Big 12 Tournament: Iowa State lights up a poor Kansas defense

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source: Getty Images
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DeAndre Kane had 20 points, six boards and six assists, hitting 5-of-6 from beyond the arc, and Georges Niang added 25 points and seven assists, doing the majority of his damage down the stretch, as No. 16 Iowa State held off No. 10 Kansas in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament, 94-83.

If you want to know what Iowa State is a trendy Final Four pick and why they will be such a dangerous opponent in the NCAA tournament, all you need to do is watch the film of this game.

MORE: Get caught up on today’s Bubble Banter

This group simply has so many weapons offensively. They are just a nightmare to try to matchup with defensively. Kane’s confidence from three has never been higher. Niang is a nightmare for anyone to try and guard one-on-one. And Melvin Ejim, who had as quiet of a 19-point performance as you’ll ever see, was the Big 12 Player of the Year.

But we already knew all of that about the Cyclones.

The story from this game was the inability of Kansas to find any kind of consistency on the defensive end of the floor.

PHOTOS: Georges Niang’s eyebrow was split open

For the second time in three games, Kansas played a team that spread them out on the perimeter and absolutely gashed them defensively. West Virginia, a team that’s not even in the conversation when it comes to the NCAA tournament, shredded them in a dominating win on the final day of the regular season. The Cyclones did the same on Friday.

Part of the issue is the absence of Joel Embiid. Without him in the lineup, Kansas doesn’t have a rim protector, and if there’s anything we’ve learned over these last six days, it’s that Kansas is not a great defensive team on the perimeter. You can beat them off the bounce and get to the rim.

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The other concern is that, outside of Andrew Wiggins and Perry Ellis, everyone else on Kansas seems to be in a bit of a slump offensively. Naadir Tharpe is 2-for-13 from the floor and 0-for-5 from three the last three games. Wayne Selden is 12-for-36 from the field and 4-for-19 from three the last four games. If they aren’t going to be locking people up defensively, they need more balance offensively.

Wiggins put on a show the last two games, and that resulted in a loss to West Virginia and an overtime win over Oklahoma State. Ellis had 30 points on 11-for-12 shooting on Friday and the Jayhawks still lost to Iowa State.

They need to get stops even if Embiid is out. If they don’t, this is a group that can get picked off before Embiid is even able to return to the floor.

Missouri lands No. 1 player in Class of 2017 as Michael Porter Jr. commits

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Missouri and new head coach Cuonzo Martin have landed the No. 1 player in the Class of 2017 a week after he took the job as forward Michael Porter Jr. committed to the Tigers on Friday.

Formerly a Washington commit under now-fired head coach Lorenzo Romar, the 6-foot-9 Porter was released from his Letter of Intent this week and many believed he’d end up back at Missouri.

The Porter family lived in Columbia for many years as two of Michael’s older sisters play for the Missouri women’s team while Michael Porter Sr. was an assistant coach for the women’s team.

When Porter Sr. was hired to Missouri to be an assistant coach on Martin’s staff this week — after losing his assistant coaching job at Washington when Romar was fired — it all but sealed the deal that the Porters would return to Missouri and Michael Jr. would play for the Tigers.

Missouri might not be an NCAA Tournament team next season after struggling to an 8-24 finish and 2-16 record in the SEC. But Porter might be the most productive freshman entering college basketball next season as he has a chance to be dominant in the SEC.

Oklahoma State promotes assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach

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Oklahoma State has decided to promote assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach, the school announced on Friday.

Boynton was an assistant with the Cowboys under former head coach Brad Underwood, who left Oklahoma State to take the Illinois job last weekend. Also an assistant coach at Stephen F. Austin, South Carolina, Wofford and Coastal Carolina, Boynton is a native of New York City who played his college ball for the Gamecocks.

The hire of Boynton is surprising since he doesn’t have any head-coaching experience as it follows in the footsteps of Cal promoting assistant coach Wyking Jones earlier in the day. Boynton also notably won the job over broadcaster and former Oklahoma State guard Doug Gottlieb as Gottlieb interviewed for the job but wasn’t selected.

 

Rhode Island junior E.C. Matthews will return to school

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Rhode Island junior guard E.C. Matthews will return to school for his redshirt senior season, the school announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-5 Matthews led the Rams in scoring at 14.9 points per game this past season as he returned from a torn ACL and helped Rhode Island reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.

Besides for being a talented scorer, Matthews is a good overall playmaker for the Rams as he also put up 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

With Matthews returning, it gives head coach Dan Hurley a huge weapon for next season as Rhode Island returns everyone besides the senior front court of Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson.

Cal promotes assistant Wyking Jones to head coach

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Cal will promote interim head coach and former assistant coach Wyking Jones to head coach, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The story was first reported by Jon Rothstein of FanRagSports.com

A native of Inglewood, California, Jones has been an assistant coach for the Golden Bears for the past two seasons as he replaces former head coach Cuonzo Martin, who departed to take the Missouri job. This promotion comes as a bit of a surprise for some since Jones has never been a head coach at the Division I level.

Jones has spent 15 years as an assistant coach at the Division I level at places like Cal, Louisville, New Mexico, Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount — where Jones spent his playing career.

Helping Louisville to the Final Four in 2013, Jones is a respected coach and recruiter who gets a great opportunity for his first head coaching job at the Division I level with Cal.

The Golden Bears made the NCAA tournament last year but finished 21-13 this season as they missed making the field of 68. Sophomore big man Ivan Rabb has already declared for the NBA Draft and it will be interesting to see what kind of roster Jones gets to work with right away.

One of the reasons Jones might have been retained is to help Cal keep its solid five-man recruiting class from bolting. While the Golden Bears don’t have any five-star talents coming in, it is a solid foundation for the program’s future led by a four-star guard in Jemarl Baker.

Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac declares for 2017 NBA Draft

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Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac has declared for the 2017 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-10 Isaac was a five-star prospect out of high school as he averaged 12.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. One of the most versatile defenders in the country, Isaac could protect the rim (1.5 blocks per game) and also switch out to the perimeter and cover smaller wings as well (1.2 steals per game). Also showing a solid skill level, Isaac shot 50 percent from the field, 34 percent from three-point range and 78 percent from the free-throw line.

That kind of versatility is what Isaac is banking on in the NBA Draft as he’s expected to be a top-15 pick. If Isaac can prove that he’s a reliable perimeter shooter then teams could be intrigued by him as a matchup nightmare in the front court.