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.

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

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Kelly Kline/Under Armour
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Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

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The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.

 

 

 

Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt cuts list to nine

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LAS VEGAS, NV — Five-star Class of 2017 forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country since he was a freshman in high school.

The 6-foot-8 native of Houston is beginning to wind things down in the recruiting process as he cut his list to nine schools on Friday. Vanderbilt’s list includes some of the most storied programs in college basketball and plenty of schools from his home state of Texas.

“I just followed my heart. Went with the schools I liked the most and who I have the best relationships with. Thear were the schools I could see myself playing for,” Vanderbilt told NBCSports.com.

Regarded as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, Vanderbilt is currently recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Vanderbilt will see a doctor in three-to-four weeks as he’s currently in a boot to help his foot heal.

Report: Michigan State and Penn State will play at the Palestra

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Head coach Patrick Chambers of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has previously expressed a desire to coach a game at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia and it appears he’ll get his chance in a Big Ten game this season.

According to a report from Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, Penn State will use the Palestra as its home gym for the Jan. 7, 2017 Big Ten game against Michigan State. It is the only time the two teams are scheduled to play during Big Ten season and Penn’s home gym will offer a unique setting for the game.

Since the capacity of the Palestra is 8,722, it should make for a fun atmosphere for both programs since this will be a game both fan bases will likely want to attend.

With Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers making Philadelphia a major recruiting priority for his program, a game like this in Philadelphia makes sense while Michigan State has always been open to playing games in unique settings such as aircraft carriers.

The Palestra has been a college basketball mainstay since it was built in 1927 as it hosts all Penn home games and, in the past, hosted a lot of Big 5 Philadelphia college games between La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

Overall, a fun idea that should make for an interesting experience for both programs. It’s not often that a team will change its home venue for a conference game, but it could be the start of something we see other schools look to do.