Minnesota v UCLA

Shabazz Muhammad and Ben Howland done at UCLA?


Another disappointing season at UCLA is in the books. This one ended Friday in a 20-point upset loss to Minnesota in the South Region’s 6-11 matchup.

The Bruins didn’t live up to preseason expectation, especially after Ben Howland brought a star-studded recruiting class headlined by Shabazz Muhammad, Kyle Anderson, Tony Parker and Jordan Adams. After a 2011-2012 season full of controversy on an off the floor maybe this was a reason Howland returned. Following the 83-63 loss, Howland’s status at UCLA is in question again.

“We’ll take stock in the next couple of days, and talk like we always do with all coaches,” UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero told Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn, who tweeted the quote.

“I’m not commenting on my job status with you guys tonight,” Howland said which was also tweeted by Winn. “I just want to talk about fact that I’m so proud of these kids.”

Howland and his team had another season full of distractions. Josh Smith and Tyler Lamb both decided to transfer mid-season and Parker seemed to feel the same way, yet finished out the season. Muhammad, the 6-foot-6 highly-touted recruit, had his own personal distractions from the Midnight Madness to March Madness.

It started at the beginning of the season when he was ruled ineligible and ended when a story from the Los Angeles Times ran on Friday with Muhammad’s father, Ron Holmes, telling LA Times reporter Ken Bensinger that Muhammad is actually 20, not 19-years-old. The story that broke earlier Friday morning may have something to do with Muhammad’s 6-for-18 shooting performance (0-for-7 in the first half) in the loss to Minnesota.

Howland may not be the only one on the move. Muhammad, according to DraftExpress.com, is projected as a top-3 pick in this summer’s draft. Howland has previously stated, then apologized for saying Muhammad had played his final game at Pauley Pavilion following UCLA’s 74-69 win over Arizona on March 2.

Along with Kentucky, UCLA’s offseason will likely have several interesting outcomes following disappointing seasons.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Tom Izzo’s point is valid, but he’s wrong about the new fouling rules

Eron Harris, Tom Izzo
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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On Sunday night, after No. 3 Michigan State knocked off No. 23 Providence in the final of the Wooden Legacy, Spartans head coach Tom Izzo made sure to make his feelings known about the new college basketball officiating mandates.

He doesn’t like them.

At all.

“I just think we’re taking the flow of the game away,” Izzo said. “Maybe it’ll change. We’ll play by the same rules everybody else does. But I think I can voice my opinion to say that I don’t agree with it.”

Part of what frustrated Izzo was that, in a matchup between the two best players in college basketball, both Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn were sent to the bench with foul trouble.

“I didn’t like it either way,” Izzo said. “I didn’t like having Denzel on the bench, and I didn’t even like watching Dunn on the bench.”

“Don’t tweet this now and leave out the officials,” he added, according to CBSSports.com. “It’s not their fault. Because that’s the way they’re mandated to call them. So I am really either blaming the rules committee, which ends up on the coaches somewhat. So I’m looking in the mirror and blaming myself because I should have argued it more maybe. I just don’t think it’s fun to have these guys sitting.”

This is nothing new for Izzo. This was calculated. He basically said the same thing after Michigan State, then No. 1 in the country, beat Oklahoma in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic two seasons ago, when the rules committee tried to implement these same rules. It was his pushback that started the campaign to get rid of the freedom of movement rules.

But here’s the thing: we all knew this was going to happen. We knew there was going to be an adjustment period, for coaches and players and referees alike. In the long run, freedom of movement is good for basketball. It’s part of the reason the NBA is so much fun to watch these days, as their emphasis on the freedom of movement got us out of the days where the Detroit Pistons were winning titles without scoring 80 points.

Physicality is ingrained in college basketball. Coaches teach defense a certain way. Players play defense a certain way. The guys in the NBA are stronger, but the style of play is much more physical in the college game than the pro game. That doesn’t change overnight.

It changes when those rules are enforced and those fouls are called, and, as a result, the players and coaches learn to adjust to them.

Kennesaw State blows eight-point lead in 16 seconds, loses to Elon

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Kennesaw State entered Monday night at 1-6 on the season, but with 19 seconds left, it looked like the Owls have their second of the season locked up. Kendrick Ray made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to put KSU up 89-81, and all they had to do was avoid a complete meltdown to get out with a win.

They couldn’t.

A Luke Eddy layup with 16 seconds left cut the lead to six, and after KSU’s Nigel Pruitt missed two free throws, Dainan Swoope his a three with seven seconds left to make the score 89-86.

On the ensuing inbounds, Kennesaw State threw the ball away … and then proceeded to foul Eddy when he was shooting a three. This is what that disaster looked like:

Eddy would hit all three threes before, shockingly, KSU turned the ball over again. Elon could not capitalize this time, sending the game to overtime, where the Phoenix outscored the Owls 14-4.

Elon won 104-94.

Here’s what the comeback looked like on the play-by-play:

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