Mark Emmert

Nine teams ineligible for postseason play due to Academic Progress Rate numbers


Regardless of what the opinions are when it comes to the effectiveness of the Academic Progress Rate, the fact of the matter is that the system is the one being used to monitor the academic progress of student-athletes. Programs are now required to post a multi-year score of at least 930, or a two-year average of 940, in order to be eligible for postseason competition.

On Wednesday the NCAA announced that nine men’s basketball programs will be ineligible due to their APR scores. Those schools are Alabama State, Appalachian State, Central Arkansas, Florida A&M, Houston Baptist, Lamar, Milwaukee, San Jose State and Southern.

Southern is a different case in that its academic data was deemed to be unusable by the NCAA earlier this spring. In late February it was reported that the school was working with the NCAA to get the proper data submitted, however on Wednesday it was stated that all Southern athletic programs are ineligible for postseason play.

In addition to the postseason bans there were some schools that were hit with reductions in practice time and scholarships. Eleven men’s basketball programs are facing Level One sanctions, which would result in a reduction of four hours and one day of practice time.

Those programs are: Appalachian State (they’re appealing this sanction), Binghamton, Cal-State Fullerton, Central Arkansas, Charlotte, Fairleigh Dickinson, Houston Baptist, Lamar, Milwaukee, San Jose State and Tennessee-Martin.

Three others (Alabama State, Florida A&M and FIU) are facing Level Two sanctions, which would result in not only the loss of practice time during the season but also limits what can be done athletically during the offseason. And one program, New Orleans, faces Level Three sanctions.

Those sanctions can also include a reduction in the number of available scholarships and limiting the amount of practice time for incoming athletes who don’t meet certain academic standards.

All nine programs banned from postseason play in 2012-13 (Bakersfield won its appeal to avoid a postseason ban), including national champion UConn, posted APR scores high enough to avoid a similar penalty in 2014-15. UConn’s multi-year score is 936, and of those schools Jacksonville State posted the highest multi-year score (956).

For schools whose multi-year scores did not meet or exceed the 930 threshold, a two-year average of 940 or better was good enough to remain eligible for postseason play.

No. 10 Gonzaga outlasts No. 18 UConn despite late offensive struggles

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No. 10 Gonzaga survived a furious rally from No. 18 UConn to win the third place game in the Battle 4 Atlantis, 73-70.

The Zags were up by as much as 21 points early in the second half, leading 48-27, but UConn slowly chipped away at the lead. Kyle Wiltjer led four players in double-figures with 17 points while Eric McClellan added 15 points, making a number of key plays in the second half when it looked like the Zags were in danger of giving away the lead.

As good as Gonzaga looked in the first 22 minutes of this game — and they looked really, really good — the second half exposed the concerns that many had with this group entering the season. Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., who both shot around 40 percent from beyond the arc and started for four years, graduated, meaning that Gonzaga’s point guard situation is, more or less, Josh Perkins.

Perkins was terrific in the second half of a loss to Texas A&M on Thursday. He played 17 foul-plagued minutes against UConn. When UConn’s defense ratcheted up during the second half, Gonzaga struggled finding a way to consistently get good shots on the offensive end. Part of that was due to ineffective point guard play and part of it was a result of not really having anyone on the offensive end that can create a look on their own. As skilled as Wiltjer is, his impact can be limited when pick-and-pop actions aren’t working and he’s getting doubled in the post.

Perkins is talented, but this is essentially his first season of college basketball; he was a medical redshirt last season after breaking his jaw last November. There are going to be ups-and-downs, and that’s problematic on a team where he is essentially the only point guard on the roster.

The good news?

Gonzaga beat a good UConn team on a day when their best players struggled in crunch-time. It was McClellan and Kyle Dranginis that made the big plays down the stretch, not the big names on the Gonzaga roster.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady ‘awake, alert’ after getting stretchered off court

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Wichita State big man Anton Grady was stretchered off of the floor in the second half of a loss to Alabama after a nasty collision with Dazon Ingram.

The video can be seen above. There was nothing malicious about the way that Grady was injured. When he turned to run up the floor after missing a shot in the lane, he went face first into Ingram’s shoulder. He neck bent in an awkward directions and, after stumbling a few steps, he laid motionless on the floor.

It took 10 minutes for the training staff to strap Grady to a backboard and wheel him out of the arena.

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A Wichita State spokesman told that Grady was taken to a local trauma center for evaluation and that he is “awake, alert and is answering questions appropriately”.

We will have more updates as they come available.

From a basketball perspective, the No. 20 Shockers lost their second game in a row and are now 2-3 on the season.

While for some the Shockers’ résumé is up for questioning following losses to USC and Alabama, two teams projected to finish in the bottom half of their respective leagues, the team’s health is the biggest concern.

Fred VanVleet has been dealing with a hamstring issue since the season began, and an ankle injury limited him in a loss at Tulsa earlier this month. He won’t play again until at least Dec. 5th. and who knows when he’ll be back to full strength. The same can be said for back up point guard and freshman Landry Shamet, who underwent surgery to address a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. Their injuries have led to even more being asked of senior guard Ron Baker, and the loss of Grady for any significant amount of time certainly isn’t going to help matters..

These early-season losses won’t help Wichita State when it comes to the NCAA tournament, but it’s important to make note of the circumstances surrounding those defeats. To be shorthanded, with one of the absent players ranking among the nation’s best point guards, has an impact that has to be accounted for when evaluating Wichita State. The Shockers will add Conner Frankamp in mid-December, which will help them on the perimeter.

But with their rotation currently being in flux, it’s tough to make any definitive statements on what Wichita State will have to do in order to make another trip to the NCAA tournament. At this point Gregg Marshall and his staff will look for other contributors, one of whom being Markis McDuffie (14 points, seven rebounds vs. Alabama), to emerge and show themselves capable of picking up the slack.