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Iowa State adds to 2018 class with Horton-Tucker commitment

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In all likelihood, Iowa State is probably going to struggle this season. That’s what happens when you lose four all-Big 12 starters, one of whom was All-American point guard and second-round NBA draft pick Monte Morris. The Cyclones did bring in three graduate transfers and have a potential star in freshman point guard Lindell Wigginton, but conventional wisdom doesn’t support Iowa State extending its consecutive NCAA tournament streak to seven with that kind of roster turnover.

So, really, it’s about the future – both immediate and long-term – for the Cyclones. Especially for coach Steve Prohm, who has taken Iowa State to a Sweet 16 and won a Big 12 tournament in his two years in Ames, but did so largely with players recruited by former coach Fred Hoiberg, now of the Chicago Bulls.

That future that Prohm is trying to secure looks increasingly bright for Iowa State, no more so than after the commitment Thursday from four-star guard Talen Horton-Tucker.

Horton-Tucker is a 6-foot-5, four-star prospect that gives Prohm and Iowa State a four-player 2018 recruiting class that consists solely of top-150 players. Horton-Tucker also represents a growing trend for Iowa State of having success in the talent-rich Chicago area.

Iowa State previously hadn’t gotten a commitment from a Windy City recruit since 2009, but Horton-Tucker is the third 2018 pledge to Iowa State from the city, joining 6-foot-10 center George Conditt and 6-foot-6 wing Zion Griffin. Together they make up three of the consensus top-five players in Illinois in their class. Point guard Tyrese Haliburton of Wisconsin is the fourth member of the class.

Iowa State has never been a recruiting heavyweight (Marcus Fizer is their lone McDonald’s All-American), and even when Hoiberg was calling the shots, the Cyclones never secured a commitment from a top-50 recruit. Now under Prohm, ISU got Wigginton, top-25 in 2017, and Horton-Tucker, who had offers from Kansas and Michigan State and is just outside the top-50 in the 2018. Griffin also had an offer from the Jayhawks, the Cyclones’ chief Big 12 rival who has won 13-straight conference titles. This 2018 class is inarguably a coup for Prohm and Co.

This season may be difficult at times for Iowa State, but Prohm’s recruiting classes appear to be ensuring that whatever dip the Cyclones may take won’t be deep or lasting.

VIDEOS: Villanova team bus stuck on icy roads trying to leave campus

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Villanova’s road to the Sweet 16 hit its roughest patch yet on Wednesday as the team attempted to leave campus for the team’s flight to Boston.

Since the Philadelphia area has been slammed with a snowstorm, the Wildcat team bus had issues leaving to get to the team’s chartered flight.

A struggle between team bus and ice ensued. The bus was delayed by 30 minutes before finally being able to leave.

Villanova continues its NCAA tournament journey on Friday when the No. 1 seed Wildcats play No. 5 seed West Virginia in Boston.

Wake Forest guard Keyshawn Woods to transfer or go pro after graduation

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Wake Forest will be down a key player next season as the school announced that guard Keyshawn Woods will either transfer or go pro after graduation.

The 6-foot-3 Woods was the team’s second-leading scorer this season as he put up 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Woods shot 43 percent from the floor and 37 percent from three-point range for the 2017-18 campaign.

Also a key member of last season’s NCAA tournament team for the Demon Deacons, Woods transferred to Wake Forest after spending his first season at Charlotte.

“I appreciate the opportunity that Coach Manning gave me to be a part of this program and to graduate from this great university,” said Woods in the release. “I am proud that I was able to help the coaches change the culture of the program and build a foundation for the future.”

The loss of Woods won’t be easy for Wake Forest, but the team is scheduled to return some talented guards like Bryant Crawford and Brandon Childress next season. Incoming freshmen like Jaime Lewis and Sharone Wright Jr. are also signed to add to the perimeter depth.

David Padgett not retained as Louisville coach

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Louisville announced on Wednesday afternoon that interim head coach David Padgett would not be retained.

Padgett, who is 32 years old, stepped in and took the program over in the wake of a scandal that cost Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino his job.

“We all owe a great debt of gratitude to David for his leadership and poise this season,” said U of L Interim Director of Athletics Vince Tyra. “He took over during incredible circumstances, has handled himself respectfully throughout the season and I believe he has a bright future in coaching. We expect to determine a new head coach in a short period to build upon the great basketball tradition of this university.”

Pitino was fired because an FBI complaint contained an allegation that he and his staff had arranged for a $100,000 payment to be funneled to Brian Bowen from Adidas.

In his one season with the Cardinals, Padgett went 22-14 and reached the quarterfinals of the NIT.

Louisville will now conduct a search for their next head coach, and current Xavier coach Chris Mack has long been considered the favorite to take that job.

Kansas State’s injured star hoping to play Thursday

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One of the most surprising parts about Kansas State’s run to the Sweet 16 is that they have done it without the services of their leading scorer, Dean Wade.

Wade injured his foot prior to the Big 12 tournament loss to Kansas. He did not play in that game or in either of Kansas State’s first two tournament games, but it is looking more and more like he’ll be on the floor on Thursday night when they play Kentucky.

“I don’t play percentages very well, but I’m feeling good,” Wade said, via SEC Country. “I’m very positive about it. It’s getting better every day and today I felt great out there, doing a little more than usual. It felt good.”

Wade averaged 16.5 points per game, but the big question is going to be whether or not he is actually healthy when he takes the court. Just because he’s on the floor doesn’t mean he’s at 100 percent.

“Really just trying to get it out of my mind that it’s not hurt,” Wade said. “Just more of a mental thing, just getting out there and running around. I think I got moved past that and it’s feeling better.”

Arizona’s Sean Miller: ‘I am not a candidate’ at Pitt

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With speculation mounting about who Pitt will hire to replace Kevin Stallings as their new head coach, current Arizona head coach Sean Miller released a statement saying that he is not in the running to fill the opening.

“I am not a candidate for the University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball head coaching vacancy. I wish them well in their search for a new coach,” the statement read.

Miller is a native of Pittsburgh and an alumni of the school — he’s the guy that had the assist on Jerome Lane’s famous dunk — and with the issues that are currently swirling around him and the Arizona program, there was speculation that he was looking for an escape plan.

Maybe he wasn’t.

Maybe he was and the Pitt administration decided they couldn’t risk hiring someone who had an assistant coach arrested in the FBI’s sweep of college basketball and who himself may be on wiretaps talking about who knows what. Releasing this statement would then be a way for him to save face and say he was never interested.

And then maybe there’s option No. 3: Pitt has won the Dan Hurley sweepstakes.

As it stands, both the Panthers and UConn are in the process of chasing after the Rhode Island head coach, and it’s not uncommon in coaching searches for a coach to announce that he is not a candidate for the job after the job decides they want someone else. Call it a professional courtesy.

But that’s neither here nor there.

What we do know now is that Sean Miller will not be the next head coach at Pitt.