Fresno St UNLV Basketball

Fresno State dismisses center Robert Upshaw from program

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When one-time Kansas State commit Robert Upshaw announced his decision to attend Fresno State, the hometown kid was the most highly-regarded signing of Rodney Terry’s brief tenure at the Mountain West school.

But Upshaw’s freshman season was anything but smooth, as the 7-footer dealt with injuries and also ended up on the receiving end of two separate suspensions for a violation of athletic department policy. Even with this being the case, the hope was that Upshaw could progress this summer and help the Bulldogs improve their standing within the Mountain West in 2013-14.

That’s not going to happen however, as it was reported by the Fresno Bee late Wednesday that Upshaw has been dismissed from the program following a third violation of athletic department policy.

The department issued a brief release: “Fresno State Director of Athletics Thomas Boeh announced Wednesday that Bulldog men’s basketball student-athlete Robert Upshaw has been dismissed from the team for violations of Athletic Department policy. Upshaw was informed of his dismissal Wednesday afternoon. This will be Fresno State’s only comment on the matter.”

Upshaw finished the season with averages of 4.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per contest for the Bulldogs, who went 11-19 (5-11 Mountain West) overall. One of Upshaw’s best performances came in the regular season finale against UNLV, as he tallied six points and a career-high 11 rebounds in the Bulldogs’ 61-52 win in Las Vegas.

Then he was suspended before Fresno State’s Mountain West tournament game against Colorado State, ultimately their final games of the season.

Despite Upshaw’s low averages this is a tough blow for a program that entered the offseason hopeful that it could climb up the Mountain West pecking order. The Bulldogs also lost guard Kevin Olekaibe, who transferred to UNLV in order to be closer to his ailing father.

Fresno State does welcome back senior guard Allen Huddleston (9.7 ppg), the team’s leading returning scorer, and Braeden Anderson should be ready to go after playing in just ten games due to academic issues that delayed the start of his college career (Anderson was originally a Kansas signee).

Fresno State added four freshmen (forwards Soma Edo and Paul Watson being two of them), and former Oklahoma State guard Cezar Guerrero is now eligible to play after having to sit out the 2012-13 season per NCAA transfer rules.

POSTERIZED: Monmouth bench mob goes insane after huge dunk

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Monmouth has arguably been the most entertaining team in college basketball through the season’s first three weeks.

Let’s start with the obvious: They’re a mid-major outfit with a 5-foot-8 point guard that headlines a talented back court, one good enough to have notched upsets at UCLA and, this week, over No. 17 Notre Dame and USC at the Advocare Invitational in Orlando.

It’s pretty incredible, to be honest. They’ve managed to amass one of college basketball’s best resume despite being a MAAC program with a grand total of four NCAA appearances in their luxurious history.

But what makes this team so much fun isn’t just that they can’t seem to stop beating high-major competition, it’s that, in the process, their bench mob has become one of college basketball’s best.

Want some proof? Watch what happens after this Deon Jones poster dunk:

And here’s the wild part: that wasn’t even close to the best thing the bench did this week.

This was:


But there’s so much more.

Like, for example, the three arrows:

The touchdown pass:

The bench poster:

The heart attack:

They … caught a fish?

And, finally, the ‘OH SHHHHHHHHHHHH’:

Wichita State’s 0-3 week makes chances for at-large bid small

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

We’ve reached the nightmare scenario for Wichita State.

Having entered the season as the overwhelming favorite in the Missouri Valley, a top 15 team and a legitimate threat to reach a Final Four, after two weeks, the Shockers are in serious danger of missing out on the NCAA tournament altogether.

That’s not hyperbole, either.

Wichita State fell to 2-4 on the year after getting mollywhopped by Iowa in the 7th-place game of the Advocare Invitational. They ended up in the 7th-place game because they lost to USC and Alabama in the opening two rounds. The Hawkeyes look like the might be able to eke out an at-large berth if things fall the right way for them, but USC and Alabama are projected to finish at or near the bottom of their respective conferences. Even Iowa would do well to finish in the top half of the Big Ten.

Individually, none of those three losses are particularly terrible, and that’s before you factor in that all-american point guard Fred VanVleet sat out the trip to Orlando with a bad hamstring. They were also without back up point guard Landry Shamet in the tournament and it’s unknown when they’ll actually get Anton Grady back to full stretch. That matters to the NCAA tournament selection committee. They’ll factor it in when they determine where the Shockers will be seeded, or if they will even get an invite.

But throw in the loss at Tulsa from the first week of the season, and the Shockers are now 2-4 on the season.

And unlike the rest of the preseason top 25 — unlike the rest of the nation’s high-major programs — Wichita State won’t have a chance to load up on quality wins during league play. The Valley is better than we probably realized (more on that in a second), but it’s not like there are going to be a myriad of top 50 wins for the taking.

Look at Georgetown, for example. They Hoyas went 1-3 in the first week of the season, a stretch that included a home loss to Radford. But they also play in a conference where they’ll get home-and-homes against the likes of Villanova, Butler and Xavier.

The Shockers need to do their damage during the non-conference. They need to get the bulk of their resume put together before Valley play starts. Assuming they do win the rest of their non-league games, we’re not exactly looking at a daunting profile, either. The Shockers still have to visit Saint Louis and Seton Hall and host UNLV, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico State. UNLV and Utah should look like quality wins on Selection Sunday, but the rest of them?

Wichita State is putting themselves in a position where they may end up needing to win the Missouri Valley tournament just to get into the Big Dance, and the problem is that the Valley looks like it is really going to be tough this season. Northern Iowa notched a win over North Carolina already this year. Illinois State gave Maryland a fight and entered the season as a favorite to upset the Shockers. Evansville has two of the league’s five best players in D.J. Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius.

They’re not waltzing through that conference by any stretch of the imagination.

That’s not exactly what VanVleet and Ron Baker had in mind when they decided to return to Wichita for one final season.