Iowa’s Fran McCaffery ejected for bumping official, costs team win at Wisconsin (VIDEO)

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Fran McCaffery is notorious for having one of the most vicious tempers in all of college basketball, and he exploded on Sunday night. He is perhaps best known for this chair throwing incident.

With No. 22 Iowa leading No. 4 Wisconsin 41-39 in the Kohl Center, McCaffery went off again. He was upset about a no-call at one end and a foul that was called against Iowa at the other end, and he exploded. He had a couple of magic words to say, I mean scream in a spittle-laden tantrum at the officials. That earned him the first technical.

When he got lit up, he really lost it, bumping a second official. That got him ejected.

He’ll be hearing from the league after that, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a suspension was handed down.

There’s worse news, however.

Simply put, McCaffery’s ejection was the turning point. The Badgers hit the four technical free throws and then hit a fifth free throw on the ensuing possession which sparked a 10-2 run that put Wisconsin in control. The Hawkeyes had a run in them, eventually getting the deficit back to just a point, but they were never able to come all the way back. They lost 75-71.

But the bottom line is that Iowa really could have used this win. They cost themselves a win at Iowa State with poor free throw shooting. They gave away a win over Villanova in the final of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Now, it’s important to note that the Hawkeyes could have easily lost this game if McCaffery had kept his composure. Wisconsin was down 35-24 at the half and had already exerted taken control of the game, and I’m sure the frustration at giving up another double-digit lead in one of the toughest road environments played a part in McCaffery’s eruption.

For the most part, McCaffery is a good coach whose overreactions are worth a chuckle. The same can be said about his wife, who has been tossed out of games before. But when your actions, your inability to control your temper, starts costing you wins — wins at Wisconsin, nonetheless — it’s time for a change, no?

The Hawkeyes have enough depth and talent to be considered the best team in the Big Ten not named Michigan State, Ohio State or Wisconsin. I think their performance against the Badgers, despite McCaffery’s antics, reinforces that point.

But Iowa is still in a position where they have three losses and their best win is against Notre Dame. Eventually, if they are going to be taken seriously, they’ll have to close out a win against elite competition.

Doing so without having to overcome game-changing spurts created by their head coach would be a good thing.

Nevada gets transfer commitment from Omaha forward Tre’Shawn Thurman

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Nevada continues to build its roster through transfers as the Wolf Pack added Omaha forward Tre’Shawn Thurman on Thursday.

The 6-foot-7 Thurman will have to sit out one season before playing his senior season but he is coming off of a very good campaign for the Mavericks. The versatile forward put up 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 49 percent from the field.

One of the Summit League’s better players the last two seasons, Thurman should be a solid rotation forward for Nevada as he has a chance to be a breakout player with one more year of development. If Thurman can improve his 25 percent three-point shooting then he could be a major factor for Nevada.

D-League salaries, two-way contracts increase NBA Draft early entries

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Yesterday, I wrote a piece about how it’s dumb to criticize players for entering the NBA Draft without costing themselves their collegiate eligibility when the NCAA’s new NBA Draft rules are specifically designed for said players to be able to do that.

In that column, I mentioned that D-League salaries are on the rise and that the NBA’s new CBA instituted something called “two-way contracts,” and I wanted a chance to elaborate and clarify a couple of the points that I made.

Let’s start with the “two-way contracts,” which NBA teams each get two of. They are essentially a retainer that those teams can place on younger players they want to be the 16th and 17th men on their roster, holding their rights as they bounce between the D-League — where they will likely spend the majority of the year — and the NBA. The catch is that those players have to have less than three years service as a professional, and the point of it is to provide a financial incentive for younger players with the potential to reach the NBA to remain stateside while allowing those NBA teams to develop them.

That financial incentive is fairly large, as well: Two-way players will make $75,000 guaranteed and will be able to make up to $275,000, depending on the amount of time they spend with the NBA team.

That means there are an extra 60 jobs this season that can end up paying players with less than three years of professional basketball experience upwards of a quarter-of-a-million dollars.

That’s not a bad starting salary.

The other point that I wanted to address is the rising D-League salaries which, technically, will not be rising. There are still going to be Tier A and Tier B players, who make $26,000 and $20,000 respectively. But the NBA has something called affiliate players, which each of the now-25 NBA teams with a D-League affiliate can pay up to $50,000 for training camp. NBA teams are allowed a maximum of four affiliate players, who will still make their $26,000 salary from their D-League team.

In other words, that’s 100 more jobs available in the United States where a professional basketball player can make $76,000, and that’s before you consider that the five NBA teams that do not yet have a D-League affiliate will still have to play players to get them into training camp.

That $76,000 is not a life-changing amount of money. Neither is the $275,000 that a two-way contract can pay. But it’s a pretty damn good paycheck to make for an entry-level job into the industry that you always dreamed of being in.

Athletes have an unbelievably small window where they can capitalize monetarily on their gifts.

If a 21-year old sophomore decides that he wants to continue to develop his game and chase his NBA dream by making $76,000 as a D-League player, is that really all that crazy?

After all, 135 of the 450 players, or 30 percent of the roster spots, on NBA’s opening night were taken by guys that had spent time in the D-League.

There’s more than one way to make a dream come true.

A record $439 million was bet on basketball in March in Las Vegas

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The month of March was quite friendly to Las Vegas.

According to ESPN, more money was bet on basketball during the month of March than in any month in the state’s regulated sports betting history.

And while the numbers produced by Las Vegas books don’t separate college and professional basketball betting, the money coming in on college hoops is pretty clear: $439 million was bet on basketball in March, more than double the $213 million bet on the sport in February.

It was profitable, too.

Those Vegas books kept more than $40 million dollars of the money that was gambled on basketball, which shattered the previous record of roughly $28 million in winnings.

Gonzaga lands their first post-Final Four commitment

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Gonzaga capitalized on their run to the national title game by landing a commitment from French point guard Joel Ayayi, who announced the news on twitter.

Ayayi is an interesting long-term prospect, according to Draft Express. He has the size and the frame to eventually be a significant contributor in the college game, but he’s raw. His handle needs work, as does his ability to create off the dribble and find teammates off of the bounce.

That said, he’s 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan and the ability to shoot it from the perimeter, and if Gonzaga can do anything, it’s develop players that enter their program.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson, top three prospect in 2018, breaks defender’s ankles

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Zion Williamson, one of the most sought-after recruits in college basketball, had himself a highlight-worthy moment at the Adidas Gauntlet event in Dallas over the weekend, breaking a defender’s ankles before hitting a three.