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Officials Doug Shows, Joe DeRosa and Verne Harris to work national title game

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With the points of emphasis that have changed the way in which teams play defense receiving so much attention throughout the season, game officials have received far more attention in 2013-14 than in years past. Monday night’s national title game between No. 7 UConn and No. 8 Kentucky will be no exception, with the three officials given the task of working the game likely to receive an ample amount of attention throughout the game.

The three officials calling the game are Doug Shows, Joe DeRosa and Verne Harris, with Mike Roberts acting as the standby. The news was first reported by Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com Saturday evening, with an NCAA spokesperson confirming the assignments to NBC Sports on Sunday.

So how familiar are the three officials with the teams participating in the final game of the season? Here’s a quick look.

Doug Shows
While Shows hasn’t worked a game involving UConn this season he’s a familiar face to Kentucky, having officiated six games involving the Wildcats per statsheet.com. In those six games (Kentucky’s lone defeat game at the hands of Florida in the SEC tournament final) there’s been an average of 41 fouls called per contest, with 47 being called in the Wildcats’ win over LSU in the SEC quarterfinals.

Shows has worked three games in this NCAA tournament, with the most recent being Florida’s win over Dayton in the South regional final. The crews working those three contests called an average of 35.3 fouls per game.

RELATED: CBT’s national title game primer

Joe DeRosa
DeRosa has worked games involving both teams this season: three involving UConn due to his work with the American Athletic Conference, and two games involving Kentucky. In those three UConn games, with the most recent being the Huskies’ regular season-ending loss at Louisville, an average of 38.7 fouls were called per game. As for his experience with Kentucky, DeRosa saw the Wildcats early (vs. Baylor in December) and late (vs. Louisville in the Sweet 16). An average of 38.5 fouls per game were called in those contests.

As for his assignments in this year’s NCAA tournament, DeRosa has three other games in addition to the aforementioned Kentucky/Louisville thriller. The average number of fouls called in the four games: 34, with just 25 fouls being called in Pittsburgh’s 77-48 pasting of Colorado in the Round of 64.

Verne Harris
Harris has seen little of these teams, which should come as no surprise when taking into consideration the fact that he primarily officiates Mountain West and Pac-12 games. His lone experience with either team came in the Sweet 16, as he was on the crew that worked UConn’s win over Iowa State with there being 32 fouls called.

Like DeRosa, Harris has worked four NCAA tournament games thus far, with an average of 36 fouls called per game. The high for a crew including Harris in this tournament was 42 fouls called, with that occurring in Tennessee’s First Four win over Iowa.

Officiating stats per statsheet.com.

Report: Virginia Tech forward Blackshear still recovering from offseason foot surgery

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: Kerry Blackshear Jr. #24 of the Virginia Tech Hokies and Kamari Murphy #21 of the Miami Hurricanes go for a rebound in the second half during the quarterfinals of the 2016 ACC Basketball Tournament Verizon Center on March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Virginia Tech sophomore forward Kerry Blackshear will miss the start of training camp as he continues to recover from offseason foot surgery, according to a report from Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The 6-foot-10 Blackshear played in all 35 games for the Hokies last season as he battled through the foot injury to average 6.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. According to Barber’s report, Blackshear had surgery on his right foot five days after the 2015-16 season ended, but he’s still wearing a walking boot to help recover. There has been no timetable given for Blackshear’s return.

Blackshear will be a key piece for a Virginia Tech team that is a bit thin up front this season. Freshman Khadim Sy can provide some minutes up front, but he’s inexperienced and center Nick Fullard has to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules. Getting a healthy Blackshear will be a key storyline for a Virginia Tech team that many will have in the preseason top 25.

Indiana roster dealing with handful of injuries as practice begins

BLOOMINGTON, IN - NOVEMBER 20:  A general view of  the SMU Mustangs game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall on November 20, 2014 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Indiana has been hit with the injury buy a bit during the start of practice and it doesn’t only involved the recent announcement of knee surgery for senior Collin Hartman.

According to a report from the Indiana Daily Student the Hoosiers are also dealing with a knee injury for junior college transfer forward Freddie McSwain and sophomore Juwan Morgan hasn’t been cleared for practice yet after offseason shoulder surgery.

The 6-foot-6 McSwain had a knee injury flare up when he came to Indiana and had surgery to clean it up. Crean told the Indiana Daily Student that McSwain was still a few weeks from returning.

That means Indiana has to find early practice minutes to replace Hartman, Morgan and McSwain up front which gives more reps to players like O.G. Anunoby and freshman big man De’Ron Davis.

Since Anunoby and Davis both dealt with some offseason injuries and guard Robert Johnson was recently cleared to return, Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean is remaining cautious during the early part of practice this season. Crean also has to monitor the return of starting guard James Blackmon Jr. after he missed most of last season with a torn ACL.

“We would have already practiced this morning and they would be ready to go tonight, if this were a year ago,” Crean said in the report. “We have to tailor make this thing. We can’t be in too much of a rush with these guys.”

Obviously, the frontcourt injuries are something to keep an eye on for Indiana during the early part of the season. None of the three injuries seem severe, but Hartman’s timetable to return hasn’t been listed and McSwain and Morgan are missing valuable early time in practice.

It’ll be interesting to see if this helps younger players like Anunoby and Davis get more acquainted with the first team early on since both could have an impact this season.

Texas lands four-star Class of 2017 guard Jase Febres

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Texas and head coach Shaka Smart continue to recruit at a high level, especially in the state of Texas, as the Longhorns landed a commitment from Class of 2017 four-star guard Jase Febres on Friday night.

The 6-foot-5 Febres is considered the No. 63 overall prospect in the Rivals national Class of 2017 rankings as he burst on the national radar this summer with some strong shooting performances. Febres shot over 40 percent from three-point range during the month of July after battling through injury during the spring. Besides owning good size for a wing shooter, Febres also takes pride in defending and he can rebound a bit from the wing as well.

Febres is going to have to improve his overall offensive package if a defense plays him off the three-point line, but he has upside as a three-and-D guy with the Longhorns.

The Class of 2017 is starting to round into shape for Texas as Febres joins four-star power forward Jericho Sims and four-star forward Royce Hamm. Since taking over the Texas job, Smart has done a great job of keeping local talent home as he now has five four- and five-star prospects from the state in the last two classes.

 

VIDEO: Kentucky fans get married in the ticket line for Big Blue Madness

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Kentucky fans have unique ways of making their annual Big Blue Madness event the most chaotic tip-off event of the season. While Big Blue Nation is waiting in line for tickets to this year’s festivities in Tent City, one couple decided to go the extra mile.

After securing the first spot in line for tickets, Ray Branham and Vicki Harvey opted to get married. According to a post from Drew Franklin of Kentucky Sports Radio, the couple had already been talking about tying the knot, but decided to make the move once they had the top spot in line. As you can see by the wedding video, it was a very Kentucky-themed ceremony as the duo got married in front of friends and other Kentucky fans.

I can’t say I’m surprised two Kentucky fans decided to get married in line for something like Big Blue Madness and this (unplanned) wedding gives this year’s event something unique that we will always remember.

Penn State loses freshman on day practice starts

Patrick Chambers
AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato
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On the day that college basketball practice is to start, Penn State head coach Pat Chambers announced that his roster would be changing.

Joe Hampton, a 6-foot-8, 290 pound power forward from Maryland, will be leaving the program.

“Joe has made the decision to leave the program based on personal reasons,” Chambers said. “We wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors.”

Hampton was a three-star prospect that missed his senior season at Oak Hill Academy with torn ACL, but he reportedly enrolled at Penn State in May, before the rest of the Nittany Lion recruit class.