Late Night Snacks: Villanova, Kansas, Kentucky all go down

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Marquette 74, No. 1 Villanova 72

The Golden Eagles were down by 15 at half to the nation’s top team, but closed out the game on a 19-4 run led by Duane Wilson and Katin Reinhardt. If I told you that duo was going to lead Marquette to a win over Villanova, would you have believed me? … Didn’t think so. We need to stop sleeping on this team.

In less than five days, Marquette has played its way into the NCAA Tournament field with a pair of signature wins.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 18 West Virginia 85, No. 2 Kansas 69:  After back-to-back losses, the Mountaineers responded in a big way with a double-digit win over the Jayhawks. This didn’t follow the typical ‘Press Virginia’ blueprint, but that’s what made it all the more impressive. Frank Mason III was held to a 12 points, needing a 15 shots to score his dozen.

Tennessee 82, No. 4 Kentucky 80: Tennessee snapped Kentucky’s seven-game win streak. The Wildcats were held in check in transition, while the Volunteers’ bench outscored Kentucky’s, 37-4. Robert Hubbs III and Malik Monk both led their teams with 25 points apiece.

Well this is one way to set up Saturday’s matchup with Kansas.

No. 12 Virginia 71, No. 12 Notre Dame 54: Shots didn’t fall early for Notre Dame, as the pack-line defense held the league’s best 3-point shooting team to 18 percent shooting from deep. London Perrantes scored 22 points and once again came up with timely shots.

No. 20 Purdue 84, Michigan State 73: Hot shooting couldn’t be sustained and Purdue’s frontline became too much for Michigan State’s shorthanded front court. Caleb Swanigan finished with another monster stat line: 25 points and 17 rebounds. Miles Bridges had a season-high 33 points.

STARRED

  • Katin Reinhardt, Marquette: The grad transfer scored 18 of his 19 points after halftime. Playing the role of point forward was even more important after Markus Howard struggled all night.
  • Donovan Mitchell, Louisville: The sophomore guard had 16 points at half. Pitt had 18 as a team. Mitchell’s career-best of 27 points included 6-of-8 from three.
  • Caleb Swanigan, Purdue: The 6-foot-9 sophomore recorded his 17th double-double of the season. The Boilermakers have played 21 games.

STRUGGLED

  • Pitt: Louisville throttled the Panthers, 106-51. It was the worst loss for the program in more than a century.
  • Deadspin: You made Ted Cruz likable. Enough said.

TOP 25

  • Bronson Koenig’s 20 points led No. 15 Wisconsin to an 82-55 win over Penn State. The Badgers are still the co-leaders in the Big Ten.
  • Behind 15 3-pointers, No. 23 South Carolina routed Auburn, 98-69. The Gamecocks, coming off a loss to Kentucky, is 6-1 in the SEC.
  • No. 22 Maryland was led by Melo Trimble’s 17 points in a 67-55 win over Rutgers. The Terrapins still share the top spot in the Big Ten standings with No. 15 Wisconsin.

NOTABLE

  • Akron (7-0 MAC) remained unbeaten in conference play with a 90-80 win over Western Michigan
  • The nation’s leading scorer, Marcus Keene, had 28 points in Central Michigan’s 82-76 win over Bowling Green.
  • St. Bonaventure came back from down 18 to defeat St. Joe’s, 67-63
  • Wichita State has won three in a row after an 87-45 victory over Southern Illinois
  • It’s fitting that on the day the school honored Steph Curry that Jack Gibbs recorded a 32-point outing. Davidson beat Duquesne 74-60
  • Syracuse is back to .500 in ACC play by beating Wake Forest, 81-76
  • Daryl Macon’s last second free throws capped a 15-point comeback as Arkansas topped Vanderbilt, 71-70
  • Matt Thomas hit seven 3-pointers en route to 25 points as Iowa State held off Kansas State, 70-65

VIDEO: LaVar Ball gets female ref replaced after threatening to pull team from court

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A female referee was removed from a Big Ballers game after LaVar Ball threatened to pull his team from the court for the second time in a week.

The referee called Ball for a technical foul, which sparked the confrontation, but both Ball and an adidas rep told ESPN’s Jeff Borzello that the reason the ref was pulled was because she and Ball had a previous issue:

Before the game was over, Ball would receive a second technical foul and the game was eventually called with two minutes left and Big Ballers losing by 10.

Western Kentucky’s five-star recruit Mitchell Robinson has left campus

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The soap opera that has been Mitchell Robinson’s tenure at Western Kentucky took another on Friday, as the five-star center and top ten prospect in the Class of 2017 has reportedly left campus.

Robinson was a massive coup for Rick Stansbury when he committed to and signed for the Hilltoppers, but it has been non-stop drama since then. Less than two weeks after his commitment, Robinson tweeted that he would be decommitting from WKU before immediately deleting the tweet and claiming that his account was hacked. Robinson did not attend the first session of summer school on campus, and he was in class in the second summer school session and reportedly practicing with the team this month for a trip to Costa Rica, but he cleaned out his dorm room and left the campus last night.

Part of the reason that Robinson opted to go to Western Kentucky was that his godfather, former UNC star Shammond Williams, was an assistant coach on the staff. Williams left the program on July 3rd, and ever since then there have been questions surrounding where Robinson will play this season. There have been rumors that he will be heading overseas for a year before entering the 2018 NBA Draft, and there is also the potential that Robinson could end up transferring to a different college.

The question, however, is whether or not Robinson will be able to transfer and play immediately without sitting out a year since he enrolled in summer school.

Robinson is a 7-foot center and a terrific defensive prospect that is projected as a first round pick next year. If he does get a waiver to transfer, he immediately becomes the best available talent on the market, along with Marvin Bagley III, who is considering reclassifying.

Virginia, Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Vandy in NIT Tip-Off

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NEW YORK (AP) — Virginia and Vanderbilt will meet in one semifinal of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off on Thanksgiving Day at Barclays Center.

Rhode Island and Seton Hall face off in the other semifinal with the winners meeting on Friday, Nov. 24.

This is the third straight year the Tip-Off has been held at Barclays Center. Eventual NCAA champion Villanova won the event in 2015. All games will be televised on ESPNU.

Non-bracketed teams in the NIT Season Tip-Off who will play games at campus sites are: Austin Peay, Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, Oakland City and UNC Asheville.

Miles Bridges explain why he returned to Michigan State

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Miles Bridges changed the landscape of the 2017-18 college basketball season on April 13.

The Michigan State forward spurned the NBA for another year in East Lansing. The decision not only meant that Bridges was a frontrunner for national player of the year, but solidified the Spartans as a national title contender.

But Bridges’ choice to return was still puzzling to many. The 6-foot-7 forward was projected as a lottery pick. Bridges explained his decision to Mike Decourcy of Sporting News in a story published on Thursday.

“He says, ‘You know what, Coach? I want to get better. I don’t want to be in the D-League. I’ve got buddies that are, and I just want to make sure when I go, I’m ready,’ ” Izzo recalled to Sporting News. “I looked at him and I said, ‘Done deal.’ For me, that was a done deal. It was a reasonable, sensible argument.”

Agents, friends, reporters, scouts, acquaintances, fans, strangers and family members — oh and, as we said, coaches — all had one opinion about how Bridges should spend the next year of his life. Miles had another, opposing, viewpoint.

Bridges told Decourcy that support came from his teammates, many of whom were returning to the team as well. Assuming the backcourt of Cassius Winston and Josh Langford make a leap forward, as well as incoming freshman Jaren Jackson providing an immediate impact, the Spartans’ title hopes could become a reality.

Bridges averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.5 blocks as a freshman at Michigan State. He’s rated as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.

Four conferences sign on to basketball officiating alliance

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Four more Division I conferences will join a men’s basketball officiating alliance formed last year by the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Atlantic 10 and Colonial Athletic Association.

The Big South, the Ivy League, the Northeast and the Patriot League are joining ahead of the 2017-18 season, according to announcements from the leagues Thursday. The alliance launched last summer for conferences to work together on officiating matters and enhance training, development, recruitment, retention and feedback for officials.

John Cahill, the Big East’s supervisor of officials, and Bryan Kersey, the ACC’s coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, will continue to lead the alliance operations.

ACC commissioner John Swofford says the new additions to the alliance “provide an even greater opportunity to build chemistry and quality” across the officiating ranks.