Stanford v North Carolina State

Late Night Snacks: A Stetson buzzer-beater, Oklahoma’s upset

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Games of the Day

Stetson 69, Florida Atlantic 68: Stetson guard Chris Perez tipped in a miss by Aaron Graham at the buzzer to give the Hatters a win over FAU. “I saw [junior] Aaron [Graham], he shot it, and the ball didn’t hit the rim,” Perez said. “My guy didn’t box me out, so my first thought was just to go rebound, and throw it up there. Thank God it went in.” The final play was set up by Greg Gantt, FAU’s star point guard, who hit a deep three to give the Owls a 68-67 lead in the final seconds.

Stephen F. Austin 56, Oklahoma 55: The Lumberjacks entered this game as the nation’s leader in defensive scoring average, and it showed, as the Sooners struggled to find a rhythm on the offensive end of the floor for much of the game. SFA led by as much as 11 in the second half, but the Sooners made a run down the stretch. They tied the game at 54 on a jumper from Steven Pledger with 2:28 left on the clock, but Hal Batemen gave the Lumberjacks the lead a minute and a half later. With four seconds left, Buddy Hield missed a finger roll — that hung on the front of the rim for what felt like a minute — but got fouled. He only made one of two free throws, however, and the Sooners lost.

The bigger question here has to do with the Big 12 as a whole? Just how good — or bad — is this league? We’ll be taking a closer look at this on Wednesday afternoon.

Important Outcomes

Miami 72, Central Florida 50: The Hurricanes jumped out to a bid lead on UCF in the first five minutes and never looked back, controlling every aspect of the game. We won’t be getting too deep into it again, but Miami looks like they might actually be the second best team in the ACC.

No. 25 NC State 88, Stanford 79: This was a nice win for the Wolfpack, as Stanford has been a bit up and down this season, but the Cardinal have a good amount of talent on their roster. I see two problems for the Wolfpack, however. The first is that they have no depth. Mark Gottfried uses, essentially, a six man rotation with Tyler Lewis getting minutes here and there when someone needs a breather. I’m not sure how long that can survive. The other issue is that CJ Leslie, who is clearly the most talented player on the roster, is currently the third best front court player that Gottfried has at his disposal. And as good as Richard Howell and TJ Warren have been, that’s not necessarily a compliment.

Starred

Kris Dunn, Providence: Making his first appearance for the Friars off the bench, Dunn — the highly-touted freshman point guard — finished with 13 assists and six boards on Tuesday night. Will chalk the 3-13 shooting up to his bum shoulder.

Victor Rudd, South Florida: Rudd finished with 16 points and 16 boards as South Florida used a 33-9 run to close out a better-than-you-think Youngstown State team. They were down 45-39 at the time.

Rodney McGruder, Kansas State: McGruder has struggled throughout the early part of the season, including a 1-9 performance in a loss at Gonzaga on Saturday, but he finished with 26 points on 12-17 shooting against Texas Southern on Tuesday night.

Struggled

Western Kentucky: 35.7% shooting. 32 turnovers. A 76-44 loss to VCU. That’s a bad night. (To be fair, they were missing their starting back court. But still. Yuck.)

Keith Appling, Michigan State: Appling finished 3-9 from the floor with six turnovers as Michigan State hung on to beat Bowling Green on the road. With Big Ten play right around the corner, Appling has to be better.

Old Dominion: ODU allowed Adjehi Baru to go 8-8 from the floor and finish with 20 points and nine boards as they dropped to 1-10 on the season with a 76-65 loss to Charleston. I thought the Monarchs were supposed to be tough in the paint?

The Rest of the Top 25

– No. 4 Arizona 89, Oral Roberts 64
– No. 7 Ohio State 65, Winthrop 55
– No. 9 Kansas 87, Richmond 59
– No. 18 San Diego State 76, Point Loma 49

Other Notable Scores

– UCLA 89, Long Beach State 70
– Western Illinois 70, Illinois-Chicago 54
– Wyoming 71, Denver 61

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.