Missouri State v Louisville

Chane Behanan dismissed from Louisville, Kevin Ware likely to redshirt


source: Getty Images

It started with a pair of cryptic tweets on Monday morning. Minutes later can the announcement that Rick Pitino will be addressing the media, and by then we were only waiting for the news to become official.

Chane Behanan has been kicked off of the Louisville basketball team.

“Unfortunately, [2013] is ending on a bad note for us personally,” head coach Rick Pitino said. “Chane Behanan has been dismissed by the university from our basketball team.”

Behanan has been in-and-out of trouble during his time as a Cardinal. He was suspended indefinitely earlier this season due to his off-the-court behavior.

“Away from the lines, he just did not do the right things over and over and over,” Pitino said. “The university has gone to bat for him, in giving him every opportunity to make it here. It’s come to a difficult detour in his road.”

It goes without saying that this is a massive loss for the Cardinals. “This has set our basketball team back immensely,” Pitino said. “A lot of changes have to be made and they have to be made on the fly as we just found out about this last night.” One of the biggest issues that the Louisville has had this season has been that they don’t have enough balance on the offensive end of the floor. Luke Hancock and Wayne Blackshear have been struggling shooting the ball from the perimeter, and the Cardinals have yet to establish a post presence.

Behanan was Louisville’s best low-post scorer. As good as Montrezl Harrell is, he’s not a guy that’s going to score with his back to the basket. Behanan was also one of their best rebounders at the power forward spot. This is a major blow, one that is more painful that just losing the 7.6 points and 6.3 boards he was averaging. Stephen Van Treese and Mangok Mathiang will see more minutes, as will freshman Akoy Agau.

Pitino also dropped another bombshell in this news conference, announcing that Kevin Ware was likely to redshirt this season. “I think he could be shut down, but I wouldn’t say that 100 percent,” Pitino said. “Ware is not a factor on our basketball team. We’ve been playing without him.”

Ware broke his leg in gruesome fashion in last season’s Elite 8, becoming one of the nation’s feel-good stories as he worked his way back during the offseason.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.