Late Night Snacks: No. 20 Iowa gets its signature road victory

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GAME OF THE DAY: Akron 83, Ohio 80 (2OT)

Quincy Diggs was the difference-maker for the Zips on Sunday, as he scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds while making some key plays down the stretch for the visitors. Diggs scored Akron’s final five points of the first overtime to force a second extra session, and his basket with 34 seconds remaining in double overtime gave Akron the lead for good. Maurice Ndour led Ohio with a career-high 25 points, but it’s Akron who remains undefeated in MAC play.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 20 Iowa 84, No. 3 Ohio State 74

Fran McCaffery’s team finally grabbed the signature road victory they were looking for, with Roy Devyn Marble scoring 22 points to lead five Hawkeyes in double figures. Iowa shot 47.5% from the field and did a good job of getting into the paint against the Ohio State defense, scoring 44 points in the paint. Just as important were the 27 points Iowa scored off of 17 Buckeye turnovers. LaQuinton Ross led Ohio State with 22 points, but there are still some defensive issues that need to be addressed.

2) Washington 71, No. 15 Colorado 54

C.J. Wilcox established new career-highs for points (31) and blocked shots (four) in a game to lead Washington to the win in Seattle. The victory snaps a 12-game losing streak for the Huskies against ranked opponents, but that wasn’t the big news of the day. Colorado point guard Spencer Dinwiddie left the game late in the first half with a left knee injury, and the severity of the injury will be learned on Monday. Washington outscored Colorado by 20 points after Dinwiddie left the game.

3) Creighton 95, Xavier 89

After falling behind 12-0 to start the game Creighton turned things around, with Doug McDermott once again leading the way offensively. He scored 35 points and Ethan Wragge knocked down five three-pointers to lead the Bluejays to the win. Xavier may have fallen short but the game Semaj Christon deserves mention as well, as he accounted for 27 points, five assists and four rebounds.

STARRED

1) Doug McDermott (Creighton)

35 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the Bluejays’ 95-89 win over Xavier.

2) C.J. Wilcox (Washington) 

A career-high 31 points on 12-for-18 shooting to go along with four rebounds and four blocks int he Huskies’ 71-54 win over No. 15 Colorado.

3) Billy Baron (Canisius) 

26 points (8-for-12 FG), eight rebounds and six assists in the Golden Griffins’ 87-67 win over Monmouth.

STRUGGLED

1) Maryland

Mark Turgeon’s Terrapins had issues on both ends of the floor in their 85-61 loss at Florida State, shooting 33.3% from the field with the Seminoles knocking down 16 three-pointers and shooting 50% overall.

2) Bowling Green

Shot 29.3% from the field and 9-for-21 from the foul line in their 45-36 home loss to Northern Illinois.

3) No. 23 Illinois

The Fighting Illini shot 28.1% from the field and 3-for-6 from the foul line in their 49-43 loss at Northwestern.

NOTABLES

  • T.J. McConnell knocked down five three-pointers (19 points, six assists) and Brandon Ashley also scored 19 as No. 1 Arizona recovered from a slow start to beat USC 73-53. The Wildcats’ 17-0 start is the best in school history.
  • UCLA saw their 23-point lead cut to nine before holding on to beat Arizona State 87-72. Kyle Anderson tallied 17 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists to lead the way.
  • Anthony Brown (24 points) and Chasson Randle (23) combined for 47 points as Stanford beat No. 17 Oregon, 82-80. Oregon once again had trouble slowing down bigger guards, and that’s an issue they must address.
  • Luke Hancock and Russ Smith scored 23 points apiece as No. 12 Louisville beat SMU, 71-63.
  • Keifer Sykes scored 34 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Green Bay’s 93-86 overtime win at Milwaukee. Jordan Aaron led the Panthers with 26 points.
  • J.J. O’Brien led five players in double figures with 18 points (and 11 rebounds) as No. 13 San Diego State won 79-72 at Air Force.
  • Michael Alvarado scored 33 points and dished out four assists to lead Manhattan to an 86-79 overtime win over Marist, the Jaspers’ first full game without injured guard George Beamon.

Sweet 16 Preview: Thursday’s picks, predictions, betting lines and channels

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The Sweet 16 kicks off on Thursday night, and the games are going to be terrific.

Oregon-Michigan should be thrilling, Gonzaga-West Virginia is a fascinating contrast of styles and Kansas-Purdue features arguably the two best players in college basketball.

Oh, and then there’s Arizona-Xavier, with Sean Miller and Chris Mack doing battle.

For an in-depth look at each region, check these out:

SWEET 16 PREVIEW: Midwest | West | South | East

No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 7 Michigan (-1.5), 7:09 p.m. (CBS): So this run that Michigan on, is it a fluke?

Frankly, I don’t think that it is. Derrick Walton has been awesome for the better part of two months while Michigan’s perimeter shooters have always been shooters and the duo of D.J. Wilson and Mo Wagner are legit. I honestly do not believe that the Wolverines are a team of destiny after the plane crash. They are just really good and a perfect roster for John Beilein to tinker with.

That’s why they’re favored on Thursday night. But here’s the thing … Oregon is pretty good themselves. Dillon Brooks is going to be guarded by a big man, which should be a matchup that Brooks can take advantage of, and Tyler Dorsey has been playing terrific basketball since the start of the Pac-12 tournament.

If you like small-ball, spread-the-court basketball, you’ll love this game.

PREDICTION: Michigan (-1.5)

No. 1 Gonzaga (-3) vs. No. 4 West Virginia, 7:39 p.m. (TBS): On paper, I think Gonzaga should win this game. They have a good back court in Nigel Williams-Goss and Josh Perkins, a pair of talented point guards that have won a lot of games in their career. Gonzaga is also the best defensive team in the country. So if they don’t turn the ball over against West Virginia’s press and they make it difficult for West Virginia to score in the half court and get into their press, they should be able to win this thing, right?

Well, maybe not.

My concern with Gonzaga is game-pressure. They didn’t handle it well down the stretch against BYU in their one loss of the season, and I’m not convinced that they win that second round game against Northwestern if the officials don’t blow the goaltending call. How are they going to handle an endless wave of Mountaineers in their face?

PREDICTION: Gonzaga (-3)

No. 1 Kansas (-5) vs. No. 4 Purdue, 9:39 p.m. (CBS): More than any other game this weekend, I’m fascinated to see how these two teams decide to try and play each other. Kansas has, essentially, one big man that Bill Self can trust, and he’s going up against a Player of the Year candidate in Caleb Swanigan and one of the best big men in the country at drawing fouls in Isaac Haas. Will Self double-team Swanigan knowing that Purdue may be more effective offensively when Swanigan can find shooters out of the double-team, or will he risk Lucas getting in foul trouble by trying to guard Swanigan one-on-one?

Then, at the other end of the floor, how will Purdue deal with the Kansas back court? Frank Mason III, the NBC Sports National Player of the Year, and Devonte’ Graham are a nightmare for anyone to deal with, let alone a team that struggles against penetrating guards and that lacks rim protection. It should be a fascinating coaching battle.

PREDICTION: Kansas (-5)

No. 2 Arizona (-7.5) vs. No. 11 Xavier, 10:09 p.m. (TBS): On paper, Arizona should be able to handle a Xavier team that doesn’t have Edmond Sumner or Myles Davis. That said, as we all know, Chris Mack and Sean Miller are very close and used to work together. Mack knows everything that Miller is going to do and vice versa. I think this game will be a low-scoring, grind-it-out affair that comes down to the final minutes.

PREDICTION: Xavier (+7.5)

Shayok and Reuter transferring from Virginia

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Virginia announced the departure of two players Wednesday.

Marial Shayok and Jerred Shayok will both transfer out of the program, the school said.

“Marial and Jarred informed me today that they are leaving the Virginia basketball program and are looking to transfer to other schools,” Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said in a statement released by the school. “I thank Marial and Jarred for their hard work and contributions to our program, and wish them success in the future.”

Shayok, a a 6-foot-5 junior, played 20.9 minutes per game last season for the Cavaliers, averaging 8.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game while shooting 44.5 percent from the floor. The Ottawa native started 23 games in three seasons with Virginia.

Reuter played a minimal role for the Cavaliers, averaging just 10.8 minutes and 3.8 rebounds per game.

Wake’s Collins declares for NBA draft without hiring agent

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Wake Forest’s John Collins is entering the NBA draft but will not hire an agent and is keeping open the option of returning to school for his junior season.

In a statement Wednesday announcing the decision, Collins said he wants “to make an informed decision about what is best for my future.”

Collins is a 6-foot-10 forward who as a sophomore blossomed into one of the best big men in the Atlantic Coast Conference and was voted to the Associated Press all-ACC team.

He averaged 19.2 points and 9.8 rebounds, putting together a string of 12 consecutive 20-point games late in the season.

His progression was a big reason why the Demon Deacons earned their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2010. Kansas State beat Wake Forest in the First Four.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org

Porter, Jr. will ask for Washington release

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There may be an overwhelming assumption on where Michael Porter, Jr. – and his father – will ultimately end up, but the five-star recruit is said publicly that he see his re-recruitment process through.

Porter, Jr. said in a teleconference Wednesday that he will ask for his release from Washington, and his father, a former Huskies assistant, has been offered a job at Missouri by new Tigers coach Cuonzo Martin.

“Right now I’m just trying to take it slow with my family and weigh my options,” Porter Jr. said, according to the Kansas City Star. “I plan to get my (national letter of intent) from Washington back and just go from there, not saying that I’m not going to Washington anymore, but I just want to get it back and weigh my options.”

The prevailing thought has been that the Porters will ultimately land in Columbia, where they have significant history.

Still, it would appear at least publicly that Porter, Jr., a potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft, will weigh his options in at least the short-term.

Calipari signs two-year extension with Kentucky

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Kentucky continues to take care of John Calipari.

The Wildcats coach has received a two-year extension, keeping him under contract in Lexington through the 2024 season, the school announced Wednesday.

The contract will pay Calipari $7.75 million next season and increase to $8 million per season thereafter.

“John has achieved consistent championship-level performance at Kentucky,” Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement. “No one in America is better suited for everything that comes with being the coach here. Not only has he attained incredible success on the court, he is also a leader in our community and in college basketball.

“We have been blessed to have him and Ellen here for the last eight years and we are blessed they will continue to call Kentucky home.”

Not only does the deal extend Calipari, but it continues to keep Kentucky competitive with the NBA, which would seem to be the only outlet that would even potentially tempt Calipari away from Kentucky. An NBA franchise would have to make him among the highest-paid coaches in the league to even match Kentucky financially.

Of course, given that Calipari has spurned interest from the league since returning to college in 2000, it seems unlikely that financial considerations would be the lone or heaviest variable in making a decision to move on.

Certainly, Calipari has an excellent thing going at Kentucky as the premier recruiting program in the country that has enjoyed serious success on the court, culminating in a 2012 national title and a 38-0 start to the 2015 season before a loss in the Final Four.

“The last eight years at the University of Kentucky have been a terrific ride,” Calipari said in a statement. “This extension shows our full commitment to each other. I believe this school is the gold standard and I’m so thankful and blessed that this university has given me this opportunity at this point in my career.”

The Wildcats face UCLA in the Sweet 16 on Friday.