Daniel Martin


Creighton loses 3rd straight, tough Missouri Valley could hurt chances of multiple NCAA tournament bids

Leave a comment

Creighton lost to Northern Iowa, 61-54, on the road Wednesday night for its third straight loss and dropping the Bluejays into a tie for second place in the Missouri Valley.

We’ve seen every contender at the top of the MVC go through its own struggles. Wichita State lost three in a row before bouncing back with two straight wins. Indiana State has yet to put together more than a two-game winning streak in conference play and is fresh off a loss Tuesday to Missouri State. Now Creighton, featuring perhaps the National Player of the Year in Doug McDermott, is in a hole.

It’s a blessing and curse for tough mid-major conferences. On one hand, parity is a good thing. It makes for a more interesting conference slate. Games are more competitive. We see some good upsets.

The NCAA tournament selection committee could see it differently, though.

As more Missouri Valley teams knock each other off, losses start piling up on resumes that really can’t afford when viewed in the larger scope of the field of 68 in the NCAA tournament. As the conference slate begins to come down the home stretch, a three-game losing streak by Wichita State or Creighton won’t look good for an at-large bid if Indiana State ultimately wins the conference.

The same can be said for any of the either two, depending who wins the conference. Northern Iowa is still in the mix too, with a favorable schedule coming up.

Right now, the league looks competitive enough to have at least one at-large bid in addition to the conference tournament champion, but that could change. We wanted a competitive Missouri Valley race. We’re getting it. For all that, though, it might only be hurting the very teams vying for an NCAA bid.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Late Rotnei Clarke push comes up short, No. 11 Butler upset by Charlotte

Rotnei Clarke

Butler superhero transfer Rotnei Clarke showed up a little too late to save the Bulldogs Wednesday night.

Despite scoring 15 points in the final 3:24 of regulation, the Bulldogs couldn’t stop a physical interior-minded Charlotte team and fell, 71-67, at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.

This isn’t a Butler team we’re used to seeing, though. The Bulldogs were without center Andrew Smith, a rock in the paint that had been averaging 11.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Whereas the Bulldogs were able to use Smith to try to negate a disadvantage inside previously, his absence made for a long night of Butler defense.

Charlotte wanted to work the ball to the rim the entire night and was never really stopped, on its way to 52 percent shooting on the night.

But even considering that, Butler was within one possession late and had a chance to tie the game, trailing by only two when coach Brad Stevens called a timeout to draw up a play with three seconds to play. A pass toward the rim was intercepted and that was the game.

Luckily for Brad Stevens’ team, Smith is only slated to miss one more game and that comes against Fordham, a team that is 2-7 in conference play and 6-18 overall.

Another positive takeaway is this: How long can one reasonably keep Rotnei Clarke in a slump? The answer is usually “not long.” He found his groove in the final three minutes and came about as close as anyone could imagine to single-handedly bringing a team back from a double-digit deficit.

Clarke has only been held without a double-digit scoring night three times this season when he has been able to play full minutes and Butler is still 2-1 in those games.

This loss will sting in the short term, but Butler should be back on track when Smith returns.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Tennessee self-reports three violations committed by men’s basketball program

Tennessee Volunteers head coach Martin instructs his team as they take on the Ole Miss Rebels during the SEC men's NCAA basketball tournament in New Orleans

The University of Tennessee has self-reported 10 violations within its athletic department, three of which occurred within the men’s basketball program. The description of the violations comes from the Associated Press:

One of the men’s basketball violations involved holding open individual skill instruction before a football game. During that session, recruits making official visits were allowed to attempt shots while coaches were present. The others were inconsistencies in the camp registration process and prohibited grocery shopping services for student-athletes.

If it seems ridiculous, it probably is. This is all in an attempt to create a “level playing field”. The real fun begins when parsing the language.

Recruits on an official visit “attempted shots while coaches were present.” Taken literally, perhaps those recruits wouldn’t have caused the school any trouble, had they only taken a page out of Bob Knight’s book, pump-faked, and passed up the shot.

The NCAA has made an effort in recent years to reform recruiting, including deregulating communication bylaws. Clearly, though, there is a lot of work left to do.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Monroe College’s Stephane Manga throws down a Dunk of the Year nominee (VIDEO)

Monroe College
Leave a comment

We’ve seen a steady influx of Dunk of the Year nominees. But Monroe College’s Stephane Manga has made his case to at least be in the conversation. Monroe ended up losing to ASA College, 73-65, on Tuesday, but this dunk is worth a couple viewings:

From CollegeBasketballTalk’s resident dunk connoisseur, Troy Machir:

“Heckuva dunk. Not great vert, but the dude takes off from the logo, with a touch of posterization.”

What do you think?

(h/t The Basketball Diary)

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

UMass Lowell will reportedly join Division I, become member of America East

UMass Lowell logo
Leave a comment

UMass Lowell will join the ranks of Division I in all sports beginning in the 2013-14 school year, the Lowell Sun is reporting.

According to the report, the school will announce its intent to become a member of the America East in a press conference Thursday. The America East recently lost Boston University to the Patriot League, beginning at the start of the 2013-14 season.

As for the men’s basketball program, the River Hawks traveled to Connecticut at the beginning of this season for an exhibition against coach Kevin Ollie and the Huskies, which ended in a 100-62 defeat. The men’s basketball team is currently 13-8 on the season and led by junior Akeem Williams, who is averaging 19.1 points per game on the season.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Suspended UConn center Enosch Wolf formally charged in domestic dispute, apologizes

Enosch Wolf
1 Comment

Enosch Wolf, the 7-1 center who has been suspended indefinitely from the Connecticut men’s basketball team, was arraigned Wednesday on charges stemming from a domestic dispute that allegedly took place Monday morning, according to the AP.

Wolf was charged with 3rd-degree burglary, criminal trespass, and disorderly conduct. According to police, he was arrested Monday morning after he refused to leave a woman’s apartment, then pushing her and knocking her glasses off.

Wolf then issued an apology through the press “for what I put the university through, what I put the coaches through, the people of the university, my teammates and my family.”

On the season, he had been averaging 3.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in just under 14 minutes per game. Due to the suspension, he will not be available when the Huskies take the floor Wednesday against No. 6 Syracuse.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_