Stanford v Connecticut

Late Night Snacks: Two top 15 teams lose at home

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Texas 86, No. 14 North Carolina 83

The Tar Heels remain the toughest team in college basketball to figure out. After knocking off Kentucky to pick up their third win over a preseason top three team, the Heels were once again atrocious from the charity stripe, losing to Rick Barnes and the Longhorns. North Carolina now has arguably the three best wins in the country and three losses to unranked teams. Go ahead. Try and explain that to me. You can’t.

As far as Texas is concerned, good for them. Rick Barnes took more heat than any coach in the country over the course of the the offseason. The consensus among the media was that he was essentially already fired. I heard more talk about who would get the Texas job than I did what Barnes could do to win games with this team. But here he is, sitting at 9-1 on the season with a road win over a top 15 opponent.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: Stanford 53, No. 10 UConn 51

UConn’s reliance on Shabazz Napier came back to bite them. The Huskies struggled from the floor and went ice cold from three in the second half as they lost to a Stanford team that desperately needed a win. The Cardinal are now sitting at 9-2 on the season with a chance to truly solidify their non-conference resume against Michigan on Saturday.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) Kenny Chery missed a layup that could have won the game in regulation, but No. 12 Baylor’s starting point guard made up for it in the extra frame by scoring 12 of his 20 points in overtime as the Bears outlasted Northwestern State 91-84. The Bears struggled, playing their first game in 10 days after taking some time off for finals. Isaiah Austin was benched for the first half and played just nine minutes on the night.

2) T.J. Warren popped off for 21 points and 11 boards as N.C. State went into Knoxville and put a whipping on Tennessee. The final score was 65-58, but the Vols were down by 17 at the break. Jordan McRae had 21 points, but shot 6-for-22 from the floor. Both Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon finishied with double-doubles but it wasn’t enough. Tennessee just does not look like a very good basketball team right now. No point guard and no role players is not usually a successful combination.

3) LSU’s best player, Jordan Mickey, struggled with fouls, but the Tigers put four players in double-figures as they went into Texas Tech and knocked off the Red Raiders in Lubbock, 71-69.

STARRED

1) Aaric Murray scored a Division I-high 48 points to lead Texas Southern to a win at Temple.

2) The two most important players on No. 3 Ohio State’s roster, LaQuinton Ross and Amir Williams, combined for 30 points and 17 boards in a win over Delaware.

3) Halil Kanicevic had 27 points, 14 boards, four assists and two blocks while shooting 12-for-13 from the floor as St. Joe’s beat Drexel, 75-55.

STRUGGLED

1) Jake Odum finished with seven turnovers and just nine points as Indiana State lost 83-66 at St. Louis.

2) At one point, Southern Utah trained No. 24 San Diego State 35-4. Ouch.

3) Ohio’s defense was a bit leaky on Wednesday. No. 22 UMass shot 61.5% from the floor and 9-for-14 from three.

NOTABLES

  • Marshall Henderson scored 26 points and hit three of his six threes in succession to lead Ole Miss to a 75-62 win over UL-Monroe.
  • Jelan Kendrick at 18 points off the bench for UNLV in a 81-62 win over Radford.
  • San Jose State outlasted UC-Davis in triple-overtime, 89-85.

Villanova beats Duke, Kansas, Indiana for Jermaine Samuels

Atlanta, GA - MAY 27: Nike EYBL. Session 4. Jermaine Samuels, Jr. #23 of Expressions Elite dunks. (Photo by Jon Lopez)
Jon Lopez/Nike
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Villanova landed a commitment from top 50 prospect Jermaine Samuels on Saturday.

Samuels is a tough and athletic 6-foot-5 wing that will remind many Wildcat fans of Josh Hart. He’s got the same kind of versatility and nose for the ball that will let him guard perimeter players as well as work in as a small-ball four. Players like this are a specialty of Jay Wright.

Samuels picked up an offer from Duke recently and also had Indiana, Kansas and Georgetown in his top five. Beating out blue-bloods for a prospect like this is quite the statement for Villanova, one that should tell you the reigning national champs are here to stay as a national power.

Syracuse lands critical piece in Andrew White

LINCOLN, NE - FEBRUARY 3: Andrew White #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers shoots the ball over Rasheed Sulaimon #0 of the Maryland Terrapins during their game at Pinnacle Bank Arena on February 3, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
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Syracuse has found their replacement for Malachi Richardson.

On Sunday, Nebraska transfer Andrew White committed to the Orange, picking Syracuse, in the end, over VCU. White is a graduate transfer who spent last season with Nebraska, where he averaged 16.2 points while shooting 41.2 percent from three. A top 50 prospect out of Virginia back in the Class of 2012, White played a limited role for Kansas his first two seasons in college.

This is a significant pickup for the Orange, one that legitimately puts them into the conversation as a Final Four contender and a threat to finish at or near the top of the ACC. Jim Boeheim has put together a roster full of talented, long and athletic front court players, but after Richardson declared for the NBA Draft as a one-and-done freshman, he was left with just two back court players on his roster.

Earlier this offseason, Cuse landed Colorado State grad transfer John Gillon, a 6-foot-1 combo-guard, to reinforce their back court. The addition of White gives them a lights-out shooter and a big-time scorer on the wing, something that would have been a major void on their roster.

With Paschal Chukwu getting eligible at the center spot and Tyler Lydon likely landing on every breakout player list this preseason, the Orange should be a markedly better team than the one that made their way to the Final Four last season.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.