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.

LaSalle parts ways with longtime head coach Dr. John Giannini

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La Salle announced on Friday that they are parting ways with head coach John Giannini.

Giannini had been the head coach of the program for 14 seasons, amassing a record of 212-226. Before taking over at La Salle, he spent seven seasons as the head coach at Rowan and eight seasons coaching at Maine.

“Today Bill Bradshaw and I mutually agreed that La Salle University could benefit from a new voice in leading the program,” said Dr. Giannini. “It is difficult to admit this but I have given every effort possible for success and I have received nothing but support and encouragement from Bill and President Hanycz. Greater things may be accomplished for this storied program and great university with the approach of a new coach. I am forever grateful, especially to my loyal staff and dedicated student-athletes. I look forward to my next challenge and La Salle’s future success.”

Kentucky clarifies ‘false reports’ they did not shake Kansas State hands after loss

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After Kansas State knocked off Kentucky in the Sweet 16, the purple Wildcats alleged that the blue Wildcats did not shake their hands after the game.

“They didn’t shake our hands,” Kansas State junior guard Amaad Wainright told ESPN last night. “It’s sorry.”

“They know what they did.”

Kentucky bristled at the allegations.

“They were turned and celebrating, so I walked off,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. “There was no disrespect for anything. It’s just that they were celebrating, and I was happy for them.”

“My team’s not like that. There’s no disrespect in any way. They beat us. They deserved to win the game.”

NCAA amends rule to allow Isaac Haas to play

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BOSTON — The NCAA has changed their interpretation of the rule that kept Isaac Haas out of the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Haas broke his elbow in Purdue’s first round win over Cal St.-Fullerton, but he was not allowed to play in a second round game against Butler because his brace did not meet NCAA standards.

So they changed those standards.

“With ample time this week to review the intent of the playing rule, the committee decided to provide a more contemporary interpretation, while keeping health and safety for all players the highest priority,” said Gavitt. “Technology has improved materials used in braces, so now there will be more flexibility in applying the rule as long as the brace is fully covered and padded. Isaac and other players in similar circumstances should be able to play, as long as the brace is safe for all.”

Sources have told NBC Sports that, despite Haas’ lobbying to get onto the court, he is not expected to play on Friday night. If he does, it will be in a very limited capacity.

“He didn’t practice the last two days,” Painter said on Thursday, “and when you don’t practice, you don’t play.”

“I don’t see him playing until he can practice and show me he can shoot a right-handed free throw and get a rebound with two hands.”

USC’s Chimezie Metu declares for NBA draft

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USC junior forward Chimezie Metu announced on Thursday evening that he will be declaring for the NBA draft:

This decision is not surprising. Metu finished his degree — Law History and Culture —  in three seasons. He held himself out of USC’s NIT games in an effort to keep himself from getting injured with NBA workouts on the horizon.

Metu averaged 15.7 points, 7.4 boards and 1.6 blocks for the Trojans this season. He is considered a borderline first round pick.

VIDEO: Kansas State legend celebrates revenge on Kentucky 67 years in the making

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In 1951, Kansas State lost to Kentucky in the National Championship game.

Ernie Barrett, who eventually became the school’s athletic director and is known as “Mr. K-State“, played on that team.

He’s wanted to get revenge on Big Blue ever since.

On Thursday night, Kansas State did.

Ernie was there, and here was his reaction in the locker room: