With sophomore forward Georges Niang out for the remainder of the season with a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot, East Region No. 3 Iowa State had a major personnel loss to account for ahead of their matchup with No. 6 North Carolina in San Antonio. Not the deepest team to begin with, Fred Hoiberg’s team would have to take on a North Carolina team with multiple front court bodies without the services of a player who averaged 16.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.
However thanks to DeAndre Kane’s outstanding performance, the Cyclones are headed to New York City after beating the Tar Heels 85-83. Kane’s layup with 1.6 seconds remaining gave Iowa State the win, with the game ending in controversial fashion due to the clock operator failing to start the clock on time following Kane’s basket. After reviewing the play the officials ruled that there was no time remaining, dealing the Tar Heels a painful blow that will linger throughout the offseason.
Kane accounted for 24 points, ten rebounds and seven assists on the evening, and while he did commit seven turnovers the Marshall transfer was an extremely difficult matchup for North Carolina. Without Niang on the floor Iowa State was without a key facilitator capable of assessing the defense and setting up his teammates for quality looks, something that Kane was asked to do with greater regularity Sunday. From a rebounding standpoint the Cyclones more than held their own with the bigger Tar Heels, and Iowa State’s offensive balance helped as well.
In total five Cyclones finished the game in double figures including Melvin Ejim (19 points, four rebounds) and Naz Long, with the latter scoring 12 points and hitting two key three-pointers when North Carolina threatened to pull away in the second half. Long also hit a three-pointer with 49 seconds remaining to tie the game at 81.
Iowa State looked fatigued during the middle of the second half, which was to be expected given the Tar Heels’ advantage in the depth department. But it would be North Carolina who made the “fatigued” decisions late, losing players in transition with the most glaring resulting in Kane’s layup with 27 seconds remaining to give Iowa State an 83-81 lead.
Iowa State had just one day to adjust to not having Niang in the lineup, and thanks in large part to Kane the Cyclones were able to survive and advance. Clearly this is a different group without their sophomore forward, but there’s still talent and a coach in Hoiberg who’s done a good job of making sure his players are in spots where they can be most successful. And as a result, Iowa State’s headed to Madison Square Garden for a matchup with No. 7 UConn Friday night.
After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.
Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.
“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”
According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”
With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.
Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.
Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.
The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.
“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.
“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”
A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?
Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.
Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.
The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.
According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.
John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.
The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.
Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.
Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.
Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.