Indiana flirting with losing grip on top seeds in NCAA, B1G tourneys

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All it took was a trio of tough drives from Aaron Craft and a sensational defensive performance sparked by Shannon Scott and, all of a sudden, Indiana, who many believed to be the best team in the country heading into Tuesday night, no longer had themselves locked into a No. 1 seed.

The No. 14 Buckeyes stymied Indiana’s powerhouse offense for 40 minutes, getting timely buckets from Craft and a huge three from Deshaun Thomas with four minutes left as they beat No. 2 Indiana 67-58 on Senior Night for the Hoosiers.

That drops the Hoosiers, who held a commanding two games lead in the Big Ten race entering the day, to just one game ahead of the four teams currently sitting tied for second place. And with a trip to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan on Sunday, Indiana is going to have their work cut out for them.

Win, and Tom Crean’s club will earn an outright Big Ten regular season title.

Lose and, well, they’ll fall into a first place tie with as many as three other teams, lose control over the top seed in the Big Ten tournament and potentially cost themselves that No. 1 seed in the Big Dance.

That’s concerning, especially when you consider that Indiana has now lost two of their last three games with a less-than-inspiring win over Iowa in Assembly Hall being sandwiched by losses at Minnesota and at home to Ohio State. Or that for the first time all season, Victor Oladipo struggled in a marquee game. Or that for the second time in the span of a week, Cody Zeller got pushed around in the paint; his 17 points on Tuesday will help mask the fact that he didn’t play all that well.

The Hoosiers have some kinks to work out, but they’re going to be fine. Tonight was more about how well Ohio State played defensively than any massive issue with the Hoosiers moving forward.

But it does go to show you: even if Indiana is the best team in the country, they are anything-but unbeatable.

And right now, they are anything-but a lock for a No. 1 seed.

More than anything, that’s where the concern should lie. The Hoosiers have a chance to play in Indianapolis in the Sweet 16 and the Elite 8. That may not be a ‘home game’, but it would be a crowd made up of roughly 90% Hoosier fans. Pretty ideal, eh?

That’s what this loss may cost them.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

VIDEO: Top 2018 recruits Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford go head-to-head at adidas

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This weekend is the first live evaluation period of the spring recruiting calendar as college coaches from all over the country are scouting (and babysitting) the top recruits in the Class of 2018 and 2019.

Friday night the adidas Gauntlet in Dallas opened with a marquee matchup of two star players as five-star forward Zion Williamson and five-star guard Romeo Langford went head-to-head in what should be one of the best games of the spring.

Most scouting services have Williamson and Langford as the No. 2 and No. 3 overall prospects in the Class of 2018 as the duo didn’t disappoint in front of the huge crowd in Fort Worth.

Williamson helped his team to a win with 26 points and seven rebounds while Langford had 28 points, four rebounds and four assists. You’ll be hearing plenty about both of these guys over the next few months as both are still wide open in the recruting process.

(H/t: Ball is Life)

Report: Coppin State hires Juan Dixon as new head coach

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Coppin State has hired former Maryland star guard Juan Dixon to be its next head coach, according to a report from Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun.

The 38-year-old Dixon is best known for leading Maryland to the 2002 national championship as he was the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four that year. Now Dixon will have a chance to lead a Division I program for the first time.

Dixon spent seven years in the NBA and also played professionally in Europe before joining the Maryland coaching staff in 2013 as a special assistant to head coach Mark Turgeon. Not retained by Maryland after the 2015-16 season, Dixon took the head coaching job for the women’s team at the University of the District of Columbia last season as the Division II program finished only  3-25.

Coppin State finished last season with an 8-24 record after losing its first 12 games of the season. While Dixon will generate some positive local buzz given his background, he’s going to have an uphill battle trying to rebuild that program.

Nebraska scores important Class of 2017 commitment from four-star guard Thomas Allen

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Nebraska landed an important commitment from the Class of 2017 on Friday as four-star guard Thomas Allen is heading to Lincoln next season.

The 6-foot-1 guard is considered the No. 99 overall prospect by Rivals in the national Class of 2017 rankings as Allen was previously committed to N.C. State before head coach Mark Gottfried was fired.

A scorer with a good amount of skill, Allen has a chance to come in and make an immediate impact at Nebraska as he can play a bit on or off the ball. Allen should help offset the loss of senior Tai Webster in the Husker backcourt.

Allen joins wing Nana Akenten in Nebraska’s Class of 2017 recruiting efforts.

North Carolina lands four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks

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North Carolina pulled in a late Class of 2017 commitment to begin the weekend as the Tar Heels secured a pledge from four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks.

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Brooks was previously committed to Mississippi State, but he was granted his release this spring to explore other opportunities.

The Tar Heels pounced as they’re getting a low-post threat who could develop into a potential double-double threat. A solid rebounder who isn’t afraid to play with physicality, Brooks has a chance to earn some immediate rotation minutes with seniors like Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks exhausting their eligibility.

Brooks is regarded as the No. 120 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, according to Rivals, as he is a four-star prospect. The native of Auburn, Alabama joins a North Carolina recruiting class that includes point guard Jalek Felton, shooting guard Andrew Platek and big men Brandon Huffman and Sterling Manley.

Report: NCAA ‘anticipates’ hearing UNC case in mid-August

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Today, the AP churned out a story on Greg Sankey’s involvement with the NCAA’s investigation into the academic scandal at North Carolina, and buried within that story is this little nugget:

UNC must respond to the latest charges by May 16. The NCAA enforcement staff then has until July 17 for its own response. Sankey wrote that his panel will hear the case in August with “anticipated” dates of Aug. 16 and 17.

Rulings typically come weeks to months later.

We’ve been down this road before, as the current iteration of the Notice of Allegations is the third that the NCAA has provided the university. The first was given out back in May of 2015 for an investigation that began back in 2010.