Texas A&M's Robert Williams to Kansas for Malik Newman:

If college basketball had a trading deadline, what deals would get made?

Leave a comment

We’re getting down to the stretch run for college basketball teams, and if anything has become obvious this season, it’s that all of the best teams in the country are flawed. 

Let’s pretend, for a second, that trades were allowed in college basketball. If they were, here are eight trades that would benefit some of the national title contenders this season. 

The major caveat here: These trades have to benefit both teams, and they have to be trades that, in theory, would be accepted. So, for example, no matter how much I want to pretend to send Jawun Evans to Duke, it would never happen with Oklahoma State now in the mix for a tournament berth. The same can be said for someone like Alec Peters of Valparaiso or Jack Gibbs of Davidson. 

Oklahoma’s Jordan Woodard to Duke for Marques Bolden: Marques Bolden has totally disappeared from Duke’s rotation. He’s played a total of four minutes in the last three games, since the Blue Devils have made the change to playing small ball full-time. What Duke is lacking is a point guard, and Oklahoma, who is currently sitting at 8-14 on the season, has a senior in Jordan Woodard with Final Four experience that spent last season divvying up shots between Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins, who has some point guard tendencies in his own right. Why wouldn’t Oklahoma give up Woodard in a lost season for the chance to let Lon Kruger mold a guy with Bolden’s talent? And why wouldn’t Duke shed Bolden, who isn’t getting minutes this season and who has been recruited over for next year?

Oklahoma’s Khadeem Lattin to Villanova for Tim Delany: Lattin is an active, 6-foot-9 forward that blocks some shots and gets some rebounds and thrives playing a role, which is exactly what the junior would do for Villanova, who needs some help on the inside. The Sooners would get back Delany, a former four-star prospect and redshirt freshman that has seen his minutes limited as he fights through some hip issues.

Illinois’ Malcolm Hill to Kentucky for Sacha Killeya-Jones: Kentucky badly needs a source of offense in the half court, and Hill has been one of the best scorers in college basketball for the last two seasons. He’s big enough that he can play the four in a small-ball lineup and at least be as effective defensively as Derek Willis has been. He would also provide a much bigger offensive boost for a team that has become totally predictable on that end of the floor. In return, Illinois would be getting a big man with terrific upside that hasn’t been able to get off the bench this season for the Wildcats and who may have been recruited over by head coach John Calipari for next season.

Texas A&M’s Robert Williams to Kansas for Malik Newman: The Jayhawks have a shot to win a national title this season. They have the nation’s best back court in Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham and they have one of the nation’s best wings in Justin Jackson. They’ve been really good playing small-ball this season, but their biggest issue is a lack of size inside. It’s Landen Lucas, an undersized Carlton Bragg Jr. and … well, that’s about it. Williams, a freaky-athletic, 6-foot-9 forward that’s averaging 11.0 points, 6.8 boards and 2.5 blocks in 23 minutes for Texas A&M, is the perfect fit. He’s a potential one-and-done, and with the Aggies currently sitting at 4-6 in the SEC, why wouldn’t they give him up to get Malik Newman, who was a top ten player in the Class of 2015? They Jayhawks can afford to lose Newman to make a run at this year’s title, as Graham is only a junior and they still have a good shot at landing Trae Young for next season.

TUCSON, AZ - JANUARY 29:  Markelle Fultz #20 of the Washington Huskies handles the ball during the second half of the college basketball game against the Arizona Wildcats at McKale Center on January 29, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Huskies 77-66.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Markelle Fultz (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Washington’s Markelle Fultz to Creighton for Kaleb Joseph, Kobe Paras: Washington is currently sitting second-to-last in a Big 12 that is not very good at the bottom. Their season is over, and Markelle Fultz, who may be the single-most talented player in college basketball, is stuck on a team that will be lucky to end up in the CBI. Creighton is without their starting point guard after Mo Watson tore his ACL, which has turned what was once a high-powered, fast-break offense into one that is matchup-oriented and inconsistent. Fultz would be a great fit on the floor with the likes of Marcus Foster and Justin Patton, while Washington would get, in return, a former top 75 point guard that started as a freshman at Syracuse in Kaleb Joseph and an athletic, 6-foot-6 wing in Paras that originally was committed to UCLA. Both redshirted this season, and we saw what redshirts at Creighton had done for Foster, Patton and Watson. Adding talent and depth would be nice for when Michael Porter Jr. shows up next season.

Northern Iowa’s Jeremy Morgan to UCLA for Prince Ali: UCLA stinks defensively. Jeremy Morgan is a good defender, a 6-foot-6 wing that averages 1.5 steals and 2.0 blocks. He’s also a guy that can knock down a three – he was shooting 40.4 percent this season before a recent 5-for-26 slump – which means that the Bruins would be adding a very good perimeter defender to their rotation without costing themselves the floor spacing that makes their offense so lethal. In exchange, UNI would be getting a former top 30 recruit that struggled to find minutes as a freshman and has missed this season due to injury.

Grand Canyon’s Dewayne Russell to West Virginia for James Bolden: Russell is averaging 22.5 points and 5.0 assists for Grand Canyon this season, who is not eligible for the NCAA tournament. He put up 42 on Louisville earlier this year. GCU would get back Bolden, a redshirt freshman guard that was a three-star prospect and who will star in the WAC for the next three years, when the Antelopes will be able to get to the dance.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 11: Malcolm Hill #21 of the Illinois Fighting Illini takes the ball up court against the Purdue Boilermakers in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 11, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Purdue defeated Illinois 89-58. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Malcolm Hill (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Temple’s Obi Enechionyia to Michigan State for Matt McQuaid, Kyle Ahrens: Temple had a hot start to the season but has slowed down in AAC play, leaving them open to making some moves. Michigan State could use a mobile, stretch-four big man that can defend the rim and hit threes. Enechionyia is 6-foot-10, shoots 37.8 percent from three while attempting six per game and blocks 1.7 shots per night. Adding that piece while giving up a pair of young role players seems like a match.

Pitt’s Jamel Artis to South Carolina for TeMarcus Blanton, Sedee Keita: South Carolina badly needs help offensively. Badly. They’re 150th in offensive efficiency, according to KenPom, and on Tuesday night, they posted a first half that saw them shoot 3-for-30. They went to four overtimes at home against Alabama because they couldn’t crack 30 percent shooting from the floor. Pitt is 1-9 in the ACC this season and loaded with upperclassmen. Their season is done. Why not move a senior like Artis, who is averaging better than 20 points, for a couple of talented youngsters? The Gamecocks have a chance to make a run this season, and you may not find a better 1-2-3 punch than Artis, Sindarius Thornwell and P.J. Dozier.

Louisville’s Ray Spalding to Iowa for Peter Jok: The Cardinals need to add perimeter shooting, and Jok may be the best perimeter scorer in the Big Ten. He’s also the only senior on a young Iowa team that doesn’t seem like they’re going to be making a run this season. Spalding is a 6-foot-9 sophomore with a 7-foot-4 wingspan and NBA potential. He’s also the fourth big man in Louisville’s rotation.

VIDEO: West Virginia honored Andrew Jones before game vs. Texas

Screengrab via CBS
Leave a comment

The West Virginia basketball team donned burnt orange ‘Big 12 Strong’ warmup shirts with the No. 1 on the back in honor of Texas point guard Andrew Jones.

Jones was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this month.

Texas Tech also honored Jones before a game this week, and Texas has raised more than $100,000 for his medical expenses.

Saturday College Basketball Recap: No. 7 Wichita State, No. 8 Texas Tech lose

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
1 Comment

PLAYER OF THE DAY

It’s hard to argue with the performance that J.P. Macura had on Saturday. No. 11 Xavier went into Newark and knocked off No. 19 Seton Hall, 73-64, behind 27 points, five boards and three assists from Macura.

This win was particularly important for Xavier, who remain just a game out of first place in the Big East and in great position to make a run at getting a top three seed, which would mean they likely won’t have to play Villanova until the Big East title game. The loss is the second in a row for Seton Hall and the their third loss in four games.

THE REST OF SATURDAY’S STARS

  • CARSEN EDWARDS, Purdue: Edwards finished with 22 points, eight assists, two steals and no turnovers as the No. 3 Boilermakers blew out Iowa on the road.
  • MALIK NEWMAN, Kansas: Newman finished with 24 points and seven boards, including a personal 7-0 run with three minutes left to help No. 10 Kansas remain in sole possession of first place in the Big 12 with a 70-67 win over Baylor.
  • BRYCE BROWN, Auburn: Brown finished with 28 points as Auburn erased a 14-point halftime deficit to knock off Georgia 79-65 and remain within a game of first-place in the SEC.
  • DEAN WADE, Kansas State: In a win over No. 24 Kansas State, TCU’s second-straight win over a ranked team, Wade went for 20 pints, six boards, six assists, two blocks and two steals.

TEAM OF THE DAY

Houston landed themselves their first marquee win of the season as they pounded No. 7 Wichita State in Houston, 73-59. Rob Gray led the way with 24 points and four assists, putting the Cougars in a position where earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament is feasible. There is still plenty of work left to do, but this is the start they needed.

The bigger question mark, however, is Wichita State, who also lost at home to SMU this week. The Shockers are nowhere near as good as many expected them to be. Their offense isn’t good enough to make up for the fact that they aren’t guarding anyone.

GAME OF THE DAY

Trae Young went for 48 points, 34 of which came after halftime as the Sooners erased a 19-point deficit, but thanks to a Kendall Smith three at the end of regulation, this game went into overtime. Young had shots at the buzzer in regulation and in overtime to win the game and missed both, as the Pokes escaped with an 83-81 win.

Young needed 39 shots to get those 48 points. We went through whether or not that is too many shots for him here.

WTF???? OF THE DAY

Iowa State, who can’t guard anyone and is probably the worst team in the Big 12 this season, knocked off No. 8 Texas Tech, 70-52. The Red Raiders have now lost three of their last four games – all of which came on the road – after winning at Kansas. Texas Tech is also now just 1-3 in the four games since Zach Smith broke his foot, but they also beat Baylor by 24 points and won at Kansas when Smith played 10 total minutes.

So you explain Texas Tech to me. Because I don’t get it.

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

The Florida Gators moved into sole possession of first place in the SEC thanks to a 66-64 win at No. 18 Kentucky on Saturday. It was hardly a pretty game – Florida shot 33 percent from the floor and 6-for-30 from three – but the Gators were able to hang on thanks to a questionable no-call in the final seconds.

No. 20 Clemson held on to beat Notre Dame at home on Saturday, 67-58, but missing out on a commitment from Zion Williamson wasn’t the only bad news of the day. Star forward Donte Grantham went down with a knee injury midway through the second half. He averages 14.3 points and 7.1 boards. Losing him would be disastrous for the Tigers.

No. 14 Arizona had to rally down the stretch, but the Wildcats did. Trailing by as many as 11 points late in the second half at Stanford, the Wildcats survived as Dorian Pickens missed a three at the buzzer. The win puts Arizona all alone in first place in the Pac-12.

Jalen Brunson scored 23 points and Donte DiVincenzo added 17 points off the bench as No. 1 Villanova blew out UConn in Hartford, 81-61.

No. 13 Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s both won, meaning that the Gaels still hold a one game lead over the Zags in the WCC. Nevada knocked off Boise State, giving the Wolf Pack a two-game lead in the Mountain West.

At this point, Pitt barely counts as ACC competition. But they are and No. 5 Duke beat them 81-54 tonight.

Jevon Carter went for 22 points and eight assists as No. 6 West Virginia knocked off Texas, 86-51. The game was closer than the final score indicates, as the Mountaineers pulled away late.

The star of the day for No. 12 Cincinnati was Gary Clark, who finished with 14 points, 14 boards, two assists, two steals and two blocks, in an 86-60 win over East Carolina.

Luke Maye went for 17 points and 11 boards to lead four players in double figures as No. 15 North Carolina held on to beat Josh Pastner and Georgia Tech, 80-66.

It ended up not being much of a game when the Big Ten invaded Madison Square Garden as No. 22 Ohio State put a beating on Minnesota, 67-49. Minnesota lost Jordan Murphy to an ankle injury in the game as well.

You Make The Call: Did Kentucky’s P.J. Washington get fouled?

Screengrab via ESPN
1 Comment

There was a controversial finish to Florida’s 66-64 win over No. 18 Kentucky in Rupp Arena on Saturday night.

Florida had taken a 45-37 lead on the Wildcats before Kentucky fought back, eventually pulling ahead before the Gators surged back in front. A pair of threes and a missed front-end set up a situation where the Wildcats had the ball, down 66-64, on the final possession of the game, leading to this play:

P.J. Washington drives to the rim and appears to get hit in the head by Jalen Hudson. Hudson initially gets his hand on top of the ball, but as Washington’s momentum carries him, Hudson rakes Washington across the face and pushes his head back with his elbow.

It’s not intentional, but the contact is clearly there.

Did the referees blow this call?

If they did, the call could end up determining the SEC regular season champion. Entering Saturday, both Kentucky and Florida were tied for the league lead at 5-1 in the conference. They play again on the season’s final weekend in Gainesville.

Norvell helps No. 13 Gonzaga bounce back to beat Santa Clara

Kent C. Horner/Getty Images
Leave a comment

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Zach Norvell Jr. scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half, and No. 13 Gonzaga bounced back from its first conference loss of the season to beat Santa Clara 75-60 on Saturday night.

Josh Perkins added 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting, Rui Hachimura scored 16 points and Killian Tillie had 12. Johnathan Williams had nine points and eight boards for Gonzaga (17-4, 7-1 West Coast Conference), including his 400th career rebound.

Two days after a 74-71 home loss to Saint Mary’s that ended Gonzaga’s six-game winning streak, the Bulldogs had trouble shaking the pesky Broncos (7-13, 4-4) until Norvell found his stroke after halftime.

Norvell made pair of 3s, a short jumper and a layup in the first 7 ½ minutes of the second half, scored on an offensive rebound as part of a 12-0 run, and then made a fast-break one-handed dunk to put the Bulldogs up 75-41.

It was Gonzaga’s 17th consecutive win over the Broncos and improved coach Mark Few’s record to 40-4 against Santa Clara.

KJ Feagin scored 21 points for the Broncos.

Unlike the first game between the teams this season, when Gonzaga built 27-point lead by halftime on the way to a win in Spokane, Santa Clara kept it close early despite struggling from beyond the arc.

The Broncos missed eight of their first nine 3-point attempts but were tied with 8 ½ minutes left in the first half following Josip Vrankic’s driving layup that had the crowd at Leavey Center roaring.

Part of the problem for Gonzaga was the Bulldogs’ inability to keep Feagin from getting to the basket. He had 12 points in the first 20 minutes, made three layups and tipped in his own miss to help Santa Clara close within seven at halftime.

BIG PICTURE

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs have not lost back-to-back games this season and looked good after a somewhat slow start. Norvell provided a huge boost but the Zags also got another big game from Hachimura, who has scored in double figures in nine consecutive games.

Santa Clara: Coming off a win at San Francisco, the Broncos made a splash in the first half at home to keep things interesting. They never had the Bulldogs on their heels, but it was a much better effort than their first meeting.

No. 10 Kansas rallies late to beat Baylor, 70-67

Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Leave a comment

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas coach Bill Self has relied on a four-guard lineup all season, one that is designed to attack the basket aggressively, draw fouls and get to the free throw line.

He was fortunate one of those four guards stepped up Saturday night.

Malik Newman scored seven of his game-high 24 points in the final minutes, bailing out the rest of his sluggish teammates, and Baylor turned the ball over on the last inbounds play as the No. 10 Jayhawks escaped with a 70-67 victory that kept them atop the Big 12.

“We were lucky,” Self said, “to have one guy out there putting defense on its heels.”

The Jayhawks (16-3, 6-1 Big 12) trailed 67-61 with 2:05 to go before Newman went on his scoring binge, giving them the slimmest of leads again. The Bears (12-7, 2-5) had a couple of chances after that, but Manu Lecomte missed a 3-pointer and a layup attempt high off the glass with three seconds left.

Devonte Graham added a pair of free throws before Baylor squandered a chance at the final shot.

“(Newman) put us on his back and all we needed was to get those stops,” Graham said, “and we did.”

It was the Jayhawks’ 11th consecutive win over the Bears, who have never won in 16 tries in Lawrence. It was also the closest Baylor has come during any of those games.

Graham finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Udoka Azubuike had 14 points and seven boards, but he was just 4 of 11 from the foul line and missed two crucial ones late.

Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. had 14 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out for Baylor. Nuni Omot added 14 points and Lecomte had 10, though he was 3 of 12 from the floor and 1 of 8 from the 3-point arc.

“Very frustrating. We’re as good a team as them. We know we can beat them,” Lecomte said. “They’re a really good team. They never give up. Next time we have to make sure we keep that lead.”

Allen Fieldhouse has been Baylor coach Scott Drew’s personal house of horrors — the closest he had come to winning had been the Bears’ 73-68 loss last season. And when the Jayhawks opened the game by making their first seven shots and taking an 18-5 lead, it looked as if this one would be no different.

It took Drew burning through nearly all his timeouts to settle Baylor down.

Shots eventually stopped falling for Kansas as the Bears picked up their defensive pressure, and their deficit dwindled to 32-26 before a late flurry left them in a 38-27 halftime hole.

Kansas began the second half determined to get Azubuike the ball in the paint, and he made good on his first couple of chances. But when he failed to execute a few times in a row, Self greeted him during a timeout with, “Are you kidding me?” — spiced up with an extra word.

The Jayhawks still led 52-47 midway through the second half when Baylor went on a 16-4 run.

Omot started it with a bucket in the paint, but it was seven free throws by the senior forward that did the real damage. Lual-Acuil’s basket with 4:39 left gave Baylor a 61-56 advantage.

The Bears scored on nine consecutive possessions down the stretch.

Newman finally turned the momentum, though. He converted a three-point play and a nifty drive on a run-out, then knocked down another basket to give Kansas a 68-67 lead with a minute left.

“When the game is on the line, Coach always says that players make plays,” he said. “I was just trying to be aggressive and we came out with a win.”

HONORING JO JO

Kansas honored two-time All-American Jo Jo White with a video tribute before tipoff. The seven-time NBA All-Star, whose jersey hangs from the Allen Fieldhouse rafters, died Tuesday at the age of 71.

BYE, BYE BILLY

Kansas freshman Billy Preston signed with a pro team in Bosnia on Friday, ending any chance the five-star prospect will play for the Jayhawks. Preston had been held out all season while the school looked into the finances of the car he was driving during a November accident.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor has lost its last five games to the Jayhawks by a combined 20 points, no doubt adding to Drew’s frustration. Six of the Bears’ seven losses this season have come against ranked teams.

Kansas has won five straight to grab ahold of the Big 12 race, though none of them have been very comfortable. The Jayhawks’ winning streak has been by a combined 18 points.