Jamie Squire/Getty Images

No. 3 Oregon’s best lineup still intact without Chris Boucher

Leave a comment

Playing just their second game without starting center Chris Boucher, No. 3 seed Oregon advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, 93-77, surviving a No. 14 Iona team that proved to be a tougher out than it looked like they would be.

The Ducks will face the winner of No. 6 Creighton and No. 11 Rhode Island on Sunday.

Oregon jumped out to an 18-point halftime lead and were up by as much as 26 points in the second half before the Gaels scrapped back. Dayshonee Much scored 15 points and Jordan Washington shook off an ankle injury to add 20 points as Iona got within 13 points on a couple of different occasions.

But the story of this game was Oregon, their dominance despite playing without Boucher, who tore his ACL during the Pac-12 tournament last week.

The guy that took Boucher’s minutes was Kavell Bigby-Williams, a JuCo transfer and 6-foot-11 native of England that has played 14 minutes in each of the last two games, but the biggest difference between Oregon now and Oregon when they had Boucher available seems to be a shift to small-ball. The lineup that Dana Altman started featured Payton Pritchard, Dylan Ennis and Tyler Dorsey in the back court with Dillon Brooks at the four and Jordan Bell at the five, and considering how effective and efficient the Ducks can be with that group on the floor, losing Boucher doesn’t seem like it is going to be a death blow to their national title hopes.

Bell is a sensational defender and a ridiculous athlete in the front court; he had 17 points and 10 boards Friday and should be able to man the paint for the Ducks as long as he stays out of foul trouble. Oregon doesn’t lose floor-spacing with four guards out there, and there’s an argument to be made that Brooks is at his most effective when he plays as Oregon’s small-ball four.

I would stop short of saying that Oregon is better without Boucher, because his ability to block shots and hit threes is a unique skill set that lets Oregon space the floor without losing rim protection or rebounding. When they have to go to a big lineup, it’s better to have Bell and Boucher on the floor than Bell and Bigby-Williams.

But I also think that Oregon’s best lineup is the lineup that they started tonight.

And with a tournament draw that likely keeps the Ducks from having to face a team that can overpower them in the paint until a potential Final Four matchup with North Carolina, they are in a pretty good spot.

Buffalo sophomore arrested, charged with strangulation, witness intimidation

City of Tonawanda Police
1 Comment

Buffalo sophomore Quate McKinzie is facing a litany of charges stemming from an incident in which he allegedly attempted to strangle a female acquaintance.

McKinzie, who is 20 years old, was later handed more charges after he made threatening phone calls to his accuser from jail.
From the Buffalo News:

The original charges placed against the UB sophomore were second-degree strangulation, a D-felony; misdemeanor counts of criminal obstruction of breathing, assault, menacing, harassment; and stealing the victim’s vehicle.

The latest charges are third-degree witness intimidation and first-degree criminal contempt, both E-felonies; and two misdemeanors, aggravated harassment and disobeying a court mandate, according to Tonawanda Police Patrol Capt. Fredric Foels.

“University Athletics is aware of the alleged incident and is in communication with university and local authorities,” Buffalo released in a statement. “Quate McKinzie is currently enrolled at the University at Buffalo and is suspended indefinitely from the university’s basketball team. Due to the ongoing investigation and federal protections on student information, we will have no further comment on the matter at this time.”

McKinzie is a 6-foot-8, 195 pound forward that played in 17 games last season. He averaged 3.9 points and 4.3 boards.

Auburn’s Austin Wiley suffers stress fracture

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Auburn center Austin Wiley has a stress fracture in his left leg and will be out 4-6 weeks, the school announced Monday.

No surgery is required, but Wiley, who played with Team USA’s U19 team in Egypt earlier this month, will miss Auburn’s trip to Italy.

“You know how tough and committed a young man is when he plays through the pain of a stress fracture,” said Pearl. “He was receiving treatment while in Egypt, but had no way of knowing the extent of his injury. Doctors say it is in a good spot for healing, and he will be fine.”

Wiley averaged 8.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 18.1 minutes this past season. He started 21 of the Tigers’ 22 games after he enrolled in school midseason.

Virginia Tech loses key shooter to torn ACL

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Virginia Tech suffered a brutal blow earlier this month when Ty Outlaw went down with a torn ACL in his right knee.

Outlaw is one of the best shooters on Virginia Tech’s roster, banging home 48 percent of his three-balls last season, and he was expected to be a major part of the rotation following a season where he scored in double-figures in six of the last eight games, including four games of better than 16 points in that stretch.

This is a blow to Virginia Tech’s depth, but it is also a tough break for Outlaw, who transferred to Virginia Tech from a Junior College and had to sit out the 2015-16 season due to a heart issue. The redshirt senior will likely be eligible to receive a medical redshirt should he decide to apply for one.

Report: Miller brothers schedule Indiana-Arizona series

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Miller family does not appear to be worried about sibling rivalry.

According to a report from FanRag Sports, Archie, the head coach at Indiana, and Sean, the head coach at Arizona, have agreed to a three-year deal to have the two programs face-off against each other. They’ll start in 2019-20, playing in Arizona, then face-off in Bloomington the following season before finally heading up to Madison Square Garden in 2021-22.

If you can get past the fact that we are now scheduling games for 2022 (!!!), this is actually going to be a pretty neat and unique thing. How often do two brothers end up coaching at the Division I level? The Drew brothers — Bryce at Vanderbilt and Scott at Baylor — are one pair, but they cancelled a series that would have seen the two programs square off last season. James and Joe Jones at Yale and Boston University are another pair. They were league rivals for eight yeas when Joe was the head coach at Columbia. When Sean Sutton was the head coach at Oklahoma State, his brother, Scott, beat them was the head coach at Oral Roberts.

So it’s not typical for this to happen, mainly because it’s not easy to compete at something so important against someone you care about so much.

Think about it.

Imagine working in a profession where your success comes at the expense of your brother? It’s one of the major reasons — beyond the obvious — that no one believed Sean Miller would actually consider taking the Ohio State job when it opened. Facing off against your brother in a non-conference game you choose to play is one thing. Competing for league titles against him for the foreseeable future is something totally different.

Which is a long way of saying that this should be an enticing matchup, however it plays out.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

(YouTube)
Leave a comment

Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.

The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.

The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.

(h/t: Courtside Films)