Introducing Cinderella: New Orleans snaps two-decade old tournament drought

Leave a comment

Conference: Southland

Coach: Mark Slessinger

Record: 20-11 (13-5 Southland)

Ratings and Rankings:

– Kenpom: 178
– RPI: 171
– AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding: Only the Big West champion UC Davis and MEAC winner NC Central will have a lower RPI than the Privateers. That likely means they are heading to Dayton. That’s precisely where NBC Sports bracketology has them going.

Names you need to know: Erik Thomas was the Southland Conference Player of the Year after averaging 19.7 points, shooting 60 percent from the field, and 7.9 rebounds per game. The undersized four had 14 points and 11 boards in the conference title game.

Stats you need to know: 17: New Orleans averages slightly less than 17 turnovers per game. Only two teams in the nation turned the ball over more often than the Privateers.

Big wins, bad losses: The only top 200 win New Orleans had was a 16-point win at Washington State. Against NCAA Tournament competition, Oklahoma State hung 117 on them and Northwestern beat them by 34. The Privateers suffered a one-point loss on the road against Northwestern State on Feb. 25. That’s a sub-300 RPI loss.

How’d they get here?: If you want to go back several years, it’s worth noting that the university nearly dropped the men’s basketball program from Division I to Division III due to financial hardships following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

With Brad Underwood done dominating the league, New Orleans won the regular season crown and earned a double-bye with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. After defeating Sam Houston State in the semifinals, the Privateers had an instant classic with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the finals. Tevin Broyles scored the last five points in overtime for New Orleans in a stressful final five minutes.

Outlook: Given its backstory, you have to feel happy for this New Orleans program. However, turnovers should be an issue, whether it be in Dayton or against one of the No. 1 seeds.

How do I know you?: New Orleans has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in three different decades. In five appearances, the Privateers are 1-4, picking up a win over BYU as a No. 7 seed in the 1987 NCAA Tournament.

VIDEO: Jay-Z’s nephew posterizes nation’s No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley III

Leave a comment

Nahziah Carter is an unsigned 6-foot-6 wing in the Class of 2017.

He’s also Jay-Z’s nephew, and he just so happened to posterize Marvin Bagley III — the clearcut No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 — while Hova was in the stands watching him.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
1 Comment

Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.