Prairie View A&M v UCLA

Do you regret coming to UCLA? Tony Parker: ‘No comment’

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Things haven’t been easy for Tony Parker as he adjusts to life on the west coast.

He’s 3,000 miles away from his family. He’s learning how to be a college student at the same time that he’s learning how to be a college basketball player. And he’s trying to learn how to be a college basketball player while watching the other three members of UCLA’s vaunted freshmen class thrive while he struggles for minutes battling through injuries.

He tore his hamstring the first practice back in July. He battled back spasms during UCLA’s trip to New York, something that hasn’t completely gone away this season. He sprained his ankle stepping on a basketball during warmups against Cal St. Northridge, the first game for the Bruins after Josh Smith left the team. That forced him out of that game and a game against San Diego State. He’s also missed practice time with migraines.

The injuries on their own are frustrating enough; now factor in that he’s been forced to sit out practices, which takes away from: a) his understanding of the UCLA system, b) his timing and comfort on the court, and c) his cohesiveness playing with the rest of the team.

All in all, it’s been anything but a dream season for Parker.

And based on this story from Peter Yoon of ESPN Los Angeles, it looks like Parker is seriously considering transferring out of the UCLA program after the season:

It remains to be seen if he will. Parker indicated that after the season, he would weigh his options as far as returning to UCLA.

“I don’t know yet,” Parker said. “I have to talk to my parents and see what they say.”

Asked if he regretted coming to UCLA, Parker said, “No comment.”

Parker made it clear, however, that his discontent is not due to some perceived rift between him and Howland. A Georgia native, who is 3,000 miles from home, Parker said a large part of his unhappiness stems from homesickness after his first holiday season away from his family.

His health issues are also to blame, he said, and he fully understands that he’s behind because of them and that he and Howland have a good player-coach relationship.

“He’s coaching me and making me get better,” Parker said. “He’s a good coach. He’s a good person. I don’t think he’s pushing me out at all. It’s just a learning process, and I just have to keep working.”

Will Parker be the next highly-touted recruit to transfer out of Westwood?

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

No. 14 West Virginia takes care of No. 15 Baylor

West Virginia forward Devin Williams (41) dunks the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor, Saturday, Feb, 6, 2016, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)
AP Photo/Raymond Thompson
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Not exactly noted for their ability to knock down shots from the perimeter, No. 14 West Virginia grabbed sole possession of first place in the Big 12 thanks in part to their perimeter shooting. The Mountaineers shot 7-for-14 from three and 49.1 percent from the field in a 80-69 win over No. 15 Baylor that wasn’t as close as the final margin would lead one to believe.

Bob Huggins’ team led by as much as 19 in the second half, and the way in which they did it is what makes the win so impressive. “Press Virginia” yielded just ten Baylor turnovers, but that low number didn’t matter much thanks to West Virginia’s execution offensively.

They found quality looks against Baylor’s 1-1-3 zone in the first half and made them at a good clip, forcing Scott Drew to switch to man-to-man. That change didn’t do much to slow down West Virginia either, as Daxter Miles Jr. scored 20 points and sixth man Jaysean Paige added 17 off the bench. And with Devin Williams chipping in with 16 points and seven boards in the post, outplaying Baylor’s Rico Gathers Sr. (five points, seven rebounds), West Virginia grabbed control of the game in the first half and did not relinquish it.

The usual formula for West Virginia offensively is to attack the offensive glass, as their offensive rebounding percentage (43 percent) is tops in the country. “Their best offense is a missed shot” is a familiar refrain heard when people discuss the Mountaineers, who entered the game shooting just over 30 percent from three.

They didn’t need to lean on those second chances as heavily as they normally do Saturday night, not only because of the improved accuracy but also the improved work in finding shots. The ball moved against the Baylor defense and so did the players, resulting in an offensive attack that proved tougher for the visiting Bears to stop that one would expect given the statistics entering the game.

West Virginia was already established as a contender in the Big 12, but thanks to their win Saturday night the Mountaineers are the current pace setters. With a showdown at No. 7 Kansas set for Tuesday night, this was a big win for Bob Huggins’ team to get. And with it coming in spite of a low turnover (forced) count, this should only help West Virginia in the confidence department moving forward.

No. 22 Indiana falls at Penn State

Penn State's Shep Garner (33) moves towards the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Indiana in State College, Pa., Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)
(AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)
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Brendan Taylor scored 24 points to lead Penn State to a 68-63 upset of No. 22 Indiana on Saturday night.

The Nittany Lions were 2-8 in Big Ten play entering the weekend. Indiana? They were 9-1 and tied for first in the conference. It’s the second loss in four games for the Hoosiers following a 7-0 start to Big Ten play, a fact made all the more concerning by the fact that their league schedule is finally about to get difficult.

The Hoosiers play No. 5 Iowa at home and No. 10 Michigan State in East Lansing next week. The following week they get No. 18 Purdue at home. In the final week of the regular season, Indiana squares off with No. 5 Iowa on the road and close the regular season with a visit from No. 4 Maryland.

That’s a lot of good teams that the Hoosiers to close out the year.

The question has been asked since Indiana’s hot start to league play: Are they for real? Did the Hoosiers really somehow turn things around defensively, or was that winning streak simply a by-product of their schedule?

The truth is that it was probably a combination of both. Calling them a fraud would be unjust — if you watched those games, there wasn’t much fluky about them; Indiana earned the Ws — but it does seem fair to say this is something of a regression to the mean.

They were going to slip up eventually.

And it will totally be forgotten if the Hoosiers can find a way to close the regular season with a winning record in their final seven games.