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Player Of The Year Power Rankings: Marvin Bagley III drops out of the top five

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Marvin Bagley III has me perplexed.

What should we do with him?

Should a player that is as talented as Bagley be considered for an all-american team when seemingly everyone on the roster around him, and the team in general, seems to play better when he’s not on the floor?

Let’s start with this: Wendell Carter, in the five games (including Michigan State) in which Bagley did not play, is averaging 15.4 points, 10.4 boards, 2.8 assists and 2.6 blocks. In the 25 games with him, Carter is averaging 14.0 points, 9.2 boards, 1.9 assists and 2.1 blocks. Some of that, however, is simply explainable by the fact that, in Bagley’s absence, Carter is allowed to roam free in the paint.

Grayson Allen’s numbers, however, are drastically different. In the 25 games where Bagley has played this season, Allen is averaging 13.3 points, 3.6 boards, 4.6 assists and 1.5 steals. In the five games without him? 26.4 points, 2.6 boards, 4.2 assists and 2.0 steals.

Perhaps most importantly, Duke is 5-0 without Bagley on the floor, including a win over No. 2 Michigan State on a neutral court and some impressive, blow-out wins over teams in the middle of the ACC pack. With Bagley, Duke is now 19-6 after they lost at Virginia Tech in a game where they scored three points in the final five minutes and change as they blew a 60-51 lead.

Some of those numbers are noisy.

Part of the reason that Duke found a their form down the stretch of the season is that Bagley’s absence crippled their depth and forced Coach K to accept what we all knew was inevitable: That Duke is a 2-3 zone team this season. And that loss at Virginia Tech? It’s a road loss in conference play to a team with a win over North Carolina and at No. 1 Virginia in the last month that might climb up into the top 25 this week.

Put another way, losing at Virginia Tech is not the same as losing at Boston College.

Last night, during Duke’s loss, ESPN’s Dan Dakich made similar points albeit in a much more harsh and critical manner:

To be clear, I’m not calling Bagley selfish or all about himself.

I’m wondering whether or not Duke is better with just one of the two bigs on the floor at once, and even that doesn’t necessarily seem like it makes sense. Bagley has been active on a wing in that zone defense. There may be some validity to the idea that when the ball goes into Bagley it doesn’t come back out, but how often is that a result of the simple fact that Bagley is, you know, awesome? He is shooting 60 percent from the floor this season, and there aren’t many bigs that can stop him on the block.

Honestly, I think the biggest issue is that when the two bigs are on the floor together, the ball doesn’t move as quickly around the perimeter and there is not as much space in the lane for Allen to be an aggressive driver.

Put another way, with Bagley and Carter on the floor together, Duke becomes too predictable.

“We’re playing against teams that have scouted us the first couple games of the year, when nobody had seen half of our team play because we’re all young,” Grayson Allen told the Duke Chronicle. “Now we’re close to 30 games in, so teams have a lot of scouting on us and they know how to defend us, so we have to adjust to that.”

Whatever the case may be, I’ve dropped Bagley off of my first-team all-american list for the time being. As of today, I see there being six first-team all-american candidates that are valid: Jalen Brunson, Trae Young, Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III have been there for months, but I also think that right now, Devonte’ Graham of Kansas and Trevon Bluiett of Xavier have to be on that list as well. If you made me pick today, I would ride with Graham and Bluiett over Bagley. They are the superstars of teams that have — or seem likely to — win outright league titles in the two toughest leagues (and only two power conference leagues that play true round-robins) in the sport.

Anyway, I spoke in depth with ESPN’s Dalen Cuff about the Bagley conundrum on a podcast last week. We dive into it in more depth if you are interested:

Here is the full top ten.

1. JALEN BRUNSON, Villanova
3. TRAE YOUNG, Oklahoma
8. JOCK LANDALE, Saint Mary’s
9. KEENAN EVANS, Texas Tech
10. GARY CLARK, Cincinnati


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.