Louisville v Wichita State

Louisville guard Kevin Ware may not be back until spring semester

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On Monday, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino addressed the status of guard Kevin Ware during a press conference focused on the coach’s upcoming induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In short, Pitino stated that the staff would take its time with Ware, who broke his leg during the Cardinals’ Elite 8 victory over Duke in March.

On Friday, Pitino told Andy Katz of ESPN.com that Ware may not return to game action until the spring semester.

“I don’t think Kevin will step on the court early in the season,” Pitino told ESPN.com. “He will just start playing basketball in October. He’ll start working out. He’s almost completely healed but he hasn’t stepped on the court since last March so it’s going to take some time. I’m looking more like it’s going to be second semester for him to be 100 percent or close to it.”

Ware finished the 2012-13 season with averages of 4.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game, playing his best basketball of the season in the month leading up to the injury. Seeing that he’s yet to be cleared to resume full activities the obvious call is to make sure Ware doesn’t rush back. And a look at the Cardinals’ perimeter rotation reveals the fact that coach Pitino has more than enough options to turn to.

Senior Russ Smith (18.7 ppg) and junior Wayne Blackshear (7.6) were starters on last season’s national championship squad, and in junior college transfer Chris Jones the Cardinals add one of the nation’s best newcomers. Add in freshmen Anton Gill and Terry Rozier, and Louisville has a perimeter rotation that doesn’t lack for depth even with Ware sidelined. And senior Luke Hancock, who can handle the ball himself, is another option despite the fact that he’s listed as a small forward.

Kevin Ware will be on the court in a Louisville uniform at some point in 2013-14. The only question now is when he’ll be fully cleared to play.

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: