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

2 Comments
source: Getty Images
Getty Images

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.

RELATED: ‘The Tweak’ worked for Kentucky

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.

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

Leave a comment

Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averagedΒ 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

Baylor Athletics
Leave a comment

Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.