Ohio v Bowling Green

Is Ohio dumping long-time rival Marshall?

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Realignment has broken up so many successful rivalries over the past several years, as big-time programs choose money over tradition. In the region where West Virginia meets Ohio, however, a long-running non-conference rivalry is also coming to a halt. Definitely temporarily, and possibly forever.

Marshall and Ohio University have been playing each other in football and basketball since 1954, setting aside non-conference dates to renew the rivalry on a yearly basis. Now Ohio wants out of this season’s return trip, and that doesn’t sit well with columnist Chuck Landon, who lambasted the Bobcats in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch.

According to sources, the Bobcats offered the lame excuse that they ran out of room for another road game.

I call hogwash on that.

The crux of the matter is Ohio owed Marshall a game in Huntington after beating the Herd, 94-57, in Athens, Ohio, last season. But, now, the Bobcats are bailing on that obligation.

It sounds suspiciously like Ohio is blaming its non-conference schedule for not getting an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. And, of course, the Bobcats see Marshall and its 13-19 record as one of the culprits.

I suppose that makes a certain amount of curmudgeonly sense, though it’s hard to imagine what Ohio could have done to improve their tourney-worthiness short of scheduling some serious heavy hitters from the mega-conferences, and winning at least one. It’s not as if Marshall hasn’t propped up Ohio’s RPI slightly in years when it was the stronger program. In general, however, the only reliable pathway to the Big Dance out of the MAC is an auto-bid, which means non-conference scheduling can help with seeding, but the real work is done in early March.

I’ll be honest. I wasn’t aware this even was a rivalry, but I still hate to hear of regional dustups getting shut down. Regardless of the limelight, the RPI or the NCAA tournament, they’re some of the games that make college basketball so meaningful in every corner of this country every season.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

Creighton lands 2016 combo guard

Greg McDermott
Associated Press
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Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.

News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.

Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.

Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.

Three-star power forward commits to WVU

Bob Huggins
Associated Press
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Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.

6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.

West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.

Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.