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SMU’s Jalen Jones announces he will transfer

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Eyebrows were raised during and after SMU’s season-opening win against TCU on Friday evening when Jalen Jones, SMU’s leading scorer and top offensive player from a year ago, did not dress for the game. There were no reports of Jones being hurt or suspended, so questions were naturally raised.

Jones’ announcement of his decision to transfer is an immediate blow for Larry Brown and the Mustangs; replacing his 14.0 ppg and 7.8 rpg, to go along with 32.4 mpg he logged last season won’t be an easy task.

Ironically enough, the concern of playing time is a probable reason Jones decided to transfer elsewhere.

Jones tweeted on Saturday afternoon:

Following the game, Adam Grosbard stated:

The fact that Larry Brown started Ryan Manuel against TCU may have suggested that Jones would be coming off of the bench if he was to dress for the game.

Four newcomers played major minutes against TCU. Nic Moore — a transfer point guard from Illinois State — freshman guard Keith Frazier, Junior College center Yanick Moreira, and Villanova transfer Markus Kennedy. There are many new faces in the rotation for SMU, and Jones ostensibly felt he was going to lose minutes.

Jones is a bit of a “tweener” in that he doesn’t have the perimeter shooting ability (19-63 from 3PT for his career) and skills needed for a small forward, and is not quite as long to play power forward. Plus, with the high-level talent that Brown is bringing to Dallas, Jones may feel it is in the best interest for the remainder of his college career to head elsewhere.

Despite that, Jones projected to play an integral role on this year’s SMU team and certainly would have helped them in their hopes of making it to the NCAA Tournament.

He’s a proven commodity, and you can bet college coaches around the country would love to scoop up Jones and retain his services. When he settles in at another school, he will have two years of eligibility remaining.

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

Duke's Grayson Allen (3) and Marshall Plumlee (40) react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Durham, N.C., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Duke won 72-65. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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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.