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The Secondary Break: Tuesday’s Links

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Questions remain as UMass hits home stretch (Daily Hampshire Gazette)
During much of the non-conference portion of the season, Derek Kellogg’s UMass Minutemen were a pleasant surprise that put together one of the better resumes in college basketball. Unfortunately for UMass the rigorous Atlantic 10 schedule has resulted in three losses, and as they approach the home stretch there are some significant questions to be addressed.

Talent in college basketball in need of new definition (Sports Illustrated)
What does it take to be labeled as “talented” in college basketball? Is it solely about physical gifts, or are there other aspects that need to be taken into consideration? Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis tackles this question and makes some good points about what all should be taken into consideration when discussing “talent.”

Documentary on Duke/North Carolina rivalry premieres Sunday (Beverly Hills Courier)
For all the great games that the Duke and North Carolina basketball programs have staged over the years, there seems to be a shortage of documentaries on one of college basketball’s greatest rivalries. On Sunday evening a new documentary on the rivalry will make its west coast premiere in Los Angeles.

Petteway leading Cornhuskers’ surge in Big Ten play (Associated Press)
Who’s the leading scorer in Big Ten play? Michigan State’s Gary Harris? Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell? The answer is actually Nebraska sophomore Terran Petteway, who’s currently averaging 19.5 points per game in Big Ten play. And he’s a big reason why Tim Miles’ Cornhuskers have won three of their last four games.

Caught in a shooting slump, Oregon’s Joseph Young found his answer in a familiar place: the gym (The Oregonian)
Shooting slumps are something that every basketball player has to deal with at some point in their career. What separates the standouts from the ones who are merely good is what they do about it. Oregon’s Joseph Young was faced with a shooting slump entering last week’s games against the L.A. schools, and his hard work helped the Houston transfer snap out of that funk.

John Calipari expects better defense from Kentucky basketball team (Louisville Courier-Journal)
One issue that many freshmen have trouble with when making the move from high school to college is understanding the commitment it takes to play well on the defensive end. That’s something that Kentucky’s had to address, and John Calipari isn’t too pleased with the way in which they’ve defended of late.

Maryland set for last game as ACC member in Chapel Hill (Raleigh News & Observer)
On Wednesday night the Maryland Terrapins will visit North Carolina, with the contest being the final one between the two as ACC members. The series has been in existence since 1924, and the two programs have staged some quality games over the years. But with Maryland moving to the Big Ten, this long-running chapter will be coming to an end.

High-scoring games becoming routine for Haws (Salt Lake Tribune)
After hitting a rough stretch during the latter stages of non-conference play, BYU finds itself tied for second place in the WCC at the halfway point. The biggest reason why: the prolific scoring ability of junior guard Tyler Haws. Haws’ ability to score has reached the point where some have even begun to take his recent stretch for granted.

Arizona Wildcats basketball: Surgery likely for Ashley (Arizona Daily Star)
With Brandon Ashley sidelined for the remainder of the season after breaking his right foot, No. 2 Arizona has begun the process of moving forward with the pieces they have. What does Ashley’s injury mean for their rotation? More minutes for the six players safely in the rotation, and an opportunity (depending in part on the opposition) for forward Matt Korcheck and guards Jordin Mayes and Elliott Pitts.

No. 13 Iowa State suspends Jameel McKay indefinitely

Iowa State forward Georges Niang, forward Jameel McKay, forward Abdel Nader and guard Deonte Burton celebrate after center Stuart Nezlek scored late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Coppin State, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 104-84 (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
AP Photo/Justin Hayworth
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Already lacking depth, No. 13 Iowa State will be short a key contributor Saturday when they take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

Friday night it was announced that senior forward Jameel McKay has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Steve Prohm and did not make the trip with the team. McKay, who’s been dealing with knee issues recently, is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game on the season.

Over the last six games he’s averaging 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest, shooting 60.6 percent from the field.

McKay has been asked to man the middle for a team lacking in both size and depth, with Georges Niang shifting over to the five when McKay needs a break for either rest or foul trouble reasons. Without McKay even more responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Niang, Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton in the front court.

The Cyclones are looking to end a two-game losing streak, and even with Oklahoma State’s struggles accomplishing that gets tougher with McKay out of the lineup.

News of McKay’s suspension was first reported by the Ames Tribune.

UNLV dismisses guard Daquan Cook from team

Illinois v UNLV
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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LAS VEGAS (AP) UNLV junior guard Daquan Cook has been dismissed from the team.

Interim coach Todd Simon made the announcement on Friday, though no reason was given.

Cook was suspended for 13 games by previous coach Dave Rice in November after being arrested and charged with DUI.

Cook appeared in two games this season after being reinstated, scoring three points in four minutes. He missed the 2014-15 season after tearing his right ACL and played 28 games as a sophomore.