LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Is Duke back?

Leave a comment

FRIDAY’S THINGS TO KNOW

Is Duke back?

The Blue Devils took advantage of Joel Berry II’s foul trouble by going on a 29-8 run en route to a 93-83 win over arch rival North Carolina in the ACC Tournament title game. Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen were all clicking. Harry Giles showed flashes of the potential he had when he enrolled in Durham. … Isn’t this what we’ve been waiting for from Duke all season long? If so, it couldn’t be happening at a better time. CBT’s Rob Dauster was in Brooklyn and had several takeaways from Duke’s massive comeback win.

Josh Hart made a late push for national player of the year with a 19-point, 10-rebound effort in Villanova‘s Big East Tournament semifinal win over Seton Hall on Friday night. The senior wing made key plays on both ends off the floor, none bigger than a putback lay-in in the final seconds, which ended up being the deciding bucket in a 55-53 win. He gave the Wildcats their first lead of the game after the Pirates led for more than 30 minutes. He and Jalen Brunson, Villanova’s other first-team all performer, scored the team’s final 19 points. The Wildcats are still in line to be the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

After a harrowing beginning to Michigan’s trip to the nation’s capital, it wouldn’t have been shocking if the Wolverines were one-and-dones in the Big Ten Tournament. However, Michigan has strung together consecutive wins in D.C., the most recent being a 74-70 overtime win over top-seeded Purdue in the quarterfinals. D.J. Wilson led with 26 points. CBT’s Rob Dauster has more here.

One of the concerns around Kentucky is how it will play when Malik Monk has an off-night. With Monk being limited to only two points, off 1-of-7 shooting, the rest of the Wildcat backcourt answered the call in an SEC Tournament win over Georgia. Isaiah Briscoe had 20 points, six rebounds and two assists. De’Aaron Fox also looked to be back in rhythm. CBT’s Rob Dauster explains why that’s important for Kentucky’s tournament hopes here.

Vanderbilt may have secured its berth in the NCAA Tournament by defeating No. 17 Florida for the third time this season. The Commodores outscored the Gators 14-4 in overtime to earn a marquee 72-62 victory.

STARRED

Semi Ojeleye, SMU — The American Player of the Year scored 17 of his career-high 36 points in the first half, building SMU a comfortable lead. While Mustangs got a scare from East Carolina, they move on to the AAC semifinals. Ojeleye also added 12 rebounds.

D.J. Wilson, Michigan — Back to wearing their regular uniforms, Michigan landed another victory in the Big Ten Tournament, defeating top-seeded Purdue in overtime to advance to the semifinals. Wilson had 26 points and eight boards, all while keeping All-American Caleb Swanigan in check. He had three blocks, none bigger than a rejection on Carsen Edwards which sent the contest to an extra frame.

Jack Gibbs, Davidson — For the sixth time this season, one of the nation’s leading scorers registered a 30-point game. Gibbs dropped 34 points in a win over top-seeded Dayton. The Wildcats advance to the A-10 Tournament semifinals.

Josh Hart, Villanova — The Big East Player of the Year made several key plays, as mentioned above, in a thrilling victory over Seton Hall. His 19 points and 10 rebounds not only serve as the latest proof that he could be the nation’s best player, but it keeps the Wildcats near the top of the list when the selection committee determines the No. 1 overall seed.

Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen, Duke — The trio combined for 62 points, off 17-of-32 shooting. Harry Giles also had an impactful 15 minutes, scoring six points and grabbing seven boards.

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

REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Dillon Brooks was saddled with foul trouble, but No. 5 Oregon still held off Cal, 73-65, in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals. Even though Cal was without Jabari Bird, who reportedly suffered a concussion, it bodes well for the Ducks to find a way to win when Brooks isn’t at his best. For Cal, this likely spells N-I-T.
  • No. 11 West Virginia scored only 16 first-half points, but rallied, and held on, in the second half against Kansas State. The Mountaineers won, 51-50, and advance to the Big 12 Tournament title game. K-State may have done enough with a win over Baylor on Thursday, but the Wildcats might have to sweat it out on Sunday.
  • No. 12 SMU, the top seed in the American Athletic Conference Tournament, nearly surrendered a 22-point lead, but held on to an 81-77 win over East Carolina in the quarterfinals. Semi Ojeleye had 36 points in the win.
  • Kyle Washington had 21 points, followed by Jacob Evans’ 20, as No. 15 Cincinnati rolled past Tulsa in the AAC quarterfinals.
  • It got closer than Mike Brey would have liked it to be, No. 22 Notre Dame is going to meet Duke the ACC Tournament title game after defeating No. 16 Florida State, 77-73, in the second semifinal from Brooklyn. Duke won the first meeting, led by a combined 56 points from Tatum, Allen and Kennard.
  • Playing its third game in as many days, fatigue may have caught up on TCU. The Horned Frogs trailed by double digits at half en route to an 84-63 loss to No. 23 Iowa State. Deonte Burton led the way with 22 points.
  • No. 24 Wisconsin defeated Indiana for the third time this season, ending the Hoosiers’ 2016-17 with a 70-60 victory in the Big Ten quarterfinals. The usual suspects led the way for the Badgers with Bronson Koenig scoring a game-high 16 points, followed by Ethan Happ with 14. Nigel Hayes was a rebound-shy of a double-double.
  • A 20-2 second half run propelled Northwestern to a 72-64 win over No. 25 Maryland. The Wildcats went on a 31-0 run in the previous round against Rutgers.

NOTABLE

  • The game of the night may have been in the WAC. In the semifinals, top-seeded CSU Bakersfield needed four overtimes to defeat Utah Valley, 81-80. How will the length of that game impact the Roadrunners in Saturday’s championship game?
  • Middle Tennessee State advanced to the Conference USA title game. The Blue Raiders need one more win, and they won’t have to worry about being left on the cutting room floor by the selection committee. The top seed in the C-USA will play No. 6 Marshall in the championship game.
  • Rhode Island, which sits squarely on the bubble in Pittsburgh, landed an A-10 Tournament quarterfinal win over St. Bonaventure behind 19 points and eight rebounds from Hassan Martin.
  • The top seed in the SWAC, Texas Southern, landed a 62-57 win over Grambling. The Tigers are one win away from their third NCAA Tournament appearance in the past four years.
  • Kevin Hervey scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in UT-Arlington‘s 71-54 win over Coastal Carolina in the Sun Belt quarterfinals. The top-seeded Mavericks boast a win at Saint Mary’s this season. They could be a trendy pick for an upset if they reach the NCAA Tournament.
  • Top-seeded Akron is one step closer to an automatic berth, defeating Ball State, 74-70, in the MAC semifinals. The Zips were led by 19 points apiece from Isaiah Johnson and Antino Jackson.
  • Davidson upset top-seeded Dayton in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals. Jack Gibbs, all all-first team selection, came up big with 34 points. It was the sixth time this year he recorded a 30-point performance. Watch the highlights here.
  • New Orleans had a double-bye in the Southland Conference Tournament. After its first postseason win, the Privateers are halfway to an NCAA Tournament appearance. New Orleans, led by conference player of the year Erik Thomas’ 18 points, downed Sam Houston State by a dozen on Friday night.
  • North Carolina Central is one-win away from the program’s second NCAA Tournament appearance, as Eagles defeated Maryland-Eastern Shore, 77-49, in the MEAC semifinals. NC Central’s average margin of victory in the tournament is 31.5 points.
  • The second Big East Tournament semifinal of the evening, ending like the first: in the final seconds. After Xavier‘s Trevon Bluiett tied the score with a step-back three, Marcus Foster buried a triple with 8.3 seconds left to lead Creighton to Saturday’s title game.
  • Texas Southern and Alcorn State, the two top teams in the SWAC, meet for an automatic bid. Texas Southern won both regular season meetings by a combined seven points.

John Calipari lobbies for change in one-and-some rule to help athletes

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kentucky head coach John Calipari is hoping the one-and-done rule changes so that athletes have more rights.

In a revealing interview with Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Calipari went into great detail about his thoughts behind a rule that many believe he has exploited greatly to his benefit over the last 10 years. Even though the Wildcats and Calipari have figured out the one-and-done rule to their advantage, the Hall of Fame coach still wants the rule to be abolished.

“Kids should be able to go (to the NBA) out of high school. That’s not our deal. That’s between the NBA and the Players Association,” Calipari said Friday. “Don’t put restrictions on kids.”

Calipari told Engel that he met with the NBPA last week in the hopes of the organization creating a combine for worthy high school juniors with pro potential. Calipari also wants agents more involved with high school kids.

“The players and the families need to know – here are the ones who should be thinking about the NBA, and here are the ones who should not,” Calipari said. “That’s why you need a combine.”

“If they want to go out of high school, go. If they want to go to college and then leave, let them leave when they want to leave. Why would we force a kid to stay? ‘Well – it’s good for the game?’ It’s about these kids and their families. Because let me tell you, if we (abolish one-and-done), the kids that do come to college will stay for two to three years.”

Calipari also has plenty of thoughts on the NBA G-League and how the league could potentially help young athletes with an education fund if they choose to turn pro directly out of high school. Regardless of what happens with the NBPA and the one-and-done rule, Calipari also said that his program would be fine — regardless of the rules.

Given that Calipari has operated on a different recruiting plane than everyone else in college basketball (with the exception of a few other bluebloods like Duke and Kansas) the last several years, it’s always notable when he gives his thoughts on the overall landscape of basketball.

But is Calipari actually lobbying for this? Or is this yet another way for Calipari to mold quotes into a recruiting pitch for elite players? Ultimately, it’s up to the NBPA to decide how the rules will be for future pros.

Report: NCAA allows Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale to compete on Dancing with the Stars

Getty Images
2 Comments

After a memorable March Madness run that included two game-winning jumpers in the Final Four and an eventual national title, Notre Dame junior guard Arike Ogunbowale became a breakout national star.

Ogunbowale already appeared on Ellen while meeting her basketball idol, Kobe Bryant. Now, Ogunbowale will get the rare opportunity to appear on Dancing with the Stars — which the NCAA will allow even though Ogunbowale is still a rising senior who is scheduled to return to school next season.

Dancing with the Stars compensates its contestants and also has a prize for the winner. Under NCAA Bylaw 12.4.1, college athletes cannot be compensated based on their athletic abilities.

But the NCAA is arguing that Ogunbowale’s appearance on the show is “unrelated to her basketball abilities,” according to a statement they released regarding the decision. According to a report from Jacob Bogage of the Washington Post, the NCAA is also limiting Ogunbowale’s visibility for the show’s promotional tools.

From the Washington Post report:

The NCAA has placed restrictions on Ogunbowale that limit her involvement with the show and her potential to build her brand. She is not allowed to appear in promotional materials for the show, including commercials, according to the NCAA’s statement. She didn’t join other contestants during a group appearance on “Good Morning America” last week. Show handicappers have already wondered whether the NCAA’s limits will hurt her chances.

And the NCAA could turn down future requests by arguing that Ogunbowale is not endorsing “Dancing with the Stars” by appearing on the program, but instead is participating in a “personal growth experience” by learning how to ballroom dance, said Barbara Osborne, a professor of exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina.

This is a slippery slope for the NCAA to take with this. Ogunbowale is, quite clearly, a famous basketball player. She’s on Dancing with the Stars because of her basketball abilities. The NCAA arguing anything else is just silly and embarrassing. The NCAA is also trying its best to uphold its argument about amateurism in the only way they know how.

But could this also could be a sign that the NCAA is perhaps open to the potential of allowing athletes to profit off of themselves in the future? The NCAA is currently handling a number of different court cases regarding amateurism, so it’s hard to say where all of this might go until the legal process starts to clear up.

Either way, this should be a fun experience for Ogunbowale while providing great national exposure for herself and women’s basketball. Ogunbowale might not be technically allowed to build her own brand during the show, but she’ll be gaining tons of new exposure for her basketball future — regardless of what the NCAA says in a statement.

Memphis center Karim Sameh Azab diagnosed with leukemia

247Sports
Leave a comment

Memphis center Karim Sameh Azab announced on Saturday that he’s been battling leukemia lymphoma.

The 6-foot-11 big man from Egypt has been receiving medical treatment since the beginning of April as he took to Twitter to announce his current status.

Sameh Azab played in 15 games this season for the Tigers as he saw action for 84 total minutes. The reserve big man was a late addition in former head coach Tubby Smith’s first recruiting class at Memphis as he didn’t quality to play during his first season.

“Karim has my full support and the support of our whole team,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said in a statement earlier this month. “While we appreciate the support of the Tiger family in this matter, we would also like to protect the privacy of Karim and his family.”

South Dakota State’s Mike Daum declares for 2018 NBA Draft without an agent

Getty Images
Leave a comment

South Dakota State big man Mike Daum will enter the 2018 NBA Draft without an agent, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 redshirt junior has been a mid-major draft darling the past few seasons as Daum was one of the most productive players in the country last season. Putting up 23.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, Daum shot 46 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range during the season.

With his size and unique floor-spacing ability, Daum is going to be an interesting player to track during the NBA draft process. Teams are always looking for big men who can space the floor, and if Daum shoots well in workouts, he could wind up staying in the draft.

If Daum returns to South Dakota State, then he once again makes them a major NCAA tournament contender after the Jackrabbits won the Summit League last season.

Marquette lands Fordham grad transfer Joseph Chartouny

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Marquette pulled in a quality graduate transfer commitment on Friday as Fordham guard Joseph Chartouny pledged to the Golden Eagles.

The 6-foot-3 Chartouny was a three-year starter for the Rams as he should help offset the loss of guard Andrew Rowsey to graduation. While Chartouny isn’t nearly the perimeter threat that Rowsey was, he should be able to help significantly on the defensive end for Marquette. Chartouny put up 12.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game last season as he was one of the more productive all-around players in the Atlantic 10.

One of the nation’s leaders in steals the past three seasons, Chartouny has much better size to play alongside Markus Howard in the Marquette backcourt than Rowsey (5-foot-11) had. Since Howard is also 5-foot-11, Chartouny can now guard the bigger and more athletic perimeter matchup as Marquette tries to improve its porous defense from last season.

Marquette still has an open scholarship for next season as they’ve been investigating other transfer options to bolster the roster. Returning most of last season’s roster, the expectation will be for the Golden Eagles to make it back to the NCAA tournament next season.