Boise State v Kentucky

Late Night Snacks: No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 13 Kentucky, No. 25 Oklahoma lose on the road

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GAME OF THE DAY: Indiana 75, No. 3 Wisconsin 72

Indiana needed this win in the worst way. Although we are still in the beginning of conference play, Indiana has been sputtering. It’s never too early to begin analyzing resumes, and the Hoosiers’ one to date was lacking. It still leaves much to be desired, but their big win over previously unbeaten Wisconsin is exactly what they needed. It moves them to 2-2 in the Big Ten, finally gives them a quality victory, and — perhaps more importantly — some much needed confidence going forward. Yogi Ferrell was tremendous down the stretch, after being bench by Tom Crean early in the second half. Make no mistake, there are still plenty of questions for Indiana, but tonight demonstrated they can’t be written off just yet.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) Arkansas 87, Kentucky 85 OT

Can you say buzzer-beating tip-dunk?

2) George Washington 76, Virginia Commonwealth 66

The Colonials picked up a huge win over VCU on Tuesday night, legitimizing their place in the A-10 pecking order. GW now has wins over the Rams, Maryland and Creighton without a truly bad loss on their resume. They have a lot of wins to pick in in league play, but GW has themselves set up nicely to make a run at an at-large bid.

3) Kansas State 72, No. 25 Oklahoma 66

Kansas State bounced back in a big way following their blowout loss at Kansas this past weekend by beating Oklahoma, a team who just entered into the Top 25 for the first time this season. It was a balanced attack for the Wildcats as five players scored in double-figures, led by Marcus Foster who poured in 18 points. After beginning the season 2-3, Kansas State is now 13-4 with solid wins against Gonzaga, George Washington, Oklahoma State, and now Oklahoma.

STARRED

1) One of the nation’s best forwards, despite any stigma or status of being a “mid-major,” Towson’s Jerrelle Benimon nearly had a triple-double as he went off for 27 ponts, 13 rebounds, and seven assists. More importantly, Towson defeated Drexel, 80-68. The Tigers now sit atop the CAA, alongside Delaware and William & Mary.

2) If he really wanted to, Doug McDermott could have gone off for 40+ against Butler. McBuckets’ first half points matched Butler’s halftime score — 24. He was “held” to a mere four points in the second half, but the game was all but over as Creighton won going away, 88-60. Creighton’s offense: scary.

3) There was no worrying tonight for Wichita State as they cruised by Bradley at home, 72-50. The No. 5 Shockers were led by Fred VanVleet who dropped in 22 points on an efficient 7-10 shooting from the field. VanVleet has taken over the title of the nation’s most under-appreciated talent.

STRUGGLED

1) Coming off of back-to-back wins, Georgia struggled against a depleted Florida team, losing to the No. 7 Gators on a night where the Bulldogs shot 33.3% from the floor and mustered all of 16 first half points.

2) It was a second straight rough outing for Cameron Clark who finished just 1-for-9 from the floor with two points in a loss to Kansas State.

3) Deonte Burton was just 1-for-8 from the floor as Nevada lost at home to Boise State, suffering their first loss in Mountain West play this season.

NOTABLES

1) DePaul beat St. John’s at home, 77-75. That’s not all that impressive as the Red Storm continue to disappoint as the season progresses, but get this: DePaul has won consecutive Big East games for the first time since the 2007-08 season. One has to go all the way back to January 3rd and January 5th of 2008 when the Blue Demons defeated Villanova and Providence as the last time they had a winning streak of any kind in the Big East. This was during the Jerry Wainwright era.

2) No. 22 Pittsburgh held on against Georgia Tech, 81-74. Many still don’t know what to make of the Panthers. Their 16-1 record is nice, but who have they played? Their best win is at a neutral site against Stanford. Let’s see what Jamie Dixon’s squad is made of this weekend as they travel to the Carrier Dome to play Syracuse.

Indiana lands four-star Class of 2017 wing Justin Smith

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Indiana landed an athletic wing commitment on Monday night as four-star small forward Justin Smith pledged to the Hoosiers on Twitter.

The 6-foot-6 Smith is a native of Lincolnshire, Illinois and comes from Stevenson High School as he’s regarded as the No. 105 overall prospect in the Rivals national Class of 2017 rankings.

A high-flying wing who is great in the open floor, Smith should fit the Hoosiers’ uptempo system perfectly and if he’s able to get a more consistent perimeter jumper then he has a chance to be a really nice piece for Indiana.

Smith joins three-star guard Al Durham in Indiana’s recruiting Class of 2017.

Michigan State addingTom Izzo Hall of History wing in remodeled Breslin Center

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 22:  Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans reacts against the Virginia Cavaliers during the third round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 22, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has already been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this fall and the longtime Spartans head coach is receiving another unique honor in the remodeled Breslin Center.

The school announced over the weekend that the Tom Izzo Hall of History will be added to the Breslin Center renovations as the building is supposed to be completed by the fall of 2017.

“The Tom Izzo Hall of History will become a great gathering place on our campus where together we can celebrate the excellence of Spartan Basketball and MSU Athletics,” athletic director Mark Hollis said in a release. “When this facility project is complete it will be the finest college basketball facility in the country, so it’s only fitting that Tom’s name will be a permanent part of it.”

Overall, this is a nice addition to the Breslin Center, especially since Izzo and Michigan State basketball will forever be associated with one another. It should be cool for fans to go through it and re-live great moments in Michigan State history and the wing is another nice recruiting tool that can help point out all of Izzo’s biggest accomplishments.

 

Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament moving to Orlando amid Zika concerns

Lon Kruger
(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
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Amid concerns over the Zika virus, the annual Puerto Rico Tip-Off announced a change in venue on Monday. Rather than staying on the island, the tournament will move to Orlando and all games will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney.

The dates and teams will remain the same for the event as it will be played Thursday, Nov. 17, Friday, Nov. 18 and Sunday, Nov. 20. The field for the event includes Arizona State, Clemson, Davidson, Missouri, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma, Tulane and Xavier.

“We enjoy the beauty and accommodations that are afforded in Puerto Rico and wanted to make every effort in playing the event in San Juan, but the concern for student-athlete and spectator welfare became the primary driver in the decision,” Pete Derzis, senior vice president of ESPN Events said in the official release.  “We intend to return to Puerto Rico in the future.”

Puerto Rico is currently under a Level 2 alert for Zika according to the CDC. Since there have been cases of Zika on the island with native mosquitoes, it’s probably a smart move to eliminate all concerns over the virus if they can easily move the tournament elsewhere. It probably isn’t ideal for fans who purchased travel packages to Puerto Rico to watch the event, but it’s a small price to pay for the safety of everyone involved.

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company is also upset with the decision as Executive Director Ingrid Rivera Rocafort released a statement on Monday night.

“We are disappointed about this decision that we believe has been based on fear not the facts about Puerto Rico,” the statement read.

“There is no public health reason to cancel the Puerto Rico Tip Off or any sporting event in Puerto Rico. There is no doubt that our strong fan base and local spectators would have turned out to support their teams. Less than one percent of Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million population has contracted Zika, a far cry from projections. The hype and misinformation is fostering irrational decisions.”

PHOTO: Purdue unveils statue of John Wooden outside Mackey Arena

John Wooden (Purdue Athletics)
Purdue Athletics
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John Wooden will forever be associated with the UCLA program for what he did while coaching there.

10 national titles in 12 years, including seven in a row. Not bad, right?

What some people may forget is that before he got into coaching, Wooden was one of the best basketball players in the world. He played his collegiate ball at Purdue, where he was a three-time all-american and the 1932 National Player of the Year.

To honor Wooden’s legacy as one of the greatest Boilermakers ever, Purdue built a statue of Wooden and unveiled it in front of Mackey Arena this weekend:

“Not many people think of Johnny Wooden as a Boilermaker, but when I got here in 1957, some of the old-timers still remembered him as a player,” Jim Hicks, the alumnus that donated the statue, said. “I’m so delighted that people will see this statue and read his Pyramid of Success because I think the pyramid was his most important contribution.”

One of the neat touches of the statue: Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is right there for all to see.

North Carolina lands third commitment in 2017 class

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 23: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels looks on during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Iowa State Cyclones at the AT&T Center on March 23, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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North Carolina picked up their third commitment in the Class of 2017 on Monday in big man Brandon Huffman.

A four-star prospect who will play his final season of high school ball at Word of God Academy in North Carolina, Huffman’s strength at this point in his development is as a defensive presence around the basket. He stands 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan and should be able to help replace Kennedy Meeks, who graduates this spring.

Huffman’s development on the offensive end of the floor isn’t quite there yet. A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Huffman is still learning how to be more influential on that end.

Huffman joins Jalek Felton and Andrew Platek in UNC’s 2017 class.