NCAA Basketball Tournament - Murray State v Marquette

After 49 days in jail, Zay Jackson’s return to Murray State ends in injury

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Zay Jackson’s return to the court this season lasted all of four days.

The sophomore guard tore the ACL and the LCL in his right knee in practice on Saturday after coming down awkwardly following a dunk. He is scheduled to have surgery in a couple of weeks, once the swelling in his knee goes down.

“He was our best offensive and defensive player,” head coach Steve Prohm said. “But what he can do is he can help the younger guys, he can teach the younger guys. He can be kind of like an assistant coach, he’s got a great IQ , and great feel for the game. Big things are in store for him, he’ll do a great job helping build these guys up, he’ll travel with us, he’ll be apart of our team one-hundred percent.”

Jackson sat out all of last season after an ugly off-the-court incident in which he tried to run down a man with his car in a Walmart parking lot. Jackson and the man had had a verbal disagreement, and after Jackson had gotten into his car, he drove into the man and continued for several hundred feet with the man on his hood. You can watch the wild video here.

Jackson spent 49 days in jail as a result, but he was set to return to the team and play a major role in replacing Isaiah Canaan this season.

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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.