Jabari Brown, Laurence Bowers, Mike Muscala

The Little Dances: Championship Week Day 9 Preview

Leave a comment

The NCAA Tournament doesn’t get going until March 19, but for the real college hoops fans, the days leading up to Selection Sunday is when the madness really begins. Over the next two weeks teams will fight for the postseason lives. Bubbles will burst and tickets will be punched, and Cinderellas will be born. This is the real March Madness.

(CLICK HERE to browse through all of our conference tournament previews)

Here’s what to watch for on Wednesday.

Game of the Night:Cincinnati vs. Providence
While this match-up may not have all the makings of an epic Big East tournament classic, it pits two teams heading in opposite directions. Cincinnati has lost six of their last nine and is squarely on the bubble after spending much of the early portion of the season ranked in the top-25. Providence on the other hand, has won seven of their last nine and might actually be able to sneak into the NCAA tournament if they can pull off an impressive run in New York City. It all starts tomorrow at noon.

Player to Watch: Mike Muscala, Bucknell
Muscala is arguably the best player you’ve never hear of. The senior forward averages 19ppg and 11rpg and despite playing in the Patriot League, may earn himself an All-American nomination or two. Muscala has already scored 2,007 points in his storied career, and a win tonight in the Patriot League finals would cement his legacy as one of the top-5 best Patriot League players of all time.

Miscellaneous Madness:
Today is the final chance for Grambling to avoid a completely winless 2012-2013 campaign. The Tigers are 0-27, but because so many SWAC teams are ineligible to compete in postseason play, Grambling got the call up. They face an Alabama A&M team that beat them by 25 and 27. If we’ve learned anything from this season, it’s that Grambling can absolutely get their first win of the season today.

Wednesday Schedule:

Big East Conference Second Round
Noon – Cincinnati (9) vs. Providence (8)
2 p.m. – Seton Hall (12) vs. Syracuse (5)
7 p.m. – St. John’s (10) vs. Villanova (7)
9 p.m. – Rutgers (11) vs. Notre Dame (6)

Big 12 Conference First Round
7 p.m. – Texas Tech (9) vs. West Virginia (8)
9:30 p.m. – Texas Christian (10) vs. Texas (7)

Conference-USA First Round
4:30 p.m. – SMU (10) vs. UAB (7)
7 p.m. – Rice (11) vs. Houston (6)
9:30 p.m. – Marshall (9) vs. Tulane (8)

Mid-American Conference Second Round
6:30 p.m. – Buffalo (8) vs. Ball State (5)
9 p.m. – Miami-OH (11) vs. Eastern Michigan (7)

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
6 p.m. – Bethune-Cookman (8) vs. Norfolk State (1)
8 p.m. – North Carolina A&T (7) vs. North Carolina Central (2)

Mountain West Conference Quarterfinals
3 p.m – Air Force (6) vs. UNLV (3)
5:30 p.m. – Fresno State (7) vs. Colorado State (2)

Pac-12 Conference First Round
3 p.m. – Arizona State (9) vs. Stanford (8)
5:30 p.m. – Oregon State (12) vs. Colorado (5)
9 p.m. – Utah (10) vs. USC (7)
11:30 p.m. – Washington State (11) vs. Washington (6)

Patriot League Finals
7:30 p.m. – Lafayette (2) at Bucknell (1)

Southeastern Conference First Round
7:30 p.m. – Mississippi State (13) vs. South Carolina (12)
10 p.m. – Auburn (14) vs. Texas A&M (11)

Southland Conference First Round
6 p.m. – McNeese State (8) vs. Nicholls State (5)
8:30 p.m. – Central Arkansas (7) vs. Sam Houston State (6)

Southwestern Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
9 p.m. – Grambling (7) vs. Alabama A&M (6)

You can find Troy Machir on Twitter at @TroyMachir

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
Leave a comment

No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
Leave a comment

The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.