Fred Hoiberg

No call on charge, banked-in three could cost Iowa State a tourney bid

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Iowa State is one of the most entertaining teams in the country to watch play.

They have athletes up and down their lineup, they spread the floor offensively, every player on the floor as the green-light when it comes to firing up a three, and they’d rather run to offense than play much defense.

The result is what you saw last night against Kansas: uptempo, high-scoring basketball games.

And if the only two games you’ve watched the Cyclones play this season were their two games against the Jayhawks, you probably would think that Iowa State is pretty safe as a tournament team.

But you’d be wrong.

The Cyclones lost to Texas Tech on the road this season. They also lost at Texas. And at Iowa. In fact, before Iowa State beat Baylor in Waco last Wednesday, the Cyclone’s only two true road wins were at TCU and at UMKC. That’s why they are still on the bubble. The two top 50 wins and the five top 100 wins are nice and, for the most part, better than some other bubble teams. But their struggles on the road — and those two horrendous losses to Texas teams — are like a spaghetti stain on an all-white button down.

That’s why Monday’s 108-96 overtime loss is going to hurt so much. That’s why the Cyclones are going to regret losing to Kansas in overtime in Lawrence back in January. Either one of those wins would have all but locked up ISU’s bid. And while Dave Ommen still has the Cyclones on the right side of the bubble in his latest bracket projections, they are anything but safe.

To make matters worse, last night’s game may have been a different story if it wasn’t for some questionable officiating down the stretch.

With less than ten seconds remaining, Elijah Johnson drove the lane and committed what looked like a charge on a layup attempt. Now whistle was blown on the play until Johnson was given a pair of free throws on a questionable foul while fighting for a loose ball:

To make matters worse, the guy that kept the offensive rebound alive, Jeff Withey, shouldn’t have even been on the floor. After Johnson hit a three to cut ISU’s lead to 87-85 with 30 seconds left, Withey fouled Korie Lucious in the back court. The foul would have been Withey’s fifth, but it was given to Kevin Young.

So not only did the refs miss a charge and then give Kansas two free throws they likely didn’t deserve, those free throws came as a direct result of the refs blatantly missing the fifth foul on Withey.

That’s a tough way to lose.

Especially when their first loss to Kansas was the result of a banked-in three.

Hopefully, that doesn’t cost ISU a trip to the tournament.

Because they are dangerous enough to put together a run to the Sweet 16 if their threes start falling.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Kevin Marfo commits to George Washington

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Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.

“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.

This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.

He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.

The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.