Late Night Snacks: No. 1 Arizona survives, No. 22 Gonzaga not as fortunate

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: DePaul 99, Butler 94 (2OT)

This wasn’t one of the games on the “marquee” for Thursday night, but the Blue Demons and Bulldogs combined to play an entertaining contest at Hinkle Fieldhouse. DePaul erased an 11-point deficit in the final 3:46 of regulation to force overtime, only to see Jackson Aldridge force a second overtime with a follow of a Kellen Dunham miss as time expired. But freshman Billy Garrett Jr. (22 points, five assists) and Tommy Hamilton IV (17 points, 12 rebounds) performed well for DePaul, as did forward Cleveland Melvin who scored 30 points. Dunham led five Butler players in double figures with 30 points.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 

1) No. 1 Arizona 79, UCLA 75

The top-ranked Wildcats looked to be well on their way to a 16th win of the season, but turnovers and missed free throws left the door open for the home-standing Bruins. Ultimately Sean Miller’s team was able to make the plays needed to remain undefeated, with USC standing between the Wildcats and the best start in school history.

2) No. 24 Memphis 73, No. 12 Louisville 67

After nearly forgetting that their big men needed to get touches in a loss to Cincinnati on Saturday, Memphis did a much better job of getting the ball to Shaq Goodwin and Austin Nichols (and sharing in general) in a six-point win at Louisville. While the Tigers now have a second win over a ranked team this season Louisville is still without a “signature” victory, which could impact their NCAA tournament seeding come Selection Sunday.

3) California 96, No. 17 Oregon 83

Jordan Mathews scored 20 of his career-high 32 points in the first half and Justin Cobbs added 20 points and 11 assists as the Golden Bears beat the Ducks for the 12th consecutive time. Cal’s now 2-0 in Pac-12 play, and keep in mind that this group is still without Jabari Bird and Ricky Kreklow.

STARRED

1) Karvel Anderson (Robert Morris)

Anderson scored 36 points in the Colonials’ 79-70 win at Sacred Heart, shooting 15-for-19 from the field (6-for-7 3PT).

2) Tevin Calhoun (Troy)

35 points on 11-for-15 shooting (7-for-9 3PT) and six rebounds in the Trojans’ 98-84 win over Arkansas State.

3) Josh Williams (Lipscomb) 

34 points (13-for-17 FG), four rebounds and three assists in the Bisons’ 82-80 win at East Tennessee State.

STRUGGLED

1) Clemson

The Tigers shot 30% from the field and finished with more turnovers (18) than made field goals (15) in their 56-41 home loss to Florida State.

2) Chris Jones (Louisville) 

Jones couldn’t find his groove in the Cardinals’ 73-67 loss to Memphis, scoring just two points on 1-for-9 shooting.

3) C.J. Cooper (UTEP) 

Cooper shot 2-for-13 from the field (2-for-11 3PT) in UTEP’s 73-68 loss to Charlotte.

NOTABLES

  • Derrick Walton Jr.’s layup with 21.8 seconds remaining proved to be the difference in Michigan’s 71-70 win at Nebraska, moving the Wolverines to 3-0 in Big Ten play. Nebraska missed two shots at the win before time expired.
  • Manhattan’s 81-76 loss at Quinnipiac could prove even costlier for the Jaspers, as leading scorer George Beamon left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury. According to the school he’ll be reevaluated on Friday.
  • Stanford dropped to 0-2 in Pac-12 play with an 81-72 loss at Oregon State, with Roberto Nelson scoring 21 points and Eric Moreland adding 17 to go along with 15 rebounds.
  • Semaj Christon scored 28 points to lead Xavier to an 86-79 win over Marquette, setting up a showdown for a share of first place in the Big East with Creighton this weekend.
  • Without the suspended Fran McCaffery No. 22 Iowa had little trouble with Northwestern, beating the Wildcats 93-67 with Aaron White leading the way with 18 points, ten rebounds and five assists.
  • Portland ended its 20-game losing streak to Gonzaga, beating the Bulldogs 82-73 in Portland. Bryce Pressley led the way with 16 points and nine assists.
  • Another WCC result that won’t help the conference earn multiple NCAA tournament bids was Santa Clara’s 57-55 win at Saint Mary’s. Jared Brownridge’s three-pointer with two seconds remaining proved to be the difference.
  • UC Irvine held on to beat Long Beach State 46-44 in a matchup of two of the teams expected to contend in the wide-open Big West.
  • While Montana and Weber State have been the standard in the Big Sky in recent years, keep an eye on Northern Colorado. B.J. Hill’s Bears whipped Weber State 70-51 thanks in part to a 21-point, 13-rebound performance from Derrick Barden.
  • Sam Mills scored 17 points to lead three La Salle players in double figures as the Explorers held off George Washington, 76-72.

Nebraska lands Robert Morris transfer Dachon Burke

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Nebraska landed a coveted transfer on Thursday as former Robert Morris guard Dachon Burke pledged to the Cornhuskers during an official visit, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

The 6-foot-4 Burke will have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations before getting two more seasons of eligibility. Burke averaged 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game last season for the Colonials in a breakout sophomore campaign. Also putting up 2.1 steals per game, Burke should be a major contributor for Nebraska when he becomes eligible.

Nebraska was able to pull in Burke even though he was coveted by other high-major programs as he’s a solid addition for the program. If Burke can improve his perimeter shooting (33 percent last season from three-point range) then he could be a major weapon for the Huskers.

 

Report: Arizona State adds 7-foot-1 center

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Height has been something of an issue in recent years for Bobby Hurley and Arizona State. The Sun Devils took a step to remedy that Thursday.

Uros Plavsic, a 7-foot-1 center from Serbia has signed with Arizona State to become the fourth member of the program’s 2018 recruiting class, according to a report from 247 Sports’ Evan Daniels.

Plavsic, who is attending high school in Tennessee, originally committed to Cleveland State, but backed off that commitment last month before visiting Tempe this week.

“It was a great experience,” Plavsic told Scout. “They really took good care of me these past few days. Their campus is so, so big. The people here are nice. I met two guys I really liked and were important for a basketball team. Their facilities are crazy. Everything is in the same area.”

The Sun Devils ranked in the bottom half of the country in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage last year while ranking 265th in average height, according to KenPom.

“They were short the past two seasons,” he said about Arizona State. “They really needed a big guy and they can use me inside or can pass outside. They really need a big guy and I think I can help them out a lot next season.”

 

NCAA begins work of implementing complex basketball reforms

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The most difficult part of the NCAA’s attempt to clean up college basketball begins now.

Hours after former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice presented the Commission on College Basketball’s sweeping recommendations for reforming a sport weighed down by corruption, NCAA leaders set in motion the process for turning those ideas into reality.

The NCAA Board of Governors, a group of 16 university presidents and the association’s highest ranking body, unanimously endorsed all the commission’s recommendations Wednesday. Now it’s up to various subcommittees, working groups and college administrators to dig into a mountain of work over the next three months as the NCAA attempts to change NBA draft rules, create a new enforcement body, toughen penalties for rules violations, revamp summer recruiting and certify agents. All while trying to get buy-in from organizations that might not be motivated to help.

“It’s going to be a challenge to say the least,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “This is a pace of decision making that the association’s really never done on this kind of scale before.”

The Division I Council, comprised mostly of athletic directors and headed by Miami AD Blake James, has the job of turning the recommendations into rules. That requires feedback from schools, then council votes with some conference votes counting more heavily than others. Each proposal then goes to the Board of Directors, where a majority vote is needed to send it to the Board of Governors for final approval.

It’s a winding path — crossing 351 Division I schools with varied priorities and concerns — and requiring consensus building and compromise for measures to pass. NCAA rule changes can sometimes take a full calendar year to sort out.

“We’ve got to make sure we don’t let the good fall victim to the perfect here,” Emmert said. “Nobody believes we’re going to get everything perfect the first time through.”

The independent commission Rice led released a much-anticipated and detailed 60-page report , seven months after the group was formed in response to a federal corruption investigation that rocked college basketball. Ten people, including some assistant coaches, have been charged in a bribery and kickback scheme , and high-profile programs such as Arizona, Louisville and Kansas have been tied to possible NCAA violations.

“They believe the college basketball enterprise is worth saving,” Rice told the AP of commission members in an interview before addressing NCAA leaders. “We believe there’s a lot of work to do in that regard. That the state of the game is not very strong. We had to be bold in our recommendations.”

The proposals were wide-ranging, falling mostly into five categories: NBA draft rules, specifically the league’s 19-year-old age limit that has led to so-called one-and-done college players; non-scholastic basketball such as AAU leagues and summer recruiting events; the relationship between players and agents; relationships with apparel companies; and NCAA enforcement.

“Some people like some of (the recommendations) more than others, which is human nature, but as a board we’re unanimous in the endorsement and the acceptance of these recommendations for the NCAA,” said Minnesota President Eric Kaler, chairman of the Division I Board of Directors.

It’s not yet clear how the governing body would pay for some of the proposals, though the NCAA reported revenues of more than $1 billion dollars for fiscal year 2017 in its most recent financial disclosures.

The commission offered harsh assessments of toothless NCAA enforcement, as well as the shady summer basketball circuit that brings together agents, apparel companies and coaches looking to profit on teenage prodigies. It called the environment surrounding hoops “a toxic mix of perverse incentives to cheat,” and said responsibility for the current mess goes all the way up to university presidents.

It also defended the NCAA’s amateurism model, saying paying players a salary isn’t the answer.

“The goal should not be to turn college basketball into another professional league,” the commission wrote in its report.

The commission did leave open the possibility that college athletes could earn money off their names, images and likenesses , but decided not to commit on the subject while the courts are still weighing in.

Rice called the crisis in college basketball “first and foremost a problem of failed accountability and lax responsibility.”

ONE-AND-DONE

The commission emphasized the need for elite players to have more options when choosing between college and professional basketball, and to separate the two tracks.

The commission called for the NBA and its players association to change rules requiring players to be at least 19 years old and a year removed from graduating high school to be draft eligible. The one-and-done rule was implemented in 2006, despite the success of straight-from-high-school stars such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.

“I’m confident they are going to be very supportive,” Emmert said of the NBA and NBAPA.

The NBA and players union praised the recommendations on enforcement and expressed concerns about youth basketball. On draft eligibility rules, however, there was no commitment.

“The NBA and NBPA will continue to assess them in order to promote the best interests of players and the game,” they said.

The commission did, however, say if the NBA and NBPA refuse to change their rules in time for the next basketball season, it would reconvene and consider other options for the NCAA, such as making freshmen ineligible or locking a scholarship for three or four years if the recipient leaves a program after a single year.

“One-and-done has to go one way or another,” Rice told the AP.

ENFORCEMENT

The commission recommended harsher penalties for rule-breakers and that the NCAA outsource the investigation and adjudication of the most serious infractions cases. Level I violations would be punishable with up to a five-year postseason ban and the forfeiture of all postseason revenue for the time of the ban. That could be worth tens of millions to major conference schools. By comparison, recent Level I infractions cases involving Louisville and Syracuse basketball resulted in postseason bans of one year.

Instead of show cause orders, which are meant to limit a coach’s ability to work in college sports after breaking NCAA rules, the report called for lifetime bans.

“The rewards of success, athletic success, have become very great. The deterrents sometimes aren’t as effective as they need to be. What we want are deterrents that really impact an institution,” said Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins, who was a member of the Rice commission.

AGENTS

The commission proposed the NCAA create a program for certifying agents , and make them accessible to players from high school through their college careers.

AAU AND SUMMER LEAGUES

The NCAA, with support from the NBA and USA Basketball, should run its own recruiting events for prospects during the summer , the commission said, and take a more serious approach to certifying events it does not control.

APPAREL COMPANIES

The commission also called for greater financial transparency from shoe and apparel companies such as Nike, Under Armour and Adidas. These companies have extensive financial relationships with colleges and coaches worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and Adidas had two former executives charged by federal prosecutors in New York in the corruption case.

 

ODU graduate transfer Trey Porter headed to Nevada

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Nevada is adding an immediate impact big to its roster.

The Wolf Pack received the commitment of Old Dominion graduate transfer Trey Porter, they announced Wednesday.

The 6-foot-10 Porter averaged 13.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.3 blocks for ODU last season. He announced his decision to finish his career elsewhere last month.

“We are so excited about Trey Porter joining our Nevada Family,” Wolf Pack coach Eric Musselman said in a statement. “Trey is an incredible athlete, has tremendous length, and has huge upside. He is a great rebounder who can score the ball in the post and face up. He has phenomenal speed for his size and will really fit in our uptempo style on both ends of the floor.”

Porter, who began his career at George Mason, shot 58.8 percent from the field last season and registered four double-doubles.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to play at a program like Nevada,” Porter said in a statement. “As soon as I stepped on campus, I could tell how invested the coaching staff, program, and university were to my success and how I would fit in with the team. I am ready to get back to Reno and get to work on next season.”

Nevada upset Cincinnati and Texas in the NCAA tournament last season to reach the Sweet 16. They finished 29-8 overall. The Wolf Pack have uncertainty with their roster with Jordan Caroline, Caleb Martin and Cody Martin all testing the NBA draft waters.

Loyola extends Porter Moser through 2026

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A trip to the Final Four might prove significantly lucrative to Loyola-Chicago coach Porter Moser.

The Ramblers announced Wednesday that they reached a new contract agreement with Moser that will extend his deal through 2026 with what the Chicago Tribune called a “hefty raise” on his $420,000 per year salary, citing an anonymous source.

“As I have said many times before, I am a Catholic kid from Chicago who played in the Missouri Valley Conference,” Moser said in a statement released by the school. “This is the trifecta for me. We have invested so much time and energy in this program and I’m beyond excited to continue the journey. Watching Chicago as well as Loyola students, alumni and fans get excited for this team was exactly the vision we had when we took over the program.

“I will continue to challenge our fans to fill Gentile Arena as we did for the final home game to make it one of the best college basketball atmospheres in the country.”

The Ramblers went 32-6 last year, winning the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles ahead of their magical run to the Final Four for the first time winning the NCAA tournament in 1963. They return three starters from the Final Four squad, including MVC player of the year Clayton Custer.

“We are excited to be able to announce a new contract for Porter that will keep him at Loyola a long time,” athletic director Steve Watson said. “He is the perfect fit for Loyola and operates his program the right way, with student-athletes who achieve excellence on the court and in the classroom and are also excellent representatives of the institution.

“We are fortunate to work at a university like Loyola, that values and has made a commitment to athletics. It is nice to reward Porter not just for an outstanding season, but also for the job he has done during his time here.”