GAME OF THE NIGHT: Indiana at No. 3 Michigan State, 7:00 p.m.
Indiana is coming off one of the weirder stretches we’ve seen from any team this season. Last Tuesday, they notched a big win over then-No. 3 Wisconsin at home, earning themselves some credibility as a legitimate Big Ten threat and a team with a real shot at getting an NCAA tournament bid. The Hoosiers followed that up with … losing at home to Northwestern? Indiana mustered all of 47 points in that game, which is concerning. Tom Crean’s club has offensive issues this season, and Northwestern was able to cut off any and all penetration by the Hoosiers. Can the Spartans do the same?
WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 22 Kansas State at Texas, 7:00 p.m.
Is Texas actually a tournament team this season? It’s starting to look more and more like it. The Longhorns suddenly have one of the more productive front courts in the Big 12 and Rick Barnes has a handful of young and talented back court players at his disposal. Kansas State, on the other hand, is the only team currently in the Big 12 that is within a game of first place Kansas in the conference standings. Fall two games off the pace, and the Jayhawks could end up coasting to the league title.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
1) Missouri and LSU are both currently sitting at 2-2 in SEC play after entering the season with expectations of competing for an NCAA tournament bid. They square off tonight.
2) No. 20 Pitt hosts Clemson, who is 4-1 in the ACC as of right now. The Tigers already own a win over Duke. Are they truly going to be a contender in the ACC this year? If they win at Pitt, they probably will be.
3) No. 14 Kentucky hosts Texas A&M. Will the Wildcats try to get revenge for getting tricked into hiring Billy Gillispie?
4) New Mexico and Boise State are the only two teams in the MWC that have a chance to earn an at-large bid outside of San Diego State. They play tonight at 9:15.
5) Four key bubble matchups: Temple at UConn, Rutgers at SMU, Notre Dame at Florida State and Butler at Providence
Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.
Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.
“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.
“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”
Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.
This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.
Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.
“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.
This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.
He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.
The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.