Late Night Snacks: Trevor Mbakwe’s back, Siyani Chambers FTW!

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Game of the Night

Harvard 65, Boston U. 64: Siyani Chambers won the “Battle of the freshman point guards that should be on national TV every night”, scoring 17 of his 21 points in the second half — and adding five assists — as the Crimson knocked off the Terriers in Lavietes Pavilion. After DJ Irving scored with nine seconds left to give BU a 64-63 lead, Chambers answered with a short jumper of his own with four ticks left on the clock (end of the video):

The other point guard in that matchup was Maurice Watson, who finished with 12 points, four assists and four steals.

Important Outcomes

Duquesne 60, West Virginia 56: Fresh off of a win over previously undefeated Virginia Tech, West Virginia traveled up to Pittsburgh to take on Atlantic 10 also-ran Duquesne … and lost? Making matters worse is that the ‘Eers blew a 13 point halftime lead, getting outscored 37-20 in the final 20 minutes as they shot just 28% from the floor. Bob Huggins has a number of pieces at his disposal, but it looks like he is still trying to figure out how to get all of those pieces to fit together. Juwan Staten led the way with 13 points, but he was just 5-16 from the floor. That’s a pretty good microcosm for the kind of night that WVU had.

Starred

Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota: Each and every time Mbakwe steps on the floor, he looks like he’s getting closer to being back to 100% after he had surgery a year ago to repair a torn ACL. In a 70-57 win over North Dakota State, Mbakwe went for 14 points and 18 boards, completely dominating the paint on both ends of the floor in the second half. He also threw down a pair of tip-dunks, and while he’s still not jumping quite as high as he was before the ACL injury, that is a good sign.

Matthew Dellavedova, St. Mary’s: St. Mary’s put up a 120 points on Jackson State, so there were a lot of Gaels that had good nights, but Dellavedova led the way as he finished with 31 points, eight assists and six boards. As a team, SMC shot 61.9% from the floor and hit 13-23 from long range.

Struggled

Brandon Paul, Illinois: When Paul is good, Illinois is good. See: Gonzaga. He went for 35 points on 10-16 shooting and the Illini won in Spokane. When Paul’s not good, Illinois’ not all that good. See: Norfolk State. He went for 14 points on 3-12 shooting on Tuesday night, and the Illini only beat the Spartans 64-54 in a game that was within one possession in the final two minutes.

Halil Kanacevic, St. Joseph’s: Kanacevic hit a three with about eight minutes left against Villanova in the rivalry known as the Holy War, and made the excellent decision to flip off the crowd afterwards. The Wildcats would go on an 9-0 run to close out the game — in large part due to a pair of turnovers from Kanacevic, a pair of missed free throws by Kanacevic, and a foul on Kanacevic — as the Hawks lost a road game they had complete control of. He had four points, four boards and five turnovers on the night.

The Rest of the Top 25

No. 3 Michigan 67, Binghamton 39

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

Washington’s Thybulle returning for senior season

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Matisse Thybulle will return to Washington for his senior season after contemplating declaring for the NBA draft following a junior campaign in which he was named the Pac-12 defensive player of the year.

“The NBA is really enticing and it was definitely something that I seriously considered when the season was over,” Thybulle told the Seattle Times. “I talked it over with my family and we came to the conclusion that it would be in my best interest to stay and get my degree (in communications) and grow as a basketball player and take this last year to mature and fine tune everything so I can be fully prepared to take that next step when it’s time.”

The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 11.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game last season. He shot 44.5 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from 3-point range.

“I talked to coach (Mike Hopkins) and he gave me some good advice that was honestly something that helped in the grand scheme of things,” Thybulle said. “He told me that if I do it (enter the draft), then I should be all in because that’s what I’m going to be up against is a whole bunch of guys fighting for their lives. He thought it would be a better idea for me to stay in school until I’m at that point.”

Washington is awaiting the decision of Noah Dickerson, who declared for the draft but has not hired an agent. The 6-foot-8 averaged 15.5 points and 8.4 rebounds last season.

Koby McEwen transferring to Marquette

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Steve Wojciechowski added a significant piece to his 2019-20 team over the weekend.

Koby McEwen announced his intention to transfer to Marquette from Utah State late Sunday evening.

“I would like to thank God, my family, inner circle and all the schools/coaches that recruited me during this process!” McEwen tweeted. “With that being said, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be furthering my college career at Marquette University.”

McEwen picked the Golden Eagles over fellow finalists Creighton and Grand Canyon after he decided to transfer when the Aggies announced South Dakota coach Craig Smith was taking over the program last month. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore.

After sitting out the upcoming season, McEwen will have to years of eligibility remaining. Marquette went 21-14 last season, but missed the NCAA tournament for the third time in Wojciechowski’s four years in Milwaukee.

Minnesota adds Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis

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Minnesota has added some depth for the future.

The Golden Gophers received a pledge from Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis over the weekend, giving him a guard with two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2019-20.

Willis will sit out the upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules.

The 6-foot-4 guard played a limited role in two seasons in Nashville, never averaging more than 18. 5 minutes or 5.2 points per game. He scored in double figures in three games as a sophomore.

Willis was a top-150 prospect in the Class of 2016 coming out of Fayetteville, Ark. with offers from the likes of Tulsa, Rice and Dayton. Vandy and Minnesota were his two high-major offers.

After being ranked in the top-15, Minnesota was beset by injury and suspensions last season as they limped to the finish line in a 15-17 season that featured losses in 12 of its last 13 games.

Richard Pitino still has two available scholarships for the 2018-19 campaign.

Report: Quade Green returning to Kentucky

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John Calipari just landed a critical recruit for 2018-19, and he was already on the roster.

Quade Green, who averaged 25 minutes per game last season, is returning to Kentucky for his sophomore season, his mother told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday.

Given that six Wildcat players have entered the draft (Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hami Diallo are signing with agents), getting the 6-foot point guard back for a second season is a massive deal for Calipari and Co. The Wildcats have always been at their best under Calipari with returning players as the cornerstones of the roster with talented one-and-dones providing the extra boost. Getting one such returner at the point guard position is even more critical.

Green, who came to Kentucky as a five-star recruit last year, averaged 9.3 points and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and a respectable 37.1 percent from 3-point range, an area where Kentucky continually needs help.

With Green back in the fold, Kentucky will now await the decisions of PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt, who are all going through the pre-draft process without hiring agents, which will potentially allow them to return to school and bolster a Kentucky roster has the look of a top-five team.

CBT Podcast: NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline: Winners, losers and who has the most on the line?

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The NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline came and went on Sunday night, meaning there are now roughly 60 college players that have signed with an agent and another 100 or so that have declared for the draft while retaining their college eligibility. Who were the winners? Who were the losers? Who has the most on the line? Sam Vecenie of the Game Theory podcast joined Rob Dauster to talk through all of it. The rundown:

OPEN: What do NBA teams value in players these days?

10:00: Villanova has more on the line during this testing the water process than anyone

19:00: Just how important was De’Andre Hunter’s decision to return to Virginia

25:25: Gonzaga getting Rui and Killian Tillie back makes them a title favorite

32:10: Nevada has a top ten season on the line with the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline

36:15: #RANTALERT – The decision to turn pro is so much more complicated than “is he a first round pick”

48:30: Rapid fire: Maryland, Kansas, Syracuse, Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan. What do they have on the line?