Gene Teague

The Secondary Break: Monday’s Links

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Gophers centers push to make each other improve (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
Elliott Eliason and Mo Walker have seen their roles grow under first-year head coach Richard Pitino, and they’ve taken advantage of the opportunity while pushing each other to improve on a daily basis. That will need to continue to be the case as Big Ten play wears on, as Minnesota looks to return to the NCAA tournament.

The ramifications of a lengthy layoff for Seton Hall’s Eugene Teague (South Orange Juice)
After losing to Creighton on Saturday afternoon Seton Hall dropped to 1-1 in Big East play. And they’ve been shorthanded of late too, as starting center Eugene Teague’s missed the last two games after a horrific fall in a win over Lafayette. With their lack of interior depth and other players (Patrik Auda, Fuquan Edwin and Aaron Geramipoor) also dealing with recent health issues, what would the impact of Teague missing a a lengthy amount of time on the Pirates be?

Duluth East grad Dyami Starks among scoring leaders in Division I (Duluth News Tribune)
Bryant guard Dyami Starks has been one of the nation’s best scorers this season, scoring up an average of 21.2 points per game. And one reason for the junior guard’s success was his hard work during the summer, with days beginning at 4:00 a.m. with a job at a FedEx facility in Duluth, Minn.

Prosecutor raps reinstatement of Shaw (Logan Herald Journal)
Utah State forward Jarred Shaw was reinstated by head coach Stew Morrill after being suspended one game due to his arrest on a drug possession charge. And the fact that Shaw was reinstated so quickly doesn’t sit well with Cache County prosecutor Tony Baird, who lamented the fact that the decision sends the wrong message to kids who look up to athletes such as Shaw.

Colorado products making impact on Division I hoops teams (Denver Post)
No. 20 Colorado’s win over No. 10 Oregon may have been spearheaded by two guards from California, but the Buffaloes also have two big men from the the state of Colorado in Josh Scott and Wesley Gordon. And they aren’t the only Colorado natives to enjoy success at the Division I level this season, with Colorado State, Denver and Air Force also making good use of local talent.

Alford proving critics wrong with fast, fun Bruins (Fox Sports)
In UCLA’s 107-73 win over USC on Sunday the talent disparity between the two teams was clear, with Steve Alford’s team playing faster than the opposing head coach thought they were capable of prior to the start of the season. And it was the latest positive result for Alford, who’s proving people wrong with this start.

Chester’s Hollis-Jefferson giving Arizona all he’s got (Delaware County Daily Times)
Arizona freshman wing Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been a key contributor for the top-ranked Wildcats, filling the sixth man role for much of the season and even starting when Kaleb Tarczewski missed time with a sprained ankle. And Hollis-Jefferson’s goals for the future aren’t limited to basketball either, as he hopes to lift up his hometown of Chester, Penn. as well.

Young Deacons finally provide tangible signs of growth in upset of North Carolina (Wilmington Star News)
Wake Forest’s 73-67 win over No. 19 North Carolina was an outcome fans have been waiting for, with the desire to see any sign of growth from Jeff Bzdelik’s program. The question now is whether or not the Demon Deacons can build on the result as they move deeper into ACC play.

VIDEO: Kris Dunn wills Providence to win over No. 11 Arizona

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Kris Dunn spent the first 35 minutes of Friday night’s game against No. 11 Arizona in foul trouble, splitting his time between sitting on the bench and trying to avoid finding himself, again, on the wrong side the whistle.

With 11 minutes left in the game, and with Dunn yet to find a rhythm, the all-american point guard was whistled for his fourth foul as he battled for a rebound with Arizona’s Mark Tollefsen. Head coach Ed Cooley say his superstar beside his for six game minutes, time enough for Arizona to turn a 49-47 deficit into a 58-54 lead.

There were just over five minutes left when Dunn reentered the second semifinal of the Wooden Legacy, and he proceeded to show everyone in the country why he was named the Preseason Player of the Year. Providence had nine possessions after he reentered the game. Dunn scored 11 points and had a pair of assists on those eight possessions, and if Ben Bentil had stuck a wide-open three — that was setup by Dunn — the Friars would have scored on all nine.

In total, Dunn was responsible for all 15 Friar points in a game-changing, 15-7 run in the final 4:30. It was capped off by this Kobe-in-his-prime-esque game-winner:

The win for Providence is huge for a couple of reasons:

  • Dunn showed a killer instinct against a marquee opponent, something that we didn’t necessarily see out of him a season ago. He wasn’t going to let his team lose, and given that Providence doesn’t have anyone else that can consistently create good shots, they are going to need that from him a lot this year.
  • It makes a statement for the Friars. Arizona is overrated at No. 11 in the country, yes, but going out on national television against an elite program and getting this kind of performance from Dunn is a confidence-booster and a tone-setter. Providence hasn’t been accustomed to winning in recent years. This is a way to set a trend.
  • Ben Bentil continues to play like a star. Dunn had 19 points and eight assists on Friday, but Bentil followed up a 24-point performance in the win over Evansville with 21 critical points on Friday.

This win sets up a matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence on Sunday night, which means that Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn — the two best players in the country, sorry Ben Simmons — will be going head-to-head.

Oh. Hell. Yes.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.