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Illinois hits bad shooting slump in loss to Iowa

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Illinois shot just 29 percent from the floor Tuesday night against Iowa in a 63-55 loss on the road. Haven’t we seen this before from the Illini? It sure seems like it.

During the Illiniois’ stretch of six losses in seven games earlier in the season, a shooting slump was a major factor to blame. Included in that stretch was a 37 percent shooting night in loss to Michigan, 35 percent in loss to Minnesota, another 35 percent in loss to Wisconsin, and 39 percent in loss to Northwestern.

Tuesday’s struggles began with the guard play. Against Iowa, the trio of Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson, and Tracy Abrams combined to shoot 11-of-39 from the floor. The struggles radiated out from there. The rest of the team was just 7-of-24.

Added to that, Illinois does not rebound the ball well, ranking 201st in the nation, so a poor shooting night only hurts the Illini more than the fact that they aren’t making shots. They are still solidly in the NCAA tournament at this point, but their seeding could be affected. According to NBC’s projections, the Illini are a seven seed and could now slip back to an eight or nine.

As for Iowa, the Hawkeyes are still a longsho. But helped along by losses by other bubble teams, there could be a chance. Coach Fran McCaffery’s team has quality wins over Iowa State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and now Illinois with an RPI ranking of 86 and a strength of schedule of 118. Their final regular season game against Nebraska is a must-win (as was the game they lost earlier in the season) and they will likely need to win a few games in the Big Ten tournament.

Southern Miss suffered a bad loss Tuesday against Marshall, which will shift them toward the wrong side of the bubble. Teams like Maryland, Baylor, and Ole Miss all have recent bad losses. For as much losing as there has been, it wouldn’t be surprising to see who is the “last team standing” on the bubble.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

VIDEO: Arizona State’s Torian Graham dunks over teammate

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Arizona State fans won’t get a chance to see Torian Graham take the floor this season, but he did sky over fellow teammates (and transfer) Shannon Evans on Friday night at the team’s Maroon and Gold Madness. The 6-foot-4 Graham is a former Buffalo commit — Evans also came from Buffalo — and both players will have to sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer regulations.

Graham hasn’t had a chance to get into a Division I game, but he’ll be able to play for the Sun Devils next season. For now, fans can look forward to Graham’s athleticism on the wing in pregame dunk routines.

A former top-100 prospect, Graham also pulled off this ridiculous move in the dunk contest.


VIDEOS: Bill Self makes two skits, Bragg plays piano

Bill Self
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Kansas head coach Bill Self is known for being unique for the annual Late Night at the Phog and this season, he went with some parody videos centered around the recent DirecTV ads. In the two skits, Self plays himself — which acknowledges his many accolades — while playing alongside “short shorts Bill Self” and “graduate assistant Bill Self”.

Hard to say if these videos top Self showing up in a suit like Andrew Wiggins last year, but there do have good promotional value for the program and Self.

Kansas players also had their chance to shine, with both men’s and women’s teams doing dances. Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor also attempted to lip sync to Michael Jackson. Freshman forward Carlton Bragg showed some solid ability on the piano, which got the crowd going. Bragg was also one of the strong points in a scrimmage.

Of course, the highlight of the night is Bill Self losing $10,000 on a halfcourt shot, but here’s everything else notable from Late Night at the Phog.