Trey Burke

Late Night Snacks: No. 1 Michigan rolls, Notre Dame, Oklahoma earn big conference wins

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Game of the Day

Oklahoma 74, Baylor 71

Brady Heslip’s shot fell off the rim as Oklahoma held on to a 74-71 win. The Sooners were up by as many as 16, but the Bears chipped away at the lead, twice getting it to a single point. Oklahoma is now second in Big 12 standings with the win, aided by 20 points from both Amath M’Baye and Steven Pledger. Isaiah Austin had 21 points and 21 rebounds as the freshman continues to shine for Baylor

Xavier 66, Dayton 61

Matt Derenbecker’s last-game three rimmed out as Dayton’s came up short in a 66-61 loss to Xavier. The two rivals swapped leads four times in the final two minutes. The Musketeers held a 30-16 advantage on the glass. The Musketeers continue its streak of 28 straight wins over the Flyers in Cincinnati. Dayton has won in Cincy in 33 years.

Also of Note: New Mexico tops Wyoming by four 63-59 on the road.

Important Outcomes

Florida State 73, Maryland 71

Michael Snaer hit a game-winning shot to give the Seminoles a big conference win over Maryland. The win keeps Florida State above .500 in conference play at 4-3. The Seminoles are a game out of a share of second place in ACC standings. Maryland, has lost three of four, and is now on the wrong end of the bubble.

Notre Dame 65, Villanova 60

Villanova, after two home wins against top-5 teams, lost on the road to the Notre Dame, after the Irish had dropped two of three in South Bend. The Irish shot 9-of-21 from the three, thanks in large part to freshman Cameron Biedscheid’s five 3-pointers. The win gives Notre Dame in a tie for third place in the Big East. Villanova have lost four of six, albeit the two wins come against Louisville and Syracuse in a five-day span. The Wildcats have three winnable games before a road game against No. 24 Cincinnati.

Stanford 76, Oregon 54

Oregon suffered its first conference loss as Stanford rolled past the tenth-ranked Ducks late Wednesday night. Oregon is without freshman guard Dominic Artis, who is sidelined with a foot injury. Stanford uses the win to climb back to .500 in the Pac-12 play.

Also of Note: Indiana rolls past Purdue 97-60. All five starters score in double figures. Indiana hosts No. 1 Michigan on Saturday.

Starred

Player of the Year candidates

Mason Plumlee, Duke: 32 points, nine rebounds, two blocks in a 75-70 win against Wake Forest. Doug McDermott, Creighton: 29 points, 10 rebounds, four assists in a 91-77 win against Missouri State. Trey Burke, Michigan:  18 points, eight assists, zero turnovers in a 68-49 win against Northwestern for No. 1 Michigan.

Anthony Hickey, LSU

The nation’s leader in steals caused problems all night for Missouri’s offense. In the second half, he did his damage on the offensive end with 14 of his 20 points after halftime to go along with four assists and two steals. Oregon had only one scorer in double figures, Carlos Emory with 12. Stanford shot 52 percent from the field (57 from three) in a home win.

Florida

The Gators are rolling in SEC play, winning all seven games by a minimum of 17 points. Florida rolled past South Carolina 75-36. Saturday Florida hosts Marshall Henderson and Ole Miss, with Florida looking for its 10 consecutive win.

Also of Note: Jack Cooley (17 points, 16 rebounds)Isaiah Austin (21 points, 21 rebounds)

Struggled

Philadelphia schools

Villanova beat Louisville and Syracuse in back-to-back games — the first unranked team to be consecutive top-5 teams since 2001 — but lost on the road to Notre Dame. La Salle welcomed Butler and VCU to the A-10 by beating both of them in a five day span. The Explorers lost by one at home to UMass.

UCLA

The Bruins have lost two of three after winning 10 straight, including a overtime loss to USC on Wednesday. UCLA shot 38 percent from the field (2-of-19 from three).

Alex LenMaryland

Only four points, five rebounds for the Terrapins sophomore star. Len was limited to only 17 minutes in what could be a devastating loss to Maryland’s resume. Maryland is now 3-5 in the ACC following a loss to Michael Snaer and Florida State.

Hart returning for Villanova’s title defense

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 26:  Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats reacts in the second half against the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at KFC YUM! Center on March 26, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Villanova’s title defense just got a whole lot stouter.

Josh Hart, the leading scorer of the Wildcats’ national championship team, will return for his senior season, he announced on Twitter.

The decision for Hart to return is a major boost for Villanova in its quest to become the first back-to-back champions since Florida in 2006 and 2007. Hart, a 6-foot-5 guard,  averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the floor and 35.7 percent from 3-point range.

Most draft pundits had him pegged as a potential end-of-the-first-round pick in next month’s draft though he could have certainly slid into the second should he had decided to forego his senior season. Instead, Hart will be a potential first-team All-American exhausting his eligibility in Philadelphia.

The 2016-17 season is taking shape nicely, and Hart returning to Villanova only increases the strength of the field at the top. Title game hero Kris Jenkins as well as Jalen Brunson, Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges are also back for the defending champs while the super recruiting classes of Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State, Kansas’ returning core along with Josh Jackson and a solid group of teams including North Carolina, Arizona, Louisville and Wisconsin make for an intriguing upper-tier of teams that could very well make for a top-heavy season following last year’s free for all.

College basketball isn’t the NFL. Parity doesn’t equal strength and quality, and when the sport has a handful high-quality teams, it is at its best. It’s looking like that is a possibility for the 2016-17 campaign.

UConn duo returning to school

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Connecticut may have lost its 6-foot-7 wing scorer but it is keeping its defensive stalwart and leading scorer.

Center Amida Brimah and guard Rodney Purvis have withdrawn their names from NBA Draft consideration and will return to the Huskies for another year, the school announced Tuesday.

The decisions from Brimah, a 7-foot center, and Purvis, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, help soften the blow dealt by Daniel Hamilton’s decision to sign with an agent and leave school despite having some shaky draft stock. The Huskies may not open the season as a top-25 team, but they won’t be far behind and will be one of the AAC’s favorites, along with Cincinnati.

Brimah averaged 6.5 points per game last year, but blocked 2.7 shots per game. He missed 11 games last season with a broken finger. Purvis registered 12.8 points per game while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor.

Neither Brimah or Purvis were among those invited to this month’s NBA Draft combine nor were either expected to be drafted should they have kept their names in the draft.

Gonzaga’s Karnowski returning for fifth year

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The man in the middle is returning to Gonzaga.

Przemek Karnowski will return to the Bulldogs for his final year after a medical redshirt waiver was granted allowing him a fifth season in Spokane, the school announced Tuesday.

“I’m excited to be coming back,” Karnowski said in a statement. “After talking with the coaches, my parents and the team, I decided this was the best decision for me. I still have a ways to go with my rehab, but I’m staying positive about the upcoming season.”

The 7-foot-1 Karnowski, a Poland native, would have, at minimum, had professional opportunities overseas, but instead will return to play for the Bulldogs once more after a back injury limited him to five games last season. He averaged 10.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game as a junior in 2014-15.

With Karnowski returning along with  Josh Perkins and Silas Melson, Gonzaga coach Mark Few will be having newcomers Nigel Williams-Goss, Zach Norvell, Johnathan Williams II and Zach Collins joining an experienced and talented group.

Gonzaga (shocker) will be the West Coast Conference favorite once more, but the Bulldogs will also be fielding a team that should open the season in most everyone’s top-15.

Michigan St. at Duke highlights ACC/Big Ten Challenge

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A matchup in Durham of likely top-10 teams is the headliner of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, whose schedule was released Tuesday.

Michigan State, expected to open the season in the top-10, and Duke, the presumptive preseason No. 1, will meet Tuesday, Nov. 29, at Cameron Indoor Stadium in the most intriguing contest of the 14-game event.

The Spartans are losing Denzel Valentin, Bryn Forbes and Matt Costello, but the recruiting class of Miles Bridges, Cassius Winston, Joshua Langford and Nick Ward is one of coach Tom Izzo’s best and has Michigan State positioned as one of the Big Ten’s favorites.

Izzo’s recruiting class, though, pales in comparison to what coach Mike Krzyzewski is bringing to the Blue Devils, with Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, Marques Bolden, Frank Jackson and Javin DeLaurier in their 2016 class, which is why, when paired with the likes of Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson and Luke Kennard, make Duke nearly everyone’s No. 1 heading into next season.

Krzyzewski is 9-1 all-time against Izzo’s Spartans.

Among the other highlights of the conference competition is Syracuse at Wisconsin (Nov. 29) Pittsburgh at Maryland (Nov. 29), Purdue at Louisville (Nov. 30) and Ohio State at Virginia (Nov. 30).  

Monday, Nov. 28

Minnesota at Florida State

Wake Forest at Northwestern

Tuesday, Nov. 29

Syracuse at Wisconsin

Michigan State at Duke

Pittsburgh at Maryland

Iowa at Notre Dame

Georgia Tech at Penn State

N.C. State at Illinois

 

Wednesday, Nov. 30

Purdue at Louisville

North Carolina at Indiana

Ohio State at Virginia

Virginia Tech at Michigan

Rutgers at Miami (Fla.)

Nebraska at Clemson

 

Hayes returning to Wisconsin for senior season

Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes celebrates with fans after an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, in Iowa City, Iowa. Wisconsin won 67-59. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Wisconsin has cemented itself as one of the teams to beat in the Big Ten for the 2016-17 season.

Forward Nigel Hayes, the Badgers’ leading scorer and assist man, is withdrawing his name from NBA Draft consideration to return to Madison for his senior season, he told the Wisconsin State Journal on Tuesday evening.

Hayes declared for the draft last month, but did not hire an agent, taking advantage of new NCAA legislation that allowed him to attend the NBA Draft combine and workout for pro franchises. He was largely regarded as a fringe first-round prospect by draft observers.

His decision is a major boon for Greg Gard, who may have the Big Ten’s best team in his first full season at the helm after taking over for Bo Ryan in the middle of last season. Wisconsin had a major turnaround under Gard, which ultimately resulted in him moving from interim to full time. The Badgers were 7-5 when Ryan stepped down, but recovered by going 13-4 to end the season and make the Sweet 16. 

Now, the entirety of that team, headlined by Hayes, is returning for another year and almost assuredly will be a top-15 (or better) preseason pick. Michigan State will welcome in a dynamite recruiting class that features five-stars Miles Bridges and Cassius Winston, and Indiana should remain strong, but the Badgers, with some players having the experience of  playing in two Final Fours, could very well have the best roster on paper with its blend of talent and experience. Whichever team is pegged as the favorite, the top of the Big Ten is shaping up to be a fantastic race.