Rhode Island got into the NCAA tournament after storming through the Atlantic 10 tournament, and the run of form hasn’t ended yet.
The No. 11 seed Rams blew out No. 6 seed Creighton in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday, getting 23 points from Jeff Dowtin to lead five players in double-figures in an 84-72 win.
It’s the first NCAA tournament win for Rhode Island since 1998, and it came in their first tournament appearance since 1999, when Lamar Odom was still Kingston. The Rams will advance to take on No. 3 seed Oregon, but it’s fair to wonder if this result was an upset in seed only. The Rams ended up being favored by the time this game tipped off, but more to the point, Creighton is simply not the same team that they were when the season started.
I’m not exactly breaking any news here when I say that Creighton’s season was a massive disappointment. They entered the season as a potential top 20 team, they entered Big East play as a top ten team and midway through the season, they looked like a real contender for the Big East title with a National Player of the Year candidate on the roster.
Then Mo Watson tore his ACL, and a month later was arrested and charged with sexual assault. He’s facing a long, long time in prison, and trust me when I say that I realize everything that alleged victim is dealing with makes what Creighton’s going through seem like a 90-minute deep tissue massage.
The point here isn’t to diminish what happened to her or what Watson was alleged to have done.
But that doesn’t change the fact that a year that started out with such promise for a program that doesn’t experience this kind of success often ended with the Bluejays quietly bowing out of the NCAA tournament in a 15-point first round loss that no one paid attention to as they made the trek from their St. Patrick’s Day Happy Hour to wherever it is that they were going to spend their evening downing Guinness and Jamesons.
With the season over, Creighton fans are left to wonder ‘What if?’ while the rest of America didn’t even notice it came to an end.
After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.
Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.
“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”
According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”
With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.
Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.
Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.
The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.
“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.
“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”
A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?
Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.
Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.
The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.
According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.
John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.
The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.
Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.
Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.
Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.