Oregon v Saint Louis

No. 12 seed Oregon knocks off No. 4 seed St. Louis, advances to Sweet 16

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Damyeon Dotson finished with 23 points on 8-12 shooting, hitting 5-6 from three, while Arsalan Kazemi did a little bit of everything, as usual, finishing with eight points, 16 boards (seven offensive), three assists, two steals and two blocks as the No. 12 seed Oregon Ducks blew out No. 4 seed St. Louis, 74-57 on Friday night.

It was an impressive performance from Oregon and, quite frankly, one that should not have been that difficult to identify. The Ducks were legitimately a top ten team in the country when Dominic Artis got hurt. They were on their way to a run through the Pac-12, sitting undefeated in conference play with no games left against either Arizona or UCLA, and finished off the season with a Pac-12 tournament title.

They’re athletic, they’re talented, they’re versatile and they have arguably the nation’s best glue-guy in Kazemi. I’m still kicking myself for picking against them.

But I don’t regret hyping up St. Louis. I don’t think that I made the wrong call by saying that they can beat Louisville in the Sweet 16. And a 17-point beatdown that featured a 24-point second half deficit doesn’t sway that opinion.

Oregon played arguably their best game of the season on Saturday night. St. Louis undoubtedly played their worst. And that’s what makes this outcome so head-scratching.

The Billikens are a veteran-laden team that won a dual-Atlantic 10 title. They dominated VCU and Butler during the regular season. They beat up on La Salle, who is the only Atlantic 10 team to have won two games in the tournament as of this moment. They are a team playing to honor the memory of head coach Rick Majerus, who passed away in December, yet they laid an egg in the biggest game of the season.

Go figure.

Credit must be given where credit is due — Oregon played a heckuva game and deserves this trip to the Sweet 16.

But that doesn’t mean that the Billikens were a fraud.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Kevin Marfo commits to George Washington

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Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.

“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.

This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.

He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.

The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.