Late Night Snacks: ‘The Day That No Ranked Teams Played’ Edition

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Get ready kids. The top five teams in the nation – Indiana, Duke, Michigan, Syracuse, and Louisville – are all in action on Saturday. There will be 20 of the top 25 in action on Saturday, including a great match up of two unbeaten teams: No. 13 Illinois at No. 10 Gonzaga. Both teams are 9-0.

Game of the Night

Fairleigh Dickinson 82, Lafayette 80: Sidney Sanders, Jr. scored on a last-second tip-in to lift Knights over the Leopards and climbing back to .500 at 4-4. Fairleigh Dickinson also had a 14-point lead in the first half and nine with under four to go. A 12-3 Lafayette run late in the game set up the dramatic finish. Two weeks ago, Fairleigh Dickinson had a game-winning bucket in the last seconds, also featured on Late Night Snacks. Might be a more exciting team than you think.

Marist 62, Manhattan 58: The Red Foxes almost gave this one away. After Jay Bowie’s 3-pointer tied the game up with 1:41 left, Chavaugh Lewis and Isaiah Norton could only make one of two free throws each, leaving the door open for the Jasper. However, Manhattan coughed the ball up with a second remaining. Devin Price was fouled and sunk a pair of free throws.

Important Outcomes

UConn 57, Harvard 49: Shabazz Napier entered the game averaging 18.6 points per game, but didn’t score until 7:41 remaining in the game. Didn’t matter because DeAndre Daniels carried the load with a career-high 23 points. Napier did well in other facets of the game with seven rebounds and nine assists. UConn bounces back from a loss to N.C. State on Tuesday and has three more non-conference games before Big East play starts.

VCU 83, Old Dominion 70: Havoc has won three straight after losing a pair of games in the Bahamas. VCU now has a week off and gets to take on 6-2 Alabama next Saturday, looking for another nice win in out of conference play.

Iowa 80, Iowa State 71: Iowa used an 8-0 run to start the second half to take control against their in-state rival. Aaron White led the way for the Hawkeyes with 18 points and seven rebounds. After getting blown out by Virginia Tech, Iowa, who is undefeated at have one three straight.

Starred

DeAndre Daniels, UConn: Daniels converted on his first five shots, carrying the Huskies’ offense to a 15-2 start. He added some crucial buckets when Harvard made it a one-point game in the second half. More importantly, he did this in a game when Shabazz Napier’s shots were not falling.

South Carolina three ball: The Gamecocks shot an incredible, 10-for-16 (63 percent) from behind the arc, which was eight percent better than South Carolina’s total field goal percentage. Brenton Williams did most of the damage with four 3-pointers on five attempts, while Brian Richardson came off the bench going 4-for-4 from deep. South Carolina won 91-74

Casey Coons, Taylor University: According to Matt Norlander of CBSSports.com, Coons scored the tenth point for the fourth time in his career at Taylor University’s annual “Silent Night” game. Must be a great feeling. Don’t understand? Click this link.

Struggled

Harvard second half shooting: The Crimson dug themselves into a whole early, down 15-2. Once the offense got going, Harvard started finding open shooters. Harvard connected on five 3-pointers to get within three heading into halftime. The Crimson would not hit from deep the rest of the night.

Jacksonville first half defense: The Dolphins gave up 57 first half points to South Carolina, en route to a 91-74 loss. The Gamecocks shot 55 percent from the field for the game. Jacksonville had no answer for the South Carolina perimeter shooting.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Anthony Grant to replace Archie Miller at Dayton

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Dayton has hired Anthony Grant to replace Archie Miller as head coach, the program announced on Thursday.

“Anthony Grant is a proven winner with the highest integrity,” Athletic Director Neil Sullivan said. “He has successful experience in coaching, recruiting and playing basketball at an elite level. I welcome Anthony to our staff and look forward to partnering with him as we continue to aggressively pursue graduating student-athletes, winning conference championships and advancing in the NCAA tournament. He is absolutely the right coach.”

Grant is a Dayton alum. He spent 12 years as Billy Donovan’s assistant coach before finally landing a head coaching gig at VCU. After three seasons with the Rams, he took over at Alabama, where he was fired in 2015.

Grant has spent the last two years with Donovan as an assistant with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“I am honored and humbled to be the head coach at the University of Dayton,” Grant said. “It’s a great responsibility to take over at an institution that is so well-respected. Anyone you talk to in college basketball would say our program is a successful one, but the potential is here for so much more.”

North Carolina ‘repeals’ HB2 to satisfy NCAA, anti-LGBTQ discrimination remains legal

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Late on Wednesday night, literally hours before an NCAA-imposed deadline that would have prevented the state of North Carolina from hosting any and all NCAA tournament events until at least 2022, the lawmakers in the state announced that they have reached an agreement to repeal House Bill 2, a discriminatory law that is commonly known as the bathroom bill.

The question now is whether or not this repeal will be enough to satisfy the NCAA, who was one of a handful of businesses that pulled out of the state due to HB2. According to the AP, more than $3.7 billion in revenue will be lost over the next decade as a result.

The issue with HB2 isn’t just that it makes it illegal for transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify as. That gets the headlines, but the real damage done by this law is that it curbs legal protections for the LGBTQ community by banning local governments from passing laws to make discrimination illegal for at least three years.

From the New York Times:

Gay rights advocates were harshly critical of the bill. Cathryn Oakley, senior legislative counsel for the Human Rights Campaign, said that the compromise would leave lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people with no statewide anti-discrimination ordinance and no ability to seek such protections from local government for a number of years.

“What that means for the L.G.B.T. community is that we continue to be boxed out of nondiscrimination protections,” she said.

Chris Sgro, executive director of the gay rights group Equality North Carolina, said that the proposal “keeps North Carolina as the only state in the country obsessed with where trans people use the restroom through law.”

From the Charlotte Observer:

“The rumored HB2 ‘deal’ does nothing more than double-down on discrimination and would ensure North Carolina remains the worst state in the nation for LGBTQ people,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “The consequences of this hateful law will only continue without full repeal of HB2. Sellouts cave under pressure. Leaders fight for what’s right.”

The NCAA had pulled first and second round games from Greensboro for this year’s tournament, instead allowing Greenville, South Carolina, to host the games. That’s significant because the NCAA, in 2002, pulled all events from that state because they flew the confederate flag on the statehouse grounds. The flag came down in 2015, and the NCAA rewarded the state with games; it’s hard not to see that as a statement to North Carolina.

In this year’s tournament, No. 2 seed Duke lost a game to No. 7 seed South Carolina in a game that was played in South Carolina instead of in North Carolina. The location wasn’t the only reason Duke lost that game, but you’ll have trouble convincing me that quasi-home court environment didn’t play a role.

Report: Texas’ Jones to test NBA possibility

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Both of Texas’ McDonald’s All-Americans from its 2016 class will test the NBA waters.

Andrew Jones will declare for the draft, but will not hire an agent, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

The 6-foot-4 guard joins Jarrett Allen, the Longhorns’ star center, in utilizing the rule change that became available to players last year in which they can declare, workout for teams, attend the NBA combine and still return to school.

Jones averaged 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a freshman. He shot 42.5 percent from the field overall and 32.8 percent from 3-point range.

Allen seems the likelier candidate to remain in the draft as a potential lottery pick, but Jones came to Austin with similar one-and-done possibilities given his status as one of the class’ top recruits.

Texas, of course, is hoping both return, not just because they’re both big talents, but because incoming and highly-touted recruit Matt Coleman fills the major hole in last year’s lineup – point guard. If the three of them can share the floor together, Year 3 of the Shaka Smart era will be much more interesting.

Morrow announces transfer from Nebraska

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Nebraska was once again hit with a surprising and damaging transfer.

Ed Morrow, Jr., who led the Huskers in rebounding last year, announced his intention to transfer, the school announced Wednesday.

“I support Ed in his decision to transfer schools and wish him well,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said in a statement. “We appreciate his hard work over the last two years. Although I am disappointed, we will continue to recruit young men who are committed to our mission of building Nebraska Basketball with a culture of success in all areas…life, school and winning basketball at its highest level.”

The 6-foot-7 sophomore’s departure is a major hit to the Huskers, who are coming off a 12-19 year in which Miles’ job security was called into question. It almost assuredly will be again this year as Nebraska hasn’t been able to build on its 2014 NCAA tournament appearance, instead putting together three-straight losing seasons.

Morrow’s decision is surprising not only given he’d been a productive member of the team – averaging 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game – but because he was born in Nebraska before attending high school in Chicago and both his parents were Nebraska student-athletes his father winning a national title on the football team in 1994 and his mother an all-Big Eight performer on the basketball team.

“I want to say thank you to my teammates, coaches, the fans and the University of Nebraska athletics department for giving me the opportunity to play Division I basketball,” Morrow said in a statement. “It is hard to leave home, and Nebraska is my home. I was born and raised here, it is my parents’ alma mater, and I have a lot of friends here. But sometimes you have to venture out to pursue dreams and aspirations in a career. This is a sacrifice I have to make to better myself.”

Morrow’s transfer comes a year after Andrew White surprised Nebraska with his decision to graduate and transfer to Syracuse, which no doubt impacted the Huskers’ poor 2016-17 record.

Miles was on the hot seat at the end of last season and will assuredly begin this season there as well. A roster hit like Morrow won’t do much to help him improve the situation. Nebraska does, however, have three starters returning while Georgetown transfer Isaac Copeland is eligible, as is Miami (Fla.) transfer James Palmer, Jr.

Lonzo Ball says “I’m better than” Markelle Fultz

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Usually, it’s LaVar Ball that makes news for what he says.

His eldest son is now getting in on the business of generating headlines with something other than his play.

The UCLA star, who said he’ll enter the draft after just one season with the Bruins, claimed he’s the better prospect than Washington freshman Markelle Fultz, who many have pegged as the No. 1 pick in June’s draft.

“Markelle’s a great player,” Ball said, according to ESPN, “but I feel I’m better than him,” “I think I can lead a team better than him. Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him.”

Not exactly inflammatory stuff – like saying you could have beaten Michael Jordan, that you want a $1 billion apparel deal or a number of things his father has said – bu Ball is certainly projecting confidence. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. There’s quite a bit of money – and pride – at stake with the draft, and Ball put up a season worthy of comparison to Fultz, who had great numbers but played for an abysmal Washington team. Ball, on the other had, had strong numbers while leading UCLA to the Sweet 16.

Both are going to go at the top of a draft that’s stocked full of promising point guards. Which player goes before the other remains to be seen, but it’s likely public pronouncements aren’t going to affect the draft order.