Late Night Snacks: Texas Tech whips No. 12 Baylor

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: UNLV 76, New Mexico 73

After playing poorly in home losses to Air Force and Nevada the Runnin’ Rebels needed to circle the wagons with games at New Mexico and San Diego State this week. On Wednesday night UNLV brought the effort needed to win a game of this magnitude and it paid off, with Bryce Dejean-Jones scoring 23 points to lead four players in double figures. While the win is a step forward for UNLV, New Mexico has some adjustments to make on the defensive end.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) Texas Tech 82, No. 12 Baylor 72

Tubby Smith’s Red Raiders executed at a high level on the offensive end, shooting 57.1% from the field in a game they led by as many as 24 points. Five Texas Tech players scored in double figures with Jaye Crockett’s 19 leading the way. As for Baylor, if they don’t improve defensively they can forget about contending for a Big 12 title.

2) No. 16 UMass 88, George Mason 87

For a team that’s currently ranked 16th the Minutemen have lived a charmed existence of sorts in Atlantic 10 play. wednesday’s victory is the third straight in which Derek Kellogg’s team needed to stage a comeback in the second half, with Derrick Gordon’s basket with 8.4 seconds remaining proving to be the difference. Even though UMass continues to escape with victories, should we be concerned about them?

3) Maryland 74, Notre Dame 66

In a game both teams needed in a big way it was Maryland who got the desired outcome, with Dez Wells’ 17-point second half sparking a rally from a nine-point halftime deficit. Maryland’s road back to the NCAA tournament will be a difficult one, but their win on Wednesday is a step in the right direction.

STARRED

1) Rodney Glasgow (VMI) 

Glasgow scored 36 points on 13-for-16 shooting (10-for-10 FT) as the Keydets won 101-88 at Radford. Teammate D.J. Covington added 28 points and 11 rebounds.

2) Trevor Releford (Alabama)

28 points on 10-for-13 shooting (6-for-9 3PT), four rebounds and four assists in Alabama’s 80-61 win over Mississippi State.

3) Tanner Plomb (Army)

29 points (11-for-15 FG) and ten rebounds in the Black Knights’ 78-75 loss to Holy Cross.

STRUGGLED

1) Virginia Tech

In their 56-49 loss to Clemson the Hokies shot 4-for-14…from the free throw line.

2) Winthrop

The Eagles shot just 4-for-20 from deep and 27.8% from the field overall in their 56-51 loss to Gardner-Webb.

3) UMBC

Shot 11-for-40 from the field (27.5%) and committed 19 turnovers in a 56-42 loss at New Hampshire.

NOTABLES

  • A Codi Miller-McIntyre three-point play proved to be the difference as Wake Forest beat N.C. State 70-69 in Winston-Salem. Miller-McIntyre scored 20 points to lead four Demon Deacons in double figures, and after the win the athletic department’s Twitter account sent out an interesting tweet.
  • Trailing 53-36 with 15 minutes remaining, Xavier outscored Georgetown 44-14 the rest of the way to win 80-67. Semaj Christon scored 18 points and Dee Davis added 17 to lead the way for the Musketeers.
  • In what was the finish of the night, Julius “Juice” Brown’s jumper as time expired gave Toledo a 67-65 win over Buffalo. Brown finished the game with 20 points and six assists.
  • No. 4 Michigan State won 54-40 at Northwestern without the injured Adreian Payne, who according to multiple outlets will undergo X-rays on his foot on Friday.
  • Jabari Bird returned to the floor for California in their 82-56 pasting of Washington, accounting for two points and five assists. Tyrone Wallace led five Golden Bears in double figures with 14 points, moving Cal to 4-0 in Pac-12 play.
  • Manny Arop and Dawon Cummings scored 14 points apiece to lead Indiana State to a 70-55 win over Missouri State. Next up for the Sycamores: a game at No. 5 Wichita State on Saturday.
  • UMass-Lowell picked up its third America East victory, beating reigning conference tournament champion Albany 70-66 in overtime. Akeem Williams scored 20 points and dished out eight assists to lead the way.
  • Florida State moved to 3-1 in ACC play with a hard-fought 63-53 win at Miami.
  • Marshall Henderson made his return for Ole Miss, scoring 25 points to lead the Rebels to an 88-74 overtime win over LSU. But the most important line may have been provided by freshman forward Sebastian Saiz, who tallied 20 points and nine rebounds.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 9 Oklahoma State 82, TCU 50
  • No. 10 San Diego State 68, Fresno State 60
  • No. 24 Saint Louis 66, St. Bonaventure 60

Quinnipiac set to hire Villanova assistant Baker Dunleavy as new head coach

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Quinnipiac will introduce Villanova assistant coach Baker Dunleavy as the team’s new head coach on Tuesday, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

Dunleavy has helped the Wildcats to a national championship and multiple Big East championships as the team’s associate head coach. A former walk-on for Villanova who transitioned into a director of operations and later an assistant coach, Dunleavy is the son of Tulane head coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. Baker’s brother, Mike Dunleavy Jr., is still playing in the NBA as well.

The 34-year-old Dunleavy has experience with a championship program at Villanova so it will be interesting to see what he can do running his own program for the first time. Quinnipiac hired Dunleavy to replace Tom Moore, who was fired after 10 years with the program.

The Bobcats went to an NIT and made a few other postseason appearances under Moore but the program has never been to the NCAA tournament since making the transition to Division I in the late ’90s.

Report: Duquesne hires Akron’s Keith Dambrot as new head coach

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Duquesne has hired Akron head coach Keith Dambrot to the same position, according to a report from ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman.

The 58-year-old Dambrot has been head coach at Akron since 2004 as he’s helped the program to three NCAA tournament appearances.

The former high school coach of LeBron James at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School in Akron, Dambrot won two Ohio state championships with James before becoming an assistant coach at Akron in 2001. Dambrot eventually took over the head job over from Dan Hipsher.

Dambrot is reportedly getting a seven-year deal from Duquesne so the Dukes are making a major investment in him to turn around the basketball program.

Duke’s Christian Laettner shouts out North Carolina’s Luke Maye on Twitter after winning jumper over Kentucky

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Duke and North Carolina don’t have much in common.

But the historic college basketball rivals now have the distinction of earning late Elite Eight wins over Kentucky that involved a No. 32 making the winning shot.

Blue Devil legend Christian Laettner is famous for his 1992 buzzer-beater over Kentucky in the Elite Eight and he made sure to give some love to North Carolina sophomore Luke Maye after his own Elite Eight shot knocked out the Wildcats.

Rice’s Marcus Evans becomes one of top available transfers

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Rice sophomore guard Marcus Evans will transfer and play his final two seasons elsewhere, he announced on Monday.

The 6-foot-2 Evans has been a major scorer the last two seasons for the Owls as he averaged 19.0 points per game this season after putting up 21.4 points per game as a freshman.

With Rice head coach Mike Rhoades taking the VCU opening and the program struggling to consistently win, Evans seeking to play elsewhere should not come as much of a surprise.

Evans will have to sit out a transfer season before having two more years of eligibility but he should be one of the best options available this offseason. A proven scorer who has become more well-rounded this season, Evans could be a high-quality addition to any program this offseason.

A native of Chesapeake, Virginia, it will be interesting to see if Evans decides to play closer to home.

NBA Draft Stock Watch: Who has helped themselves in the NCAA Tournament?

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The term ‘prisoner of the moment’ is never more fitting than when weighing just how valuable an NCAA Tournament star turn is for a kid’s potential success as an NBA player.

We see it every year. Big tournament performances during deep runs in the dance is a great way to inflate draft stock while disappointing exits are an easy way to hurt it, even if it goes against the season-long data that is telling us something about a player. 

Who are the players that helped themselves the most this March? And who may have put a damper on their chances of hearing their name called early on draft night?

STOCK UP

Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina: Thornwell has played his way into the discussion as a potential first round pick by leading South Carolina to the Final Four. He has the physical tools to be an excellent defender in the NBA, and he certainly has the toughness and physicality, but it’s his shot-making that is the game-changer for him. He shot 39.4 percent from three on the season and is hitting 43.2 percent from beyond the arc in the tournament, and while the knuckle-ball action on his jumper is concerning, at some point it’s fair to wonder whether or not his less-than-ideal form is less important than the fact that it goes in. Thornwell, who was the SEC Player of the Year this season, will be an interesting 3-and-D candidate come draft night, and the spotlight on him from averaging 25.7 points while leading the Gamecocks to the Final Four will only help.

De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky: Fox solidified his standing as a potential top five during the tournament. The red flags are still there — Can he make threes in the NBA? — but at the end of the day, the NBA Draft is about whether or not you want one guy or the other guy. This is a draft that is absolutely loaded at the point guard spot, and for the second time this season, Fox outplayed a guy that many have slotted above him, Lonzo Ball. In the Sweet 16, he put up 39 points, the most impressive individual performance of the tournament, as Kentucky skated by UCLA more easily than most of us expected. Ball should probably still be considered the better, but when you’re sitting in that room making those decisions, it’s not going to be easy to bypass the guy that bested him twice.

Jordan Bell, Oregon: Bell, a senior, has been one of the best defensive players in the country all season long, and never was that more apparent than when he went for 11 points, 13 boards, eight blocks and four assists against Kansas in the Elite 8. He totally changed that game, making Landen Lucas look like an eighth grader without any confidence and forcing the Jayhawks to miss a number of shots in the lane simply because they were aware that Bell could be lurking. He was probably worth a second round pick already, but that game very likely ensured that he will here his name called at some point on draft night.

Tyler Dorsey, Oregon: Dorsey is a shot-maker. That’s what he brings to the table offensively. He can score. He’s gone for at least 20 points in all seven tournament games — Pac-12 and NCAA — that Oregon had played this year, and he hit innumerable big shots in the process, including a game-winner against Rhode Island in the second round and a pair of absolute daggers against Kansas. Undersized scorers come a dime-a-dozen at that level, but Dorsey ensured that he will get a shot this spring.

D.J. Wilson, Michigan: Wilson has been one of the most intriguing prospects in college basketball this season given his size, athleticism and skill-set, and the attention that Michigan got as the darling of the conference tournaments and the first weekend of the NCAA tournament certainly didn’t hurt. I’m not convinced he’s in a position to be a first round pick, but I am certain that, if he opts to declare for the draft and sign with an agent, there will be a team willing to bet on the meteoric rise he had this year continuing.

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STOCK DOWN

Lonzo Ball, UCLA: With all the hype surrounding the Ball family heading into his showdown with De’Aaron Fox and Kentucky in the Sweet 16, you would’ve expected Lonzo, who has been terrific this season, to shine on the biggest stage. But that’s not how it went. He was completely overshadowed by Fox, who went for a career-high 39 points when they went head-to-head, bowing out of the tournament with nothing but a Sweet 16 to show for it. There’s a risk in making over-arching judgements on a player based off of one or two games when a season’s worth of data is telling you something else, but it is fair to note that Ball was outplayed in both of his matchups with another potential top five pick at his position.

Josh Jackson, Kansas: We’ve seen all season long what Josh Jackson can do on a basketball court, and one bad game where he got into foul trouble in the first four minutes is not going to change the way that scouts view his ability on the court. The concern with Jackson has nothing to do with basketball. It’s the off-the-court stuff, and it’s his temper. The biggest red flag surrounding him right now is an incident at a bar where he did more than $1,000 worth of damage to a person’s car. He got a few technical fouls this season. Against Oregon, he got into it with Duck players. Whether that affected his play, only Jackson will know, but it’s not all that hard to connect those dots. It’s easier to teach a 19-year old that cares too much to tone it down — the maturity that comes with getting older certainly helps — than it is to get a guy with no heart to be intense and tough, but that’s something NBA teams are going to have to consider when they decide whether to take Jackson in the top three of a draft this loaded.

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Justin Patton, Creighton: Patton is incredibly talented and loaded with promise, but after seeing the dip in his production once Mo Watson went out with a torn ACL — 14.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game on a 74 percent shooting vs. 11.9 points and 5.8 rebounds on 61 percent shooting post Watson — is concerning. Throw in that he was totally underwhelming against an undersized front line of Rhode Island in a first round loss, and there will be questions asked about whether or not he is a guy that is worth a first round pick.

Luke Kennard, Duke: Kennard, by all accounts, had a terrific season. He’s a skilled scorer that can get his buckets in a number of different ways. He’s a lights-out shooter with an advanced array of moves to create space to get his shot off and a knack for scoring around the rim with both hands. But the concerns with him is whether or not he will be able to do so against guys that are as athletic and strong as NBA wings are. Picking a second round matchup with a South Carolina team loaded with those kind of defenders to have his worst game of the season wasn’t exactly ideal timing.

Josh Hart, Villanova: Hart does everything well, and he certainly proved throughout the season that he had improved on the things that he needed to improve — shooting, playmaking, ability off the dribble. But the concern with Hart is whether or not he’s going to be able to get his own shot when the guys he plays against are bigger, quicker, more athletic and just as tough as he is, and the way Villanova bowed out of the tournament — with Hart being unable to create a shot or draw a foul on a drive to the rim — is a perfect summation of the concerns NBA teams have about him.