Late Afternoon Snacks: Miami’s vices exposed; Bracket Busters takes a bow

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Game of the Day

Wake Forest 80, No. 2 Miami 65: That Miami finally lost an ACC game is not surprising – it’s a tough league. That they lost to Wake Forest, a team below .500 overall and in ACC play, is a head-scratcher. According to Kenpom, the Hurricanes have the fifth-best defense in the nation. Wake Forest’s is 99th. On offense, the Deacs are even worse, falling well below the median in offensive efficiency. This won’t keep Miami out of the tournament, or even a No. 1 seed, but it points to something that must be fixed if they hope to capitalize on that lofty position.

Meaningful Results

No. 21 Memphis 89, Southern Miss 73: Memphis hasn’t lost a game in 2013. Their 13-0 run through C-USA thus far was enough to hand them the league title today, as they put down a serious challenger in the Golden Eagles. We’re all pretty fond of pointing out that Josh Pastner hasn’t exactly been a John Calipari at Memphis, but this year, his efforts have him on a more solid road to the NCAA tournament than his mentor has managed in Lexington.

No. 10 Louisville 79, Seton Hall 61: Gorgui Dieng (23 points) showing his offensive prowess in February is a very good sign for the Cards. Paired with his defense and rebounding, that makes Dieng the sort of player who can push Louisville deep into the tournament, which has been a less-than-certain outcome for the on/off Cards. Louisville has to go to Syracuse in March, and they’ll need all the scoring options they can find for that one.

No. 24 VCU 75, Xavier 71: The Rams are on everyone’s permanent Cinderella list, but as a team, they’re likely looking to move beyond that label and into the rarified air pioneered by No. 3 Gonzaga – the perennial favorite. Taking down Xavier, another contender for that kind of step up, is a good sign for Shaka Smart and his crew in their first season in the A-10.

No. 14 Oklahoma State 73, West Virginia 57: After the 2 OT loss to Kansas, the Cowboys are looking to run the table from here on out. Standing just .5 games back of league leaders KU and K-State, Oklahoma State can still hope for a Kansas stumble, and they’ll have their own takedown shot at the Wildcats in their final regular-season game, at home, on March 9.

LSU 97, Alabama 94 (3 OT): Alabama was a very quiet second-place in the SEC (and still is, by the way), but this loss to a mediocre LSU team isn’t going to help their weak tournament resume in the least.

Games of the Night

6:00 Creighton at St. Mary’s (ESPN)

6:00 No. 17 Marquette at Villanova (ESPN2)

6:00 Nevada at San Diego State (NBCSN)

7:00 San Diego at N0. 3 Gonzaga (ROOT)

7:00 Arkansas at N0. 5 Florida (ESPNU)

8:00 N0. 13 Kansas State at Texas (Longhorn)

8:00 Stanford at N0. 23 Oregon (Pac-12)

8:00 Harvard at Yale (CBS Sports)

8:00 South Dakota State at Murray State (ESPN2)

9:00 Missouri at Kentucky (ESPN)

10:00 Ohio at Belmont (ESPN2)

11:00 Washington at Arizona State (ESPNU)

N.C. State adds grad transfer Sam Hunt

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N.C. State added its fourth transfer this offseason. Like ex-Baylor guard Al Freeman, the latest one is eligible to play next season.

Sam Hunt, a double-digit scorer the past two seasons at North Carolina A&T, officially enrolled at North Carolina State on Monday morning.

“Sam is a great young man and will bring much needed depth to our backcourt,” N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts said in a statement. “I want guys who are excited about being a part of our program and Sam really wants to be here.

“Sam is a combo guard that can space the floor with his ability to shoot the basketball. He is a good fit for the system and will bring a wealth of experience to our roster.”

Hunt, the 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 12.7 points per game last season, a dip from the 15.4 points per game he posted for the Aggies as a redshirt sophomore.

Hunt joins a roster that lost its three leading scorers from a season ago, one that ended 15-17 (4-14 ACC). Dennis Smith Jr. is a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Maverick Rowan also pursued a professional career and Terry Henderson was denied an additional year from the NCAA.

The Wolf Pack bring back forwards Abdul-Malik Abu and Omer Yurtseven as well as Torin Dorn.

Keatts, who took over the program after leading UNC Wilmington to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, has already built for the future. UNC Wilmington transfer C.J. Bryce, 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Seahawks, has followed him to Raleigh. Utah transfer Devon Daniels committed to the Wolf Pack the same day as Bryce. Both will have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules. Bryce will have two years of eligibility while Daniels will have three.

LaVar Ball stars in an uncomfortably entertaining segment on WWE’s Raw

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LaVar Ball’s statements and antics over this past year always seemed better suited a professional wrestling ring.

It was only natural that the patriarch of the Ball family — and the head of the Big Baller Brand — made an appearance on WWE’s Monday Night Raw at the Staples Center for an awkwardly entertaining segment with WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz.

With sons, Lonzo — in his first appearance in the Staples Center as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers — and LaMelo looking on, LaVar was the center of attention. When The Miz mentioned something about a partnership between the two, the scripted interview went south. It resulted in LaVar saying nonsensical things like, “There’s only two dudes better than me, and I’m both of ’em!” before later taking off his shirt. When Dean Ambrose, a WWE superstar feuding with The Miz came out on to the ramp, LaVar didn’t quite grasp the concept that that was his cue to stop talking.

This segment was somehow entertaining and cringeworthy at the same time.

Now that Lonzo is beginning his NBA career, maybe it’s time LaVar try something different. A manager in the WWE may just be his true calling. He’s certainly had plenty of practice.

Maryland lands commitment from five-star 2018 forward

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Maryland added to its 2018 recruiting class with its second commit, the newest addition being a five-star in-state product.

Jalen Smith, a 6-foot-9 forward from Baltimore powerhouse Mount St. Joseph, committed to the Terrapins, making the announcement on Twitter.

“I believe that I can academically and athletically achieve my goals at home through my commitment to the University of Maryland … Go Terps,” he tweeted as part of a long passage.

Smith is listed as the No. 13 overall recruit in the Class of 2013 by Rivals. He joins four-star swingman Aaron Wiggins in Mark Turgeon’s current recruiting class.

Playing for Team Takeover on the Nike EYBL circuit, Smith is averaging 10.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game.

Recent grad’s joyride reportedly did $100,000 of damages to Mizzou Arena

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A recent graduate and temporary employee of the University of Missouri took an early morning joy ride that reportedly could rack up around $100,000 to Mizzou Arena.

According to Dave Mater of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Nathaniel J. Contant, 23, who graduated from the school in December 2016, drove his Volkswagen Passat through a gate and eventually on to the floor of the 15,000-seat on-campus arena.

At 7:15 a.m. Sunday, MU police were dispatched to Mizzou Arena for a report of property damage. Officers determined that around 4 a.m., the suspect drove his vehicle through a closed gate on the south side of the arena. He ran through a garage door and drove into a dock area where he damaged several golf carts that were stored in the area. He also drove his car onto the basketball court. The man couldn’t leave through the area he used to enter the building, so he drove through the arena’s press gate.

Contant, unsurprisingly, is no longer an employee of the university. He’s being charged with second-degree burglary and first-degree property damage, both of which are felonies. He was released on a $4,500 bond.

The motive for this early-morning joyride remains unclear.

Despite the hype surrounding the upcoming Mizzou season — one that includes the debut of new head coach Cuonzo Martin and the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft Michael Porter, Jr. — Twitter users couldn’t help but poke fun at the dismal recent history the Tigers have had.

(h/t Kansas City Star)

Vance Jackson transfers to New Mexico

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With more than a handful of departures this offseason, New Mexico is set to have a new-look roster for the 2017-18 season. On Monday, Paul Weir, now at the helm of the program, landed a player who should make an impact in the three remaining seasons of eligibility he has left.

Vance Jackson, who spent this past season at UConn, decided to make the move from Storrs to Albuquerque, picking the Lobos over Rutgers, San Diego State, TCU, and Washington.

The 6-foot-8 rising sophomore will have to sit out next year due to NCAA transfer rules before resuming his collegiate career in the fall of 2018.

“The coaches — they trust in me,” Jackson told Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal last month during his official campus visit. “We’re on the same page. They see a vision.”

Weir, who led New Mexico State this past season to a NCAA Tournament appearance in his one and only season as head coach, succeeded Craig Neal in April.

This offseason has been headlined by transfers, though, those mostly were about players leaving the program. Jackson is the second transfer to land at UNM with Akron’s Antino Jackson electing to use his final season of eligibility with the Lobos. Antino Jackson is a graduate transfer, allowing him to play immediately next season.

Vance Jackson, who was rated as the No. 80 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals, averaged 8.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game while shooting just under 40 percent from three for the Huskies as a freshman.