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Late Night Snacks: Tuesday night shows college basketball means business

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Game of the Day: No. 3 Michigan 76, No. 10 Ohio State 74 (OT)

It was billed as “Trey Burke vs. Aaron Craft Pt. II” and it didn’t disappoint. We saw a battle of two of the nation’s best point guards, but the most important player for Michigan in its overtime win was junior Tim Hardaway, Jr. He hit three-pointers on three straight possessions in the middle of the second half that kept the game close when the Wolverines could not get a stop defensively. He finished with 23 points.

Deshaun Thomas finally got help on the offensive end, this coming from LaQuinton Ross and Lenzelle Smith, Jr., but when Ohio State needed him the most, overtime, he was not given a chance to score. Instead, Aaron Craft controlled the ball for the majority of the extra period. He was 1-of-4 from the field and had a turnover in the final five minutes.

Important Outcomes 

1. Arkansas 80, No. 2 Florida 69

Florida had been steamrolling through the SEC, but the Gators got a taste of their own medicine against an Arkansas team that has played distinctly different at home than it has on the road. Florida shot just 41 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 16 times, while the Razorbacks shot close to 50 percent and turned it over just eight times.

Florida is still the class of the SEC, but they now fall to within one game of Kentucky in the race for the top of the conference.

2. Southern Illinois 64, Wichita State 62

After reaching as high as 15th in the nation, the Shockers have lost three games in a row and are slipping further back into a crowded Missouri Valley race. Malcolm Armstead, Cleanthony Early, and Carl Hall all did not have the games that the Shockers needed on the road, and a last-second shot from Jalen Pendleton was enough to sink WSU against a Southern Illinois team that came into the game 1-10 in conference play.

3. No. 8 Miami 72, Boston College 50

Miami continues to roll and remain undefeated in the ACC. The Hurricanes shot 11-of-22 from three-point range and 47 percent overall. Kenny Kadji is continuing to prove his value as a power forward who can stretch the floor, while Rion Brown had one of his biggest games of the year with 22 points.

Starred

1. Tim Hardaway, Jr., Michigan (23 points, 6-of-9 3pt FG)

Without Hardaway, Jr., this game would have gone much differently for the Wolverines. In the middle of the second half when Michigan was having trouble getting a stop defensively, the junior hit big shots to keep Michigan in the game. He has greatly expanded his game this season, but that three-point shot is still his bread and butter.

2. Reggie Bullock, North Carolina (23 points, 7-of-10 FG, 4-of-5 3pt FG)

Now having returned from a concussion earlier in the year, Bullock helped to pace a strong offensive attack Tuesday for the Tar Heels in their dominating win over Wake Forest.

3. Javonte Green, Radford (23 points, 13 rebounds)

A lineup of players who starred would not be complete without some love for a mid-major double-double. Though it came in a loss, Javonte Green’s 23 points and 13 rebounds made for one of the more impressive individual performances of the night.

Struggled 

1. D.J. Byrd, Purdue (2 points, 0-of-6 FG, 0-of-6 3pt FG)

Purdue shot 40 percent from the field in its win over Penn State, but moving forward, the Boilermakers will need more output from Byrd against teams that aren’t 0-10 in league play.

2. Jermaine Marshall, Penn State (7 points, 2-of-14 FG, 0-of-5 3pt FG)

Penn State as a team shot just 31 percent from the floor, and Marshall was among those who struggled. He was far from his average of 15 points per game and the Nittany Lions fell to Purdue.

3. Carl Hall, Cleanthony Early, Wichita State (15 points combined)

This Wichita State duo averages over 27 points per game between them, but was unable to generate much Tuesday in a loss to Northern Iowa. The Shockers have now lost three in a row and Hall and Early will be key to getting back on track in the Missouri Valley Conference.

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

White decides to return to Nebraska

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Nebraska’s second-leading scorer from last season will return for his senior season as Andrew White III announced Wednesday he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft.

“I felt good about the pre-draft process, White said in a statement released by Nebraska. “It was encouraging, and I gained as much ground as anyone throughout the process. I wanted one more year to fine tune my game and put myself in better position for the NBA next summer.  

“I want to thank the teams who invited me their in-house workouts, and Nebraska for supporting me during this process.  It has been very helpful in gathering information in preparation for my future Thank you to everyone who has been following my progress throughout the spring and being understanding and supportive, as I evaluated whether to turn pro or return for my senior year.”

White, a Kansas transfer, tallied 16.6 points per game last season while shooting 48.1 percent from the floor and 41.2 percent from 3-point range. He also pulled down 5.9 rebounds per game.

“We are excited to have Andrew remain with our program,” coach Tim Miles said. “This has been a valuable time for him, as he has tested his skills against some of the best competition and received very important insight from key NBA personnel.  

“We look forward to continuing to help Andrew’s development to improve his NBA profile even more than he already has done through this process.  I believe next year could be our most complete team with a great opportunity for success in the Big Ten and NCAA tournament, I’m happy Andrew will be with us to go out and prove it.”

The news is certainly welcome for the Cornhuskers and Miles, who will be under pressure to show improvement after back-to-back disappointing seasons following an NCAA tournament appearance in 2014. Shavon Shields, last year’s leading scorer, has exhausted his eligibility and the Huskers will need White to help fill the void.

Trimble coming back to Terps

Maryland guard Melo Trimble (AP Photo/Matt Hazlett)
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Melo Trimble is returning to Maryland.

The Terrapin guard will be back to for his junior season in College Park, according to multiple reports.

Trimble went from freshman first-rounder to question mark after a rough end to his sophomore season for Maryland in which his points per game, shooting percentage (both overall and from 3-point range) and rebounding dipped from his first season. Only his assists per game showed any sort of improvement. He waited until the last possible day to announce his intentions to return to school, but really his options were limited after seeing his production drop.

His decision to come back to school gives him a shot to restore his draft stock while Maryland gets its floor general back to help ease the transition from last year’s Sweet 16 squad that lost Diamond Stone, Rasheed Sulaimon and Jake Layman. The Terps might not be a sure-fire top-25 team with Trimble back, but their NCAA tournament chances are now significantly higher.

Nevada lands Martin twins

Caleb Martin, Jordan Roper
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Eric Musselman keeps adding reinforcements to his roster. For the 2017-18 season.

Musselman and Nevada received commitments from N.C. State transfers and twin brothers Caleb and Cody Martin, according to multiple reports.

That brings Nevada’s sit-out transfer count for this upcoming season to four with Hallice Cooke (Iowa State) and Kendall Stephens (Purdue) already in the fold. Under NCAA transfer rules, the quartet will have to sit out the upcoming season before being eligible in 2017-18.

Caleb averaged 11.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 36 percent from deep while Cody put up 6.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists, shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc.

The timing of having four sit-out transfers works well for the Wolf Pack given that two of the team’s three leading scorers from last year, D.J. Fenner (a senior) and Cameron Oliver (a sophomore), return while senior transfers Marcus Marshall (Missouri State) becomes eligible. Having those four experienced transfers begin playing in 2017-18 while all but two players from this upcoming team slated to return makes Nevada an interesting team, a year from now.

Louisville big man heading to NBA Draft

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After a day of mixed messages, Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku finally made it official.

He’s staying in the NBA Draft.

“After talking to my family and going through the NBA process,” Onuaku wrote in an Instagram post, “me and my family have decided that it would be best for me to keep my name in the draft.”

The day started out with Cardinals coach Rick Pitino telling multiple media outlets that the 6-foot-10 sophomore would remain in the draft after he declared last month without an agent and attended the draft combine. Onuaku, though, appeared to at least mildly refute that with an Instagram post that said his decision wouldn’t come until later Wednesday evening. Which it did, confirming Pitino’s words.

The confusion may have been frustrating for observers, but Onuaku’s social media presence no doubt has benefited from the bizarre day.

Onuaku averaged 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.6 assists in 24.6 minutes per game last season, making his per-40 numbers, a metric NBA teams like to take into consideration, nothing short of fantastic. He also shot a not-so-shabby 62.0 percent from the floor. His size, athleticism and ability to score around the basket (he’s taken one 3-pointer in two seasons) make him a potential first-round selection in next month’s draft.

The 19-year-old Onuaku underwent a procedure on his heart last week due to Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It has been described as a minor procedure that will not affect his ability to play long-term or work out with teams leading up to the draft.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, should be able to absorb Onuaku’s loss seemlessly as they return the bulk of last year’s team that went 23-8 and was ranked 10th in KenPom, but was banned from the postseason as a result of the Katina Powell bombshell. Newcomers Tony Hicks (Penn transfer) and V.J. King (consensus top-30 recruit) will also make for solid additions.

Swanigan staying for sophomore season

Purdue's Vince Edwards (12), Purdue's Caleb Swanigan (50) and Purdue's A.J. Hammons (20) celebrate during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Illinois in the quarterfinals at the Big Ten Conference tournament, Friday, March 11, 2016, in Indianapolis. Purdue won 89-58. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Purdue will once again be rolling out a formidable frontcourt in the 2016-17 season.

Boilermaker big man Caleb Swanigan is withdrawing from the NBA Draft to return to West Lafayette for his sophomore season, the school announced Wednesday.

The NBA is right there and always will be,” Swanigan said in the school’s press release, “but you always have to have patience and do what’s best for you.”

Purdue is losing 7-foot senior A.J. Hammons, but will be once again teaming Swanigan with Isaac Haas (7-2) and Vince Edwards (6-8) that will allow them to roll out a supersized lineup that is sure to be a difficult one to face off against.

The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Swanigan, who likely would have landed as a second-round pick, averaged 10.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists and was a finalist for the Wayman Tisdale Award for the country’s top freshman.

“We are excited that (Swanigan) has withdrawn from the NBA Draft and will return to Purdue,” head coach said Matt Painter in a statement released by the school. “He has the potential to make a huge jump from his freshman season and will be a big part of what we do next year. He received great experience going through this process and will use the feedback he received to make him a more diverse player.”

Purdue is probably a rung down from Michigan State and Wisconsin at the top of the league, but the return of Swanigan pulls them closer to competing at the top of the league next season.