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Late Night Snacks: Top 25 upsets rule the night in college basketball

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Game of the Day: La Salle 54, No. 9 Butler 53

La Salle’s Ramon Galloway, who had been struggling much of the night, drove down the left side of the lane and hit a layup with 2.7 seconds remaining to give the Explorers the lead. The Bulldogs had one more shot to win it with a half-court heave, but Butler magic came up short Wednesday. Roosevelt Jones’ prayer was off the mark and La Salle secured a huge win against a Top 10 team.

Could the result have been different if Butler had its leading scorer, Rotnei Clarke, who was sitting with a neck injury? Of course. But, regardless, the Explorers got a big conference victory.

Important Outcomes 

1. No. 25 Miami 90, No. 1 Duke 63

Miami dominated Duke nearly from the opening tip. Durand Scott, Shane Larkin, and Kenny Kadji were all too much, spreading out the Duke defense and beating them on the perimeter. The earlier-than-expected return of center Reggie Johnson gave the Hurricanes an emotional boost, though he is still working his way back to full game form.

2. Northwestern 55, No. 13 Minnesota 48

The Northwestern zone defense disrupted Minnesota all night and, despite a massive +19 advantage on the backboards and 17 offensive rebounds, Minnesota could not get a road win. Trevor Mbakwe had an impressive double-double (see below) but did not get enough touches to help the Gophers down the stretch.

3. Drake 74, No. 17 Creighton 69

Drake had a 17-point lead at halftime, but Creighton clawed all the way back to take the lead late in the second half. Doug McDermott was suffering from flu-like symptoms, which contributed to him scoring just two points in the second half. Richard Carter had an important 20 points for Drake.

Starred

1. Durand Scott, Miami (25 points, 9-of-11 FG, 6 rebounds, 4 assists)

Scott scored 15 of his 25 points in the first half to help Miami get off to a strong start in its eventual 27-point trouncing of No. 1 Duke. At one point in the first half, he pulled from three-point range out near the signature “U” logo near mid-court and knocked the shot down. He was too much for Duke to handle Wednesday night.

2. Tony Snell, New Mexico (23 points, 3-of-5 3pt FG)

Center Alex Kirk had just three points in 21 minutes for the Lobos, meaning that Snell was even more key for New Mexico against a tough Colorado State team. He delivered with 23 big points Wednesday night in a UNM win.

3. Trevor Mbakwe (14 points, 6-of-7 FG, 16 rebounds)

Mbakwe was one of the few bright spots for Minnesota in its loss to Northwestern. With how efficient he was, the Gophers likely should have tried to get him more touches.

Struggled 

1. Seth Curry, Quinn Cook, Tyler Thornton for Duke (Combined 1-of-29 FG, 6 points)

With Ryan Kelly out of the lineup, it’s even more important that this trio steps up. Against Miami, it simply did not happen. Cook was just 1-of-12 from the floor and Curry never found his shooting stroke, going 0-of-10. Off the bench, Thornton struggled with his 0-of-7 mark.

2. Austin Hollins, Minnesota (6 points, 1-of-5 FG, Fouled Out)

Hollins struggled to find his stroke and picked up his fourth foul with 12:01 remaining in the second half. Coach Tubby Smith kept him in the game and he picked up his fifth and final foul just 13 seconds later.

3. Doug McDermott in the 2nd half, Creighton (2 points)

McDermott reportedly vomited at half time due to flu-like symptoms he had been playing with, so it’s not entirely his fault. Without him at full strength, the Bluejays were able to erase a 17-point halftime deficit, but unable to come away with the win.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Kennedy Meeks to return to North Carolina

Kennedy Meeks
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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North Carolina center Kennedy Meeks announced on Wednesday that he would be withdrawing his name from NBA Draft consideration.

“I’m thankful I had the chance to explore my draft options, but I’m excited about the opportunity to rejoin my teammates and work toward having another outstanding season at UNC,” says Meeks. “I appreciate the support my coaches and teammates gave me during this process as we gathered information about my professional opportunities at this time. The feedback on what I have to work on so that I can have a great senior year, help my team have a great season and be ready to take that next step is invaluable.”

Meeks did not get an invitation to the NBA Draft combine, which is a pretty clear indication that he did not have a real chance to get drafted this year. But the new rule allows him to gather feedback on what he needs to do to improve and get himself into a position where he can land a professional contract after he graduates next season.

As a junior, Meeks battled injury but still managed to average 9.2 points and 5.9 boards.

Louisville students’ lawsuit against escort is dismissed

Rick Pitino
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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A Louisville judge has dismissed a lawsuit by University of Louisville students filed against Katina Powell that said the escort’s book allegations of sex parties at the men’s basketball players’ dormitory had devalued their education.

Kyle Hornback and three other students sued Powell last fall, saying her book damaged the school’s reputation. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry denied their argument in Friday’s decision but allowed others who joined the suit after being named in the book to file amended complaints that they were falsely accused and defamed.

Powell has said that former Cardinals basketball staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to entertain recruits and players. Several investigations are ongoing including one by Louisville, which self-imposed a postseason ban and reduced scholarships and recruiting opportunities.

Report: Wichita State approaches Mountain West

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A year ago, Wichita State president John Bardo called for the school to study the feasibility of bringing football back to the athletic program.

Apparently the Shockers administration has even grander designs.

Wichita State has approached the Mountain West Conference about membership, according to a report from CBSSports.com.

The Missouri Valley Conference, which has been the Shockers’ home since 1946, is aware of Wichita State’s interest in switching conference affiliation, the report states. The Mountain West would makes sense for the Shockers as the conference currently has an odd-number hoops membership of 11 and would provide them with higher-profile opponents than the Valley. Just twice in conference history has the MWC been a one-bid NCAA tournament team, with last year being the first since 2001 for it to occur. The Shockers are also reportedly eyeing other leagues, like the AAC and Conference USA.

MWC commissioner Craig Thompson told CBS Sports that if Wichita State were to leave the Valley, “it ain’t going to be to us.”

Wichita State, which dropped football in 1986, has seen its basketball profile skyrocket in recent years under Gregg Marshall, who led the Shockers to a Final Four and a 35-0 start to the season in back-to-back years before reaching the Sweet 16 in 2015 and the Round of 32 last year. Marshall now makes more than $3 million per season.

Losing Wichita State would be a considerable blow to the Valley, which already lost perennial power Creighton to the Big East in the last round of realignment. Loyola Chicago, formerly of the Horizon League, filled the Bluejays’ spot.

Michigan’s Chatman transferring

Michigan  guard/forward Kameron Chatman (3) passes against Northwestern during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
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Kameron Chatman is leaving the Michigan program after two seasons, the school announced Tuesday.

The 6-foot-8 forward will transfer following a sophomore season in which his minutes were halved from his freshman campaign.

“I am incredibly grateful for my two years at Michigan,” Chatman said in a statement released by Michigan. “I would like to thank coach (John) Beilein and his entire staff for taking a chance on a small town kid out of Portland. I know my experience has inspired others as I will take all of my lessons learned to continue my pursuit of becoming the best man and player I can.”

Chatman is now the fourth Wolverine to transfer this spring, as Spike Albrecht (Purdue), Aubrey Dawkins (Central Florida) and Ricky Doyle have already departed. The Wolverines, who still have not announced replacements for assistant coaches LaVall Jordan (Milwaukee) and Bacari Alexander (Detroit), have been active in graduate transfer market as they look to rebuild much of their depth on the perimeter.

Chatman, who was a top-50 recruit out of high school, averaged 3.2 points and 2.0 rebounds per game for Michigan. He made 15 starts as a freshman, but only two as a sophomore.

Gilmore leaving VCU

Will Wade (AP Photo)
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Sophomore forward Michael Gilmore is transferring from VCU, the school announced Tuesday.

Gilmore started 18 games and appeared in 55 total for the Rams, but never carved out more than a marginal role, averaging 11.5 minutes per game as a sophomore after 6.3 his freshman season. He averaged 3.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game this past year as he saw his role dwindle down the stretch for the Rams.

His departure will take away some interior depth for VCU, but coach Will Wade will still be returning the bulk of the team that tested eventual Final Four participant Oklahoma in the Round of 32 a month ago.

For Gilmore, he’ll likely have plenty of suitors despite the pedestrian numbers he posted over the last two years as 6-foot-10 forwards who have shown the ability to space the floor don’t hit the transfer market with great regularity.He was a consensus four-star recruit in the Class of 2014.