Late Night Snacks: No. 6 Kansas hangs on and Colorado fails to bounce back

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Games of the Day

1. No. 6 Kansas 69, Temple 62
The Owls turned the ball over just three times at Allen Fieldhouse but that wasn’t enough to take down the Jayhawks. The reason why: they shot 30.7% from the field, with Kansas big man Jeff Withey serving as a major deterrent in the paint. Khalif Wyatt led all scorers with 26 points while Kevin Young led three Jayhawks in double figures with 16 (and grabbed ten rebounds).

2. Wichita State 69, Bradley 63
Cleanthony Early scored 24 points and grabbed four rebounds to lead the Shockers to the win in Peoria. Dyricus Simms-Edwards and Walt Lemon Jr. scored 15 points apiece to lead the Braves but that wasn’t enough in a matchup of teams that entered Sunday 2-0 in Missouri Valley play. Now 14-1 on the season (3-0 MVC), Wichita State has done a lot more than simply tread water while dealing with their injury issues.

3. Tulsa 48, SMU 47
The only reason why this game is here is because a Pat Swilling Jr. three-pointer with 3.8 seconds remaining determined the outcome. Offensively the matchup of teacher (Larry Brown) and student (Danny Manning) was ugly, with the two teams combining to shoot 8-of-41 from deep. But the Mustangs didn’t find Swilling Jr. in the first half when they played zone (five three-pointers)  and they allowed him to shake free on a baseline out of bounds play for the game-winner. Swilling Jr. led all scorers with 18 points and Jalen Jones paced the Mustangs with 15.

Important Outcomes 

1. Arizona State 65, Colorado 56 
The question regarding Colorado was how they would bounce back from Thursday’s defeat at No. 3 Arizona and they looked good in the beginning as they jumped out to a 13-2 lead. But Herb Sendek’s Sun Devils refused to wild, methodically fighting their way back into the game and ultimately beating the Buffaloes to move to 2-0 in Pac-12 play. Jahii Carson made just one field goal on the night but his teammates picked up the slack, with Carrick Felix scoring a game-high 20 points and Jordan Bachynski tallying 16 points, seven rebounds and nine blocked shots. Now 0-2 in league play, Colorado faces a very important weekend at home with the LA schools (USC and UCLA) visiting Boulder.

2. Virginia 61, North Carolina 52
Well, Reggie Bullock returned for North Carolina and looked good as he scored 22 points. But the other Tar Heels didn’t fare so well, shooting a combined 12-of-42 from the field in the loss in Charlottesville. Joe Harris was the lone Cavalier in double figures with 19 points but the biggest news for UVA (besides the win of course) was the return of point guard Jontel Evans. Evans, who missed the last four games due to the re-aggravation of an injury to his right foot, played 21 minutes off the bench and finished with eight points and six assists.

3. Oregon 79, Oregon State 66
Freshman Damyean Dotson scored 15 of his career-high 21 points in the first half and senior guard Johnathan Loyd gave Oregon a boost off the bench in the second half to push the Ducks past their in-state rival in Corvallis. Ahmad Starks led Oregon State with 21 points but it wasn’t enough to keep up with Dana Altman’s group in the second half, as Oregon scored 51 points in the final 20 minutes.

Starred

1. G Kenny Boynton (Florida) 
Entering Sunday’s game the senior guard shot 7-of-39 from beyond the arc in Florida’s last six games. Against Yale Boynton got out of his slump in a big way, shooting 8-of-10 from deep and scoring a game-high 28 points.

2. G Trey Burke (Michigan) 
It’s time for Burke to get more National Player of the Year pub. The sophomore finished with 19 points (7-of-10 FG), 12 assists and just one turnover in No. 2 Michigan’s 95-67 win over Iowa.

3. C Jordan Bachynski (Arizona State) 
Jeff Withey wasn’t the only 7-footer to tally nine blocks on Sunday, as Bachynski did so while also accounting for 16 points and seven rebounds in Arizona State’s 65-56 win over Colorado. Bachynski has been one of the most improved players in the country for the 13-2 Sun Devils.

Struggled

1. Tulsa and SMU from beyond the arc
Obviously there are marksmanship issues when a game finishes 48-47. But the two teams combined to shoot 8-of-41 from three, with the Golden Hurricane accounting for all eight makes (SMU was 0-of-13). At least SMU shot 17-of-20 from the foul line.

2. G Michael Carter-Williams (Syracuse) 
Carter-Williams did not have one of his best days at the office in Syracuse’s 55-44 win over South Florida, shooting 1-of-13 from the field. Good news for the Orange is that Brandon Triche scored 20 and James Southerland added 17, and to his credit Carter-Williams tallied nine rebounds, five assists and four steals.

3. Grambling State
The Tigers dropped to 0-12 on the season with an 82-43 home loss to Southern. And with Mississippi Valley State picking up its first win of the season (79-68 over Alabama A&M) the Tigers are one of two teams still searching for their first victory. The other is Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Three Facts 

1. While Austin Hollins’ marksmanship from deep (hitting five straight three-pointers in the second half) stole the show in No. 9 Minnesota’s win over Northwestern there was also a milestone. Rodney Williams became the 38th player in school history to score 1,000 points, finishing the game with nine points (1,005 for his career).

2. Siena’s 11-game losing streak is the program’s longest since losing 15 in a row to end the 1995-96 season. Rider, in beating Siena 72-53, swept the season series for the first time (the Broncs joined the MAAC in 1997).

3. With their 95-67 win over Iowa, No. 2 Michigan moved to 15-0 on the season. That’s their best start since the 1985-86 team won its first 16 games on its way to a 28-5 record and a Big Ten regular season title.

Top 25 Scores

No. 2 Michigan 95, Iowa 67
No. 6 Kansas 69, Temple 62
No. 7 Syracuse 55, South Florida 44
No. 9 Minnesota 69, Northwestern 51
No. 13 Florida 79, Yale 58

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

Memphis to recruit in style with new souped-up van

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Traveling during live recruiting periods isn’t the most enjoyable process for college basketball coaches, with many having to work their way through airports and car rental lines in order to keep tabs on players they’re recruiting. For the programs at the top of the sport a private plane may be available, which certainly helps.

In the case of Penny Hardaway’s Memphis program, the coaching staff will be hitting the road in style as he showed off a new, souped-up van via his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon.

Notice the “One Cent” logo in the headrests, making it clear whose van it is and what Hardaway’s accomplished in the game of basketball as a player. For those too young to be intimately familiar with his playing career, Hardaway’s work with the Bluff City Legends (named Team Penny when he was in charge) on the Nike EYBL circuit and at Memphis East HS will likely register.

Since Hardaway’s hiring he and his staff, which includes assistants Tony Madlock and two-time NBA champion Mike Miller, have made Memphis a player on the recruiting trail. Will the van reel in top prospects? Maybe, maybe not. But there’s no denying the fact that Hardaway and his staff have already managed to connect in a way that the prior coaching staff was unable to.

Now we wait for the anonymous complaint from another athletic department to the NCAA about Hardaway and Memphis having this van, because that’s generally the way in which these things work.

NABC sends out talking points ahead of Rice Commission announcement

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Wednesday morning the NCAA will announced the recommendations of the Rice Commission, which is headed by former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. The commission was formed in the aftermath of the FBI’s September arrest of ten individuals in connection with an investigation into corruption and bribes in college basketball recruiting back, with the stated goal being to introduce reforms that would “clean up” the sport.

NBC Sports obtained an email the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) sent out to its members in preparation for Wednesday’s announcement. In the email, the NABC provided “talking points” while also encouraging coaches to support the Rice Commission’s findings — whether they agree with them or not.

“In short, it is imperative that the Commission’s recommendations be met with unequivocal support from each of us. The NABC Board of Directors affirmed the necessity of this unified response on a conference call earlier today,” the statement sent out by the NABC read.

The key talking points are:

  • Change was necessary, and we knew change was coming. As coaches on the front lines, we are uniquely positioned to offer valuable insight as the Commission’s recommendations progress through the legislative process;
  • As coaches, we are committed to working with the NCAA in evaluating the recommendations and will provide appropriate input as legislation is drafted;
  • We are appreciative of the Commission’s efforts to address necessary change, and for welcoming the input of the NABC.

The Rice Commission’s recommendations are highly anticipated in college basketball circles, and it remains to be seen just how quickly the NCAA would go about implementing them. One topic that’s bound to be discussed is the “one and done” player, but it once again must be noted that this is something controlled by the NBA and its Players Association (via the collective bargaining agreement). There’s also the connection with shoe companies, which became an even bigger point of conversation in the aftermath of the FBI arrest.

Hearing what coaches have to say about the Rice Commission’s findings would have been interesting. But with the NABC looking to present a unified front, there may not be much to take from what the coaches say in the aftermath of Wednesday’s announcement.

Kansas made no written report of its athletics review

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas did not produce any written reports of an independent examination of its athletics department amid a federal investigation of corruption in college basketball because an external report wasn’t necessary, Chancellor Douglas Girod said.

The university review came before Kansas was named earlier this month as one of the schools where a former Adidas representative allegedly arranged payments to parents of athletes to ensure the athletes committed to the schools.

Girold said Monday he was given verbal briefings after last fall’s review but he didn’t receive any written reports. The university’s review was prompted by an Oct. 11 memo from the NCAA requiring Division I basketball programs to examine their men’s basketball programs “for possible NCAA rules violations, including violations related to offers, inducements, agents, extra benefits, and other similar issues.”

On April 13, Girod said in a statement that he had “complete confidence” that the athletics department had followed all rules.

“We didn’t feel the need to release an external report,” Girod said. “What we needed to be sure of is that we are comfortable and confident in the way our team operates and in meeting any and every requirement necessary.”

When The Lawrence Journal-World filed an open records request seeking all written reports related to the review Kansas officials said no such records exist. The newspaper said without a written report it was difficult to determine what the university examined and what methods were used.

Kansas hired an outside law firm but said the firm only provided assistance on technical matters.

Girod said Monday the examination reviewed several records to determine whether there is anything the university should be concerned about and found nothing.

The latest federal indictment in the wider investigation alleges that a former Adidas executive paid a mother and a guardian of two basketball players at least $130,000 to ensure they would play for the Jayhawks. No Kansas officials were implicated.

“We have gone back to look at anything we have access to, and we can’t find any evidence of that,” Girod said. “But we don’t have access to everything. That is all we really can do — make sure that on our side of the house we are doing everything appropriately and properly.”

Milwaukee to lose top three scorers to transfer

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Milwaukee announced this week that the three leading scorers off of last season’s fifth-place Horizon League team have been given their release to transfer out of the program.

Jeremiah Bell (14.1 ppg) and Brock Stull (13.4 ppg), both junior guards, as well as sophomore forward Bryce Nze (10.3 ppg) will all pursue other opportunities, which is trouble for a program with a coach that just finished his first season and a roster that finished below .500 on the season.

“Our staff wishes this group of players nothing but the best,” coach Pat Baldwin said in the statement. “We never like to see players leave, but each student-athlete has a unique set of circumstances and feels what is best for them is somewhere else. As they all wish to pursue options at the high-major level, we do want to thank them for their contributions to the Milwaukee basketball program.”

Commission to unveil ideas to fix college basketball’s woes

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — College basketball played an entire season amid a federal corruption investigation that magnified long-simmering troubles within the sport, from shady agent dealings to concerns over athletes who’d rather go straight to the pros.

Now it’s time to hear new ideas on how to fix the complex, wide-ranging problems.

On Wednesday morning, the commission headed by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will present its proposed reforms to university presidents of the NCAA Board of Governors and the Division I Board of Directors at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis. And that starts what could be a complicated process in getting changes adopted and implemented for next season.

“I expect the proposals will be strong,” NCAA president Mark Emmert told The Associated Press. “They’ll certainly break with the status quo. That’s their charge and their mission. That’s what we need.

“I think it’s going to be a very good day for college sports,” he said.

That would be welcome, considering there has been no shortage of bad days in recent months.

The Commission on College Basketball formed in October , a few weeks after federal prosecutors announced they had charged 10 men — including assistant coaches at Arizona, Auburn, USC and Oklahoma State along with a top Adidas executive — in a fraud and bribery scandal.

The case involves hundreds of thousands of dollars in alleged bribes and kickbacks designed to influence recruits on choosing a school, agent or apparel company. And it has entangled schools such as Kansas, North Carolina State , Louisville and Miami , among others, though prosecutors withdrew a criminal complaint in Feburary against one of the defendants, a youth hoops program director.

Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford said that case has put college sports in the position of reacting instead of proactively heading off yet-to-emerge problems.

“Sometimes unfortunately that’s what it takes,” Swofford told the AP. “You’d like to think that collectively the basketball world could’ve seen this coming and had the foresight to get out ahead of it. But that’s not reality. Organizations and people, we all sometimes need wake-up calls. And I see this as a wake-up call, and therefore an opportunity.”

One the Rice commission wants to seize.

It was charged with finding ways to reform and modernize rules, including looking at the NCAA’s relationship with the NBA, youth leagues, apparel companies and agents. It was also set to review an enforcement process that frequently takes years to resolve complicated cases of potentially major rules violations.

The commission features several prominent names in the sport, including former NBA stars Grant Hill and David Robinson, former Georgetown coach John Thompson III, retired college coach Mike Montgomery and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith.

“The stage is set, certainly, given what’s happened with law enforcement and what we’ve seen in media reports around men’s basketball at the collegiate level,” Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey told the AP. “You involve Condoleezza Rice because you want an impactful outcome.”

After Rice presents Wednesday morning, the boards will meet to consider adopting the commission’s recommendations, either fully or in part. The next stop would be the Division I Council, a group mostly made up of athletic directors, to craft legislation for implementation.

Emmert said the council is already forming subgroups to deal with the targeted areas the commission is expected to address, with the goal of having legislation ready to be presented by August in time for next season.

Swofford, for one, said he’d prefer to end the one-and-done model of top NBA prospects arriving in college for one-year pit stops before turning professional, though that would also take agreement from the NBA. Swofford prefers a model similar to baseball by allowing high schoolers to go straight to the pros but require players who enter college to spend two years there.

He’d also like to see the NBA-run G League become a stronger developmental option for athletes who don’t want to come to college, a path recently chosen by former Syracuse recruit and McDonald’s All-American Darius Bazley.

Regardless, Swofford said, changes must be broad-based because “I don’t think there’s a silver bullet here” to fix everything. And he expects the commission to offer “substantive” findings.

“If we can’t react to something like this in a way that brings significant improvement to the system and to what we’re doing, shame on us,” Swofford said.