Author: Rob Dauster

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Kris Dunn returns, Marcus Paige gets hurt?

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 Providence 90, UMass 66

This was less game of the night than it was news of the night: Kris Dunn, who had sat out the last two and a half games with a virus, dressed out and played well. He finished with 14 points and 11 assists, logging 24 minutes and hitting a pair of threes in the process. We know how important Dunn is to this team, and to see him return from whatever it was that was ailing him — it was initially reported to be a stomach bug, and a stomach bug that keeps you on the shelf for more than a week sounds like the worst thing in the entire universe — and be back at 100 percent is huge. Big East play starts in exactly 10 days, and it will be the Friars paying a visit to Villanova. He’s going to be ready.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 7 North Carolina 94, Appalachian State 70: The Tar Heels blew out App State, so the result doesn’t really matter. What does matter, however, is that Marcus Paige injured his ankle. The program said after the game that he jammed his right ankle while trying to block a shot midway through the half. He went back to the locker room before returning to the game, although he only played 17 minutes and was held out for much of the second half.

“I’m going to be fine,” he told reporters after the game. “And I’m not just saying that. Last year I was saying I was fine but I was hurt. This is nothing.”

Oregon 72, Alabama 68: Oregon used a 21-6 run to open the second half and erase a 12-point deficit as they overcame a slow start to beat a feisty Alabama team in Birmingham on Monday night. Dillon Brooks led the way for the Ducks with 23 points and five assists. Jordan Bell moved into the starting lineup, sending Chris Boucher to the bench.

No. 19 West Virginia 84, Eastern Kentucky 59: Devin Williams had 15 points and eight boards as the Mountaineers rolled over EKU.

STARRED

Brice Johnson, North Carolina: Johnson continued to play like a man-possessed, going for 22 points and nine boards as the Tar Heels rolled over Appalachian State. He was 9-for-12 from the floor and is now averaging 24.7 points and 9.3 boards while shooting 75.6 percent since Kennedy Meeks got injured.

Ben Bentil, Providence: There’s an argument to be made that Bentil is the best big man in the Big East, and he proved it again on Monday night, finishing with 32 points and 12 boards in the win over Providence.

NOTABLES

  • Domas Sabonis had 23 points, eight boards and six assists for Gonzaga as they knocked off Pepperdine to kick off WCC play on Monday night.
  • Henry Ellenson had 19 points and 13 boards to lead Marquette to a 91-74 win over Chicago State.
  • Demetrius Jackson led four players in double figures with 17 points as Notre Dame beat Youngstown State, 87-78.
  • Northwestern blew out Sacred Heart, 103-67, on the back of Alex Olah, who finished with 21 points.
  • Dwayne Bacon continued to play well, going for 20 points and 10 boards as Florida State knocked off Charleston Southern.

Tom Izzo among the notables names up for Hall of Fame induction

Tom Izzo
(AP Photo/Nick Lisi)
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The Basketball Hall of Fame announced on Monday a list of the people that have been nominated for induction, and while Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson headline that list, the most notable name for college basketball fans is Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo.

Izzo has been to seven Final Fours in his 20 seasons as the head coach of the Spartans, winning more than 500 games in his career. He’s won 11 Big Ten regular season and tournament titles combine and has not missed an NCAA tournament since 1997.

Perhaps what’s the most interesting aspect of Izzo’s candidacy is just how good his team in this season.

The Spartans are currently the No. 1 team in the country. They have the best player in the country in Denzel Valentine, who should be back from a minor knee procedure in the next two or three weeks. They have a very real chance of being Izzo’s second national title team.

Imagine that.

Izzo gets inducted to the Hall of Fame in the same year that he wins a ring.

The stories write themselves.

Also of note on the ballot: former Maryland coach Lefty Driesell, former Purdue coach Gene Keady, Villanova’s national title-winning coach Rollie Massimino, former Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, former Kentucky and Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton, and Reggie Theus and Mark Price, current college coaches that were nominated for their playing careers.

On the women’s side, former UConn players Jennifer Azzi and Rebecca Lobo and current Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw and Baylor coach Kim Mulkey were nominated.

One other college hoops relevant nominee: Bill Garrett, the man credited with integrating the Big Ten in the late-40s, is up for induction. He’s the father of DePaul assistant coach Bill Garrett and the grandfather to DePaul guard Billy Garrett, Jr.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Providence, Oregon head on the road

Kris Dunn
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 10 Providence at UMass, 7:00 p.m.

It’s a relatively slow night in the college basketball world, but there should be some fireworks in Amherst as No. 10 Providence will be paying a visit to UMass. The Minutemen have not looked like an Atlantic 10 contender through the season’s first month, but they did catch a break squaring off with the Friars on a night where Providence may not have Kris Dunn, who is a game-time decision.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • No. 7 North Carolina will square off with Appalachian State back in Chapel Hill, their last game before the holidays.
  • Eastern Kentucky will get another shot at knocking off a high-major opponent when they visit No. 19 West Virginia.
  • Oregon will be heading down to Birmingham to take on a surprising Alabama team. The Ducks are not yet at full strength.
  • Gonzaga kicks off WCC play with a home date against Pepperdine.