Friday’s Shootaround: Vandy, St. Mary’s, Washington win in routs

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Rutgers 85, No. 10 Florida 83 2OT: See here

Vanderbilt 74, No. 13 Marquette 57: This is what Vanderbilt needed. This is the kind of performance that we had been calling for. The talent on their roster in undeniable. How that talent manifests itself on the court is a different story, and the only evidence that we had this season was that Vanderbilt a) couldn’t win close games and b) Vanderbilt struggled against teams that were more physical.

Against Marquette on Thursday night, Vanderbilt used a 35-8 run to open the game while simultaneously putting the game out of reach. It was complete and utter domination from the tip. Vanderbilt’s defense was stifling — Marquette made just two of their first 21 shots — and their offensive attack was balanced and potent. They hit threes, they scored in transition, they had second chance points, they got post touches. Like I said, it was total domination.

The question that I guess we have to ask is what this means for both teams. For Vanderbilt, its a justification for all the people that had this team ranked in the top five coming into the season. Yes, they really are this good when they show up to play. But this isn’t exactly new information to us. While its nice to see them play like this against a very good team on the road, the issues or whether or not Vanderbilt is going to be able to win a postseason game or close out a close game hasn’t been answered.

For Marquette, I am a bit concerned. I’ll chalk up the viciousness of the beating Vanderbilt put on the Golden Eagles to a bit of a fluke event — Marquette played as bad as they ever will while Vanderbilt was clicking on all cyclinders — but there is reason to start getting concerned about Marquette. They were coming off of a fairly ugly loss at LSU and have had their big win over Washington get brought back down to earth by the Huskies’ struggles. Maybe this Marquette team has a lower ceiling that we all thought.

St. Mary’s 98, BYU 82: Welcome to the WCC, bitch.

That’s more or less what the Gaels said to BYU, right? St. Mary’s used a quicker lineup to torch BYU, who looked completely lost defensively. Rob Jones led the way with 24 points and 15 boards boards, but Matthew Dellavedova chipped in with 18 and 12 assists. More importantly, however, Stephen Holt and Jorden Page finally look like they got on the right track. Holt had 21 points and hit 4-6 from three while Page had 13 points and five assists.

The Gael’s weakness in the paint was exposed, however, as Brandon Davies went crazy, finishing with 28 points and seven boards.

Washington 95, Oregon State 80: If Washington is going to make a run in the Pac-12, its going to be Tony Wroten that has to lead the way. Over the last few weeks he has easily been the best Husky. Against Oregon State, he finished with 26 points, nine boards and four assists, including the biggest play of the game: a driving, and-one layup with two minutes left that pushed Washington’s lead to eight after Oregon State had cut the lead to three.

Cincinnati 56, Oklahoma 55: The Bearcats struggled throughout much of this game, finding themselves down 47-35 with just six minutes left. But Mick Cronin turned on the press, and Cincy made their run. Cashmere Wright, who had struggled through much of the game, had two driving layups — one of which was an and-one — in the final minute to give Cincy their fifth straight win.

Belmont 79, Marshall 74: Marshall wasn’t able to complete their sweep of Belmont, meaning that the Thundering Herd are probably going to want to avoid any bad losses in Conference USA play if they want to ensure themselves of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Scott Saunders had 23 points and nine boards in the win.

Memphis 64, Robert Morris 47: The Tigers finally came out and beat up an overmatched opponent from the tip. Memphis played stifling defense, got on the glass and went ahead by as much as 28 early in the second half.

VCU 76, Akron 75 OT: The Rams trailed for much of the game in this one, but two free throws from Treveon Graham with 32 seconds left forced the extra period. After Zeke Marshall hit two free throws for Akron to give the Zips a 75-74 lead, Brad Burgess found a cutting Darius Theus for the game-winning layup.

Illinois State 65, Northern Iowa 61: Three of the top four teams in the Valley lost their opener. If Creighton beats Wichita State on Saturday, all four of the favorites in the conference will have a loss.

Stanford 60, UCLA 59: In the second half, the Bruins went 0-13 from the floor when they had a chance to take the lead. That’s not good. On the final possession, Laz Jones had a runner blocked out to half court. Jones did finish with 26 points, however.

The rest of the top 25:

No. 6 UNC 100, Elon 62: The Heels look like they are starting to hit their stride. Tyler Zeller led the way with 19 points and 13 boards, nine of which came on the offensive end of the floor.

No. 16 Michigan 71, Penn State 53: Tim Hardaway went 1-7 from three but still managed to score 26 points as the Wolverines opened up a 36-22 lead at the half before cruising to an 18 point win.

No. 18 Kansas 89, Howard 34: The score was 42-13 at the half. What else do you need to know?

No. 23 Harvard 67, Boston College 46: Six minutes into the game, Boston College was up 14-3. Harvard outscored them 64-32 the rest of the way.

Other notable scores:

– Davidson 75, Penn 70
– Butler 53, Green Bay 49
– Tennessee 86, Citadel 55
– Fordham 72, Georgia Tech 66
– Milwaukee 57, Valpo 55
– Cal 53, USC 49
– Alabama 72, Jacksonville 55
– Hofstra 83, Iona 75
– NC State 87, Campbell 81

Top performers:

Eli Carter, Rutgers: The freshman has 31 points, seven boards and seven assists as the Scarlet Knights knocked off No. 10 Florida. He hit many big shots, including a three at the end of the first overtime to tie the game and a fall away jumper in the second overtime that ended up being the difference maker.

Matthew Dellavedova and Rob Jones, St. Mary’s: I have a feeling we are going to be seeing a lot of stat lines like this out of the Gaels this season. Jones finished with 24 points, 15 boards and four assists while Dellavedova went for 18 points, 12 assists, six boards and four steals.

Will Barton, Memphis: Barton makes some poor decisions with his shot selection and he doesn’t always seem like the best leader on the floor, but I don’t think there are 10 guys in the country that play the game harder than him. He had another monster double-double on Thursday, finishing with 27 points and 13 boards in a 64-47 win over Robert Morris.

Tony Wroten, Washington: Wroten finished with 26 points, nine boards and four assists against Oregon State as the Huskies won by 15.

Keegan Bell, Chattanooga: The point guard came within one rebound of a triple-double, finishing the game with 10 points, nine boards and 16 assists in a win over Longwood.

Lance Goulbourne, Vanderbilt: Goulbourne had the most impressive line of anyone on the ‘Dores in their win over Marquette, finishing with 13 points, 16 boards, three steals and three blocks.

Lorenzo Brown and Richard Howell, NC State: Brown went for 24 points, eight assists and eight boards while Howell finished with 17 points and 17 rebounds.

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.