Minnesota Boys All State Basketball

Four top five recruits to announce on Friday evening

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Tuesday was arguably the biggest non-NCAA tournament day in college basketball, as the Tip-Off Marathon culminated in the Champions Classic in Chicago.

Friday may be the most important day for the 2014-2015 college hoops season.


Four of Rivals top five recruits in the country remain uncommitted. That will no longer be the case as of Friday afternoon.

No. 1 Jahlil Okafor, No. 3 Stanley Johnson, No. 4 Cliff Alexander and No. 5 Tyus Jones are all planning to announce where they will play their college basketball late on Friday afternoon, and there’s a good chance that the winner of the 2015 National Title could end up being decided on this day.

Now, this class isn’t on the same level as the Class of 2013 in terms of talent, but each of those four guys are good enough to be an all-american in college and play in the NBA, but the biggest reason that these decisions will have such a major impact on the 2014-2015 season is due to the possibility that three of them could end up at the same school.

We all know that Okafor and Jones have long planned on playing their college ball together. Their great friends that just so happen to fit together perfectly on a basketball court, Okafor being a dominant low-post scorer and Jones being the truest-true point guard we’ve seen come through the high school ranks in a while.

Those two are essentially picking between Duke and Kansas at this point, and while Duke was long-considered the favorite, there’s a large population of people that think they’re now headed to Kansas.

The Jayhawks also happen to be one of the three schools still believed to be in the mix for Alexander, a powerfully-athletic four-man from Chicago. Alexander officially has Kansas, Illinois, DePaul and Memphis on his list, but the consensus seems to be that he is picking between the Jayhawks and the Illini with DePaul giving themselves a puncher’s chance.

Johnson is the only member of this foursome that is considering Kentucky, but a lot of people don’t see him ending him at UK. His list includes Arizona, Florida, Kentucky and USC, but he’s yet to make an official to Gainesville. Arizona is the favorite in this race.

By happy hour on Friday, we’ll know a whole lot more about the landscape of the 2015 title race.

Tom Izzo’s point is valid, but he’s wrong about the new fouling rules

Eron Harris, Tom Izzo
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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On Sunday night, after No. 3 Michigan State knocked off No. 23 Providence in the final of the Wooden Legacy, Spartans head coach Tom Izzo made sure to make his feelings known about the new college basketball officiating mandates.

He doesn’t like them.

At all.

“I just think we’re taking the flow of the game away,” Izzo said. “Maybe it’ll change. We’ll play by the same rules everybody else does. But I think I can voice my opinion to say that I don’t agree with it.”

Part of what frustrated Izzo was that, in a matchup between the two best players in college basketball, both Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn were sent to the bench with foul trouble.

“I didn’t like it either way,” Izzo said. “I didn’t like having Denzel on the bench, and I didn’t even like watching Dunn on the bench.”

“Don’t tweet this now and leave out the officials,” he added, according to CBSSports.com. “It’s not their fault. Because that’s the way they’re mandated to call them. So I am really either blaming the rules committee, which ends up on the coaches somewhat. So I’m looking in the mirror and blaming myself because I should have argued it more maybe. I just don’t think it’s fun to have these guys sitting.”

This is nothing new for Izzo. This was calculated. He basically said the same thing after Michigan State, then No. 1 in the country, beat Oklahoma in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic two seasons ago, when the rules committee tried to implement these same rules. It was his pushback that started the campaign to get rid of the freedom of movement rules.

But here’s the thing: we all knew this was going to happen. We knew there was going to be an adjustment period, for coaches and players and referees alike. In the long run, freedom of movement is good for basketball. It’s part of the reason the NBA is so much fun to watch these days, as their emphasis on the freedom of movement got us out of the days where the Detroit Pistons were¬†winning titles without scoring 80 points.

Physicality is ingrained in college basketball. Coaches teach defense a certain way. Players play defense a certain way. The guys in the NBA are stronger, but the style of play is much more physical in the college game than the pro game. That doesn’t change overnight.

It changes when those rules are enforced and those fouls are called, and, as a result, the players and coaches learn to adjust to them.

Kennesaw State blows eight-point lead in 16 seconds, loses to Elon

Elon Athletics
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Kennesaw State entered Monday night at 1-6 on the season, but with 19 seconds left, it looked like the Owls have their second of the season locked up. Kendrick Ray made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to put KSU up 89-81, and all they had to do was avoid a complete meltdown to get out with a win.

They couldn’t.

A Luke Eddy layup with 16 seconds left cut the lead to six, and after KSU’s Nigel Pruitt missed two free throws, Dainan Swoope his a three with seven seconds left to make the score 89-86.

On the ensuing inbounds, Kennesaw State threw the ball away … and then proceeded to foul Eddy when he was shooting a three. This is what that disaster looked like:

Eddy would hit all three threes before, shockingly, KSU turned the ball over again. Elon could not capitalize this time, sending the game to overtime, where the Phoenix outscored the Owls 14-4.

Elon won 104-94.

Here’s what the comeback looked like on the play-by-play:

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