Late Night Snacks: No. 20 Michigan takes control of Big Ten race

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GAME OF THE DAY: Providence 87, Butler 81

Providence is one of many bubble teams looking to fight their way into the NCAA tournament, and they avoided suffering a tough defeat at Butler on Sunday. All five starters scored in double figures led by Bryce Cotton, who tallied 28 points and six assists. As a team Providence shot 13-for-27 from beyond the arc and 66.7% from the field, their best performance of the season in both statistical categories. Ed Cooley’s Friars close out the regular season with games against Seton Hall, Marquette and No. 11 Creighton.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 

1) No. 20 Michigan 79, No. 13 Michigan State 70

The Wolverines completed a sweep of the season series in Ann Arbor, with Caris LeVert and Nik Stauskas figuring prominently in the outcome. LeVert scored 23 points and Stauskas 25 for the Wolverines, who now hold a one game lead atop the Big Ten standings. As for Michigan State, they hung around throughout the afternoon but fell short, and Keith Appling wasn’t all that effective either. The question regarding the Spartans, who have been given the benefit of the doubt by many: will they ever get back to full strength?

2) SMU 64, No. 21 UConn 55

SMU needed a win at UConn to bolster a resume that is lacking in regards to quality wins away from home and they did just that, limiting the Huskies to 29% shooting in the process. Nick Russell and company did a good job of defending UConn’s guard tandem of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright, and the Mustangs shot 46% from the field. The win is SMU’s first against a ranked opponent on the road since 2003.

3) Florida State 71, Pittsburgh 66 

Pittsburgh shot just 37% from the field, falling to the Seminoles at home. Lamar Patterson scored 22 points but shot just 8-for-21, and if the Panthers are to get themselves a decent seed in the NCAA tournament they need to figure out these offensive issues. Since shooting 51% in a win at Maryland at January 25 the Panthers have shot no better than 41% in any of the seven games they’ve played since.

STARRED

1) Doug McDermott (Creighton) 

Scored 29 points on 8-for-14 shooting in No. 11 Creighton’s 72-71 win over Seton Hall. McDermott is now ranked tenth on the NCAA’s all-time scoring list with 2,915 points.

2) Terran Petteway (Nebraska) 

Petteway shot 10-for-19 from the field, scoring 29 points and dishing out three assists in the Cornhuskers’ 76-57 win over Purdue.

3) Delon Wright (Utah) 

Made all seven of his shots from the field, accounting for 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists in the Utes’ 86-63 win over Arizona State.

STRUGGLED

1) D.J. Irving (Boston University)

Irving, averaging 12.5 points per game, scored just three points on 0-for-5 shooting from the field in the Terriers’ 63-53 loss to Bucknell.

2) Anthony Myles (Rider)

Shot 1-for-12 from the field, scoring five points in the Broncs’ 69-60 loss to Siena.

3) Yale

The Bulldogs shot 9-for-22 from the foul line in a 62-46 loss at Columbia.

NOTABLES

  • Mike Moser scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds as Oregon rebounded from a slow start to beat Washington State, 67-53.
  • Nebraska’s now won five straight games after beating Purdue 76-57, and given the way they’re playing Tim Miles’ team could very well earn a trip to the NCAA tournament.
  • David Laury III scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds off the bench in Iona’s 86-67 win at Marist. The Gaels have clinched at least a share of the MAAC regular season title.
  • Columbia beat Yale 62-46, and as a result Harvard now holds sole possession of first place in the Ivy League. Yale, a game back, hosts the Crimson on March 7.
  • The CAA race got a little tighter as a result of Drexel’s 69-65 win at first-place Delaware. The Blue Hens, who finish the regular season with two road games, now lead Towson by one game.
  • Western Michigan moved its win streak to seven games with a 75-67 victory over Eastern Michigan. The Broncos are tied for first place in the MAC West with Toledo, and they’ll visit the Rockets next Saturday.
  • After shooting 4-for-20 in his last two games Cal guard Justin Cobbs rebounded against USC, shooting 8-for-10 and scoring 22 points in the Golden Bears’ 77-64 victory.

Reports: Duke’s Frank Jackson to declare for draft

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Frank Jackson will declare for the draft but will not be signing with an agent, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Previous reports had indicated that Jackson “planned” to return to school, and that still may end up proving true. But the combination of Trevon Duval potentially enrolling at Duke combined with the fact that there is zero downside to going through the draft process, it makes sense for Jackson to declare.

Jackson averaged 10.9 points and shot 39.5 percent from three. He’s projected as a mid-first round pick in 2018 by Draft Express, but at 6-foot-3, he’s too small to play the two in the NBA and has yet to prove he can be a point guard.

Jackson is the fourth Duke player to declare, following Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles III and Luke Kennard. All three signed with an agent. Grayson Allen and Marques Bolden are both returning to school.

VIDEO: Top 2018 recruits Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford go head-to-head at adidas

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This weekend is the first live evaluation period of the spring recruiting calendar as college coaches from all over the country are scouting (and babysitting) the top recruits in the Class of 2018 and 2019.

Friday night the adidas Gauntlet in Dallas opened with a marquee matchup of two star players as five-star forward Zion Williamson and five-star guard Romeo Langford went head-to-head in what should be one of the best games of the spring.

Most scouting services have Williamson and Langford as the No. 2 and No. 3 overall prospects in the Class of 2018 as the duo didn’t disappoint in front of the huge crowd in Fort Worth.

Williamson helped his team to a win with 26 points and seven rebounds while Langford had 28 points, four rebounds and four assists. You’ll be hearing plenty about both of these guys over the next few months as both are still wide open in the recruting process.

(H/t: Ball is Life)

Report: Coppin State hires Juan Dixon as new head coach

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Coppin State has hired former Maryland star guard Juan Dixon to be its next head coach, according to a report from Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun.

The 38-year-old Dixon is best known for leading Maryland to the 2002 national championship as he was the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four that year. Now Dixon will have a chance to lead a Division I program for the first time.

Dixon spent seven years in the NBA and also played professionally in Europe before joining the Maryland coaching staff in 2013 as a special assistant to head coach Mark Turgeon. Not retained by Maryland after the 2015-16 season, Dixon took the head coaching job for the women’s team at the University of the District of Columbia last season as the Division II program finished only  3-25.

Coppin State finished last season with an 8-24 record after losing its first 12 games of the season. While Dixon will generate some positive local buzz given his background, he’s going to have an uphill battle trying to rebuild that program.

Nebraska scores important Class of 2017 commitment from four-star guard Thomas Allen

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Nebraska landed an important commitment from the Class of 2017 on Friday as four-star guard Thomas Allen is heading to Lincoln next season.

The 6-foot-1 guard is considered the No. 99 overall prospect by Rivals in the national Class of 2017 rankings as Allen was previously committed to N.C. State before head coach Mark Gottfried was fired.

A scorer with a good amount of skill, Allen has a chance to come in and make an immediate impact at Nebraska as he can play a bit on or off the ball. Allen should help offset the loss of senior Tai Webster in the Husker backcourt.

Allen joins wing Nana Akenten in Nebraska’s Class of 2017 recruiting efforts.

North Carolina lands four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks

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North Carolina pulled in a late Class of 2017 commitment to begin the weekend as the Tar Heels secured a pledge from four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks.

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Brooks was previously committed to Mississippi State, but he was granted his release this spring to explore other opportunities.

The Tar Heels pounced as they’re getting a low-post threat who could develop into a potential double-double threat. A solid rebounder who isn’t afraid to play with physicality, Brooks has a chance to earn some immediate rotation minutes with seniors like Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks exhausting their eligibility.

Brooks is regarded as the No. 120 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, according to Rivals, as he is a four-star prospect. The native of Auburn, Alabama joins a North Carolina recruiting class that includes point guard Jalek Felton, shooting guard Andrew Platek and big men Brandon Huffman and Sterling Manley.