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SUNDAY’S SNACKS: Wisconsin comes back, No. 10 SMU still undefeated

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GAME OF THE DAY: Colorado 91, Oregon 87

The Buffaloes completed an important home weekend sweep of the Oregon schools with a four-point win over Oregon in Boulder. If you like offense this was the game for you, as both teams shot at least 50 percent from the field and ten players scored in double figures (five for each team). Josh Scott led the way for Colorado with 17 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds, and Colorado’s 14-point advantages at the foul line (25-11) and in second-chance points (26-12) helped them make up for Oregon shooting 12-for-21 from three. Dillon Brooks paced Oregon with 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the field.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 

Wisconsin 77, No. 4 Michigan State 76: Trailing by four in the final minute, Wisconsin scored the game’s final five points to pick up a close win after falling short on multiple occasions this season. The Spartans played without the injured Tum Tum Nairn and they certainly missed their point guard down the stretch. With the late collapse Michigan State became the third Top 10 team to lose two games this week (No. 8 Miami, No. 9 Duke). Should we be worried about the Spartans?

No. 16 Iowa 82, Michigan 72: Fran McCaffery’s Hawkeyes won their 11th straight Big Ten regular season game, pulling away from the Wolverines late in Iowa City. Jarrod Uthoff scored 23 points and Peter Jok added 16 for Iowa, which had four players score in double figures and shot 51.7 percent from the field. Derrick Walton Jr. led the way for Michigan with 16 points and six assists, but 13 Wolverine turnovers were converted into 16 points by Iowa. Iowa scored the game’s first 11 points, and that proved to be the difference.

Florida State 69, No. 13 Virginia 62: Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles shot 63.2 percent from the field in the second half as they won their second straight ACC game. Malik Beasley scored 14 of his 17 in the second half and fellow freshman Dwayne Bacon tallied 18 points and nine rebounds in the win. As for the Cavaliers, they’ve lost all three of their conference road games and the same reasons reared their ugly heads Sunday night in Tallahassee.

STARRED

Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes: Wisconsin’s two leaders combined to score 52 of the team’s 77 points in their win over No. 4 Michigan State. Add in Ethan Happ’s 14 and the remaining Badgers combined to score 11 points.

Creighton’s Isaiah Zierden: Zierden shot 9-for-12 from the field, including eight three-pointers, and scored 31 points in the Bluejays’ win at DePaul.

Wichita State’s Fred VanVleet: 29 points on 9-for-15 shooting from the field (8-for-8 FT), five assists and three steals in a win over Indiana State.

STRUGGLED

Tulane’s Jernard Jarreau: Jarreau scored five points on 1-for-8 shooting from the field in Tulane’s loss to No. 10 SMU.

Houston’s Devonta Pollard: Pollard scored two points, shooting 0-for-7 from the field, in the Cougars’ home loss to UConn.

Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon: Brogdon scored ten points, shooting 4-for-17 from the field in the Cavaliers’ loss at Florida State.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 10 SMU remained the nation’s lone undefeated team, as they moved to 17-0 with a 60-45 win at Tulane. Markus Kennedy led four Mustangs in double figures with 13 points, and SMU limited the Green Wave to 29.2 percent shooting and forced 20 turnovers on the day.

OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS

  • Creighton took another step towards entering the bubble conversation (if they aren’t involved already) Sunday, avoiding what would have been a bad loss by winning at DePaul 91-80. Isaiah Zierden shot 8-for-11 from three and scored a career-high 31 for the Bluejays.
  • UConn got back on the right track, outscoring Houston 41-22 in the second half and winning 69-57. Sterling Gibbs led four Huskies in double figures with 20 points.
  • Army West Point defended its home floor with a 65-45 win over American. Larry Toomey scored 13 points and Kyle Wilson and Dylan Cox added 12 apiece for the Black Knights, who are now 3-3 in Patriot League play.
  • Playing without the suspended Jordan Washington, Iona dropped its second straight game 79-75 at Rider. The Gaels are now 6-2 in the MAAC, with Monmouth and Saint Peter’s (both 5-1) tied in the loss column.
  • Wichita State remained atop the Missouri Valley with an 82-62 win over Indiana State. Fred VanVleet scored 29 points and dished out five assists, and Ron Baker added 16 points in the win.
  • Utah picked up a much-needed win at home, coming back to beat Oregon State 59-53. Jakob Poeltl scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the way, as the visiting Beavers were undone by a cold offensive stretch of more than seven minutes and Jarmal Reid’s moment of insanity.

Bubble Banter: It is a massive night for teams on the bubble

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As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Saturday.

It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:

  • Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus

The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.

YET TO PLAY

SYRACUSE
VIRGINIA TECH
PENN STATE
SETON HALL
PROVIDENCE
ST. BONAVENTURE
TCU
MARQUETTE
LOUISVILLE
FLORIDA
TEXAS
KANSAS STATE
USC

Wichita State’s Landry Shamet out sick against Tulane

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Wichita State guard Landry Shamet will miss the Shockers’ game against Tulane on Wednesday night as he sits out due to illness.

Dressed in street clothes for the AAC conference clash, Shamet has put up All-American-caliber numbers for Wichita State this season as he’s putting up 14.7 points, 5.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game.

Without Shamet in the lineup, it gives Samajae Haynes-Jones a potential shot at minutes as he’s fallen out of the rotation over the last several weeks. Wichita State is still heavily favored against Tulane at home on Wednesday but they have an important three-game stretch to close out the conference season. The Shockers have to go on the road to play SMU and UCF before closing out the conference slate with an important home game against Cincinnati.

Duke’s Marvin Bagley III out for the fourth straight game with knee injury

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Duke star freshman big man Marvin Bagley III will miss his fourth consecutive game on Wednesday night as he continues to battle a knee injury.

The 6-foot-11 freshman suffered a mild knee sprain in his right knee in Duke’s game against North Carolina on Feb. 8 as he’s missed the Blue Devils’ last three games — all wins. Bagley will miss Duke’s contest against Louisville on Wednesday as he’s also missed games against Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Clemson.

Duke still has three regular-season games after Wednesday before the ACC tournament starts as Bagley still has plenty of time to heal and recover before the postseason begins.

Bagley is putting up 21.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game for Duke this season as he’s a consensus top-five pick in most 2018 NBA mock drafts. Without Bagley in the lineup, Duke has continued to play well and win games as they’ve still had big man Wendell Carter to handle things on the interior.

 

Rick Pitino: ‘I had no knowledge’ of the violations that led to banner coming down

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Disgraced ex-Louisville head coach Rick Pitino spoke at a press conference in Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon and denied any knowledge of the violations that were committed by Andre McGee, any potential NCAA violations involving the recruitment of Brian Bowen and pushed for Louisville to file an injunction against the NCAA’s decision to remove the 2013 national title banner.

“I take full responsibility for everyone I hire,” Pitino said. “To say I’m disappointed with the NCAA ruling is a gross understatement.”

“I have apologized many times. I feel awful for what happened. I’ve run a clean program all my life. [Sitting where you are], I would agree with you. It looks bad. I’ve coached for 41 years. For 35, as a head coach, nothing has come up.”

Pitino went on to say that he “hired the wrong person” when he made the decision to bring McGee onto his staff. McGee is the one that was responsible for hosting the parties and bringing the strippers and sex workers to them.

“I had no knowledge of the reprehensible things that went on in that dormitory,” Pitino said. “Did a few of [my players] partake in parties they didn’t organize? Yes, they did. That had nothing to do with an extra benefit,” going on to add that attending these parties were not the reason that Louisville won the 2013 national title.

Pitino also denied any involvement in the recruit of Bowen, a five-star prospect that committed to Louisville in a deal that was supposed to get his family paid $100,000 from Adidas.

“In 40 years of coaching, I have never been involved, directly or indirectly, in any effort to pay any money or extend any improper benefit to any recruit or recruit’s family members or representatives,” he said.

Pitino said that he has not had any discussions about coaching again or looking for a job this spring, but he did say that he does “miss it.” He also urged the new University of Louisville administration to fight this decision in court, to file an injunction and do what they can to keep Louisville from having to sacrifice a national title banner.

No other Division I basketball program has ever had a national title vacated.

“The NCAA,” Pitino said, “cannot rewrite history by taking a banner down.

John Wall is heading back to school to get a business degree

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John Wall, the former Kentucky star that helped launch Coach Cal’s one-and-done movement in Lexington, is planning on using a piece of that $207 million contract extension that he signed last July for summer school.

“I’m going back to school this summer to get my business degree,” Wall told the Washington Post this week. “That’s what I’m focusing on. I promised my dad that.”

Wall’s dad died when he was eight years old, and anyone that knows his story knows that it hasn’t been the easiest path for Wall to get from that moment to this moment.

So good for John.

Seriously.

I do believe that it is important to educate yourself, even if that education is something as simple as learning how to run a business on your own.

But I also think that, in the larger context of basketball and, specifically, the one-and-done rule, this is important to note. Wall left school as a 19-year old, made a whole bunch of guaranteed money on his rookie deal, got more guaranteed money on his first contract extension and now is working under a contract that will pay him nine figures with a crooked number in front. Throw in endorsement deals, and by the time Wall hangs up his sneakers, he could end up banking close to half a billion dollars.

That’s more than enough money to be able to pay for three years worth of classes at Kentucky to finish his undergrad degree, get a master’s and become a PhD. For Wall, that financial hit would be like the financial hit you or I take for adding chips and guac at Chipotle. (But not queso. We pretend their queso doesn’t exist.)

My point is this: The time a person has to educate themselves never ends. The time that Wall, or any professional athlete, has to profit off of their ability does, and much sooner than most think.

So the next time you decide to criticize a player for leaving school early to chase their professional dreams or because they’re just looking to get paid or because they don’t care about education, just think about this.