Late Night Snacks: No. 4 Michigan rebounds, Virginia falls at Boston College

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Game of the Day: No. 4 Michigan 58, No. 4 Michigan State 57 

Trey Burke added another performance to his national (and Big Ten) Player of the Year resume on Sunday afternoon, accounting for 21 points, eight assists and five steals in Michigan’s win over their in-state rival. Up ten with 4:36 remaining (52-42) Michigan very nearly handed over a game they looked to be in control of, but two steals by Burke in the final 22 seconds (and a breakaway dunk following the first) proved to be the difference.

The Wolverines won despite failing to make a single three-pointer and being out-rebounded by the Spartans 44-29. But Michigan State turned the ball over 18 times, which allowed Michigan to make up the possessions they essentially lost on the defensive glass. Adreian Payne scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the way for Michigan State.

Important Outcomes

1. Boston College 53, Virginia 52

Virginia has a collection of quality wins that few bubble teams can match. But they also have seven losses against sub-100 (RPI) teams, with the seventh coming in Chestnut Hill on Sunday. Joe Rahon hit a three-pointer and was fouled with 8.2 seconds remaining, and that proved to be the difference for a Boston College team that has taken both Duke and Miami to the wire at home. With games against Florida State and Maryland next week the Cavaliers have more work to do if they’re to return to the NCAA tournament.

2. Purdue 69, No. 17 Wisconsin 56 

With losses by Michigan State and Wisconsin, Indiana can clinch the outright Big Ten title on Tuesday night against Ohio State. As for the Badgers, they had a tough afternoon at home against a Purdue team that arrived in Madison having lost six of eight. D.J. Byrd hit six three-pointers and scored 22 points to lead the way for the Boilermakers, and the second-half contribution of Sandi Marcius should not be overlooked either. Wisconsin, a team that scores 34.2% of its points from beyond the arc, shot just 6-of-28 from three.

3.  No. 23 Pittsburgh 73, Villanova 64 (OT) 

Six days after having a win at Seton Hall slip away the Wildcats lost in overtime at Pittsburgh. James Robinson’s three-pointer in the final minute tied the score at 57, and the Panthers outscored Villanova 16-7 in the extra session. The loss makes Villanova’s regular season finale against No. 7 Georgetown on Wednesday even more important, and Jay Wright’s team has work to do at the Big East tournament as well. That was likely the case regardless of Sunday’s result, but a win certainly would have looked good on Villanova’s resume.

Starred 

1. G Trey Burke (Michigan) 

21 points, eight assists and five steals in the Wolverines’ 58-57 win over No. 9 Michigan State. Two of Burke’s steals came in the final 22 seconds of the game.

2. G Reggie Bullock (North Carolina) 

20 points, ten rebounds and five assists in the Tar Heels’ 79-58 win over Florida State.

3. F Erik Etherly (Loyola (MD))

30 points (11-of-18 FG), four rebounds and two steals in the Greyhounds’ 63-61 win over Manhattan.

Struggled

1. G Michael Snaer (Florida State) 

Given the youth of Florida State’s backcourt there’s a lot on Snaer’s shoulders offensively. He shot 5-of-18 from the field and turned the ball over five times in the Seminoles’ 79-58 loss at North Carolina.

2. G Derek Needham (Fairfield) 

Needham shot 1-of-9 from the field, scoring six points and committing four turnovers in the Stags’ 73-60 loss at Marist.

3. G Darrun Hilliard (Villanova) 

Hilliard shot 1-of-8 from the field, finishing with six points in the Wildcats’ 73-64 overtime loss at No. 23 Pittsburgh.

Three Facts

1. While Stony Brook had already claimed the top seed in next weekend’s America East tournament (.pdf file) some seeds were still to be determined. Hartford’s 61-58 win at Vermont combined with Albany’s 75-70 loss to Stony Brook pushed the Hawks into the 3-seed and dropped the Great Danes to the four.

2. There were also seeds to be determined in the MAAC, with multiple scenarios possible depending on the outcomes of the three games played. Loyola wrapped up the 3-seed with a 63-61 win over Manhattan and Iona grabbed the four with an 80-61 win over Marist. Manhattan didn’t get the win but they do avoid playing in the first round as a result of Fairfield’s 73-60 loss at Marist.

3. Richard Howell scored 18 points and T.J. Warren added 14 to help lead N.C. State past Georgia Tech, 70-57. With their win and Virginia’s loss the Wolfpack are now tied for fourth in the ACC, with the top four teams getting a bye in the first round of the ACC tournament.

Top 25 Scores 

No. 4 Michigan 58, No. 9 Michigan State 57
Purdue 69, No. 17 Wisconsin 56
No. 23 Pittsburgh 73, Villanova 64 (OT)

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

Ball State forward Zach Hollywood found dead in off-campus apartment

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Zach Hollywood, a redshirt freshman on the Ball State basketball team, has died, the university confirmed to multiple local news outlets Tuesday.

He was 19 years old.

Hollywood redshirted last season at Ball State after averaging 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game as a senior at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in Bradley, Ill.

Muncie police are investigating the death at Hollywood’s off-campus apartment, according to WTHR-TV.

“On behalf of Ball State University, it is with profound sadness that we learned today of the passing of Zachary “Zach” Hollywood, a student from Bradley, Illinois,” the school said in a statement. “Zach has been a part of our family for the past year. During his time on campus, he was a member of men’s basketball team and made many positive impressions throughout campus.

“This is a tragedy. Our heartfelt condolences are with his family, friends and teammates. “For members of our Ball State family who need support during this difficult time, we encourage them to take advantage of the numerous resources available on- and off-campus.”

Hollywood’s death is a tragic turn in an already devastating story for his family, which lost Zach’s mother, Susan, suddenly just over one year ago.

3-on-3 at the Final Four for $100,000? It’s happening

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The Final Four just got more exciting.

On Tuesday, Intersport announced a 3-on-3 tournament that they will be hosting at the Final Four with a $100,000 payout for the winners. The participants must be seniors that have exhausted their collegiate eligibility, the teams will be created based on conference and the rules will be standard, international 3-on-3 rules: one-point for a bucket inside the arc, two points for a bucket outside the arc, 12-second shot clocks and games played to 21 points, or whoever has the highest score after 10 minutes. Each all-star team will feature four players, including one sub.

And, well, this is awesome.

I cannot express enough how much I love this idea.

One potential pothole here is that teams that are playing in the Final Four will, quite clearly, not have players eligible to participate.

It also should be noted that since “three-pointers” are now worth two points and “two-pointers” are now worth one, the value of long-range shooting is increased even more.

With all that in mind, why don’t we make a quick power ranking of the teams that can be created from the nine biggest conferences in college hoops:

  1. ACC: Grayson Allen (Duke), Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame), Joel Berry II (North Carolina), Ben Lammers (Georgia Tech)
  2. Big East: Angel Delgado and Khadeen Carrington (Seton Hall), Trevon Bluiett (Xavier), Marcus Foster (Creighton)
  3. Big 12: Devonte’ Graham (Kansas), Jevon Carter (West Virginia), Jeffery Carroll (Oklahoma State), Zach Smith (Texas Tech)
  4. AAC: Rob Gray (Houston), B.J. Taylor (UCF), Gary Clark (Cincinnati), Obi Enechionya (Temple)
  5. Pac-12: Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart (USC), George King (Colorado), Thomas Welsh (UCLA)
  6. Big Ten: Nate Mason (Minnesota), Scottie Lindsay (Northwestern), Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas (Purdue)
  7. Atlantic 10: E.C. Matthews and Jared Terrell (Rhode Island), Peyton Aldridge (Davidson), Jaylen Adams (St. Bonaventure)
  8. SEC: Yante Maten (Georgia), Deandre Burnett (Ole Miss), Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford (Arkansas)
  9. WCC: Jock Landale and Emmett Naar (Saint Mary’s), Jonathan Williams III (Gonzaga), Silas Melson (Gonzaga)

I had way too much fun putting this together.

What did I miss?

Harsh Reality: Indiana did not do Grant Gelon wrong, getting cut is part of sports

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What happened to Grant Gelon sucks, and I’m not sure anyone in their right mind would try to argue otherwise.

A 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Crown Point, Indiana, Gelon accepted a scholarship offer from then-Indiana head coach Tom Crean as a member of the Class of 2016. His commitment was something of a surprise at the time; Gelon was a two-star prospect, according to Rivals, and ranked 402nd in the class, according to 247 Sports. At the time, Gelon reportedly had seven scholarship offers: Central Michigan, UIC, Toledo, Iona, Youngstown State, IUPUI and Western Carolina.

It was a reach for Crean, but it was also a dream come true for an Indiana kid getting a chance to don the cream and crimson.

Which is what made what happened this spring particularly painful.

Crean was fired on March 16th. Indiana hired Archie Miller to replace him on March 27th. Five weeks later, after a handful of workouts with the new coaching staff, Miller called Gelon into his office — the date, according to the Northwest Indiana Times, was May 3rd — and told him that he was being cut. There was not going to be minutes available, the staff said, for a sophomore that played in just 12 games last season, and that finding a place to transfer would be Gelon’s best option.

“I told them I wanted to stay,” Gelon told the Indy Star. “I told them, I’m making my mind up, I’m gonna push hard, show them what I can do, I’m here for a reason. When I said that, it was like, ‘Whoa, slow down.’ They were kind of making that sound like it wasn’t an option.”

That’s because it wasn’t.

Miller was cutting Gelon.

He was not cutting his scholarship, mind you. The Indiana student-athlete bill of rights protects players from losing their tuition due to poor performance on the court or the field. Gelon would still be getting his education paid for if he opted to remain at Indiana, he just wouldn’t be playing for the Hoosiers. Gelon’s departure opened up a scholarship for the Hoosiers that eventually went to Race Thompson, a four-star power forward that reclassified into the Class of 2017 in order to enroll at Indiana this year.

“Coach Miller believes honesty in evaluating talent, while often difficult, is the appropriate measure to take at all times and in the best interest of each player,” a statement released by the Indiana athletic department read. “Grant was made aware that our staff believed his abilities were not of the caliber that would allow him to receive playing time of any kind in the future for the IU program.”

I feel for Gelon here. I really do. Getting cut sucks, and everyone reading this now has probably gone through it at some point in their life. It happens all the time, in every sport, at every age group. Once you get to a level in athletics where you’re playing in more than your hometown rec league, it gets competitive. If you’re not good enough, you don’t make the team. That is how this works. Gelon found that out the hard way.

And frankly, what Miller did is not uncommon. It’s called running a player off, and it happens all the time at every program. Gelon had a bad enough season as a freshman that there is no guarantee that he would have kept his spot on the team had Crean kept his job. Simply put, he is not a Big Ten basketball player. I’d wager that two out of every five transfers at the Division I level are the result of a player transferring out of a school — either because he was forced or because the writing was on the wall — to a lower level, one more in line with his skill-set.

That’s what happened with Gelon. He’s now at State Fair Community College in Missouri, where he’ll spend a year before looking to climb his way back into the Division I ranks, most likely at the low-major level.

And no matter how many interviews that he or his family gives, you won’t find me saying that Indiana handled this the wrong way.

Was Miller callous?

That wouldn’t surprise me. He’s not the type of guy to mince words, and there really is not a good way to sugar-coat, ‘You are not good enough for us.’

But Gelon was not having his scholarship taken away. Indiana was living up to their promise of paying for his education. They did not do him wrong. The staff gave him more than a month to prove himself as a player and, eventually, made the decision he would not be in their plans moving forward.

So he was cut. That opening allowed a four-star power forward to enroll this year.

That’s the harsh reality of life in the Big Ten.

And there’s nothing wrong with the coach of a basketball team doing what Miller and Indiana did.

VIDEO: UConn’s Kwintin Williams would win the NBA dunk contest

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Think that’s too strong?

Look at this dunk:

Light

A post shared by Kwintin Williams (@jumpmanebig) on

He also did this over the summer:

Williams is a 6-foot-7, 215 pound JuCo transfer that should provide UConn with some minutes in the frontcourt this season.

LSU officially announces addition of Kavell Bigby-Williams

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LSU has announced the addition of Oregon transfer Kavell Bigby-Williams, a 6-foot-11 junior that was the National Junior College Player of the Year as a sophomore.

Bigby-Williams, who is a native of London, averaged 3.0 points and 2.8 boards last season as the Ducks reached the Final Four, but he played the majority of the season while under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that occurred while he was at Gillette College in Wyoming.

The local County Attorney declined to charge Bigby-Williams with a crime, and Gillette College police consider the case closed.

“The university conducted a responsible and comprehensive review before approving the transfer,” a release posted on LSU’s Athletics site read, “including close coordination with Title IX officials, multiple discussions with Gillette and Oregon officials and a thorough examination of available public records.”

LSU head coach Will Wade was quoted in that release as well: “This is an issue we all take seriously and we made absolutely sure we did our due diligence before considering moving forward. Kavell understands that and has made clear to me that he’s going to repay our confidence by representing LSU with his very best on and off the court.”