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Late Night Snacks: North Carolina beats No. 5 Duke

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: North Carolina 74, No. 5 Duke 66

North Carolina used the strategy of changing defenses in the second half to confuse Duke, and sure enough it worked. The Tar Heels used both 1-3-1 and 3-2 zones in addition to their man-to-man defense, and the Blue Devils went more than eight minutes without scoring a basket as a result. Add to that Marcus Paige scoring 13 second-half points and Leslie McDonald scoring 21, and North Carolina had its eighth straight victory. As for Duke, their inability to crack those different looks could be a concern for them moving forward.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 13 Michigan State 94, Purdue 79

After putting forth their worst showing of the season on Sunday the Spartans bounced back in a big way, hitting a school-record 17 three-pointers in West Lafayette. Gary Harris scored 25 points and Adreian Payne 23 to lead the Spartans, who remain in a tie in the loss column for first place in the Big Ten with Michigan. The two in-state rivals meet on Sunday in Ann Arbor.

2) BYU 73, No. 25 Gonzaga 65

BYU picked up a valuable result for its resume, beating the Bulldogs by eight in Provo. Anson Winder made all ten of his free throws and scored a team-best 17 points for the Cougars, who had four players score in double figures. Neither team shot particularly well from three, but the difference was the play of BYU’s bench. Cougar reserves outscored Gonzaga’s bench 34-21 on the night. As for Gonzaga, they’ll have to wait to clinch the WCC outright after shooting 40.7% from the field.

3) Seton Hall 82, Georgetown 67

Being a bubble team in February is as much about avoiding losses that will hurt the resume as it is picking up quality wins. Georgetown’s 15-point loss in Newark qualifies as a result that will not help their cause, with Fuquan Edwin pacing Seton Hall with 21 points. As a team Seton Hall shot 55% from the field and assisted on 20 of its 27 made baskets, proving to be too much for the Hoyas to handle.

STARRED

1) Kendrick Perry (Youngstown State) 

Perry scored 35 points on 11-for-17 shooting from the field to go along with nine rebounds, five assists and four steals in the Penguins’ 88-83 overtime win over Milwaukee.

2) Jarvis Haywood (Jacksonville)

Accounted for 28 points on 11-for-14 shooting, eight rebounds and five assists in the Dolphins’ 91-86 win over East Tennessee State.

3) Stacy Davis (Pepperdine) 

27 points and 12 rebounds in the Waves’ 72-69 win at Loyola Marymount.

STRUGGLED

1) Jordan Sims (UTSA)

Sims shot 1-for-10 from beyond the arc in the Roadrunners’ 85-56 loss at Southern Miss.

2) LaVonte Dority (Valparaiso) 

Dority made just three of his 13 shots from the field, scoring nine points in the Crusaders’ 67-53 loss at Green Bay.

3) Myles Mack (Rutgers) 

Mack did account for seven assists, five rebounds and three steals in the Scarlet Knights’ 64-59 loss to Memphis, but he also shot 4-for-17 from the field.

NOTABLES

  • Terran Petteway scored 26 points to lead Nebraska to an 80-67 win over Penn State, building on the momentum gained in their win at Michigan State on Sunday.
  • East Carolina led by as much as 13 in the second half before holding on for a 75-68 win over Louisiana Tech. As a result of the loss the Bulldogs are now a game behind Middle Tennessee and UTEP for first place in Conference USA.
  • Robert Morris came back from a 10-point second half deficit to beat LIU Brooklyn, 73-64, moving to 12-1 in NEC play. Andy Toole’s Colonials are now 12-1 in league play.
  • Quinnipiac beat Canisius 88-81 in Buffalo to move into a second-place tie with Manhattan in the MAAC. And with the Bobcats having swept the season series, they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker should those two teams finish the season tied.
  • Green Bay clinched the Horizon League regular season title with a 67-53 win over Valparaiso. As a result Brian Wardle’s team will host the quarterfinals and semifinals of the conference tournament, and should they advance to the title game they’ll host that as well.
  • Kareem Jamar scored 25 points to lead Montana to a 68-57 win over Weber State, shrinking the Wildcats’ lead in the Big Sky to a single game over Northern Colorado.
  • Josh Huestis became Stanford’s all-time leader in blocked shots while also accounting for 11 points and 18 rebounds in the Cardinal’s 80-59 win over USC.
  • UC Irvine picked up a 60-56 overtime win at Hawai’i, winning in spite of a 5-for-17 night from Luke Nelson. The win keeps the Anteaters on top of the Big West standings, one game ahead of UCSB and two ahead of Long Beach State.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 21 UConn 68, Temple 55
  • No. 22 Memphis 64, Rutgers 59

Whitehead to stay in NBA Draft

Seton Hall guard Isaiah Whitehead (15) shoots past Xavier forward Sean O'Mara (54) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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Seton Hall sophomore guard Isaiah Whitehead has signed with an agent and will remain in the NBA Draft, according to multiple reports.

Whitehead averaged 18.2 points, 5.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game last season for Seton Hall, which went 25-9 and reached the NCAA tournament. He likely projects as a second-round pick with a bit of a shaky shot, but a high usage and assist rates. His strong finish to the season likely lifted him on some draft boards, but his inefficiency will cap his ceiling in June’s draft.

The loss is significant for the Pirates as Whitehead was so much of their offense, but they’ll bring back Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez, Angel Delgado and Ismael Sanogo. It’s a group that will miss Whitehead’s playmaking, but is still a solid enough foundation that Seton Hall will still likely be competitive in the Big East and vying for another NCAA tournament berth.

Hart returning for Villanova’s title defense

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 26:  Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats reacts in the second half against the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at KFC YUM! Center on March 26, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Villanova’s title defense just got a whole lot stouter.

Josh Hart, the leading scorer of the Wildcats’ national championship team, will return for his senior season, he announced on Twitter.

The decision for Hart to return is a major boost for Villanova in its quest to become the first back-to-back champions since Florida in 2006 and 2007. Hart, a 6-foot-5 guard,  averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the floor and 35.7 percent from 3-point range.

Most draft pundits had him pegged as a potential end-of-the-first-round pick in next month’s draft though he could have certainly slid into the second should he had decided to forego his senior season. Instead, Hart will be a potential first-team All-American exhausting his eligibility in Philadelphia.

The 2016-17 season is taking shape nicely, and Hart returning to Villanova only increases the strength of the field at the top. Title game hero Kris Jenkins as well as Jalen Brunson, Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges are also back for the defending champs while the super recruiting classes of Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State, Kansas’ returning core along with Josh Jackson and a solid group of teams including North Carolina, Arizona, Louisville and Wisconsin make for an intriguing upper-tier of teams that could very well make for a top-heavy season following last year’s free for all.

College basketball isn’t the NFL. Parity doesn’t equal strength and quality, and when the sport has a handful high-quality teams, it is at its best. It’s looking like that is a possibility for the 2016-17 campaign.

UConn duo returning to school

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Connecticut may have lost its 6-foot-7 wing scorer but it is keeping its defensive stalwart and leading scorer.

Center Amida Brimah and guard Rodney Purvis have withdrawn their names from NBA Draft consideration and will return to the Huskies for another year, the school announced Tuesday.

The decisions from Brimah, a 7-foot center, and Purvis, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, help soften the blow dealt by Daniel Hamilton’s decision to sign with an agent and leave school despite having some shaky draft stock. The Huskies may not open the season as a top-25 team, but they won’t be far behind and will be one of the AAC’s favorites, along with Cincinnati.

Brimah averaged 6.5 points per game last year, but blocked 2.7 shots per game. He missed 11 games last season with a broken finger. Purvis registered 12.8 points per game while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor.

Neither Brimah or Purvis were among those invited to this month’s NBA Draft combine nor were either expected to be drafted should they have kept their names in the draft.

Gonzaga’s Karnowski returning for fifth year

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The man in the middle is returning to Gonzaga.

Przemek Karnowski will return to the Bulldogs for his final year after a medical redshirt waiver was granted allowing him a fifth season in Spokane, the school announced Tuesday.

“I’m excited to be coming back,” Karnowski said in a statement. “After talking with the coaches, my parents and the team, I decided this was the best decision for me. I still have a ways to go with my rehab, but I’m staying positive about the upcoming season.”

The 7-foot-1 Karnowski, a Poland native, would have, at minimum, had professional opportunities overseas, but instead will return to play for the Bulldogs once more after a back injury limited him to five games last season. He averaged 10.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game as a junior in 2014-15.

With Karnowski returning along with  Josh Perkins and Silas Melson, Gonzaga coach Mark Few will be having newcomers Nigel Williams-Goss, Zach Norvell, Johnathan Williams II and Zach Collins joining an experienced and talented group.

Gonzaga (shocker) will be the West Coast Conference favorite once more, but the Bulldogs will also be fielding a team that should open the season in most everyone’s top-15.

Michigan St. at Duke highlights ACC/Big Ten Challenge

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A matchup in Durham of likely top-10 teams is the headliner of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, whose schedule was released Tuesday.

Michigan State, expected to open the season in the top-10, and Duke, the presumptive preseason No. 1, will meet Tuesday, Nov. 29, at Cameron Indoor Stadium in the most intriguing contest of the 14-game event.

The Spartans are losing Denzel Valentin, Bryn Forbes and Matt Costello, but the recruiting class of Miles Bridges, Cassius Winston, Joshua Langford and Nick Ward is one of coach Tom Izzo’s best and has Michigan State positioned as one of the Big Ten’s favorites.

Izzo’s recruiting class, though, pales in comparison to what coach Mike Krzyzewski is bringing to the Blue Devils, with Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, Marques Bolden, Frank Jackson and Javin DeLaurier in their 2016 class, which is why, when paired with the likes of Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson and Luke Kennard, make Duke nearly everyone’s No. 1 heading into next season.

Krzyzewski is 9-1 all-time against Izzo’s Spartans.

Among the other highlights of the conference competition is Syracuse at Wisconsin (Nov. 29) Pittsburgh at Maryland (Nov. 29), Purdue at Louisville (Nov. 30) and Ohio State at Virginia (Nov. 30).  

Monday, Nov. 28

Minnesota at Florida State

Wake Forest at Northwestern

Tuesday, Nov. 29

Syracuse at Wisconsin

Michigan State at Duke

Pittsburgh at Maryland

Iowa at Notre Dame

Georgia Tech at Penn State

N.C. State at Illinois

 

Wednesday, Nov. 30

Purdue at Louisville

North Carolina at Indiana

Ohio State at Virginia

Virginia Tech at Michigan

Rutgers at Miami (Fla.)

Nebraska at Clemson