New Mexico v Harvard

Tony Snell probably won’t return to New Mexico, stay in NBA Draft

1 Comment

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

New Mexico guard Tony Snell will reportedly make his decision to enter the NBA Draft permanent.

The Albuquerque Journal is reporting that the 6-7, 200-pound junior forward will make his announcement official, according to a former coach.

Snell averaged 12.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists this season for the Lobos, who won the Mountain West Conference regular season and tournament titles this before being ousted by Harvard in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Snell also shot 39 percent from three-point range and 84.3 percent from the free throw line this season.

This seemed like the one obstacle newly-minted coach Craig Neal has to deal with. New Mexico still returns four starters next season, including much-improved big man Alex Kirk and guard Kendall Williams, who has been as consistent a scorer as anyone in his three seasons on the team. Demetrius Walker announced he would leave the team prior to former coach Steve Alford’s departure to take the helm at UCLA.

It also doesn’t seem like Alford leaving and Neal coming in has much to do with Snell’s decision.

“Tony loves Noodles,” Marvin Lea, a family friend and Snell’s former club coach, told the Albuquerque Journal, referring to the nickname many use for Neal. “When he was hired, it made Tony really take a hard, long look at this decision, but Neal has been great throughout this. With the feedback he was getting and providing to Tony and other feedback we’ve heard, Tony is confident with his choice to go to the NBA now.”

Lea added that Snell hiring an agent is “just a matter of time.”

Snell announced he would test the waters of the draft a week ago, and it seemed like a 50/50 shot that he actually went. He’s improved every season at New Mexico, going from 4.4 points per game to 10.5 to his current average over the past three years. He was also the MWC Tournament Most Valuable Player this season.

The Lobos have too much coming back to worry, but Snell would’ve made them the overwhelming favorites to repeat in the MWC. Now, while still the favorites, San Diego State and possibly Boise State could be a bit closer.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

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

Elon Athletics
Leave a comment

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:

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 7.39.27 AM

Rick Pitino: Louisville ‘just ignored’ in top 25 due of scandal

Rick Pitino
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
1 Comment

Louisville beatdown Saint Louis at the Barclays Center on Sunday night, a 77-57 win that was much closer at halftime than the final score might indicate.

The win moved the Cardinals to 5-0 on the season, and that, in turn, got Louisville into the back end of both top 25 polls.

They’re 24th in the AP Poll and 22nd in the Coaches Poll, but that happened on Monday morning. On Sunday night, Pitino made sure to get a rant in about how this team is viewed and why pundits and voters should overlook the scandal currently plaguing his program.

“I think people are looking at that and they’re not really studying the team,” he said, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, adding that he thinks the team is “just ignored” because of the accusations leveled by self-described madam Katina Powell in the book she published back in October.

And here’s the thing: he is 100 percent correct. Louisville was overlooked in the preseason because the scandal, when combined with the fact that the Cardinals are integrating so many new pieces into their rotation, made it tough to see how they would be able to compete at a level that we’ve come to expect out of Louisville teams.

I know that because it’s why my colleagues at, against my wishes, refused to allow me to rank Louisville in the preseason top 25. In other words, I’ve had first-hand interactions with the haters. But if we’re going to be honest here, scandal or no scandal, Louisville probably wasn’t going to find their way into the preseason top 25, not when they had to replace Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell.

And scandal or no scandal, no team from outside the top 25 is going to play their way into the top 25 by beating the likes of North Florida and St. Francis (NY) without some shenanigans — like Fred VanVleet getting hurt, like Indiana collapsing, like Arizona and Cal and Notre Dame playing their way out of the top 20 — happening around the country.

So Pitino is right: the scandal probably did have an impact on how his team was viewed in the preseason.

But Pitino the scandal isn’t what kept them out of the top 25 until Monday.

That weak non-conference schedule and roster turnover was why.

And if we’re going to be honest here, it probably should have kept them out for another week.