Mitch McGary

Despite loss to Wisconsin, Michigan’s Big Ten outlook still favorable


It might take some time for No. 3 Michigan to shake off its disappointing 65-62 loss to Wisconsin Saturday afternoon in Madison. After a rainbow three from Tim Hardaway, Jr. sailed through with 0:02 remaining, it looked all but over, until a half-court buzzer-beater from Ben Brust sent the game into overtime where the Wolverines lost control.

But fret not, Michigan. In the nation’s toughest conference, your upcoming schedule is perhaps the most favorable of any of the Big Ten contenders.

Of Michigan’s three remaining road games, they face a tough No. 12 Michigan State team, but then move on to play Penn State and Purdue. By contrast, No. 1 Indiana has four games remaining on the road, all of which are against ranked team. The Hoosiers meet No. 10 Ohio State in Columbus Sunday, then No. 12 Michigan State, then No. 18 Minnesota, and end the season on the road against this very same Michigan team.

Michigan State has the benefit of playing Purdue and Nebraska as two of its four remaining road games, but also meets No. 10 Ohio State and Michigan away from East Lansing.

Then, of course, factor in Wisconsin and Ohio State into the race and the plot thickens.

But, for Michigan, despite the loss, the road is built to keep them solidly in the race for the Big Ten title. Mitch McGary showed Saturday that he can be the final piece of a four-scorers-plus-one lineup that also includes Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III, and Hardaway, Jr.

The Big Ten race won’t be a cake walk, but Michigan controls one important category: the luck of the draw in scheduling.

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

Knee injury temporarily sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.

Duke figuring out approach for this season

Duke University head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks with the media about the Blue Devils' 2013-14 basketball season, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Durham, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
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Duke is coming off of a national championship but the roster will look almost completely different for the 2015-16 season. That means last season’s approach to things on the offensive and defensive end will have to change and head coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned to reporters on Friday how the Blue Devils are still figuring some things out.

“We’re putting in a different offensive system, to personalize it for these guys,” Krzyzewski said to reporters. “And a different defensive system so that we can max out on the talents that they have.

“We’re really proud of our team. I think we’re going to be a really good team.”

Without Jahlil Okafor in the middle, Duke’s offense could shift to a mostly perimeter-oriented team, as the wing and guard depth is superior for this year’s group.  Coach K and his staff making adjustments to schemes to fit personnel is a nice move from the Hall of Famer, as he’s done a better job in recent years of making adjustments like this after his stint with USA Basketball.

As the program moves on from Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Quinn Cook, it’ll be intriguing to see who emerges as a potential go-to offensive player early in the season and how Duke’s offense potentially evolves as the season wears on.