Marks, Smith

Bubble Banter: Who helped their tournament chances?

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SATURDAY’S BUBBLE WINNERS

Boise State: The Broncos were the day’s biggest winner, as Derrick Marks caught fire, scoring a career-high 38 points to lead Boise State to a win over Colorado State at home. that’s huge, as it gives Leon Rice’s club a second top 25 win and a third top 50 win, which includes a win at Creighton. The Broncos now have seven top 100 wins and may end up adding to that total, as the end of their regular season includes a trip to UNLV and a home-date with San Diego State. As of today, the Broncos are probably in, which is a good sign, as they don’t have many more chances to mess something up.

Creighton: The Bluejays got 41 points from Doug McDermott as they shot 70.2% from the floor in a big win over Wichita State on their home floor. Creighton is now the outright Missouri Valley champ, and while that doesn’t factor into the selection committee’s decision-making process, the win over the Shockers should be enough to lock up a bid regardless of what happens in the first round of Arch Madness.

Maryland: The Terps are still alive after winning at Wake Forest, but it’s not going to be easy. Thanks to an incredibly empty non-conference schedule, Maryland’s overall profile is pretty weak despite beating Duke and NC State. They host UNC and visit Virginia before the ACC tournament begins. Win the next three and they’ll have a chance.

La Salle: The Explorers are still living off of the week where they knocked off both Butler and VCU. Those are La Salle’s only two top 50 wins, but good computer numbers and just one atrocious loss keeps them in the mix. Beat GW this week and the Explorers will get a shot at St. Louis to lock up a bid.

Temple: The Owls survived URI, notching their fifth-straight win after a head-scratching loss to Duquesne. Temple has good enough computer numbers and nine top 100 wins — headlined by Syracuse and St. Louis — which should be enough to get them into the tournament as long as they avoid a loss to a team like URI.

Arkansas: The Razorbacks kept their hopes alive, knocking off Kentucky at home on Saturday afternoon. This team still has quite a bit of work to do, however. They have just five top 100 wins, ugly computer numbers and just a single road win: at Auburn. Win at Missouri, beat Texas A&M, and land a win or two in the SEC tournament, and we’ll talk.

Belmont, Louisiana Tech and Middle Tennessee State: The only thing these three teams can do is play out the rest of their season and hope that enough bubble teams end up losing that an at-large bid opens up. None of the three have strong enough wins to make up for their questionable losses. The easy answer? Don’t leave it up to the committee; take care of business in the conference tournament.

California, Missouri, Oklahoma and Memphis: These five make up what I like to call the ‘Play Yourself Out Crew’. All four should be able to earn themselves an at-large bid as long as they don’t do anything crazy in the season’s final week. Cal beat Colorado, Missouri handled LSU, Oklahoma blew out Iowa State and Memphis beat Central Florida on the road. That’s how it’s done.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.

UNLV transfer to finish career at Michigan State

UNLV forward Ben Carter, right, celebrates after his team defeated Oregon in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Las Vegas. UNLV won 80-69. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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Former UNLV center Ben Carter announced on Wednesday that he will be transferring to Michigan State to finish his collegiate career.

Carter, who began his career at Oregon, averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 boards in his one season with UNLV before tearing his ACL in late January. He spent two seasons with the Ducks before transferring to Vegas, which is why he’s eligible immediately for the Spartans.

And that’s the biggest reason that Tom Izzo and company targeted him.

The Spartans lost Deyonta Davis to the NBA Draft after one season, a fact that became an inevitability midway through the year but one that the Spartans didn’t necessarily plan for heading into last season. Carter isn’t going to be an instant impact kind of player, particularly not when he’s coming off of an ACL injury, but he is a big body and a veteran presence on a front line that wasn’t going have much of either.