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.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.

LSU looking into starting lineup options

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - MARCH 7:  Head Coach Johnny Jones of the LSU Tigers watches his team play during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on March 7, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 81-78.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.

While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.

Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?

Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.

Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.