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Saturday College Hoops Recap: Trae Young is a cheat code, Butler beats No. 1 Villanova

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PLAYER OF THE DAY

Trae Young is a cheat code.

Seriously.

He finished with 39 points and 14 assists on Saturday. Playing his first Big 12 game. On the road. Against an undefeated top ten team.

And he didn’t even play his best.

All of that is true!

Young had 17 points and four assists in the final ten minutes to help the Sooners overcome a double-digit second half deficit, but he also shot just 9-for-23 from the floor and had seven turnovers, a number that would be higher if you included some of the bad* shots that the took.

But that doesn’t matter anymore.

Because Trae Young is a cheat code.

*Editor’s note: There are not ACTUAL bad shots for Trae Young. Every one of them is a good shot.

THE REST OF SATURDAY’S STARS

  • MARVIN BAGLEY III, Duke: Bagley played his best game as a collegian on Saturday, and that’s saying something considering the way that he has played this season. He went for 32 points and 21 boards, 11 of which came on the offensive end of the floor, as the Blue Devils won a thriller against No. 24 Florida State, 100-93.
  • DEANDRE AYTON, Arizona: In his Pac-12 opener against a top three team that just so happened to be his school’s in-state rival, No. 3 Arizona State, Ayton went for 23 points, 19 boards, three blocks and three assists to lead the Wildcats to a statement win that they are probably going to need if they want to win the league.
  • TY JEROME, Virginia: Boston College went into Charlottesville and gave No. 9 Virginia a fight. If it wasn’t for a turnover on the final possession of the game the Eagles might have won. Ty Jerome led the way with 31 points for UVA in a 59-58 win.
  • JAYLEN BARFORD and DARRYL MACON, Arkansas: Barford went for 33 points and Macon had 28 as the Razorbacks landed a come-from-behind, overtime win over No. 19 Tennessee. It is not easy to go into Fayetteville and leave with a victory.
  • BONZIE COLSON, Notre Dame: The Irish shook off a slow start to land a win in their ACC opener against Georgia Tech. Colson finished with 22 points, 17 boards, three blocks and a pair of steals.
  • JOCK LANDALE, Saint Mary’s: It took overtime for Saint Mary’s to get out of Provo with a win, but the Gaels managed to do just that, knocking off BYU 74-64. Landale was the best player on the floor in the game, finishing with 31 points and 13 boards in the win.
  • ANDREW ROWSEY, Marquette: Marquette won their first game of the Big East season over Georgetown on the back of a 35-point outburst from their diminutive point guard.

TEAM OF THE DAY

Butler landed their biggest win of the season on Saturday, as they broke the century mark against No. 1 Villanova, winning 101-93. The Bulldogs have now beaten Villanova all three times that they have played in the 2017 calendar year. Kelan Martin led the way with 24 points for Butler, who shot 60 percent from the floor and 15-for-22 from beyond the arc. As a team, Butler posted 1.40 points-per-possession against a team that entered the day as a top ten team according to KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric.

I’m not sure how else I can explain this. It was a ridiculous performance from a Butler team, the first marquee win for them this season and the first statement win for LaVall Jordan as the head coach of the Bulldogs. When it comes down to it, this could end up being the difference between a bid to the NCAA tournament and a trip to the NIT

What does it mean for Villanova? Well, we dove into that here.

GAME OF THE DAY

A thriller in Fayetteville. After trailing for the entire game, Arkansas staged a rally in the final five minutes, eventually forcing overtime against No. 19 Tennessee. The Razorbacks would eventually build an 11-point lead in the extra frame, but Tennessee came storming right back. They cut the lead to two points before a pair of Darryl Macon free throws sealed the win.

Arkansas got a combined 61 points from Macon and Jaylen Barfield as they added another impressive win to their résumé. The Hogs are quietly having an impressive season, one that should get them ranked in the top 25 come Monday and maybe as high as a top four seed come Selection Sunday. We shall see how it all plays out.

For the Vols, this is going to be another tough loss to swallow. They led by nine points with 3:53 left in the game. They also led late against No. 13 North Carolina when they played the Tar Heels in Knoxville early this year. Hell, held a big lead on No. 1 Villanova in the first half back in November. Those are their three losses. Tennessee is having a really good year. They’re that close to having a great year.

WTF???? OF THE DAY

No. 6 Xavier trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half against DePaul at the Cintas Center on Saturday, but they turned things around, winning 77-72 in a performance that wasn’t exactly inspiring but that got the job done.

The highlight of the game came midway through the comeback. The referees missed a blatant inbound violation – DePaul’s Eli Cain clearly never established inbounds while receiving an inbounds pass – and Mack ran 15 feet on the court during play to argue the call. He was, clearly, T’d up, and in the process of trying to argue his point, Mack pulled out a whiteboard and tried to diagram what happened for the referee:

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

Joel Berry saved the day for No. 13 North Carolina, hitting this floater to give the Tar Heels a late lead as they held off Wake Forest, 73-69:

It came against a shorthanded No. 5 Texas A&M, but Alabama landed themselves a marquee win, blowing out the Aggies, 79-57. That win is going to look great on their résumé come Selection Sunday. It shouldn’t hurt Texas A&M all that much, however. The Aggies were without leading scorer D.J. Hogg and off-guard Admon Gilder, two of their three leading scorers and their two best three-point shooters.

In their first game as a member of the American, No. 8 Wichita State picked up a road win against UConn, 72-62. That sounds more impressive than it actually is. UConn is not all that good at basketball these days, and the Huskies took the lead late in the second half before the Shockers pulled away for good.

Grand Canyon earns two more high-major transfers

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Grand Canyon has done a great job of attracting high-major transfers as the program landed two more former Big Ten players this week.

Forward Michael Finke, a former Illinois big man, will join the program as a graduate transfer while former Northwestern guard Isiah Brown also committed to the Antelopes.

Michael Finke made 50 career starts for the Illini, as he joins younger brother Tim Finke on the Grand Canyon roster. The floor-spacing big man could help Grand Canyon on offense if he shoots like he did a few seasons back as he could be a valuable addition to the rotation. Finke put up 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game at Illinois last season.

Brown, who just finished his sophomore season as Northwestern, will have to sit out next season before getting two more years of eligibility. The duo of Brown and Finke join Washington transfer Carlos Johnson (also sitting out next season) as high-major transfers that head coach Dan Majerle and his staff have pulled in this offseason.

Last season at Northwestern, Brown averaged 3.9 points per game after his minutes dipped a bit.

With Grand Canyon making a major push towards an NCAA tournament, these are the types of moves that could pay off the next few seasons for an emerging mid-major program.

Nebraska lands Robert Morris transfer Dachon Burke

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Nebraska landed a coveted transfer on Thursday as former Robert Morris guard Dachon Burke pledged to the Cornhuskers during an official visit, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

The 6-foot-4 Burke will have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations before getting two more seasons of eligibility. Burke averaged 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game last season for the Colonials in a breakout sophomore campaign. Also putting up 2.1 steals per game, Burke should be a major contributor for Nebraska when he becomes eligible.

Nebraska was able to pull in Burke even though he was coveted by other high-major programs as he’s a solid addition for the program. If Burke can improve his perimeter shooting (33 percent last season from three-point range) then he could be a major weapon for the Huskers.

 

Report: Arizona State adds 7-foot-1 center

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Height has been something of an issue in recent years for Bobby Hurley and Arizona State. The Sun Devils took a step to remedy that Thursday.

Uros Plavsic, a 7-foot-1 center from Serbia has signed with Arizona State to become the fourth member of the program’s 2018 recruiting class, according to a report from 247 Sports’ Evan Daniels.

Plavsic, who is attending high school in Tennessee, originally committed to Cleveland State, but backed off that commitment last month before visiting Tempe this week.

“It was a great experience,” Plavsic told Scout. “They really took good care of me these past few days. Their campus is so, so big. The people here are nice. I met two guys I really liked and were important for a basketball team. Their facilities are crazy. Everything is in the same area.”

The Sun Devils ranked in the bottom half of the country in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage last year while ranking 265th in average height, according to KenPom.

“They were short the past two seasons,” he said about Arizona State. “They really needed a big guy and they can use me inside or can pass outside. They really need a big guy and I think I can help them out a lot next season.”

 

NCAA begins work of implementing complex basketball reforms

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The most difficult part of the NCAA’s attempt to clean up college basketball begins now.

Hours after former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice presented the Commission on College Basketball’s sweeping recommendations for reforming a sport weighed down by corruption, NCAA leaders set in motion the process for turning those ideas into reality.

The NCAA Board of Governors, a group of 16 university presidents and the association’s highest ranking body, unanimously endorsed all the commission’s recommendations Wednesday. Now it’s up to various subcommittees, working groups and college administrators to dig into a mountain of work over the next three months as the NCAA attempts to change NBA draft rules, create a new enforcement body, toughen penalties for rules violations, revamp summer recruiting and certify agents. All while trying to get buy-in from organizations that might not be motivated to help.

“It’s going to be a challenge to say the least,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “This is a pace of decision making that the association’s really never done on this kind of scale before.”

The Division I Council, comprised mostly of athletic directors and headed by Miami AD Blake James, has the job of turning the recommendations into rules. That requires feedback from schools, then council votes with some conference votes counting more heavily than others. Each proposal then goes to the Board of Directors, where a majority vote is needed to send it to the Board of Governors for final approval.

It’s a winding path — crossing 351 Division I schools with varied priorities and concerns — and requiring consensus building and compromise for measures to pass. NCAA rule changes can sometimes take a full calendar year to sort out.

“We’ve got to make sure we don’t let the good fall victim to the perfect here,” Emmert said. “Nobody believes we’re going to get everything perfect the first time through.”

The independent commission Rice led released a much-anticipated and detailed 60-page report , seven months after the group was formed in response to a federal corruption investigation that rocked college basketball. Ten people, including some assistant coaches, have been charged in a bribery and kickback scheme , and high-profile programs such as Arizona, Louisville and Kansas have been tied to possible NCAA violations.

“They believe the college basketball enterprise is worth saving,” Rice told the AP of commission members in an interview before addressing NCAA leaders. “We believe there’s a lot of work to do in that regard. That the state of the game is not very strong. We had to be bold in our recommendations.”

The proposals were wide-ranging, falling mostly into five categories: NBA draft rules, specifically the league’s 19-year-old age limit that has led to so-called one-and-done college players; non-scholastic basketball such as AAU leagues and summer recruiting events; the relationship between players and agents; relationships with apparel companies; and NCAA enforcement.

“Some people like some of (the recommendations) more than others, which is human nature, but as a board we’re unanimous in the endorsement and the acceptance of these recommendations for the NCAA,” said Minnesota President Eric Kaler, chairman of the Division I Board of Directors.

It’s not yet clear how the governing body would pay for some of the proposals, though the NCAA reported revenues of more than $1 billion dollars for fiscal year 2017 in its most recent financial disclosures.

The commission offered harsh assessments of toothless NCAA enforcement, as well as the shady summer basketball circuit that brings together agents, apparel companies and coaches looking to profit on teenage prodigies. It called the environment surrounding hoops “a toxic mix of perverse incentives to cheat,” and said responsibility for the current mess goes all the way up to university presidents.

It also defended the NCAA’s amateurism model, saying paying players a salary isn’t the answer.

“The goal should not be to turn college basketball into another professional league,” the commission wrote in its report.

The commission did leave open the possibility that college athletes could earn money off their names, images and likenesses , but decided not to commit on the subject while the courts are still weighing in.

Rice called the crisis in college basketball “first and foremost a problem of failed accountability and lax responsibility.”

ONE-AND-DONE

The commission emphasized the need for elite players to have more options when choosing between college and professional basketball, and to separate the two tracks.

The commission called for the NBA and its players association to change rules requiring players to be at least 19 years old and a year removed from graduating high school to be draft eligible. The one-and-done rule was implemented in 2006, despite the success of straight-from-high-school stars such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.

“I’m confident they are going to be very supportive,” Emmert said of the NBA and NBAPA.

The NBA and players union praised the recommendations on enforcement and expressed concerns about youth basketball. On draft eligibility rules, however, there was no commitment.

“The NBA and NBPA will continue to assess them in order to promote the best interests of players and the game,” they said.

The commission did, however, say if the NBA and NBPA refuse to change their rules in time for the next basketball season, it would reconvene and consider other options for the NCAA, such as making freshmen ineligible or locking a scholarship for three or four years if the recipient leaves a program after a single year.

“One-and-done has to go one way or another,” Rice told the AP.

ENFORCEMENT

The commission recommended harsher penalties for rule-breakers and that the NCAA outsource the investigation and adjudication of the most serious infractions cases. Level I violations would be punishable with up to a five-year postseason ban and the forfeiture of all postseason revenue for the time of the ban. That could be worth tens of millions to major conference schools. By comparison, recent Level I infractions cases involving Louisville and Syracuse basketball resulted in postseason bans of one year.

Instead of show cause orders, which are meant to limit a coach’s ability to work in college sports after breaking NCAA rules, the report called for lifetime bans.

“The rewards of success, athletic success, have become very great. The deterrents sometimes aren’t as effective as they need to be. What we want are deterrents that really impact an institution,” said Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins, who was a member of the Rice commission.

AGENTS

The commission proposed the NCAA create a program for certifying agents , and make them accessible to players from high school through their college careers.

AAU AND SUMMER LEAGUES

The NCAA, with support from the NBA and USA Basketball, should run its own recruiting events for prospects during the summer , the commission said, and take a more serious approach to certifying events it does not control.

APPAREL COMPANIES

The commission also called for greater financial transparency from shoe and apparel companies such as Nike, Under Armour and Adidas. These companies have extensive financial relationships with colleges and coaches worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and Adidas had two former executives charged by federal prosecutors in New York in the corruption case.

 

ODU graduate transfer Trey Porter headed to Nevada

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Nevada is adding an immediate impact big to its roster.

The Wolf Pack received the commitment of Old Dominion graduate transfer Trey Porter, they announced Wednesday.

The 6-foot-10 Porter averaged 13.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.3 blocks for ODU last season. He announced his decision to finish his career elsewhere last month.

“We are so excited about Trey Porter joining our Nevada Family,” Wolf Pack coach Eric Musselman said in a statement. “Trey is an incredible athlete, has tremendous length, and has huge upside. He is a great rebounder who can score the ball in the post and face up. He has phenomenal speed for his size and will really fit in our uptempo style on both ends of the floor.”

Porter, who began his career at George Mason, shot 58.8 percent from the field last season and registered four double-doubles.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to play at a program like Nevada,” Porter said in a statement. “As soon as I stepped on campus, I could tell how invested the coaching staff, program, and university were to my success and how I would fit in with the team. I am ready to get back to Reno and get to work on next season.”

Nevada upset Cincinnati and Texas in the NCAA tournament last season to reach the Sweet 16. They finished 29-8 overall. The Wolf Pack have uncertainty with their roster with Jordan Caroline, Caleb Martin and Cody Martin all testing the NBA draft waters.