No. 21 Notre Dame’s defense fails them in 83-70 loss to Indiana State

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No. 21 Notre Dame entered the year with plenty of hype as they make their jump from the Big East to the ACC, but it took less than two weeks for the luster to wear off of their season.

The Irish got smoked at home by in-state rival Indiana State, losing 83-70. The Sycamores caught fire midway through the first half, jumping out to a lead that was as big as 16 at one point. Notre Dame made their run, using a 15-4 run to start the second half and take a 45-44 lead, but Indiana State answered with 10 straight points to reclaim control of the game. Mike Brey’s boys didn’t threaten the rest of the way.

Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant, Notre Dame’s vaunted backcourt duo, finished with 35 points and 10 assists combined, but don’t let those numbers fool you: they did not have their best game. A lot of that production came late when the Irish were already buried in a massive hole. Notre Dame’s offense relies heavily on their ability to create off of the dribble, and Indiana State did an excellent job of cutting off driving lanes. It also helps that the Irish finished the day 7-for-26 from three, a number of which were good looks.

The bigger issue for the Irish may be on the defensive end of the floor. Indiana State is a good basketball team, don’t get me wrong, but they still had their way with the Irish. It helps when you hit 11 triples, but Notre Dame just couldn’t string together enough quality defensive possessions in the second half to complete a comeback.

And that was against Indiana State. What happens when the Irish go up against Duke or Syracuse? If they’re having trouble with Khristian Smith and Justin Gant, what will Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood do to this team?

Notre Dame has never been known as a defensive powerhouse, but they need to get better is they are going to have a shot at finishing in the top four in the ACC. This is a good basketball team. Their top 25 ranking in the preseason was deserved. But there is plenty of work left to do.

There was one positive sign for the Irish: Austin Burgett. The sophomore stretch four looks like he will be a nice weapon for the Irish this season. He’s 6-foot-9, long and athletic. He not only can step and hit a three, but he’s an effort guy. He blocks shots, he attacks the offensive glass, he plays some defense. The sophomore has a bright future.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.