Kevin Ollie

UConn braces for more difficult non-conference scheduling

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Now that conference realignment is finally a reality, fans from all over the country are slowly learning new league opponents and the other subtle nuisances of being in a new league if their team made some sort of conference switch.

One of the more intriguing cases to watch in the newest conference realignment will be Connecticut moving from the Big East to the American. Since UConn has won national titles, produced numerous NBA Draft lottery picks and built themselves into a perennial power, not much should change, but now that the backing of the Big East and its tremendous conference scheduling opportunities are no longer in-place, the Huskies will have to seek out a tougher non-conference schedule according to an Associated Press story.

Men’s coach Kevin Ollie said his program understands there would be a drop-off in the quality of league opponents, and looked toward improving its RPI by putting together a very tough non-conference schedule for the upcoming season that includes Washington, Maryland, Florida, Stanford and possibly Indiana.
Will UConn and new coach Kevin Ollie remain a powerhouse program in the American? History says that given their track record that it’s likely they’ll be fine, but little wrinkles like this make for questions as we go towards college basketball’s new conferences. Non-conference games against a group such as Washington, Maryland, Florida and Stanford will certainly help as well.

UConn lost games with Syracuse, Georgetown, Pittsburgh and other Big East — and former Big East —  powers, but they’ll still have Memphis, Temple and Cincinnati in the American to compete with and the conference will likely have another upstart or two that eventually challenges that initial lead pack of American basketball powers.

The biggest difference might come in television revenue and as Connecticut athletic director Warde Manual mentions in the story, the program will need to raise money in other ways to make up for the difference, but that’s of little concern to the quality of the actual teams playing this season.

If Kevin Ollie can keep the product on the floor competitive, it’s tough to imagine Connecticut basketball falling from the nation’s elite, regardless of current conference affiliation but it will be fun to see their non-conference schedule in the coming years.

Scott also writes for NY2LA Sports and can be followed on Twitter @phillipshoops

VIDEO: Boise State robbed of insane, buzzer-beating win on incorrect timing by officials

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It looked like James Webb III of Boise State had hit the season’s craziest buzzer-beater.

With 0.8 seconds left, he caught an in-bounds pass on the run on the right wing, hoisted up a prayer of a three and watched as it banked it as the buzzer sounded.

It’s pretty fantastic:

And it also clearly left his hands before time expired, but there was a reason for that. According to the officials, the clock (for the road team, mind you) did not start when the ball was caught.

They were right.

Where they were wrong was determining that it took more than a second for Webb to catch and release the shot, meaning that they were wrong to waive off the bucket.

This awesome slo-mo clip of the shot from Matt Stephens of the Coloradoan is all the evidence I need, but if you need more, Sportscenter anchor Scott Van Pelt clocked it at 0.7 seconds:

The game would go to overtime, where Colorado State would go on to win, 97-93.

As you can imagine, Boise State players and coaches were livid with the call.

“I hope it’s not a situation where you get an apology later but don’t get the win. I don’t understand it,” head coach Leon Rice said in a radio interview after the game. “I hope they got it right somehow, some way. I don’t know. It didn’t look right to me, but I’m not the official.”

This comes just four days after officials blew a call in a game between New Mexico and San Diego State that allowed the Aztecs to force overtime and eventually beat the Lobos. (That call may have determined the outcome of the Mountain West regular season title, to boot.)

New Mexico was essentially told, “my bad”, but the league as a result.

And Boise State will probably get the same treatment despite the fact that, if the league determines that the referees botched this call as well, the tame technically was over then.

Will they have the guts to award the Broncos a road win that they earned and deserve?

I doubt it.

UPDATE: Here’s a statement from the officiating crew:

Tulsa rallies to hand No. 16 SMU 1st home loss 82-77

Tulsa guard James Woodard (10) shoots a free throw during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against SMU Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Dallas.  Tulsa won 82-77. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
(AP Photo/LM Otero)
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DALLAS (AP) Shaquille Harrison had 21 points, Pat Birt hit a crucial 3-pointer and scored 12 of his 17 points after halftime and Tulsa rallied from eight points down in the second half to beat No. 16 SMU 82-77 on Wednesday night.

Nic Moore scored 27 to lead the Mustangs (20-3, 9-3 American Athletic). They lost for the first time in 13 home games and dropped to 2-3 since their 18-0 start to a season that won’t include postseason play because of NCAA sanctions.

Moore twice hit 3-pointers to pull SMU within a point in the final minute, but Birt answered the first with a 3 and James Woodard followed the second with two of his six free throws in the final 1:04.

The Golden Hurricane (16-8, 8-4) ended a four-game losing streak against SMU with their eighth win in 10 games since an 0-2 conference start.