2013 NBA Draft

The Secondary Break: Tuesday’s Links

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Arizona’s Sean Miller: Being ranked No. 1 a ‘great compliment’ (Sporting News)
On Monday Arizona reached the top spot in the national polls for the first time since 2003, and while it’s only December this is still an important achievement for Sean Miller’s team. When he took over the program wasn’t in the best shape, but that certainly has changed under the former Xavier head coach. And instead of running from the top ranking and the pressure that comes with it, Arizona’s going to embrace it’s position.

Michigan’s John Beilein remains split on college basketball rules changes (MLive.com)
While the loudest opinions regarding the rules “changes” in college basketball tend to be either for or against them, there are a number of coaches who sit in the middle so to speak. One of those coaches is Michigan’s John Beilein, who likes the new hand-checking initiative but remains a bit skeptical of the block/charge initiative.

Iowa State men, women sitting atop college basketball world (Des Moines Register)
There are now just two schools in the country whose men’s and women’s basketball teams are currently undefeated: UConn and Iowa State. And for the Cyclones that’s quite the achievement for the programs currently run by Fred Hoiberg and Bill Fennelly.

High Point forward Allan Chaney’s career ends due to heart concerns (CBS Sports)
High Point forward Allan Chaney was one of the sport’s greatest comeback stories last season, returning to the floor after a heart ailment nearly ended his career to lead the Panthers to a 12-4 conference record while earning first team All-Big South honors. But due to a mid-game incident involving his internal defibrillator during a game last month Chaney’s been forced to retire.

CCSU/Hartford basketball rivalry is blooming once again (Hartford Courant)
After struggling for much of the early portion of the season both Central Connecticut State and Hartford are in good spirits entering their meeting tonight. The Hawks dealt with a tough travel schedule while also being without the services of forward Nate Sikma, whose return should benefit Mark Nwakamma inside. Meanwhile CCSU has begun to give the effort on the defensive end that head coach Howie Dickenman didn’t think they were giving earlier in the year.

Real Basketball Moms of Kentucky (New York Times)
The way in which parents support their sports-playing children has been a point of conversation in recent years, with there being both positives and negatives to that. In Kentucky six parents whose sons play basketball have signed deals with a production company that specializes in reality television shows.

K-State basketball shows signs of progress (Topeka Capital Journal)
Bruce Weber’s Wildcats will be looking for their fourth straight win on Tuesday night when they host South Dakota, but despite the recent run of success there are still areas in which the Wildcats are looking to improve. Those areas include turnovers (16.5 per game over their last four contests) and free throw shooting.

Purdue’s Sterling Carter – student-athlete, father and not necessarily in that order (Indianapolis Journal)
Purdue fifth-year senior Sterling Carter has a lot on his plate these days with the birth of his daughter last month.

VIDEO: Kris Dunn wills Providence to win over No. 11 Arizona

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Kris Dunn spent the first 35 minutes of Friday night’s game against No. 11 Arizona in foul trouble, splitting his time between sitting on the bench and trying to avoid finding himself, again, on the wrong side the whistle.

With 11 minutes left in the game, and with Dunn yet to find a rhythm, the all-american point guard was whistled for his fourth foul as he battled for a rebound with Arizona’s Mark Tollefsen. Head coach Ed Cooley say his superstar beside his for six game minutes, time enough for Arizona to turn a 49-47 deficit into a 58-54 lead.

There were just over five minutes left when Dunn reentered the second semifinal of the Wooden Legacy, and he proceeded to show everyone in the country why he was named the NBCSports.com Preseason Player of the Year. Providence had nine possessions after he reentered the game. Dunn scored 11 points and had a pair of assists on those eight possessions, and if Ben Bentil had stuck a wide-open three — that was setup by Dunn — the Friars would have scored on all nine.

In total, Dunn was responsible for all 15 Friar points in a game-changing, 15-7 run in the final 4:30. It was capped off by this Kobe-in-his-prime-esque game-winner:

The win for Providence is huge for a couple of reasons:

  • Dunn showed a killer instinct against a marquee opponent, something that we didn’t necessarily see out of him a season ago. He wasn’t going to let his team lose, and given that Providence doesn’t have anyone else that can consistently create good shots, they are going to need that from him a lot this year.
  • It makes a statement for the Friars. Arizona is overrated at No. 11 in the country, yes, but going out on national television against an elite program and getting this kind of performance from Dunn is a confidence-booster and a tone-setter. Providence hasn’t been accustomed to winning in recent years. This is a way to set a trend.
  • Ben Bentil continues to play like a star. Dunn had 19 points and eight assists on Friday, but Bentil followed up a 24-point performance in the win over Evansville with 21 critical points on Friday.

This win sets up a matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence on Sunday night, which means that Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn — the two best players in the country, sorry Ben Simmons — will be going head-to-head.

Oh. Hell. Yes.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.