It was a win that the Blue Devils really needed, but not because they had an ACC regular season title on the line or because it would be the difference between a No. 1 seed and a No. 2 seed.
Duke needed to right their ship. They were coming off of a loss at Wake Forest, which happened less than two weeks after blowing an 11-point lead at North Carolina. Duke needed to make a statement, and they did, jumping out to a 17-4 lead early and led by as much as 18 in the second half. The outcome was never really in doubt, which is saying something considering that North Carolina hadn’t lost a game since January 20th.
Perhaps the most impressive stat from this game is that the season’s final regular season game was the first game in ACC play that both Hood and Parker scored more than 20 points. As one of the nation’s most dangerous scoring duos, it’s wild to think that it took that long for both of them to catch fire in the same game.
On the one hand, it’s a good sign for the Blue Devils. It’s proof that on the nights when those two are clicking, they can do things like snap North Carolina’s 12-game winning streak without much resistance. But should Duke fans be worried about the timing? Is it a red flag that the only time those two both went off in ACC play came in the sport’s most famous rivalry on national television in what is quite possibly the last game that either kid will play in Cameron?
I’m not sure.
What I do know is that Parker is playing as well as he has all season long. He posted double-doubles in his last six games and 10 of his final 13 games.
I also know that it was a mid-game defensive adjustment — switching to a zone — that sparked the game-changing runs in losses at Wake and at UNC, and on Saturday, UNC’s zone was largely ineffective.
If Parker is playing well, and if zones don’t give the Blue Devils fits, they’re pretty tough to beat.
Cal and San Diego State played last season in the Las Vegas Invitational and decided to play more often.
According to multiple reports, the two teams will play each other the next three seasons, starting with a neutral-court matchup in Sacramento on Nov. 21. The game in Sacramento will be unique in a couple of ways, as it will be the first college basketball game in the Sacramento Kings’ brand-new home arena. It will also be Cal’s first game in Sacramento since 1947.
After the Sacramento game during the 2016-17 season, San Diego State will host the Golden Bears the next season and Cal will host the Aztecs the following year to close out the three-game deal.
With both Cal and San Diego State returning plenty of talent from last season, this season’s contest should be one of the more intriguing non-conference games between schools out west and it should be fun for the players as they get to take the floor in a new NBA arena.
Report: Creighton’s Zach Hanson to miss a few months following knee surgery
Creighton will be without a key big man for the start of practice as senior Zach Hanson will be out after having knee surgery.
According to a report from Marjie Ducey of the Omaha World-Herald, the 6-foot-9 Hanson will likely be out for eight to 12 weeks. Creighton head coach Greg McDermott told Ducey that Hanson will hopefully be available when Creighton opens its regular season in November.
As a junior, Hanson was a key rotation big man for the Bluejays as he put up 6.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, making one start on the season. As McDermott noted in Ducey’s story, he’s not concerned about Hanson missing practice time from a learning curve standpoint but he is a bit worried about his conditioning. Before the knee surgery, Hanson was also nursing some ankle injuries that he was dealing with during the season, so he hasn’t had a great chance to get in proper condition.
This loss will definitely hurt Creighton as they have a ton of backcourt pieces for next season, but not as many in the front court. Hanson’s an experienced player who will help once he returns but it will something worth monitoring to see what kind of condition he’s in during the early season.
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) A Michigan judge will review surveillance footage from the night former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling was arrested outside a strip club on weapons and drug charges.
Appling’s defense attorney presented the footage at Friday’s preliminary examination. It includes security videos from the Pantheon Club parking lot and video from police dashboard cameras.
The hearing was adjourned until Aug. 5 to allow Judge William Hultgren time to review the footage.
The 24-year-old Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and had two 10-day contracts with the Orlando Magic this season.
He was arrested in May after two guns and suspected marijuana were found in a vehicle he was in.
Appling also faces a trial in Detroit where he was charged in June with carrying a concealed weapon.
Arkansas hoping for more backcourt depth and stronger press in 2016-17
Arkansas is coming off of a disappointing 16-16 season in which they missed the postseason.
The Razorbacks lost two key guards in Anthlon Bell and Jabril Durham — who both exhausted their eligibility — but they’re hoping a couple of additions will bolster the depth of their backcourt and make their trademark press stronger.
Although Arkansas lost two talented seniors and a transfer in Jimmy Whitt, they return Dusty Hannahs, Manny Watkins and Anton Beard while also getting two of the best junior college guards in the country. Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon come in highly touted for next season and both junior college guards garnered a lot of praise from their play last season.
With Arkansas also bringing in some freshman guards like C.J. Jones and RJ Glasper, head coach Mike Anderson is hoping to have enough bodies to play fast and use his press. The team appears to be optimistic as well.
“I think we’ll have a lot more toughness at the guard position, and depth,” Watkins said to Murphy. “We’ve got a lot of guys. When we’re pressing and stuff, we’ve got bodies we can bring in.”
Arkansas also returns an SEC Player of the Year candidate in big man Moses Kingsley and they could be an intriguing team to track this season if Barford and Macon are as good as advertised. They’ll certainly have more bodies to throw at opposing guards and that should help Arkansas play faster than they did last season.