SMU and Tulsa kicked off conference play in an ugly game with a wild finish.
The final was 48-47, but the Mustangs used a 25-6 run to turn a 17 point deficit into a 42-40 lead with just over five minutes left in the game. But Tulsa’s Pat Swilling Jr. buried a three with 3.8 seconds left on the clock for the Golden Hurricane.
The result itself wasn’t all that important, however, as Tulsa and SMU are both middle of the pack teams in a Conference USA that is as bad as it’s been in a long time.
What was significant was that the student managed to notch a win against the teacher. Danny Manning was the Most Outstanding Player of the 1988 Final Four when he won a title on Larry Brown’s Kansas team. It was just the second time that an MOP went up against his former coach; the last time was in 1950. The pupil, Howie Dallmar, also led Penn to a victory over former coach Everett Dean and his alma mater, Stanford.
“I was looking forward to it, to be honest with you,” Manning said after the game. “This has nothing to do with SMU and Tulsa right now – I knew how many guys that played for Coach Brown were coming back. I knew I’d get a chance to see a lot of familiar faces, which is nice.”
“I spoke with Coach Brown really briefly after shootaround, and saw a couple of guys on his staff. There were a lot of hugs and a lot of love before and after the game, but during the game, the competitive juices flow.”
The two shared an embrace after the game.
When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.
LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.
Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).
All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.
The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.
Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.