Late Night Snacks: Recapping the second FULL day of college hoops

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TEAM OF THE DAY: Florida Gulf Coast

Is there even a conversation here?

Florida Gulf Coast didn’t just knock off No. 2 seed Georgetown. The 15th-seeded Eagles spanked them. They won by 10 in a game they were up by 19 points during the second half. There were alley-oops (plural) and tip-dunks. There were clutch threes and one epic choke-job. There was the defining moment of the NCAA tournament to date:

While Eddie Murray and Chase Fieler were dunking all over the Hoyas, Sherwood Brown was dancing on the court and shaking Reggie Miller’s hand and hugging cheerleaders. It was everything that makes the NCAA tournament great: the upset, the celebration by a team you’ve never heard of, the palpable anguish of the nationally relevant program losing in the opening round, the cursing you hear from next door as your neighbor screams about losing a Final Four team from their bracket.

MORE: Florida Gulf Coast coach’s wife will be a hot topic

Davidson-Marquette was fun. Harvard-New Mexico was an upset. But this was the first bit of Madness we’ve gotten in this year’s NCAA tournament.

Who else was impressive?:

  • Ole Miss: The Rebels picked up their most impressive win of the season by knocking off No. 5 seed Wisconsin on Friday. The best sign? They did it on a night where Marshall Henderson missed 12 of his first 13 shots from the field. Ole Miss will advance to take on No. 13 seed La Salle.
  • La Salle: Speaking of the Explorers, they picked up an upset win over No. 4 seed Kansas State, hanging on to beat the Wildcats despite completely blowing an 18 point halftime lead. La Salle is your clubhouse favorite to be the second weekend cinderella.
  • Minnesota: The Golden Gophers caught UCLA on the perfect day. Not only were they getting the Bruins without Jordan Adams, but Friday morning also happened to see a story published about how Shabazz Muhammad has been lying about his age. The result? UCLA didn’t show up, and the Gophers reaped the benefits.

PLAYER OF THE DAY: Andre Hollins, Minnesota

Since we’re on the topic of the Gophers, Hollins finished with 28 points, nine boards and five assists on 8-16 shooting, hitting 5-8 from three. That’s what set the tone for Minnesota, who, with the exception of a single game in February when they knocked off Indiana, has been atrocious for more than three months. The Gophers landed a 20 point win over UCLA on Friday night. They advanced to the round of 32 for the first time in Tubby Smith’s Minnesota tenure. Will that be enough to save his job if Minnesota can’t get past Florida?

Who else was good?:

  • Khalif Wyatt, Temple: Wyatt had 31 points, five assists and three steals as Temple hung on to beat NC State on Friday. The Owls were up 38-22 at the break, but they needed some clutch free throws from Wyatt down the stretch to hang on.
  • Doug McDermott, Creighton: McDermott finished with 27 points and 11 boards for the Bluejays as they managed to stave off No. 10 seed Cincinnati in the opening round. Creighton will get a shot at Duke next.
  • Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State: Franklin had 21 points, eight boards and five assists in a win over No. 10 seed Oklahoma.
  • Brett Comer, FGCU: Comer wasn’t the guy throwing down the dunks for the Eagles and he wasn’t the leading scorer that will top the box score. He’s the engine that makes Andy Enfield’s team run, finishing with 12 points, 10 assists and six boards in the win over Georgetown.
  • PJ Hairston, UNC: UNC needed a late run to avoid blowing a 17 point lead to Villanova, but the Tar Heels were able to pull out the win thanks in large part to 23 points, five boards, three assists and three steals.

GAME OF THE DAY: La Salle 63, Kansas State 61

The Explorers were dominant for the first 20 minutes on Friday night, as they opened up a 44-26 lead at the half on the Wildcats while slicing up the Kansas State defense with their talented perimeter attack. But once Jordan Henriquez and company finally woke up, Kansas State went on a run. They outscored La Salle 31-12 in the first 12 minutes of the second half, completely erased the deficit and setting up a thrilling finish. After Jerrell Wright hit two free throws with 30 seconds left, Kansas State missed on two shots that could have won the game.

PHOTOS: The best images from a wild Friday

Bruce Weber will not be happy about the loss. He was trying to call a timeout as Angel Rodriguez was dribbling out the clock.

FIVE THOUGHTS:

1) I guess the Atlantic 10 is pretty good: Four days into the tournament, and the Atlantic 10 has yet to lose a game. Butler, St. Louis and VCU all won on Monday, while La Salle — who also won the play-in game — and Temple won as lower seeds on Friday. The only other league that received multiple bids to the tournament to go undefeated thus far? The Missouri Valley.

2) Which is why San Diego State is so important: The Mountain West is now 2-3 in the tournament after San Diego State picked up a win over Oklahoma on Friday night. Combine that with Colorado State’s definitive win over Missouri on Thursday, and that’s all we get out of the league that everyone fell in love with this season. None of the three losses came to lower-ranked teams. That’s not exactly a rousing compliment for the conference.

3) Kansas should be happy Georgetown lost: And not just because they are in the same region. The Jayhawks looked absolutely atrocious in their matchup with No. 16 seed Western Kentucky today. The Hiltoppers could not score in the second half, and Kansas only managed to win by seven points. If everyone wasn’t obsessed and focused on how the Hoyas played, we may be talking about how bad the Jayhawks looked.

4) Since were’e talking about comebacks: How about the one by Colorado. The Buffs used a 23-2 run to take a 44-39 lead midway through the second half, and then couldn’t find a way to score the rest of the game. No. 7 seed Illinois eventually won, 57-49, to advance and take on Miami.

5) Have you seen tomorrow’s schedule yet?: Yeah, it’s gonna be awesome.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Former Texas center James Banks III transfers to Georgia Tech

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After playing sparingly in two seasons at Texas, 6-foot-10 center James Banks III made the decision to transfer. Tuesday night Banks announced his next stop, with the Decatur, Georgia native committing to Georgia Tech.

After sitting out the 2018-19 season per NCAA transfer rules, Banks will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

In 46 total games at Texas, Banks averaged 1.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 10.7 minutes per game. As a freshman Banks appeared in 32 games and averaged 12.4 minutes per appearance, contributing 1.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. With the additions of Mohamed Bamba and Jericho Sims, Banks’ playing time decreased in 2017-18, as he appeared in 14 games and averaged 1.6 points and 1.7 rebounds in 6.8 minutes per game.

Georgia Tech currently has four scholarship front court players for the 2018-19 season, with one being rising redshirt senior forward Abdoulaye Gueye. Rising redshirt junior Sylvester Ogbonda and rising sophomores Evan Cole and Moses Wright will have eligibility remaining when Banks becomes available to compete at the start of the 2019-20 season.

Villanova basketball team snaps photo with Meek Mill prior to 76ers game

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Tuesday’s Game 5 between the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers was a big one for both teams, as the visiting Heat were looking to stave off elimination and the 76ers were one win away from their first playoff series victory in six years.

What added to the atmosphere at Wells Fargo Center was the release of hip hop artist Meek Mill, who due to a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling was released from prison. Among those also in attendance were the reigning national champion Villanova Wildcats, who along with comedian Kevin Hart, Meek Mill and the artist’s lawyers took a photo prior to the game.

Villanova was originally scheduled to handle the pregame ringing of the replica Liberty Bell, but they were bumped due to Meek Mill’s release.

City prosecutors were of the belief that Meek Mill, who had been imprisoned without bail since November, was entitled to a new trial after being found guilty of a probation violation stemming from a conviction handed down in 2009. This was a factor in the Supreme Court’s decision to grant Meek Mill, who rang the bell prior to the start of Tuesday’s game, his freedom.

Meek Mill received a groundswell of support throughout his incarceration from members of the 76ers and Super Bowl champion Eagles and other public figures, including 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Ohio State lands grad transfer Keyshawn Woods

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With three of the team’s top five scorers from this season, led by Big Ten Player of the Year Keita Bates-Diop, moving on Ohio State entered the offseason in need of players who could potentially have an immediate impact in 2018-19.

Tuesday evening the Buckeyes picked up a commitment from a grad transfer, as former Wake Forest guard Keyshawn Woods announced that he will play his final season at Ohio State.

Woods appeared in 28 games for the Demon Deacons in 2017-18, averaging 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 25.7 minutes per game. The 6-foot-3 guard was used primarily as a reserve this past season, making just five starts for Wake Forest. Woods began his collegiate career at Charlotte, playing the 2014-15 season there before transferring to Wake Forest.

During the 2016-17 season, the first in which he was eligible to play at Wake Forest, Woods started 22 of the 33 games he played in and averaged 12.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Woods shot 49.5 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from three during that campaign, and the hope in Columbus is that he can get back to that level in his lone season as a Buckeye.

Ohio State’s best returnee on the perimeter next season will be rising junior C.J. Jackson, who averaged 12.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game as a sophomore. Ohio State also adds a talented freshman class that includes guards Duane Washington Jr. and Luther Muhammad. Florida State transfer C.J. Walker will have two seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out the upcoming campaign per NCAA transfer rules.

Memphis to recruit in style with new souped-up van

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Traveling during live recruiting periods isn’t the most enjoyable process for college basketball coaches, with many having to work their way through airports and car rental lines in order to keep tabs on players they’re recruiting. For the programs at the top of the sport a private plane may be available, which certainly helps.

In the case of Penny Hardaway’s Memphis program, the coaching staff will be hitting the road in style as he showed off a new, souped-up van via his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon.

Notice the “One Cent” logo in the headrests, making it clear whose van it is and what Hardaway’s accomplished in the game of basketball as a player. For those too young to be intimately familiar with his playing career, Hardaway’s work with the Bluff City Legends (named Team Penny when he was in charge) on the Nike EYBL circuit and at Memphis East HS will likely register.

Since Hardaway’s hiring he and his staff, which includes assistants Tony Madlock and two-time NBA champion Mike Miller, have made Memphis a player on the recruiting trail. Will the van reel in top prospects? Maybe, maybe not. But there’s no denying the fact that Hardaway and his staff have already managed to connect in a way that the prior coaching staff was unable to.

Now we wait for the anonymous complaint from another athletic department to the NCAA about Hardaway and Memphis having this van, because that’s generally the way in which these things work.

NABC sends out talking points ahead of Rice Commission announcement

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Wednesday morning the NCAA will announced the recommendations of the Rice Commission, which is headed by former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. The commission was formed in the aftermath of the FBI’s September arrest of ten individuals in connection with an investigation into corruption and bribes in college basketball recruiting back, with the stated goal being to introduce reforms that would “clean up” the sport.

NBC Sports obtained an email the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) sent out to its members in preparation for Wednesday’s announcement. In the email, the NABC provided “talking points” while also encouraging coaches to support the Rice Commission’s findings — whether they agree with them or not.

“In short, it is imperative that the Commission’s recommendations be met with unequivocal support from each of us. The NABC Board of Directors affirmed the necessity of this unified response on a conference call earlier today,” the statement sent out by the NABC read.

The key talking points are:

  • Change was necessary, and we knew change was coming. As coaches on the front lines, we are uniquely positioned to offer valuable insight as the Commission’s recommendations progress through the legislative process;
  • As coaches, we are committed to working with the NCAA in evaluating the recommendations and will provide appropriate input as legislation is drafted;
  • We are appreciative of the Commission’s efforts to address necessary change, and for welcoming the input of the NABC.

The Rice Commission’s recommendations are highly anticipated in college basketball circles, and it remains to be seen just how quickly the NCAA would go about implementing them. One topic that’s bound to be discussed is the “one and done” player, but it once again must be noted that this is something controlled by the NBA and its Players Association (via the collective bargaining agreement). There’s also the connection with shoe companies, which became an even bigger point of conversation in the aftermath of the FBI arrest.

Hearing what coaches have to say about the Rice Commission’s findings would have been interesting. But with the NABC looking to present a unified front, there may not be much to take from what the coaches say in the aftermath of Wednesday’s announcement.