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Syracuse junior forward C.J. Fair to return for senior season

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Having already lost starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams (leaving school for the NBA Draft), shooting guard Brandon Triche and small forward James Southerland (both out of eligibility), the Syracuse Orange were anxious to hear the plans of junior forward C.J. Fair.

After averaging 14.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the Orange this season, there was the feeling in some circles that the Baltimore native would forego his final year of eligibility.

But in a press release Fair announced his intention to return for his senior campaign, which will also be Syracuse’s inaugural season in the ACC.

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

“After talking it over with my family and my coaches, I decided another year at Syracuse was best for me,” Fair said in the release. “I’m excited about working hard with my teammates to put together another great season and graduating has also been a goal of mine.”

Had Fair decided to leave school early head coach Jim Boeheim would have to go about replacing four starters from a team that reached the Final Four in 2012-13.

“This is great news for our basketball program and for C.J.,” said Boeheim. “I believe he’s just going to keep getting better and better as a basketball player and earning his degree is important.”

Fair’s return gives the Orange not only an experienced leader to help shepherd the likes of freshmen Tyler Ennis (who will likely be the starting point guard), Ron Patterson and Tyler Roberson, but also a player who should factor into the preseason ACC Player of the Year conversation.

And with an eye towards the professional ranks there are still areas in which Fair needs to improve, as Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard noted that NBA scouts would like to see Fair “become less dependent on his left hand when driving to the basket and increase the speed of the release on his jump shot.”

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

Ellis, Lucas lead No. 6 Kansas past No. 10 West Virginia

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) blocks a shot by West Virginia guard Tarik Phillip (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lawrence, Kan., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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In the first meeting between No. 10 West Virginia and No. 6 Kansas, the Mountaineers dominated in their 74-63 win in Morgantown. Bob Huggins’ “Press Virginia” attack forced 22 Kansas turnovers, with the Jayhawks playing far too fast and loose with the basketball while also getting out-toughed by the Mountaineers. In the rematch Kansas (20-4, 8-3 Big 12) looked far better equipped to deal with West Virginia in both of those areas, winning by the final score of 75-65.

Kansas committed 15 turnovers, with Devonte’ Graham responsible for five of them, but they did not allow West Virginia (19-4, 8-3) to use those chances to kickstart their offense. The Mountaineers scored 13 points (one fewer than Kansas, which took advantage of ten WVU miscues) off of those turnovers and did not register a single fast break points. Having to play in the half-court more than they would have liked, West Virginia could not execute at the level they did in beating Baylor Saturday.

As a result Bob Huggins’ team shot 37.3 percent from the field and 5-for-20 from beyond the arc. The Mountaineers have shown signs of being able to win games in which they don’t force a high turnover count, but that wasn’t the case at Allen Fieldhouse.

If not for West Virginia grabbing better than 34 percent of their misses and scoring 14 second-chance points, the margin is likely even greater than the ten-point outcome due to the contract in offensive execution. Kansas pushed the ball early, getting out to an 8-0 lead, and as the game wore on the Jayhawks were much better in finding quality shot opportunities. Bill Self’s team shot 56.1 percent from the field with Perry Ellis scoring 21 points to lead five Jayhawks in double figures.

The tandem of Ellis and Landen Lucas, who grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds, won the battle against a WVU front court missing the suspended Jonathan Holton. Devin Williams, who went for 17 and 12 in the first meeting, finished the rematch with a respectable 14-point, nine-rebound effort but he didn’t get much help in the post from the likes of Elijah Macon and Nathan Adrian.

After having Self question their toughness in a home win over Kansas State six days ago, the Jayhawks have responded with wins over TCU and West Virginia. Obviously it’s tough to read too much into beating the Horned Frogs, because even with that game being in Fort Worth it’s one Kansas was expected to handle with ease. The Mountaineers posed a different, and far more rigorous test, and Kansas got the job done.

As a result the Jayhawks have brought West Virginia back to the pack in the Big 12 title race, making Saturday’s game at No. 3 Oklahoma even bigger than it already was.

VIDEO: North Carolina head coach Roy Williams collapses on sideline

Roy Williams
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North Carolina head coach Roy Williams collapsed during the second half of No. 2 North Carolina’s visit to Boston College on Tuesday night:

Roy Williams has dealt with vertigo in the past; it’s not abnormal for him to collapse on the sideline during games, and given that his team is currently losing to Boston College, it’s understandable that he may have screamed himself dizzy.

He had to be helped off the floor:

It does appear that this isn’t something serious, according to a North Carolina release, that said Williams is “doing OK”.