No. 12 Illinois 81, Auburn 79: The Illini struggled to score inside over Auburn’s sizable frontcourt, and Tiger guard Frankie Sullivan poured in 5 of 12 from deep in a game that was closer than it rightly should have been. Brandon Paul was a tad turnover-prone in this one, and scored just 13 points, but he and the Illini were bailed out by Tracy Abrams’ huge 29-point day.
North Carolina 79, No. 20 UNLV 73: Carolina still doesn’t look like the speed merchants of old, but the Tar Heels are edging closer to finding the point guard they need this season. Freshman Marcus Paige put in 34 minutes, dropped off four assists and scored 12 points in mostly half-court sets to help Carolina get back on track. P.J. Hairston showed some defensive chops with four steals, and Brice Johnson scored 12 points in 15 minutes, subbing in for a temporarily hobbled James McAdoo (leg cramps). Mike Moser’s return for UNLV was spoiled by five quick fouls that sent him right back to the bench for most of this one.
No. 1 Duke 90, Santa Clara 77: Kevin Foster saves his biggest games for Santa Clara’s toughest opponents. He scored 30 at St. Louis earlier this season, and poured in 29 in a serious upset bid in the unfriendly environs of Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Broncos raced out to a 5-0 lead to start this game, and regained the lead several times throughout an up-and-down game. In the end, Duke’s starters regained control, paced by double-doubles from Kelly and Plumlee on the front line, and 31 points from a hot-shooting Seth Curry.
It appears that De’Anthony Melton’s college career has come to an end.
The 6-foot-3 shooting guard for the USC Trojans announced on Wednesday that he will be leaving school. Melton, a sophomore, was caught up in the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball and has not played in a game this season.
“I have reached a crossroads wherein I have decided to focus on honing my strengths and improving upon my weakness for competition at the next level,” Melton said in a statement.
And athletic wing with a 6-foot-8 wingspan, Melton averaged 8.3 points, 4.7 boards, 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals as a freshman. He is considered a potential first round pick.
Old friend of the podcast Jeff Goodman joined Rob Dauster on Wednesday to walk through everything that is happening with the punishments received by Louisville as well as a breakdown of this year’s coaching carousel and the changes that could be coming down the pipeline this season. There’s a chance, with the FBI investigation looming, that this year could get crazy. They talk about just how likely that is and who could be the names that you see taking over on some of the hottest seats. The rundown:
OPEN: Louisville’s banner comes down and what they will do with their head coaching position
14:30: Arizona, Kansas and Michigan State all have smoke surrounding them. Will Bill Self, Sean Miller or Tom Izzo move? Will this year’s carousel be crazy?
19:45: Will UConn and Memphis find the money to buy out their coaches?
27:30: Search Firm! Who should ADs with coaches on the hot seat target, and who will they hire.
Iowa State’s Weiler-Babb, Young could miss rest of the season
Iowa State could play the rest of this season without Nick Weiler-Babb and Solomon Young as the school announced Tuesday that both players are dealing with knee injuries.
Weiler-Babb has been battling tendinitis in his left knee during this season as he sat out four games during the year. Although Weiler-Babb returned to play in the last two games for the Cyclones, he got another medical opinion over the weekend.
Young had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Tuesday as he’s expected to miss the next three-to-four weeks.
“It is unfortunate for Nick and Solomon because of the hard work they have put into our program,” Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm said in a statement. “We always want to do what is in the best interest of our players and their health is our top priority.”
Weiler-Babb, a 6-foot-5 junior guard, put up 11.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game for the Cyclones this week while Young, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, averaged 7.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest.
Since Iowa State is at .500 and likely won’t play in any significant postseason, these injuries will give them a chance to give some minutes to some younger and more inexperienced players. The Cyclones host TCU on Wednesday night as they still have four games left in the regular season before the Big 12 tournament begins.
Notre Dame remaining cautious as Bonzie Colson returns to practice
Notre Dame senior forward Bonzie Colson is getting closer to returning after being out since early January.
The 6-foot-6 Colson has been out with a fracture in his left foot since Jan. 2 as the Irish have struggled to a below-.500 mark in the ACC. With the Irish likely out of the NCAA tournament picture at this point in the season, head coach Mike Brey told reporters, including Tim Prister of 247 Sports, that he would exercise caution with Colson returning to practice for Notre Dame this week. Colson is slightly ahead of the eight-week projection for his return so far, but he also has a pro future to account for after this season while the Irish don’t have a bright NCAA tournament future.
Colson was hoping to make his season debut on Saturday against Wake Forest but Brey isn’t optimistic about that debut.
“He would have to really show something Thursday and Friday. I’ve got an open mind. Show me. I’ve got an open mind. But I just don’t know if that would be smart.”
Brey is hoping to gradually ease Colson back into the Notre Dame rotation so that he can earn some minutes to close out his senior season. Colson dressed for the Irish’s game against Miami on Monday night and he’s been working hard with Notre Dame’s strength and conditioning coaches.
“It would be energizing for us if Bonzie is back for at least half a practice Thursday,” Brey said. “That’s what we’re going to try. That would probably be energizing for everybody, especially for the seniors, to see him back in practice.
“But I don’t think he’s going to be ready to play (vs. Wake Forest) after two semi-days of practice. Pittsburgh’s realistic, depending upon how he reacts. That’s a positive. We need him back.”
It’s nice to see Brey exercise caution with this situation since Colson has the NBA Draft Combine to prepare for on May 16. Obviously, things haven’t gone as planned for the Irish this season, but they’ve battled a lot of injuries up and down the roster besides for Colson.
Colson does have some incentive to return as well as he’s looking to close out his college career in the best way possible while also showing pro teams that he’s healthy and active following the broken foot.
VIDEOS: Tom Izzo gets emotional on Michigan State Senior Night
Michigan State has one of the best Senior Night traditions in college basketball as its departing players kiss the center floor logo before exiting the floor for the final time.
The Spartans had plenty of time to celebrate during a beatdown of Illinois in its home finale on Tuesday night as the program sent off some notable seniors like Gavin Schilling, Ben Carter and Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn Jr.
Head coach Tom Izzo could barely keep his composure with Nairn coming off of of the floor.
Although Michigan State celebrated a big win over the Illini, there is plenty of work left to do. The Spartans are hoping to make its first Final Four run since 2015.