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LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Come-from-behind wins lead ACC past Big Ten

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Virginia Tech 73, Michigan 70

Seth Allen scored five straight points in the final two minutes to cap a Hokies comeback from 14 points down as Virginia Tech landed a much-needed win on the road against Michigan. The Wolverines, who looked so impressive at the 2K Classic in New York two weeks ago, have now lost their last two games against quality opponents. This is a win that will look good for Tech on Selection Sunday.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 13 Indiana 76, No. 3 North Carolina 67: The Hoosiers cruised to another elite win without really getting tested. “Who is the real Indiana?” Dickie V asked on the broadcast. I answered that question here.

No. 14 Louisville 71, No. 15 Purdue 64: The Cardinals suffocated Purdue in the first half and held on down the stretch as the Boilermakers made their run. Our take on the game can be found here.

No. 6 Virginia 63, Ohio State 61: The Wahoos played unquestionably their worst half of the season, digging themselves a 32-16 hole at home against Ohio State. But as you might expect, Virginia came storming back in the second half to win, 63-61. London Perrantes led the way with 19 points, coming up especially big in the clutch.

Virginia’s win gave the ACC a 9-5 win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Mountain West wins: Boise State picked up a win over a good SMU team at home while Colorado State went into Boulder and knocked off a Colorado team that a lot of people think have a shot to make the NCAA tournament. For a league that has been trending towards one-bid territory of late, this was a good day.

STARRED

Obi Enechionyia, Temple: Enechionyia had 26 points to lead the Owls to a win over city rival Saint Joseph’s, hitting six threes, including a huge three in the final minute.

Rodney Bullock, Providence: 36 points, six boards, three assists, three steals, 5-for-8 threes. I don’t care that it came against New Hampshire, that’s an impressive stat-line.

Marcus Evans, Rice: One of the nation’s best mid0major players, Evans had 31 points and eight assists in a win over Houston Baptist.

STRUGGLED

Washington: The Huskies committed 25 turnovers and blew a 22-5 lead in a game they lost 86-71 to TCU while shooting 10-for-12 from three. It sounds hard to do, but it happened.

Northern Iowa: The Panthers, who looked like they might contend for an at-large bid early, lost to George Mason at home on a night where they shot 25.9 percent and 8-for-32 from three.

TOP 25

  • No. 9 Baylor coasted to a 79-45 win over Sam Houston State in Waco.
  • Lauri Markkanen led five players in double-figures with 19 points, six boards and five assists as No. 16 Arizona beat Texas Southern, 85-63.
  • No. 12 St. Mary’s trailed Stanford by four at halftime, but outscored the Cardinal by 19 in the second half to claim a 66-55 win. Calvin Hermanson went 9 of 11 en route to 25 points for the Gaels. No starters scored in double-figures for Stanford.
  • Lonzo Ball set a UCLA freshman record with 13 assists, and the No. 11 Bruins beat UC Riverside, 98-56. T.J Leaf (18 points and 10 rebounds) and Thomas Welsh (12 points and 12 rebounds)  both had double-doubles. Isaac Hamilton scored 27 points, hitting seven 3s.

NOTABLES

  • Chimezie Metu had 19 points and 13 boards in a win over San Diego, but it could’ve been costly for USC as Bennie Boatwright hurt his knee in the first half.
  • How weird is this sentence to read: UConn improved to 3-4 on the season with a 51-49 win over Boston U. at home.
  • Middle Tennessee State, the team that upset No. 2 Michigan State in the NCAA tournament last season, blew out Ole Miss on the road, winning by 15 after taking a 29-point lead into halftime.
  • Ivan Rabb had 25 points and 13 boards as Cal got past Louisiana Tech in overtime, 66-59.

Report: Texas’ Jones to test NBA possibility

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Both of Texas’ McDonald’s All-Americans from its 2016 class will test the NBA waters.

Andrew Jones will declare for the draft, but will not hire an agent, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

The 6-foot-4 guard joins Jarrett Allen, the Longhorns’ star center, in utilizing the rule change that became available to players last year in which they can declare, workout for teams, attend the NBA combine and still return to school.

Jones averaged 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a freshman. He shot 42.5 percent from the field overall and 32.8 percent from 3-point range.

Allen seems the likelier candidate to remain in the draft as a potential lottery pick, but Jones came to Austin with similar one-and-done possibilities given his status as one of the class’ top recruits.

Texas, of course, is hoping both return, not just because they’re both big talents, but because incoming and highly-touted recruit Matt Coleman fills the major hole in last year’s lineup – point guard. If the three of them can share the floor together, Year 3 of the Shaka Smart era will be much more interesting.

Morrow announces transfer from Nebraska

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Nebraska was once again hit with a surprising and damaging transfer.

Ed Morrow, Jr., who led the Huskers in rebounding last year, announced his intention to transfer, the school announced Wednesday.

“I support Ed in his decision to transfer schools and wish him well,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said in a statement. “We appreciate his hard work over the last two years. Although I am disappointed, we will continue to recruit young men who are committed to our mission of building Nebraska Basketball with a culture of success in all areas…life, school and winning basketball at its highest level.”

The 6-foot-7 sophomore’s departure is a major hit to the Huskers, who are coming off a 12-19 year in which Miles’ job security was called into question. It almost assuredly will be again this year as Nebraska hasn’t been able to build on its 2014 NCAA tournament appearance, instead putting together three-straight losing seasons.

Morrow’s decision is surprising not only given he’d been a productive member of the team – averaging 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game – but because he was born in Nebraska before attending high school in Chicago and both his parents were Nebraska student-athletes his father winning a national title on the football team in 1994 and his mother an all-Big Eight performer on the basketball team.

“I want to say thank you to my teammates, coaches, the fans and the University of Nebraska athletics department for giving me the opportunity to play Division I basketball,” Morrow said in a statement. “It is hard to leave home, and Nebraska is my home. I was born and raised here, it is my parents’ alma mater, and I have a lot of friends here. But sometimes you have to venture out to pursue dreams and aspirations in a career. This is a sacrifice I have to make to better myself.”

Morrow’s transfer comes a year after Andrew White surprised Nebraska with his decision to graduate and transfer to Syracuse, which no doubt impacted the Huskers’ poor 2016-17 record.

Miles was on the hot seat at the end of last season and will assuredly begin this season there as well. A roster hit like Morrow won’t do much to help him improve the situation. Nebraska does, however, have three starters returning while Georgetown transfer Isaac Copeland is eligible, as is Miami (Fla.) transfer James Palmer, Jr.

Lonzo Ball says “I’m better than” Markelle Fultz

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Usually, it’s LaVar Ball that makes news for what he says.

His eldest son is now getting in on the business of generating headlines with something other than his play.

The UCLA star, who said he’ll enter the draft after just one season with the Bruins, claimed he’s the better prospect than Washington freshman Markelle Fultz, who many have pegged as the No. 1 pick in June’s draft.

“Markelle’s a great player,” Ball said, according to ESPN, “but I feel I’m better than him,” “I think I can lead a team better than him. Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him.”

Not exactly inflammatory stuff – like saying you could have beaten Michael Jordan, that you want a $1 billion apparel deal or a number of things his father has said – bu Ball is certainly projecting confidence. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. There’s quite a bit of money – and pride – at stake with the draft, and Ball put up a season worthy of comparison to Fultz, who had great numbers but played for an abysmal Washington team. Ball, on the other had, had strong numbers while leading UCLA to the Sweet 16.

Both are going to go at the top of a draft that’s stocked full of promising point guards. Which player goes before the other remains to be seen, but it’s likely public pronouncements aren’t going to affect the draft order.

 

UMass hires McCall away from Chattanooga

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UMass has found, once more, the man to take over its basketball program.

The Minutemen have reached an agreement with Chattanooga coach Matt McCall, the school announce Wednesday

“The tradition and resources that are in place not only make this one of the best basketball jobs in the Atlantic 10 Conference,” McCall said in a statement released by the school, “but one of the best jobs in the country. We couldn’t be more excited about becoming part of the UMass family and look forward to building upon the rich tradition that has been established here in the past.”

In McCall’s two years at Chattanooga, the Mocs to the NCAA tournament in 2016 and a 19-12 record this year that featured five-straight losses to end the season.

The move will take McCall out of the southeast for the first time in his career as he previously served as at Florida and Florida Atlantic before getting his first head coaching job at Chattanooga.

McCall wasn’t the Minutemen’s first choice to replace Derek Kellogg after three-straight lackluster seasons. Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey had agreed to take the job before a last-minute about-face that saw him return to the Eagles program just before his introductory press conference was scheduled to begin.

“Matt is a rising star in college basketball coaching who has been a key piece of three successful programs in his career,” UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said in a statement. “He has earned a reputation as a relentless worker, a great teammate and colleague and a confident leader of young men.

“Matt has worked with some of the most respected coaches and administrators in the country, who loudly sing his praises. Coach McCall’s appointment begins an exciting new chapter for our tradition-rich men’s basketball program at UMass.”

Despite being the second choice, McCall’s reputation in the coaching industry makes him a strong hire, having worked under Mike Jarvis and Billy Donovan. He took over at Chattanooga for Will Wade, and brought the Mocs to a 29-6 record and a  12-seed in the NCAA tournament in 2016.

UMass went to just one NCAA tournament under Kellogg (in 2014) during his nine seasons leading the Minutemen.

VIDEO: Frank Martin’s sideline demeanor as a high school coach

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South Carolina coach Frank Martin has the reputation of being rather, shall we say, intense on the sidelines during games.

The coach has a stare that seemingly could bore a hole through his players when they do something that doesn’t reach his level of expectation. Martin’s demeanor, though, didn’t just come into form once he hit the college ranks.

He was plenty intense on high school sidelines as well.

Martin won three titles while at Miami Senior in the mid-1990s, coaching the likes of future pros Steve Blake and Udonis Haslem. Now having reached his first career Final Four, that sideline persona has put him on the precipice of winning yet another championship, this time at the collegiate level.