Terrence Payne and Travis Hines join me to discuss all things college basketball.
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The president of Kansas State has asked Wildcat basketball fans to stop using vulgar chants targeted at the Kansas Jayhawks when the rivals meet in Bramlage Coliseum.
The Wichita Eagle reports that Kansas State President Richard Myers spoke out against the chants Wednesday in a letter to the public posted on the university’s website. He described the chants as “personally embarrassing.”
Kansas State students chanted an expletive followed by “KU” in a variety of songs when the Jayhawks visited Manhattan on Feb. 6. Kansas pulled away late in the game, winning 74-71.
Myers says friends across the country reached out to him, expressing dismay about the conduct.
The university has tried in the past to address the chant by promoting sportsmanship and eliminating some songs from the arena’s playlist.
John Calipari will coach Team USA at the U-19 World Championships this summer in Egypt, according to a report from ESPN.com.
That team is generally made up of players ranging from rising college sophomores through rising seniors in high school. The event is held every other year. In 2015, the U-19 team was coached by Sean Miller and included Terrence Ferguson, Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles III and Josh Jackson. All four were uncommitted at the time. Ferguson, if you remember, was going to Arizona before he opted to turn pro in Australia.
Part of the allure of coaching Team USA at this level is the access to some of the most talented uncommitted high school prospects, and Coach Cal is sure to earn some criticism for that. It’s not a secret that coach the Senior Men’s National Team has aided Mike Krzyzewski on the recruiting trail.
This isn’t the first time that Coach Cal has dipped his toes into the international waters, either. In 2011 and 2012, he was the head coach of the Dominican National Team, who had a player by the name of Karl-Anthony Towns on the roster. That worked out pretty well for him.
Jayson Tatum scored a career-high 28 points, added nine boards and buried a trio of dagger threes down the stretch as No. 12 Duke landed a 65-55 win at No. 14 Virginia on Wednesday night.
Tatum’s monster night came in a game where everyone else on Duke looked, frankly, like they were playing against Virginia’s defense. Grayson Allen and Luke Kennard combined for just 21 points on 5-for-20 shooting while Amile Jefferson had three first half fouls and picked up his fourth foul less than four minutes into the second half.
London Perrantes had 14 points to lead the Cavaliers, but he shot just 4-for-11 from the floor. Marial Shayok was just 3-for-11 from the field and, as a team, Virginia shot just 31.4 percent from the field and 5-for-19 from three.
The win keeps Duke within a game of first place North Carolina in the ACC while UVA drops two games off the pace as they’ve now lost four of their last six games. Duke has now won six straight games.
Here are four things to take away from this game:
1. This was the Jayson Tatum game: Last week, when then-No. 18 Duke landed an impressive home win over then-No. 8 North Carolina, we talked about how the 19 second half points that Tatum scored in that game was the breakout performance we were all waiting to see out of a guy that has the potential to be a top three pick in the draft.
We were wrong.
It was Wednesday night. Tatum had 28 points. He was 8-for-13 from the floor and 6-for-7 from three. He hit three huge threes, each of them tougher than the last, in the final six minutes that spurred on an 11-2 run that push a 43-42 lead to 54-44, and Virginia was never able to recover. And it wasn’t just the scoring. It was his defense and, more importantly, his ability on the defense glass; all nine of those rebounds were defensive rebounds.
If Duke is going to make this small-ball thing work, it’s going to be because they’re good enough defensively with Tatum at the four to beat the best teams in the country.
2. Duke’s defense was awesome: Before the final two minutes of this game, when Virginia started fouling and the Blue Devils played defense simply not to foul, Virginia had 44 points. They were shooting 31.7 percent from the floor. They had gotten essentially nothing offensively from … well, from anyone, and that happened despite Harry Giles III and Marques Bolden playing more minutes that we’re used to seeing out of them because of the foul trouble that Amile Jefferson got into.
Kennard and Allen put in defensive performances that are better than what we’re used to seeing from them. Matt Jones was as good as he always is on that end of the floor. And, of course, Tatum. Duke doesn’t have to be as good as Virginia on the defensive end. What they have to be is good enough that a roster with three elite offensive weapons can win games. It looks like that’s happening.
3. … how much of this was due to Virginia’s offense: Or lack thereof. They don’t have a Malcolm Brogdon or Anthony Gill this season. Perrantes is a terrific player, but he’s at his best when he’s a distributor, not when he’s a go-to scorer. Austin Nichols would’ve been that guy if he didn’t get the boot one game into the season. Last season, when things weren’t going well for them offensively, they could run Brogdon off of a series of screens and know they would get a good shot. Before that it was Joe Harris. But without that guy, and without a low-post scoring presence to take the pressure off of the guards, the brunt of league play is wearing on Virginia.
4. Harry Giles III played his best game of the season: The numbers may not show it – he had five points, three boards, two steals and as many turnovers – but this was the best that Giles has looked all season long. Whether it was passing out of a double-team or being in the right spot defensively or twice picking off a second half pass that had beaten him in the first half, Giles looked like he was gaining some of his confidence back. When you see that combined with post moves and leaping over defenders for offensive rebounds, it’s a promising sign that the pre-injury Harry Giles III is still in there somewhere.
He still had a couple of freshman mistakes – he threw an awful pass against one of UVA’s double-teams and them dropped a pass that would have been a wide-open dunk because he was rushing and flustered – but he’s getting better.
Roy Williams told reporters after No. 10 North Carolina’s 97-73 win at N.C. State that sophomore guard Kenny Williams will likely be out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury that requires surgery.
The injury is not an ACL, Roy said, but it should keep him off of the court for four-to-six weeks, and at this point in the season, four-to-six weeks takes us to the start of the NCAA tournament.
The good news for UNC is that both Isaiah Hicks and, more importantly, Theo Pinson played on Wednesday, but losing Williams means that the Tar Heels will be without one of their best perimeter shooters and a guy that Roy Williams said is the teams best perimeter defender.
Williams was averaging 6.2 points this season.
The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here. That is where the seeds you see below come from.
This story will be updated throughout the night.
Arkansas (RPI: 45, KenPom: 57, play-in game): The Razorbacks were the biggest winner of the night, and it’s not really close. For starters, they picked up a win at South Carolina, a top 25 road win that (finally) gives a little substance to their résumé: a top 25 road win. That should help Arkansas counteract the fact that they’ve lost to both Missouri and Mississippi State. But more to the point, it may be what saves Mike Anderson’s job. It’s no secret that he’s got some pressure on him, and getting into the NCAA tournament should be enough to ease that pressure. This win might be what does that for Arkansas.
Seton Hall (RPI: 44, KenPom: 55, play-in game): The Pirates started off the biggest week of their season in terrific fashion, picking off No. 20 Creighton at home. They follow that up with home games against Villanova and Butler. Split those two games and they should be dancing.
Minnesota (RPI: 22, KenPom: 39, No. 9 seed): Minnesota is just about off the bubble, having landed a last-second win over Indiana at home on Wednesday night. They have strong computer numbers, a handful of quality wins and nothing in the way of a bad loss.
Oklahoma State (RPI: 30, KenPom: 20, No. 8 seed): Like Minnesota, Oklahoma State is very close to playing their way out of the bubble picture, at least for the time being, as they added another quality win at TCU on Wednesday.
Wichita State (RPI: 51, KenPom: 16, play-in game): This is the deal for the Shockers: As long as they don’t lose to anyone other than Illinois State the rest of the season, they’ll probably be in the NCAA tournament. But given that their only top 100 win is league rival Illinois State, it’ll be hard for them to make up for a bad loss to anyone else in the league. They beat Southern Illinois tonight.
Miami (RPI: 52, KenPom: 36, No. 10 seed): Playing without JaQuan Newton the Hurricanes were still able to get themselves a win at home over fellow bubble-dweller, Georgia Tech. Even without Newman, this was still a win that the Hurricanes should get, but it is a nice confidence boost to be able kick off a three-game stretch where they won’t have their point guard to get a win.
Illinois State (RPI: 36, KenPom: 44, No. 12 seed): The Redbirds knocked off Missouri State on the road by one points on Wednesday, meaning that their dream of getting an at-large bid should they lose in the MVC tournament is still alive.
Iowa State (RPI: 55, KenPom: 26, No. 8 seed): The Cyclones won at Kansas State on Wednesday night, a win that probably is enough to get them off the bubble for the time being. If they can beat TCU and Oklahoma State at home, they should lock up their bid.
Rhode Island (RPI: 41, KenPom: 43, next four out): The Rams may have just buried themselves on Wednesday night, losing at home to Fordham in a game where they managed all of 43 points. I guess that heart-breaking loss to Dayton on Friday hurt a little more than we realized.
Indiana (RPI: 88, KenPom: 49, next four out): Indiana has now lost six of their last seven games after losing at the buzzer to Minnesota. They’re 15-12 on the season, and they’re not going to the NCAA tournament.
Kansas State (RPI: 48, KenPom: 28, No. 11 seed): The bad news for the Wildcats is that they’ve lost ten games after falling to Iowa State on Wednesday night and they have just three top 100 wins. The good news? They have no sub-100 losses and one of those three wins is at Baylor, who is No. 1 in the RPI. I’d recommend going 4-1 down the stretch if the Wildcats don’t want to feel like they need to win a game in the Big 12 tournament to get a bid.
Georgia Tech (RPI: 74, KenPom: 79, play-in game): The Yellow Jackets whiffed on a chance to land a road win over a top 50ish opponent when they lost at Miami, who was playing without JaQuan Newton. In most years, they’d be out of it by now, but the bubble is weak enough that the Yellow Jackets are still very much in the mix.
TCU (RPI: 38, KenPom: 40, No. 10 seed): It’s too early to say that TCU is in trouble, but this is a team with just two top 40 wins (Illinois State and at Kansas State) and five top 100 wins in total. They don’t have any bad losses to their name, but they need to start adding some depth to their profile. It won’t be easy, as their next two games are at Iowa State and at Kansas.