Maybe Villanova was looking ahead to Saturday’s date with No. 10 Creighton. Maybe the Wildcats just had an off-night on Wednesday. Maybe DePaul is better than we realized.
Whatever the reason may be, No. 1 Villanova’s Big East opener against DePaul ended up being more exciting than the top-15 battle between Virginia and Louisville, as the Blue Demons erased a 12-point second half deficit and nearly upset the Wildcats in the Pavilion, losing 68-65.
DePaul was down just four points at the half and, after Villanova pushed that lead to 12 midway through the second half, used a 14-1 run to take a lead with five minutes left. The two teams would trade baskets for the rest of the game before Villanova’s Josh Hart started doing Josh Hart things.
The leader in the clubhouse for National Player of the Year finished with 25 points on Wednesday, including 10 of Villanova’s final 12 points. He hit a three with less than a minute left that pushed the lead to four and gave Jay Wright’s club the cushion they needed to head into Saturday’s showdown undefeated.
And that game Saturday is a showdown in every sense of the word.
Creighton, like Villanova, has not lost a game yet this season. They are, most will tell you, the two best teams in the Big East this season. If Creighton wants any chance of winning the Big East regular season title, that is a game they absolutely have to win. Villanova has lost six games in the league in the last three years. Creighton isn’t making up a one-game deficit when they would still have to play a return game in Philly.
So I guess I can’t blame Villanova for looking a head to that game three days after Christmas.
But I can be glad that they didn’t take the luster off of the matchup by falling to DePaul three days beforehand.
Rutgers has made a potentially significant addition to their 2017 recruiting class, as four-star big man Mamadou Doucoure appears to have reclassified.
According to the Asbury Park Press, Doucoure has already enrolled in classes at Rutgers, citing a search of the university’s online database. The 6-foot-9 Doucoure was initially a member of the Class of 2017 before reclassifying to 2018, although there have been rumors that he has been trying to enroll this year.
It’s not yet clear if Doucoure will be eligible to play this season — he has not even been added to Rutgers’ roster online — but if he’s eligible, he should be able to provide rotation minutes for the Scarlet Knights.
Even if he’s not cleared to play this season, his addition matters. He’ll be able to workout with and develop in a Big Ten locker room before getting cleared to play alongside a massive 2018 recruiting class that already includes four-stars Mac McClung and Montez Mathis along with three-star prospect Ron Harper Jr.
It’s looking less and less likely that we’ll see Mitchell Robinson on a college campus this season.
Robinson, if you’ve forgotten, committed to and signed with Western Kentucky, enrolling at the school and practicing with the team over the summer. But he left Bowling Green after two weeks and has received a release to transfer out of the program.
And that’s where the difficultly here lies.
He’s a transfer, which means that, as a top ten prospect and a likely one-and-done player, he will be redshirting the only year that he is on campus unless the NCAA would provide him with a waiver, which is unlikely. After Robinson left WKU, three schools have emerged as potential landing spots: LSU, Kansas and New Orleans. LSU ended their recruitment two weeks ago. Over the weekend, Kansas head coach essentially confirmed that Robinson will not be a Jayhawks.
“I would think that we probably won’t sign anybody,” Self told the Kansas City Star.
That leaves New Orleans, his hometown school, or overseas, which is a rumor that has followed Robinson since the spring. The other option? Sitting out and training for a year, which FanRag Sports reported on Sunday is a possibility.
However you slice it, Robinson’s one-and-done year has turned into a mess. He’s still likely to end up as a first round pick — seven-footers that can do the things he does defensively don’t grow on trees — but I can’t imagine that teams are going to be clamoring to use a lottery pick on a player that just spent a year sitting out.
Texas is in Australia for their team’s summer trip, and Jericho Sims gave Longhorn fans a glimpse of why they may not miss Jarrett Allen’s athleticism all that much this season.
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson’s basketball team arrived back on campus, a day after a deadly van attack in Barcelona that occurred just outside their hotel.
The Tigers were preparing to play their fourth and final game of a summer tour of Spain when a van drove up on a sidewalk and crashed into scores of people in Las Ramblas promenade, killing 13. Clemson canceled the final game and flew back home as scheduled Friday.
Teams from Arizona and Oregon State were also staying at the hotel. A fourth team, Tulane, was in Barcelona at a different hotel. All of the schools said their parties were unharmed.
Clemson coach Brad Brownell tweeted Friday the team had landed in Atlanta and was “excited to be back in this great country.”
Tulane’s court design is a throwback.
On Friday night, the school revealed the new look inside Devlin Fieldhouse, with the old “Angry Wave’ logo taking its place at center court.
A little over a year ago, Tulane University announced that the old ‘Angry Wave’ logo would be reincorporated into the athletics department as a secondary logo.
Over half a century ago, the “Angry Wave” was born and became one of the most visible marks of Tulane Athletics. Together for the first time with the “T-Wave” the Green Wave now boasts one of the most unique sets of logos in collegiate athletics.
The Green Wave finished the 2016-17 season with a 6-25 (3-15 AAC) record. The program is currently on a foreign tour in Barcelona.