Andrew Wiggins

World Team coasts to victory in Nike Hoop Summit

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With three of the last four Nike Hoop Summit contests being decided by single digits, Saturday’s matchup between the USA Select and World teams didn’t look to be one that would get out of hand.

But thanks to the superior rebounding and ball movement of the World Team there wasn’t much suspense in Portland, as the World won 112-98 at the Rose Garden.

Andrew Wiggins was the most notable name on the World roster and he certainly had an impact, accounting for 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists on the evening. Wiggins is down to four schools, with Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina still jockeying for his services.

But the biggest star may have been French forward Livio Jean-Charles, who tallied 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting along with 13 rebounds.

As a team the World out-rebounded the USA 50-35, and with guards Wiggins, Dennis Schroeder (Germany) and Dante Exum (Australia) leading the way Roy Rana’s team assisted on 24 of its 38 made baskets.

“That was a really good game for the World Team, and probably the most impressive thing is the way we’ve shared the ball from the very first practice,” said Rana following the win.

“I thought there was great chemistry, kids just phenomenal to coach. Like I told them in the locker room, certainly going to be one of my more memorable coaching experiences, just because of the quality of the kids that we’ve had here this week.”

By comparison the USA Select team accounted for just 15 assists on 37 made field goals, with guards Kasey Hill (five) and Andrew Harrison (four) the only players to record multiple assists.

Jabari Parker, who will attend Duke next season, led the Americans with 23 points and Kentucky commits Andrew Harrison and Julius Randle added 19 apiece. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who will attend Arizona, scored 17 points off the bench.

As a result of the victory the World team has won consecutive games in the Nike Hoop Summit for the first time in the history of the event. The question going forward is whether or not 2014 prospect Karl Towns Jr. (Kentucky commitment) can help carry the torch for the World team in next year’s event.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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

Rick Pitino
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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.