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No. 20 TCU extends win streak to 13 with 94-83 win over SMU

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Kenrich Williams had 27 points to lead five TCU players in double figures, and got tackled after a steal and breakaway toward the basket as the 20th-ranked Horned Frogs extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 14 games with a 94-83 victory over SMU on Tuesday night.

The Frogs (9-0) were already starting to separate themselves midway through the second half when Williams came up with an SMU turnover. The 6-foot-7 guard was going the other way when Ben Emelogu caught up from behind and essentially dragged him to the court.

After the flagrant foul, Williams made one free throw and TCU kept possession. After several passes, Desmond Bane hit a 3-pointer from the left wing in front of the Frogs’ bench that put them up 67-56.

SMU (7-3) was coming off a 17-point home win over then-No.14 Southern Cal just three days earlier.

The Mustangs played at TCU, only about 40 miles from their Dallas campus, for the first time in four seasons.

Kouat Noi had 16 points for TCU, Bane had 14, Jaylen Fisher 11 and Ahmed Hamdy 10. Fisher had nine assists.

Williams, who was 7-of-8 shooting with five 3s, just missed his fifth straight double-double, finishing with nine rebounds. He also had five assists.

Ethan Chargois led five SMU players in double figures with 21 points, while Jarrey Foster had 19. Shake Milton had 18 points, but was only 1-of-7 from 3-point range, while Jimmy Whitt had 12 points before fouling out and Emelogu had 10.

TCU led for good after Fisher fed Williams for a 3-pointer with 14 1/2 minutes left to snap a 47-all tie.

Williams hit two 3-pointers to start the game and an opening 8-2 run for TCU. He had five quick points (a layup and 3-pointer) after SMU got within 10-9.

Vlad Brodziansky’s 3-pointer put TCU up 23-16 midway through the first half before Milton scored eight for the Mustangs in a 13-2 spurt that put them ahead.

Williams then had two free throws before consecutive 3s by Noi put TCU back in front.

BIG PICTURE

SMU: Even though the Mustangs shot 52 percent overall (30 of 55), they struggled on 3-pointers by making only 6 of 21 from long range.

TCU: The Frogs keep sharing the basketball. They entered the game ranked fourth nationally with 20 assists per game, and then had 21 assists on 26 field goals. TCU, with its highest ranking since 1998, scored at least 83 points for the fourth straight game and seventh time this season. The defending NIT champs are 24-2 in non-conference games under second-year Jamie Dixon.

UP NEXT

SMU will have an extended break during exams before playing New Orleans on Dec. 13. That will start a five-game home stand at Moody Coliseum, where the Mustangs have a 28-game winning streak.

TCU plays No. 22 Nevada on Friday night in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic at Staples Center. It will be the first time Dixon, a North Hollywood native, coaches a game in Los Angeles. His parents still live in the home he grew up in, and his sister is an attorney for Los Angeles County.

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For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

No. 17 Michigan beats Maryland 85-61 for 5th straight win

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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.

BIG PICTURE

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.

CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS

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.

UP NEXT

Michigan: Big Ten Tournament in New York.

Maryland: Big Ten Tournament on Thursday.

Mark Emmert hints at changes coming to rules regulating agents in college basketball

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Chimezie Metu cleared to play by USC

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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.

Bubble Banter: There will be some NCAA tournament bids determined today

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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

MARQUETTE
PROVIDENCE
SETON HALL
BAYLOR
TCU
LOUISVILLE
VIRGINIA TECH
SMU
MIAMI
LSU
TEXAS
USC
UTAH
MISSISSIPPI STATE
TEXAS A&M
WASHINGTON
ALABAMA
KANSAS STATE
OKLAHOMA
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
ST. BONAVENTURE
FLORIDA

Marvin Bagley III returning to Duke lineup against Syracuse after knee injury

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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.