Rob Dauster was joined today by Travis Hines for a podcast taking a long look at Ohio State’s decision to part ways with Thad Matta as well as some in-depth discussion about this column, which breaks down everything that is right and wrong about Adam Silver’s take on the one-and-done rule.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 22 of his career-high 28 points in the decisive first half, and No. 17 Michigan easily defeated Maryland 85-61 Saturday for its fifth straight victory.
Using runs of 9-0 and 16-3, the Wolverines built a 54-24 halftime lead and cruised to the finish. Michigan went 17 for 28 from the floor in the first half, including 11 for 19 from 3-point range.
The Wolverines (24-7, 13-5 Big Ten) have clinched the No. 5 seed in the conference tournament, but can earn a No. 4 seed and a double bye if Nebraska loses to Penn State on Sunday.
Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 17 for Maryland, which suffered its most lopsided home loss since a 104-72 defeat against Duke on Jan 3, 1998.
The Terrapins (19-12, 8-10) were 15-2 at home and lost to Michigan on the road by just one point on Jan. 15, which made the blowout that much more surprising.
Abdur-Rahkman made six 3-pointers in the first half and also led the Wolverines with five rebounds and four assists. The senior guard cooled off in the second half, but nevertheless surpassed his previous career best of 26 points.
After Michigan rattled off 10 straight points to take a 20-12 lead, Kevin Huerter hit a 3 for Maryland before Jaaron Simmons launched the pivotal 16-3 run with a long-range jumper. Jordan Poole chipped in with a pair of 3-pointers and another by Abdur-Rahkman made it 34-18.
The Wolverines had three turnovers in their opening four possessions, but added only one more before halftime.
Michigan: The Wolverines have plenty of momentum to bring into the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan won it all last year, and again appears ready to take on the big boys in the conference.
Maryland: A flat performance at home means the Terrapins have to win the Big Ten Tournament to extend their run of appearances in the NCAA Tournament to four.
Former Maryland WR Torrey Smith, who earned his second career Super Bowl ring this season, returned to his alma mater to promote a charity basketball tournament next month in Baltimore. Also, Ravens coach John Harbaugh, the brother of Michigan football Jim Harbaugh, sat courtside.
Michigan: Big Ten Tournament in New York.
Maryland: Big Ten Tournament on Thursday.
Whatever changes Mark Emmert has planned, they’re going to happen quickly.
In an interview with CBS Sports prior to the start of Saturday’s college hoops action, Emmert said that the “systemic changes” that he is hoping to implement will, ideally, be in place for the start of the 2018-2019 season.
“They’re going to be putting forth their recommendations and bringing them forward during the month of April, and then the boards are going to act on them and act on them quickly,” Emmert said. “We need to act and have changes in place before tipoff of next season. Failure to do that will really erode everyone’s confidence in what this wonderful game is truly all about.”
What are the changes going to be?
Emmert didn’t spill the beans there, but it does seems like the NCAA will consider changing the rules involving agents and college basketball players. When asked why there’s a difference between the way the NCAA views hockey/baseball players and basketball players with regards to agents, Emmert said, “It makes perfect sense to me that it ought to be very different than it is now.”
This would be the smart move to make. Of Friday, I wrote a long column about how the only way to clean up college basketball is to allow players to have agents and to eliminate amateurism. This would not entirely solve the problem, but it would be a major step in the right direction.
Emmert also said that he hopes that the eligibility concerns involving the players that are mentioned in these reports will be figured out by the start of the NCAA tournament. The process for determining this is simple: Right now, the onus falls on the school. They essentially have three options:
- They can provisionally suspend the player, keeping them out of competition until they can determine whether or not a violation took place. This is why Collin Sexton and Jeffery Carroll missed time earlier this season.
- They can self-report a violation, announce that the player is ineligible and immediately apply for reinstatement with the NCAA. The player would have to make restitution for the impermissible benefits and, depending on the value of those benefits, they’d face some kind of suspension. This is like what happened with the Georgia Tech players earlier this season.
- They can announce that they do not believe any violations occurred, play out the rest of the season and hope that no evidence pops up that proves the guys that played were ineligible at the time.
At this time, we are still waiting to hear from Alabama on Collin Sexton, Michigan State on Miles Bridges and Arizona on Deandre Ayton and Sean Miller.
USC has cleared junior forward Chimezie Metu as he’ll be allowed to play on Saturday against Utah, the school announced.
The 6-foot-11 Metu is the leading scorer and rebounder for the Trojans this season as he was one of the players named in the Friday reports that linked him to NBA agent Andy Miller and Christian Dawkins.
The Trojans are the latest school to allow their player to play after the reports as they follow schools like Duke and Kentucky, as they also did the same with allowing Wendell Carter Jr. and Kevin Knox Jr. to play.
It’s also noted in the release that USC is reviewing Bennie Boatwright’s eligibility as well even though he’s out for the season with a knee injury.
On Friday, Yahoo Sports reported a wide-scale payment operation from Miller and Dawkins in order to recruit players for Miller’s agency. The records allege that Bennie Boatwright Sr. received about $2,000. The records also allege that Metu or his advisor, Johnnie Parker, also got $2,000.
Although the allegations look serious, Dawkins has also proven to be untrustworthy in many instances and it’s hard to tell what might be real and what might be a cover for another expense. It’s hard to prove a lot of these things presented in a business expenses spreadsheet. USC is backing Metu by saying he never received anything that would harm his eligibility as they try to make a final push at Arizona before the postseason.
As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Saturday.
It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:
- Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
- Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
- Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
- Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus
The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.
YET TO PLAY
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
Duke star freshman Marvin Bagley III will be available for the Blue Devils on Saturday when they play Syracuse in an ACC home game.
Bagley missed the past four games due to a knee strain that he suffered in the Feb. 8 game against North Carolina. During Bagley’s absence, the Blue Devils went 4-0 as their defense looked very good and senior Grayson Allen became an aggressive scorer.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of changes Duke makes with Bagley’s return. Watching Bagley’s health and seeing how many minutes he plays will be another subplot to watch against the Orange.