SEC Tournament: Arkansas does itself no favors with loss to South Carolina

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This time of year tends to bring out all of the knee-jerk reactions, especially when it comes to teams on the NCAA tournament bubble. Win and you’re a “lock” to dance; lose and you’re headed to the NIT. But the fact of the matter is that the selection committee doesn’t go through the process of filling out the bracket with that attitude, and they have to find 36 at-large teams somehow.

That being said, Arkansas didn’t help its case to be included with their 71-69 loss to South Carolina in the second round of the SEC tournament. Sindarius Thornwell led the Gamecocks with 17 points and Laimonas Chatkevicius added 16 to go along with seven rebounds off the bench. Frank Martin’s team shot just 38.3% from the field and committed 15 turnovers, but they were able to control the boards (40-24 rebounding edge) and score ten more points from the foul line (30-20).

Coty Clarke led four Razorbacks in double figures with 13 points, but they were unable to take advantage of their 19 points off of 15 South Carolina turnovers due to the rebounding and free throw issues. As a result, all that Mike Anderson’s team can do is wait and hope that there’s enough on their resume to earn an at-large bid.

Within SEC play Arkansas’ two best wins came at the expense of Kentucky, and their best non-conference wins came against fellow bubble teams SMU and Minnesota. With an RPI of 58 entering Thursday’s action and a resume away from Fayetteville that isn’t all that impressive, the Razorbacks and their fans won’t rest easy in the days leading up to Selection Sunday.

But even with that being the case the fact that the committee has to find 36 teams means that there’s still some hope for Arkansas, regardless of how slim that may be.

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Kevin Marfo commits to George Washington

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Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.

“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.

This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.

He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.

The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.