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Late Night Snacks: Indiana mounting a late charge towards the bubble?

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GAME OF THE DAY: Clemson 77, Maryland 73 (2OT)

With both teams looking to keep alive incredibly slim hopes of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, the Terrapins and Tigers needed ten extra minutes to determine a winner. Clemson would pull out the win in the end, with a Demarcus Harrison three with 1:08 remaining in the second OT giving them the lead for good. K.J. McDaniels finished the game with 26 points and 14 rebounds to lead the way for Clemson, while Seth Allen paced Maryland with 20 points.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) Indiana 72, No. 22 Ohio State 64

Could Indiana, a team that really didn’t accomplish a great deal during non-conference play, be mounting a late rally to join the bubble discussion? A question that seemed absurd just a week ago is now valid after the Hoosiers picked up wins over No. 20 Iowa and No. 22 Ohio State this week. Will Sheehey followed up his 30-point game against Iowa with 19 points and six rebounds on Sunday, and Yogi Ferrell scored 20 points to lead the way. Indiana’s chances of reaching the NCAA tournament remain slim but in the Big Ten they won’t lack for quality opportunities, whether it’s in their final two games of the regular season (vs. Nebraska, at No. 16 Michigan) or in the conference tournament.

2) No. 3 Arizona 79, Stanford 66

The Wildcats wrapped up the outright Pac-12 regular season title, and outside of a second-half stretch in which the Cardinal cut a 20-point Arizona lead down to 11 Sean Miller’s team played very well. Aaron Gordon tallied 19 points and 15 rebounds to lead five Wildcats in double figures. Arizona defended well, getting out in the open floor after forcing Stanford turnovers in the first half, and they once executed well offensively for the third consecutive game. Arizona certainly looks to be hitting its stride at the right time.

3) No. 20 Iowa 83, Purdue 76

The Hawkeyes went with more full-court pressure defensively and the move paid off, with Purdue committing 16 turnovers on the afternoon. Roy Devyn Marble led four players in double figures with 21 points and as a team Iowa racked up 17 assists with just five turnovers. Defending in the half court remains an issue for Iowa, with Purdue shooting nearly 60% from the field in the second half. With this being the case, not to mention Iowa’s depth, could we see more pressure looks from the Hawkeyes down the stretch?

STARRED

1) Bryant Mbamalu (Louisiana) 

Mbamalu scored 32 points (10-for-19 FG) and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Ragin’ Cajuns’ 102-76 win over South Alabama.

2) Sean Armand (Iona) 

Armand racked up 21 points (7-for-12 FG), nine rebounds and nine assists in Iona’s 97-81 win over Rider.

3) Aaron Gordon (Arizona) 

19 points (8-for-13 FG), 15 rebounds and two assists in Arizona’s 79-66 win over Stanford.

STRUGGLED

1) Billy Baron and Zach Lewis (Canisius) 

The Golden Griffins’ starting backcourt shot a combined 4-for-20 from the field in Canisius’ 68-63 loss at Manhattan.

2) Jay Hook (Tulane) 

Shot 2-for-11 from the field, finishing the Green Wave’s 73-47 loss at FIU with five points and seven rebounds.

3) Aaron Craft (Ohio State) 

Shot 2-for-11, finishing Ohio State’s 72-64 loss at Indiana with seven points, six rebounds and four assists.

NOTABLES

  • No. 14 Wisconsin won its seventh consecutive game Sunday, beating Penn State 71-66 with Josh Gasser scoring 15 points and Ben Brust adding 14.
  • Darrun Hilliard scored a career-high 26 points to lead No. 8 Villanova to a 73-56 win over Marquette, the Wildcats’ 26th win of the season.
  • St. John’s avoided what would have been a bad loss, beating DePaul 72-64. D’Angelo Harrison led the way with 25 points and ten rebounds.
  • Maurice Creek scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead George Washington to a 66-58 win over George Mason.
  • Marist blew out Quinnipiac 103-72, and that result combined with Manhattan’s 68-63 win over Canisius makes Steve Masiello’s Jaspers the two-seed in next week’s MAAC tournament.
  • Vermont capped its regular season with a 92-82 overtime win at Binghamton, finishing 15-1 in America East play. If the Catamounts can win two games in Albany next week and reach the tournament final, they’ll be the hosts.
  • Three of the top four teams in Conference USA (Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss and Tulsa) all won on Sunday, meaning that there’s still a four-way tie for first (Middle Tennessee’s also 12-3) with one league game remaining.
  • Florida State kept alive its NCAA tournament hopes with an 81-71 win over Georgia Tech.
  • No. 25 New Mexico shot 57.7% from the field in the second half as they turned a 14-point first half deficit into a 72-58 win at Nevada.
  • After failing to score a single point in the first meeting between the two teams, Jordan Adams scored 24 points and grabbed five rebounds in UCLA’s 74-69 come-from-behind win over Oregon State.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

White decides to return to Nebraska

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Nebraska’s second-leading scorer from last season will return for his senior season as Andrew White III announced Wednesday he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft.

“I felt good about the pre-draft process, White said in a statement released by Nebraska. “It was encouraging, and I gained as much ground as anyone throughout the process. I wanted one more year to fine tune my game and put myself in better position for the NBA next summer.  

“I want to thank the teams who invited me their in-house workouts, and Nebraska for supporting me during this process.  It has been very helpful in gathering information in preparation for my future Thank you to everyone who has been following my progress throughout the spring and being understanding and supportive, as I evaluated whether to turn pro or return for my senior year.”

White, a Kansas transfer, tallied 16.6 points per game last season while shooting 48.1 percent from the floor and 41.2 percent from 3-point range. He also pulled down 5.9 rebounds per game.

“We are excited to have Andrew remain with our program,” coach Tim Miles said. “This has been a valuable time for him, as he has tested his skills against some of the best competition and received very important insight from key NBA personnel.  

“We look forward to continuing to help Andrew’s development to improve his NBA profile even more than he already has done through this process.  I believe next year could be our most complete team with a great opportunity for success in the Big Ten and NCAA tournament, I’m happy Andrew will be with us to go out and prove it.”

The news is certainly welcome for the Cornhuskers and Miles, who will be under pressure to show improvement after back-to-back disappointing seasons following an NCAA tournament appearance in 2014. Shavon Shields, last year’s leading scorer, has exhausted his eligibility and the Huskers will need White to help fill the void.

Trimble coming back to Terps

Maryland guard Melo Trimble (AP Photo/Matt Hazlett)
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Melo Trimble is returning to Maryland.

The Terrapin guard will be back to for his junior season in College Park, according to multiple reports.

Trimble went from freshman first-rounder to question mark after a rough end to his sophomore season for Maryland in which his points per game, shooting percentage (both overall and from 3-point range) and rebounding dipped from his first season. Only his assists per game showed any sort of improvement. He waited until the last possible day to announce his intentions to return to school, but really his options were limited after seeing his production drop.

His decision to come back to school gives him a shot to restore his draft stock while Maryland gets its floor general back to help ease the transition from last year’s Sweet 16 squad that lost Diamond Stone, Rasheed Sulaimon and Jake Layman. The Terps might not be a sure-fire top-25 team with Trimble back, but their NCAA tournament chances are now significantly higher.

Nevada lands Martin twins

Caleb Martin, Jordan Roper
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Eric Musselman keeps adding reinforcements to his roster. For the 2017-18 season.

Musselman and Nevada received commitments from N.C. State transfers and twin brothers Caleb and Cody Martin, according to multiple reports.

That brings Nevada’s sit-out transfer count for this upcoming season to four with Hallice Cooke (Iowa State) and Kendall Stephens (Purdue) already in the fold. Under NCAA transfer rules, the quartet will have to sit out the upcoming season before being eligible in 2017-18.

Caleb averaged 11.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 36 percent from deep while Cody put up 6.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists, shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc.

The timing of having four sit-out transfers works well for the Wolf Pack given that two of the team’s three leading scorers from last year, D.J. Fenner (a senior) and Cameron Oliver (a sophomore), return while senior transfers Marcus Marshall (Missouri State) becomes eligible. Having those four experienced transfers begin playing in 2017-18 while all but two players from this upcoming team slated to return makes Nevada an interesting team, a year from now.

Louisville big man heading to NBA Draft

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After a day of mixed messages, Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku finally made it official.

He’s staying in the NBA Draft.

“After talking to my family and going through the NBA process,” Onuaku wrote in an Instagram post, “me and my family have decided that it would be best for me to keep my name in the draft.”

The day started out with Cardinals coach Rick Pitino telling multiple media outlets that the 6-foot-10 sophomore would remain in the draft after he declared last month without an agent and attended the draft combine. Onuaku, though, appeared to at least mildly refute that with an Instagram post that said his decision wouldn’t come until later Wednesday evening. Which it did, confirming Pitino’s words.

The confusion may have been frustrating for observers, but Onuaku’s social media presence no doubt has benefited from the bizarre day.

Onuaku averaged 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.6 assists in 24.6 minutes per game last season, making his per-40 numbers, a metric NBA teams like to take into consideration, nothing short of fantastic. He also shot a not-so-shabby 62.0 percent from the floor. His size, athleticism and ability to score around the basket (he’s taken one 3-pointer in two seasons) make him a potential first-round selection in next month’s draft.

The 19-year-old Onuaku underwent a procedure on his heart last week due to Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It has been described as a minor procedure that will not affect his ability to play long-term or work out with teams leading up to the draft.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, should be able to absorb Onuaku’s loss seemlessly as they return the bulk of last year’s team that went 23-8 and was ranked 10th in KenPom, but was banned from the postseason as a result of the Katina Powell bombshell. Newcomers Tony Hicks (Penn transfer) and V.J. King (consensus top-30 recruit) will also make for solid additions.

Swanigan staying for sophomore season

Purdue's Vince Edwards (12), Purdue's Caleb Swanigan (50) and Purdue's A.J. Hammons (20) celebrate during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Illinois in the quarterfinals at the Big Ten Conference tournament, Friday, March 11, 2016, in Indianapolis. Purdue won 89-58. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Purdue will once again be rolling out a formidable frontcourt in the 2016-17 season.

Boilermaker big man Caleb Swanigan is withdrawing from the NBA Draft to return to West Lafayette for his sophomore season, the school announced Wednesday.

The NBA is right there and always will be,” Swanigan said in the school’s press release, “but you always have to have patience and do what’s best for you.”

Purdue is losing 7-foot senior A.J. Hammons, but will be once again teaming Swanigan with Isaac Haas (7-2) and Vince Edwards (6-8) that will allow them to roll out a supersized lineup that is sure to be a difficult one to face off against.

The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Swanigan, who likely would have landed as a second-round pick, averaged 10.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists and was a finalist for the Wayman Tisdale Award for the country’s top freshman.

“We are excited that (Swanigan) has withdrawn from the NBA Draft and will return to Purdue,” head coach said Matt Painter in a statement released by the school. “He has the potential to make a huge jump from his freshman season and will be a big part of what we do next year. He received great experience going through this process and will use the feedback he received to make him a more diverse player.”

Purdue is probably a rung down from Michigan State and Wisconsin at the top of the league, but the return of Swanigan pulls them closer to competing at the top of the league next season.