2/7 – College Hoops Week in Review: UNC’s back, baby!


Game of the Week: Arizona 107, Cal 105 3OT

Arizona was in control for much of the early portion of Saturday’s Pac-10 tilt with the Golden Bears. They took a six point lead into halftime and pushed it to nine midway through the second half. But Cal wasn’t going anywhere, as they used an 11-0 run to turn a 59-51 deficit into a 62-59 lead. The Bears eventually would take a 75-70 lead with less than a minute left. That is when the Momo Jones show starter.

Jones found Kevin Parrom for a three with 33 seconds left that cut Cal’s lead to two, and after a Brandon Smith free throw, Jones scored an and-one with 16 seconds remaining that forced overtime. At the end of the first overtime, Allen Crabbe scored four straight points that tied the game at 87 and forced a second extra frame. In the second overtime, Jones was once again the hero, hitting a three with six seconds left that tied the game at 98 and forced a third extra frame.

Then, in the third overtime, Jones scored on a layup with 1:06 left that put Arizona up for good 104-103. Kevin Parrom, who had a career-high 25 points to support the career-high 27 that Jones had, hit three free throws down the stretch to seal it. Cal had a chance to tie the game, but Arizona fouled them with two seconds left up three points.


It must be noted: Harvard 83, Penn 82

In one of the best games in recent Ivy League history, Penn came back from 18 points down in the second half to force two overtimes against league heavyweight Harvard. In the second OT, Harvard was down by three points with 90 ticks left on the clock, but they got three consecutive stops and a bucket from Oliver McNally that eventually won the game.


I would go more in depth, but John Ezekowitz did me one better with a terrific write-up for College Hoops Journal.

Player of the Week: Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer, Wisconsin

The Badgers strung together two really nice wins this week, knocking off Purdue at home to pull into a tie in second place in the Big Ten standings before blowing out Michigan State at home by 26 points. And while I wish I could pick one of these two to name the player of the week, they were both that impressive.

Taylor was better against Michigan State, lighting up Kalin Lucas to the tune of 30 points on 9-13 shooting while also handing out six assists and turning the ball over just once. Jon Leuer had a respectable 20 points and six boards in the blowout of the Spartans, but he was better against Purdue, finishing with 24 points and 13 boards while outplaying Purdue star JaJuan Johnson. Taylor had 15 points, seven boards, and five assists against Purdue.

Leuer and Taylor have both been terrific all season long. They will need to be on Saturday, as Ohio State visits Madison.

The all-they-were-good-too team:

  • G: Andrew Goudelock, Charleston: Goudelock averaged 27.0 ppg as the Cougars blew out both Wofford and Furman, taking over sole possession of first place in the SoCon.
  • G: Kendall Marshall, UNC: The performance of note was Marshall going for nine points and 16 assists (a UNC record for ACC play) with just three turnovers in 36 minutes against Florida State. Larry who? Harrison Barnes also deserves a mention, as he averaged 21.5 ppg and 8.0 rpg for the week.
  • F: Chandler Parsons, Florida: Parsons has been a different player since conference play began, and this week he played two of his best games of the season. In wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky, Parsons averaged 17.5 ppg, 11.5 rpg, and 3.5 apg.
  • F: Ryan Pearson, George Mason: Pearson was one of the biggest reasons that the Patriots swept Hofstra and Old Dominion and have moved into a tie in first place in the CAA. He averaged 18.5 ppg and 11.5 rpg.
  • C: Mason Plumlee, Duke: Plumlee had his two best games of the season since Kyrie Irving was injured, finishing with 12 points and 11 boards in 36 minutes against Jordan Williams of Maryland and then going for 16 points and 12 boards against NC State. Plumlee had four steals and three blocks for the week while shooting 13-15 from the floor.
  • Bench: Ben Hanbrough, Notre Dame (24.5 ppg, 4.0 apg in a 2-0 week); Marshon Brooks, Providence (43 points, 10 boards in loss to Georgetown); Anthony Hill, Milwaukee (29 points, 15 boards vs. Green Bay); Scootie Randall (20.5 ppg in a 2-0 week, including 27 points, seven boards vs. Rhode Island); Alex Young, IUPUI (27.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg in 2-0 week including 31 points, nine boards in a win over Oakland); Anthony Nelson, Niagara (10 points, 10 boards, 14 assists vs. Marist); Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State (37 points, 19 boards, six blocks vs. Coppin State)

Team of the Week: North Carolina Tar Heels

UNC had an eventful week. It started off with a road trip Boston College in a snow storm that resulted in the Heels beating the Eagles 106-74. Harrison Barnes was on fire for the second straight game, scoring 26 points on 9-15 shooting, Reggie Bullock hit four threes in the span of three minutes, and, most importantly, the Heels got their best game out of their point guard rotation, as Larry Drew and Kendall Marshall combined for seven points and 15 assists while turning the ball over just three times.

Then on Friday, Drew quit. He up and left the team without warning, putting the Heels in what appeared to be a tough spot. Marshall was forced to play a career-high 36 minutes, and made quite a few folks down in Chapel Hill forget about Drew. He had 16 assists (a record for UNC players in ACC play) and just three turnovers while helping UNC score 89 points against the nation’s second best defensive team.

North Carolina blew out their third straight opponent and, at least for now, appears to have become Duke’s only legitimate contender for the ACC regular season title. We will know by Wednesday, when UNC will play their first game against the Dukies.

Who else had a good week:

  • Florida: After beating both Vanderbilt and Kentucky this week, the Gators have moved a game ahead of Tennessee in the SEC East and two games ahead of the rest of the division. For a team whose biggest question mark is the decision making of their back court players, the Gators have proven to be a very good team in the clutch, winning a lot of close games against good teams. They’ve won 10 of 12 since their loss to Jacksonville, including a four point win at Xavier, a six point OT win at Tennessee, a five point win at Auburn, a double overtime win at Georgia, and this week’s four point win against Vanderbilt and two point win at Florida.
  • Wisconsin: The Badgers may not be able to win away from the Kohl Center (honestly, who can this season), but they certainly are proving their dominance at home. After beating Purdue on Tuesday night, the Badgers pounded Michigan State on Sunday. With Jordan Taylor playing like an all-american and Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil proving to be the matchup nightmare we all knew they would be, the Badgers look like a team you don’t want to play in March.
  • Villanova: The Wildcats bounced back from losing three of four to sweep Marquette and West Virginia this week. Those wins became all the more important when Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs sprained his mcl, which will force him out of the lineup for the next two weeks. Villanova is one of three teams sitting two games back of the Panthers in the Big East standings, and the Wildcats get Pitt on Saturday.
  • Oregon: The Ducks, who have the talent of a team that would struggle in the WAC, are currently sitting at 5-6 in the Pac-10 after sweep the Washington schools at home this week. Joevan Catron has developed into one of the best post players in the conference, and Dana Altman has to be in the conversation when you talk about the best coaching jobs this season.
  • Alabama: Believe it or not, the Crimson Tide sit all alone atop the SEC standings at the midway point of conference play. They are 7-1 after winning at Tennessee in overtime on Saturday and beating Mississippi State at home on Wednesday. As we wrote on Saturday, the most interesting part about Alabama’s start to the season is that they are far from a lock to earn an at-large bid, and could very well be kept home from the tournament should they win the SEC regular season title.
  • Syracuse: The Orange bounced back from a four game losing streak — and managed to play off the rumor and innuendo surrounding their program — by going into Hartford and knocking off UConn. The Orange followed that up with a win over South Florida in Florida.
  • Charleston: The Cougars took control off the SoCon’s southern division by routing both of the other contenders. Charleston beat Wofford by 28 points — outscoring them 45-15 in the second half — before knocking off Furman by 19. The Cougars also took sole possession of first place in the SoCon thanks to a loss by northern division leader Chattanooga.
  • George Mason: The Patriots knocked off both Hofstra and Old Dominion this week, and in convincing fashion. They beat the Pride by 19 points and took out the Monarchs at home by 17. Mason has now won nine straight games to move into a first place tie with VCU, who lost at Northeastern on Wednesday.
  • UCLA: The Bruins knocked off both St. John’s and USC this week, meaning that they have now won seven of their last eight games and moved all alone into second place in the Pac-10 thanks to Washington’s tough week.
  • Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers took a full two game lead in the Big South thanks to a win over Liberty. CCU has now swept the Flames, and have won 20 straight games since losing to Georgetown in the Charleston Classic.
  • Princeton: The Tigers jumped into first place in the Ivy League this week after sweeping Harvard and Dartmouth. Princeton sits a game in front of both the Crimson and Penn in the Ivy League standings. The last two games of the Tiger’s season? At Harvard and at Penn.

Matchups of the Week:

  • 2/7- 7:00 pm: Pitt @ West Virginia
  • 2/7 – 9:00 pm: Missouri @ Kansas
  • 2/8 – 7:00 pm: Xavier @ Georgia
  • 2/8 – 7:00 pm: Penn @ Princeton
  • 2/8 – 9:00 pm: Tennessee @ Kentucky
  • 2/9 – 7:00 pm: Louisville @ Notre Dame
  • 2/9 – 7:00 pm: Georgetown @ Syracuse
  • 2/9 – 9:00 pm: UNC @ Duke
  • 2/10 – 7:00 pm: UConn @ St. John’s
  • 2/10 – 9:00 pm: Illinois @ Minnesota
  • 2/10 – 9:00 pm: Alabama @ Vanderbilt
  • 2/12 – 12:00 pm: Syracuse @ Louisville
  • 2/12 – 1:00 pm: Kentucky @ Vanderbilt
  • 2/12 – 2:00 pm: Ohio State @ Wisconsin
  • 2/12 – 6:00 pm: Tennessee @ Florida
  • 2/12 – 9:00 pm: SDSU @ UNLV
  • 2/12 – 9:00 pm: Pitt @ Villanova
  • 2/13 – 1:00 pm: Marquette @ Georgetown
  • 2/13 – 1:00 pm: Minnesota @ Illinois

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

NCAA steering farther and farther away from harsh penalties

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The days of postseason bans and crippling scholarship reductions to punish schools for breaking NCAA rules appear to be winding down.

Memphis was placed on three years of probation earlier this week with a public reprimand and fined for NCAA violations related to the recruitment and short college career of James Wiseman, who is about to start his third season with the Golden State Warriors. The NCAA also wrapped up an investigation of Air Force football for breaking the COVID-19 recruiting quiet period.

No postseason bans or scholarship reductions in either case. The Independent Accountability Review Panel, the NCAA’s outside arm of enforcement, said in its decision in the Memphis case that it did not want to punish current athletes.

That sentiment is widespread in college athletics these days, even with millions of dollars suddenly flowing to athletes from various sources for their celebrity endorsements amid concerns over improper inducements. In fact, it is on the way to being codified: Last month, the Division I Board of Directors adopted three proposals to change the infractions process.

The board also committed to “identifying appropriate types of penalties and modifying current penalty ranges, including identifying potential alternative penalties to postseason bans.”

Trying to predict what those alternatives will be is difficult, but if the goal is to avoid harming athletes and others who were not involved in the violations the options are limited.

“I emphatically believe it’s the wrong direction to go,” said Nebraska law professor Jo Potuto, who spent nine years on the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“If you’re going to deter, the punishment has to fit the offense, right?” Potuto added. “You’re not going to deter serious violations with penalties that are not perceived to be really serious.”

Since January 2020, there have been at least 45 major infractions cases decided by the NCAA. Of those, at least 15 involved Level I allegations, the most serious and those carrying the most severe penalties; six cases resulted in some kind of postseason ban, with four of them self-imposed.

The Memphis case went through the IARP, which was created in response to the FBI’s investigation of college basketball corruption but is now being discontinued. Sunsetting the IARP was among several recommendations put forth by the NCAA’s Division I Transformation Committee earlier this year and recently adopted by the board.

As college sports moves toward less centralized governance by the NCAA and deregulation in general, the hope is to create a more streamlined enforcement process.

If justice is swift, the thinking goes, it is more likely to be applied fairly.

“The reality is the current system is broken,” said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Jim Phillips, a member of the transformation committee. “I think everyone in the association, in the enterprise, understands it. When (an investigation) takes the amount of time that it does now and you start to penalize young men and women that were high school, if not middle school-age (when the violation occurred), it’s not an effective process.”

The IARP is still handling cases stemming from the FBI probe involving Louisville, Arizona, Kansas and LSU. Those have been in the NCAA enforcement pipeline for years. A related case against Oklahoma State did not go through IARP and the Cowboys did end up with a postseason ban.

David Ridpath, a professor at Ohio University and former compliance director for several schools, said even though the IARP failed, NCAA enforcement would be best handled by an independent organization.

“No system is perfect, but if you’re going to have an enforcement system at the end of the day you need to provide basic due-process protections and then you have to be able to consistently punish people,” he said.

In the Memphis case, Wiseman received $11,500 from Hardaway in 2017 while Hardaway was coach at a local high school. Hardaway was hired as Memphis’ coach in March 2018, and Wiseman committed to the Tigers in November 2018.

The NCAA accused Memphis of four Level I and two Level II violations, including lack of institutional control, head coach responsibility and failure to monitor. In the past, those types of allegations could strike fear into athletic directors but probation and fines seem much more likely to be the outcome now instead of the sweeping scholarship sanctions, vacated victories and postseason ban that Southern California received in 2010 for the Reggie Bush improper benefits case. Those penalties set USC football back years.

In the end, the IARP essentially reduced the charges against Memphis and cleared Hardaway of wrongdoing.

While the NCAA is losing sway in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court ruling, with more power being shifted to its member conferences, it also remains clear the schools still want the association to handle enforcement.

But what exactly is being enforced?

Athletes can now be paid for endorsement and sponsorship deals and college sports is still waiting on and hoping for help from federal lawmakers to regulate name, image and likeness compensation.

Plus, as revenue skyrockets for schools at the top of major college sports, the NCAA is trending toward fewer restrictions on what financial benefits can be provided to athletes.

“Until we have clarity and certainty on what schools and boosters and athletes can and can’t do, I think many recognize that it’s dangerous to hand down significant punishments when it’s not clear what you can and can’t do,” said Gabe Feldman, director of the sports law program at Tulane. “And I think unless you have clear rules, it’s hard to harsh punishment.”

Still, punishments directed at schools (fines) and coaches (suspensions) could become steeper and longer, Feldman said.

Potuto said with so much money flowing into the top of college athletics, it is doubtful fines could be large enough to be a true deterrent. While she understands the desire to not have current athletes pay for the sins of previous regimes, loosened transfer rules could mitigate the potential harm.

“I will make one prediction: If there is a move to impose penalties much less frequently in five years there is going to be a move to put them back in,” Potuto said.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will play its annual Blue-White men’s basketball scrimmage in Eastern Kentucky to benefit victims of the devastating summer floods.

The school announced that the Oct. 22 event at Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville will feature a pregame Fan Fest. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

Wildcat players will also participate in a community service activity with local organizations in the relief effort.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.”

The scrimmage traditionally is held at Rupp Arena. It will occur eight days after its Big Blue Madness public workout at Rupp.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies


SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.