Late Night Snacks: Michigan State wins in overtime, DeAndre Kane shines

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 5 Michigan State 72, No. 5 Ohio State 68 OT

The Spartans led by as many as 17 in the second half, but the Buckeyes ended regulation on a 20-3 run. In overtime Kenny Kaminski and Adreian Payne hit back-to-back Michigan State threes to go up four. With under two minutes to play, Sam Thompson tied the score with a triple of his own. Keith Appling responded with a top of the key three to give Sparty a 69-66 lead.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 9 Iowa State 87, No. 7 Baylor 72DeAndre Kane is all you need to know from this one. Iowa State remains unbeaten.

No. 16 Duke 79, Georgia Tech 57: The Blue Devils gave up 30 points in the paint and held a one-point halftime lead, but behind Rodney Hood’s 15 second half points Duke pulled away to avoid a potential upset bid after a loss to Notre Dame.

Tennessee 68, LSU 50: The Volunteers went in and steamrolled the LSU Tigers.

STARRED

DeAndre Kane, Iowa State: Game-high 30 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and five steals. He was the offense for much of the first half.

Jordair Jett, Saint Louis: The guard had 31 points and made a big defensive play late in the game to stop Xavier Munford from getting a shot off that could have given Rhode Island a last-second win.

Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee: In a big win over LSU, Stokes went for 15 points and 15 rebounds.

STRUGGLED

LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State: The Buckeyes need him to score but he went only 1-for-7 for five points.

Baylor: Committed 19 turnovers, and could not slow down Kane.

Notre Dame: Been a rough couple of weeks for the Fighting Irish. They lost Jerian Grant. They knocked off Duke, which they follow up with a home loss to North Carolina State.

REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 2 Syracuse 72, Virginia Tech 52
  • No. 25 Kansas State 65, TCU 47

NOTABLES

  • Boston University 55, Navy 32
  • Saint Louis 59, Rhode Island 58
  • Cincinnati 61, Houston 60
  • Creighton 81, DePaul 62
  • Alabama 68, Vanderbilt 63

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 between $250,000-$275,000.

That means there are an extra 60 jobs this season that will pay players with less than three years of professional basketball experience 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 $250,000 that a two-way contract will 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 chasing 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.

Illinois lands important commitment from four-star Class of 2017 guard Mark Smith

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Illinois landed a very important Class of 2017 commitment on Wednesday as guard Mark Smith pledged to the Illini.

The 6-foot-4 Smith was previously a Missouri commit for baseball, but some issues with his arm caused him to look back into basketball last summer. A native of Edwardsville, in the St. Louis metro area, Smith came out of nowhere to win the Illinois Mr. Basketball award as a senior this season as he averaged 21.9 points, 8.4 assists and 8.2 rebounds while becoming a consensus national top-100 prospect.

Rivals rates Smith as the No. 52 overall prospect in the Class of 2017 as he could come in and earn immediate minutes at Illinois next season at either guard spot.

This is a very important commitment for head coach Brad Underwood and the Illini as the new head coach was able to hold off some elite programs like Kentucky and Michigan State for Smith’s services.