Rob Dauster

Green Bay's Kerem Kanter (1) and Carrington Love (12) celebrate after a 99-92 overtime win against Valparaiso during a NCAA college basketball game in the Horizon League tournament Monday, March 7, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Introducing Cinderella: Meet the Green Bay Phoenix

Leave a comment

Conference: Horizon League

Coach: Linc Darner

Record: 23-12, 11-7

Ratings and Rankings

Kenpom: 115
RPI: 125
AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding: The Phoenix are probably headed for a No. 14 or No. 15 seed, depending on how some of the other mid-major tournaments play out.

Names you need to know: Carrington Love is the star on this team, averaging 17.9 points, 3.5 assists and 2.6 steals. But Charles Cooper, who was terrific during the Horizon League tournament, is another guy to keep your eye on.

Stats you need to know: The Phoenix play fast. They average nearly 77 possessions per game — for comparison’s sake, Virginia averages right around 62 possessions — and no one in college basketball averages a shorter possession that Green Bay does; they get a shot up in less than 14 seconds.

Big wins, bad losses: Green Bay’s best win of the season vame in the semifinals, when they knocked off Valparaiso in overtime. They also beat a good Akron team back in December, but that’s it for top 100 KenPom wins.

How’d they get here?: Green Bay made a run through the Horizon League tournament, knocking off title favorite Valparaiso in overtime in the semifinals, after finishing fourth in the conference in the regular season.

Outlook: Linc Darner is a heck of a basketball coach. He won a national title in the Division II ranks last season. And even with the top two or three seed lines being weaker than we are used to seeing, I have a tough time envisioning this group picking up a win in the first round. But stranger things have happened.

How do I know you?: Green Bay has been relevant for the last five years because of the presence of potential NBA players on their roster. That’s what makes this year’s win ironic. It came after they lost Alec Brown and Kiefer Sykes to graduation.

0-19 ACC season leads to most depressing quote ever from Boston College player

Boston College center Dennis Clifford (24) has his shot blocked by Florida State guard Dwayne Bacon (4) with center Boris Bojanovsky (15) nearby, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Leave a comment

WASHINGTON (AP) Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton can empathize with Boston College’s Jim Christian, whose Eagles wrapped up the first 0-19 season in ACC men’s basketball with a conference tournament loss to the Seminoles.

When the men shook hands after Florida State’s 88-66 victory behind Devon Bookert’s 15 points in the first round Tuesday, Hamilton offered some words of consolation.

“I just told him to hang in there,” Hamilton said, “because he’s doing a lot of things the right way.”

Back in the 1993-94 season, when Hamilton was coaching the University of Miami in the old Big East Conference, his Hurricanes went 0-18.

“I went back to my office one day, sat down, turned all the lights out and just started crying,” Hamilton said with a chuckle. “And I said, `Lord, what did I do?’ I thought I had done something wrong with my life.”

This was not a rout from start to finish and actually was relatively close at halftime, with FSU ahead 39-30. But the 11th-seeded Seminoles (19-12) scored the first six points of the second half and never really were threatened again.

“It’s been real difficult losing, obviously, setting history and all that stuff,” said Eli Carter, who scored 21 points for the 14th-seeded Eagles (7-25). “But guys just kept playing. As much (talk) as is out there, we didn’t really pay too much attention to it. We just kept kind of playing.”

Boston College’s historically bad season came courtesy of a freshman-filled roster that lost some key players to injuries at various points. Still, the Eagles are only the sixth ACC men’s basketball team to go winless – and first since Maryland went 0-14 in 1986-87, the season after Len Bias’ death.

No one had managed to lose 19 of 19 games in the league; the ACC went to an 18-game conference regular season in 2012-13.

Making things worse for BC: Its football team went 0-8 in ACC games, so the school is the first in league history to put zeros in the win column in the two major sports in the same academic year.

“These are kids, and they cared and played hard every single night,” Christian said.

Malik Beasley and Dwayne Bacon added 13 points apiece for a balanced FSU team, which takes a three-game winning streak into its matchup against Virginia Tech on Wednesday.

In the only other ACC game Tuesday, Maverick Rowan made a career-high six 3s and finished with 24 points to lead North Carolina State past Wake Forest 75-72. The Wolfpack play 19th-ranked Duke on Wednesday.

Against Florida State, Boston College senior center Dennis Clifford had 15 points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 9 1/2 minutes left. Right then, BC’s deficit was somewhat manageable, at 65-56, but quickly climbed back up to 15 points.

Afterward, Clifford was asked what his best memory of playing college basketball will be. He choked up and put his head down, pausing for more than 20 seconds. When he looked back up, his face was red, his eyes were welling.

His answer: “Going out to eat.”

TIP-INS

Boston College: Nine true freshmen played for the Eagles this season, the second-highest total in the country. Northern Arizona had 10 true freshmen see action. … Last made it past the ACC quarterfinals in 2007, the school’s second season in the conference.

Florida State: Forced five early steals and scored the game’s first 10 points off turnovers. … Its five consecutive victories over BC mark the longest streak for either team in the schools’ series. … This is the ninth time in the last 11 seasons that the Seminoles won at least 19 games. … Came in averaging 77.5 points per game, the team’s highest since 1992-93, when FSU averaged 86.3 en route to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. … This was FSU’s largest ACC tournament margin of victory.

UP NEXT

Florida State: Plays sixth-seeded Virginia Tech in the second round on Wednesday.

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

VIDEO: Brad Stevens joins Dan Patrick to reminisce about Hayward’s missed shot

Leave a comment

Celtics coach Brad Stevens joined the Dan Patrick Show to talk about his days at Butler and in Indianapolis.

VIDEO: Winthrop guard Jimmy Gavin’s inspirational post-loss message

Winthrop's Jimmy Gavin (44) celebrates after making a basket during the second half of N.C. State's 87-79 victory over Winthrop in an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. (Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
(Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP)
Leave a comment

We wrote about Winthrop Jimmy Gavin back in October. The 23-year old never played high school basketball as he battled Crohn’s Disease, but managed to work his way through the college ranks to earn a scholarship in his final season of eligibility.

It’s an unbelievable story of resilience and determination, and it’s precisely why you want to listen to what Gavin had to say after his Eagles lost in the Big South title game on Sunday night. It’s absolutely worth the 1:45:

NBCSports.com Postseason Awards: Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and All-Americans

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo talks with Denzel Valentine during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Wisconsin, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in East Lansing, Mich. Michigan State won 69-57. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
5 Comments

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Denzel Valentine, Michigan State

Hield was in the lead as the favorite for National Player of the Year from the moment he went for 46 points in that triple-overtime thriller against Kansas. Throw in Valentine’s injury issues in the middle of the season, and it’s understandable that folks considered Hield a lock for all 37 (roughly) National Player of the Years Awards that are given out every March.

And Hield never really slowed down. He had a brief, four or five game blip where he wasn’t shooting astronomical percentages, but he still finished the season averaging 25.1 points with shooting splits of 49.5/47.3/89.3. But Valentine threw this Michigan State team on his back, becoming the first player since assists became an official stat to average 19 points, seven boards and seven assists, and he’s doing it for a team that is arguably playing the best basketball of anyone in the country. It became too much to ignore.

So while Hield didn’t do anything that would have lost him the award, for us, the decision came down to this: If we were starting a college basketball team, who would we pick first, Denzel or Buddy? And the answer is Denzel, because he makes everyone on the floor with him better.

Kansas head coach Bill Self (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Kansas head coach Bill Self (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

COACH OF THE YEAR: Bill Self, Kansas

The bottom line is this: Bill Self, coaching a team that doesn’t have a projected first round pick in his starting lineup, won what KenPom rates as the best conference in the last 14 seasons by a full two games while putting together a profile that is strong enough to earn the Jayhawks the No. 1 overall seed even if they lose in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament by 50.

Dana Altman, Chris Mack, Tony Bennett, Greg Gard, Tom Crean, Bob Huggins, Tubby Smith, Buzz Williams, even Coach K and John Calipari belong in the conversation. Every one of those dudes has a really strong case for Coach of the Year. They’ve all done a fabulous job with their teams this season. But what Self has been able to accomplish with this roster is not something that can be overlooked.

FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICA

  • Denzel Valentine, Michigan State (Player of the Year)
  • Buddy Hield, Oklahoma: There shouldn’t need to be much explanation here. Hield was the best player in the country for much of the season.
  • Tyler Ulis, Kentucky: Ulis emerged as the best point guard in college basketball by the end of the season as he recovered from an elbow injury and Kentucky made the change to play a lineup that would better space the floor. The diminutive floor general is the guy that controls that team, and the reason they now look like a national title contender.
  • Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia: Brogdon is one of the best defenders in the ACC and a guy that averaged 18.4 points while playing on the slowest team in the sport. He’s got the ability to go into star mode and take a game over at the same time as he is shutting down an opponent’s best player. How many guys in the country can do that?
  • Jakob Poeltl, Utah: The best big man in college basketball. Poeltl is a shot-blocking presence at the rim that has developed the ability to have offense run through him. There’s also an argument to make that he is the most improved player in college basketball.

SECOND TEAM ALL-AMERICA

  • Yogi Ferrell, Indiana: Ferrell put Indiana on his back this season, running as the engine of an offense that carried the Hoosiers to the outright Big Ten title by two full games. He was unbelievable.
  • Grayson Allen, Duke: Duke has struggled with injuries, a lack of depth and a lack of a point guard, but Allen’s ability to beat defenders one-on-one has been the biggest reason the Blue Devils are still relevant.
  • Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa: The Hawkeyes struggled down the stretch, but the reason they were a top ten team for much of the Big Ten season was due to the play of Uthoff, who is one of the most unique talents in the country.
  • Georges Niang, Iowa State: Niang is one of those players whose been so consistently great for so long that his talent is probably under-appreciated. He eas a first-team all-american on two of our ballots.
  • Brice Johnson, North Carolina: Johnson burst onto the scene in December when Kennedy Meeks went out with a knee issue and hasn’t slowed down since.

THIRD TEAM ALL-AMERICA

  • Kay Felder, Oakland: We’re going with Felder over Kris Dunn because Felder (24.3 points, 9.3 assists) had an unbelievable year while Dunn and the Friars totally faded down the stretch. And this is coming from Dunn’s biggest fan.
  • Jamal Murray, Kentucky: Murray went from being a questionable decision-maker that was inconsistent and out of position to arguably the most dangerous shooter in the country.
  • Josh Hart, Villanova: Hart is such a key piece for Villanova. It’s not just what he can do offensively, his versatility on the defensive end allows them to hide Kris Jenkins and his rebounding plays a major role in Villanova’s ability to go small.
  • Perry Ellis, Kansas: Has there ever been a more under-appreciated great player than Perry Ellis?
  • Ben Simmons, LSU: Simmons’ numbers were out of this world. He team’s performance wasn’t, and it still felt underwhelming.

VIDEO: Official Pat Adams ejects a play-by-play announcer during a game

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 1.03.34 PM
2 Comments

Pat Adams always seems to find a way to make himself the center of attention, and he did that again on Monday night.

There was a weird turn of events in the second half of Valparaiso’s loss to Green Bay in the Horizon League tournament semifinals last night, as Green Bay’s play-by-play announcer was temporarily ejected from the game for arguing a call.

(UPDATE: We have audio!!! And it makes Pat Adams sound even more ridiculous.)

Here’s what it looked like on the TV broadcast: