Jamaal Franklin, Dexter Ellington

San Diego State has a technical problem

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We’re seven games into the season, and while Steve Fisher has led the Aztecs to a record good enough to be ranked in the top 25, he’s also watched his team amass as many technical fouls as they have wins: six.

Coming off of a season where his players had four, total, you can imagine that Fisher is nonplussed. Az-Techs, indeed. (I wish I could take credit for that, but alas, I cannot.)

One of them isn’t the player’s fault. Skylar Spencer was listed in the official score book with the wrong number against Missouri State. Unless Spencer stealthily changed his jersey prior to entering the game, the blame doesn’t fall on him.

The other five T’s?

Winston Shepard has one, Chase Tapley has one and Jamaal Franklin has three, which is one more than he had in his first two season combined. Fisher is not amused, according to Mark Ziegler:

“The more (technicals) you get, the more of a reputation you get,” Fisher said, “and the refs start looking for it.”

Jamaal Franklin, in other words.

The junior already has three technicals this season — Chase Tapley and Winston Shepard have the others — after getting one as a freshman (against UConn in the NCAA Tournament) and one as a sophomore. His most recent T came midway through the second half Monday, by official Frank Harvey III for demonstratively reacting to a non-call.

[…]

“I want his reputation to be as a good player who competes hard, but he’s needs to just play and not try to wear a referee’s shirt and a whistle.”

Franklin’s as energetic as he is talented, and he’s talented enough to come a tenth of a point away from averaging 20 points and 10 boards per game in Mountain West play last season. While he spends much of the game flying all around the court, during any break in the action, you’ll likely see Franklin flapping his gums. He’s a talker, and unfortunately, sometimes that talk ends up in the referee’s direction. And when you get a reputation for being an arguer, sometimes the smallest things will earn you a technical foul.

Ask ‘Sheed.

Fisher’s frustration? According to the story linked above, all three games that have featured a player getting a tech have been refereed by Mountain West officials.

So not only are his guys earning themselves a reputation, they are doing it with the refs that will be calling their games come conference play.

If a player gets a technical foul, Fisher immediately pulls them from the game. But unless he plans on benching that player for the rest of the game, I’m not sure how much of an effect it will have if the kid knows he’ll be getting back in eventually.

The better option?

Run ’em in practice. Run the whole team. In college, we used to have to do a drill called ’55’ when someone got T’d up. A ’55’ is sprinting the width of the court 16 times in 55 seconds. If you don’t make it, you have to run eight widths in 28 seconds. If you miss that goal, you have to run four widths in 15 seconds. No breaks in between.

If everyone on the team didn’t finish one of them in time, the whole team started over from the beginning.

Conditioning is a really good to motivate players to stop messing up.

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

Alabama upsets No. 15 Texas A&M as Aggies continue recent freefall

Alabama guard Retin Obasohan (32) scores against Texas A&M during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
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Alabama played inspired ball on both ends of the floor and held on to upset No. 15 Texas A&M 63-62 in an SEC thriller on Wednesday night. Trailing by one point with less than three seconds left, Texas A&M had a chance to tie or take the lead with senior Anthony Collins at the line for two free throws. But Collins, one of the nation’s best free-throw shooters at 92 percent on the season, missed both free throws in a heartbreaking loss for the Aggies.

The Crimson Tide controlled the glass most of the game by outrebounding the Aggies 36-29 and also forced 13 Texas A&M turnovers. The loss for Texas A&M means they’ve lost four of their last five games and four straight games in the SEC.

Retin Obasahon led Alabama (14-9, 5-6) with 16 points as he made a lot of big plays in the second half to put the team on his back. The win means the Crimson Tide have won three consecutive games and defeated four ranked opponents during the season. Riley Norris added 11 points for the Crimson Tide while Shannon Hale was also in double-figures with 10 points.

Although Texas A&M (18-6, 7-4) did better with their recent shaky 3-point defense, holding Alabama to 8-for-25 (32 percent) from distance, they were outhustled on the glass for much of the game and couldn’t overcome a slow start. Senior Jalen Jones finished with 21 points and seven rebounds while Danuel House had 12 points and Collins finished with 11.

This loss is absolutely killer for Texas A&M, as they continue to slide down the SEC standings. The recent road woes for the Aggies also continued as they’ve lost three straight away from home. The schedule doesn’t get much easier for the Aggies the next few games, either, as they travel to LSU and then host Ole Miss and Kentucky. Texas A&M is in a potential freefall right now and they went from a major contender in the SEC to a team that just needs to get back on track.

As for Alabama, this is another solid win for head coach Avery Johnson in his first season. It’s hard to say if Johnson got some scouting advice from his son Avery Johnson Jr., a redshirt guard for the Crimson Tide who played for the Aggies last season, but they’ll certainly take this tight win. Alabama is now 5-1 in one-possession games this season and there’s something to be said for that mark.

BUBBLE BANTER: Key Atlantic 10, Big East bubble games

Kelan Martin, Kyle Alexander
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This post will be updated throughout the night.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This is the win that Saint Joseph’s (KenPom: 48, RPI: 30) needed.

Entering Wednesday night, the Hawks were a paper tiger, a team with terrific computers numbers despite the fact that they hadn’t actually accomplished much of anything this season.

Well, that’s not exactly true. They are now 20-4 on the season and 10-2 in the Atlantic 10. They haven’t lost to anyone ranked outside the RPI top 50, and while that seems like it should be a simple thing to do, upsets happen all the time in college basketball. Not losing to anyone that stinks is one of the marks of a good team.

The problem, however, is that prior to their trip to Foggy Bottom on Wednesday, the best win that St. Joe’s had on the season … Princeton? At Temple? They were without an RPI top 50 win and, if you factor in Buffalo, the Hawks and three top 100 wins on their résumé.

That’s not exactly the stuff of at-large bids.

And then Wednesday happened, and the Hawks went into the Smith Center and hammered a good George Washington team by 18 points, the same GW team that went into Richmond on Saturday and handed VCU their first loss of the conference season.

It looks like nothing more than a top 50 road win on their profile, but for at least one person that was in attendance (Hi!), it was something of a statement win. I had my doubts about the group, and while the eye-test is totally subjective and probably the worst way to gauge whether or not a team is a tournament team, they certainly passed my eye-test today.

WINNERS

  • Butler (KenPom: 41, RPI; 67): The Bulldogs landed a critical win on Wednesday night, as they went into Newark and knocked off a Seton Hall team that is probably better than you realize. That’s an RPI top 50 win on the road that’s getting added to a résumé that, entering the night, had just a single top 50 win. Period. The Bulldogs still have plenty of work to do, but with their only two bad losses coming on the road against league competition and five wins against the top 100 with four coming away from Hinkle Fieldhouse, Chris Holtmann’s club has positioned themselves nicely to not only get a bid but get a solid seed as well.

LOSERS

  • Seton Hall (KenPom: 31, RPI: 37): Losing to Butler certainly doesn’t help Seton Hall’s cause, but this isn’t a bad loss. The Pirates are still without a sub-100 loss, although this does drop them to 6-7 against the RPI top 100 with a pair top 50 wins. They’re still in the tournament as of today, and probably with some room to spare.
  • George Washington (KenPom: 71, RPI: 34): There are two positives to take out of GW’s loss to Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday night: 1) The Hawks may end up being an RPI top 25 team once the numbers are crunched overnight, so this is anything but a bad loss, and 2) This 18-point drubbing will look exactly the same as a one-point loss at the buzzer in the eyes of the selection committee.

LSU (KenPom: 53, RPI: 76) at South Carolina (KenPom: 45, RPI: 28), 7:00 p.m.
Nebraska at Wisconsin (KenPom: 51, RPI: 62), 7:00 p.m.
Missouri at Vanderbilt (KenPom: 35, RPI: 58), 9:00 p.m.
No. 14 Iowa State at Texas Tech (KenPom: 59, RPI: 51), 9:00 p.m.
Michigan (KenPom: 46, RPI: 56) at Minnesota, 9:00 p.m.
Washington (KenPom: 80, RPI: 57) at Utah (KenPom: 44, RPI: 16), 9:00 p.m.
San Diego State (KenPom: 65, RPI: 47) at Fresno State, 11:00 p.m.