Jimmy V Classic - Connecticut v North Carolina State

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.

Washington State coach begins game on opponent’s bench

Ernie Kent
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In September, during the Coaches vs. Cancer Gala in Spokane, Washington, there was a live auction, which included the chance to be Idaho’s honorary coach for a regular season during the 2016-17 season.

Washington State head coach Ernie Kent’s $2,000 bid more than tripled the next highest bid, according to the Spokesman Review.

On Wednesday night, during Washington State’s game against the Vandals, Kent sat next to his counterpart on the Idaho bench.

Kent returned to his side of the court following the game’s first possession.

Behind 16 points from Ike Iiroegbu, the Cougars defeated the Vandals, 61-48.

 

Given Washington’s struggles, just how hot is Lorenzo Romar’s seat?

Lorenzo Romar
AP Photo/Stephen Brashear
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We tried to warn you what was coming on Wednesday night.

We tried to tell you just how bad things were for Washington right now, that, according to a coach that had faced the Huskies this season, “they were so ******* bad defensively” that “they looked like they hadn’t been coached.”

That’s not a good look for anyone, let alone a head coach that has missed the NCAA tournament the last five seasons despite having five first round picks come through his program during that time.

Which is why you shouldn’t have been surprised that the Huskies were gutted by No. 8 Gonzaga, losing 98-71 in a game that was never competitive at any point. And, given that Markelle Fultz, the potential No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, is on the Washington roster, it’s the nightmare scenario.

So.

We need to start talking about the elephant in the room, because there’s a lot to unpack here:

Just how hot is Lorenzo Romar’s seat?

RELATED: What has gone wrong with Washington this season?

The simple answer? Scalding. Romar is one of just three Power 5 head coaches that have missed the NCAA tournament for five straight seasons without having to find new employment. You don’t get six tournament-less years and survive, not at this level.

But there’s more to the conversation that simply relaying the number of first round picks he’s failed to get to the Big Dance.

Four of those five first round picks played in two different seasons, meaning that in the other three seasons, Washington was led by C.J. Wilcox, the No. 28 pick in 2014, and Nigel Williams-Goss. In 2011-12, Washington had Terrence Ross, then a sophomore, and freshman Tony Wroten on the roster. They started slowly out of the gate, going 7-6 in non-conference play, before winning the Pac-12 regular season title outright. They missed out on the NCAA tournament in large part due to the fact that the conference as a whole went 1-29 against the RPI top 50; only two Pac-12 teams earned bids that season. Ross and Wroten both left after the season.

The other year that Washington had two first round picks was in 2015-16, which both Marquese Chriss and Dejounte Murray shocked everyone by becoming one-and-done talents. Both were drafted almost entirely on potential; Chriss was clueless defensively, fouling out of 15 of the 34 games he played, while Murray’s jumper left him a long way away from impacting an NBA game. The conversation about this Washington team would be totally different right now if Fultz had those two on the floor with him.

Part of the reason those two were able to leave early was because of Romar’s coaching style – he lets his most talented players play regardless of whether or not they’re making mistakes – and in part because the 2016 draft was bad.

Romar is, in part, a victim of circumstance, even if he dug himself into this whole in the first place.

RELATED: For Michael Porter Jr., Washington was all about family first

Washington is still paying Romar a relatively small amount. After the 2010 season, when he led the Huskies to his third Sweet 16, Romar got a 10-year contract extension worth $1.7 million annually. It runs three more years after this season and comes with a $3.2 million buyout, which isn’t massive but is expensive for an athletic department that projected to operate at a $15 million deficit in 2016. Then you have to consider what it would cost to hire an upgrade on Romar.

For comparison’s sake, Tubby Smith made $1.8 million in 2015-16 at Texas Tech and got a raise to more than $3 million-a-year for the next five years at Memphis despite the fact that he wasn’t the guy the school initially targeted. But Brad Underwood will make $1.2 million a year for five years at Oklahoma State, which makes him the lowest-paid coach in the conference.

If new Washington AD Jennifer Cohen wants to hire a new coach, she’d certainly be able to afford a replacement that we be, at the least, a respectable name, but there’s no guarantee that a replacement is going to have any kind of success there. Romar is far and away the most successful coach Washington has ever had. He’s been to six NCAA tournament and three Sweet 16s in his 15 seasons. The Huskies reached the Final Four in 1953, and in the nearly 50 years between that day and the day that Romar was hired, Washington reached just six NCAA tournaments and two Sweet 16s.

Romar is not having the same level of success that he had when guys like Brandon Roy and Isaiah Thomas were on his roster, but Washington is still somewhat relevant due to the pros that are coming through Seattle. There’s no guarantee that any replacement will make Washington more likely to get to the NCAA tournament, but at least Husky fans get Markelle Fultz this season and Michael Porter Jr., a top five prospect and the son of current U-Dub assistant coach Michael Porter Sr., next season.

That’s certainly more enjoyable than rooting for, say, Washington State.

And it’s certainly a factor that Cohen has to consider. Porter clearly picked Washington because Romar, his godfather, is part of the family.

“As we continue to look where we’re going and where we think we can go and what our plan is, then I’ll have more information about it,” Cohen said at her introductory press conference. “But absolutely, I’m 100 percent behind him right now.”

And if Washington can’t get back to the Big Dance?

“We haven’t gotten to that point yet,” she said. “So we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

CBT Podcast: ESPN’s Dana O’Neil discusses her book about Villanova

Villanova head coach Jay Wright celebrates as he cuts down the net after the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game against North Carolina, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Houston. Villanova won 77-74. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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On today’s podcast, I was joined by ESPN’s Dana O’Neil, one of my personal favorite writers who has penned a book chronicling how Jay Wright was able to build the Villanova program into a national title winner.

Dana spent seven years as a beat-writer for the Wildcats before making the move to ESPN, and she has some great stories about how the book came together and, frankly, how that Villanova team came together.

It’s a little “Inside Baseball”, but it was a fun conversation about a book that you know is going to be really good.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom

VIDEO: World War II Veteran play anthem on harmonica before Pearl Harbor Invitational

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Peter DuPre’, a veteran of World War II, opened last night’s Pearl Harbor Invitational between Seton Hall and California with a moving rendition of the National Anthem, which he played on his harmonica.

Amaker becomes winningest coach at Harvard after 74-66 win.

SPOKANE, WA - MARCH 22:  Head coach Tommy Amaker talks to Siyani Chambers #1 of the Harvard Crimson in the first half against the Michigan State Spartans during the Third Round of the 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on March 22, 2014 in Spokane, Washington.  (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images
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BOSTON (AP) Harvard’s Tommy Amaker still feels the influence that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski provided. It’s helped lead him through a successful coaching career.

Amaker became the winningest coach in Harvard history on Wednesday night when Chris Lewis scored a season-high 22 points and Seth Towns had 18 to lead the Crimson to a 74-66 road victory over local rival Boston College.

It was Amaker’s 179th win in his 10th season, moving him ahead of his predecessor, Frank Sullivan (178-245), who was the coach from 1991-2007.

“I’ll communicate with coach for sure,” Amaker said. “He has so many different guys that he likes to keep track of. I don’t want to be a burden in any way, but obviously his influence has been paramount. It’s been as big as it comes for me.

“I’ve always thought of him as an amazing teacher, leader. I’ve always tried emulate some of the things he’s taught through the years.”

A star guard with the Blue Devils from 1983-87, the 52-year-old Amaker felt he could take Harvard to a successful level that’s led to five Ivy League titles in the past six seasons.

“We always thought if we could build our basketball program to go along with the things that happen at Harvard, we would feel good about ourselves, and we’ve done that,” he said.

It was the third straight victory for Harvard (4-4).

Jerome Robinson led Boston College (4-4) with 25 points. A.J. Turner scored 13.

The Crimson looked dedicated to driving to the basket on most possessions from the start, collecting a number of easy looks when they shot near 60 percent in the opening minutes. It triggered a 13-2 spree that helped them open a 23-10 lead.

“The last couple of games I was encouraged of what we were doing defensively, but we took a step back,” BC coach Jim Christian said. “We’d played seven games. These guys have played a lot of minutes – bad defense is bad defense.”

The Crimson pushed their advantage to 39-21 after Bryce Aiken’s driving basket capped a 6-0 spurt.

The Eagles trailed by 19 points with just under 10 minutes to play, but made a late charge, closing the deficit to 69-60 on Robinson’s 3-pointer from the left corner.

Both teams then went nearly three minutes without a basket before Harvard closed it out.

BIG PICTURE

Harvard: The Crimson seemed to have figured out what type of team they have become after opening the season 1-3. They showed balance in a two-night span when they beat Northeastern on Tuesday and Boston College. On Tuesday, they scored only 18 points in the paint and they had 20 at halftime against the Eagles, finishing with 34.

“We’re constantly trying to preach that we set the tone and be the aggressor early,” Amaker said. “I just thought they responded very well and made the necessary plays.”

Boston College: The Eagles need to find some more consistent scoring to go along with Robinson. The 6-foot-5 sophomore guard entered the game second in the Atlantic Coast Conference, averaging 20.1 per game.

REFLECTION

“I’m very proud of that,” Amaker said of the milestone. “I’m proud of our program and our team.”

PERFECT TEST

The Crimson looked at playing consecutive nights as a warm up to how things will be in conference play, when schools mostly compete on Fridays and Saturdays.

“We approached these two back-to-back games how we’d see Ivy League play,” said point guard Siyani Chambers, who had 11 assists. “We’re trying to figure out who we are.”

SERIES

BC leads the all-time series 34-16 and had won the last two meetings after losing six straight.

The two schools first met in the 1905-06 season when Harvard won 42-6.

UP NEXT

Harvard: At Houston of the American Athletic Conference on Friday.

Boston College: Hosts Hartford from the America East Conference Friday.