Wednesday’s Shootaround: Two buzzer-beaters, Louisville and Ohio win

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No. 4 Louisville 69, College of Charleston 62: I can say this pretty confidently — Louisville is not the fourth best team in the country. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Cardinals and I think that they have a shot to win the Big East if things break their way, but I think that Louisville is much closer to being the 10th or 12th best team in the country than the 4th.

That said, regardless of where Louisville is ranked, the fact that the College of Charleston went into the Yum! Center and very nearly knocked off the Cardinals is an impressive feat. The Cougars are legit this season. Antwaine Wiggins, a lanky, 6’7″ small forward that can score from anywhere on the floor, is good enough to start at two-thirds of the high-major programs across the country. Trent Wiedemann and Adjehi Baru give CofC plenty of size. Andrew Lawrence isn’t Andrew Goudelock, but he is a playmaking point guard that has made some big shots this season. The Cougars would usually be a favorite to make the NCAA Tournament, but they play in the SoCon’s South Division.

The same division as Davidson. That will be fun.

Anyway, back to Louisville, they were frustrated throughout the first 30-or-so minutes by a 2-3 zone that the Cougars were playing. As good as Chane Behanan and Gorgui Dieng have been this season, neither of them have the kind of skills that would allow them to thrive at the high-post against a zone. Rakeem Buckles and Jared Swopshire weren’t effective in that role, either. In fact, Louisville didn’t make their run until Kyle Kuric was put at the four spot. That won’t fly against a team like Syracuse. The Orange are just too big to use four guards against.

NC State 67, St. Bonaventure 65: Did the Bonnies get robbed?

It looks like they may have. The Wolfpack and the Bonnies went back and forth for 40 minutes, but it took two Eric Mosley free throws with 3.1 seconds left on the clock to tie the game at 65 and, seemingly, send the game into an extra frame. CJ Leslie had a different idea, however. CJ Williams, who was a quarterback in high school, threw the ball the length of the floor to Leslie, who caught it, pivoted, and scored on a short jumper with 0.6 seconds left.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_n2jdrZ_hs%5D

Sure looks like Leslie’s right foot is out of bounds, right? The video is grainy and choppy but …

That’s pretty clear, ain’t it?

Regardless, Scott Wood had 20 points to lead the Wolfpack while Leslie added 12 points and seven boards. Andrew Nicholson had just 16 points and six boards.

Wright State 80, Idaho 78 OT: Double buzzer-beater?

Don’t mind if I do. Idaho’s Landon Tatum hit a half-court heave at the end of regulation to force overtime. After Dazmyne Sykes his a layup to put the Vandals up 78-77 with just four seconds left in the extra frame, Julius Mays (who finished with 28 points) hit a running three-pointer as the horn went off to win the game:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG3CJNmyOqU%5D

Ohio 76, Northern Iowa 59: It may be time for us to start taking Ohio a little bit more seriously. The Bobcats improved to 10-1 on the season (the “1” being a five-point loss to Louisville on the road) with a 17 point beat down of UNI in Cedar Rapids. And this game was a beat down is every sense of the word. Ohio was up 17-8 in the first five minutes. They were up 39-21 before the break. They didn’t lead by less than 11 for the final 30 minutes of the game. That will happen when you hit 11-21 from beyond the arc. And, again, this was at Northern Iowa. Impressive.

Arizona 85, Oakland 73: Oakland fought hard to stay with the Wildcats, getting 31 points and six assists out of star guard Reggie Hamilton, but Arizona’s best offensive performance of the season was too much. Solomon Hill went for 23 points and 11 boards while Kyle Fogg added 17 as Arizona opened up a 13 points lead in the first half before taking complete control of the game midway through the second half. The Wildcats were up by as much as 19 points.

Richmond 90, Old Dominion 82 OT: Darien Brothers scored 12 of his 38 points in overtime as the Spiders bounced back from a home-loss to Iona by knocking off a rebuilding Old Dominion team. The Monarchs got 21 points from Chris Cooper and 20 points and eight boards out of Kent Bazemore, who hit a 30 foot three with two seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Richmond was up by as much as 15 in the first half.

Gonzaga 71, Butler 55: Kevin Pangos and Elias Harris both had 19 points as the Zags gave the Bulldogs a pretty thorough beating. We all know that Butler is not the same team that it has been the past couple of seasons, but Gonzaga isn’t either. Among the issues the Zags have is that they need to have David Stockton running the point and Pangos playing off the ball, but when that it is the case, the Zags cannot guard anyone.

UCLA 89, UC Irvine 60: Freshman Norman Powell had a career-high 19 points to lead five scorers in double figures for the Bruins. UCLA has looked much better in the past couple of weeks. Granted, their last two games have been against UC Irvine and UC Davis, but we’re talking about a team that didn’t win a Division I game until November 28th. An effective offense against a team like UCI is a start.

The rest of the top 25:

No. 1 Syracuse 80, Bucknell 61: Kris Joseph had 17 points and Scoop Jardine added 14 as the Orange rolled over Bucknell at home. Rakeem Christmas had 10 points, including seven in the first three minutes of the game.

No. 2 Ohio State 70, Lamar 50: The Buckeyes got 18 points and 11 boards in 30 minutes from Jared Sullinger, who had been beat up all year long.

No. 3 Kentucky 82, Samford 50: Doron Lamb had 26 points and the Wildcats rolled despite playing without Terrence Jones, who is battling through a dislocated pinky.

No. 13 Pitt 71, St. Francis (PA) 47: JJ Moore had 15 points and Dante Taylor scored 14 points and added eight boards in the Panther’s first game since Khem Birch left the program. Pitt was up 27-4 with 7:26 left in the first half. That’s about all you need to know.

Other notable scores:

– Purdue 81, IPFW 56
– Georgia 72, Mercer 58
– Tennessee 72, UNC-Asheville 68
– VCU 68, UAB 49
– BYU 93, Buffalo 78
– Oregon 58, NCCU 45
– St. Mary’s 77, Eastern Washington 61

Top performers:

Julian Boyd, Long Island: Boyd has 22 points and 12 boards in a 100-84 win over Texas State.

Darien Brothers, Richmond: Brothers had 12 of his 38 points in overtime as the Spiders knocked off Old Dominion.

Al’Lonzo Coleman, Presbyterian: The Blue Hose big man had 24 points and 11 boards in a 75-71 win.

Vincent Council, Providence: Council had 17 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds as the Friars knocked off New Hampshire.

Matthew Dellavedova, St. Mary’s: Dellavedova celebrated getting snubbed by the Cousy Award list by scoring 25 points and six assists against Eastern Washington.

Reggie Hamilton, Oakland: The Grizzly star had 31 points and six assists in a losing effort against Arizona.

Preston Medlin, Utah State: Medlin had 27 points, eight assists and four boards as the Aggies knocked off UT-Arlington.

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

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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

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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

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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.