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No. 13 Oregon embarrasses No. 5 Arizona, moves into tie for first in the Pac-12

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Tyler Dorsey scored 23 points and went 6-for-6 from three as No. 13 Oregon humiliated No. 5 Arizona in Eugene on Saturday afternoon, 85-58.

That final score makes the game seem much closer than it actually was. Oregon was up 38-11 15 minutes into the game and 62-27 at one point in the second half. They threw more casual alley-oops than the Harlem Globetrotters. They made 16 of their first 21 threes. With five minutes left in the first half, Oregon had 10 assists to Arizona’s 11 points while the Wildcats had made five field goals and used three timeouts.

This was a mollywhopping in every sense of the word.

Here are the three things to know after this game:

1. Oregon at their best can beat anyone: Arizona is a top five team in the country. They were 21-2 entering Saturday. They were undefeated in Pac-12 play and had won a game in Pauley Pavilion. There was talk that the Wildcats were the best team in college basketball, so when we say that Oregon at their best can beat anyone in the country, this win proves it. It could very well have come against the best team in college basketball.

The most impressive part wasn’t the shooting. They finished the night 16-for-25 from three after missing their final four shots from beyond the arc, which is particularly impressive when you consider that Oregon was a team where we were worried about their perimeter shooting in November and December. But the thing about this win that stood out more than anything else was their defense. The Ducks are a top 20 defense and the best defensive team in the Pac-12, but they also got lit up by Arizona State’s guards on Thursday night.

And Arizona?

Their back court is as talented as any back court in the country. This looked like a matchup that the Wildcats could exploit, except the exact opposite happened. The Wildcats had 18 points at the half and 27 points midway through the second half. They couldn’t do anything offensively, and while part of that was their own doing, much of the credit belongs to the Ducks.

2. Oregon moves into first place in the Pac-12: Well, a tie for first place.

With Arizona.

Which is notable because a win for Arizona in this game would have all-but clinched the Pac-12 regular season title for the Wildcats. They would have held a two-game lead with seven games left, and the only matchup left on their schedule with one of the top three teams in the conference comes at home against UCLA. The Ducks play at UCLA.

Instead, the two teams are tied atop the standings today. Arizona is probably still the favorite to win it – that road trip to UCLA is not going to be easy – but the bottom line is that this is going to be a battle the rest of the way.

3. As for Arizona, s*** happens: That’s about all you can take away from this game. Oregon was just so unbelievably good and Arizona was such a trainwreck. The team that showed up in Eugene for Sean Miller is not the team that Arizona has been all season long.

It’s just one of those things that happens in college basketball.

If there is a concern here, it’s that Arizona never had a response. They got punched in mouth and never fought back, instead choosing to sit there and take blow after blow after on the chin. That’s worrisome, and it’s worth wondering whether that’s an issue of leadership or just part of the deal when it comes to relying on three freshmen and a sophomore as heavily as Arizona does.

The bottom line for Arizona is this: There is no shame in losing at Oregon. They weren’t supposed to. The Ducks are good, and they have the nation’s longest home-court winning streak at 40 games. They will be just fine as long as they don’t let this loss have a hangover effect.

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.