robdauster

AP Photo/Frank Victores

Houston picks off No. 5 Cincinnati as Bearcats continue struggle against quality competition

4 Comments

Corey Davis Jr. finished with 16 points and Rob Gray, who struggled with his shot for much of the night, made two big jumpers in the final two minutes as Houston landed a critical win over No. 5 Cincinnati, 67-62, on Thursday night.

Houston entered the day on the bubble, a loss to Drexel at home and a loss at Tulane dragging down a profile that otherwise is solid. Beating the Bearcats, however, means that the Cougars are now 4-2 against Quadrant 1 opponents with six total wins against the top two Quadrants. That, combined with a strong RPI and a 20-5 record, is probably enough to put them fairly comfortable on the right side of the bubble.

The bigger story here, however, is that Cincinnati took a loss for the first time since Dec. 9th, when they played Florida in Newark, N.J. That game after the Bearcats were absolutely manhandled by Xavier in the Crosstown Shootout, meaning that Cincinnati has lost three of the four games where they played an NCAA tournament tournament; if you want to count UCLA as a tournament team, Cincinnati did win in LA, but the Bruins are going to be right there on the cut-line until Selection Sunday.

That leads me to the biggest issue with the Bearcats, one that was on full display on Thursday night: This team has struggled when they’ve faced objectively good basketball teams, and that is because they struggle to score the ball. The Bearcats are ranked 53rd on KenPom in adjusted offensive efficiency, but you cannot convince that those numbers aren’t inflated by playing in the American.

This group just doesn’t have guys that scare an opposing coach that is trying to scheme defensively. On Thursday night, the Bearcats shot a robust 37 percent from the floor and 4-for-15 from three, including banking in a shot at the buzzer to cut the lead to five points.

Now credit where it is due: Houston is a top 25 team on KenPom that was playing on their home floor. This is not Chaminade beating No. 1 Virginia. This is the third-best team in a league beating the league’s best team on their home floor. That happens all the time in college basketball. In the last 24 hours alone, Villanova lost at Providence and Purdue lost at Wisconsin.

It is what it is.

These are the things that make this sport great.

But it would be foolish to ignore the fact that a team that hasn’t played well in their limited games against quality competition and a team that has had bouts of offensive ineptitude played a good team in a tough environment and struggled with offensive ineptitude.

Minnesota’s Reggie Lynch drops appeal of sexual misconduct findings

Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Reggie Lynch’s time at the University of Minnesota has come to an end.

The former Gopher center dropped his appeal of sexual misconduct findings against him on Thursday, accepting his expulsion from campus over incidents involving two different women in April of 2016.

In total, Lynch has been accused three different times of sexual assault since arriving on Minnesota’s campus in 2015. He was arrested and suspended at the time for an incident in May of 2016. In January of this year, he was found responsible of misconduct by a school committee for an alleged sexual assault that occurred in April of 2016. That finding came on the same day that a separate recommendation was made for Lynch to be suspended from campus for student code violations in a separate incident.

“I did not commit any of the acts I’m accused of,” Lynch said at a news conference in his attorney’s office on Thursday. “In today’s climate people automatically assume you’re guilty.”

“My friends, family and anyone who knows me knows the truth; I have never and would never commit any of the acts I am being accused of,” Lynch added. “As the son of an amazing mother, I respect all women. I have become a victim of false allegations, and it deeply saddens me to what that can do to someone’s life.”

Lynch’s mother spoke at the news conference, as did his lawyer, who said, posed the question of whether or not Lynch is actually the victim in this matter.

“There’s a reason why the courts don’t call an accuser a victim in a trial, they wait until the facts play out,” Ryan Pacyga said after distributing handouts to the assembled media that featured his accuser’s full names. “Who is the victim? Is it the person who is an accuser? Or is it accused?

“It’s a no-win situation,” Pacyga said. “We can do better and we need to do better.”

Judge denies motion to dismiss charges against three men in FBI case

Kevin Hagen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A motion to dismiss charges against three of the men indicted in the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball was denied by a judge on Thursday.

The argument laid out by attorneys for former Adidas executives Jim Gatto and Merl Code as well as former runner Christian Dawkins was that the men did not commit a federal crime and that there were no victims in this case.

The District Court judge, according to Yahoo Sports, “emphatically disagreed”.

Gatto, Code and Dawkins were all charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, while Code and Dawkins were also hit with bribery charges.

There is also speculation that as many as three dozen programs are in danger of getting hit with NCAA violations based on evidence that has been collected throughout the investigation.

Syracuse shot at getting to the NCAA tournament hampered by mounting injury problems

Abbie Parr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Syracuse is in the middle of a fight for a spot in the NCAA tournament, and it isn’t getting made any easier by the fact that no one on the team seems capable of remaining healthy.

The good news is that the Orange got Matthew Moyer back on Wednesday night. Moyer had been out for a couple of week battling a sprained ankle, but, according to a reporter from the Syracuse.com, Moyer was limping badly after a loss to N.C. State last night.

But at least he played 28 minutes.

Bourama Sidibe played just five minutes for the Orange on Wednesday as he battles a case of tendonitis in his knee. Sidibe is the team’s back-up center, playing behind Paschal Chukwu, who played just seven second half minutes last night after he “felt something pop” during the game. With Howard Washington, one of the three scholarship guards on the Orange roster, out for the season, that means that three of the seven scholarship players on this roster are limited by injury right now.

That’s not ideal for a team that needs to win three or four more games just to have a shot of being on the right side of the bubble come Selection Sunday.

And that’s why Tyus Battle, the leading scorer for the Orange, is averaging 40.7 minutes per game since the start of December.

No. 24 Nevada loses starting point guard to ruptured achilles

Jeff Bottari/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lindsey Drew, the starting point guard for No. 24 Nevada and the son of former NBA head coach Larry Drew, ruptured his achilles on a last-second halfcourt heave at halftime of the Wolf Pack’s win at Boise State on Wednesday night.

“I couldn’t even be around him because I was so devastated because I love him so much,” head coach Eric Musselman told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “Things happens in basketball and we have to regroup and we have five games left in the regular season and we’ll have to continue to figure out a way.”

Drew was averaging 8.3 points, 4.1 boards and 4.3 assists this season acting as the distributor for a team that has a number of stars already on the roster, namely Caleb Martin and Jordan Caroline. For a team that is already struggling with depth, this is a major issue. Nevada has had a rotation that only goes six or seven deep in league play.

Clemson’s Shelton Mitchell remained in Tallahassee after scary head injury

Leave a comment

Clemson guard Shelton Mitchell remained behind in Tallahassee after the team returned to South Carolina following a scary head injury he suffered at the end of a loss to Florida State on Wednesday night.

Mitchell was driving for a layup with 9.1 seconds left in overtime when he was accidentally elbowed in the head by Trent Forrest. Mitchell could not stand up on his own, spent more than six minutes on the ground and eventually had to be dragged off the floor by the Clemson medical staff.

Trainer Brad Crowe and Clemson staffer Terrell McIntyre remained in Florida with Mitchell at the hospital, where he was kept as a precaution.