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Late Night Snacks: No. 4 Wichita State, No. 5 San Diego State grab road wins

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 5 San Diego State 67, Boise State 65

Boise State was in complete control at home, on the verge of snagging the kind of win that could launch them back into the bubble conversation, when Xavier Thames and SDSU took control. He scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half, sparked a game-changing 15-0 run that gave the Aztecs their first second half lead, and, on the final SDSU possession, found Dwayne Polee for the game-winning three.

In the last two games, the Broncos have blown a 15-point second half lead against SDSU and an 11-point lead in the final 3:29 at UNLV. If they end up on the wrong side of the bubble, those are the two losses that are going to hurt.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES:

1) West Virginia 91, No. 21 Oklahoma 86 OT: Try to wrap your head around this: West Virginia is currently sitting tied for third in the Big 12, what is probably the consensus toughest conference in the country. West Virginia! Juwan Staten, as of this moment, might actually be the Big 12 Player of the Year. Juwan Staten! He had 20 points, 10 boards and six assists against Oklahoma and it went largely unmentioned. Bob Huggins has done one heckuva coaching job in Morgantown.

2) No. 25 Pittsburgh 59, Miami 55 OT: Lamar Patterson finished with 25 points, but his supporting struggled in one of the uglier games you’ll see this season. With four minutes left in the second half, the two teams had combined to score 21 points on 9-for-39 shooting after halftime. The good news for the Panthers? They avoid an ugly loss that would do some damage to their tournament resume, which still needs work. The bad news? This certainly didn’t help the perception that Pitt is living off of a weak schedule and their brand.

3) No. 4 Wichita State 65, Indiana State 58: The Shockers cleared the biggest hurdle in their pursuit of perfection on Wednesday night, outlasting a tough Indiana State team in Terre Haute.

STARRED:

1) Arkansas center Bobby Portis set a school scoring record for a freshman as he went for 35 points, nine boards and six blocks while shooting 14-for-17 from the floor in a 65-58 win over Alabama. He had 29 of the first 35 points for the Razorbacks. The rest of the team shot 8-for-40 from the field.

2) Delaware erased a 20 point deficit in the final nine minutes to remain undefeated in CAA play, and it was Davon Usher that was the reason why. He scored 42 points on 14-for-20 shooting and had seven steals in the 67-64 win. He scored 27 of those 40 points in the final 8:30.

3) Malcolm Brogdon had 17 points, 11 boards and seven assists in a win over Boston College, the 10th straight games that Brogdon has scored in double figures.

STRUGGLED:

1) Langston Galloway was held to just 3-for-13 shooting, finishing with just six points as No. 13 Saint Louis smacked around St. Joe’s, 65-49.

2) Tennessee’s Jordan McRae was just 6-for-18 from the field as Tennessee lost at Vanderbilt, 64-60. The Vols seem destined for another March spent curled up on the bubble’s cut line.

3) Richard Solomon was 1-for-7 from the floor and committed four fouls while Dwight Powell finished with 22 points, 11 boards and six assists as Cal followed up their win over No. 1 Arizona with their fourth loss in five games, getting drubbed at home by Stanford.

NOTABLES:

  • Portland fought back from a 22-point deficit to take a second half lead in Spokane, but Sam Dower stepped up late to push Gonzaga to the 71-66 win. The Bulldogs, who visit Memphis on Saturday, remain three games up in WCC play.
  • No. 20 Virginia moved to 9-1 in ACC play with a 77-67 win over Boston College. Of their nine league wins, eight have been by double-digit margins.
  • No. 13 Saint Louis set a school record with its 15th consecutive win, a 65.49 conquest at Saint Joseph’s. The Billikens limited the Hawks to 31.9% shooting from the field.
  • New Mexico remained a game behind San Diego State in the loss column with a 66-61 overtime victory over Wyoming. The Lobos and Aztecs don’t meet for the first time in Mountain West play until February 22.
  • With Dylon Cormier done for the season, Loyola (MD) still managed to hand American its first Patriot League defeat in Baltimore. Tyler Hubbard scored 20 points in leading the Greyhounds to the 62-58 win.
  • Purdue survived some shoddy late-game foul shooting to outlast Minnesota 77-74 in triple overtime. The game is the longest ever played at Mackey Arena.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25:

  • No. 10 Michigan 79, Nebraska 50
  • No. 14 Louisville 77, Houston 62

Minnesota center to miss a month

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 7: Reggie Lynch #22 of the Illinois State Redbirds and Fred VanVleet #23 of the Wichita State Shockers fight for control of a loose ball during the MVC Basketball Tournament Semifinals at the Scottrade Center on March 7, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Minnesota’s projected starting center is sidelined, but is expected to be ready for the season opener.

Reggie Lynch, the Illinois State transfer, had surgery on his left knee, the program announced on Friday night. According to Marcus R. Fuller of the Star-Tribune, the Golden Gophers are anticipating that Lynch is available for the season opener on Nov. 11 against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The 6-foot-10 Lynch has been in the news this offseason prior to his impending debut with Minnesota. In May, he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault. On August 1, the Hennepin County attorney’s office was announced he would not face charges, citing insufficient evidence.

Lynch spent two seasons at Illinois State, averaging 9.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Redbirds as a sophomore. He sat out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Minnesota is coming off a second-to-last place finish in the Big Ten with an 8-23 (2-16 Big Ten) record.

Women’s hoops coaches boycotting recruiting events

DENVER, CO - MARCH 31:  Head coach Muffet McGraw of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish directs her team during practice prior to the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Final Four at Pepsi Center on March 31, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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For some high-major women’s basketball programs, the final evaluation period of 2016 is being used as a vacation from the recruiting trail.

According to a report from Lindsay Schnell of Sports Illustrated, are not attending events during this weekend’s recruiting period for a host of reasons.

First, many are fed up with the price of tournament packets, booklets of rosters that college coaches receive upon paying their entry fee. Packets are supposed to be chock-full of contact information for the prospects, but sometimes aren’t accurate or up-to-date. (This has become a well-documented issue on the men’s side of college hoops. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish wrote on it this summer.) Furthermore, there are so many events now that college coaches are often forced to pay obscene amounts of money to watch just one player at a single event, and play recruiting hopscotch around the country, criss-crossing the nation to see so many events and spend thousands of dollars. One Power Five coach said her staff crunched the numbers, and found that in just two years, they’ve spent more than $4,000 more than they did in 2014 on packets alone. Another coach told a story of sending an assistant across the country for one day, to one event, to watch one team. When the assistant arrived, the team had left early for its next event. No refund was available for the college that had paid what turned out to be a useless entry fee. The head coach called it “exasperating.”

Jeff Borzello of ESPN, who spoke to Notre Dame head coach and eventual Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw for his report, estimated that the cost for one of the coaches packets — the ones that include player contact information, rosters, etc. — can cost each school an average of $600 per event.

This era of grassroots basketball has taken off in recent years with Nike, Under Armour and adidas all creating their own sponsored leagues. All three run exceptional events from the staff to the facilities, all the way to the three, free meals a day for coaches. Organizers of these events will argue that there’s a cost to running such high-end events. These packets, some of which are so in-depth they include players’ GPAs, help fund these tournaments (events, paying a staff, etc.).

Coaches, mostly mid to low-major coaches, will argue that these packets aren’t worth the cost, considering that every coach (head and assistant) must purchase them in order to gain entrance. And you will find packets where the information inside is either inaccurate, or missing or both. For elite programs, this isn’t an issue. You show up, you’re seen, you leave, you go to the next event, repeat. For mid to low-major coaches, this really puts a dent in their budget, especially when they have to travel to multiple events (buying packets at each one) because you have to land that “steal,” you have to find that player who is overlooked.

This protest, or boycott (or whatever you want to call it) will hurt those these events are intended to help the most: the players. If coaches continue to avoid these tournaments, that late-bloomer may miss out on a scholarship, or that player with mid-major offers won’t get the chance to play in front of high-major coaches.

According to Schnell, there is a proposal, voted on in April, to eliminate a live recruiting period in April and September. But many coaches in women’s basketball have made it clear this weekend how they feel about the issue.

USC lands commitment from three-star center

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USC added to its 2017 recruiting class with a commitment from a 7-foot big man.

Andy Enfield and the Trojans beat out Florida, Vanderbilt and Tennessee for the services of Calvary Christian Academy (Florida) center Victor Uyaelunmo. He announced his college decision on Friday afternoon.

“It was the best fit for me academically and athletically,” Uyaelunmo said according to David Furones of the Sun Sentinel. “The basketball coaches really wanted me to come, and I thought it was the best place for me.

“They told me how they were going to use me, and they have a couple of guys leaving this year, so I just fit in right.”

Uyaelunmo is regarded as a three-star prospect by Rivals, however, ESPN rates him a four-star recruit. He joins a two-man class which includes four-star forward Jordan Usher.

The departure of Nikola Jovanovic, the Trojans’ leading rebounder during the 2015-16, was a surprising one, and one that left USC with a hole in the middle. While Uyaelunmo still has one more year before arriving on the Los Angeles campus, the Trojans have a promising piece in the paint for the future; a long, athletic big man who has the potential, in time, to become one of the nation’s top shot blockers.

Uyaelunmo played for Nike South Beach in the EYBL this spring and summer. In 12 appearances, he averaged 5.0 points. 5.9 rebounds and 1.0 block in 17.6 minutes per game.

VIDEO: Rupp Arena’s new video board arrives

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Rupp Arena is getting a makeover. Take a peak as the new video board arrives and is put together:

Five-star freshman ruled ineligible to play for Villanova this season

Jay Wright
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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Omari Spellman will not be eligible to play for Villanova this season, the school announced on Friday morning.

“We are extremely disappointed for Omari,” stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. “While we don’t agree with the NCAA’s decision, we are members of the association and respect it. We understand why the NCAA felt it had to rule this way.”

“We will make a positive out of this for Omari. He will concentrate on his academics and individual development this season. In the long run Omari will be a better student and player for this experience.”

Spellman is a top 20 recruit that played for St. Thomas More this past season. At 6-foot-9, 260 pounds, Spellman was going to be counted on to play a major role in replacing Daniel Ochefu, the 6-foot-11 center that graduated this past spring. Without Spellman, Villanova will have to rely on inconsistent senior Darryl Reynolds to man their front line.

It is worth noting, however, that Reynolds did average 9.0 points and 10.6 boards in three games Ochefu missed last year. That was the first time in his career that he was given consistent minutes.

Spellman will be allowed to continue to practice with Villanova as he takes an academic redshirt.