St John's v Louisville

10 tidbits to know: Louisville bounces back, bad three-point shooting and more

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Vin Parise is a former assistant college coach and the college basketball insider for NBC Sports. Look for his Top 10 Tidbits every week.

1. Louisville wins at home yet again, this time vs St. John’s 72-58. The Cardinals final 3 home games are Seton Hall, Cincinnati and Notre Dame — so Rick Pitino’s team winning out the rest of the way at the KFC Yum! Center is more than possible.  So if Michael Carter-Williams misses that dunk on January 19th & Syracuse doesn’t pull off that miraculous win, Louisville had a chance at running the table at home this season.

2. Creighton is 20-6 and 9-5 in the MVC.  Not a Top 25 team anymore, the three-game losing streak has the Bluejays ice-cold as they play at Evansville this weekend.  Is this just a losing streak that will pass or has this team been overrated this season because of how great a player Doug McDermott is?

3. One stat that doesn’t mean much to me this year is three-point defensive field-goal percentage.  I can’t remember a season when I’ve seen so many wide open three-point attempts not go in.  Halftime scores are constantly in the 20’s nightly across the country.  I’m noticing a lot of bad shooting rather than a lot of great perimeter defense.

4. In the MAAC, three games in the win column separate 1st place from 7th place.  Other than St. Peter’s, Siena and Marist, everyone else is in the mix come conference tourney time with 7 or more league wins.  Then again, the 7-18 Marist Red Foxes just beat 1st place Loyola and 2nd place Iona last week.

5. Wright State has been solid but the Horizon League clearly looks like it’s between Valparaiso and Detroit for the conference title. Huge game this weekend as Valpo hosts Detroit.

6. The Bounce Back win of the week goes to Tubby Smith and Minnesota. Heading into the Wisconsin game, the Gophers were 2-6 in their previous eight games and the early season buzz officially disappeared. But the five-point overtime win Thursday night vs No. 20 Wisconsin has Big Ten fans keeping an eye on this team yet again.

7.  Speaking of the Big Ten, I’m curious to see how Iowa looks this weekend vs Minnesota.  5-7 in league is only good for 7th in the Big Ten but the Hawkeyes have lost several close games.  Iowa and Minnesota may be better than we think.

8. For all the debate about who the #1 seeds are right now, have you tried looking at who the #2 seeds may be, compared to the #3 seeds? Miami, Gonzaga, Syracuse, Florida, Michigan State, Arizona, Butler and Louisville.  Good luck sorting out those teams.

9. Washington State is 2-10 in the Pac 12. That’s not a Happy Valentine’s Day no matter how you look at it.

10. Game of the weekend:  Ohio State at Wisconsin — 1pm — Sunday.

Follow Vin on Twitter @VinParise and check him out in studio for NBC Sports Network and SNY.

Colorado’s Tory Miller reprimanded by Pac-12 after biting opponent

Dusan Ristic, Tory Miller
AP Photo
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Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.

During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.

In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.

“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”

Miller also released his apology in the same release.

“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.

For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?


Michigan State’s Tum Tum Nairn battling foot injury

Lourawls Nairn Jr.
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Michigan State has climbed on the back of star senior wing Denzel Valentine early in the season but they’ll undoubtedly need more help as the season goes on if they want to sustain their current top-5 ranking. One of the keys to the Spartans could be the on-going health of sophomore point guard Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn, who is battling a foot injury.

According to a report from Kyle Austin of, Nairn has been putting on a protective boot the last few months to help battle plantar fasciitis as the guard has been playing in practices and hasn’t had his minutes reduced in games.

The injury looked like it was hurting Nairn’s early-season play, but he’s been very good in two games at the Wooden Legacy in California this week, so it could be that he’s getting more used to playing through the pain of the injury.

If Nairn is healthy and capable of contributing, he’s a huge boost to Michigan State because he’s one of the fastest players in college basketball and an additional ball handler on the floor. Through six games so far this season, Nairn is averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 assists per game as he’s been one of the team’s best distributors.

Plantar fasciitis can be a tough injury to fight through, so we’ll have to see if this affects Nairn as the season goes along.