Late Night Snacks: ACC leads 4-2 after Day 1 of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge

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GAME OF THE DAY: Boise State 69, Utah 67

Lost in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge hype was the battle between Mountain West and Pac-12 programs. The Broncos and Utes entered as two of the time scoring teams in the nation, but both struggled from the field early. Derrick Marks had 17 points and Anthony Drmic added 14 for Boise State. Utah was led by a game-high 19 points from Jordan Loveridge. Late in the first half, Princeton Onwas was hit with a flagrant-2 foul.

Boise State improves to 7-0 and has one game on Thursday before next week’s showdown against No. 3 Kentucky.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

Duke 79, Michigan 69: Duke gets back in the win column after a loss to Arizona at Madison Sqaure Garden on Saturday. Michigan suffers its third loss in its last six games.

Colorado 67, Colorado State 62: The Buffalos got a scare, but in the end Spencer Dinwiddie was too much for the Rams as CU leaves with a road win. Won’t get easier … Kansas is on its way to Boulder for Saturday.

Iowa 98, Notre Dame 93: The Hawkeyes won the shootout. Notre Dame got itself back in the game early in the second half, and despite a career-high 29 points from Garrick Sherman, the Irish couldn’t make enough stops down the stretch.

STARRED

Quinn Cook, Duke: He matched Michigan’s Caris LeVert with 24 points, but Cook also added nine assists and four boards in Duke’s bounce-back win against the Wolverines.

Trevor Cooney and Tyler Ennis, Syracuse: The new-look back court is looking good so far, continuing its strong play from Maui. Cooney ended with 21 points, off five 3-pointers and Ennis took care of the rock with eight assists to one turnover, adding 17 points of his own.

J.J. Mann, Belmont: One of the key returners for Belmont dropped 32 points and added seven rebounds, four steals against Middle Tennessee. The Bruins were coming off a loss to VCU on Sunday.

STRUGGLED

Illinois: Georgia Tech closed out the game on a 19-4 run to steal a game from the Fighting Illini, handing them their first loss of the season.

Nik Stauskas/Michigan offense: The Wolverines leading scorer played 34 minutes, took two shots and finished with four points. He also lost his shoe at one point, but that’s neither here nor there. Tyler Thornton, Matt Jones and his injured ankle all caused problems. Stauskas is Michigan’s best offense and when he struggles, the team struggles.

Florida International: The Golden Panthers lost by 28 to Division II Nova Southeastern.

BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE

  • No. 4 Syracuse 62, Indiana 52
  • Georgia Tech 67, Illinois 64
  • Pittsburgh 78, Penn State 69
  • Duke 79, Michigan 69
  • No. 23 Iowa 98, Notre Dame 93
  • Minnesota 71, Florida State 61

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 2 Arizona 79, Texas Tech 58: Brandon Ashley goes for 18 points and 10 rebounds. Nick Johnson adds 18 of his own. Aaron Gordon goes for a game-high 19.
  • No. 18 UCLA 89, UC Santa Barbara 76: Closer than the score seems. UC Santa Barbara hit nine first half threes, but the Bruins buckled down on defense. Jordan Adams led with 22 points. Kyle Anderson added 21 points, nine assists and six boards.
  • No. 21 UMass 69, Eastern Michigan 57: The Minutemen survive their first game as a ranked team since 1998. Trailed by four at half, but UMass had five double figure scorers led by the much-improved Cady Lalanne.

NOTABLES

  • East Carolina’s Akeem Richmond and Presbyterian’s each went for 37 points on Tuesday night. ECU beat Fayetteville State and Presbyterian topped UNC Greensboro.
  • Spencer Dinwiddie went over 1,000 career points at Colorado
  • Miami (OH) and Stetson each won their first games this season. The RedHawks defeated IPFW 94-87  while the Hatters beat Bethune Cookman 56-52
  • Kyle Boswell hit five threes for UC Santa Barbara (same amount he did in the upset win over UNLV). The Gauchos hit 12 threes in the game, though, not enough against UCLA.
  • Minnesota picked up a nice win against Florida State at home on Tuesday. The Golden Gophers now 7-2.
  • Tyler Haws went for 23 points in BYU’s 97-67 win over North Texas. More importantly, Matt Carlino had 11 assists, 10 boards, only five more points and he would of had a triple-double.
  • Denver rallied to beat Southern 75-74 in overtime.
  • Dougie McBuckets goes for 21 points and four boards after a tough outing against George Washington in the Wooden Legacy. Creighton defeated Long Beach State 78-61.
  • Pittsburgh saw Tim Frazier drop 27, but remain unbeaten after a 78-69 win.
  • Troy Williams did this (WATCH HERE). Did he dunk on a teammate?

Following decommitment, four-star recruit makes eye-opening remarks about Ohio State

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Ohio State lost a four-star recruit on Wednesday when in-state Class of 2018 wing Darius Bazley opted to open up his recruitment.

As a rising senior who is just finishing his junior season of high school, Bazley’s decommitment isn’t going to immediately hurt the Buckeyes next season. But the 6-foot-7 wing’s comments about why he opted to open up his recruitment are pretty jarring.

In a story with Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch, Bazley opened up about why he decommitted from Ohio State. Bazley’s eye-opening remarks include how the Buckeyes might not get him ideal NBA exposure and how Ohio State might miss the NCAA tournament in his freshman year.

“I was excited when I first got the offer,” Bazley said to Jardy. “Ohio State is still a great place. It’s nothing against the school or anything, but my one ultimate goal is to get to the NBA and I just didn’t feel as confident as I did when I first committed that Ohio State was one of those schools that could get me there. At the end of the day I’ve got to perform no matter where I go, but I think there’s other schools out there that could put me on a bigger stage and in a better position to show those NBA scouts when I get to college what I can do.”

Bazley also didn’t appear to be pleased at the recruiting class coming into Ohio State for the Class of 2017, which is the class that is coming in this season. Remember, Bazley is a Class of 2018 recruit who still has to finish his senior season.

“Ohio State, they didn’t make the NCAA Tournament this year,” Bazley said to Jardy. “They didn’t even make the NIT, which is unfortunate, but I looked into the recruits they have coming into next year, they didn’t look too good for the future. So I felt like when my class came in, yeah, we would’ve been OK, but good enough to make the tournament? I don’t know. I just felt as if I was to de-commit, actually take my time, figure everything out it would just be a lot better.”

Ohio State was once one of the major destinations for one-and-done players a decade ago so these remarks are very surprising. D’Angelo Russell was a top-five pick in the NBA Draft only two years ago, and while the Buckeyes might not be as successful in recent years as they once were, they still get plenty of national exposure with regards to producing NBA talent.

The NCAA tournament comments might carry some more weight though. The Buckeyes have missed the NCAA tournament in two consecutive seasons and things are also looking difficult for them to reach the Big Dance for next season. If Bazley wants to play in the NCAA tournament, then I could understand him wanting to open things up and explore more options.

Still, you don’t often see a player make comments like this about a school after decommitting–especially a program with as much national exposure as Ohio State. Bazley is likely going to face some heat for his remarks, but if those are his true feelings about a future life decision, then he should explore what else is out there.

Nevada gets transfer commitment from Omaha forward Tre’Shawn Thurman

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Nevada continues to build its roster through transfers as the Wolf Pack added Omaha forward Tre’Shawn Thurman on Thursday.

The 6-foot-7 Thurman will have to sit out one season before playing his senior season but he is coming off of a very good campaign for the Mavericks. The versatile forward put up 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 49 percent from the field.

One of the Summit League’s better players the last two seasons, Thurman should be a solid rotation forward for Nevada as he has a chance to be a breakout player with one more year of development. If Thurman can improve his 25 percent three-point shooting then he could be a major factor for Nevada.

D-League salaries, two-way contracts increase NBA Draft early entries

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Yesterday, I wrote a piece about how it’s dumb to criticize players for entering the NBA Draft without costing themselves their collegiate eligibility when the NCAA’s new NBA Draft rules are specifically designed for said players to be able to do that.

In that column, I mentioned that D-League salaries are on the rise and that the NBA’s new CBA instituted something called “two-way contracts,” and I wanted a chance to elaborate and clarify a couple of the points that I made.

Let’s start with the “two-way contracts,” which NBA teams each get two of. They are essentially a retainer that those teams can place on younger players they want to be the 16th and 17th men on their roster, holding their rights as they bounce between the D-League — where they will likely spend the majority of the year — and the NBA. The catch is that those players have to have less than three years service as a professional, and the point of it is to provide a financial incentive for younger players with the potential to reach the NBA to remain stateside while allowing those NBA teams to develop them.

That financial incentive is fairly large, as well: Two-way players will make $75,000 guaranteed and will be able to make up to $275,000, depending on the amount of time they spend with the NBA team.

That means there are an extra 60 jobs this season that can end up paying players with less than three years of professional basketball experience upwards of a quarter-of-a-million dollars.

That’s not a bad starting salary.

The other point that I wanted to address is the rising D-League salaries which, technically, will not be rising. There are still going to be Tier A and Tier B players, who make $26,000 and $20,000 respectively. But the NBA has something called affiliate players, which each of the now-25 NBA teams with a D-League affiliate can pay up to $50,000 for training camp. NBA teams are allowed a maximum of four affiliate players, who will still make their $26,000 salary from their D-League team.

In other words, that’s 100 more jobs available in the United States where a professional basketball player can make $76,000, and that’s before you consider that the five NBA teams that do not yet have a D-League affiliate will still have to play players to get them into training camp.

That $76,000 is not a life-changing amount of money. Neither is the $275,000 that a two-way contract can pay. But it’s a pretty damn good paycheck to make for an entry-level job into the industry that you always dreamed of being in.

Athletes have an unbelievably small window where they can capitalize monetarily on their gifts.

If a 21-year old sophomore decides that he wants to continue to develop his game and chase his NBA dream by making $76,000 as a D-League player, is that really all that crazy?

After all, 135 of the 450 players, or 30 percent of the roster spots, on NBA’s opening night were taken by guys that had spent time in the D-League.

There’s more than one way to make a dream come true.

A record $439 million was bet on basketball in March in Las Vegas

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The month of March was quite friendly to Las Vegas.

According to ESPN, more money was bet on basketball during the month of March than in any month in the state’s regulated sports betting history.

And while the numbers produced by Las Vegas books don’t separate college and professional basketball betting, the money coming in on college hoops is pretty clear: $439 million was bet on basketball in March, more than double the $213 million bet on the sport in February.

It was profitable, too.

Those Vegas books kept more than $40 million dollars of the money that was gambled on basketball, which shattered the previous record of roughly $28 million in winnings.

Gonzaga lands their first post-Final Four commitment

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Gonzaga capitalized on their run to the national title game by landing a commitment from French point guard Joel Ayayi, who announced the news on twitter.

Ayayi is an interesting long-term prospect, according to Draft Express. He has the size and the frame to eventually be a significant contributor in the college game, but he’s raw. His handle needs work, as does his ability to create off the dribble and find teammates off of the bounce.

That said, he’s 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan and the ability to shoot it from the perimeter, and if Gonzaga can do anything, it’s develop players that enter their program.