Pac 12 Basketball Tournament - First Round

JUCO guard Roosevelt Scott becomes Arizona State’s fourth 2014 commitment

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On the day that the 2013-14 Arizona State Sun Devils began their trek to China, thus taking the next step in their preparations for the upcoming season, head coach Herb Sendek received his fourth commitment in the 2014 recruiting class.

Indian Hills JC shooting guard Roosevelt Scott announced his decision to attend the Pac-12 school (subscription required), joining guards Tra Holder, Kodi Justice and power forward Connor MacDougall in the Sun Devils’ 2014 recruiting haul. Scott, a 6-3 guard who’s originally from St. Paul, Minn., averaged 16.9 points per game as a high school senior at Johnson HS before making the move to the College of Central Florida.

After playing for a semester on a team that ultimately finished the 2011-12 season as state junior college runners-up, Scott made the move to Indian Hills where he’ll play this upcoming season. Indian Hills head coach Barret Peery lauded Scott’s ability as a perimeter defender when commenting about his player’s decision to commit to Arizona State.

“Roosevelt is a very long active athlete, he’s got tremendous energy and can play really fast,” Indian Hills coach Barret Peery said. ”He gets to the rim very easily. He’s a fantastic defender. He’s a great slashing athlete, finishing at the rim. He’s a capable shooter, but a really good, active athlete.”

Who all returns to Tempe for the 2014-15 season remains to be seen, but the Sun Devils will definitely have to account for the graduation of center Jordan Bachynski and Penn State transfer guard Jermaine Marshall.

The biggest question mark would be the status of point guard Jahii Carson, who in one season established himself as one of the nation’s best at his position and preseason favorite for Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2013-14. If Carson performs as expected, 2014 commit Tra Holder will likely have a lot more responsibility on his plate when he arrives.

Arizona State has five newcomers (in addition to Marshall) joining the program this season including Michigan State transfer Brandan Kearney, who will be eligible to play at the end of the fall semester. Sophomore Calaen Robinson will also be eligible to play after sitting out the entire 2012-13 campaign.

Can the Sun Devils take the next step and reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009? With Carson running the show that’s definitely a possibility, with the next question being whether or not they can build on that success if a tournament trip comes to fruition.

VIDEO: Duke’s Grayson Allen beats No. 7 Virginia at the buzzer

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Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia sparks come-from-behind win over No. 13 Louisville

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) goes up for a shot over Boston College’s Idy Diallo (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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Demetrius Jackson scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half and Steve Vasturia scored 15 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes as Notre Dame landed a 71-66 win over No. 13 Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Irish trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but Vasturia’s hot shooting combined with Notre Dame holding Louisville to just 15 points in the final 15 minutes made all the difference.

The Fighting Irish are not as good as they were last season, but they are built in a similar mold. Jackson, as we expected, as become one of the nation’s most dynamic point guards, impossible to slow-down in isolation and ball-screen actions. Steve Vasturia emerging as a legitimate secondary option offensively and Zach Auguste is one of the nation’s most underrated big men and one of the most dangerous as the roll-man in ball-screens.

Combine all of that with a handful of shooters creating space and Bonzie Colson’s emergence as a force on the offensive glass, and Mike Brey once again has one of the nation’s most lethal offensive attacks.

Where they struggle is on the defensive end of the floor, which is what makes the end of Saturday’s win so meaningful. The Irish entered the day ranked 232nd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which more or less means they’re as good as a bad mid-major program at keeping their opponents from scoring.

But they don’t have to be great to be able to win games.

They have to be good enough and they have to get important stops.

That’s precisely what happened on Saturday.

Whether or not that actually becomes a trend for this group will be something to monitor — it happened for Duke during last year’s NCAA tournament — but the bottom-line is this: Notre Dame does something better than just about anyone else in college basketball, and that’s score the ball.

On the nights they are able to gets some stops, they are going to be able to win some games. In the last eight days, they’ve proven that, beating North Carolina, Clemson on the road and Louisville.

And that makes them dangerous in March.