Remember back when a Duke-North Carolina game meant someone – maybe everyone – was going home bloody? Ah, the good old days.
This year, the Blue Devils beat the Tar Heels easily, trotting up and down the floor and barely seeming to break a sweat in a 69-53 rout. The perils of small-ball, one supposes.
For Duke, this game proved that, to quote Dennis Green: “They are who we thought they were!” With Ryan Kelly back, and Carolina already playing a small lineup, there was simply no room for a happy ending for local fans in Chapel Hill. Duke got 23 points and 13 rebounds from a rampaging Mason Plumlee, and kept the interior loose by feeding Seth Curry to the tune of 20 points, mostly on smooth jumpers.
The futility of the evening was best captured by the @DaggumRoy Twitter parody account:
Boys, I’m arms-foldin’ hard as I can. Don’t know what else u wont me to do.
Duke heads into the ACC tournament as the league’s No. 2 seed, and Coach K’s boys would no doubt love to end up facing Miami on the final day. The question all season long has been “how many games would Duke have won if Ryan Kelly had been healthy?” That question can’t be answered, but the Blue Devils can show they have what it takes to match up with the Hurricanes if both make it to the title game.
For Carolina, this isn’t the worst news ever. Small ball has gotten them to this point, and it could still get them to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament, if they manage not to run into another accurate, rangy, speedy team full of collegiate All-Stars coached by a Hall of Famer. It’s doable – there aren’t a lot of them out there.
Duke-North Carolina still holds the title of Best College Hoops Rivalry, but it was pretty flat this year. Here’s hoping both teams get up to their old tricks again before the season is all said and done.
Florida freshman will miss the season with stress fracture
Bassett will require surgery in his right foot and his projected recovery time will be four-to-six months. The injury will force Bassett to redshirt the 2016-17 season.
A three-star recruit coming out of Oldsmar Christian in Florida, the 6-foot-9 forward wasn’t expected to be a big contributor during his first year with the Gators, but his loss does hurt some of the team’s frontcourt depth. With John Egbunu, Devin Robinson, Justin Leon and Kevarrius Hayes all returning, the Gators should have plenty of players to use in the frontcourt this season without Bassett.
Once Bassett is healthy and able to play next season he showed good athleticism and an ability to hit the glass hard while he was in high school. Bassett should be able to join Florida’s rotation as an energy defender and rebounder right away.
Iowa State lands four-star Class of 2017 guard Lindell Wigginton
Iowa State has its point guard of the future as four-star Class of 2017 prospect Lindell Wigginton pledged to the Cyclones on Friday.
The 6-foot-1 Wigginton is regarded as the No. 40 overall prospect on Rivals.com as the Canadian has spent the last few seasons at powerhouse Oak Hill Academy. With an ability to play both guard spots and defend a few spots, Wigginton is a valuable addition to head coach Steve Prohm’s ballclub as Wigginton could help replace Monte Morris after he exhausts his eligibility.
Wigginton is going to need to improve his consistency on his perimeter jumper, but he’s a good pull-up scorer who can make plays for himself or others off the bounce. Iowa State’s Class of 2017 recruiting haul now includes Wigginton, four-star wing Terrence Lewis and three-star guard Darius McNeill.
This commitment is huge for Prohm as Wigginton is the most highly-regarded recruit that he has landed with the Cyclones. With Prohm’s point guard history with guys like Isaiah Canaan at Murray State and Monte Morris now with Iowa State, Prohm did a nice job of finding his next young guard to mold for the future.
Davidson star Jack Gibbs to miss a few weeks with shoulder injury
Davidson senior guard Jack Gibbs is one of the most under-the-radar players in college basketball as he will be among the nation’s leading offensive threats this season if he’s healthy.
But health is going to be a question for the 6-foot-1 guard as Gibbs is dealing with a shoulder injury that will sideline him for 2-to-3 weeks, according to head coach Bob McKillop. McKillop told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that tests came back negative for Gibbs and he’s expected to be back for the Wildcats’ season-opener. The injury for Gibbs occurred during Thursday’s Davidson practice.
As a junior, Gibbs averaged 23.5 points, 4.9 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game as he became one of the nation’s premier offensive players. Gibbs is going to be a huge key for Davidson this season as he needs to be healthy in order for the Wildcats to make it back to the NCAA tournament.
VIDEO: Dennis Smith Jr. electrifies N.C. State fans at team’s scrimmage
N.C. State freshman point guard Dennis Smith Jr. excited fans with some absurd plays at the team’s Primetime with the Pack event last night.
The highly-touted, five-star prospect is the most electric prospect to come to the Wolfpack in years and Smith had the crowd buzzing with some highlight-reel dunks during the team’s 20-minute scrimmage.
Smith made one teammate look silly by putting it between his legs and throwing down a vicious dunk during one play while he also threw an alley-oop to himself to finish another break.
Kentucky freshman guard Malik Monk is going to be one of the newcomers to keep an eye on this season as the 6-foot-3 Arkansas native is an explosive scorer who packs vicious athleticism.
Monk showed Big Blue Nation some of what they can expect to see during Friday night’s Blue/White Scrimmage as he unleashed a ferocious dunk in some traffic and also had another good dunk in transition. While Monk has great lift off the floor, he also isn’t afraid to cock the ball back and put some authority on his dunks. He’s going to be a ton of fun to watch this season.