Indiana v Ohio State

Late Night Snacks: No. 1 Indiana impresses, No. 4 Duke survives

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Game of the Day: UIC 88, Youngstown State 83 (3OT)

One day after Louisville and Notre Dame went five overtimes the Flames and Penguins went three extra periods in Youngstown. Gary Talton led the way for UIC with 23 points, nine rebounds and eight assists and five Flames reached double figures in the win. Kendrick Perry scored 29 points to lead Youngstown State, and his three pointer late in the first overtime session tied the score at 63. UIC’s Hayden Humes hit a three-pointer to send the game into the third overtime, with Talton and Daniel Barnes making the plays needed to seal the victory.

Important Outcomes

1. No. 1 Indiana 81, No. 10 Ohio State 68 

The Hoosiers, fresh off of a loss at Illinois on Thursday night, went to Columbus and took control of things almost from the start. The Buckeyes would make a few runs but their lack of offensive weapons proved to be Ohio State’s downfall against Indiana. Victor Oladipo scored a career-high 26 points with Cody Zeller (24 points) and Christian Watford (20) also reaching the 20-point mark. The key for Ohio State in the weeks leading up to the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments: they need guys to step up offensively alongside Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft.

2. No. 4 Duke 62, Boston College 

With Indiana losing this week who will the voters pick to lead the way this week? One option is Duke, and that nearly wasn’t the case as they needed a Mason Plumlee free throw to escape Chestnut Hill win a one-point victory. Plumlee finished with 19 points and ten rebounds and Seth Curry added 18 to lead the Blue Devils, who didn’t arrive in Boston until Sunday morning due to Winter Storm Nemo. Olivier Hanlan (20 points) and Ryan Anderson (17) led the way for the Eagles, who have now lost to both Duke and Miami by one-point margins at home.

3. No. 9 Syracuse 77, St. John’s 58

A routine victory for the Orange, but the big news was the return of senior forward James Southerland. Syracuse’s best perimeter shooter, Southerland’s return gives the Orange a potent offensive weapon that gives point guard Michael Carter-Williams more room in which to operate. Southerland scored 13 in his return and four Syracuse players reached double figures. St. John’s, playing without head coach Steve Lavin due to the passing of his father, was led offensively by JaKarr Sampson (21 points).

Starred

1. G Colt Ryan (Evansville) 

Ryan finished with 33 points (14-of-15 FT), seven steals, four rebounds and four assists in the Purple Aces’ 84-78 overtime win over Drake. In the victory Ryan became the third player in Evansville history to score reach the 2,000-point mark in his career.

2. G Allen Crabbe (California) 

Crabbe was red-hot for the Golden Bears in their 77-69 win at No. 7 Arizona, shooting 12-of-15 from the field and scoring 31 points. Crabbe also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists.

3. G Spencer Dinwiddie (Colorado)

Dinwiddie was the biggest reason why the Buffaloes escaped Corvallis with a 72-68 win over Oregon State, scoring 24 points without missing a shot from the field (6-of-6 FG with four three-pointers) or the foul line (8-of-8). Dinwiddie also tallied four assists and three rebounds.

Struggled

1. G Askia Booker (Colorado) 

On the flip side of Dinwiddie’s night was that of Booker, who shot 2-of-14 from the field (0-of-5 3PT) and finished with nine points. To Booker’s credit however, he did grab six rebounds and hand out three assists.

2. James Madison in the first half

The Dukes had a rough go of it in the first half of their 60-48 loss at Drexel, shooting 5-of-18 from the field and 1-of-7 from the foul line on their way to scoring 12 points.

3. G Marvin Jordan and G Ameen Tanksley (Niagara)

With leading scorer Antoine Mason out due to an ankle injury the Purple Eagles really needed these two to step up against rival Canisius. Jordan and Tanksley combined to shoot 2-of-19 (with Jordan going scoreless on 0-of-7 shooting) in the 77-70 loss to the Golden Griffins.

Three Happenings

1. With Seth Curry scoring 18 points in the Blue Devils’ win over Boston College, he and older brother Stephen are now the highest-scoring siblings in NCAA history. The Curry, who have scored 4,493 points, passed the Hansbrough (Tyler and Ben) brothers atop the list.

2. James Southerland wasn’t the only key player to return to the court on Sunday. N.C. State point guard Lorenzo Brown came off the bench to score 15 points, and his pass led to a Scott Wood three-pointer with one second remaining to give the Wolfpack a 58-57 win at Clemson.

3. Minnesota played without senior forward Rodney Williams on Sunday, who injured his shoulder in a collision in practice on Saturday. Illinois would hit 11 three-pointers and limit Minnesota to 38% shooting in the 57-53 victory.

Top 25 Scores

No. 1 Indiana 81, No. 10 Ohio State 68

No. 4 Duke 62, Boston College 61

California 77, No. 7 Arizona 69

No. 9 Syracuse 77, St. John’s 68

Illinois 57, No. 18 Minnesota 53

Other Notable Scores 

Virginia 80, Maryland 69 

Columbia 78, Harvard 63

Marist 69, Loyola (MD) 64

Hartford 60, Stony Brook 55

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

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)
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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

Hartford makes smart decision to allow ‘Pancake’ Thomas transfer

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Hartford coach John Gallagher, AP Photo
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Another talented graduate transfer has hit the market.

Cleveland ‘Pancake’ Thomas — that’s a helluva name, isn’t it? — has been granted a release by Hartford and will be allowed to transfer to another program for his fifth season.

“Our biggest priority for Cleveland was that he graduate from the University of Hartford with a valuable degree,” Hartford head coach John Gallagher said in a statement released to ESPN after some speculation that Thomas wasn’t going to be given a release. “That happened. Beyond wishing him the very best, we don’t comment on other program’s players. We are very excited about our group and the upcoming season.”

The term “release” is needed here because Thomas, a 6-foot-3 guard who averaged 18.9 points and shot 42.6 percent from three this past season, spent his first two years of eligibility at New Mexico. A graduate transfer exception is granted to any player making their first transfer after receiving an undergraduate degree. But since Pancake had already transferred once, he was only eligible to apply for a graduate transfer waiver, which the school he is leaving must support.

Remember the saga of Todd O’Brien? He tried to leave St. Joseph’s to spend his fifth-year at UAB but made headlines everywhere when Phil Martelli wouldn’t let it happen? That’s because O’Brien had started his career at Bucknell and needed Martelli to support the waiver.

Gallagher could have done the same to Pancake.

He made the right decision not to — Martelli has enough coaching cache to withstand the onslaught on criticism he received, I’m not sure that is true for Gallagher — even if it will result in Thomas playing elsewhere, hence the cold-hearted nature of that statement.

Anyway, Thomas never averaged more than 3.9 points at New Mexico, so while he’s a tantalizing prospect for programs that are dying for perimeter depth and shooting, this isn’t exactly a kid that’s going to launch himself into the NBA Draft’s first round by jumping up to a higher level.

Shawn Forrest named assistant coach for Jankovich at SMU

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 22:  Head coach Larry Brown (L) and associate head coach Tim Jankovich of the Southern Methodist Mustangs look on during the team's game against the Kent State Golden Flashes during the 2015 Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on December 22, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Southern Methodist won 90-74. The game marks Brown's return from a nine-game suspension.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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DALLAS (AP) Shawn Forrest has been named an assistant basketball coach at SMU, his third school since the end of last season.

Mustangs coach Tim Jankovich announced Forrest’s hiring Tuesday.

Forrest spent the past three seasons as an assistant at Western Kentucky before head coach Ray Harper resigned. Forrest was named a UTSA assistant in May, but two weeks later left for Louisiana Tech before the unexpected opening at SMU.

Jankovich was SMU’s associate head coach before the abrupt resignation last month of Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown. Forrest fills the open assistant spot created on the staff when Jankovich was promoted to head coach.

Before Western Kentucky, Forrest was an assistant coach at Louisiana-Lafayette, North Texas, Arkansas State and Florida A&M.

Jim Boeheim’s Melo comments are evidence of why athletes hate the media

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 21:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the United States poses with Team USA assistant coach Jim Boeheim after defeating Serbia in the Men's Gold medal game on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1 on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has a habit of creating headlines that are not all that flattering, to himself or to the people that he’s commenting on, which is why it wasn’t much of a surprise that a quote he gave to Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard has been making the rounds this week.

The quote in question?

“He’s unlikely to win an NBA title,” Boeheim said of his former star and now three-time Olympic champion Carmelo Anthony. “He’s never been on a team that even had a remote chance of winning an NBA title.”

That sounds bad, doesn’t it?

But … I mean, he’s right, isn’t he?

Melo is 32 years old and title-less. He’s been to the conference finals once and gotten out of the first round of the playoffs just twice, and now he’s on the downside of his career. Athletes don’t get better as they exit their early 30s unless they’re taking whatever it was that turned Barry Bonds into a cyborg. Adding the remnants of Derrick Rose and a 31 year old Joakim Noah is helpful, but unless those contracts can teleport the Knicks back to 2011, Rose will be the only person calling this group a Super Team.

So yeah, Boeheim is right. You probably think so, too. Melo is probably never going to win an NBA title unless he finds a way to get to the Cavs.

But here’s the thing: focusing on that one line totally ignores the point that Boeheim was making in the interview. As always, context is critical, and if you read the story that Waters wrote, it’s pretty obvious the message that Boeheim was trying to get across. Melo is not going to leave a legacy in the NBA beyond being a guy that got a lot of buckets. It just didn’t work out for him that way. Ask Karl Malone how that feels.

But by going to Rio for the 2016 Olympics, by becoming the first men’s basketball player to win three Olympic gold medals, Melo did solidify himself a legacy.

He’s the most accomplished and, arguably, the best player that Team USA has ever had. That’s not going to make up for the rings that are missing on his fingers, but it does cement his place in the history of the game.

That was Boeheim’s point, and it was a salient, intelligent point, one that complimented Melo for the success that he had in international play.

But if you scroll through your favorite blogs and see that headline, it looks like he was taking a shot at the player that brought him his only national title.

And given how twisted that quote has gotten, is it any wonder why athletes and coaches hate the media?

UPDATE (1:30 p.m.): Boeheim has weighed in:

Oregon wins their opener on Spanish tour

Oregon forward Elgin Cook, from left, forward Dillon Brooks and guard Tyler Dorsey react after a play against Washington during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinal round of the Pac-12 men's tournament Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Las Vegas. Oregon won 83-77. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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Oregon won the opener of their tour in Spain 109-88 on Tuesday night, as the Ducks knocked off a team of all-stars in Madrid.

Tyler Dorsey had 19 points to lead the Ducks while Kavell Bigby-Williams and Dylan Ennis, who is coming off of a season derailed by foot injuries, both added 16 points. Chris Boucher, who was terrific at the Nike Skills Academy in July, had 12 points.

While Ennis’ health was noteworthy, it is also worth pointing out that Oregon’s star Dillon Brooks did not play on Monday and will not be playing on the trip. I know this because, in every photo posted by the official Oregon team accounts, Brooks is in a chair with a boot on his left foot.

The rising junior, a potential all-american, had surgery on the foot earlier this month.