Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Player of the Week: Donovan Mitchell, Louisville

Leave a comment

This week capped off a stretch where Donovan Mitchell has been on a tear.

He’s hit for at least 15 points in eight of his last nine games, going for 20 in five and 25 in three of those nine. Over the last seven games, Mitchell, who has been somewhat inconsistent shooting the ball this season, is 24-for-47 (51.1%) from beyond the arc.

This past week was as dominant as he’s been this season. Mitchell had 29 points in the 55-point win the Cardinals landed over Pitt, following that up with 28 points and some suffocating defense on Dennis Smith Jr. as Louisville picked off N.C. State. He was 12-for-18 from three in those two games, and is now shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc on the season.

It’s also probably worth noting that, in two games where the Cards were mostly playing without their two point guards Tony Hicks and Quentin Snider, Mitchell averaged 4.0 assists.

As a team, Louisville has now made 24 threes in their last two games and is shooting 35.9 percent from beyond the arc. For a team whose biggest concern is perimeter shooting, that’s starting to look less and less concerning.

THEY WERE GOOD, TOO

  • Trevon Bluiett, Xavier: Bluiett popped off for 40 points on 15 shots in a close loss at Cincinnati, following that up with 21 points and 10 boards as the Musketeers went into Madison Square Garden and knocked off St. John’s.
  • Josh Jackson, Kansas: The Jayhawks lost at West Virginia to start the week, but it was the 22 points from Josh Jackson that kept Kansas within striking distance for most of the game. Then on Saturday, he was the best player on the floor as Kansas went into Rupp Arena and picked off Kentucky, finishing with 20 points, 10 boards, three assists, two steals and the biggest bucket of the game down the stretch.
  • Andrew White III, Syracuse: In the biggest week of the season for the Orange, White was the best player on the floor, averaging 26.5 points in wins over Miami and Florida State that have given the Syracuse some hope of getting an at-large bid.
  • Josh Okogie, Georgia Tech: Okogie had 35 points and 14 boards on Wednesday night, helping lead the Yellow Jackets to a blowout win over then-No. 6 Florida State in Atlanta. They would follow that win up by knocking off then-No. 14 Notre Dame on Saturday.
  • Esa Ahmad, West Virginia: Ahmad torched No. 2 Kansas on Tuesday night, popping off for 27 points as the Mountaineers landed their second massive win over a top two team at home this season.

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.