The Secondary Break: Wednesday’s Links

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First Four: A play-in game, and insult (CBS Sports)
The NCAA tournament began Tuesday night with two games in Dayton, and while the city has embraced the concept of the First Four the same can’t be said for others. Do teams who fail to advance past Dayton truly experience the NCAA tournament? There are some who believe that they do not.

College basketball world is shrinking (Associated Press)
Back in the earlier days of the 64/65/68-team era of the NCAA tournament, many upsets were true surprises to much of the nation. With games not being televised as often, fans and even teams wouldn’t know as much about these smaller programs until after the fact. But with the exponential growth of the sport on television and other mediums, are there fewer surprises amongst the NCAA tournament field?

Loe has come a long way with Saint Louis (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Midwest region five-seed Saint Louis will begin its NCAA tournament with a game against 12-seed N.C. State on Thursday, and one of the key figures for the Billikens is senior forward Rob Loe. Loe, known for his ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc, has made major strides during his four years at SLU.

Recalling Villanova’s 2009 Final Four season (Philadelphia Daily News)
Five years ago Villanova made a run few expected, reaching the Final Four with Scottie Reynolds’ shot with less than a second remaining pushing the Wildcats past one-seed Pittsburgh in the Elite 8. The Daily News takes a look back at that team, and the current Wildcats are capable of putting together a similar run.

Askia Booker transforms his game after Spencer Dinwiddie’s injury (Denver Post)
When Colorado point guard Spencer Dinwiddie tore his ACL in a game at Washington in late-January, Tad Boyle’s Buffaloes needed to make adjustments if they were to make a third consecutive NCAA tournament. The most important player in all of this was guard Askia Booker, who would need to do even more as a distributor if Colorado were to remain afloat. And Booker has handled the additional chores well.

Staying power: Drew’s guidance has Baylor men firmly on map (Waco Tribune-Herald)
At one point in Big 12 play the Baylor Bears lost eight of ten games, and Scott Drew’s team looked to be a long way from earning a spot in the NCAA tournament field. However due in large part to the head coach’s leadership Baylor’s a six-seed and a team a few believe to be capable of advancing to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.

Stanford not a big mystery (Albuquerque Journal)
South region seven-seed New Mexico will begin its NCAA tournament with a tough game against ten-seed Stanford on Friday. And thanks to some lasting connections the Lobos are very familiar with the Cardinal, who lost two of their three meetings with a UCLA team coached by former New Mexico head coach Steve Alford.

KU freshmen: Big 12 tournament good prep for NCAAs (Lawrence Journal-World)
South region two-seed Kansas will lean on some players who have yet to play in the NCAA tournament, most notably freshmen Wayne Selden and Andrew Wiggins. But instead of being nervous the Jayhawks feel prepared, thanks to their experiences in last week’s Big 12 tournament.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Kris Dunn vs. Denzel Valentine; Two 6-0 teams from Ohio battle in Orlando

Kris Dunn
AP Photo
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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 3 Michigan State vs. Providence, 9:00 p.m. (ESPN2)

Two Player of the Year candidates lock horns on Sunday night as Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine battles Providence’s Kris Dunn. Both players are strong threats to record a triple-double each time they take the floor and both are key reasons why their teams are 6-0. The Friars could probably use this game a bit more than Michigan State since they enter this game unranked and could use another confidence-boosting win for a team filled with newer players. As for the Spartans, winning the Wooden Legacy would mean another great accomplishment before December even started for a team that has national title aspirations.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: No. 23 Xavier vs. Dayton, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

These two 6-0 teams from Ohio will meet in Orlando in the championship game of the AdvoCare Invitational. The Musketeers have six different players averaging at least 9.7 points per game this season as they’ve received great balance on the offensive end. As for Dayton, Charles Cooke as emerged as a go-to player early this season while guard Scoochie Smith has also been outstanding. This will be the first time these two schools have played since Feb. 16, 2013.


  • One of the fun teams to watch this week has been Monmouth and their amusing end-of-bench antics. On the floor, the Hawks knocked off Notre Dame and gave Dayton a scare and they’ll face USC for the second time this season to close out the AdvoCare Invitational. The Trojans won the first one 101-90, but this is a 12:30 p.m. EST tip, so that could benefit Monmouth the second time around.
  • Wisconsin visiting No. 7 Oklahoma is an intriguing Sunday matchup. The Badgers could certainly use a true road win here as they’re off to a 4-2 start. The Sooners get more of a real test after only playing Memphis as a notable opponent their first three games.
  • Also going on in the AdvoCare Invitational is No. 20 Wichita State facing Iowa and No. 17 Notre Dame battling Alabama. The Shockers are going without senior starters Fred Van Vleet and Anton Grady as they try to escape Orlando with a win. Notre Dame is hoping to close out the event strong after its surprising upset to Monmouth.
  • Action also continues in Anaheim at the Wooden Legacy as No. 11 Arizona will take on Boise State, while Boston College plays Santa Clara and UC Irvine faces Evansville. Arizona will look to get back on the right track after the close loss to Providence in the semifinals.
  • No. 6 Duke gets an afternoon tilt with Utah State at home before they face Indiana during the week. It’ll be interesting to see if Blue Devil freshman wing Brandon Ingram keeps his strong play going from earlier in the week.
  • UCLA returns home and could badly use a win against Cal State Northridge. The Bruins went a disappointing 1-2 in the Maui Invitational and need to get back on the right track before the face No. 1 Kentucky next week.


  • Brown vs. No. 25 SMU, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN3)


  • Jackson State at Marquette, 12:30 p.m.
  • Rider at Rhode Island, 1:00 p.m.
  • Savannah State at South Florida, 1:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • South Carolina State at Kansas State, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Northern Colorado at Colorado, 2:00 p.m. (PAC12)
  • UC Santa Barbara at Arizona State, 4:00 p.m. (PAC12)

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics