Late Night Snacks: Marcus Smart and Frank Kaminsky have career nights

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GAME OF THE DAY: Arizona State, led by its start point guard, Jahii Carson overcame a four-point halftime deficit to pick up an 86-80 road win against UNLV. Carson dropped a career-high 40, while the Rebels had all five starters score in double figures. This was a fun game to watch, mainly because of Carson, but also because it was a close one throughout. In the loss Roscoe Smith scored 18 points and grabbed 21 rebounds.


No. 7 Oklahoma State 101, No. 11 Memphis 80: Let’s start with Oklahoma State. Marcus Smart reaffirmed his among the top college basketball players in the nation, but had an awesome supporting cast on Tuesday night.

No. 6 Duke 83, East Carolina 74: Not the Duke-Carolina game were are used to, but ECU kept it close, cutting it to 64-63 with under seven minutes to play. Duke got a scare, but behind 51 combined points from Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker, the Blue Devils advance to the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

Butler 85, Vanderbilt 77 OT: The Bulldogs picked up a win over an SEC program on Tuesday night, surviving Vanderbilt in overtime. Eric McClellan (29 points) had a chance to win it in regulation, but a travel turned the ball over for the Commodores with second remaining. Khyle Marshall  (26 points) and Kellen Dunham (16 points) led the way for Butler.


Marcus Smart: Smart dominated the Memphis Tigers, leading the way for Oklahoma State’s 101-80 beatdown of the No. 11 team in the nation. Smart, a 29 percent shooter from three last season, connected on 5-of-10 from deep, 11-of-20 from the field, for a career-high 39 points.

Frank Kaminsky: On any other night Kaminsky would have this night to himself. But the junior forward scored a Wisconsin record 43 points of 16-of-18 (6-for-6, 3-point) shooting in the Badgers’ 103-85 win over North Dakota. It was the first time since 1995 that Wisconsin hit 100.

Jahii Carson: Carson also went for a career-high on Tuesday night, with 40 points on the road against the UNLV Rebels. The Sun Devils trailed by four at half, to score 52 second half points. Despite going for 40, Carson still dished out seven dimes.


Memphis and its back court: Some argued the Tigers had the nation’s best back court with the foursome of Michael Dixon, Joe Jackson, Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford. They combined for 8-of-34 shooting, 21 points and 10 turnovers. Damien Wilson led all Memphis guards with eight points in 20 minutes.

Ryan Harrow: Bad night for Harrow to have an off night. The transfer point guard played 32 minutes, ending with four points off 2-of-11 shooting in a loss to Alabama. Georgia State will not be going to Madison Square Garden.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights shot 39 percent (27 percent from three) and coughed the ball up 14 times. The result? A 70-59 loss to Drexel. The Dragons will to go MSG for the NIT semifinals. “We were out-coached and we were outplayed.” That’s all Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan said after the game to reporters, according to Brendan Prunty of the Star-Ledger.


  • Rodney Hood played all 40 minutes and went for 30, but did East Carolina show some flaws for the Blue Devils?
  • Staying with the Blue Devils, potential Duke-Arizona matchup at MSG is one step closer
  • Julius Randle goes for another double-double, while James Young erupts for 26
  • St. John’s erase a narrow first half deficit to defeat Bucknell 67-63
  • The mid-major game of the day didn’t disappoint as Canisius topped Elon 86-85
  • Montrezl Harrell went for 20 and nine off 9-of-12 shooting in Louisville’s win over Hartford
  • Nick Johnson stuffed the stats with 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in Arizona’s win over Rhode Island
  • Joel Embiid had his best game with Kansas so far, in front of his father from Cameroon, with 16 points and 13 boards
  • Drexel downed Rutgers. Dragons going to NYC for preseason NIT
  • Virginia Cavaliers winners of three straight since losing to VCU during the Tip-Off Marathon
  • Penn State knocked off La Salle, 79-72, behind a balanced scoring attack that saw all five starters score at least 13 points.

Reports: Rhode Island’s Dan Hurley mulling UConn, Pitt options

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Even before Rhode Island’s NCAA tournament came to an end Saturday in the Round of 32 against Duke, speculation was running wild about the future of Rams coach Dan Hurley.

Stay or go. If it’s go, where to?

There was no clarity, but maybe some progress Monday.

Both Connecticut and Pittsburgh, the prime candidates to pry Hurley away from Rhode Island, spoke with the coach, but no decision had yet been reached, according to multiple reports.

Hurley was set to meet with Rams athletic director Thorr Bjorn on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. Heart Connecticut Media’s Jeff Jacobs reported that UConn was “closing in on an agreement” with Hurley but that Pitt was continuing its pursuit.

Hurley has led the Rams to the NCAA tournament the last two years and signed a seven-year contract with Rhode Island worth approximately $1 million per year last off-season. UConn was paying Kevin Ollie, who led the team to the 2014 NCAA title before being fired after this season, an average of $3 million per season while Kevin Stallings reportedly was due a buyout of nearly $10 million when he was fired by Pitt this season.

What Hurley will have to weigh beyond the financial circumstances will be his ability to win at either UConn or Pitt, should he decide to move on from Rhode Island.

Ollie – well, really Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright – showed you can win a national title out of the AAC at UConn. The league adding Wichita State only strengthens that point. Pitt, meanwhile, may be a tougher job now than it was when Jamie Dixon had it rolling since their move from the Big East to the ACC.

CBT Podcast: Recapping the first weekend of the 2018 NCAA Tournament

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Eamonn Brennan of The Athletic joined Rob Dauster for an epic, two-hour podcast on the first weekend of the tournament. It was so good that we had to split the podcast into two parts. On this show, the two go through everything that happened in the South and West Regions, from Sister Jean to UMBC to Nevada’s comebacks to Kentucky’s chances at a Final Four.

On this show, the two go through everything that happened in the East and Midwest Regions, from Villanova and Duke steamrolling to Michigan State collapsing to Syracuse and Clemson and Texas Tech and Purdue. It’s all in there.

2018 NCAA Tournament: Eight viral heroes from first weekend of March Madness

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One of my favorite parts of the NCAA tournament is seeing who comes out of nowhere to turn into a viral celebrity during this month of madness.

By my estimation, we had eight true candidates for the award of March Madness Viral Celebrity of the Year. Here they are:


He was more fired up for Houston’s success in the tournament than any Houston fan in the history of basketball in the city of Houston.


Jordan Poole is spelled a lot like Jordan Peele, which inevitably led to people tweeting at Peele instead of Poole. Peele’s thank you tweet was a highlight of the first weekend.


Having to answer questions from a bunch of reporters after suffering the most humiliating moment of your life is not an easy thing to do. Having to answer ridiculous and stupid questions could be intolerable, which is why I loved Ty Jerome’s response to a stupid question he was asked:


I loved seeing Robert Williams’ teammate do a panotmine windmill in the background while Williams was throwing down a windmill in real time on Providence:


Nevada head coach Eric Musselman has led his team to the Sweet 16, cussed on live television and gone shirtless to celebrate with his team, but the star of the Musselman family is his daughter Mariah:


He really does have great hair:

2. @UMBCAthletics

This dude lived the dream of every twitter user out there. When your shot is there, you have to take it.


Mic drop:

VIDEO: Eric Musselman celebrates Nevada win without a shirt

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Nevada head coach Eric Musselman went shirtless to celebrate his team’s come-from-behind win over No. 2 seed Cincinnati on Sunday.

I guess this is better than dropping F-bombs live on national TV. Maybe that’s why they had Steve Lappas talking over him …

Penny Hardaway to be named next Memphis head coach

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The worst-kept secret in college basketball no longer appears to be a secret: Penny Hardaway is going to be the next coaching at the University of Memphis.

ESPN is reporting that a deal has been agreed upon. The Memphis Commercial-Appeal is reporting that Penny was waiting for his season to end with East High School before he made anything official. NBC Sports can confirm that an announcement is expected to be made early this week, likely as soon as Tuesday, to introduce the former Memphis and NBA star as Tubby Smith’s replacement.

The truth, however, is that we all knew this was what would be happening the second that Memphis formally fired Tubby Smith. Hell, we knew it a month before that decision was made final. This was always how it was going to play out.

What’s interesting to me is now the discussion of whether or not Penny will be able to handle being a Division I head coach, because it’s been hit or miss with basketball programs hiring legends of their past. Chris Mullin and St. John’s hasn’t exactly gone to plan but Fred Hoiberg was quite successful at Iowa State. Kevin Ollie won a title with UConn then fell off a cliff. Patrick Ewing’s start wasn’t great, but he was better than expected.

Where does Penny fall on this scale?

Well, let me just drop this section of a column from Geoff Calkins in here:

Hardaway isn’t a guy who woke up one morning and decided he’d like to be a Division I head coach. He’s not a former player who got bored with retirement and decided he’d like to do something other than play golf.

Hardaway started coaching at middle school. Middle school! Because an old friend needed some help.

Then he built one of the best AAU programs in the country. Then he spent years coaching a high school team.

Does that sound like someone who doesn’t want to roll up his sleeves and do the work? Does that sound like someone who is just in it for the glory and the glitz?

The truth is, if it weren’t for Hardaway’s iconic stature, he might be characterized as a grinder, as a guy who worked his way up from the lowest levels of basketball on the strength of his relationship with the kids.

I think that this is going to work out for both Penny and Memphis, especially if Penny hires a staff that can help him with the intricacies of running a college basketball program.