Howard v Kansas

Naadir Tharpe suspended for Kansas’ season-opener after playing in a summer league game

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The Kansas Jayhawks have plenty of talent and potential, but also a good amount of questions this season. One of the concerns for KU — as it was last year — is the point guard position. After splitting time with Elijah Johnson as a sophomore, Naadir Tharpe was expected to take on the role as the full-time floor general, but that will have to wait until at least the second game of the regular season.

When the season starts on Nov. 8 against Louisiana-Monroe, Tharpe will be serving a one-game suspension for playing in an unauthorized summer league game. While visiting teammate Jamari Traylor, Tharpe played in a Chicago summer league, which violated an NCAA rule. Self announced the suspension following Kansas’ 97-57 exhibition win over Pittsburgh State on Tuesday night.

“He played in it, (and) he wasn’t allowed to play in it, because it wasn’t from here and it wasn’t from his own area,” Self told reporters following the game. “So he goes up there to hang out with ‘Mari (Jamari Traylor), and he plays in one summer-league game. So we self-reported that, because he didn’t get prior approval, which he would not have gotten because it wasn’t in his area. It’s a game for a game. Naadir can play in the next exhibition game, but he will not play in our first regular-season game.”

In the preseason win, Tharpe played 23 minutes, scoring seven points, connecting on all three shots he took and dished out nine assists to zero turnovers. Tharpe will eligible to play on Nov. 5 against Fort Hays State in the final preseason game, though freshman point guard Frank Mason will get the start.

Mason will also get the start against Louisiana-Monore three days later. Mason, a four-star recruit, logged 18 minutes on Tuesday night, scoring five points and recorded an assist, but committed three turnovers. Conner Frankamp, another four-star freshman point guard, got 11 minutes of action and missed all three 3-pointers he attempted.

Tharpe averaged 5.5 points and 3.1 points per game as a sophomore. The junior point guard will make his season debut against Duke on Nov. 12.

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.