Atlantic 10

SPOKANE, WA - MARCH 18: Reed Tellinghuisen #23 of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits fouls Jaylen Brantley #1 of the Maryland Terrapins as Keaton Moffitt #12 of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits looks on in the second half during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on March 18, 2016 in Spokane, Washington. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Heart ailment sidelines UMass G Jaylen Brantley

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In his first season as head coach at UMass, Matt McCall inherited a couple players capable of aiding in the rebuilding process in guard Luwane Pipkins and forward Rashaan Holloway, and he added a transfer guard in Jaylen Brantley. Brantley, who played two seasons at Maryland before returning to his home state, was expected to be an immediate factor in the Minutemen rotation this season.

Unfortunately that will not be the case, as it was announced Tuesday that Brantley’s career is over after a previously undetected heart ailment was found during a medical exam. UMass has a medical policy in which it administers an electrocardiogram (EKG) test as part of its initial examination of incoming athletes, which is how Brantley’s heart ailment was detected.

“While knowing my basketball career will be over, the fact that I will be able to live a healthy, normal lifestyle does give me peace of mind,” Brantley said per the release. “This has been a hard process, but I am thankful for the support and guidance of Coach McCall, the medical staff at UMass, my teammates, my mother and my family.

“It’s certainly a difficult diagnosis to receive, but there is so much I want to do in life and knowing this early will help me in the long term. I thank God that this condition was detected and may have saved my life and, for that, I will be forever grateful.”

While Brantley’s career coming to an end is certainly a negative, it is good for his sake that this situation was detected. Brantley, who transferred to UMass as a graduate student, will remain on scholarship while helping the program in what was termed as a “leadership role” in the release.

As for how Brantley’s situation impacts UMass on the court, the team’s depth at the point takes a hit with Pipkins and redshirt freshman Unique McLean being the other available scholarship options. Keon Clergeot, who began his collegiate career at Memphis, will sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules.

Four conferences sign on to basketball officiating alliance

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Four more Division I conferences will join a men’s basketball officiating alliance formed last year by the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Atlantic 10 and Colonial Athletic Association.

The Big South, the Ivy League, the Northeast and the Patriot League are joining ahead of the 2017-18 season, according to announcements from the leagues Thursday. The alliance launched last summer for conferences to work together on officiating matters and enhance training, development, recruitment, retention and feedback for officials.

John Cahill, the Big East’s supervisor of officials, and Bryan Kersey, the ACC’s coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, will continue to lead the alliance operations.

ACC commissioner John Swofford says the new additions to the alliance “provide an even greater opportunity to build chemistry and quality” across the officiating ranks.

Dayton’s Kostas Antetokounmpo suffers injury in Greece

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Kostas Antetokounmpo, the younger brother of Milwaukee Bucks All-Star, Giannis, may have to wait for his college career to begin at Dayton.

Antetokounmpo, who missed every single game last season after the NCAA ruled him a partial qualifier, suffered a tibia fracture, according to Marcus Hartman of the Dayton Daily News. The extent of the injury is unknown at this time, but it occurred in Greece where he was training with his home country for the FIBA U20 European Championship, which is set to begin at the end of this week in Crete.

The 6-foot-10 forward was a four-star recruit coming out of high school, rated as the No. 89 overall prospect by Rivals. As a partial qualifier, he was allowed to practice with the team after the first semester. He did not lose a year of eligibility this past season.

If the injury isn’t anything major, Antetokounmpo will be part of a versatile set of wings for the Flyers, one that includes Josh Cunningham and Xeyrius Williams. Rising juniors Ryan Mikesell and Sam Miller are also part of a frontline that will look to make up for the production left behind by Kendall Pollard.

Since taking over his alma mater this spring, Dayton head coach Anthony Grant has praised the play of the younger Antetokounmpo.

“This is a huge summer for him,” Grant previously told the Dayton Daily News. When you think about it, the last time he played organized basketball was two years ago. You want to see him put it all together. He’s got a lot of organized basketball was two years ago. You want to see him put it all together. He’s got a lot of potential.”

CBT Roundtable: College Basketball’s Biggest Disappointments

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Travis Hines: Given the expectations weren’t all that high for the Huskies, consider this one hell of an achievement to find them here. They’ve been that bad while Markelle Fultz has been amazing. You have to start with Fultz’s brilliance to fully understand Washington’s ineptitude. The potential No. 1 draft pick is averaging 22.8 points on 49.7 percent shooting from the floor and 48.7 percent from the 3-point line while also putting up 6.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. Throw in the 2.1 steals and 1.2 blocks, and he’s literally on pace to post numbers that have never been posted in college basketball. As a freshman. That’s just absurd. What else is absurd is that Washington has a guy of Fultz’s caliber performing up to the hype and still somehow sits 4-5 with losses to Yale, TCU (twice), Nevada and Gonzaga, which came in especially embarrassing fashion in a 27-point drubbing on national television.

The “how’ of Washington’s struggles clearly land on the defensive end of the floor, where one coach remarked to our Rob Dauster that “They were so ******* bad on defense. It was like they had never been coached. They had no plan.” So, that’s not good, I don’t think. The Huskies’ season is disappointing on a number of levels, first being it appears that we won’t be watching Fultz in the NCAA tournament, which is a bummer. The second is Lorenzo Romar didn’t need to surround Fultz with McDonald’s All-Americans to have a successful season. Capable dudes (given a defensive plan) would have been enough. And Washington wasn’t able to do that. How disappointing.

Rob Dauster: UConn has been an absolute mess this season. They lost to Wagner and Northeastern at home in their first two games. They barely escaped Loyola Marymount with a win. They went 1-2 in the Maui Invitational, with the one win coming in a closer-than-it-should’ve-been win over Chaminade. If that wasn’t enough, UConn has also been devastated by injury, with two starters – McDonald’s all-american point guard Alterique Gilbert and Terry Larrier, who was their best player at the start of the year – going down with season-ending injuries. This was a team that entered the season with a legitimate case to be considered a top 25 team and is, in all likelihood, going to end the year with a win over a potentially NIT-bound Syracuse team in Madison Square Garden being the highlight of their year.

This is how bad things have gotten for UConn: When I was at the game at MSG, a UConn fan told me that he would consider this season a success “if UConn shows up as a bad loss when they show Syracuse’s NCAA tournament résumé.” For a team that has won two of the last six national titles, that’s quite a fall from grace.

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Terrence Payne: Outside of the major six conferences, the Atlantic 10 is up there as one of the best. The A10 looked like it was on its way to another banner year when the preseason poll included both Rhode Island and Dayton. Currently, both teams find themselves outside the top-25, but more importantly, the conference as a whole finds itself with an underwhelming non-conference résumé. The A-10 is slightly above the American Athletic Conference for seventh place in the Conference RPI rankings, while KenPom rates the A10 as the eighth toughest league.

Rhode Island landed an early-season victory over No. 24 Cincinnati on a neutral floor, but the Rams have lost three out of four, all on the road, to Valparaiso, Providence and Houston. Dayton has been plagued by injuries to Kendall Pollard and transfer Josh Cunningham, which contributed to a 2-2 start. The Flyers have won five straight since, but Dayton could enter conference player with its best out of league win being against Northwestern or New Mexico, neither team pegged to land an at-large bid at this point. And it’s not just the team’s that began the season ranked. VCU, another A-10 power, hasn’t looked up to par, dropping back-to-back games against Illinois and Georgia Tech.

With a few weeks before conference play begins, the A-10 is lacking signature wins. Three years after receiving six bids, an all-time high for the conference, the A-10 is on pace to have, at best, half that amount this upcoming March.

Scott Phillips: It’s tough to call a young, injury-riddled team disappointing, but if Tom Izzo can angrily sit at the end of his own bench in the middle of games then we’re allowed to have such feelings. This Spartans team is 7-4 with single-digit home wins over Florida Gulf Coast, Oral Roberts and Tennessee Tech. Michigan State’s rebounding and free-throw shooting woes have cast serious concerns about their ability to win games early in the Big Ten without Miles Bridges. Of course, I expect Michigan State to make the NCAA tournament – and figure things out quickly – but they better do that before conference play begins.

VIDEO: Dayton clamps down on Duquesne, wins A-10 opener

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Charles Cooke scored 21 points to lead the way offensively for the Dayton Flyers, as they won their Atlantic 10 opener at Duquesne by the final score of 66-58. Cooke was the lone Flyer to score in double figures on an afternoon in which their defense was the story of the game. Dayton limited Duquesne to 32.7 percent shooting from the field and forced 18 turnovers, converting those mistakes into 18 points on the other end.

Dayton wasn’t much better offensively, shooting 36.5 percent, but their ability to manufacture points through their defense made the difference. Duquesne’s Derrick Colter, the team’s leading scorer on the season, led Jim Ferry’s Dukes with 14 points but he did not have his best day. Colter shot 2-for-12 from the field and committed eight turnovers, with Dayton’s guards making things difficult for him throughout.

Dayton reserves Darrell Davis and Sam Miller scored nine points apiece, and Dyshawn Pierre grabbed ten rebounds in his second game of the season for the 11-2 Flyers.

UMass unveils special uniforms for Wednesday’s game

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With this season marking the 20th anniversary of their trip to the Final Four, UMass will honor former head coach John Calipari Wednesday night at halftime of their game against New Orleans. The school will raise a banner in Calipari’s honor and the current Kentucky head coach will be in attendance at Mullins Center as his current team is won’t play its next game until Saturday against Ohio State in Brooklyn.

Tuesday afternoon it was announced that the Minutemen will wear special jerseys for the game, bringing back the cursive “UMass” script worn by Calipari’s 1995-96 team.

Of course Wednesday’s festivities do have some objectors, as UMass’ trip to the Final Four was eventually vacated after it was found that Marcus Camby, that season’s winner of the Naismith and Wooden awards, received money from an agent. Calipari was found by the NCAA to have done nothing wrong himself, but that hasn’t stopped some from questioning whether or not the coach should be honored by UMass.

Earlier this year there was a similar situation at Memphis, where the school announced that it would honor Calipari for his accomplishments there before changing their minds the following day as a result of fans voicing their displeasure. Calipari, who won five Atlantic 10 regular season and five Atlantic 10 tournament titles while at UMass, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September.

Current UMass head coach Derek Kellogg played for Calipari at the school from 1991-95.