NIT Season Tip-Off

College Basketball Talk’s Ten Most Disappointing Players

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Preseason prognostication is, more or less, a guessing game.

The picks that the so-called experts — myself included — make are educated and generally well-researched, but they’re still guess. And oftentimes, those guesses end up wrong. 

Through a month of the season, who did we swing-and-miss on the most?:

TEN MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYERS

Luke Hancock, Louisville: Maybe our expectations for Hancock were too high heading into the season given that he was basically a role player prior to the Final Four. But even as a role player, Hancock isn’t doing his job. He’s shooting 31.4% from the floor and 22.9% from three.

Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell, Virginia: The ‘Hoos have been one of the most disappointing teams this season and it’s mainly due to the play of Harris and Mitchell. Harris is averaging 11.3 points this season, five point less than a year ago, while Mitchell’s numbers are down to 6.3 points and 4.8 boards.

Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, Michigan: No one is feeling the loss of Trey Burke like these two. McGary’s struggles we can explain away as a back injury. GR3? Well, he’s been exposed as a spot-up shooting athlete that is either unable or unwilling to attack the basket off the bounce. He may end up regretting not leaving for the NBA after last season.

James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina: McAdoo is a freak athlete, but maybe it’s time to accept that he’s just never going to morph into the star that we all expect him to be. But if he does? Think about it like this: North Carolina beat Louisville and Michigan State when he combined to go 6-for-22 from the floor.

Alex Poythress, Kentucky: Poythress has become the Invisible Man for the Wildcats. He’s buried in Kentucky’s front court rotation, which means he’s been forced to play on the perimeter. He’s not a perimeter player. He’s averaging 4.8 points and 6.2 boards and coming off of a scoreless six minutes against Baylor.

Joshua Smith, Georgetown: Smith has been good for Georgetown this season. He’s been averaging 13.6 points, drawing fouls and taking up space in the middle of the floor. But he’s playing less than 20 minutes a night, not a presence on the glass and an atrocious defender. He has the ability to dominate, but he’s not.

Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke: Sulaimon has fallen way out of favor with the Duke coaching staff. He took the dreaded DNP-CD in Duke’s win over Michigan, and the likes of Tyler Thornton and Matt Jones have passed him in the rotation. He’s averaging 3.4 points over his last seven games.

Gabe York, Arizona: York came out on fire this season, which is part of the reason that his recent struggles have been a disappointment. In the five games since putting 20 on Fairleigh Dickinson, he’s averaging 5.0 points and shooting 5-for-17 from three.

USC athletic director Pat Haden to step down in June

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LOS ANGELES (AP) University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says he will retire on June 30.

USC President Max Nikias made the announcement Friday.

Haden has run the athletic department for 5 1/2 years, leading the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program. He created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department.

The former USC quarterback also received criticism for the football program’s relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year.

Nikias says Haden’s department also raised over $400 million during his tenure.

Nikias says Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after he retires.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Ivy League’s best meet in New Haven

Columbia guard Maodo Lo, right, steals the ball from Northwestern forward Aaron Falzon, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Evanston, Ill.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 p.m.

The two best teams in the Ivy League, with matching 4-0 league records, meet for the first time this season. The Lions were close to suffering their first loss last weekend, but an Alex Rosenberg jumper as time expired gave the Lions the win at reigning champion Harvard. Rosenberg’s one of four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game for Kyle Smith’s team, with senior guard Maodo Lo leading the way at 15.8 per contest.

They’ll face a Yale rotation led offensively by point guard Makai Mason (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), and the front court tandem of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod has been outstanding. The winner get a leg up in the Ivy race, with the rematch scheduled for March 5 in New York City (regular season finale).

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Central Michigan at Akron, 8:00 p.m.

Two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference meet at the JAR, as Akron looks to extend its win streak to six straight. The Zips’ balanced offensive attack has been led by forward Isaiah Johnson (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), who currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. As for the visiting Chippewas, guards Braylon Rayson and Chris Fowler combine to average 32.7 points per game, with Fowler also responsible for a MAC-best 6.3 assists per contest. CMU’s had some struggles on the defensive glass in league play, ranking 11th in that category, but they’ve done a better job defensively than they did in non-conference play.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • MAAC leader Monmouth is back in action, as they host a Fairfield team led by one of the conference’s best players in senior forward Marcus Gilbert. The Hawks have a deep lineup led by junior guard Justin Robinson, who at this point in time is the likely frontrunner for MAAC Player of the Year honors.
  • Looking to catch Monmouth is Iona, which is a game behind the Hawks at 9-3. A.J. English and the Gaels visit Canisius in a matchup that should not lack for offense. Iona’s more inclined to run, but Canisius doesn’t lack scorers either with guard Malcolm McMillan leading four players averaging double figures.
  • Given the fact that they’re 1-3 in Ivy League play, Harvard’s essentially in the spoiler role unless some chaos breaks out at the top end of the standings. The Crimson can help in that regard with a win at Princeton, with the Tigers (2-1) a game behind Columbia and Yale in the loss column. Princeton’s been the better offensive team this season, thanks in large part to junior forward Henry Caruso who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.