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

4-star center commits to Purdue

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With Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas entering their senior seasons, adding front court options in the 2018 class was something that Purdue needed to do. Purdue added its second front court commitment in the 2018 class Tuesday evening, as four-star center Emmanuel Dowuona reportedly made his pledge. News of Dowuona’s commitment was first reported by the Lafayette Journal & Courier.

Dowuona, a 6-foot-11 big man who attends Westwood Christian School in Miami, joins fellow four-star prospect Trevion Williams in Purdue’s 2018 class to date.

Dowuona’s commitment comes just days before he was reportedly to visit Tennessee. Among the other programs to have offered Duwuona were Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami and UConn.

Dowuona played for the Team Breakdown program on the Under Armour Association circuit during the summer, averaging 7.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 59.3 percent from the field. While still a bit raw offensively, the native of Ghana provides value as a defender and rebounder. Dowuona is joining a program that during Painter’s tenure as head coach has done a good job of developing big men.

Dowuona and the aforementioned Williams will look to compete for playing time in 2018-19 alongside current redshirt junior Jacquil Taylor and 7-foot-3 redshirt freshman center Matt Haarms.

Dayton freshman Toppin ineligible for 2017-18 season

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Dayton announced Tuesday afternoon that one of the program’s incoming freshmen will not be eligible to compete this season. 6-foot-8 forward Obadiah Toppin has been ruled by the NCAA to have not met initial eligibility requirements, and he will have to sit out the 2017-18 season as a result.

Toppin will be allowed to remain a member of the team and participate in practices, and he will have four seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2018-19 season. While the NCAA’s decision leaves the Flyers short a front court option in head coach Anthony Grant’s first season at the helm, it did not come as a surprise.

“We knew this was a possible scenario for Obi early on in the recruiting process,” Grant said in the release. “And if it came to pass, we saw this as a chance for him to utilize this year acclimate as a student and enhance his strength and skill as an academic redshirt. This is a great opportunity for Obi to develop as a player and student over the next 12 months, and prepare himself for a very successful college career.”

Toppin, who averaged 17 points and eight rebounds per game at Mt. Zion Academy last season, is one of five freshmen who have joined the program. Matej Svoboda and Jordan Pierce will look to earn minutes alongside returnees Josh Cunningham and Xeyrius Williams, and the same can be said for redshirt freshman Kostas Antetokounmpo.

Toppin being declared ineligible is the third hit Dayton has taken to its front court this offseason. Ryan Mikesell, who played in 32 games last season, will redshirt after undergoing two hip surgeries. And Sam Miller, who was also part of the team’s front court rotation last season, was suspended from school for the fall semester after he was arrested during the summer.

Four-star forward commits to Ohio State

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Ohio State is on the board with regards to the 2018 recruiting class, as Chris Holtmann’s program received a much-needed verbal commitment from four-star forward Jaedon LeDee. The 6-foot-9 Houston native announced his decision via his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon.

In receiving a verbal commitment from LeDee, Ohio State beat out California, Houston, Iowa State, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and UCLA. The Buckeyes hosted LeDee for his official visit the weekend of September 9, which coincided with the football team’s matchup with Oklahoma. Originally scheduled to visit Cal this past weekend, LeDee instead visited Texas A&M.

With LeDee’s commitment to Ohio State, visits to LSU (September 30) and UCLA (October 6) are likely off the board.

Currently attending the Kincaid School, LeDee played for the Texas PRO grassroots program on the adidas Uprising circuit this summer. The four-star prospect will likely be a combo forward for Ohio State, playing either the three or the four depending on the matchup.

With Jae’Sean Tate beginning his senior season and Keita Bates-Diop being a redshirt junior, Ohio State had a need to address in the front court. In landing a verbal pledge from Jaedon LeDee, the Buckeyes have done just that.

Among the front court players who will have eligibility remaining beyond the 2017-18 season are Bates-Diop, current sophomores Micah Potter and Andre Wesson, and freshmen Kaleb Wesson and Kyle Young.

The Pac-12 is foolish for scheduling Arizona-UCLA once during the regular season

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Last month, I wrote about one of the more troubling trends in college basketball: Teams steering away from playing the games that fans are going to care about the most.

It was the result of Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing stating publicly that he was “not thinking about Maryland” after the rivalry between the DMV’s two most well-known programs went by the wayside.

Ewing isn’t the only coach that is culpable here. Kansas and Missouri don’t play. Kansas and Wichita State don’t play, either. Duke and Maryland don’t play. Ohio State doesn’t play Cincinnati, Xavier or Dayton. It goes on and on.

But the blame can no longer only be given to the coaches that schedule to protect themselves and/or their program.

The conferences deserve some criticism as well. Take, for instance, the Pac-12, who released their schedule recently after deciding that Arizona, a contender for the preseason No. 1 team in the country, should only play UCLA and USC, the only two teams that have a realistic chance of upending the Wildcats for the Pac-12 crown, once apiece.

Not only that, but the games will be played in Tucson, an incredible advantage for Sean Miller’s club as they pursue the league’s regular season title.

Look, I get it. There are 12 teams in the league and there is an 18-game schedule. Each team in the league is going to play four of their 11 league foes just once. It’s simple math. But the answer should never, ever be to schedule the Arizona schools and the Southern California schools just once.

The reasoning is simple: Arizona and UCLA are the two biggest brands in the league. When they play it will draw more interest than when any other two teams in the conference play, and that’s something the conference should be trying to capitalize on. It takes a lot to convince anyone on the east coast to stay up to watch a Pac-12 basketball game. I cover this sport for a living and I have a hard time making it all the way through a 10 p.m. ET tip. When a two-year old is going to be screaming at me to make breakfast at 6:30 a.m., do I really want to stay up to watch Arizona blow out Washington or UCLA to beat up on Cal?

The Pac-12 should do everything they can to ensure that Arizona and UCLA play twice every season.

That is even more true this year. Arizona might be the best team in the country and they might have the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft on their roster in Deandre Ayton. UCLA is a top 15 team that just so happens to have Liangelo Ball, the worst of the three Ball brothers and potentially the last one to matriculate through the college ranks. The seemingly inevitable LaVar Ball blow-up is something we all will be watching patiently to see.

Should I mention the simmering hatred between Sean Miller and Steve Alford as they continually compete for the best prospects on the west coast?

And that’s before you factor in that USC is the second-best team in the league, and anyone that UCLA plays twice, USC will also play twice.

I’ll be sure to watch a number of Oregon games this season, and I think that Stanford, Oregon State and Colorado all have the pieces to sneak up on some people this year. I’ll be sure to check in on them a couple times as well.

But the games that I’ll have circled on my calendar, the games I’ll be excited about watching, are between Arizona, UCLA and USC.

By scheduling the Arizona schools and the Southern California schools just once during the regular season, the Pac-12 cost themselves a third of that inventory.

That doesn’t seems like the smartest way to run a business conference.

But hey, if conference realignment and the development of conference-only networks taught us anything, it’s that major college athletics are all about competitive balance over those advertising dollars.

Vanderbilt lands commitment from Aaron Nesmith

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Vanderbilt landed their first commitment in the Class of 2018 with four-star wing Aaron Nesmith.

Nesmith is a native of South Carolina, and the Commodores beat out South Carolina for his services. At 6-foot-6, Nesmith is the kind of defensive presence and athlete that Vandy will need to replace Jeff Roberson, who will be graduating this season.

This is a critical class for Bryce Drew, who is squarely in the mix for five-star guards Darius Garland and Romeo Langford. Nesmith isn’t on that level, but he will be a nice piece for Vandy for four years.