Big East Basketball Tournament - First Round

Iona senior Mike Poole granted immediate eligibility by NCAA

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One of the four players to make the decision to leave Rutgers in the aftermath of the Mike Rice controversy was 6-6 guard/forward Mike Poole, who played three seasons at the school prior to Rice being fired.

Ultimately the Rosedale, N.Y. native made the decision to transfer to Iona, with the hope that he would be granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA as opposed to having to sit out the 2013-14 campaign. On Wednesday Iona announced that Poole has received an NCAA Legislative Waiver, which makes him eligible to play immediately.

“I’m really excited to have a student-athlete of Mike’s caliber join us this season,” head coach Tim Cluess said in the release. “His leadership and toughness during summer workouts have been tremendous and he will be an integral part of our program.”

Poole wasn’t much of a scorer during his three seasons at Rutgers, posting averages of 5.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. But Poole’s value comes in the “little things,” as he’ll provide value to Iona in the areas that tend to be overlooked by many.

The Gaels, who made their second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament last season, have to account for the departure of leading scorer and MAAC Player of the Year Momo Jones (22.6 ppg, 3.4 apg). But five of Iona’s top seven scorers from last season, most notably guard Sean Armand (16.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and forward David Laury III (13.1, 10.3) are back in New Rochelle.

Armand set a school record last season with 112 made three-pointers, and given the pace at which Iona plays (8th nationally in adjusted tempo per kenpom.com) the Gaels should once again rank among the highest scoring teams in the country.

Their competition within the MAAC will look a bit different, as Loyola’s left for the Patriot League and reigning regular season champion Niagara lost a lot of production in the aftermath of Joe Mihalich leaving to take over at Hofstra. Also of note are the additions of Monmouth and Quinnipiac, and Jimmy Patsos (formerly at Loyola) is now running the show at Siena.

VIDEO: Nebraska’s Shavon Shields stretchered off after scary fall

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ESPN
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Nebraska forward Shavon Shields was stretchered off of the floor after a scary fall as the Huskers were taking on Rutgers.

Nebraska was up by 17 in the second half when Shields bit on a pump fake and tried to block a Rutgers player’s shot. But his momentum carried him over the player’s shoulder, and he landed on what appeared to be up upper back, neck and right shoulder.

Here is the video. Be warned: it’s a nasty fall:

According to the broadcast, Shields lost consciousness on the floor and was taken to a local hospital.

Rick Pitino: ‘We should be penalized … but not this team’

Rick Pitino
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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One of the biggest storylines of Saturday’s college basketball schedule had everything to do with a team that no longer matters in the championship picture.

Less than 24 hours after being informed that the school would be imposing a postseason ban that will leave the Cardinals out of the ACC and NCAA tournaments, No. 19 Louisville tipped off against Boston College, and they did so without leading scorer Damion Lee, who is battling a knee issue.

How would the team respond to the decision — the despicable, shameful decision — that the university’s president made?

Well, it seems.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 19-2 lead in the first eight minutes and cruised to a 79-47 win over an overmatched Boston College team in the Yum! Center.

And head coach Rick Pitino, after the quote, said exactly what everyone is thinking.

“We should be penalized, no question about it,” he said. “But not this team. But the NCAA didn’t make that decision. We made that decision.”

He’s totally right. The school sacrificed the season — and the only shot that a pair of fifth-year seniors would get to play in the NCAA tournament — to protect the school, the brand and the bottom-line moving forward. Like I said earlier, it’s despicable.

But credit the Cardinals for responding.

Because they still have something on the line. They’re just a game out of first place in the ACC, and while an ACC regular season title isn’t a shot to play in the ACC or NCAA tournament, it’s still a banner that would probably mean more to Damion Lee and Trey Lewis than any league title has meant to a Louisville player before.