Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Vick leads No. 4 Kansas to 92-56 win over Tennessee State

Leave a comment

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lagerald Vick scored 23 points, Svi Mykhailiuk added 15 and fourth-ranked Kansas routed Tennessee State 92-56 on Friday night in its lone tuneup before facing No. 5 Kentucky in the Champions Classic.

Devonte Graham added 10 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds for the short-handed Jayhawks, who played without five-star prospect Billy Preston. The touted freshman forward was suspended for the opener after he missed curfew Thursday night and failed to show up for class Friday.

That wasn’t the only message coach Bill Self sent, either. Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman lost his starting job to freshman Marcus Garrett after a lousy practice this week.

Newman still finished with 12 points off the bench as the hot-shooting Jayhawks won their 43rd straight home opener. Garrett added 10 points while 7-footer Udoka Azubuike, who missed most of last year with a wrist injury, contributed 13 points and six boards in his return.

Darreon Reddick had 20 points and Delano Spencer had 14 for the Tigers, who watched the longer, stronger Jayhawks use a 14-0 run in the opening minutes to build a 56-27 lead by halftime.

Kansas made its first nine shots and wound up shooting 60 percent for the game.

The Jayhawks got sloppy early in the second half, turning the ball over five times in a 5-minute span, and their seven-man rotation appeared to wear down. But their opponent from the Ohio Valley was still overmatched, unable to string together enough buckets to make a run.

That probably won’t be the case against the Wildcats on Tuesday night.

Kansas and Kentucky are playing the nightcap of the annual doubleheader in Chicago, a matchup of two of college basketball’s bluebloods. It should be an early barometer for teams with national championship aspirations, and an intimidating venue for Preston to make his collegiate debut.

The Wildcats overcame a sluggish start to beat Utah Valley in their opener Friday night.


Tennessee State was overmatched in just about every facet, though the Tigers never gave up. That should serve them well not only against Texas and Purdue later in the non-conference season but when they open conference play in late December.

Kansas had a depth issue Friday night that should be somewhat assuaged later this season. Preston is due back next week, and Arizona State transfer Sam Cunliffe becomes eligible in December. But if injuries hit this season, the Jayhawks could require massive big minutes from a short bench.


Tennessee State gets a substantially easier test next in NAIA member Reinhardt on Monday night.

Kansas heads to Chicago to face the No. 5 Wildcats, who won both previous meetings in the Champions Classic. They’ll take the floor after top-ranked Duke plays No. 2 Michigan State on Tuesday night.

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

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

David Becker/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Chris Coduto/Getty Images

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.