No. 4 Syracuse upsets No. 1 Indiana behind Michael Carter-Williams’ redemption

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Michael Carter-Williams scored 24 points and added five boards and four steals while Cody Zeller finished with just 10 points on 3-10 shooting from the floor as No. 4 Syracuse pulled off the upset 61-50, taking down No. 1 seed Indiana and setting up an all-Big East Regional Final on Saturday.

And in the end, it was the Orange’s defense that did it.

The Orange held the nation’s No. 1 offense to just 50 points and 0.781 points-per-possession. The Hoosiers shot 33.3% from the field and just 3-15 from three. You want some telling statistics? Syracuse had 12 steals, forced 19 turnovers and blocked 10 shots; the Hoosiers made just 13 two-point field goals on the night. The Hoosiers simply had no answer for Syracuse’s length, and it showed all night long.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the victory for Syracuse was the play of Michael Carter-Williams. The most maligned member of the Syracuse roster, MCW has been criticized for a lack of leadership, poor decision-making and an inability to hit perimeter jumpers. If you listen to the critics, that’s part of what contributed to the Syracuse collapse in February, when they fell from a top five ranking after winning at Louisville to the No. 5 seed in the Big East tournament; it’s why they blew a 16 point second half lead to Louisville in the Big East title game.

But Carter-Williams played as well as he has all season on Thursday night, hitting 3-5 from beyond the arc and committing just two turnovers despite going up against pressure from Victor Oladipo all night long.

“Mike’s had a great year. He’s really played tremendously well all year long,” Jim Boeheim said. “He hasn’t made the three, they were going under on the screens, and my only coaching move of the night was in the huddle, I said stop and take the three. I didn’t think he’d make it, I just wanted them to think he’d shoot it. But he made it, and that was a big lift for us.”

Carter-Williams’ issues go well beyond on the court struggles, as he’s still dealing with the fact that his family’s house back in Hamilton, MA, burned down over the weekend. “I think he’s obviously happy that no one got hurt,” Boeheim said,
“and that his mom and dad and his siblings have got a place to live.”

It’s quite a redemption for Carter-Williams, one that will have him playing in the Elite 8 on Saturday.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

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Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.

The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.

The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.

(h/t: Courtside Films)

Five-star 2018 point guard Darius Garland cuts list to six schools

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Five-star Class of 2018 point guard Darius Garland revealed the final six schools that he’s considering on Friday.

The N0. 12 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals, the 6-foot-0 Garland is one of the top floor generals in the nation as he is still considering Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and Vanderbilt.

A native of Nashville, Garland is a potentially elite perimeter threat at the college level as he’s one of the more deadly three-point marksmen in the nation.

Garland spent this spring and summer playing with Bradley Beal Elite in the Nike EYBL as he averaged 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per game in the league this spring.

VIDEO: Kentucky’s John Calipari participates in the #DriveByDunkChallenge

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The #DriveByDunkChallenge is sweeping the nation on social media this summer.

Rules to participate are pretty simple:

  1. Drive around in your vehicle.
  2. Find a basketball hoop (or a basketball ring if you’re Ted Cruz) on a random driveway.
  3. Run out of your car and dunk on that random hoop while a friend films.
  4. Run back to your car and drive away.

Let Anthony Davis show you how it works:

Pretty simple, right?

The #DriveByDunkChallenge isn’t raising money or awareness for ALS like the #IceBucketChallenge did three years ago, but it’s something harmless and fun to do to pass the time during the dog days of summer.

Sensing an opportunity to join an Internet craze, while also following in the footsteps of his former player Kentucky star, Wildcats head coach John Calipari got involved with his own dunk late Friday night.

And his video is much funnier than I thought it would be.

While most #DriveByDunkChallenge videos are done by healthy and spry teenagers who are cruising neighborhoods during the day, Calipari, and his hip replacement, got in on the fun with a late-night dunk.

I love that Calipari ditched the ball behind his back while running back to the car after the dunk.

Most people who participate in the challenge usually have their own ball and keep it with them through completion. But Calipari either picked up a random ball in the driveway or just he lost the handle with his own ball and had a turnover.

The next time Calipari goes hard on one of his point guards for losing control and playing too fast, remember this moment.

Creighton’s Khyri Thomas posterizes defender

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Creighton rising junior wing Khyri Thomas, like several of his teammates, are taking part in the Omaha Summer League this offseason.

On Thursday night, the 6-foot-3, 205-lb. Thomas eviscerated a defender with a one-handed posterization.

Thomas is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign for the Bluejays. He started all 35 games, averaging 12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Aside from the increase in offensive production, Thomas served as one of the top defenders in the Big East. He shared the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award with Villanova’s Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges.

Zion Williamson throws down 360 windmill dunk

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Zion Williamson added another jaw-dropping dunk in the layup lines on the first night of the second live evaluation period.

Williamson and his SC Supreme team took on Each 1 Teach 1 at the Hoopseen Best of the South at the LakePoint Sporting Community in greater Atlanta.

The 6-foot-7 power forward threw down a 360 windmill dunk during his pregame routines.

Each 1 Teach 1 would pick up a 70-67 victory over SC Supreme. Williamson would end with a monster stat line of 37 points and seven rebounds.