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

Villanova lands four-star 2018 guard

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Villanova added its first recruit in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday night.

Jay Wright and his staff landed a verbal commitment from Paul VI Catholic High School’s Brandon Slater, a four-star guard by Rivals as the No. 42 overall prospect in the rising senior class.

The 6-foot-5 Slater announced his decision via Twitter.

Slater, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN, picked the Wildcats over Maryland, Miami, South Carolina, and Virginia.

He is currently playing the Nike EYBL with Team Takeover, the same grassroots program that produced current Villanova guard Phil Booth.

Comic-Con forces Providence to play at Alumni Hall for home opener

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Providence will play its first game at Alumni Hall, the on-campus facility, for the first time in 35 years this fall.

The Friars unveiled their 2017-18 non-conference schedule on Thursday afternoon. The team’s home opener will play either Houston Baptist or Belmont in Mullaney Gym inside Alumni Hall.

According to Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal, the reason for that is a schedule conflict at Providence’s home arena, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, in downtown Providence. A Comic-Con convention is scheduled Nov. 10-12. As McNamara notes, it’s a busy part of the season for The Dunk. The arena also is home to the Providence Bruins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Boston Bruins, and by mid-November, their season is in full swing.

The Friars haven’t played at Alumni Hall since 1972, the same year the Dunkin’ Donuts Center was opened. In the three decades since Providence last played a regular season game there, the facility has gone under necessary renovations, as you could imagine. Even with added seats, Mullaney Gym can host a maximum of 1,549. That’s a fraction of what The Dunk’s capacity of 12,400.

Providence will return to its downtown home on Nov. 13, hosting Minnesota as part of the Gavitt Games. The Golden Gophers will likely be a top-20 team to open the season. The Friars, who bring back every notable player from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, is a fringe top-25 team.

Jalen Coleman-Lands to transfer out of Illinois

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The already-thin Illinois roster got thinner on Thursday afternoon.

Evan Daniels of Scout.com reported that sophomore guard Jalen Coleman-Lands has requested and received his release from the program. He will have to sit out next season but will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Coleman-Lands was a top-40 recruit in the Class of 2015, according to Rivals. He becomes the second player from that recruiting class this month to exit the school. Reserve guard D.J. Williams elected to transfer on May 8. With Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett, two incoming recruits, both previously reopened their recruitments following John Groce’s firing.

Even with the addition of Wright State graduate transfer Mark Alstork, who officially joined the Fighting Illini on Wednesday, Illinois is left with only nine scholarship players as of right now.

Coleman-Lands’ production dipped from his freshman campaign, ending the 2016-17 season averaging 8.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, shooting 38 percent from three.

One destination that will likely be rumored will be nearby DePaul. Coleman-Lands played for new DePaul assistant coach Shane Heirman at prep school powerhouse La Lumiere School. Heriman quickly tapped into that prep pipeline, helping secure a commitment from La Lumiere from five-star 2019 point guard Tyger Campbell earlier this month.

Coleman-Lands had taken official visits to Notre Dame and UNLV before committing to the Illini in September 2014.

North Carolina releases response to latest NCAA Notice of Allegations

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North Carolina is still trying to convince the NCAA that their investigation into the paper classes given by the university’s African-American Studies Department is not, in fact, an NCAA matter.

On Thursday afternoon, the University released their response to the NCAA’s third iteration of the Notice of Allegations, and the core argument in that response is that the school’s “inadequate academic oversight” does not fall under the jurisdiction of the NCAA’s bylaws. In other words, North Carolina is arguing that a rogue professor creating fake classes is not an NCAA issue. It’s a school issue.

What’s more, North Carolina is also arguing that athletes taking these classes should not be classified as an extra benefit because they were available to the entire student body.

“No special arrangements were made for student-athletes in violation of NCAA extra-benefit legislation,” the response reads. “Student-athletes were not treated differently than other students who took the Courses.”

“The public narrative for the last six years, popularized by media accounts, is that Department of Athletics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took advantage of ‘fake classes’ in the Department of African and African-American Studies to keep student-athletes eligible. That narrative is wrong and contradicted by the facts in the record.”

The NCAA’s allegations center around the idea that UNC’s athletes, most notably members of the football and men’s and women’s basketball teams, were guided to the fake classes within that department in order to keep their GPAs high enough to remain eligible. The classes in question had a disproportionate percentage of athletes.

A hearing in front of the Committee on Infractions is expected to take place at some point this summer.

No indictment for escort, staffer in Louisville sex scandal

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A grand jury declined to indict an escort and former Louisville men’s basketball staffer in a sex scandal that engulfed the program.

The Jefferson County grand jury decided Thursday there wasn’t enough evidence for charges of prostitution and unlawful transactions with a minor against Katina Powell and Andre McGee.

Powell wrote in a book published in 2015 that McGee hired her to provide dancers to perform sex acts for Cardinal recruits and players from 2010-2014.

The announcement by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office comes as the school awaits discipline in early June by the NCAA after an investigation.

Louisville has imposed its own penalties, including a postseason ban in 2015-16 and reductions in scholarships and recruiting visits by coaches.