The Secondary Break: Monday’s Links

Leave a comment

Former BC coach Al Skinner still hurt over the way he was fired (Boston Globe)
Much is made of players who wish to leave the game of basketball on their own terms, and the same can be said for coaches. Al Skinner, now an assistant at Bryant after spending three seasons out of the game, saw his 13-year run at Boston College come to an end in 2010. And the way in which he was let go still doesn’t sit well with the coach, whose former assistants truly believe should be in charge of his own program.

Baylor women’s 69-game home win streak on the line vs. UConn (Associated Press)
Virginia/Duke and Kansas/Iowa State may have the attention of many college basketball fans but Monday also features a Top 10 matchup in the women’s game. No. 7 Baylor will put its 69-game home win streak on the line when No. 1 UConn visits Waco in what should be an entertaining affair.

Duke, North Carolina learning along with their players (USA Today)
Saturday marked the first time since the 1996 ACC quarterfinals that all three Triangle schools lost on the same day, with Duke, N.C. State and North Carolina all falling. In the case of the Blue Devils and Tar Heels, they’re still learning more about their respective pieces and that’s led to struggles that many did not anticipate before the season began.

Story Time: Wilt Chamberlain feared death by soda poisoning, and other stories (The 700 Level)
No. 24 Memphis’ trip to Philadelphia to play Temple Saturday afternoon may not have been an eventful one outcome-wise (Memphis won 79-69), but Memphis head coach Josh Pastner treated the media to some good stories regarding his links to the Philadelphia area. One statement: his father has a recording of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point guard with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Spartans legend Draymond Green agrees: Michigan State has “great” potential (Detroit Free Press)
Thanks to the NBA schedule-makers former Michigan State player Draymond Green, now a member of the Golden State Warriors, was able to attend his old team’s overtime win over Minnesota on Saturday. And he’s of the opinion that the Spartans have the pieces needed to win a national title, but they’ve yet to “scratch the surface” of their full potential.

Cougars regain their swagger but a four-game road swing awaits (Salt Lake Tribune)
BYU took a step in the right direction on Saturday night, beating Loyola Marymount 91-68 in Provo. Having regained some of the confidence lost in their run of four losses in five game, the Cougars are now looking forward to a four-game road swing that will undoubtedly impact their chances of contending in the WCC.

Yes, your basketball team is good (The Mid-Majority)
The Harvard Crimson were one of the big stories at the mid-major level at the start of the season, due to their performance last season and the many key contributors back on campus. With that being the case expectations are high for Tommy Amaker’s team, even if there are some on campus who are unaware of how good their basketball team is.

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Denzel Valentine, the nation’s best player?

Denzel Valentine
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
Leave a comment

(This will be updated throughout the day.)

GAME OF THE DAY: Syracuse 74, No. 25 Texas A&M 67

The Orange got 20 points from Michael Gbinije and 15 points and five assists from Trevor Cooney as they won the Battle 4 Atlantis title on Friday afternoon. We wrote on this game earlier. Are the Orange for real this year?


Denzel Valentine, Michigan State: 32 points, nine boards, six assists

No. 3 Michigan State beat Boise State 77-67 in the semifinals of the Wooden Legacy out in California, but the result of that game is less important than the result of Valentine’s night. A night after notching his second triple-double of the season, Valentine took over another way on Friday, hitting five straight threes in the span of about five minutes to put the Spartans up double-figures in a game they were struggling to take control of.

In three games against high-major competition, Valentine is now averaging 30.0 points, 10.7 boards and 9.3 assists. He has been, unequivocally, the best player in college basketball this season.

No. 10 Gonzaga 73, No. 17 UConn 70: Eric McClellan and Kyle Dranginis made some big plays down the stretch as the Bulldogs held on to win a game they led by as much as 21 in the second half. Kyle Wiltjer scored a team-best 17 points for Gonzaga, which finished third at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Rob Dauster wrote more about the Bulldogs and their second-half performance here.

Alabama 64, No. 20 Wichita State 60: Not only did the Shockers drop their second straight at the AdvoCare Invitational, but they also saw Anton Grady leave the game on a stretcher after being involved in a scary second-half collision. He was awake and alert shortly after leaving the court. While the Shockers’ losses to USC and Alabama don’t help them from an NCAA tournament standpoint, the bigger issue is the team’s health.


Quincy Ford, Northeastern: Not only did he score 24 points in the upset win over No. 15 Miami, but he hit the game-winning jumper, too. Video here.


Wichita State’s bigs: Five of them (Anton Grady, Zach Brown, Rashard Kelly, Bush Wakumota, Eric Hamilton) finished a combined 3-for-21 from the floor with 14 points and 14 fouls. Wakumota shot one of the worst threes you’ll ever see with Wichita State down 62-60 with 10 seconds left.

Grady suffered a scary neck injury late in the game, but early reports sound positive.


  • Jamal Murray went for 21 points and three assists without a turnover at No. 1 Kentucky rolled over South Florida. The big question: How bad is Tyler Ulis’ elbow injury?
  • Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart both had 13 points as No. 8 Villanova knocked off Georgia Tech to win the Preseason NIT, 69-52.
  • No. 23 Xavier raced out of the gates against USC and led by as much as 32, going on to win 87-77 in Orlando. Trevon Bluiett led four Musketeers in double figures with 16 points and James Farr added 12 to go along with nine rebounds off the bench.


  • Stanford finished third at the Preseason NIT with a 69-66 win over Arkansas, closing the game on a stunning 21-1 run. Rosco Allen scored eight of his career-high 25 points during that run, and Marcus Allen’s goal-tended layup with 2.6 seconds remaining gave the Cardinal the lead for good.
  • Taurean Waller-Prince had 25 points to lead Baylor to a win over Arkansas State.

Good luck Goodluck: UNLV’s Okonoboh to transfer

Goodluck Okonoboh
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
Leave a comment

UNLV sophomore Goodluck Okonoboh is transferring out of the program, a source told

The 6-foot-10 center was the No. 31 recruit in the Class of 2014, but he never was able to find a place in the UNLV rotation. He averaged 2.9 blocks as a freshman, but is a career 34 percent free throw shooter that never proved he could be more than just an athlete.

With Ben Carter getting eligible and UNLV landing Stephen Zimmerman this season, Okonoboh’s minutes dried up. He played just 19 minutes total against UCLA and Indiana.