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

Illinois PG expected to be ready for practice

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Illinois point guards and injuries have been an unfortunate trend over the past two seasons with Tracy Abrams, who missed the past two seasons with a torn ACL followed by a torn Achilles the next year.

On Sunday, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported some good news for an incoming Fighting Illini floor general. Te’Jon Lucas, a three-star prospect from the Class of 2016, will be fully cleared for the start of practice, according to Rothstein. In February, Lucas had broke his fibula in his right leg in two places during a game.

Lucas had committed to Illinois the previous September.

Abrams received a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA in June, and he decided to remain in Champaign for his final season. If healthy, he’ll be the starter. Jaylon Tate is also back for another season. But they are both seniors, which makes Sunday’s report important for John Groce’s program. Lucas will be on the floor Day 1 of practice, being molded for the future by two experienced guards.

The 5-foot-11 Lucas is the only true freshman on the roster.

Illinois begins the 2016-17 season on November 11, hosting Southeast Missouri State.

Xavier adds to class with three-star center

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Xavier added a fourth piece to its 2017 recruiting class on Sunday morning.

Kentravious Jones, a 6-foot-11, three-star recruit, committed to the Musketeers. He announced the decision via Twitter.

Chris Mack’s current recruiting class is headlined by four-star swingman Naji Marshall. The incoming quartet also includes guard Elias Harden and forward Jared Ridder. But Jones’ commitment fits an area that needs to be addressed for the Musketeers moving forward. Xavier isn’t particularly deep when it comes to big men. That frontcourt only gets thinner once RaShid Gaston, a graduate transfer from Norfolk State, exhausts his eligibility after this season.

Jones, along with current freshman forward Tyrique Jones, gives Xavier a young foundation for the future. Jones is an old-school, big-bodied center. He’s got a nice back-to-the-basket game, and had his best stretch of the summer during the UAA Finals. In three games with the Atlanta Xpress, he averaged 15.3 points, shot 59 percent from the field, and grabbed nine boards per game.

Conditioning will be the emphasis for him over the course of the next year. However, we have seen Xavier work well with a big, skilled centers in the past (see: Stainbrook, Matt). According to Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Jones has dropped 30 pounds.

Sunday morning’s news may not even be Xavier’s last score on the recruiting trail. The Musketeers have one scholarship remaining (two, or three if Edmond Sumner and Trevon Bluiett enter the NBA Draft this spring), and are in play for several coveted prospects like point guards Paul Scruggs, Quade Green and Matt Coleman, as well as forward Kris Wilkes.

Minnesota center to miss a month

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 7: Reggie Lynch #22 of the Illinois State Redbirds and Fred VanVleet #23 of the Wichita State Shockers fight for control of a loose ball during the MVC Basketball Tournament Semifinals at the Scottrade Center on March 7, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Minnesota’s projected starting center is sidelined, but is expected to be ready for the season opener.

Reggie Lynch, the Illinois State transfer, had surgery on his left knee, the program announced on Friday night. According to Marcus R. Fuller of the Star-Tribune, the Golden Gophers are anticipating that Lynch is available for the season opener on Nov. 11 against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The 6-foot-10 Lynch has been in the news this offseason prior to his impending debut with Minnesota. In May, he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault. On August 1, the Hennepin County attorney’s office was announced he would not face charges, citing insufficient evidence.

Lynch spent two seasons at Illinois State, averaging 9.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Redbirds as a sophomore. He sat out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Minnesota is coming off a second-to-last place finish in the Big Ten with an 8-23 (2-16 Big Ten) record.

Women’s hoops coaches boycotting recruiting events

DENVER, CO - MARCH 31:  Head coach Muffet McGraw of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish directs her team during practice prior to the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Final Four at Pepsi Center on March 31, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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For some high-major women’s basketball programs, the final evaluation period of 2016 is being used as a vacation from the recruiting trail.

According to a report from Lindsay Schnell of Sports Illustrated, are not attending events during this weekend’s recruiting period for a host of reasons.

First, many are fed up with the price of tournament packets, booklets of rosters that college coaches receive upon paying their entry fee. Packets are supposed to be chock-full of contact information for the prospects, but sometimes aren’t accurate or up-to-date. (This has become a well-documented issue on the men’s side of college hoops. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish wrote on it this summer.) Furthermore, there are so many events now that college coaches are often forced to pay obscene amounts of money to watch just one player at a single event, and play recruiting hopscotch around the country, criss-crossing the nation to see so many events and spend thousands of dollars. One Power Five coach said her staff crunched the numbers, and found that in just two years, they’ve spent more than $4,000 more than they did in 2014 on packets alone. Another coach told a story of sending an assistant across the country for one day, to one event, to watch one team. When the assistant arrived, the team had left early for its next event. No refund was available for the college that had paid what turned out to be a useless entry fee. The head coach called it “exasperating.”

Jeff Borzello of ESPN, who spoke to Notre Dame head coach and eventual Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw for his report, estimated that the cost for one of the coaches packets — the ones that include player contact information, rosters, etc. — can cost each school an average of $600 per event.

This era of grassroots basketball has taken off in recent years with Nike, Under Armour and adidas all creating their own sponsored leagues. All three run exceptional events from the staff to the facilities, all the way to the three, free meals a day for coaches. Organizers of these events will argue that there’s a cost to running such high-end events. These packets, some of which are so in-depth they include players’ GPAs, help fund these tournaments (events, paying a staff, etc.).

Coaches, mostly mid to low-major coaches, will argue that these packets aren’t worth the cost, considering that every coach (head and assistant) must purchase them in order to gain entrance. And you will find packets where the information inside is either inaccurate, or missing or both. For elite programs, this isn’t an issue. You show up, you’re seen, you leave, you go to the next event, repeat. For mid to low-major coaches, this really puts a dent in their budget, especially when they have to travel to multiple events (buying packets at each one) because you have to land that “steal,” you have to find that player who is overlooked.

This protest, or boycott (or whatever you want to call it) will hurt those these events are intended to help the most: the players. If coaches continue to avoid these tournaments, that late-bloomer may miss out on a scholarship, or that player with mid-major offers won’t get the chance to play in front of high-major coaches.

According to Schnell, there is a proposal, voted on in April, to eliminate a live recruiting period in April and September. But many coaches in women’s basketball have made it clear this weekend how they feel about the issue.

USC lands commitment from three-star center

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USC added to its 2017 recruiting class with a commitment from a 7-foot big man.

Andy Enfield and the Trojans beat out Florida, Vanderbilt and Tennessee for the services of Calvary Christian Academy (Florida) center Victor Uyaelunmo. He announced his college decision on Friday afternoon.

“It was the best fit for me academically and athletically,” Uyaelunmo said according to David Furones of the Sun Sentinel. “The basketball coaches really wanted me to come, and I thought it was the best place for me.

“They told me how they were going to use me, and they have a couple of guys leaving this year, so I just fit in right.”

Uyaelunmo is regarded as a three-star prospect by Rivals, however, ESPN rates him a four-star recruit. He joins a two-man class which includes four-star forward Jordan Usher.

The departure of Nikola Jovanovic, the Trojans’ leading rebounder during the 2015-16, was a surprising one, and one that left USC with a hole in the middle. While Uyaelunmo still has one more year before arriving on the Los Angeles campus, the Trojans have a promising piece in the paint for the future; a long, athletic big man who has the potential, in time, to become one of the nation’s top shot blockers.

Uyaelunmo played for Nike South Beach in the EYBL this spring and summer. In 12 appearances, he averaged 5.0 points. 5.9 rebounds and 1.0 block in 17.6 minutes per game.