Late Night Snacks: No. 2 Indiana and No. 14 NC State avoid upsets

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Game of the Day: No. 14 NC State 66, Clemson 62 

Three days after losing by a point at Maryland the Wolfpack bounced back with a close home victory over the Tigers. T.J. Warren led NC State with 21 points off the bench and three starters scored 11 points apiece for the Wolfpack, who remain a game behind Miami in the loss column. Clemson’s Devin Booker led all scorers with a career-high 27 points on 13-of-18 shooting.

Important Outcomes 

1. No. 2 Indiana 67, Northwestern 59 

Cody Zeller scored 21 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and Jordan Hulls added 15 as the Hoosiers held off the Wildcats in Evanston. Northwestern’s Reggie Hearn led all scorers with 22 points but the Wildcats’ 30.4% shooting from the field in the first half proved to be too much to overcome. Northwestern’s reserves outscored Indiana’s 11-6, and with their recent production in mind should Indiana be concerned about the play of its bench? Click that link for more.

2. Rider 67, Iona 62 

Kevin Baggett’s Broncs are playing their best basketball of the season currently, as they pushed their win streak to five games with a five-point win over Iona. Leading scorer Nurideen Lindsey (concussion) was forced to sit out but Tommy Pereira came to the rescue, knocking down four three-pointers and scoring a team-high 14 points to go along with five rebounds. Lamont Jones (5-of-16 FG) led four Gaels in double figures with 20 points but Iona shot 5-of-24 from three, and that percentage proved costly. Rider’s win keeps them within a game of first-place Niagara in the MAAC standings.

3. Navy 59, Army 50 

Ed DeChellis’ Midshipmen went on a 28-8 run in the first half and hung on from there, snapping a 16-game Patriot League losing streak in the first of two meetings between the long-time rivals. Worth Smith scored 16 points and Kevin “Pookie” Alter added 14 off the bench for Navy, while Ella Ellis led three Black Knights in double figures with 15. Before Sunday Navy hadn’t won a conference game since beating Colgate 75-55 on February 26, 2011.

Starred

1. F/C Cody Zeller (Indiana)

21 points (6-of-11 FG), 13 rebounds and two steals in the Hoosiers’ 67-59 win at Northwestern.

2. F Jackie Carmichael (Illinois State) 

18 points (7-of-12 FG), 14 rebounds and three blocked shots in the Redbirds’ 70-56 win at Southern Illinois. The victory is Illinois State’s first conference win of the season (1-6 Missouri Valley).

3. Northern Iowa 

The Panthers have struggled offensively at times but that certainly wasn’t the case in their 85-55 win over Drake. As a team UNI shot 60% from the field and Deon Mitchell led four starters in double figures with 20 points.

Struggled 

1. Iona 

The Gaels struggled from the field and from three in their 67-62 loss at Rider on Sunday, shooting 33.9% (19-of-56) from the field and 5-of-24 from beyond the arc.

2. F Kayel Locke (UNC Greensboro) 

Locke had a rough afternoon in the Spartans’ 69-61 loss to Furman, shooting 1-of-10 from the field and fouling out in just 21 minutes of action.

3. Drake starters not named Jordan Clarke

Remove Clarke’s 5-of-7 afternoon and the other four starters shot a combined 4-of-20 from the field. Tough to win on the road (85-55 loss at Northern Iowa) when your starters struggle like that.

Super Bowl XLVII and college basketball 

The Super Bowl will have a connection to college basketball, as Indiana head coach Tom Crean is the brother (by marriage) of head coaches Jim (49ers) and John (Ravens) Harbaugh. With the Hoosiers hosting Michigan the night before Super Bowl XLVII will he be there? Yes.

Also, NC State head coach Mark Gottfried is a cousin of the two head coaches and their sister.

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

Report: Texas’ Jones to test NBA possibility

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Both of Texas’ McDonald’s All-Americans from its 2016 class will test the NBA waters.

Andrew Jones will declare for the draft, but will not hire an agent, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

The 6-foot-4 guard joins Jarrett Allen, the Longhorns’ star center, in utilizing the rule change that became available to players last year in which they can declare, workout for teams, attend the NBA combine and still return to school.

Jones averaged 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a freshman. He shot 42.5 percent from the field overall and 32.8 percent from 3-point range.

Allen seems the likelier candidate to remain in the draft as a potential lottery pick, but Jones came to Austin with similar one-and-done possibilities given his status as one of the class’ top recruits.

Texas, of course, is hoping both return, not just because they’re both big talents, but because incoming and highly-touted recruit Matt Coleman fills the major hole in last year’s lineup – point guard. If the three of them can share the floor together, Year 3 of the Shaka Smart era will be much more interesting.

Morrow announces transfer from Nebraska

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Nebraska was once again hit with a surprising and damaging transfer.

Ed Morrow, Jr., who led the Huskers in rebounding last year, announced his intention to transfer, the school announced Wednesday.

“I support Ed in his decision to transfer schools and wish him well,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said in a statement. “We appreciate his hard work over the last two years. Although I am disappointed, we will continue to recruit young men who are committed to our mission of building Nebraska Basketball with a culture of success in all areas…life, school and winning basketball at its highest level.”

The 6-foot-7 sophomore’s departure is a major hit to the Huskers, who are coming off a 12-19 year in which Miles’ job security was called into question. It almost assuredly will be again this year as Nebraska hasn’t been able to build on its 2014 NCAA tournament appearance, instead putting together three-straight losing seasons.

Morrow’s decision is surprising not only given he’d been a productive member of the team – averaging 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game – but because he was born in Nebraska before attending high school in Chicago and both his parents were Nebraska student-athletes his father winning a national title on the football team in 1994 and his mother an all-Big Eight performer on the basketball team.

“I want to say thank you to my teammates, coaches, the fans and the University of Nebraska athletics department for giving me the opportunity to play Division I basketball,” Morrow said in a statement. “It is hard to leave home, and Nebraska is my home. I was born and raised here, it is my parents’ alma mater, and I have a lot of friends here. But sometimes you have to venture out to pursue dreams and aspirations in a career. This is a sacrifice I have to make to better myself.”

Morrow’s transfer comes a year after Andrew White surprised Nebraska with his decision to graduate and transfer to Syracuse, which no doubt impacted the Huskers’ poor 2016-17 record.

Miles was on the hot seat at the end of last season and will assuredly begin this season there as well. A roster hit like Morrow won’t do much to help him improve the situation. Nebraska does, however, have three starters returning while Georgetown transfer Isaac Copeland is eligible, as is Miami (Fla.) transfer James Palmer, Jr.

Lonzo Ball says “I’m better than” Markelle Fultz

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Usually, it’s LaVar Ball that makes news for what he says.

His eldest son is now getting in on the business of generating headlines with something other than his play.

The UCLA star, who said he’ll enter the draft after just one season with the Bruins, claimed he’s the better prospect than Washington freshman Markelle Fultz, who many have pegged as the No. 1 pick in June’s draft.

“Markelle’s a great player,” Ball said, according to ESPN, “but I feel I’m better than him,” “I think I can lead a team better than him. Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him.”

Not exactly inflammatory stuff – like saying you could have beaten Michael Jordan, that you want a $1 billion apparel deal or a number of things his father has said – bu Ball is certainly projecting confidence. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. There’s quite a bit of money – and pride – at stake with the draft, and Ball put up a season worthy of comparison to Fultz, who had great numbers but played for an abysmal Washington team. Ball, on the other had, had strong numbers while leading UCLA to the Sweet 16.

Both are going to go at the top of a draft that’s stocked full of promising point guards. Which player goes before the other remains to be seen, but it’s likely public pronouncements aren’t going to affect the draft order.

 

UMass hires McCall away from Chattanooga

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UMass has found, once more, the man to take over its basketball program.

The Minutemen have reached an agreement with Chattanooga coach Matt McCall, the school announce Wednesday

“The tradition and resources that are in place not only make this one of the best basketball jobs in the Atlantic 10 Conference,” McCall said in a statement released by the school, “but one of the best jobs in the country. We couldn’t be more excited about becoming part of the UMass family and look forward to building upon the rich tradition that has been established here in the past.”

In McCall’s two years at Chattanooga, the Mocs to the NCAA tournament in 2016 and a 19-12 record this year that featured five-straight losses to end the season.

The move will take McCall out of the southeast for the first time in his career as he previously served as at Florida and Florida Atlantic before getting his first head coaching job at Chattanooga.

McCall wasn’t the Minutemen’s first choice to replace Derek Kellogg after three-straight lackluster seasons. Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey had agreed to take the job before a last-minute about-face that saw him return to the Eagles program just before his introductory press conference was scheduled to begin.

“Matt is a rising star in college basketball coaching who has been a key piece of three successful programs in his career,” UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said in a statement. “He has earned a reputation as a relentless worker, a great teammate and colleague and a confident leader of young men.

“Matt has worked with some of the most respected coaches and administrators in the country, who loudly sing his praises. Coach McCall’s appointment begins an exciting new chapter for our tradition-rich men’s basketball program at UMass.”

Despite being the second choice, McCall’s reputation in the coaching industry makes him a strong hire, having worked under Mike Jarvis and Billy Donovan. He took over at Chattanooga for Will Wade, and brought the Mocs to a 29-6 record and a  12-seed in the NCAA tournament in 2016.

UMass went to just one NCAA tournament under Kellogg (in 2014) during his nine seasons leading the Minutemen.

VIDEO: Frank Martin’s sideline demeanor as a high school coach

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South Carolina coach Frank Martin has the reputation of being rather, shall we say, intense on the sidelines during games.

The coach has a stare that seemingly could bore a hole through his players when they do something that doesn’t reach his level of expectation. Martin’s demeanor, though, didn’t just come into form once he hit the college ranks.

He was plenty intense on high school sidelines as well.

Martin won three titles while at Miami Senior in the mid-1990s, coaching the likes of future pros Steve Blake and Udonis Haslem. Now having reached his first career Final Four, that sideline persona has put him on the precipice of winning yet another championship, this time at the collegiate level.