Joel Embiid, Markel Brown

The Secondary Break: Tuesday’s Links

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Up and Down and Unfair: Embiid, Wiggins and Kansas in 2014 (Grantland)
Saturday’s matchup between Oklahoma State and Kansas proved to be one of the nation’s best games to this point in the season, with the Jayhawks hanging on for the two-point victory at Allen Fieldhouse. While Andrew Wiggins was quiet for much of the afternoon the same can’t be said of Joel Embiid, who was outstanding in the middle for the Jayhawks. This story captures the entire day and Kansas’ two freshmen quite well.

Bruce Pearl’s post-coaching life, Richard Pitino and his father and more (Sports Illustrated)
One question that more than a few college basketball fans have asked recently is when would former Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl return to the coaching ranks. Now working at ESPN during the season, Pearl discusses life after Tennessee and his thoughts on a return to the sideline.

Air Force has a straight shooter in Tre’ Coggins (Denver Post)
The Air Force Falcons have gotten off to a 3-3 start to Mountain West play, a bit of a surprise considering the fact that Dave Pilipovich’s team was expected to be one of the league’s weaker teams. One reason for the start: sophomore point guard Tre’ Coggins, who has been one of the Mountain West’s best perimeter shooters to this point in the season.

Clemson basketball wants to avoid getting road-tripped (Charleston Post and Courier)
While much has been made of the play of Duke and North Carolina, one of the positive surprises in ACC play has been the Clemson Tigers. Brad Brownell’s team is off to a 4-1 start to conference play, and with a game at Pittsburgh in front of them the Tigers are hoping to earn a quality road victory.

UMass off to blazing start under Calipari pupil Derek Kellogg (USA Today)
No. 12 UMass has survived some close calls this season, but the fact of the matter is that the Minutemen have done enough to win 16 of their first 17 games. Leading the way is head coach Derek Kellogg, whose team is currently ranked ahead of the team coached by his college head coach, John Calipari.

Oglesby now key contributor for Hawkeyes (Quad City Times)
One reason why No. 10 Iowa was able to whip Minnesota 94-73 on Sunday afternoon was the first-half performance of guard Josh Oglesby, who scored 14 of his 17 points in the opening stanza. Playing with greater confidence, Oglesby’s become a key reserve for the Hawkeyes, who are ranked in the top ten of the AP poll for the first time since 2002.

Creighton’s McDermott embracing return to school (City of Basketball Love)
Creighton senior forward Doug McDermott returned to the place where his junior season came to an end, with the Bluejays falling to Duke in the NCAA tournament’s Round of 32. McDermott very well could have decided that he was ready for the next level but instead he returned to Omaha for his senior season, and McDermott’s happy that he did.

St. John’s lineups: a little bit of everything leads to nothing (Big Apple Buckets)
St. John’s has struggled mightily in Big East, as they’re off to an 0-5 start that has left fans frustrated. One point of frustration for some has been the numerous lineups that head coach Steve Lavin has used, with the thought being that the lack of continuity has led to the team’s struggles. John Templon of Big Apple Buckets broke down the many different lineup combinations used by the Red Storm this season.

Michigan State’s Tum Tum Nairn battling foot injury

Lourawls Nairn Jr.
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Michigan State has climbed on the back of star senior wing Denzel Valentine early in the season but they’ll undoubtedly need more help as the season goes on if they want to sustain their current top-5 ranking. One of the keys to the Spartans could be the on-going health of sophomore point guard Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn, who is battling a foot injury.

According to a report from Kyle Austin of, Nairn has been putting on a protective boot the last few months to help battle plantar fasciitis as the guard has been playing in practices and hasn’t had his minutes reduced in games.

The injury looked like it was hurting Nairn’s early-season play, but he’s been very good in two games at the Wooden Legacy in California this week, so it could be that he’s getting more used to playing through the pain of the injury.

If Nairn is healthy and capable of contributing, he’s a huge boost to Michigan State because he’s one of the fastest players in college basketball and an additional ball handler on the floor. Through six games so far this season, Nairn is averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 assists per game as he’s been one of the team’s best distributors.

Plantar fasciitis can be a tough injury to fight through, so we’ll have to see if this affects Nairn as the season goes along.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A few tournaments are still going on

Justin Jenifer, Charles Jackson
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GAME OF THE DAY: George Washington vs. No. 24 Cincinnati, 1:30 p.m.

Two 6-0 teams clash at the Barclays Center in what could be an important game for NCAA tournament resumes of both teams. The Bearcats picked up their most legitimate win over Nebraska, but the Colonials pose as a more real threat after they beat Virginia at home earlier this season. Cincinnati hasn’t shot the ball well in recent wins, but they’re beating up opponents on the glass and the defense has been solid. George Washington is coming off of a win over Tennessee in which they held off the Volunteers in the second half. The Colonials have lost 20 of their last 23 against ranked opponents, but another win over a top team would look great for them going forward.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: No. 4 Iowa State vs. Illinois, 6:00 p.m. (CBSSN)

This game is apart of the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Florida as the Illini could desperately use a win after a 3-3 start. Illinois head coach John Groce and his team are feeling the pressure for a big win on a neutral site after falling to North Florida, Providence and Chattanooga earlier in the season. The No. 4 Cyclones easily dispatched Virginia Tech earlier in the event and have found a nice balance on offense with the emergence of senior big man Jameel McKay inside.


  • N0. 2 Maryland has struggled to put away teams early at times this season and they’ll try to change that behavior when they host Cleveland State.
  • Staying in the Big Ten, No. 16 Purdue hosts Lehigh. With a game at Pitt and against New Mexico looming, could this be a trap game for the Boilers?
  • Nebraska and Tennessee take the floor in consolation action at the Barclays Center. The Huskers need someone besides Shavon Shields and Andrew White to step up in the scoring column while Tennessee is getting huge numbers from senior guard Kevin Punter.
  • Two 4-0 teams will meet in Brooklyn as Louisville takes on Saint Louis (7:00 p.m., ESPN3). Neither team has faced a significant test this season and this is the Cardinals’ first game away from home.
  • An intriguing night game to keep an eye on is Belmont traveling to BYU (8:00 p.m.). The Bruins are as well-coached as any team in the country and forward Evan Bradds has been playing great ball to start the season. The Cougars don’t have a high scorer like they did in the past, but Kyle Collinsworth is a triple-double threat every time he steps on the floor and BYU has a lot of weapons around him.
  • UAB and Virginia Tech battle in one of the more intriguing consolation games of the Emerald Coast Classic. Both teams are coming off of disappointing losses but have a shot to make things better on the trip with a solid win on Saturday.


  • Bryant at Georgetown, 11:00 a.m. (FS2)
  • Bucknell at Penn State , 12:00 p.m.
  • Tennessee-Martin vs. Mississippi State, 12:00 p.m. (SEC Network)
  • Ole Miss at Bradley, 1:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Old Dominion at VCU, 3:00 p.m.
  • Hawaii at Texas Tech, 3:00 p.m.
  • Kent State at Pitt, 3:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • SIU-Edwardsville at Butler, 4:00 p.m.
  • Georgia at Seton Hall, 6:30 p.m.
  • Western Illinois at Creigton, 7:00 p.m.
  • Colorado State vs UTEP, 7:30 p.m.