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Florida reinstates Dorian Finney-Smith from suspension

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In late October, it was reported that redshirt sophomore Dorian Finney-Smith — who sat out last season after transferring from Virginia Tech after his freshman year in 2011-12 — would be suspended for Florida’s exhibition against Florida Southern and first two games of the season against North Florida and Wisconsin for an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Finney-Smith’s suspension is over, but he is unlikely play in the Gators’ game against Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday due to an illness.

In his absence, Florida head coach Billy Donovan has been pleased with how Finney-Smith has comported himself, as reported by The Associated Press: “He’s done a very, very good job up until this point taking care of responsibilities. I feel bad for him just that he’s ill. We don’t know what it is. He has some kind of virus.”

The good news is that Finney-Smith is back.

The bad news? Point guard Scottie Wilbekin and center Damontre Harris remain suspended indefinitely, and it doesn’t sound like Harris is close to returning anytime soon as he hasn’t been practicing with the team: “He’s got a long, long way to go before he gets back on the team,” Donovan said. “Not going to just use these kids to win games.”

While Harris still has a ways to go, Wilbekin at least seems to have gotten back on Donovan’s good side: “Scottie is a totally different person,” Donovan said. “Totally different leader, totally different attitude. The strides he has made — no one has had a chance to see him play — it’s been very, very rewarding to see where he is. There are drastic, drastic improvements that I’ve seen him make.”

Considering that all three of these players missed Florida’s second game of the season against Wisconsin — a 59-53 loss — the Gators actually played fairly well against a tough Badgers team, all things considered.

Florida’s next true test comes at home against in-state rival Florida State on November 29th.

Rick Pitino: ‘We should be penalized … but not this team’

Rick Pitino
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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One of the biggest storylines of Saturday’s college basketball schedule had everything to do with a team that no longer matters in the championship picture.

Less than 24 hours after being informed that the school would be imposing a postseason ban that will leave the Cardinals out of the ACC and NCAA tournaments, No. 19 Louisville tipped off against Boston College, and they did so without leading scorer Damion Lee, who is battling a knee issue.

How would the team respond to the decision — the despicable, shameful decision — that the university’s president made?

Well, it seems.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 19-2 lead in the first eight minutes and cruised to a 79-47 win over an overmatched Boston College team in the Yum! Center.

And head coach Rick Pitino, after the quote, said exactly what everyone is thinking.

“We should be penalized, no question about it,” he said. “But not this team. But the NCAA didn’t make that decision. We made that decision.”

He’s totally right. The school sacrificed the season — and the only shot that a pair of fifth-year seniors would get to play in the NCAA tournament — to protect the school, the brand and the bottom-line moving forward. Like I said earlier, it’s despicable.

But credit the Cardinals for responding.

Because they still have something on the line. They’re just a game out of first place in the ACC, and while an ACC regular season title isn’t a shot to play in the ACC or NCAA tournament, it’s still a banner that would probably mean more to Damion Lee and Trey Lewis than any league title has meant to a Louisville player before.

Oklahoma State without Jawun Evans, questionable moving forward

Oklahoma State guard Jawun Evans (1) goes up for a shot between Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) and forward Perry Ellis (34) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Oklahoma State won 86-67. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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Oklahoma State’s star point guard was not in the lineup on Saturday against No. 13 Iowa State.

Evans injured his shoulder in the Cowboys’ loss at Texas Tech on Wednesday and was ruled out of Saturday’s game.

According to the school, his official status moving forward is questionable. The Pokes are just 11-11 on the season and likely need to earn the Big 12’s at-large bid to get into the NCAA tournament. It makes sense to let him get healthy.

Evans was averaging 12.9 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 boards this season, but he had been arguably the best point guard in the Big 12 during league play, averaging 15.6 points and 5.6 assists.