Duke v Virginia

Late Night Snacks: Joe Harris leads Virginia past No. 3 Duke

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Game of the Night: Morehead State 101, Tennessee State 100 

There wasn’t much on the line in this one (besides seeding for next week’s OVC tournament) but the Eagles and Tigers played a classic in Nashville, with Morehead State needing to hang on despite shooting 61.7% from the field and 60.0% (15-of-25) from beyond the arc. Angelo Warner led five Morehead State players in double figures with 23 points, but the Eagles finished the game with as many turnovers (20) as assists (20). Kellen Thornton scored 29 points and Robert Covington added 23, eight rebounds and four steals for Tennessee State, who dropped into third place in the OVC East Division with the defeat.

Important Outcomes

1. Virginia 73, No. 3 Duke 68

The result is more about the Cavaliers than the Blue Devils, who didn’t play their best but Ryan Kelly was dressed (he did not play) and that could open the door to the possibility of him playing on Saturday against No. 5 Miami. Joe Harris scored 36 points and Akil Mitchell added 19 and 12 rebounds for Virginia, who picked up a much-needed win for their resume.

Virginia’s final three regular season games are against Boston College, Florida State and Maryland, which makes their win over Duke all the more important. Duke’s loss is the 19th time this season in which a team ranked in the Top 5 has lost to an unranked opponent this season.

2. Temple 83, Detroit 78 

Originally scheduled to be played on December 28 as part of the Gotham Classic (Detroit was unable to travel due to inclement weather), the Owls and Titans played one of the more entertaining games of the night in Philadelphia. Khalif Wyatt scored all 20 of his points in the second half and knocked down two huge three-pointers late to push Temple past Detroit.

An unsung hero for Temple on this night was forward Jake O’Brien, who scored 16 points off the bench to help keep the Owls afloat when Wyatt was struggling. Ray McCallum Jr. led Detroit with 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists, but they would have been in need of the Horizon League’s automatic bid regardless of the outcome.

3. No. 2 Gonzaga 70, BYU 65 

Gonzaga is now just one win away from the fourth undefeated WCC campaign of the Mark Few era…and possibly the top spot in the national polls for the first time in school history. Kelly Olynyk scored 19 points and Gary Bell Jr. added 15, but if the Bulldogs are to be successful in March Kevin Pangos can’t shoot as poorly as he did in Provo (2-of-13 FG, 1-of-12 3PT).

Tyler Haws led four BYU players in double figures with 19 points, and they need a win at Loyola Marymount on Saturday night to clinch the three-seed in next weekend’s WCC tournament. A loss combined with a Santa Clara win would drop them to fourth, which would mean a possible meeting with Gonzaga in the semifinals as opposed to the title game.

Starred 

1. G Damion Lee (Drexel) 

Lee was hot in the Dragons’ 81-77 win at Old Dominion, scoring a career-high 34 points on 11-of-14 shooting and grabbing ten rebounds.

2. G/F Joe Harris (Virginia) 

No. 3 Duke had no answer for Harris, who scored a career-high 36 points (12-of-20 FG) and grabbed seven rebounds in the Cavaliers’ 73-68 victory.

3. G Omar Strong (Texas Southern)

Strong was part of CBT’s #shootmore campaign during non-conference play due to his ability to get hot from beyond the arc. In the Tigers’ 79-66 win over Southern, which gave them sole possession of first place in the SWAC, Strong shot 7-of-13 from three and scored 34 points.

Struggled

1. Grambling

The Tigers (0-27, 0-17 SWAC) are down to their final shot when it comes to picking up a regular season victory. Grambling shot 32.8% from the floor in a 74-47 loss to Alabama A&M.

2. G Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke) 

Sulaimon had a tough night in Charlottesville, scoring four points on 2-of-10 shooting and committing three turnovers in the 73-68 loss to Virginia.

3. G Jarred DuBois and C Jason Washburn (Utah) 

If the Utes were to have any chance of beating California in Berkeley they needed their seniors to have good nights. That didn’t happen, as they combined to shoot 3-of-17 from the field and score 11 points in the 64-46 loss.

Three Facts

1. Three teams locked up the top seed in their respective conference tournaments and the automatic bid to the Postseason NIT (should they need it) that comes with the honor on Thursday: Stony Brook (America East), Robert Morris (Northeast) and South Dakota State (Summit League).

2. Dominic Artis returned to the floor for No. 24 Oregon after missing nine games due to a foot injury, playing 12 minutes and scoring six points in the Ducks’ 85-75 win over rival Oregon State. Oregon retains sole possession of first in the Pac-12, and Artis has a week of rest before the Ducks visit Colorado and Utah to end the regular season.

3. Florida Gulf Coast kept its hopes of winning a share of the Atlantic Sun title alive with a 60-57 win over first-place Mercer, and the win also guaranteed the Eagles of their first 20-win season as a Division I member. Mercer will look to win the regular season title outright on Saturday with a win at Stetson.

Top 25 Scores

No. 2 Gonzaga 70, BYU 65
Virginia 73, No. 3 Duke 68
No. 16 Ohio State 63, Northwestern 53
No. 24 Oregon 85, Oregon State 75
No. 25 Louisiana Tech 84, Utah State 61

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Minnesota center to miss a month

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 7: Reggie Lynch #22 of the Illinois State Redbirds and Fred VanVleet #23 of the Wichita State Shockers fight for control of a loose ball during the MVC Basketball Tournament Semifinals at the Scottrade Center on March 7, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Minnesota’s projected starting center is sidelined, but is expected to be ready for the season opener.

Reggie Lynch, the Illinois State transfer, had surgery on his left knee, the program announced on Friday night. According to Marcus R. Fuller of the Star-Tribune, the Golden Gophers are anticipating that Lynch is available for the season opener on Nov. 11 against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The 6-foot-10 Lynch has been in the news this offseason prior to his impending debut with Minnesota. In May, he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault. On August 1, the Hennepin County attorney’s office was announced he would not face charges, citing insufficient evidence.

Lynch spent two seasons at Illinois State, averaging 9.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Redbirds as a sophomore. He sat out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Minnesota is coming off a second-to-last place finish in the Big Ten with an 8-23 (2-16 Big Ten) record.

Women’s hoops coaches boycotting recruiting events

DENVER, CO - MARCH 31:  Head coach Muffet McGraw of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish directs her team during practice prior to the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Final Four at Pepsi Center on March 31, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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For some high-major women’s basketball programs, the final evaluation period of 2016 is being used as a vacation from the recruiting trail.

According to a report from Lindsay Schnell of Sports Illustrated, are not attending events during this weekend’s recruiting period for a host of reasons.

First, many are fed up with the price of tournament packets, booklets of rosters that college coaches receive upon paying their entry fee. Packets are supposed to be chock-full of contact information for the prospects, but sometimes aren’t accurate or up-to-date. (This has become a well-documented issue on the men’s side of college hoops. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish wrote on it this summer.) Furthermore, there are so many events now that college coaches are often forced to pay obscene amounts of money to watch just one player at a single event, and play recruiting hopscotch around the country, criss-crossing the nation to see so many events and spend thousands of dollars. One Power Five coach said her staff crunched the numbers, and found that in just two years, they’ve spent more than $4,000 more than they did in 2014 on packets alone. Another coach told a story of sending an assistant across the country for one day, to one event, to watch one team. When the assistant arrived, the team had left early for its next event. No refund was available for the college that had paid what turned out to be a useless entry fee. The head coach called it “exasperating.”

Jeff Borzello of ESPN, who spoke to Notre Dame head coach and eventual Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw for his report, estimated that the cost for one of the coaches packets — the ones that include player contact information, rosters, etc. — can cost each school an average of $600 per event.

This era of grassroots basketball has taken off in recent years with Nike, Under Armour and adidas all creating their own sponsored leagues. All three run exceptional events from the staff to the facilities, all the way to the three, free meals a day for coaches. Organizers of these events will argue that there’s a cost to running such high-end events. These packets, some of which are so in-depth they include players’ GPAs, help fund these tournaments (events, paying a staff, etc.).

Coaches, mostly mid to low-major coaches, will argue that these packets aren’t worth the cost, considering that every coach (head and assistant) must purchase them in order to gain entrance. And you will find packets where the information inside is either inaccurate, or missing or both. For elite programs, this isn’t an issue. You show up, you’re seen, you leave, you go to the next event, repeat. For mid to low-major coaches, this really puts a dent in their budget, especially when they have to travel to multiple events (buying packets at each one) because you have to land that “steal,” you have to find that player who is overlooked.

This protest, or boycott (or whatever you want to call it) will hurt those these events are intended to help the most: the players. If coaches continue to avoid these tournaments, that late-bloomer may miss out on a scholarship, or that player with mid-major offers won’t get the chance to play in front of high-major coaches.

According to Schnell, there is a proposal, voted on in April, to eliminate a live recruiting period in April and September. But many coaches in women’s basketball have made it clear this weekend how they feel about the issue.

USC lands commitment from three-star center

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USC added to its 2017 recruiting class with a commitment from a 7-foot big man.

Andy Enfield and the Trojans beat out Florida, Vanderbilt and Tennessee for the services of Calvary Christian Academy (Florida) center Victor Uyaelunmo. He announced his college decision on Friday afternoon.

“It was the best fit for me academically and athletically,” Uyaelunmo said according to David Furones of the Sun Sentinel. “The basketball coaches really wanted me to come, and I thought it was the best place for me.

“They told me how they were going to use me, and they have a couple of guys leaving this year, so I just fit in right.”

Uyaelunmo is regarded as a three-star prospect by Rivals, however, ESPN rates him a four-star recruit. He joins a two-man class which includes four-star forward Jordan Usher.

The departure of Nikola Jovanovic, the Trojans’ leading rebounder during the 2015-16, was a surprising one, and one that left USC with a hole in the middle. While Uyaelunmo still has one more year before arriving on the Los Angeles campus, the Trojans have a promising piece in the paint for the future; a long, athletic big man who has the potential, in time, to become one of the nation’s top shot blockers.

Uyaelunmo played for Nike South Beach in the EYBL this spring and summer. In 12 appearances, he averaged 5.0 points. 5.9 rebounds and 1.0 block in 17.6 minutes per game.

VIDEO: Rupp Arena’s new video board arrives

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Rupp Arena is getting a makeover. Take a peak as the new video board arrives and is put together:

Five-star freshman ruled ineligible to play for Villanova this season

Jay Wright
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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Omari Spellman will not be eligible to play for Villanova this season, the school announced on Friday morning.

“We are extremely disappointed for Omari,” stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. “While we don’t agree with the NCAA’s decision, we are members of the association and respect it. We understand why the NCAA felt it had to rule this way.”

“We will make a positive out of this for Omari. He will concentrate on his academics and individual development this season. In the long run Omari will be a better student and player for this experience.”

Spellman is a top 20 recruit that played for St. Thomas More this past season. At 6-foot-9, 260 pounds, Spellman was going to be counted on to play a major role in replacing Daniel Ochefu, the 6-foot-11 center that graduated this past spring. Without Spellman, Villanova will have to rely on inconsistent senior Darryl Reynolds to man their front line.

It is worth noting, however, that Reynolds did average 9.0 points and 10.6 boards in three games Ochefu missed last year. That was the first time in his career that he was given consistent minutes.

Spellman will be allowed to continue to practice with Villanova as he takes an academic redshirt.