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.

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.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.