Indiana v Michigan State

Top 10 tidbits: Indiana, Jim Larranaga 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. Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls, Will Sheehey, …etc.  No more needs to be said.  In this wild season of college hoops, it’s taken us until the third week of February to finally settle on a team. Regardless of how the rankings bump around at the top for the home stretch, how do you bet against the Indiana Hoosiers right now in Atlanta?

2. Miami is ranked No. 2 in the country, hasn’t lost a game since Christmas Day and is 13-0 in the ACC, three games clear of 2nd-place Duke. If you take into account rebuilding jobs, Tom Crean is the Coach of the last three years as a whole — but Jim Larranaga from Miami is this season’s Coach of the Year.

3. UConn won a huge conference game vs. Cincinnati Thursday.  And the most unique stat in a long time took place in that game. The Huskies scored 18 points in the 2nd half — and then scored 18 points in the five-minute overtime session.

4. How about Florida International?  Richard Pitino took over an 8-21 disaster from Isiah Thomas nearly a year ago and had a lot of work ahead of him.  In the off-season he overhauled the roster, he changed the way his home court would look on game nights, but most importantly, he has people in Miami talking hoops.  FIU won their 15th game Thursday night on Senior Night and are somehow in 3rd place in the Sun Belt.

5. Keep your eye of Fran McCaffery’s team out at Iowa. The Hawkeyes are 17-9 overall, 6-7 in league and are currently in 7th place. However, other than #1 Indiana, the other 4 games left for Iowa are Nebraska twice, Purdue and Illinois. So there is a chance Iowa is 21-10 and 10-8 heading into the Big Ten Tournament.

6. After a lackluster start, Boston University has been on fire the last month.  The Terriers have won 10 out of their last 12 and are now tied for second in the America East.

7. One team receiving a lot of buzz right now is Sacred Heart of the NEC.  Former Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine will be named athletic director at Sacred Heart, the Connecticut Post reported Thursday. Valentine doesn’t have to worry about the baseball program, which has won the NEC two of the last three years.

8. Andre Roberson from Colorado is currently the nation’s leading rebounder — a title I thought O.D. Anosike from Siena would have the entire season.

9. Freshman James Robinson from Pittsburgh has the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the Big East — not just amongst rookies…that includes everyone in the league.

10. And speaking of Big East rookies — they might as well just give the Rookie of the Year Award right now to JaKarr Sampson from St. John’s.

Follow Vin on Twitter at @VinParise and check him out this Saturday breaking down the Mountain West all day in studio at NBC Sports Network with @carolynmanno.

Illinois dismisses Kendrick Nunn

Illinois guard Kendrick Nunn (25) tries to go up for a basket against Indiana center Thomas Bryant (31) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at in Champaign, Ill., on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Heather Coit)
(AP Photo/Heather Coit)
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Illinois announced on Tuesday that they have dismissed Kendrick Nunn from the basketball program.

Nunn was sentenced to community service after pleading guilty to a battery charge that stemmed from a domestic violence incident. He was alleged to have hit a woman in the head and pushed her to the ground before pouring water on her.

“We have made the decision to dismiss Kendrick Nunn from the men’s basketball team, effective immediately,” a statement put out by head coach John Groce and athletic director Josh Whitman read. “After extensive deliberation, we think it best for our program to reaffirm our core values of trust and respect, to send a strong message about what is acceptable behavior.”

Nunn averaged 15.5 points as a junior last season.

Delaware hires Martin Inglesby as head coach

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Joe Raymond, AP
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Delaware has finally hired a head coach, a little more than two months after Monte’ Ross was fired.

The man that earned the right of taking over a program with just four returning scholarship players is Martin Inglesby, a Notre Dame assistant that has been under Mike Brey’s tutelage for more than a decade. A source confirmed the news with NBCSports.com. Brey spent his first six seasons as a Division I head coach in Newark.

The reason that the search for a new basketball coach took so long is that the university was in the midst of looking for a new athletic director. Chrissi Rawak was hired as AD on May 13th, and one of her first orders of business was finding a replacement for Ross.

CBS Sports was the first to report Inglesby’s hiring.

Report: UCLA signs record apparel deal with Under Armour

(Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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The latest arms race in the collegiate ranks centers around apparel deals, and UCLA has reportedly signed the largest in the history of amateur athletics.

Under Armour will pay the university $280 million over the next 15 years, according to ESPN.com, in exchange for their athletes to work as unpaid models, turning Pauley Pavilion and the Rose Bowl into a runway for the athletic apparel company to hawk their wares.

Here are the details from ESPN:

At those numbers, the deal would be the largest in college football history. In January, Ohio State said its 15-year deal with Nike was worth $252 million. Texas signed a 15-year deal with Nike worth $250 million in October, and Michigan signed an 11-year deal, with a four-year option, that could be worth up to $173.8 million.

Landing UCLA only furthers Under Armour’s presence on the west coast. Their most famous client is Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors.

Kentucky-Kansas headlines the 2017 SEC/Big 12 Challenge

Reuters
Reuters
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The Big 12 and the SEC announced the matchups for the 2017 SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Tuesday, and the highlight is, of course, Kansas and Kentucky.

The two schools, who played an instant classic in Phog Allen Fieldhouse last season, will square off in Lexington this season. If that wasn’t enough, Kentucky and Kansas are currently sitting second and third, respectively, in the NBCSports.com Preseason Top 25.

So that should be fun.

The game will be played on January 28th along with the rest of the matchups in the series. Those matchups are:

Texas at Georgia
Texas A&M at West Virginia
Florida at Oklahoma
Baylor at Ole Miss
Iowa State at Vanderbilt
Kansas State at Tennessee
Arkansas at Oklahoma State
Auburn at TCU
LSU at Texas Tech

To be frank, the rest of that schedule is not all that enticing. West Virginia should be a top 25 team, and they host a Texas A&M team that is talented but young. Florida and Georgia are arguably the two best non-Kentucky teams in the league, but they face off with a rebuilding Oklahoma and a young Texas squad, neither of whom are guaranteed to make the tournament.

The problem here?

Both the SEC and the Big 12 are likely going to be down this season, which puts a damper on just how excited we can get about this challenge.

Purdue forward to return to school, withdraw from NBA Draft

Purdue center A.J. Hammons (20) celebrates with forward Vince Edwards (12) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan State in West Lafayette, Ind., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Purdue defeated Michigan State 82-81 in overtime. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Purdue announced on Tuesday that forward Vince Edwards will be returning to school for his junior season.

Edwards declared for the NBA Draft without signing with an agent and went through the process to gauge his value at the next level.

“After getting the NBA experience and going through the evaluation process, I have talked with my family and Coach Painter and decided it is best for me to return for my junior year,” Edwards said in a statement. “Although the NBA is still a dream for me one day, I am coming back to Purdue to make next year a special one. Thank you to all the organizations who gave me the chance to not only showcase my talents, but also the chance to know me as a young man and not just an athlete.”

Edwards averaged 11.3 points and 5.4 boards last season.

Purdue now has to wait to hear from Caleb Swanigan, a rising sophomore that was a top 20 recruit in the Class of 2015. The deadline to withdraw from the draft is Wednesday.