Loyola Michigan St Basketball

Michigan State guard Brandan Kearney has decided to transfer

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After playing a total of 13 minutes in Michigan State’s first two games of the season, sophomore guard Brandan Kearney became a more involved figure in the Spartan backcourt rotation.

Kearney played at least 12 minutes in each of the next ten games, including a career-best 29 minutes in Michigan State’s 63-60 win over Louisiana-Lafayette on November 25 (scoring ten points).

But the role that head coach Tom Izzo had in mind for Kearney didn’t mesh with what the sophomore desired, leading him to inform the program of his decision to transfer.

“I’m thankful to Michigan State and the basketball program for the opportunity they gave me,” Kearney said in a statement. “I wish them the best of luck with the rest of their season. I wish my teammates — every single one of them — all the best as individuals and as a team. I just think it’s best for me to get a fresh start and play elsewhere.”

In 13 games this season the Detroit native averaged 2.4 points and 1.5 rebounds per game, playing around 17 minutes per contest, with his field goal (29.7%) and three-point (18.8%) percentages leaving something to be desired.

According to Izzo, Kearney stated during the meeting that he was unhappy with his role and wants more opportunities on the offensive end.

“Maybe he thinks he’s a 3-point shooter, I don’t know. Maybe he thinks he’s somebody else. Usually your role is what you can do, and if he thinks he can do that somewhere else, that what he should do because I don’t want someone here who doesn’t want to be here. I’m not excited about it.”

Seems rather clear that Izzo isn’t too thrilled with this turn of events, but in all honesty the Spartans have the pieces needed to account for Kearney’s departure as they look ahead to the start of Big Ten play.

According to the story Izzo mentioned both Russell Byrd and Travis Trice in regards to who would be given more opportunities to earn minutes, and the Spartans also have freshmen Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine available on the wings.

Could Kearney’s move also mean some more time on the wing for Branden Dawson? That was another possibility broached by Izzo during his press conference, and given the sophomore’s athleticism the Spartans could benefit from him seeing time at the three in situations that have Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne on the floor at the same time.

Whatever Izzo decides to do will be on display Monday, as the Spartans open Big Ten play at No. 11 Minnesota.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Kennesaw State blows eight-point lead in 16 seconds, loses to Elon

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Kennesaw State entered Monday night at 1-6 on the season, but with 19 seconds left, it looked like the Owls have their second of the season locked up. Kendrick Ray made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to put KSU up 89-81, and all they had to do was avoid a complete meltdown to get out with a win.

They couldn’t.

A Luke Eddy layup with 16 seconds left cut the lead to six, and after KSU’s Nigel Pruitt missed two free throws, Dainan Swoope his a three with seven seconds left to make the score 89-86.

On the ensuing inbounds, Kennesaw State threw the ball away … and then proceeded to foul Eddy when he was shooting a three. This is what that disaster looked like:

Eddy would hit all three threes before, shockingly, KSU turned the ball over again. Elon could not capitalize this time, sending the game to overtime, where the Phoenix outscored the Owls 14-4.

Elon won 104-94.

Here’s what the comeback looked like on the play-by-play:

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Rick Pitino: Louisville ‘just ignored’ in top 25 due of scandal

Rick Pitino
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Louisville beatdown Saint Louis at the Barclays Center on Sunday night, a 77-57 win that was much closer at halftime than the final score might indicate.

The win moved the Cardinals to 5-0 on the season, and that, in turn, got Louisville into the back end of both top 25 polls.

They’re 24th in the AP Poll and 22nd in the Coaches Poll, but that happened on Monday morning. On Sunday night, Pitino made sure to get a rant in about how this team is viewed and why pundits and voters should overlook the scandal currently plaguing his program.

“I think people are looking at that and they’re not really studying the team,” he said, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, adding that he thinks the team is “just ignored” because of the accusations leveled by self-described madam Katina Powell in the book she published back in October.

And here’s the thing: he is 100 percent correct. Louisville was overlooked in the preseason because the scandal, when combined with the fact that the Cardinals are integrating so many new pieces into their rotation, made it tough to see how they would be able to compete at a level that we’ve come to expect out of Louisville teams.

I know that because it’s why my colleagues at NBCSports.com, against my wishes, refused to allow me to rank Louisville in the preseason top 25. In other words, I’ve had first-hand interactions with the haters. But if we’re going to be honest here, scandal or no scandal, Louisville probably wasn’t going to find their way into the preseason top 25, not when they had to replace Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell.

And scandal or no scandal, no team from outside the top 25 is going to play their way into the top 25 by beating the likes of North Florida and St. Francis (NY) without some shenanigans — like Fred VanVleet getting hurt, like Indiana collapsing, like Arizona and Cal and Notre Dame playing their way out of the top 20 — happening around the country.

So Pitino is right: the scandal probably did have an impact on how his team was viewed in the preseason.

But Pitino the scandal isn’t what kept them out of the top 25 until Monday.

That weak non-conference schedule and roster turnover was why.

And if we’re going to be honest here, it probably should have kept them out for another week.