The Secondary Break: Thursday’s Links

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Legendary sportswriter Dick Weiss reinvents himself after layoff (Sports Illustrated)
Back in may the college basketball media was stunned by the news that Dick “Hoops” Weiss was laid off by the New York Daily News after more than two decades of service. But thanks to the support of many and some new opportunities, Weiss has been able to adapt to the changing times and as a result remain a fixture in sportswriting.

Former Cougar star Jackson Emery shares insights on 2011 team, Jimmermania and more (Deseret News)
As part of a three-day series on the 2010-11 BYU Cougars, the Deseret News spent some time with former BYU guard Jackson Emery to discuss that season. It was a special campaign for the Cougars, who were led by Jimmer Fredette and reached the Sweet 16. And for all the fun that group had, there was also the feeling that had they gotten past Florida the Cougars were capable of making a run at the national title.

Self: Too soon to make call on college basketball rule changes (Topeka Capital-Journal)
Add Kansas head coach Bill Self to the list of coaches who aren’t sure if the new rule changes are beneficial to college basketball. But at least he’s willing to see how this all plays out as the season progresses.

Nancy Lieberman honored for contributions to women’s basketball (NCAA)
On Wednesday the NCAA honored Nancy Lieberman, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, for her contributions to women’s basketball. Lieberman, whose son T.J. is sitting out his transfer season at Richmond, will be honored Final Four weekend at the Naismith Trophy Welcome Brunch.

Gophers having fun in Richard Pitino’s system (ESPN)
With the shift from Tubby Smith to Richard Pitino, Minnesota’s playing at a faster pace than they did a season ago. And predictably the players are enjoying it, with their most recent result being a win over Florida State on Tuesday night.

It’s time to double our pleasure with Providence/Rhode Island rivalry (Providence Journal)
On Thursday night in-state rivals Providence and Rhode Island will meet in Kingston, and according to Bill Reynolds the two teams should start playing each other two times per season. New Mexico and New Mexico State do this currently, but it will be interesting to see if this idea gains any traction within the PC and URI camps.

With Marshall Henderson in town, Kansas State hoping for better basketball crowd (Kansas City Star)
Say what you want about Ole Miss senior guard Marshall Henderson, but he’s an eye-catching player due to the shooting ability and the histrionics that come with it. And Kansas State, which hosts the Rebels on Thursday night, is hopeful that the combination of a polarizing player and a national television audience will result in a spike in attendance.

Video of the Day: Another BYU Promo
In advance of their home game against Prairie View A&M next Wednesday BYU’s recorded another lip-syncing video, with four players taking on the challenge of 98 Degrees’ “It’s All Because of You.” (h/t Sporting News)

Wichita State’s 0-3 week makes chances for at-large bid small

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

We’ve reached the nightmare scenario for Wichita State.

Having entered the season as the overwhelming favorite in the Missouri Valley, a top 15 team and a legitimate threat to reach a Final Four, after two weeks, the Shockers are in serious danger of missing out on the NCAA tournament altogether.

That’s not hyperbole, either.

Wichita State fell to 2-4 on the year after getting mollywhopped by Iowa in the 7th-place game of the Advocare Invitational. They ended up in the 7th-place game because they lost to USC and Alabama in the opening two rounds. The Hawkeyes look like the might be able to eke out an at-large berth if things fall the right way for them, but USC and Alabama are projected to finish at or near the bottom of their respective conferences. Even Iowa would do well to finish in the top half of the Big Ten.

Individually, none of those three losses are particularly terrible, and that’s before you factor in that all-american point guard Fred VanVleet sat out the trip to Orlando with a bad hamstring. They were also without back up point guard Landry Shamet in the tournament and it’s unknown when they’ll actually get Anton Grady back to full stretch. That matters to the NCAA tournament selection committee. They’ll factor it in when they determine where the Shockers will be seeded, or if they will even get an invite.

But throw in the loss at Tulsa from the first week of the season, and the Shockers are now 2-4 on the season.

And unlike the rest of the preseason top 25 — unlike the rest of the nation’s high-major programs — Wichita State won’t have a chance to load up on quality wins during league play. The Valley is better than we probably realized (more on that in a second), but it’s not like there are going to be a myriad of top 50 wins for the taking.

Look at Georgetown, for example. They Hoyas went 1-3 in the first week of the season, a stretch that included a home loss to Radford. But they also play in a conference where they’ll get home-and-homes against the likes of Villanova, Butler and Xavier.

The Shockers need to do their damage during the non-conference. They need to get the bulk of their resume put together before Valley play starts. Assuming they do win the rest of their non-league games, we’re not exactly looking at a daunting profile, either. The Shockers still have to visit Saint Louis and Seton Hall and host UNLV, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico State. UNLV and Utah should look like quality wins on Selection Sunday, but the rest of them?

Wichita State is putting themselves in a position where they may end up needing to win the Missouri Valley tournament just to get into the Big Dance, and the problem is that the Valley looks like it is really going to be tough this season. Northern Iowa notched a win over North Carolina already this year. Illinois State gave Maryland a fight and entered the season as a favorite to upset the Shockers. Evansville has two of the league’s five best players in D.J. Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius.

They’re not waltzing through that conference by any stretch of the imagination.

That’s not exactly what VanVleet and Ron Baker had in mind when they decided to return to Wichita for one final season.

Carter leads No. 2 Maryland past Cleveland State, 80-63

Melo Trimble
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Robert Carter had 17 points and eight rebounds to help No. 2 Maryland beat Cleveland State 80-63 on Saturday night.

Jared Nickens added 16 points, and freshman Diamond Stone had a season-high 15 points for Maryland (6-0), set for a showdown with No. 9 North Carolina in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday night.

Demonte Flannigan scored 11 of his 20 points in the first half, and Rob Edwards added 14 points for Cleveland State (2-4), which was 3 of 12 (25 percent) from 3-point range. Vinny Zollo went 5 of 7 from the field and had 11 points for the Vikings.

Maryland led by just four at the break and took control by increasing the pressure to open the second half. A dunk by Stone capped an 8-0 run and the Terrapins led 45-33 with 17:06 left.

From there, the Terps used their size and depth to wear down the Vikings, who could not get closer than nine points the rest of the way. Nickens and Jake Layman hit 3-pointers and Maryland opened a 64-49 lead with 7:43 remaining.

The 6-foot-7 Flannagan picked up his fourth foul with just under 10 minutes left, hampering the Vikings at both ends of the court. A putback by Nickens and a pair of free throws boosted Terrapins’ margin to 70-53 with 5:18 left and they were never threatened the rest of the way.

Maryland was 15 of 18 from the free-throw line and had a 27-22 rebounding edge.

Maryland could not shake Cleveland State in the opening half and a jumper by Kenny Carpenter gave the Vikings their first lead, 25-24, with 8:03 left. Nickens responded with three straight 3-pointers that helped the Terps take a 37-33 lead at halftime

Maryland shot 14 of 23 (60.9 percent) in the opening half.


Cleveland State: The Vikings also lost their only other matchup against the Terrapins, 95-84, on Dec. 5 1984. … Maryland was Cleveland State highest-ranked opponent since Nov. 26, 1999, when it lost to No. 1 Cincinnati, 90-56.

Maryland: The Terrapins won their 29th consecutive game at home against an unranked team. … Maryland extended its winning streak in November to 16 games, having not lost since Nov. 17, 2013, against Oregon State (90-83).


Cleveland State is at Toledo on Wednesday night.

Maryland plays at No. 9 North Carolina on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.