The Secondary Break: Friday’s Links

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Q & A: UCLA’s Steve Alford (CBS Sports)
Steve Alford’s hiring at UCLA was met with some resistance back in the spring, with many wondering if the Bruins would play the uptempo style fans have been yearning for. The Bruins have dropped games to Missouri and Duke, but overall UCLA’s played well. And in this interview, Alford also discussed USC head coach Andy Enfield’s comments from last month.

All offense, all defense: which teams rely on one side? (Big Apple Buckets)
The goal for a team is to be a balanced unit when it comes to how they win games, with the production coming on both ends of the floor. But there are some successful teams who have gotten the job done on one end while having some trouble on the other.

Drummond, Roscoe Smith better by leaps and bounds (Connecticut Post)
Andre Drummond and Roscoe Smith were two of the contributors on Jim Calhoun’s final team at UConn, a squad that was bounced from the NCAA tournament by Iowa State after winning a national title the season prior. And changes of scenery have worked out well for both, as Drummond’s proven to be one of the NBA’s best young big men and Roscoe Smith leading the nation in rebounding at UNLV.

Hogue blossoming into star for No. 17 Iowa State (Dubuque Telegraph Herald)
No. 17 Iowa State has some talented players, with forwards Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang and guard DeAndre Kane leading the way for the Cyclones. But forward Dustin Hogue’s been a valuable piece as well, with his rebounding prowess being a welcome addition to the program.

Colorado Buffaloes basketball invokes memories of past success (Denver Post)
With No. 20 Colorado off to a 10-1 start heading into its showdown with No. 7 Oklahoma State on Saturday, there are some who have taken the time to think back to the late-1930s. Colorado was a successful program then, and in a move that would be unthinkable today they turned down an NCAA tournament bid. Oregon would go on to win the national title in 1939.

Luke Winn’s college basketball power rankings (Sports Illustrated)
A weekly staple, Luke Winn’s power rankings are both entertaining and informative. Arizona and Syracuse remain on top this week, with Winn offering insight into topics such as Arizona’s late-game execution in a win at Michigan and how pesky Ohio State’s Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott have been on the defensive end.

Streaking UMass Minutemen eye national stage (MassLive.com)
Derek Kellogg’s UMass team is back in the national polls for the first time since 1998, and their goal is to remain there while also earning more respect nationally. First task after winning at Ohio on Wednesday: win at Florida State on Saturday afternoon.

Syracuse walk-on accused of sexual assault

Syracuse Post-Standard
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Dominick Parker, an 18-year old freshman who was added to the Syracuse roster as a walk-on just 12 days ago, was arrested last Friday and charged with sexual abuse in the first degree, reports Syracuse.com.

Parker is accused of having sexual contact with an 18-year old female student while she was incapable of giving consent. His name and picture have been removed from the Syracuse athletics website.

“Sexual and relationship violence is not tolerated at Syracuse University,” the school said in a statement. “We are now doing all that we can to support and provide assistance to those affected by the alleged incident. As this is an ongoing investigation, Syracuse University will not be providing further comment.”

Wichita State to sell beer at Koch Arena

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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As if it wasn’t already hard enough to win games at Koch Arena.

Starting this season, Wichita State fans will be able to buy beer during games at their home arena, a fact that should ensure that the raucous home environs that have made the Shockers so difficult to beat in Wichita remains the same.

That’s not a bad thing to add to a home court advantage while making the move into a new conference, the American, for the 2017-18 season.

Once a rarity, beer at college sporting events in a growing trend. Minnesota, Florida and Texas, among a number of others have added alcohol sales in recent years. Given the money that would seem likely to be generated, it’s a trend that will probably become even more pervasive in college athletics.

Let’s just make sure that everyone partakes in moderation.

Blue Ribbon release college basketball preseason top 25, all-american teams

Michael Reaves/Getty Images
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Blue Ribbon, the college basketball bible, has released their top 25 and preseason all-american awards, the first publication to do so as far as I know.

Their top five — Arizona, Michigan State, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky — contains the same teams as my top five will, only in a different order. The only crazy ranking that I see in their top 25 comes with Miami checking in at No. 16. I have a feeling they are going to end up regretting that by the end of the season.

What is somewhat crazy, however, is Blue Ribbon’s all-american teams.

Bonzie Colson is their Preseason National Player of the Year. That’s not my pick, but it’s justifiable. But having Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american? Angel Delgado as a fourth-team preseason all-american? I disagree with both of those picks.

But that will all play out during the season.

And, frankly, I haven’t exactly had the best track record predicting all-americans in recent years, not after I opted to rate Skal Labissiere as a first-team preseason all-american over Buddy Hield.

That was a miss.

It happens to the best of us.

But I feel pretty comfortable saying that Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american will end up being a miss.

4-star center commits to Purdue

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With Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas entering their senior seasons, adding front court options in the 2018 class was something that Purdue needed to do. Purdue added its second front court commitment in the 2018 class Tuesday evening, as four-star center Emmanuel Dowuona reportedly made his pledge. News of Dowuona’s commitment was first reported by the Lafayette Journal & Courier.

Dowuona, a 6-foot-11 big man who attends Westwood Christian School in Miami, joins fellow four-star prospect Trevion Williams in Purdue’s 2018 class to date.

Dowuona’s commitment comes just days before he was reportedly to visit Tennessee. Among the other programs to have offered Duwuona were Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami and UConn.

Dowuona played for the Team Breakdown program on the Under Armour Association circuit during the summer, averaging 7.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 59.3 percent from the field. While still a bit raw offensively, the native of Ghana provides value as a defender and rebounder. Dowuona is joining a program that during Painter’s tenure as head coach has done a good job of developing big men.

Dowuona and the aforementioned Williams will look to compete for playing time in 2018-19 alongside current redshirt junior Jacquil Taylor and 7-foot-3 redshirt freshman center Matt Haarms.

Dayton freshman Toppin ineligible for 2017-18 season

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Dayton announced Tuesday afternoon that one of the program’s incoming freshmen will not be eligible to compete this season. 6-foot-8 forward Obadiah Toppin has been ruled by the NCAA to have not met initial eligibility requirements, and he will have to sit out the 2017-18 season as a result.

Toppin will be allowed to remain a member of the team and participate in practices, and he will have four seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2018-19 season. While the NCAA’s decision leaves the Flyers short a front court option in head coach Anthony Grant’s first season at the helm, it did not come as a surprise.

“We knew this was a possible scenario for Obi early on in the recruiting process,” Grant said in the release. “And if it came to pass, we saw this as a chance for him to utilize this year acclimate as a student and enhance his strength and skill as an academic redshirt. This is a great opportunity for Obi to develop as a player and student over the next 12 months, and prepare himself for a very successful college career.”

Toppin, who averaged 17 points and eight rebounds per game at Mt. Zion Academy last season, is one of five freshmen who have joined the program. Matej Svoboda and Jordan Pierce will look to earn minutes alongside returnees Josh Cunningham and Xeyrius Williams, and the same can be said for redshirt freshman Kostas Antetokounmpo.

Toppin being declared ineligible is the third hit Dayton has taken to its front court this offseason. Ryan Mikesell, who played in 32 games last season, will redshirt after undergoing two hip surgeries. And Sam Miller, who was also part of the team’s front court rotation last season, was suspended from school for the fall semester after he was arrested during the summer.