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SATURDAY’S SNACKS: Six top ten teams lose in a wild day

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SATURDAY’S THINGS TO KNOW

Things got wild in the Big 12 on Saturday as the top three teams in the conference leaders all lost at home to unranked, bubble-bound teams.

It started when Iowa State earned one of the most important wins of the season by beating No. 3 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse. The Cyclones snapped the Jayhawks’ 54-game winning streak. I have more on this one here.

After Kansas fell, No. 2 Baylor had a chance to make a move in the Big 12 standings but they lost that opportunity by losing at home to Kansas State. The Wildcats nearly blew a 15-point halftime lead by held on as Kamau Stokes had 15 points. Rob Dauster has more on why this win is so important for Kansas State.

Then to cap it all off, No. 7 West Virginia lost at home to Oklahoma State, 82-75. It is the fifth straight win for the Cowboys, who have played their way off the bubble and into the NCAA tournament.

The afternoon started with an important game in the Big Ten as No. 23 Purdue traveled to No. 17 Maryland. Sophomore Caleb Swanigan had a solid outing and overcame some poor play from Purdue’s other interior options as the Boilers earned a huge road win. I have more on why this one was critical to the rest of Purdue’s season.

The biggest statement of the day was made by No. 13 Oregon, who pounded No. 5 Arizona into submission with an 85-58 win.

Speaking of statements, No. 24 Florida landed their first marquee win of the season as No. 8 Kentucky came to town and caught a backhand from the Gators. It was the best performance of Kasey Hill’s college career.

Keeping with the theme of unranked teams beating ranked teams on the road, Xavier pulled off a win at No. 22 Creighton without Edmond Sumner as the Musketeers had a balanced effort. I have more on why this one helps Xavier so much.

It was also a big afternoon for Syracuse as the Orange beat No. 9 Virginia and head coach Jim Boeheim coached in his 1,000th win with the program (although the NCAA vacated 101 wins, leaving him officially at 899 wins). CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on why this one mattered so much for the Orange and Boeheim and what it means for Syracuse’s NCAA tournament outlook.

Coach K returned to the sidelines for No. 21 Duke as they took down Pitt for a home ACC win. Junior Grayson Allen had 21 points to lead the Blue Devils and CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on the lineup changes that Duke could be using the rest of the season.

STARRED

Jaaron Simmons, Ohio: Facing Akron, the MAC’s only unbeaten team in conference play, the junior guard had a monster outing as Simmons finished with 38 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in an Ohio win. Simmons went 10-for-16 from the field and he was perfect from the three-point line (5-for-5) and 13-for-16 from the free-throw line.

Angel Delgado, Seton Hall: Maybe the best big man nobody in college basketball is talking about, Delgado had 26 points and 17 rebounds in an overtime road win over Georgetown. The Pirates are fighting to stay in the NCAA tournament picture and Delgado is putting up 15.4 points and 14.7 rebounds per game in 10 Big East games. He’s playing at an All-American level.

Keon Johnson, Winthrop: If Winthrop makes the NCAA tournament, don’t forget about this guy. Johnson went for 39 points in a win over Campbell. The Big South leaders have come to expect big performances like this from Johnson as this tops his previous season high of 38 in a win over Illinois.

RELATED: Get caught up on all of today’s bubble action

REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Gonzaga remained undefeated, although their streak of 267 minutes without trailing came to an end in the first half.
  • Easy win for No. 6 Louisville as they ran past Boston College for an ACC road win. Deng Adel and Donovan Mitchell both finished with 19 points each.
  • No. 11 UCLA avoided getting upset by Washington.
  • No. 14 Cincinnati handled UConn without much trouble behind 27 points from Kyle Washington.
  • San Diego scored nine first half points and 27 total points as they got mollywhopped by No. 18 Saint Mary’s.
  • Tight win for No. 19 South Carolina over Georgia to stay among the SEC’s elite as P.J. Dozier had 21 points and Sindarius Thornwell had 18.

NOTABLE

  • In the ACC, Miami earned a solid road win at N.C. State as Davon Reed had 26 points. Freshman Dennis Smith Jr. had 31 points and nine assists in the loss for the Wolfpack.
  • Staying in the ACC, Wake Forest pulled off a home win over Georgia Tech as big man John Collins had 20 points and 11 rebounds.
  • TCU earned a Big 12 home win over Texas to keep its NCAA tournament credibility intact. The Horned Frogs had 18 points from Vladimir Brodziansky.
  • The Horizon League race got interesting with Green Bay beating Valparaiso by double digits at home. Kareem Kanter had 17 points and nine rebounds as the win snapped the Crusaders’ eight-game win streak. One game separates first-place Valpo and Green Bay in the conference now.

Seven identified after threats made against referee John Higgins following Kentucky Elite Eight loss

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College basketball referee John Higgins received threats to his home and business in late March after some controversial calls in North Carolina’s win over Kentucky in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

Seven people have now been identified for making threats against Higgins, according to an Associated Press report. The FBI’s Omaha, Nebraska field office said that information on the seven people will be referred to authorities in their jurisdictions.

An investigation over the last few months helped find the culprits, as the Omaha-based Higgins received emails, phone calls and voicemails to his personal home and roofing company following Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament departure. Wildcat head coach John Calipari might have ignited some of the anger in Kentucky fans by criticizing the officiating following the North Carolina loss.

“Based on the investigation’s findings, our office has determined that no local charges will be filed and that pursuit of any criminal charges would be best served by deferring to authorities in the appropriate jurisdictions,” Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov said in a statement to The Associated Press. “The length of the investigation was drawn out due in part to the large volume of potential evidence requiring analysis, and the multi-jurisdictional issues arising from the multiple states in which the communications originated.”

Polikov also said that at least two media outlets were exposing and promoting Higgins’ contact information.

“This information has been referred to the Federal Communications Commission for further investigation of the potential violations related to applicable federal communications regulations,” Polikov said.

Higgins received about 3,000 phone calls at his office in the two days following the game. Sheriff’s investigator Matt Barrall told the AP that an estimated 75 percent of the calls were from Kentucky area codes.

The roofing business that Higgins owns was also flooded with bad online reviews and negative star ratings, causing his Google rating to fall while also forcing Higgins to take down the Facebook page for his business.

Beilein still upbeat after Michigan loses another to NBA

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — For a major program, Michigan is a somewhat unlikely candidate for this kind of NBA-induced attrition.

The Wolverines have fielded some very good teams under John Beilein, but they haven’t been relying on prospects expected to jump to the pros as soon as they can.

“We’re not depending all our success on one-and-dones,” Beilein said. “Given that, our numbers right now are extraordinary.”

Beilein was referring to the number of players Michigan has sent to the NBA, particularly as early entrees. The Wolverines lost D.J. Wilson to the draft this offseason with two years of eligibility remaining, and now they’ll go through the familiar process of trying to replace a key player who turned pro.

The most significant early exodus occurred in 2013 and 2014, when Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary all went pro before their eligibility was up. Michigan won a lot of games with those players, reaching the Final Four and Elite Eight those two years, but their development made them attractive to NBA teams and shortened their college careers.

Wilson’s rise followed a similar pattern. He averaged only 2.7 points per game in 2015-16, and then increased to 11.0 this past season and became Michigan’s leading rebounder. His efforts helped Michigan win the Big Ten Tournament and reach the Sweet 16, and now he’s off to the NBA draft. The entire sequence of events would have seemed highly improbable a year ago.

The Wolverines won’t receive much sympathy from their Big Ten opponents, especially since Michigan will still have big man Moe Wagner, who tested the NBA waters but ultimately decided to stay in school. The 6-foot-11 Wagner averaged 12.1 points last season and shot 39.5 percent from 3-point range, showing huge improvement in much the same way Wilson did.

After losing senior point guard Derrick Walton, it will be interesting to see how Michigan’s offense operates if Wagner becomes even more of a focal point. When Beilein was at West Virginia, the Mountaineers achieved success behind center Kevin Pittsnogle, whose skill set and 3-point shooting ability was at least somewhat similar to Wagner’s.

“We’re not going to put him in that category yet,” Beilein said. “Let’s just say, having a big man who can shoot the ball like that changes a lot of things.”

Michigan was also able to add a new point guard recently in Jaaron Simmons, a graduate transfer from Ohio. Simmons is eligible immediately in 2017-18 and will move up from the Mid-American Conference to the Big Ten.

“A lot of the mid-majors are having this happen to them, and I don’t like it at all, but the fact is if Jaaron doesn’t come here, he ends up probably somewhere else in the Big Ten,” Beilein said. “He’s just fundamentally so sound. He’ll be here this summer. Just as a person, I just wanted to coach the kid after spending an hour with him — just the leadership, the desire to win.”

Simmons could help the Wolverines withstand the loss of Walton, and Beilein indicated he could serve as a bit of a mentor to players like point guard Xavier Simpson, who is entering his sophomore season.

“We went all-in with (Simmons), knowing we had that scholarship,” Beilein said. “We felt that was a huge need for us, is to just have a little bit more experience in the backcourt next year.”

Follow Noah Trister on Twitter @noahtrister

LaVar Ball having ‘zero’ interaction with UCLA team bodes well for next season

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With the NBA Draft looming in less than a month, the biggest talking point has been just how much of an impact LaVar Ball is going to have on his son, Lonzo’s, NBA career.

It’s a question worth asking given the, ahem, outspoken nature of the eldest Ball.

But in the collegiate ranks, that’s a question that’s been asked about UCLA regarding next season. While Lonzo and LaMelo, who is finishing up his sophomore season in high school, are the stars that get the majority of the attention, there is another Ball brother that will be enrolling at UCLA next season: LiAngelo.

LaVar has already said that he expect Gelo to be a one-and-done player, which may not jibe with how good Gelo actually is. He’s not Lonzo and he’s not LaMelo. He’s not a dynamic athlete or a lead guard. He’s a 6-foot-5, 200 pound shooter with limitless range but limited upside. There’s a reason Rivals ranks him as a three-star prospect.

What’s going to happen when UCLA, a top 15 team in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25, doesn’t give Gelo Lonzo-esque minutes or shots next season? How will LaVar handle it if his second son is coming off the bench for the Bruins?

Steve Alford doesn’t seem concerned about it, telling a reporter from the LA Times that LaVar was “never at practice, never called me” and was around the team “zero.”

“I think all parents probably should know that moving on to the collegiate level anyway,” Alford said. “It’s not high school, it’s not AAU. Your son’s on scholarship; your son’s at UCLA getting an incredible opportunity academically and athletically.

“Playing time, shots, that kind of stuff — we don’t entertain some of those phone calls anyway. I never had any issues at all with LaVar.”

It will be interesting to see if that continues next season.

The Bruins have a chance to be pretty good. Maybe not quite as good as last season, maybe not a Pac-12 title favorite or even the best team in LA — USC is loaded — but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them end up as a top four seed in the NCAA tournament with Aaron Holiday and Thomas Welsh returning and Jaylen Hands headlining the recruiting class.

Will LaVar be able to handle UCLA’s success if it comes at the expense of his son’s?

NCAA: Former USF assistant provided extra benefits, lied to NCAA investigators

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The NCAA has alleged that former South Florida assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided roughly $500 in impermissible benefits and initially lied to NCAA investigators about it, according to the Tampa Bay Times, who obtained the NCAA’s summary disposition report.

Oliver Antigua is the younger brother of Orlando Antigua, who was the head coach at USF until he was fired in January. Now an assistant on Brad Underwood’s staff at Oklahoma State, Orlando was not alleged to have committed an NCAA violation in the report.

Oliver is alleged to have provided the extra benefits to two student-athletes while they were being tutored by the sister-in-law of Gerald Gillion, a special assistant to Orlando who resigned last fall, four months after Oliver did. USF has already self-imposed a $5,000 and reduced their scholarships from 13 to 12, according to the report.

“The University of South Florida and the NCAA continue to work together to resolve the inquiry into violations of NCAA bylaws and university standards by a USF intercollegiate athletic program,” according to a statement released by the school. “USF anticipates having a final resolution with the NCAA sometime this fall. Until the process concludes and the matter is fully resolved, USF cannot provide further comment.”

Villanova lands four-star 2018 guard

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Villanova added its first recruit in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday night.

Jay Wright and his staff landed a verbal commitment from Paul VI Catholic High School’s Brandon Slater, a four-star guard by Rivals as the No. 42 overall prospect in the rising senior class.

The 6-foot-5 Slater announced his decision via Twitter.

Slater, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN, picked the Wildcats over Maryland, Miami, South Carolina, and Virginia.

He is currently playing the Nike EYBL with Team Takeover, the same grassroots program that produced current Villanova guard Phil Booth.