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Oklahoma lands 2015 JuCo 7-footer Akolda Manyang

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Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger had previously landed one of the top available transfers this spring, and has now secured a commitment from one of the best junior college big men in the Class of 2015.

Indian Hills Community College (Iowa) 7-foot center Akolda Manyang committed to the Sooners on Saturday night, informing the coaching staff of his decision on Sunday morning, according to a report from R.J. Young of SoonersScoop.com, a Rivals affiliate site.

Manyang becomes Oklahoma’s first commit in the Class of 2015. The Sooners had been pursuing Manyang during his first season at Indian Hills, according to Brad Winton of JuCoRecruiting.com. In March, he also reported that Kansas was getting involved in Manyang’s recruitment, as well.

“I think the fact that he’s very comfortable with their coaching staff was great,” Indian Hills head coach John Wardenburg told Young. “They’ve done a fantastic job of recruiting him. He tried to build a relationship with coach [Lon] Kruger, and he’s got that.”

“At 7-foot, 250, he’s got a tremendous body, but I still think he has room to grow,” Wardenburg added. “He’s a good shot blocker, but I think he has a nice set of offensive skills that are getting better and better. He can score inside and out. He’s got good touch from 15 feet and in.”

Manyang averaged 8.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while shooting 57 percent from the field for an Indian Hills team that reached the NJCAA National Tournament title game.

In mid-May, Houston transfer TaShawn Thomas enrolled at Oklahoma. The junior is seeking a waiver for immediate eligibility this season. If Thomas, who led the Cougars with 15.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game this past season, is not granted a waiver he would use his final season of eligibility in the 2015-2016 season, joined by Manyang on the OU frontline. Forward Ryan Spangler would be a senior while Buddy Hield, Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard, three guards who averaged double figures in 2013-2014, would all be upperclassmen, as well.

VIDEO: Duke’s Grayson Allen beats No. 7 Virginia at the buzzer

Duke's Grayson Allen (3) and Marshall Plumlee (40) react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Durham, N.C., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Duke won 72-65. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia sparks come-from-behind win over No. 13 Louisville

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) goes up for a shot over Boston College’s Idy Diallo (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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Demetrius Jackson scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half and Steve Vasturia scored 15 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes as Notre Dame landed a 71-66 win over No. 13 Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Irish trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but Vasturia’s hot shooting combined with Notre Dame holding Louisville to just 15 points in the final 15 minutes made all the difference.

The Fighting Irish are not as good as they were last season, but they are built in a similar mold. Jackson, as we expected, as become one of the nation’s most dynamic point guards, impossible to slow-down in isolation and ball-screen actions. Steve Vasturia emerging as a legitimate secondary option offensively and Zach Auguste is one of the nation’s most underrated big men and one of the most dangerous as the roll-man in ball-screens.

Combine all of that with a handful of shooters creating space and Bonzie Colson’s emergence as a force on the offensive glass, and Mike Brey once again has one of the nation’s most lethal offensive attacks.

Where they struggle is on the defensive end of the floor, which is what makes the end of Saturday’s win so meaningful. The Irish entered the day ranked 232nd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which more or less means they’re as good as a bad mid-major program at keeping their opponents from scoring.

But they don’t have to be great to be able to win games.

They have to be good enough and they have to get important stops.

That’s precisely what happened on Saturday.

Whether or not that actually becomes a trend for this group will be something to monitor — it happened for Duke during last year’s NCAA tournament — but the bottom-line is this: Notre Dame does something better than just about anyone else in college basketball, and that’s score the ball.

On the nights they are able to gets some stops, they are going to be able to win some games. In the last eight days, they’ve proven that, beating North Carolina, Clemson on the road and Louisville.

And that makes them dangerous in March.