just really good and a perfect roster for John Beilein to tinker with.

That’s why they’re favored on Thursday night. But here’s the thing … Oregon is pretty good themselves. Dillon Brooks is going to be guarded by a big man, which should be a matchup that Brooks can take advantage of, and Tyler Dorsey has been playing terrific basketball since the start of the Pac-12 tournament.

If you like small-ball, spread-the-court basketball, you’ll love this game.

PREDICTION: Michigan (-1.5)

No. 1 Gonzaga (-3) vs. No. 4 West Virginia, 7:39 p.m. (TBS): On paper, I think Gonzaga should win this game. They have a good back court in Nigel Williams-Goss and Josh Perkins, a pair of talented point guards that have won a lot of games in their career. Gonzaga is also the best defensive team in the country. So if they don’t turn the ball over against West Virginia’s press and they make it difficult for West Virginia to score in the half court and get into their press, they should be able to win this thing, right?

Well, maybe not.

My concern with Gonzaga is game-pressure. They didn’t handle it well down the stretch against BYU in their one loss of the season, and I’m not convinced that they win that second round game against Northwestern if the officials don’t blow the goaltending call. How are they going to handle an endless wave of Mountaineers in their face?

PREDICTION: Gonzaga (-3)

No. 1 Kansas (-5) vs. No. 4 Purdue, 9:39 p.m. (CBS): More than any other game this weekend, I’m fascinated to see how these two teams decide to try and play each other. Kansas has, essentially, one big man that Bill Self can trust, and he’s going up against a Player of the Year candidate in Caleb Swanigan and one of the best big men in the country at drawing fouls in Isaac Haas. Will Self double-team Swanigan knowing that Purdue may be more effective offensively when Swanigan can find shooters out of the double-team, or will he risk Lucas getting in foul trouble by trying to guard Swanigan one-on-one?

Then, at the other end of the floor, how will Purdue deal with the Kansas back court? Frank Mason III, the NBC Sports National Player of the Year, and Devonte’ Graham are a nightmare for anyone to deal with, let alone a team that struggles against penetrating guards and that lacks rim protection. It should be a fascinating coaching battle.

PREDICTION: Kansas (-5)

No. 2 Arizona (-7.5) vs. No. 11 Xavier, 10:09 p.m. (TBS): On paper, Arizona should be able to handle a Xavier team that doesn’t have Edmond Sumner or Myles Davis. That said, as we all know, Chris Mack and Sean Miller are very close and used to work together. Mack knows everything that Miller is going to do and vice versa. I think this game will be a low-scoring, grind-it-out affair that comes down to the final minutes.

PREDICTION: Xavier (+7.5)

Shayok and Reuter transferring from Virginia

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Virginia announced the departure of two players Wednesday.

Marial Shayok and Jerred Shayok will both transfer out of the program, the school said.

“Marial and Jarred informed me today that they are leaving the Virginia basketball program and are looking to transfer to other schools,” Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said in a statement released by the school. “I thank Marial and Jarred for their hard work and contributions to our program, and wish them success in the future.”

Shayok, a a 6-foot-5 junior, played 20.9 minutes per game last season for the Cavaliers, averaging 8.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game while shooting 44.5 percent from the floor. The Ottawa native started 23 games in three seasons with Virginia.

Reuter played a minimal role for the Cavaliers, averaging just 10.8 minutes and 3.8 rebounds per game.

Wake’s Collins declares for NBA draft without hiring agent

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Wake Forest’s John Collins is entering the NBA draft but will not hire an agent and is keeping open the option of returning to school for his junior season.

In a statement Wednesday announcing the decision, Collins said he wants “to make an informed decision about what is best for my future.”

Collins is a 6-foot-10 forward who as a sophomore blossomed into one of the best big men in the Atlantic Coast Conference and was voted to the Associated Press all-ACC team.

He averaged 19.2 points and 9.8 rebounds, putting together a string of 12 consecutive 20-point games late in the season.

His progression was a big reason why the Demon Deacons earned their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2010. Kansas State beat Wake Forest in the First Four.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org

Porter, Jr. will ask for Washington release

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There may be an overwhelming assumption on where Michael Porter, Jr. – and his father – will ultimately end up, but the five-star recruit is said publicly that he see his re-recruitment process through.

Porter, Jr. said in a teleconference Wednesday that he will ask for his release from Washington, and his father, a former Huskies assistant, has been offered a job at Missouri by new Tigers coach Cuonzo Martin.

“Right now I’m just trying to take it slow with my family and weigh my options,” Porter Jr. said, according to the Kansas City Star. “I plan to get my (national letter of intent) from Washington back and just go from there, not saying that I’m not going to Washington anymore, but I just want to get it back and weigh my options.”

The prevailing thought has been that the Porters will ultimately land in Columbia, where they have significant history.

Still, it would appear at least publicly that Porter, Jr., a potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft, will weigh his options in at least the short-term.

Calipari signs two-year extension with Kentucky

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Kentucky continues to take care of John Calipari.

The Wildcats coach has received a two-year extension, keeping him under contract in Lexington through the 2024 season, the school announced Wednesday.

The contract will pay Calipari $7.75 million next season and increase to $8 million per season thereafter.

“John has achieved consistent championship-level performance at Kentucky,” Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement. “No one in America is better suited for everything that comes with being the coach here. Not only has he attained incredible success on the court, he is also a leader in our community and in college basketball.

“We have been blessed to have him and Ellen here for the last eight years and we are blessed they will continue to call Kentucky home.”

Not only does the deal extend Calipari, but it continues to keep Kentucky competitive with the NBA, which would seem to be the only outlet that would even potentially tempt Calipari away from Kentucky. An NBA franchise would have to make him among the highest-paid coaches in the league to even match Kentucky financially.

Of course, given that Calipari has spurned interest from the league since returning to college in 2000, it seems unlikely that financial considerations would be the lone or heaviest variable in making a decision to move on.

Certainly, Calipari has an excellent thing going at Kentucky as the premier recruiting program in the country that has enjoyed serious success on the court, culminating in a 2012 national title and a 38-0 start to the 2015 season before a loss in the Final Four.

“The last eight years at the University of Kentucky have been a terrific ride,” Calipari said in a statement. “This extension shows our full commitment to each other. I believe this school is the gold standard and I’m so thankful and blessed that this university has given me this opportunity at this point in my career.”

The Wildcats face UCLA in the Sweet 16 on Friday.