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.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES:

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.

STARRED:

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.

STRUGGLED:

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.

NOTABLES:

  • 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.

Preaching patience, new Pitt AD says hoops program “a complete rebuild”

AP Photo/Athens Banner-Herald, AJ Reynolds
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Things did not go particularly well for Kevin Stallings in his first year at Pitt. The program, which essentially pushed Jamie Dixon out the door for being consistently good but not often enough great, struggled, going 16-17 overall and 4-14 in the ACC, just two games out of the cellar.

On top of that, six players prematurely left the program this spring.

Not great, especially when you’ve got a new boss that didn’t hire you, as is the case for Stallings with new Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke, who came aboard in March. In her first meeting with Stallings, Lyke asked a rather blunt question.

“Do you want to be here?” according to the Beaver County Times.

Stallings answered that he did, and his new athletic director would appear to be willing to give her predecessor’s hire time to reclaim and rebuild the program.

“It’s a steep climb, if you will,” Lyke said. “It’s not something that’s going to come easy and it takes an incredible amount of work.”

Stallings’ personal reputation took a significant amount of damage this spring when he attempted to block Cameron Johnson from an intra-ACC transfer to North Carolina. NBC Sports’ Scott Phillips called him a “town-deaf clown” in his attempt to keep Johnson from being a Tar Heel, a position he later relinquished, allowing Johnson to head to Chapel Hill.

Losing Johnson certainly won’t help Stallings and the Panthers recover from the difficult first season. Pitt didn’t hit any grand-slams in recruiting but is adding four-star guard Marcus Carr in its 2017 class.

The immediate outlook doesn’t look particularly bright, but Pitt appears to be positioning itself to exhibit some patience.

“If you look at the team, it is a complete rebuild,” Lyke said. “So I do think that (Stallings) is going to need a little time to develop it.

“But, we’ve got to be headed in the right direction. There’s some things that have got to get better and noticeable improvements. I’ve already seen those things start to happen.”

 

Miller Time: Indiana coach cashes in with $24 million deal

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — New Indiana coach Archie Miller will make $24 million under his seven-year deal — and potentially even more in bonuses.

Miller accepted the job in March, but the athletic department didn’t announce details of the contract until Tuesday.

He will receive a base salary of $550,000 per year and $1 million in deferred income each season. Miller also will receive an additional $1.85 million in outside marketing and promotional income — and will get a $50,000 per year raise each year through March 2024.

Miller can earn a $250,000 bonus for winning a national championship. He can earn an additional $125,000 for a Big Ten regular-season title, reaching the Final Four and producing multiyear Academic Progress Rate scores over 950.

Utah, BYU rivalry back on after one-year hiatus

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The BYU-Utah annual rivalry series will be back on this season after taking a one-year hiatus last year.

For just the second time since 1909, the Utes and the Cougars did not play in 2016-17 after Utah head coach Larry Kyrstkowiak asked for a one-year cooling off period stemming from an intense and emotional game against BYU in 2015-16. In that game, then-freshman Nick Emery was ejected as a result of this punch that he threw:

The last time those two teams did not play was due to World War II.

The game will be played at BYU on Dec. 16th.

Utah will also play Utah State this season, the first time that they have played the Aggies since 2011.

 

California bans state-funded travel to eight states; does it affect college hoops?

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A new California law could end up causing a headache for the sports teams for public universities in the state.

Because of recently-added laws that are perceived as discriminatory against the LGBT community, California has now banned travel to eight states: Texas, Alabama, Kentucky and South Dakota join a list that already includes Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee.

The law states that contracts that were signed before Jan. 1st, 2017, are exempted and can be fulfilled, but there’s not guarantee that will be the case in the future.

“Moving forward, the athletic department will not schedule future games in states that fail to meet the standards established by the new law,” a UCLA spokesman told the Sacramento Bee. That said, the university does not use state funding for travel sports teams as it currently stands, and the goal of the law to avoid “spending taxpayer dollars in states that discriminate,” according to California’s Attorney General.

On the college basketball side of things, the biggest question mark here is whether or not this law will prevent teams from playing in the NCAA tournament if they are sent to a site in one of those eight states. Next season alone, there are first weekend sites in Kansas, Texas, North Carolina and Tennessee, not to mention the Final Four taking place in San Antonio. The location for many of those events were determined prior to January 1st.

“We are generally not going to deny student-athletes the opportunity to compete in the postseason,” a UCLA spokesman told NBC Sports.

The next question then becomes whether or not regular season travel will be allowed. Earlier this year, Cal dropped out of talks with Kansas about a potential home-and-home series due to this law, and if regular season travel is not allowed, it would mean that Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Louisville and Wichita State, along with Kansas, are not allowed to be visited by California public schools that need state funding to travel. A request for a clarification on the legality of college sports teams traveling to those states has been filed with the Attorney General by Fresno State, whose football team is headed to Alabama for a game this year.

Travel for recruiting is also a question that needs to be answered, but at the highest level of the sport, that is typically funded by boosters.

N.C. State adds grad transfer Sam Hunt

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N.C. State added its fourth transfer this offseason. Like ex-Baylor guard Al Freeman, the latest one is eligible to play next season.

Sam Hunt, a double-digit scorer the past two seasons at North Carolina A&T, officially enrolled at North Carolina State on Monday morning.

“Sam is a great young man and will bring much needed depth to our backcourt,” N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts said in a statement. “I want guys who are excited about being a part of our program and Sam really wants to be here.

“Sam is a combo guard that can space the floor with his ability to shoot the basketball. He is a good fit for the system and will bring a wealth of experience to our roster.”

Hunt, the 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 12.7 points per game last season, a dip from the 15.4 points per game he posted for the Aggies as a redshirt sophomore.

Hunt joins a roster that lost its three leading scorers from a season ago, one that ended 15-17 (4-14 ACC). Dennis Smith Jr. is a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Maverick Rowan also pursued a professional career and Terry Henderson was denied an additional year from the NCAA.

The Wolf Pack bring back forwards Abdul-Malik Abu and Omer Yurtseven as well as Torin Dorn.

Keatts, who took over the program after leading UNC Wilmington to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, has already built for the future. UNC Wilmington transfer C.J. Bryce, 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Seahawks, has followed him to Raleigh. Utah transfer Devon Daniels committed to the Wolf Pack the same day as Bryce. Both will have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules. Bryce will have two years of eligibility while Daniels will have three.