Daniel Martin

Deshaun Thomas dunk

Pregame Shootaround 2.10.13: Deshaun Thomas-Victor Oladipo matchup is one to watch

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Game of the Day: No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 10 Ohio State (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)

Fresh off a disappointing loss to Illinois on a buzzer-beating layup, the road gets no easier for No. 1 Indiana. But that’s what makes the Big Ten the Big Ten, right? Sunday the Hoosiers meet an Ohio State team that gave No. 3 Michigan a fight in an overtime loss, though finally showing that it had the offensive capacity to have some complementary scorers around offensive centerpiece Deshaun Thomas.

Those other offensive weapons, including LaQuinton Ross, Lenzelle Smith, Jr., and Aaron Craft will have to produce, especially considering that Thomas will have to be dealing with elite defender Victor Oladipo. If Oladipo succeeds in shutting Thomas down or at least holding him at bay, it will be up to the others to carry the offensive load.

Who’s Getting Upset?: Maryland (-2) vs. Virginia (1:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

With third place in the ACC on the line for the Cavaliers, expect Virginia to come out ready to play Sunday. The biggest concern for Maryland will be turnovers, as the Terrapins average 15 per game. In a slower game against Virginia, they could struggle. In order to get the win, though, Virginia will have to control the backboards, where Maryland is the best in the country.

Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: Canisius vs. Niagara (2:00 p.m. ET)

MAAC leader Niagara will see its lead in the conference dwindle down to just one game if it can’t hold off coach Jim Baron and the Golden Griffins. Niagara is coming in having lost two straight games and could be short-handed again if leading scorer Antoine Mason’s ankle is not fully ready come tip-off.

If  he is unable to go, it will be more crucial that sophomore Juan’ya Green get back into form, having shot just 1-of-16 from the floor in a loss to Rider.

Five Things to Watch For

1) With every other team in the Top 5 losing at least once (if not twice) so far this week, there’s a good chance No. 4 Duke can climb back into the No. 1 spot in the country with a win over Boston College. Tip-off is at 6:00 p.m. ET.

2) Another team that could be in the running for the No. 1 ranking is Arizona, who has already beaten Stanford and Washington State this week. The key against California will be containing and disrupting Allen Crabbe, the Pac-12’s leading scorer.

3) St. John’s been on a roll, winning six of its past seven games, but the Red Storm run into a tough Syracuse team at the Carrier Dome Sunday. The key will be stopping Syracuse’s dribble penetration, which could quickly break down the St. John’s matchup zone. Michael Carter-Williams needs to be a creator, which will spark production from the rest of the offense.

4) Illinois likely saved its season with a win over No. 1 Indiana in the final seconds, but will have to try to keep the momentum going against another ranked team, No. 18 Minnesota, Sunday.

5) After a rough start to the conference schedule, Virginia is starting to find its stride in the ACC. The Cavaliers go on the road Sunday against Maryland. A win gives them sole possession of third place in the conference.

The Top 25

No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 10 Ohio State (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)

No. 4 Duke vs. Boston College (4:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

No. 7 Arizona vs. Cal (7:00 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Networks)

No. 9 Syracuse vs. St. John’s (3:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)

No. 18 Minnesota vs. Illinois (6:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)

Other Notable Games

Connecticut vs. Seton Hall (12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Virginia vs. Maryland (1:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

NC State vs. Clemson (1:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Colorado vs. Oregon State (9:00 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Networks)

Washington vs. USC (10:00 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Net National)

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

Could Miami take over No. 1 spot in the AP poll after win over UNC?

Kenny Kadji

If there were any week that would most easily allow for a team to jump in the polls from No. 8 to No. 1, it is this week with the Miami Hurricanes. After handily beating North Carolina, 87-61, the door could be open.

After No. 1 Indiana lost to Illinois, No. 2 Florida lost to Arkansas, No. 3 Michigan lost to Wisconsin, and No. 5 Kansas lost to TCU, the Hurricanes have three teams–Gonzaga, Arizona, and Duke–ahead of them who have or will likely win out this week. Will Miami make the leap?

The Case for the Hurricanes

– Miami remains undefeated in the ACC at 10-0.

– The Hurricanes have quality wins over a dangerous Michigan State team and NC State, as well as a trouncing of No. 1 Duke.

– In addition, Miami has beaten North Carolina twice, Maryland, and solid mid-majors UMass, Charlotte, and La Salle.

– Losses to No. 7 Arizona and Indiana State were without big man Reggie Johnson.

– Not only was Saturday’s 87-61 win over North Carolina a conventional win, but it was dominant as well.

– According to ESPN, “Miami is the first team to beat Duke and UNC each by 20+ points in same season since Maryland in 1974-75 season”

The Case Against the Hurricanes

– The early-season loss to Florida-Gulf Coast continues to linger.

– Arizona remains ranked higher than the Hurricanes and, barring a loss to Cal Sunday, would hold the head-to-head advantage.

– Unlike the Big Ten, the ACC is a relatively weak conference. Consider the Hurricanes’ schedule from here: Florida State, Clemson, Virginia, Wake, Virginia Tech, Duke, Georgia Tech, Clemson.

The Hurricanes have now won more conference games this season (10) with eight games remaining than they won all of last season (9). They are also almost assured on Monday of achieving the highest-ever ranking in school history. This week’s No. 8 ranking tied a school record and with at least four teams ahead of them losing, it is nearly guaranteed.

Is Miami the nation’s No. 1 team?

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

Mississippi State’s Jalen Steele suspended indefinitely

Jalen Steele
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An already thin Mississippi State roster has gotten thinner as junior Jalen Steele was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules, the school announced Saturday.

Steele, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., has been a constant amidst all of the changes in Starkville, but now must sit on the sidelines for an indeterminate amount of time. He has seen action in 13 games this season, 11 of them starts, after retuning from a wrist fracture that kept him out of eight games early in the year.

In those 13 games, Steele averaged 9.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. His best game of the season came Jan. 12 in a road win over Georgia when he scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Without Steele available, Mississippi State now has only six scholarship players available and two eligible walk-ons. Coach Rick Ray inherited a difficult situation with the Bulldogs, and it has been made no easier with this news Saturday. They take on No. 2 Florida at 4:00 p.m. ET and the host Gators are favored by 29 points.

Steele reportedly did not make the trip to Gainesville with the team.

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

Despite loss to Wisconsin, Michigan’s Big Ten outlook still favorable

Mitch McGary

It might take some time for No. 3 Michigan to shake off its disappointing 65-62 loss to Wisconsin Saturday afternoon in Madison. After a rainbow three from Tim Hardaway, Jr. sailed through with 0:02 remaining, it looked all but over, until a half-court buzzer-beater from Ben Brust sent the game into overtime where the Wolverines lost control.

But fret not, Michigan. In the nation’s toughest conference, your upcoming schedule is perhaps the most favorable of any of the Big Ten contenders.

Of Michigan’s three remaining road games, they face a tough No. 12 Michigan State team, but then move on to play Penn State and Purdue. By contrast, No. 1 Indiana has four games remaining on the road, all of which are against ranked team. The Hoosiers meet No. 10 Ohio State in Columbus Sunday, then No. 12 Michigan State, then No. 18 Minnesota, and end the season on the road against this very same Michigan team.

Michigan State has the benefit of playing Purdue and Nebraska as two of its four remaining road games, but also meets No. 10 Ohio State and Michigan away from East Lansing.

Then, of course, factor in Wisconsin and Ohio State into the race and the plot thickens.

But, for Michigan, despite the loss, the road is built to keep them solidly in the race for the Big Ten title. Mitch McGary showed Saturday that he can be the final piece of a four-scorers-plus-one lineup that also includes Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III, and Hardaway, Jr.

The Big Ten race won’t be a cake walk, but Michigan controls one important category: the luck of the draw in scheduling.

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

Bizarre officiating allows Khalif Wyatt, Temple to escape with road win over Dayton

Temple Dayton

Up to the final seven seconds of Temple’s 72-71 win over Dayton Saturday afternoon, all was well. Those last seven seconds, though, were something else entirely.

Khalif Wyatt hit a three-pointer with 0:07 to play, officially erasing a 10-point second-half deficit and putting Temple ahead by one, 72-71. That set Dayton up with one final chance to escape with a win. Here’s where it gets weird.

Dayton guard Kevin Dillard dribbled into a trap near half court and lost the ball out of bounds with 0:03 to play. Dayton coach Archie Miller was livid at the lack of a foul. Perhaps “Strike 1” for the referees. But it gets worse.

Temple in-bounded the ball to senior Scootie Randall, who appeared to elude a Dayton defender and allowing him to bleed out the clock. The referees, though, called a foul and forced Randall to the line. Strike 2. He proceeded to miss both free throws, keeping the game at 72-71. Dayton grabbed the rebound and called a timeout, giving the Flyers 1.3 seconds to try and full-court pass.

On the in-bound, Temple’s Anthony Lee was called for a defensive foul while trying to fight through a screen, what appeared to be another bad call working against the Owls in the span of just two seconds. Strike 3. That sent Dayton’s Josh Benson to the line with the chance to tie or take the lead.

But Benson missed both.

Temple’s Jake O’Brien grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 0:01 to play. It’s over, right? No. O’Brien missed the first and tried to intentionally miss the second, but failed to hit the rim. This gave Dayton one final chance at another full-court in-bounds, but the ball was tipped and the clock ran out. Game over.

Has there been a worse seven-second stretch of officiating in college basketball this season? If there is, please present it as Exhibit A. Temple had two key fouls work in Dayton’s favor and, had even one of Benson’s free throws fallen and forced overtime, we could be talking about an even bigger officiating controversy.

For now, though, Temple escapes.

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

Could Coach K return to Team USA again for 2016 Olympics?

Mike Krzyzewski
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Despite his insistence that the 2012 Olympics in London would be his last with Team USA, it appears that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski could be in for another run in the 2016 Games.

Team USA chairman Jerry Colangelo has yet to name a replacement and has pushed the deadline for finding a new coach past the end of the college basketball season, ESPN.com is reporting.

In an additional report from the Associated Press, speculation still abounds:

One of the people told The Associated Press that though Krzyzewski gave no indication in London he would return, there were since ”rumblings” that he was open to it. Another said the delay was creating speculation that Coach K would be back.

Krzyzewski has been a part of USA Basketball since 1979. He has served as the head coach for the last two Olympic teams, one that bounced back from a disappointing showing in Athens in 2004 to take gold in 2008, then just this past summer in London.

The Associated Press reports that Krzyzewski will continue to focus on his Duke team before making a decision about Team USA. The Blue Devils are ranked No. 4 in the country and are 20-2 on the season.

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