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Late Night Snacks: Statements made on Monday

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Another Big Monday has come and gone with the standard Big 12 and Big East games on tap. Some close match-ups and statements came with the territory. It’s Late Night Snacks.

Game of the night

No. 9 Syracuse 63, No. 25 Notre Dame 47 – The Orange were looking for a win after two-straight losses. They got a solid game from C.J. Fair (below) and shook off a bit of a sluggish offensive start to keep the Fighting Irish at bay in the second half. They never led by less than eight in the second half. Notre Dame has hit a bit of a rough stretch since the win over a ranked Cincinnati team on Jan. 7.

Games of note

Iowa State 83, Oklahoma 64 – This could’ve been a statement game for the Sooners on the road. Instead it was a game that showed the world that Will Clyburn can hoop. He had 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the victory.

No. 23 Pittsburgh 56, Seton Hall 46 – This was close one until Seton Hall’s Fuquan Edwin went down with a sprained ankle. He would return and had the best game of any player on the court (below), but injuries and bad luck keep hampering the Pirates. Pittsburgh got big games from Steven Adams (below) and Lamar Patterson in the victory.

Alcorn State 78, Grambling State 53 – Your weekly update on the only winless team in Division I men’s college basketball. They couldn’t get the first victory of the season, this one a road loss in Lorman, Miss. The loss makes the Tigers 0-20 overall.

Starred 

Jerrelle Benimon, Towson – The Georgetown transfer who is averaging 16.9 points and 11.5 rebounds per game for the Tigers had himself another game in a win over UNC-Wilmington. The junior finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

C.J. Fair, Syracuse – In a win the Orange needed to break a small losing streak, Fair showed the talent that he hasn’t been given credit for this year with 18 points and 10 boards in the win over Notre Dame.

Fuquan Edwin, Seton Hall – Edwin has been the man who has steadied (or at least tried to steady) the rough season for the Pirates. He had 23 points on 43.8-percent shooting at five steals in the loss at Pittsburgh.

Steven Adams, Pittsburgh – In the same game as Edwin, Adams cleaned glass. The freshman from New Zealand finished with eight points and 15 rebounds in the win.

Struggled

Romero Osby, Oklahoma – Osby has been having a great year for the Sooners, avearging 14.2 points and 6.6 rebounds. Monday night didn’t help that. He finished with six points and 6 rebounds on 2-of-10 shooting in loss to Iowa State.

Ben Averkamp, Loyola (Chicago) – Averkamp averages 15.6 points per game for the Ramblers. He clocked out Monday night with only eight points on 2-of-6 shooting a 62-59 loss to Wright State.

Stuffing the stat sheet

Lazabian Jackson, Arkansas-Pine Bluff – The Golden Lions’ senior went for 20 points, five rebounds and five steals (and six turnovers) in a 76-67 victory at Alabama A&M. UAPB is 8-2 in the SWAC, but aren’t eligible for the postseason this year due to low APR scores.

Another solid night to begin the week. Ready to the week ahead. It’s only going to get better.

 Follow David on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Cyclones add big man for 2017

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 15:  Head coach Steve Prohm of the Murray State Racers shouts from the sidelines against the Colorado State Rams  during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Iowa State secured its first commitment Wednesday of what will be a pivotal class of forwards in 2017.

KeyShawn Faezell of Mississippi committed to Steve Prohm and the Cyclones, he announced Wednesday.

“After praying to God to lead me in the right path and talking with my dad,” Faezell wrote, “I’ve decided to further my education and basketball career under coach Prohm at Iowa State University.”

Faezell, a 6-foot-9 consensus top-150 forward in the 2017 class, joins wing Terrence Lewis as the first two members of a class that figures to number at least six for ISU. The addition of Faezell is key because ISU will be losing three members of its frontcourt it will likely be leaning on heavily in 2015-16 in Deonte Burton, Merrill Holden and Darrell Bowie. A 2016 big man, Cameron Lard, has also yet to enroll in classes this fall due to academic issues, making Faezell’s commitment even more important should Lard be unable to get clearance.

“They need some people to come in and compete,” Feazell told the Ames Tribune. “I think I fit in the program.”

Prohm’s teams dating back to his Murray State days have always been guard-oriented and guard-heavy, but beginning to stack the roster with quality big men will be key as he looks to continue the Cyclones’ success in the Big 12, which includes a school-record five-straight NCAA tournament appearances.

BYU adds commit for 2019

Dave Rose
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BYU added a commitment from a high school senior this week, but the Cougars won’t be seeing him on campus until 2019.

Kolby Lee, a 6-foot-9 forward from Idaho, pledged to BYU on Monday evening, but won’t suit up until after serving a two-year mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints, according to the Deseret News.

“I had a great feeling about BYU, and I prayed about it,” Lee told the paper. “I just feel like it’s the right fit for me. It just seems right. It feels right.”

Lee chose BYU over offers from  Utah State, Boise State and UC Davis. He was rated a four-star prospect by ESPN and three by Scout.

His decision to forego immediately joining BYU certainly isn’t a new wrinkle for the Cougars, who routinely see their players either delay their initial eligibility or pause it mid-career while serving on missions.

Self pays freshman Jackson a major compliment

Josh Jackson, from Napa, Calif.,, dunks over Nancy Mulkey, from Cypress, Texas, as he competes in the slam dunk contest during the McDonald's All-American Jam Fest, Monday, March 28, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
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Freshman phenom production under Bill Self has been something of a contentious topic. Many fault the coach, who has won one national title and 12-straight Big 12 championships, for not developing one-and-done talent to their fullest potential during their single-season stays in Lawrence. Cliff Alexander and Cheick Diallo are Exhibit 1-A and 1-B for this argument in recent years.

Whatever outside criticism there is (Andrew Wiggins did go No. 1 overall just 2 years ago, after all), Self isn’t shying away from hyping the latest freshman with big expectations to come to KU. When asked who the greatest athlete of all-time is at the school’s annual Tradition Night last week, Self had a simple, if tongue-and-cheek, response.

“I’ll say Josh Jackson,” Self said of the the 6-foot-8 shooting guard ranked No. 1 in his class, according to Lawrence Journal-World.

With others answering with the likes of Michael Jordan and Muhammed Ali, it’s pretty fair to say Self was playing to the crowd with the answer, but it’s still telling that he was willing to deliver such a sound bite, even if it was before a welcoming audience. Self didn’t try to seriously depress expectations for Wiggins, a player Jackson is often compared to, and it looks like he won’t for Jackson as well.

Jackson, though, won’t have the burden Wiggins had as there’s one of the country’s best backcourts in Frank Mason II and Devonte Graham to help shoulder the workload for the Jayhawks.

 

ACC non-commital on HB2 stance

John Swofford
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With North Carolina unwilling to rescind their controversial so-called bathroom bill, the NBA has withdrawn its All-Star Game from the state this year and numerous high-profile music acts have canceled performances as a result.

The ACC is declining to join them with a hard-line, or really any, position.

“We don’t want to damage our league with any premature decisions,” commissioner John Swofford said on The David Glenn Show. “We’ll just see how it plays out.”

The ACC, of course, has quite the presence in the state with North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest all in the Tar Heel State. Swofford’s comments are sure to draw the interest of the LGBT community, which has roundly been critical of the bill, which requires people to use the bathroom which corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate, and has recently been active in college athletics, opposing the Big 12’s potential inclusion of BYU in its expansion plans over concerns of the Church of Latter Day Saints school’s honor code.

North Carolina’s bill has also drawn the eye of the NCAA, which is requiring potential championship sights to provide information on local anti-discrimination laws.

One of the loudest voices in the ACC, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, has come out against the law.

“It’s an embarrassing bill,” Coach K said last month.

The Champions Classic renewed through 2019

LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 27: Bill Self head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks claps for his team as they celebrate winning the Big 12 Conference Championship after they defeated Texas Tech Red Raiders 67-58 at Allen Fieldhouse on February 27, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas. With the win, Kansas clinched its 12th straight conference championship. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Champions Classic is back, baby!!!

On Wednesday, the four schools that participate in the event — Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Michigan State — announced that they have signed deals to extend the life of the doubleheader for another three years.

This is terrific news. The Champions Classic is always the best early-season event of the season, an annual double-header that always ends up putting together two of the best non-conference games in packed NBA arenas. This year, it features Duke, the consensus preseason No. 1 team in the country, squaring off with Kansas, who is a consensus top three team with the No. 1 freshman in the class, Josh Jackson, on their roster, in one game.

The other game? Kentucky, the third consensus top three team nationally, going up against Tom Izzo and Michigan State, who will be, at worst, a top 15 team in the preseason polls.

So yeah, we’re going to get a pair of sensational basketball games in Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15th. MSG also just so happens to be the best arena to watch a great neutral site basketball game.

It’s going to be awesome.

There’s only one possible way to make it better: turn it into a two-day event, with the winners squaring off for the Champions Classic title the following night.

Make it happen.

Anyway, here’s the schedule:

Nov. 14, 2017 (United Center, Chicago)
Kansas vs. Kentucky
Duke vs. Michigan State

Nov. 13, 2018 (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis)
Michigan State vs. Kansas
Duke vs. Kentucky

Nov. 12, 2019 (Madison Square Garden, New York)
Kansas vs. Duke
Michigan State vs. Kentucky