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Saturday Recap: Xavier wins the shootout, Wichita wins on the road, Devonte’ Graham goes ham

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Devonte’ Graham and Lagerald Vick combined to put on a clinic on how to beat a 2-3 zone as No. 2 Kansas cruised to a 76-60 win over Syracuse in Miami. Vick went for 20 points, eight boards and seven assists, but it was Graham that was the real star on Saturday. For the second straight game, Graham – who entered the weekend averaged 15.8 points and 8.5 assists for the undefeated Jayhawks – finished with 35 points, adding five dimes and making seven threes, which helped boost his three-point percentage from 36 percent to 41 percent. I think it’s safe to say that Graham’s slow start to the season has come to an end.

The question for Kansas now is whether or not they are ever actually going to get another big man on the roster. It’s not going to hurt them when Clay Young plays 12 minutes at center against Syracuse. It will once they get into the meat-grinder of the Big 12.


  • Trevon Bluiett shook off a two-game slump to pop off for 28 points as No. 21 Xavier put a whupping on No. 11 Cincinnati, 89-76. That was before the postgame fireworks.
  • Jalen Adams had 31 points on 13-for-22 shooting as UConn squeaked out another overtime win against a mid-major, this time picking off Columbia. I’m beginning to think Adams is the only good thing about the current UConn program.
  • Shake Milton had 22 points and nine assists as SMU handed No. 14 USC their second-straight loss, 72-55.
  • Drexel’s Tramaine Isabell had 35 points, 13 boards, three assists and three steals in a come-from-behind win over Rider. I feel like I should mention that he’s 6-foot-1.
  • 5-foot-10 Fatts Russell came off the bench to score 20 points for the second-straight game as Rhode Island picked off in-state rival Providence.


Last Friday, No. 21 Xavier was embarrassed by then-unranked and now-No. 20 Arizona State, giving up 102 points and trailing by as many as 25 in the second half despite leading by 15 just before half time while allowing Tra Holder and Shannon Evans to look like the reincarnation of Stephen Curry and Allen Iverson. It was, as they say, a mollywhopping.

But that seems like so long ago after the week that Xavier has had. After picking off No. 16 Baylor in the Cintas Center of Wednesday, the Musketeers smacked around their archirival, No. 11 Cincinnati, in the Crosstown Shootut, arguably the most intense rivalry in college hoops. They won 89-76, but that number doesn’t quite let you know just how thorough this win was. Xavier was up by ten by the first TV timeout. They were up by 23 points early in the second half. Cincinnati never really threatened them on Saturday.

It was so bad that the loss coupled with the incessant trolling of professional heel J.P. Macura had Mick Cronin looking to fight after the game. A win over your rival as their coach embarrasses himself publicly is a pretty good day.


No. 20 Memphis lost to No. 14 UCF in a triple-overtime thriller, 62-55.

It was in football, but I feel like I should mention it here because Memphis is, apparently, now a football school. Tubby Smith’s team sold 4,113 tickets in an 18,000 seat arena to see his Tigers win in double-overtime over Mercer. I’m old enough to remember when they use to sell out the FedEx Forum.


Big Ten play started this weekend, and if that wasn’t strange enough, this result might be: Ohio State 83, Wisconsin 58.

In the Kohl Center.

For years, the Badgers were just about unbeatable in that building, and not only did the Buckeyes take a 2-by-4 to the back of the Badgers’ proverbial heads, they did so in a year where they were supposed to be rebuilding. Remember, it was just six months ago that Ohio State fired the greatest coach that their program has ever seen. Thad Matta was let go because the program in the eyes of the higher-ups, was too far gone.

And now Ohio State is winning by 25 points at Wisconsin when they have an all-american at center. Good for them.

Keita Bates-Diop led the way with 17 points, 11 boards and five assists if you were wondering.


Is Arizona back??? The Wildcats, who went from No. 2 to unranked this week, went into Vegas and left with a 91-88 win in overtime over a good UNLV team. Deandre Ayton had 28 points and 10 boards to lead the Wildcats while Allonzo Trier chipped in with 29 points. Brandon McCoy added 33 points and 10 boards.

No. 8 Wichita State landed their first win over a ranked team in roughly two years as they went into Waco and knocked off No. 16 Baylor, 69-62. The Shockers were led by 17 points from Connor Frankamp.

The AAC badly needed some good non-conference performances, and Wichita State wasn’t the only one to chip-in. Houston beat Arkansas by 26 points.

Virginia Tech landed an 83-80 overtime win at Ole Miss after trailing by 16 points in the second half. The Hokies are now 7-1 on the season after wins over the Rebels and Iowa this week, which is why the loss they took at the hands of Saint Louis – who lost by 30 to Bulter after trailing 42-13 at the half – earlier this year is one of the most perplexing results of the season. The Hokies head to Rupp Arena on Dec. 16th.

Georgia and head coach Mark Fox have quietly put together an excellent start to the season. The Bulldogs are 6-1 after winning at Marquette on Saturday. They also have a win over Saint Mary’s on a neutral. With games left at home against Georgia Tech and Temple and a trip to Kansas State, the Bulldogs have a chance to put together a really solid non-conference slate.


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.

Report: Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson suffers another fracture in foot

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Bonzie Colson rushed back from a broken foot to try and help his Notre Dame team get into the NCAA tournament this season.

They were bumped out of the field when Davidson upset Rhode Island and earned the Atlantic 10’s third bid to the league tournament. The Fighting Irish were NIT bound, and in their second round loss to Penn State late last week, Colson reinjured the left foot that held him out of action for eight weeks.

On Wednesday, Yahoo reported that Colson suffered another fracture in the foot.

“I’m sitting there and he’s limping off and I’m going, ‘You gotta be kidding me,’” coach Mike Brey said after the game. “Everything we’ve been through? I thought we were out of the woods with him.”

There was a poignant moment at the end of the game.

Colson’s injury came during the third quarter. He returned to the bench at Purcell Pavilion with ice on his foot after going into the locker room. With 30 seconds left and a loss imminent, Colson walked right past Mike Brey, said “I’m going in”, and finished his college career on the court.

Colson is a potential second round pick. He was an all-american last year and a preseason selection this year. He was averaging 19.7 points, 10.2 boards and 2.2 blocks when he was injured.