releford

Lingering hip issue bothering Alabama senior guard Trevor Releford

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In its’ 59-45 win over Charleston Southern on Saturday, Alabama failed to reach the 60-point mark for the first time this season. One reason for the relative lack of the offensive production was the absence of starting guard Trevor Releford, who was held out of the game due to what was termed as “precautionary reasons.”

The reason for the move: Releford’s been dealing with a lingering hip injury, and according to Michael Casagrande of AL.com the point guard’s status for Alabama’s game against No. 12 Wichita State has yet to be decided.

A lingering hip “aggravation” was the reason they shut him down for the night. It bothered him since before the team’s trip to New York on Thanksgiving weekend.

“It just needs to get better,” Grant said. “It’s limiting his mobility a little bit. We just made a decision that he needed to let it calm down a little bit and get back. It shouldn’t be anything long term.”

Releford currently leads three Crimson Tide scoring in double figures with an average of 16.4 points to go along with 2.2 assists per game. Releford factors into 25.2% of Alabama’s possessions this season, and he’s playing an average of 32.9 minutes per game (fellow guard Retin Obasohan is tied for the lead in minutes). Given how Wichita State can get after opponents defensively, a less than 100% Releford (or no Releford at all) would make things very difficult on Alabama.

They’ll have their work cut out for them either way, but Alabama needs Releford on the floor if they’re to have a shot at upsetting the Shockers.

VIDEO: Winthrop’s Keon Johnson goes coast-to-coast for buzzer-beater

Winthrop's Keon Johnson (5) shoots a layup while defended by Coastal Carolina's Warren Gillis during the first half of the Big South Conference Championship college basketball game Sunday, March 8, 2015, in Conway, S.C. Coastal Carolina won 81-70. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
(AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
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Winthop earned a Big South road win at Radford on Saturday afternoon as junior guard Keon Johnson raced coast-to-coast and buried the game-winner at the buzzer.

The 5-foot-7 Johnson erupted for 32 points in the win and he’s been one of the most potent mid-major scorers in the country this season. The win moves Winthrop to 18-7 on the season and their 10-4 mark in the Big South ties them with UNC Asheville atop the conference standings.

(H/T: LiveonASN)

After blowout of South Carolina, is No. 22 Kentucky a Final Four contender?

Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis (3) guards the ball after a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Auburn, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Auburn, Ala. Auburn won 75-70. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
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It only took 2:26 for official Doug Sirmons to plant two technical fouls on Kentucky head coach John Calipari, and that may have been the worst thing that could have happened to South Carolina.

He poked the bear, and the result was that a ticked off No. 22 Wildcat team proceeded to run the Gamecocks out of their own gym, 89-62.

The star of the show was interim head coach Tyler Ulis, who put together as dominating of a performance as you’ll ever see out of a player that stands 5-foot-9. Ulis finished with 27 points and 12 assists, hitting 4-for-8 from three and turning the ball over just once.

Marcus Lee added 11 points and 13 boards, including six on the offensive end, and Jamal Murray had his customary 26 points on 9-for-21 shooting, but the story of this game was Ulis.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seed a player under 6-foot capable of dominating a game the way that Ulis can dominate. Murray can take over with the best of them — we saw it against Florida and Ohio State — but when it comes to the NCAA tournament, this Kentucky team will go as far as Ulis carries them.

And based on the way that he’s played in the last six weeks, that could end up being pretty far. In SEC play, Ulis is averaging 19.4 points and 7.6 assists. He’s scored at least 17 points in 12 of the last 14 games and has notched as least five assists in all 14. He just orchestrated a total mollywhopping of a Frank Martin-coached team that was tied for first place in the SEC while playing without his head coach and on the road.

The issue with Kentucky is the same today as it was a month ago. They’re a two-man team with an inconsistent supporting cast. When their two studs play like this, they can beat anyone in the country. When they don’t, they can struggle against anyone.

But here’s the thing: When Ulis is playing the way that he’s played of late, they don’t really need all that much from their supporting cast. Derek Willis needs to be able to space the floor. Lee and Skal Labissiere need to be able to hold their own against opposing big men.

And when that happens?

Kentucky is clearly the best team in the SEC and good enough to be able to win four straight in the Big Dance and get to a Final Four.