Team of the Week: Ohio State
The Buckeyes certainly weren’t concerned with the number of people questioning whether or not they deserved to be mentioned as a contender in the Big Ten, and they did just about all that they could to prove to the country that they deserve to be mentioned alongside Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota. After going into Mackey Arena and beating a Purdue fairly soundly during the week, Ohio State put on one of the more impressive defensive performances that we’ve seen this season as they handed Michigan their first loss of the season on Sunday.
There were a lot of teams that did some impressive things this week, but I don’t think any of it was as valuable as what the Buckeyes were able to do. The Big Ten is absolutely loaded at the top of the league, and I think most have accepted the fact that Indiana and Michigan are the two most likely teams to win the conference. But the same way that Minnesota stated their case for relevancy by blowing out Illinois and storming back against the Hoosiers on the road, Ohio State did the same with their wins.
Five Teams Deserving a Shoutout
- Oregon: Oregon is in the same boat as Ohio State. After beating then-undefeated Arizona at home on Thursday night, the Ducks knocked off Arizona State late on Sunday night. Oregon is now 3-0 in the Pac-12 and just a half-game behind UCLA, who they play on Saturday night in Pauley Pavilion. That one should be fun.
- Miami: Playing without starting center Reggie Johnson, the Hurricanes went into the Dean Dome and knocked off North Carolina, following that up with a win at home over Maryland. They are now tied with NC State for first place in the ACC. And they’ve spent about a month of the season playing at 100%. This team is for real.
- Butler: I’m not sure that the Bulldogs could have imagined kicking off their tenure in the Atlantic 10 in a better way. On Wednesday, the Bulldogs went into Philly and knocked off St. Joe’s 72-66 on the strength of 28 points from Rotnei Clarke. They followed that up on Saturday with a win at Dayton in which Clarke suffered a scary neck injury and had to be taken off the court on a stretcher. That’s impressive.
- Boise State: Playing without four players — including leading scorer Derrick Marks, Boise State went to Wyoming and handed the Cowboys their first loss of the season in utterly thrilling fashion. After blowing a seven-point lead in the final two minutes, Jeff Elorriaga buried a three at the buzzer for the win. The Mountain West is going to be awesome this year.
- NC State: It doesn’t matter that Ryan Kelly was sitting out and Seth Curry spent the end of the game dealing with yet another injury. NC State still beat Duke in a game that they absolutely needed to: a) help bolster their tournament profile, and b) put them in the driver’s seat for an ACC regular season title. CJ Leslie had 25 points in the win while Richard Howell went for 16 points and 18 boards.
The Best of the Rest: Evansville, Indiana, Long Beach State, Northeastern, Ole Miss, Stephen F. Austin, UCLA, Wisconsin.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.
Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.
“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”
According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”
With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.
Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.
Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.
The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.
“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.
“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”
A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?
Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.
Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.
The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.
According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.
John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.
The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.
Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.
Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.
Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.