Michael Gottfredson, Rob Mullens

Oregon releases timeline of actions after learning of sexual assault investigation March 9

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While the fate of the three Oregon players investigated for sexual assault was officially determined Friday, the administration is still under fire for its handling of the legal situation. On Tuesday the university released a timeline of its actions once the Eugene Police Department notified them about an investigation into allegations of sexual assault on March 9. This release comes during a time in which faculty and students alike have demanded more transparency from the administration in regards to this case.

Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin were officially dismissed from the program May 1. Dotson and Artis were allowed to play in the NCAA tournament despite their being investigated, with the Ducks beating BYU before falling to Wisconsin on March 22.

According to the school’s timeline president Michael Gottfredson did not learn the identities of the three players in question until March 19, two days after the school stated that it asked the Eugene PD if they should sideline the players (Artis and Dotson) ahead of the team playing in the NCAA tournament.

March 17: UO asks Eugene police specifically if any players should be kept back from the NCAA Tournament, or if contingency plans should be made to return them to campus. EPD advises the university to do nothing to alert the players to the investigation, to do what they normally would do regarding who plays and who doesn’t. EPD declines to reveal the names of any players.

March 18: UO contacts Eugene police again to ask if the players should travel to the tournament. EPD again advises the university not to alter their plans.

March 19: President Gottfredson learns the names of the student-athletes being investigated. The president maintains the confidentiality of this information to protect the integrity of the criminal investigation.

Recently former Eugene City Councilor Keith Hornbuckle filed a Title IX complaint on behalf and in support of the players (albeit without their knowledge) with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights according to Andrew Greif of The Oregonian. And according to Greif’s report a biology professor has submitted a motion with the UO system and the school’s Board of Regents to have Gottfredson’s contract “terminated immediately.”

According to reports there will be two separate meetings on Wednesday to discuss the school’s (and athletic department’s) handling of the case.

No. 1 Kentucky survives without Tyler Ulis in lineup

Tyler Ulis
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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Less than a week after giving No. 2 Maryland all they could handle, Illinois State went into Lexington and gave No. 1 Kentucky fits.

The Redbirds never really threatened UK in the second half, but they went into the break tied and were within single digits down the stretch, eventually losing 75-63.

Kentucky was flustered. They turned the ball over 15 times compared to just eight assists, they shot 2-for-12 from three and just 29-for-46 (63 percent) from the charity stripe. They simply did not handle Illinois State’s pressure all that well.

And there was a reason for that.

Tyler Ulis didn’t play.

Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate just what a player brings to a team until that player is not in the lineup, and that was precisely the case with Ulis on Monday night. It was crystal clear what he provides Kentucky. Beyond leadership and the ability to break a press without throwing the ball to the other team, he’s a calming presence. He doesn’t get rattled when a defender is harassing him and he doesn’t get overwhelmed by a situation like a mid-major threatening the No. 1 team in the country in their own gym.

He’s everything you look for in a pure point guard, and for as good as Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe have looked at times this season, it should be crystal clear who the most important player on this Kentucky team is.

LSU loses to Charleston, eliminates at-large bid margin for error

Ben Simmons
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Ben Simmons scored 15 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, the second time in his six-game career that the LSU freshman has collected that many caroms, but that wasn’t enough for the Tigers to avoid dropping a game on the road to the College of Charleston, 70-58. It was the third straight loss for Simmons’ crew, as they fell to Marquette and N.C. State at the Legends Classic last week.

But here’s the thing: LSU didn’t just lose.

The game really wasn’t close.

LSU was down by as many as 23 points. It was 39-17 at the half, and that was after Charleston had a shot at the buzzer called off upon review. They made a bit of a run in the second half but never got closer than seven. When LSU would cut into the lead, the Cougars would respond with a run of their own, killing LSU’s spirit while keeping them at arm’s length.

[RELATED: Ben Simmons’ one college year a waste?]

Now, there are quite a few things here to discuss. For starters, LSU’s effort was, at best, apathetic, and, at worst, regular old pathetic. The team has a serious lack of leadership that was plainly evident on Monday night; would Fred VanVleet let his team fold against a program picked to finish at the bottom of the SoCon? Would Tyler Ulis? For that matter, would Tom Izzo or Mike Krzyzewski or John Calipari?

Perhaps more importantly, does any of that change when Keith Hornsby and Craig Victor get back?

Simmons did show off his potential — 18 boards, four assists, he even made his first three of the year — but he also showed precisely why there are scouts that are trying to curtail the LeBron James comparisons. Simmons was 4-for-15 from the floor with seven turnovers against a mediocre mid-major team. There are so many things that Simmons does well, but scoring efficiently — particularly in half court setting — and shooting the ball consistently are not on that list.

But here’s the biggest issue: LSU may have put themselves in a situation where they aren’t a tournament team. As of today, they’re 3-3 on the season with losses to a pair of teams that, at best, seem destined to be in the bubble conversation on Selection Sunday in addition to this loss to Charleston. The rest of their non-conference schedule is ugly. The only game worth noting is at home against No. 6 Oklahoma at the end of January.

The NCAA factors in non-conference schedule strength when determining at-large teams. You need to at least try, and LSU didn’t try; they have one of the worst non-conference schedules in the country.

The great thing about being in the SEC — as opposed to, say, the Missouri Valley — is that the Tigers will have plenty of chances to earn marquee wins. Six, by my court: Kentucky twice, Texas A&M twice, Vanderbilt on the road and Oklahoma at home. They probably need to win at least two or three of those games to have a real chance, and that’s assuming they can avoid anymore horrid losses in the process.

The season isn’t over six games in, not by any stretch of the imagination.

But LSU has done a hell of a job eliminating their margin for error.