Derek Thompson, Darius Paul

Illinois announces suspension of forward Darius Paul for entire 2014-15 season

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After averaging 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a freshman at Western Michigan in 2012-13 forward Darius Paul made the decision to transfer to Illinois, where his older brother Brandon enjoyed a solid four-year career. And after sitting out the 2013-14 season per NCAA transfer rules, the younger Paul was expected to contribute for head coach John Groce in the upcoming 2014-15 campaign.

Unfortunately for Paul issues away from the court have resulted in Groce deciding to suspend the 6-foot-8 forward for the entire 2014-15 season, with the school announcing the decision Tuesday afternoon.

“After a thorough review of Darius’ year, which includes multiple transgressions, I am suspending Darius from all team-related activities for the entire 2014-15 season,” Groce said in a statement. “As head coach, my concerns are always what is best for the University of Illinois, what is best for the men’s basketball program, and what is best for our student-athletes as people. I feel this penalty is necessary to help Darius as a person. We will continue to support him through this process.”

Paul was arrested on charges of underage drinking and resisting a police officer on April 22, and according to the Chicago Tribune his next hearing in relation to the matter is on Friday. However while Groce noted “multiple transgressions” in the announcement that Paul has been suspended, no particular incident was cited as the reason for the disciplinary action.

Losing Paul hurts a front court that won’t be the most experienced group in 2014-15, with rising senior Nnanna Egwu being the lone returnee who saw significant playing time last season. Maverick Morgan played in all 35 games as a freshman but averaged just 7.1 minutes per contest, and fellow sophomore Austin Colbert played in 22 games (5.5 mpg).

In the front court Illinois adds Leron Black and Michael Finke this summer, with the former ranking among the nation’s best prospects. In total the Fighting Illini will have three newcomers, with Seton Hall transfer Aaron Cosby joining a backcourt led by rising seniors Rayvonte Rice and Tracy Abrams.

VIDEO: Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has scary fall while carrying girl

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Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has turned into a fan favorite at Rupp Arena.

Every home game, during one of the TV timeouts in the second half, ‘Mony Mony’ will come on, Dancing Guy will hop into the aisle and he’ll break it down like only a middle-aged white guy from Kentucky can.

As you can see, it didn’t quite go all that well for Dancing Guy on Tuesday night, as he tried to do a rail slide while holding a young, female fan and completely ate it.

Here’s another angle of the fall:

It looks much scarier that it actually was, as all reports indicate that everyone made it through the fall healthy.

No. 5 Xavier stumbles at Creighton, lose 70-54

Creighton's Cole Huff (13) and Toby Hegner, left, guard Xavier's Jalen Reynolds (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Mo Watson went for a career-high 32 points, seven boards and five assists as Creighton jumped out to an early 21-4 lead and never looked back, beating No. 5 Xavier, 70-54, in Omaha on Tuesday night.

 

It was a massive win for the Bluejays, who still have an outside shot at earning an at-large bid this season. (We wrote all about that here.)

As well as Creighton played, the bigger story here may actually be Xavier, who lost for just the third time this season; they had been the only top ten team with just two losses to their name.

The issue for the Musketeers tonight was two-fold, but they both are a symptom of what could be an issue down the road for this team: Xavier doesn’t really have a true point guard.

They certainly didn’t have anyone to stop Watson. By the second half, they had essentially asked Reynolds, who was playing the middle of their 1-3-1 zone to matchup with Watson. It was weird but was actually somewhat effective.

The Musketeers also started out ice cold from the floor, missing 11 of their first 13 shots, and those misses led to leak outs from Bluejays, who got layups and open threes in transition to build that 17 point lead. Once Xavier got behind, it turned into scramble mode for Xavier. They forced shots early in the clock and didn’t start pounding the ball into the paint until it was too late. What they needed was someone to be able to settle things, to ensure that offensive would get initiated and sets would get executed when they were able to get the lead down to single digits.

That 1-for-19 shooting performance from beyond the arc certainly didn’t help matters, and neither did the fact that they got just nine field goals all game from players not named James Farr or Jalen Reynolds. The most frustrating part for head coach Chris Mack? They had good shots. It wasn’t like Creighton took away everything that Xavier wanted to do.

The kids just had one of those nights where nothing went down.

Those happen.

And when you combine them with a total inability to contain the opposing team’s point guard, what you get is a 16 point loss on the road against a team that was desperate to get a good win.