Marquette v Louisville

No. 12 Louisville shakes off slow start, whips No. 25 Marquette

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No. 12 Louisville opened Sunday’s game against No. 25 Marquette missing its first seven field goals, trailing the Golden Eagles 9-1 with 15:17 remaining in the first half.

Following a Montrezl Harrell dunk to make the score 9-3 the Cardinals would snap out of their funk, ending the first half on a 37-15 run on their way to a 70-51 win at the KFC Yum! Center.

Guards Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way offensively for Louisville, combining for 32 points (Smith- 18) and ten assists (Siva- 7). As a team the Cardinals (18-4, 6-3 Big East) shot 51.9% from the field, but just as important (if not more) was their work on the defensive end.

Marquette (15-5, 6-2), a team that places a great deal of importance on how much it gets into the lane offensively, found the going tough against Louisville. Overall the Golden Eagles shot 16-of-40 (40%) on two-point shots, and for a team that entered Sunday’s game shooting just 29.5% from beyond the arc (Marquette shot 3-of-13 from three on Sunday), a number that low leads to a loss more times than not.

Vander Blue (17 points, five rebounds) and Trent Lockett (16 points) were the lone players to reach double figures for the Golden Eagles, who also turned the ball over 17 times while tallying just six assists.

Louisville would convert those turnovers into 32 points, which more than made up for their own turnover count (16 turnovers), while also outscoring Marquette 42-20 in the paint.

Louisville is going to have its issues offensively, be it the questionable (at times) decision-making of Siva and Smith and their perimeter shooting issues. But when Rick Pitino’s team can turn opponents over and hit the offensive glass (the Cardinals rebounding 57.7% of their misses on Sunday, with Harrell and Stephan Van Treese grabbing three offensive boards apiece) they’re among the best teams in the country.

With the win the preseason favorite to win the league finds itself within a game of Marquette and Syracuse in the loss column, and overall seven Big East teams are separated by a single game.

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

Big South moving 2016 conference tournament

Cliff Ellis
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The Big South is moving its 2016 men’s basketball tournament out of Coastal Carolina and a new site will be figured out by November. According to a release from the conference the Big South is using a league bylaw that stipulates that members leaving with less than two years of notice are not eligible to host championships. Coastal Carolina announced this summer that it would be leaving for the Sun Belt as of July 2016, so the Big South wants to find a new location that benefits teams staying in the league.

The Big South men’s and women’s conference tournaments are now also going to be split into two unique events, with the men’s championships being held Thursday-Sunday, March 3-6. The women’s event comes the next week from March 10-13. Bids for both events will come into the league and a new location will be selected in the next few months.

It will be interesting to see if the site of the conference tournament is moved to a campus site or placed at a neutral venue. That type of thing could alter how the NCAA tournament autobid gets played out. With Coastal Carolina coming off of back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, this obviously changes their approach to the postseason now that they have to leave their city.

Virginia Tech could redshirt sophomore guard

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Virginia Tech is trying to decide what to do with injury sophomore guard Ahmed Hill, who had surgery this summer to deal with a tear in his patella tendon in his left knee.

The 6-foot-5 Hill has still not been released to work out with the team, but he is about a week to 10 days ahead of schedule in his rehab. But the injury is still nagging enough that Hill might not be healthy enough to really contritbute this season. Head coach Buzz Williams is deciding soon whether he wants to redshirt Hill or not.

Hill started a team-high 30 games for the Hokies last season, averaging 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

“I don’t have a decision on (Hill),” Williams said to reporters on Monday. “I will make the final decision. I’ll let (him) and his mom be a part of it, but I want to make a decision using the wisdom of doing this for a long period of time. If you let a kid make the decision, they always want to play.

“Right now, I don’t feel comfortable that I would want to play him. It’s just too early to be able to have much more of an answer than that.”

It’s still a rebuilding year for Virginia Tech, but they do get Maryland transfer Seth Allen, who is a talented guard who can score. The Hokies were hoping to have Hill and Allen as complimentary perimeter scorers, but now the plans might have to be altered. Williams went on to say that he would like to make a decision on Hill’s status by Halloween.