Late Night Snacks: Georgetown top in Big East, Manhattan and Iona go double overtime

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Game of the Day

Manhattan 74, Iona 73 (2OT)

Rhamel Brown grabbed his 17th rebound, 10th offensive, off a missed free throw and found Emmy Andujar who drove and scored a layup to put Manhattan up 74-73 with four seconds to go. Iona had one last chance, but the desperation three was off the mark. The Jaspers have won four straight as the fans stormed the court in MAAC action. Brown ended the game with 21 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks.

Important Outcomes

No. 15 Georgetown 62, Cincinnati 55

The Hoyas took sole possession of first place in the Big East, by half a game, in the road win against the Bearcats. Markel Starks hit a three with over five minutes to go to put Georgetown up 54-51, which was the last field goal the Hoyas hit. Georgetown went 8-for-10 from the line to clinch its seventh straight win.

Stony Brook 65, Vermont 48

The top two teams in the American East met in New York, as the Stony Brook avenged a loss from earlier the season while creating separation in conference standings in a win against Vermont. The Seawolves hold a game and a half lead with four games to go. Stony Brook got a balanced scoring attack from Marcuse Rouse (16 – off the bench), Tommy Brenton (13) and Jameel Warney (12).

Harvard 73, Penn 54/Princeton 73, Dartmouth 55

Harvard beat Penn. Princeton beat Dartmouth. The Crimson are 6-1 in the Ivy League, half a game better than 5-1 Tigers. Harvard and Princeton meet Saturday at 7 p.m. in Cambridge with first place in the Ivy League on the line.

Manhattan 74, Iona 73 (2OT)

The MAAC is tight, and Manhattan only added to that with a win on Friday. Seven teams in the MAAC have winning records. Niagara and Loyola (MD) are one and two, followed by a three-way time for third — two games out — between Canisius, Rider and now Iona. Manhattan is three games out of first, tied with Fairfield.

Starred

Rhamel Brown, Manhattan

The junior center had game-highs in points (21), rebounds (17) and blocks (7) in a big win for Manhattan. The 6-foot-7 Brown came away with 10 offensive rebounds, none bigger than one off a missed free throw before finding Emmy Andujar for the game-winning layup in overtime.

Markel Starks, Georgetown

The junior point guard had 17 points and three assists in a win over Cincinnati. Starks hit a three that gave Georgetown a 54-51 lead, which they didn’t give back. He also hit 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute to ice the game.

Keifer Sykes, Green Bay

Sykes went for 23 points in a win over Cleveland State. The 5-foot-11 guard shot 6-of-12 from the field, 9-of-10 from the line, scoring the most points since Jan. 5 when he went for 21 in a loss to Detroit

Struggled

Clancy Rugg, Vermont

Vermont’s leading scorer, was held scoreless of 0-for-3 shooting, with three rebounds and an assists. Rugg was averaging 11 points per game.

Cincinnati 3-point shooting

The Bearcats shot 4-of-24 from behind the arc, including missing the last four shots to end the game in a loss to Georgetown. Sean Kilpatrick was 1-of-7 and Cashmere Wright was 2-of-8 from deep. Kilpatrick is shooting 36 percent from three on the season while Wright is 37 percent.

Dartmouth defense

The Big Green let Princeton shoot 56 from the field, and one percent better from the 3-point line. Dartmouth’s rebounding wasn’t much better, being outrebounded by the Tigers 34-21

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Indiana hires Dayton head coach Archie Miller

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Indiana is expected to hire Dayton head coach Archie Miller, the school announced.

The deal will be for seven years, according to The Vertical. Miller had spent the last six seasons as the head coach at Dayton, getting to four straight NCAA tournaments, including the Elite 8 in 2014, while winning the last two Atlantic 10 regular season titles.

Miller had been targeted by seemingly every high major program with an opening since he reached the Elite 8, but similar to Shaka Smart when he left VCU, Miller simply waited for the right job to come long.

Indiana is the right job.

There had been some speculation that Miller wouldn’t want to take Indiana, that his dream job is Ohio State and that the idea of coaching in a fishbowl like Bloomington is not something that would be all that appealing to him. But Indiana is an elite job. It’s the kind of opening that happens once every four or five years, and if Miller had said no to the Hoosiers now, it’s very possible that an opportunity like this wouldn’t come along for years, if ever.

This hire is surprising, not because it’s the wrong hire — I think they got this right — but because Indiana actually made the right decision.

The overwhelming sentiment since Tom Crean was fired was that UCLA head coach Steve Alford would be named the next head coach at Indiana because the Hoosiers wanted an “Indiana Guy”. Alford was born in New Castle, he played at IU for Bobby Knight, he won a national title with the program. The goal was to get the Indiana fan base back, a fan base that was so estranged from the program that Indiana had to play an NIT game on the road as a higher seed because they were reportedly afraid of allowing ESPN’s cameras to see the empty seats.

But just because a hire appeases the fans doesn’t make it the right hire.

Miller was the right hire.

If they really want to get the fans back, winning is the best way to do it. Archie is as good of a bet to win at Indiana as anyone.

Elite 8 Preview: Saturday’s picks, predictions, betting lines and channels

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So Friday got good.

If Zak Showalter’s game-tying three and subsequent discount double-check wasn’t enough, we had Canyon Barry’s chasedown block and, well, this game-winner from Chris Chiozza.

And all that came after De’Aaron Fox took out what felt like a season’s worth of frustration out on Lonzo Ball.

What is on tap for tonight?

No. 1 GONZAGA (-8) vs. No. 11 XAVIER, 6:09 p.m., TBS: Someone is going to be making their way to the Final Four for the first time on Saturday night, as Xavier’s Chris Mack and Gonzaga’s Mark Few square off for the right to play on the final weekend of the season.

And in a way, this is the perfect Final Four game. Both the Zags and the Musketeers are basketball schools in basketball leagues. They come from outside the power structure and have head coaches that have spurned jobs from within the power structure to remain there. They are built for a run like this, even if they were both overlooked on the way here.

Xavier was obvious. Playing without Edmond Sumner and Myles Davis, the Musketeers just haven’t been the team that they were supposed to be this season. That’s why they lost six straight games in February, but things have turned around in March, as Trevon Bluiett has put the program on his back and willed them to the Elite 8. Gonzaga is the opposite. They went 29-0 to start the season, but they have yet to be accepted as a legitimate title contender by most of the people that watch the games.

My guess on Saturday night is that the Zags make their statement and emphatically get into the Final Four.

PREDICTION: Gonzaga (-8)

No. 1 KANSAS (-7) vs.  No. 3 OREGON, 8:49 p.m., TBS: This matchup is a lot tastier on paper than it is likely going to end up being on the floor. As good as Oregon has been this season, they are, essentially, Kansas light. They play two lead guards together and they play small-ball, with a natural wing lined up at the four.

The problem?

The Kansas guys are just better. Josh Jackson is a better player than Dillon Brooks. His length and athleticism should give the Oregon star fits. Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham are better than whatever combination of Payton Pritchard, Tyler Dorsey and Dylan Ennis the Ducks opt to use.

And, for that matter, no team is playing better right now that they Jayhawks, who beat Michigan State by 20, Purdue by 32 and became the first team to score 90 points in their first three NCAA tournament games since 1995. I think that trend continues on Saturday night.

PREDICTION: Kansas (-7)

Sunday’s NCAA Tournament Elite Eight schedule, tip times, and announcer pairings

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Regional Finals – Sunday, March 26

2:20 p.m.,CBS, New York
No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 4 Florida (Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce)

5:05 p.m., CBS, Memphis
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Kentucky (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)

Steve Alford: ‘I’m very happy at UCLA’

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UCLA head coach Steve Alford was still processing an 86-75 season-ending loss to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 on Friday night when he had to answer questions about another blueblood program.

Sine the dismal of Tom Crean at Indiana, Alford has been one of the names rumored to be in the mix for the coaching vacancy. A reporter in the press conference in Memphis didn’t even get a chance to finish his question before Alford cut him off and a publicly state that he was happy in Westwood.

“I said it last week, and I’ll reiterate it again even more so, I guess, that I love Los Angeles,” Alford said. “To begin with, it’s a beautiful place, and our family has fallen in love with it. I’ve got two sons now, Kory first and now Bryce, that have graduated. Bryce is done, so he’s graduating from UCLA, so I’ve got two sons that are graduates from there, a daughter that loves the school she’s going to in Thousand Oaks. I’m very happy. I’m at UCLA. I don’t know of a lot of people that are out there wanting to leave UCLA.

“This is a pretty special place. We’ve worked awfully hard. Our staff has worked hard. We’ve got the No. 2 recruiting class coming in next year. We’re opening a brand-new, state-of-the-art, 60-plus million practice facility, Mo Ostin Center, that is going to be spectacular that we’ve worked awfully hard to be a part of that, and I want to see that through, and we’ve got some special kids that are coming to join us.

“I’m very, very happy where I’m at, and hopefully, that’ll continue.”

Alford won a national championship with the Hoosiers in 1987, scoring more than 2,400 points in his career under head coach Bob Knight. He has been with UCLA since 2013, reaching the Sweet 16 in three of his four seasons with the Bruins.

Crean was fired on March 16 after nine season in Bloomington.

Lonzo Ball has officially declared for the 2017 NBA Draft

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Following a season-ending loss in the Sweet 16 of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, UCLA freshman point guard unsurprisingly announced that he will enter the NBA Draft.

“That was my final game for UCLA. I appreciate the fans,” Ball told reporters.

The 6-foot-6 point guard has a strong case to be the No. 1 overall pick. It could be almost too enticing for the Los Angeles Lakers to pass on a Southern Cal product if the ping pong balls fall in their favor. New Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka were in Memphis for Friday night’s Sweet 16 matchup with Kentucky.

Ball, in an All-American freshman season with the Bruins, averaged 14.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and a nation’s best 7.6 assists per game, while shooting 56 percent from the field and 42 percent from three.

He ended his college career with an 86-75 loss to the Wildcats, scoring 10 points, off 4-of-10 shooting, with eight assists.