Aaron Craft

Aaron Craft, Ohio State return the favor with 76-69 road win over No. 17 Iowa

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The first meeting between Iowa and Ohio State ended with a double-digit road victory for the Hawkeyes. That was the second loss in a four-game losing streak for the Buckeyes. That skid continued until the end of January when the Buckeyes lost to Penn State at home in overtime.

On Saturday, Ohio State looked like it was starting to turn it around, defeating No. 14 Wisconsin on the road. Three days later, the Buckeyes capped off its two-game road trip with a 76-69 victory over Iowa on Tuesday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, returning the favor from three weeks ago.

The Ohio State perimeter defense allowed Iowa to shoot a dismal 3-of-20 from 3-point range. That defensive pressure made the Iowa offense stagnant at times, and its two leading scorers — Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White, averaging 16.3 points and 13.5 points per game, respectively — being held for a combined 18 points off 7-of-20 shooting from the field.

Aaron Craft played his best game of the season with 17 points, three rebounds, six assists and six steals.

These are two impressive wins by Ohio State, grinding out a must-win at Wisconsin on Saturday and pulling out another good win three days later at Iowa. It shows that Ohio State may be back on track for the final month of Big Ten play. For the Hawkeyes, it’s the second consecutive home loss.

Last week, Iowa welcomed in a shorthanded Michigan State lineup, and let a potential marquee win go back to East Lansing with a 71-69 overtime victory.

Iowa has all the tools to make a deep run in March. The Hawkeyes have talented scorers, versatile bigs and depth with the ability to get up and down the floor. To date, Iowa has missed chances to pick up signature wins over Villanova, Iowa State, Wisconsin and Michigan this season. None of those games were at home, which made the loss to the Spartans all the more frustrating.

On Jan. 12, a win at Columbus was a great one for Iowa, but it wasn’t held is such regard as Ohio State continued to slide down and out of the rankings, losing five out of six games during that stretch.

Iowa has the talent, the kind of talent some think make them a Final Four-caliber team, but without a marquee win over an elite program there is questions as to just how good the Hawkeyes actually are.

They get another chance earn a statement win on Saturday at home against No. 10 Michigan, a team that previously defeated Iowa and is coming off an upset loss at Indiana.

Top-25 guard trims list to six

Trae Young , Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images
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One of the top points guards in the Class of 2017 has trimmed his list of potential collegiate destinations to six.

Trae Young, a consensus top-25 recruit, listed Texas Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma, Washington, Oklahoma State and Kentucky as the schools he is considering as he readies to begin his senior year of high school.

The list of the 6-foot-2 point guard is largely provincial as it includes Oklahoma, whose campus is just minutes away from Young’s Norman North High School, and fellow in-state school Oklahoma. Another pair of Big 12 schools make the list in powerhouse Kansas and the Red Raiders, whose first-year coach, Chris Beard, has spent the bulk of his career working in Texas. Texas Tech is also Young’s father’s alma mater. Washington has been on a role sending its players to the pros and recently received the commitment of top-five 2017 recruit Michael Porter, Jr.

Kentucky, of course, needs no explanation as to its attractiveness to high-level players.

Top-100 guard commits to Xavier

Chris Mack has Xavier back in the Sweet 16 (AP Photo)
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Xavier has added a top-100 prospect into its 2017 recruiting class Wednesday.

Elias Harden, a shooting guard from Georgia, pledged to the Musketeers via social media to become the second member of Chris Mack’s next class.

“The recruiting process was not EASY AT ALL,” Harden wrote on Twitter. “I wanna thank all the coaches that took time to recruit me.

“WIth that being said I will continue my academic and athletic career at Xavier University.”

The 6-foot-6 guard is ranked 92nd overall by 247Sports and had offers from Auburn, Maryland, Texas Tech and Ole Miss. He joins Jared Ridder, a Missouri guard, as part of the 2017 Xavier class.

The Musketeers return the bulk of last year’s 28-6 team that narrowly missed out on the Sweet 16.

Clemson recruit to enroll early

Brad Brownell
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Clemson will get a four-star recruit on campus a year earlier than it expected, though his on-court debut for the Tigers will remain on schedule.

A.J. Oliver, a guard from South Carolina, will enroll early at Clemson and redshirt this upcoming season, he announced via social media Wednesday.

“I woke up this morning and realized that the greatest opportunity for me is to enroll early into Clemson,” he wrote on Twitter. “I will redshirt a year & start my college career early.”

Oliver, whose mother is the head women’s basketball coach at Clemson, was a consensus top-100 player in the class of 2017 who committed to the Tigers last December. Texas Tech and the College of Charleston were involved before his commitment.

A three-star shooting guard, Scott Spencer of Virginia, was previously the only member coach Brad Brownell’s 2016 class. While Oliver’s decision to redshirt will keep him off the court for the 2016-17 season, he’ll have spent a full season in the Tiger program before making his debut in 2017

The cupboard isn’t bare in 2017 for the Tigers due to Oliver’s reclassification because Clemson received a commitment from power forward Malik Williams, a consensus top-150 player, earlier Wednesday.

Kentucky used Calipari-Chaney fight in media training

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Kentucky held some media training sessions yesterday, and one of the topics that head coach John Calipari used to make a point was … his blow-up with John Chaney. The moment was captured on SnapChat by a trio of Kentucky newcomers.

You remember that incident. Chaney, then the head coach at Temple, and Cal, who was coaching Atlantic 10 rival UMass at the time, nearly came to blows over the way that Cal handled officials during the game. Before the video below picks up, the two shared this exchange:

“Could I say this to you, please?” Chaney said, before the video above picks up. “You’ve got a good ball club. But what you did with the officials out there is wrong, and I don’t want to be a party to that. You understand?”

Cal responded: “You weren’t out there, Coach. You don’t have any idea.”

Chaney fired back: “You got a game given to you by officials right here with G.W. on three bad calls, O.K.? Then you send your kids out there pushing and shoving. You had the best officiating you could ever get here. And for you to ride them, I don’t want to be a party to that.”

And that led to “I’ll kill you”:

(h/t KSR)

VIDEO: Shaq’s son, Shareef O’Neal, with monster dunk in Vegas

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Shareef O’Neal is a top 50 prospect in the Class of 2018. In Vegas this past weekend, he threw down a monster put-back dunk.