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.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: