Tim Miles

Tai Webster ruled eligible at Nebraska

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Nebraska’s chances of making a run to finish in the top half of the Big Ten are slim this season and there isn’t much beyond Andrew Wiggins transferring that could change that fact, but on Tuesday evening, Tim Miles got some big news for the future of his program.

Tai Webster has been ruled eligible by the NCAA, according to multiple reports. (These guys broke it, I saw it first here.) Webster has been on campus and taking classes for a couple of weeks, but he didn’t get word that he had made his way through the NCAA’s Eligibility Center until Tuesday.

The hold-up was reportedly his transcript, as Webster is from New Zealand, where he averaged 18.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists with the Waikato Pistons. He also played for New Zealand in qualifying rounds for the 2012 Olympics.

A 6-foot-3 combo-guard, Webster was rated as a three-star recruit by ESPN, but there are folks that believe he would be a top 100 recruit had he played his high school ball in the states. Per Rivals, Pitt, St. Mary’s, Virginia and LSU had all offered Webster a scholarship.

“If Tai Webster were in Chicago or Detroit or Los Angeles, I’m not sure a youngster like this would have considered Nebraska at the top of his list,” ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla, an international basketball expert, said. “He’s a kid who would have been a Top 50 high school player in the United States, if not even better.”

It will be interesting to see the immediate impact that Webster has, but at the very least he should help the program through the graduation of leading scorer Dylan Talley.

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 NBCSports.com, 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.