mccaffery

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

Leave a comment

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.

The Champions Classic renewed through 2019

LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 27: Bill Self head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks claps for his team as they celebrate winning the Big 12 Conference Championship after they defeated Texas Tech Red Raiders 67-58 at Allen Fieldhouse on February 27, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas. With the win, Kansas clinched its 12th straight conference championship. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Champions Classic is back, baby!!!

On Wednesday, the four schools that participate in the event — Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Michigan State — announced that they have signed deals to extend the life of the doubleheader for another three years.

This is terrific news. The Champions Classic is always the best early-season event of the season, an annual double-header that always ends up putting together two of the best non-conference games in packed NBA arenas. This year, it features Duke, the consensus preseason No. 1 team in the country, squaring off with Kansas, who is a consensus top three team with the No. 1 freshman in the class, Josh Jackson, on their roster, in one game.

The other game? Kentucky, the third consensus top three team nationally, going up against Tom Izzo and Michigan State, who will be, at worst, a top 15 team in the preseason polls.

So yeah, we’re going to get a pair of sensational basketball games in Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15th. MSG also just so happens to be the best arena to watch a great neutral site basketball game.

It’s going to be awesome.

There’s only one possible way to make it better: turn it into a two-day event, with the winners squaring off for the Champions Classic title the following night.

Make it happen.

Anyway, here’s the schedule:

Nov. 14, 2017 (United Center, Chicago)
Kansas vs. Kentucky
Duke vs. Michigan State

Nov. 13, 2018 (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis)
Michigan State vs. Kansas
Duke vs. Kentucky

Nov. 12, 2019 (Madison Square Garden, New York)
Kansas vs. Duke
Michigan State vs. Kentucky

Hartford makes smart decision to allow ‘Pancake’ Thomas transfer

AP Photo
Hartford coach John Gallagher, AP Photo
Leave a comment

Another talented graduate transfer has hit the market.

Cleveland ‘Pancake’ Thomas — that’s a helluva name, isn’t it? — has been granted a release by Hartford and will be allowed to transfer to another program for his fifth season.

“Our biggest priority for Cleveland was that he graduate from the University of Hartford with a valuable degree,” Hartford head coach John Gallagher said in a statement released to ESPN after some speculation that Thomas wasn’t going to be given a release. “That happened. Beyond wishing him the very best, we don’t comment on other program’s players. We are very excited about our group and the upcoming season.”

The term “release” is needed here because Thomas, a 6-foot-3 guard who averaged 18.9 points and shot 42.6 percent from three this past season, spent his first two years of eligibility at New Mexico. A graduate transfer exception is granted to any player making their first transfer after receiving an undergraduate degree. But since Pancake had already transferred once, he was only eligible to apply for a graduate transfer waiver, which the school he is leaving must support.

Remember the saga of Todd O’Brien? He tried to leave St. Joseph’s to spend his fifth-year at UAB but made headlines everywhere when Phil Martelli wouldn’t let it happen? That’s because O’Brien had started his career at Bucknell and needed Martelli to support the waiver.

Gallagher could have done the same to Pancake.

He made the right decision not to — Martelli has enough coaching cache to withstand the onslaught on criticism he received, I’m not sure that is true for Gallagher — even if it will result in Thomas playing elsewhere, hence the cold-hearted nature of that statement.

Anyway, Thomas never averaged more than 3.9 points at New Mexico, so while he’s a tantalizing prospect for programs that are dying for perimeter depth and shooting, this isn’t exactly a kid that’s going to launch himself into the NBA Draft’s first round by jumping up to a higher level.

Shawn Forrest named assistant coach for Jankovich at SMU

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 22:  Head coach Larry Brown (L) and associate head coach Tim Jankovich of the Southern Methodist Mustangs look on during the team's game against the Kent State Golden Flashes during the 2015 Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on December 22, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Southern Methodist won 90-74. The game marks Brown's return from a nine-game suspension.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

DALLAS (AP) Shawn Forrest has been named an assistant basketball coach at SMU, his third school since the end of last season.

Mustangs coach Tim Jankovich announced Forrest’s hiring Tuesday.

Forrest spent the past three seasons as an assistant at Western Kentucky before head coach Ray Harper resigned. Forrest was named a UTSA assistant in May, but two weeks later left for Louisiana Tech before the unexpected opening at SMU.

Jankovich was SMU’s associate head coach before the abrupt resignation last month of Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown. Forrest fills the open assistant spot created on the staff when Jankovich was promoted to head coach.

Before Western Kentucky, Forrest was an assistant coach at Louisiana-Lafayette, North Texas, Arkansas State and Florida A&M.

Jim Boeheim’s Melo comments are evidence of why athletes hate the media

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 21:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the United States poses with Team USA assistant coach Jim Boeheim after defeating Serbia in the Men's Gold medal game on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1 on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
1 Comment

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has a habit of creating headlines that are not all that flattering, to himself or to the people that he’s commenting on, which is why it wasn’t much of a surprise that a quote he gave to Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard has been making the rounds this week.

The quote in question?

“He’s unlikely to win an NBA title,” Boeheim said of his former star and now three-time Olympic champion Carmelo Anthony. “He’s never been on a team that even had a remote chance of winning an NBA title.”

That sounds bad, doesn’t it?

But … I mean, he’s right, isn’t he?

Melo is 32 years old and title-less. He’s been to the conference finals once and gotten out of the first round of the playoffs just twice, and now he’s on the downside of his career. Athletes don’t get better as they exit their early 30s unless they’re taking whatever it was that turned Barry Bonds into a cyborg. Adding the remnants of Derrick Rose and a 31 year old Joakim Noah is helpful, but unless those contracts can teleport the Knicks back to 2011, Rose will be the only person calling this group a Super Team.

So yeah, Boeheim is right. You probably think so, too. Melo is probably never going to win an NBA title unless he finds a way to get to the Cavs.

But here’s the thing: focusing on that one line totally ignores the point that Boeheim was making in the interview. As always, context is critical, and if you read the story that Waters wrote, it’s pretty obvious the message that Boeheim was trying to get across. Melo is not going to leave a legacy in the NBA beyond being a guy that got a lot of buckets. It just didn’t work out for him that way. Ask Karl Malone how that feels.

But by going to Rio for the 2016 Olympics, by becoming the first men’s basketball player to win three Olympic gold medals, Melo did solidify himself a legacy.

He’s the most accomplished and, arguably, the best player that Team USA has ever had. That’s not going to make up for the rings that are missing on his fingers, but it does cement his place in the history of the game.

That was Boeheim’s point, and it was a salient, intelligent point, one that complimented Melo for the success that he had in international play.

But if you scroll through your favorite blogs and see that headline, it looks like he was taking a shot at the player that brought him his only national title.

And given how twisted that quote has gotten, is it any wonder why athletes and coaches hate the media?

UPDATE (1:30 p.m.): Boeheim has weighed in:

Oregon wins their opener on Spanish tour

Oregon forward Elgin Cook, from left, forward Dillon Brooks and guard Tyler Dorsey react after a play against Washington during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinal round of the Pac-12 men's tournament Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Las Vegas. Oregon won 83-77. (AP Photo/John Locher)
AP Photo/John Locher
Leave a comment

Oregon won the opener of their tour in Spain 109-88 on Tuesday night, as the Ducks knocked off a team of all-stars in Madrid.

Tyler Dorsey had 19 points to lead the Ducks while Kavell Bigby-Williams and Dylan Ennis, who is coming off of a season derailed by foot injuries, both added 16 points. Chris Boucher, who was terrific at the Nike Skills Academy in July, had 12 points.

While Ennis’ health was noteworthy, it is also worth pointing out that Oregon’s star Dillon Brooks did not play on Monday and will not be playing on the trip. I know this because, in every photo posted by the official Oregon team accounts, Brooks is in a chair with a boot on his left foot.

The rising junior, a potential all-american, had surgery on the foot earlier this month.