Late Night Snacks: Miami takes bad loss, A-10 proves to be entertaining

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Game of the Day: Georgia Tech 71, No. 6 Miami 69

Sometimes the outcome of a game can be as easy as who boxes out and who doesn’t. On Georgia Tech’s final possession, Miami was the team that did not get a body on every available Yellow Jacket, allowing Marcus Georges-Hunt to get free for a tip-in as time expired. Miami’s hopes for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament took a hit with the loss, especially considering the four bad losses they’ve amassed over the course of the season.

Important Outcomes

1. Villanova 67, No. 5 Georgetown 57

Villanova solidified its spot in the NCAA tournament by notching its third win of the season over a Top 5 team. With good RPI and SOS numbers, the Wildcats’ resume compares favorably to other bubble teams, especially those that have registered bad losses in the past few weeks.

2. Xavier 77, No. 16 Saint Louis 66 (OT)

The final score does not speak to how closely contested this game was. Xavier led by seven points with 4:40 remaining, but Saint Louis clawed back to force overtime. The Xavier wins kept the Billikens from claiming at least a share of the A-10 title Wednesday night and opens up a more interesting race for the top. La Salle and VCU are still in contention.

3. Iowa State 87, No. 13 Oklahoma State 76

In the same way that Villanova needed a big win Wednesday, Iowa State did too and it capitalized. The Cyclones are difficult to beat at home and now add this OSU win to wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma.

Starred

1. Trey Burke, Michigan (26 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds)

If there was another night on the schedule where Trey Burke was to prove that he was worthy of a National Player of the Year award, this was it. He started out cold and Michigan’s offense followed suit, but he began to pick it up in the second half and ultimately led the Wolverines to victory in a tough road environment.

2. Travis Taylor, Xavier (19 points, 19 rebounds)

Xavier could continue to pick up steam and get stronger as we get closer to the conference tournament. For that reason and considering what we saw today from Taylor in a win over Saint Louis, I think Barclays Center is going to play host to one of the best tournaments in the country next week.

3. Will Clyburn, Iowa State (20 points, 7-of-10 FG)

Iowa State needed a win badly to help to solidify its NCAA tournament resume and Clyburn helped to that end. He was 2-of-4 from three-point range as well in the victory.

Struggled

1. Reggie Johnson, Miami (2 points, 1-of-4 FG, 3 TOs)

Johnson has been out of his groove over the past two games, following up an 0-of-5 shooting game against Duke with another subpar performance Wednesday. He needs to be an interior presence for the Hurricanes if they want to make noise in the ACC tournament and make a run in March.

2. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA (4-of-19 FG, 2-of-11 3pt FG)

Muhammad still managed to pull together 14 points, but he struggled to find his stroke from the field. He was part of a larger UCLA attack that was stagnant Wednesday night in a loss to Washington State.

3. Rob Loe, Saint Louis (0 points, 0-of-3 FG, Fouled Out)

Loe typically averages over seven points per game on the year, but was ineffective Wednesday night. His Saint Louis team was able to push the game to overtime, but he and three other teammates eventually fouled out and the Billikens took the loss.

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

Reports: Duke’s Frank Jackson to declare for draft

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Frank Jackson will declare for the draft but will not be signing with an agent, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Previous reports had indicated that Jackson “planned” to return to school, and that still may end up proving true. But the combination of Trevon Duval potentially enrolling at Duke combined with the fact that there is zero downside to going through the draft process, it makes sense for Jackson to declare.

Jackson averaged 10.9 points and shot 39.5 percent from three. He’s projected as a mid-first round pick in 2018 by Draft Express, but at 6-foot-3, he’s too small to play the two in the NBA and has yet to prove he can be a point guard.

Jackson is the fourth Duke player to declare, following Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles III and Luke Kennard. All three signed with an agent. Grayson Allen and Marques Bolden are both returning to school.

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.