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Late Night Snacks: Five ranked teams, including No. 10 Saint Louis, fall

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Oregon 87, UCLA 83 (2OT)

With UCLA playing without the suspended Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams, it seemed as if Oregon was well-positioned to earn a win that they needed to improve their NCAA tournament hopes. Of course the game supplied more drama than many anticipated, with Bryce Alford scoring 31 points and David Wear forcing overtime with a three-pointer as time expired. Oregon would eventually get the win with Mike Moser accounting for 12 points, 20 rebounds and five assists and Joseph Young scoring 26 points.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 

1) Arkansas 71, No. 17 Kentucky 67 (OT)

The Razorbacks got themselves a quality road win on Thursday night, beating the Wildcats in Lexington with both teams struggling to execute down the stretch. But all that matters is the result, and the sweep of the regular season series could be what puts Mike Anderson’s team in the NCAA tournament. Kentucky’s starting perimeter of James Young and the Harrison twins shot a combined 11-for-39 from the field, and this was a big reason why Arkansas won despite committing 20 turnovers.

2) Indiana 93, No. 20 Iowa 86

For the third consecutive game the Hawkeyes struggled defensively, and as a result Fran McCaffery’s team has now lost three straight. Will Sheehey scored 19 of his 30 points in the first half to lead Indiana, and in the second half a 27-4 edge in bench points made the difference. How long Iowa stays in the NCAA tournament will depend on their ability to defend, something they must get better at in the coming weeks.

3) Duquesne 71, No. 10 Saint Louis 64

Micah Mason scored 22 points and Jerry Jones added 19 off the bench to lead the Dukes to the upset win at Saint Louis. The result ended the Billikens’ 19-game win streak two days ahead of their showdown at VCU, and it’s possible that Jim Crews’ team was caught looking ahead. SLU turned the ball over 16 times and shot 4-for-23 from beyond the arc, and they’ll need to be better in both areas on Saturday afternoon.

STARRED

1) Patrick Miller (Tennessee State) 

Miller scored 38 points and grabbed five rebounds in the Tigers’ 70-68 win at Morehead State. Miller’s final points of the night came on a three-pointer with two seconds remaining to give TSU the win.

2) Ledrick Eackles (McNeese State) 

31 points (10-for-17 FG), six rebounds and five assists in the Cowboys’ 87-72 win over Incarnate Word.

3) Jordan Reed (Binghamton) 

Reed accounted for 33 points (10-for-19 FG) and 13 rebounds in the Bearcats’ 89-83 overtime loss at Hartford.

STRUGGLED

1) Earl Brown and Greg Brown (St. Francis-PA)

The two starters (unrelated) combined to score two points on 0-for-14 shooting from the field in the Red Flash’s 74-45 loss at Wagner.

2) Middle Tennessee 

The Blue Raiders were on the wrong end of 55-39 loss at Louisiana Tech, shooting 35.4% from the field and finishing with more turnovers (19) than made field goals (17).

3) Memphis’ starting backcourt

Chris Crawford, Joe Jackson and Geron Johnson combined to shoot 4-for-15 in the Tigers’ 77-68 loss at Houston.

NOTABLES

  • D.J. Newbill scored 23 points and Tim Frazier added 16 as Penn State beat No. 22 Ohio State 65-63. The win gave the Nittany Lions a sweep of the season series.
  • There will be a new champion in the NEC as Central Connecticut State beat LIU Brooklyn 86-82 in overtime, eliminating the Blackbirds from contention for a spot in the conference tournament.
  • The top two teams in the Atlantic Sun both fell, with Lipscomb whipping FGCU 92-71 and Mercer dropping a 79-76 overtime decision to North Florida.
  • Wins by Southern Miss (beat FIU), Louisiana Tech (Middle Tennessee) and Tulsa (UTEP) forced a four-way tie for first place in Conference USA, with UTEP sitting a game behind the group.
  • VCU used a 51-point second half to pull away from Fordham, beating the Rams 85-66 in the Bronx. Juvonte Reddic led the way with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
  • Luke Apfeld led five players in double figures with 14 points as Vermont beat Stony Brook 69-53, wrapping up the America East regular season title.
  • Davidson also clinched a regular season title, wrapping up the SoCon crown with a 79-46 win over UNCG. Brian Sullivan and Tyler Kalinoski combined to score 33 points off the bench for the winners.
  • Green Bay wrapped up the Horizon League title with a 71-63 win at Oakland, outscoring the Golden Grizzlies 40-19 in the second half.
  • Siena upset Quinnipiac 72-70 in Hamden, moving into sole possession of fifth place in the MAAC and moving closer to earning the final first-round bye in the conference tournament.
  • UC Irvine grabbed sole possession of first place in the Big West with a 71-60 win over UCSB.
  • Gonzaga wrapped up the outright WCC regular season title with a 70-53 win over Pacific. Drew Barham scored 17 points for the Bulldogs.
  • Utah Valley took a step towards the WAC regular season title, beating New Mexico State 66-61 in overtime. However a post game fight has taken attention away from the result for the Wolverines.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 7 Louisville 88, Temple 66
  • Houston 77, No. 21 Memphis 68

Cyclones add big man for 2017

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 15:  Head coach Steve Prohm of the Murray State Racers shouts from the sidelines against the Colorado State Rams  during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Iowa State secured its first commitment Wednesday of what will be a pivotal class of forwards in 2017.

KeyShawn Faezell of Mississippi committed to Steve Prohm and the Cyclones, he announced Wednesday.

“After praying to God to lead me in the right path and talking with my dad,” Faezell wrote, “I’ve decided to further my education and basketball career under coach Prohm at Iowa State University.”

Faezell, a 6-foot-9 consensus top-150 forward in the 2017 class, joins wing Terrence Lewis as the first two members of a class that figures to number at least six for ISU. The addition of Faezell is key because ISU will be losing three members of its frontcourt it will likely be leaning on heavily in 2015-16 in Deonte Burton, Merrill Holden and Darrell Bowie. A 2016 big man, Cameron Lard, has also yet to enroll in classes this fall due to academic issues, making Faezell’s commitment even more important should Lard be unable to get clearance.

“They need some people to come in and compete,” Feazell told the Ames Tribune. “I think I fit in the program.”

Prohm’s teams dating back to his Murray State days have always been guard-oriented and guard-heavy, but beginning to stack the roster with quality big men will be key as he looks to continue the Cyclones’ success in the Big 12, which includes a school-record five-straight NCAA tournament appearances.

BYU adds commit for 2019

Dave Rose
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BYU added a commitment from a high school senior this week, but the Cougars won’t be seeing him on campus until 2019.

Kolby Lee, a 6-foot-9 forward from Idaho, pledged to BYU on Monday evening, but won’t suit up until after serving a two-year mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints, according to the Deseret News.

“I had a great feeling about BYU, and I prayed about it,” Lee told the paper. “I just feel like it’s the right fit for me. It just seems right. It feels right.”

Lee chose BYU over offers from  Utah State, Boise State and UC Davis. He was rated a four-star prospect by ESPN and three by Scout.

His decision to forego immediately joining BYU certainly isn’t a new wrinkle for the Cougars, who routinely see their players either delay their initial eligibility or pause it mid-career while serving on missions.

Self pays freshman Jackson a major compliment

Josh Jackson, from Napa, Calif.,, dunks over Nancy Mulkey, from Cypress, Texas, as he competes in the slam dunk contest during the McDonald's All-American Jam Fest, Monday, March 28, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
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Freshman phenom production under Bill Self has been something of a contentious topic. Many fault the coach, who has won one national title and 12-straight Big 12 championships, for not developing one-and-done talent to their fullest potential during their single-season stays in Lawrence. Cliff Alexander and Cheick Diallo are Exhibit 1-A and 1-B for this argument in recent years.

Whatever outside criticism there is (Andrew Wiggins did go No. 1 overall just 2 years ago, after all), Self isn’t shying away from hyping the latest freshman with big expectations to come to KU. When asked who the greatest athlete of all-time is at the school’s annual Tradition Night last week, Self had a simple, if tongue-and-cheek, response.

“I’ll say Josh Jackson,” Self said of the the 6-foot-8 shooting guard ranked No. 1 in his class, according to Lawrence Journal-World.

With others answering with the likes of Michael Jordan and Muhammed Ali, it’s pretty fair to say Self was playing to the crowd with the answer, but it’s still telling that he was willing to deliver such a sound bite, even if it was before a welcoming audience. Self didn’t try to seriously depress expectations for Wiggins, a player Jackson is often compared to, and it looks like he won’t for Jackson as well.

Jackson, though, won’t have the burden Wiggins had as there’s one of the country’s best backcourts in Frank Mason II and Devonte Graham to help shoulder the workload for the Jayhawks.

 

ACC non-commital on HB2 stance

John Swofford
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With North Carolina unwilling to rescind their controversial so-called bathroom bill, the NBA has withdrawn its All-Star Game from the state this year and numerous high-profile music acts have canceled performances as a result.

The ACC is declining to join them with a hard-line, or really any, position.

“We don’t want to damage our league with any premature decisions,” commissioner John Swofford said on The David Glenn Show. “We’ll just see how it plays out.”

The ACC, of course, has quite the presence in the state with North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest all in the Tar Heel State. Swofford’s comments are sure to draw the interest of the LGBT community, which has roundly been critical of the bill, which requires people to use the bathroom which corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate, and has recently been active in college athletics, opposing the Big 12’s potential inclusion of BYU in its expansion plans over concerns of the Church of Latter Day Saints school’s honor code.

North Carolina’s bill has also drawn the eye of the NCAA, which is requiring potential championship sights to provide information on local anti-discrimination laws.

One of the loudest voices in the ACC, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, has come out against the law.

“It’s an embarrassing bill,” Coach K said last month.

The Champions Classic renewed through 2019

LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 27: Bill Self head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks claps for his team as they celebrate winning the Big 12 Conference Championship after they defeated Texas Tech Red Raiders 67-58 at Allen Fieldhouse on February 27, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas. With the win, Kansas clinched its 12th straight conference championship. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Champions Classic is back, baby!!!

On Wednesday, the four schools that participate in the event — Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Michigan State — announced that they have signed deals to extend the life of the doubleheader for another three years.

This is terrific news. The Champions Classic is always the best early-season event of the season, an annual double-header that always ends up putting together two of the best non-conference games in packed NBA arenas. This year, it features Duke, the consensus preseason No. 1 team in the country, squaring off with Kansas, who is a consensus top three team with the No. 1 freshman in the class, Josh Jackson, on their roster, in one game.

The other game? Kentucky, the third consensus top three team nationally, going up against Tom Izzo and Michigan State, who will be, at worst, a top 15 team in the preseason polls.

So yeah, we’re going to get a pair of sensational basketball games in Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15th. MSG also just so happens to be the best arena to watch a great neutral site basketball game.

It’s going to be awesome.

There’s only one possible way to make it better: turn it into a two-day event, with the winners squaring off for the Champions Classic title the following night.

Make it happen.

Anyway, here’s the schedule:

Nov. 14, 2017 (United Center, Chicago)
Kansas vs. Kentucky
Duke vs. Michigan State

Nov. 13, 2018 (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis)
Michigan State vs. Kansas
Duke vs. Kentucky

Nov. 12, 2019 (Madison Square Garden, New York)
Kansas vs. Duke
Michigan State vs. Kentucky