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Marquette lands massive upset of No. 1 Villanova

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Katin Reinhardt scored 19 points, including the seven points in the final two minutes of the game, as Marquette landed a massive win over No. 1 Villanova, 74-72, on Tuesday night.

This was the second straight win for the Golden Eagles over a top ten team, as they went into Omaha and knocked off then-No. 7 Creighton on Saturday. Those are two massive victories for a team that seemed destined to find themselves on the bubble come Selection Sunday.

The Wildcats held a double-figure lead for much of the game and were up 70-57 late in the second half before Marquette came storming back. The run was capped by Reinhardt, who hit a baseline jumper, a three-pointer and the game winning free throws late in the contest.

Here are three things we can take away from this game:

1. Marquette is probably going to the NCAA tournament: I say probably because I’ll never put it past a group of college kids to do something totally unexpected, and given that this Marquette team is not exactly known for their defensive prowess, I can envision a scenario where they lose too many dumb games to stay above the bubble’s cut line.

That said, this is the difference-making win for them. They already have a win at Creighton – which likely looks better now than it will on Selection Sunday – as well as wins over Vanderbilt, Georgia and Seton Hall. They don’t have an awful loss, and it will stay that way so long as Pitt can avoid doing things like losing to Louisville by 55 points for the rest of the season. They still get Xavier at home, Butler at home and Creighton at home. Those are winnable games for this group.

In other words, their profile today is strong enough to get an at-large bid and they have opportunities left on their schedule to build on that profile.

But perhaps more importantly …

2. … Marquette is dangerous: This wasn’t just a fluky win. This team is pretty good. Offensively, they are one of the most efficient teams in the sport. They shoot the heck out of it, ranking fourth nationally in three-point percentage, and employ a small-ball lineup around Luke Fischer that makes them very difficult to guard. When they get into a rhythm shooting the ball, they can put up points in a hurry.

Should I mention that Marquette won this game despite getting basically nothing from Markus Howard, who has been one of, if not their best player? (That’s not true, actually. He did chip in with one missed shots, two turnovers and five fouls.) This group isn’t overly talented, but they have the balance to absorb an off-night from one of their best players. Seven of the eight guys in their rotation averaged between 9.4 points and 13.0 points.

Their issue is on the defensive end of the floor, but their answer came with a 1-3-1 zone that Steve Wojciechowski threw at Villanova. That’s not going to work every night, but it did on Tuesday night.

3. Sometimes the shots just don’t go down: Villanova was 6-for-34 from three on Tuesday night.

6-for-34.

That’s 17.6 percent.

Jalen Brunson, a 44.6 percent three-point shooter, was 0-for-5. Kris Jenkins, a 42.9 percent three-point shooter, was 0-for-5. Donte Divicenzo, a 34.4 percent three-point shooters, was 0-for-6. That’s not going to happen often.

Do they deserve some criticism for settling? Yes. Is it worrisome that they blew a lead because they didn’t have another option offensively down the stretch? Eh, not really. No one has proven to be better winners than Villanova over the course of the last three and a half seasons. Everyone has a bad night.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.