Friday’s Shootaround: Indiana gets upset, Duke survives and St. Mary’s rolls

0 Comments

Minnesota 77, No. 9 Indiana 74: See here.

No. 6 Duke 61, No. 17 Virginia 58: Virginia may have lost this game, but the Cavs proved their mettle to the people that still didn’t believe that Tony Bennett’s team is a real threat, not just in the ACC but on a national scale. UVa doesn’t put up flashy offensive numbers and they don’t spend much time on Sportscenter’s top ten with highlight reel dunks, but this is a group that competes as well as anyone in the country with the nation’s best teams.

As of today, Mike Scott is probably the player of the year in the ACC — and he proved it tonight as he scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half to help the Cavs take a 32-28 lead into the break — but only college basketball’s die-hards knew who he was. While Scott provides Bennett with a potent scoring punch, its the stout defense that the Cavs play, packing in their defense and daring opponents to beat them with contested perimeter jumpers, that make them so tough.

To the Blue Devil’s credit, they did just enough to win. During one stretch in the second half, when Duke opened up their biggest lead of the game, they hit 11 of 14 shots and put UVa in a hole that they weren’t quite able to dig their way out of. Mason Plumlee led four players in double figures with 12 points (which would have been much more if he wasn’t 2-10 from the line) as Duke displayed as good of a team effort as we’ve seen out of them this season. For the first time in Duke history, they shot below 50% from the free throw line and 25% from three and won. That’s notable.

Also of note: Quinn Cook once again started at the point, but he struggled, playing just 12 minutes. Andre Dawkins got the majority of the back court minutes along side Seth Curry, which means that Duke is still trying to figure out their point guard situation. Its something to keep an eye on every time the Blue Devils take the court.

St. Mary’s 83, No. 23 Gonzaga 62: Right now, the Gaels have to be labeled the favorite in the WCC. They are now sitting at 5-0 in the league — a game and a half up on the Zags, BYU and LMU — and they hold convincing victories over not only Gonzaga, but BYU as well. Perhaps the most impressive part of this win is the fact that they were so impressive despite getting just two points (and 11 boards and eight assists) out of Rob Jones, their leading scorer. Is there a more underrated point guard in the country than Matthew Dellavedova. (If you say Jordan Theodore, I won’t argue much.)

Having said all of that, I am going to reserve judgement on the Gaels until they have to visit the Kennel and the Marriot Center. While they also own wins over Weber State, Northern Iowa and Missouri State, St. Mary’s lost by 12 when they went to visit Denver.

Wisconsin 67, Purdue 62: Its hard to think of a team that needed a win more than the Badgers, and they got it in fairly impressive fashion against Purdue. The Badgers opened up a 22-4 lead on the Boilermakers thanks to some hot shooting from the perimeter and were able to hang on down the stretch. Terone Johnson sparked the comeback, scoring 16 points, but Purdue’s bigger issue is the struggles of Robbie Hummel. He was 5-17 from the field against Wisconsin, a performance that has come on the heels on a elongated shooting slump.

No. 20 Mississippi State 62, Tennessee 58: Dee Bost, Renardo Sidney and Arnett Moultrie all scored 13 points as the Bulldogs hung on against the Vols, but the bigger issue is that the Bulldogs have looked far from impressive at the start of their conference schedule. They were up 12 early in the second half against Tennessee, but they allowed the overmatchedVols to get back into the game, needing a Dee Bost steal and dunk late in the game to seal the win. Could it be that Mississippi State is nothing more than ordinary?

Pac-12:

Cal 57, Colorado 50: Cal has to be considered the odds-on favorite to win the Pac-12 right now, as they moved to 4-1 in league play with a win over Colorado at home. More importantly, they did it despite the fact that Jorge Gutierrez and Allen Crabbe combined to go 4-26 from the floor. While the fact that Colorado was able to keep it close with the Bears is impressive and certainly a sign that the Buffaloes deserve to be taken seriously, I don’t know how often those two are going to shoot so poorly.

Arizona 81, Oregon State 73 OT: This was easily one of the most entertaining games of the night. Josh Fogg, Nick Johnson and Brendan Lavender combined to score 60 points, making up for a poor game out of Jesse Perry, but a flurry of buckets from Ahmad Starks brought the Beavers back. Starks had a three rim out at the buzzer that sent the game to overtime. In the extra frame, Arizona pulled away, but not before a Fogg and-one turned into a shoving match between the two teams.

Stanford 68, Utah 65: The Cardinal are now tied for first place in the league with Cal, but the fact that they struggled to knock off Utah at home isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for this team. Of note: the two teams combined to go 6-26 from the free throw line. Ick.

Oregon 67, Arizona State 58

Drexel 60, George Mason 53: Drexel outscored the Patriots 10-2 over the last three minutes of the game, picking up a much-needed win over Mason, who had previously been undefeated in league play. Damion Lee led the way with 21 points while Ryan Pearson was just 1-9 from the floor.

Manhattan 75, Iona 72: The Jaspers outscored Iona by 20 points over the last eight minutes of the game, erasing a 17 point deficit and winning on one of the season’s most impressive buzzer-beaters:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtoCigfHVj0%5D

Manhattan now has to be considered a threat in the MAAC race. They are sitting a game behind Iona at 4-2 in the league, a half-game up on 3-2 Fairfield and a half-game behind 4-1 Loyola.

No. 14 Murray State 66, Jacksonville State 55: Yup, the Racers are still undefeated.

Other notable scores:

– VCU 65, JMU 45
– Coastal Carolina 65, Gardner-Webb 63
– UNC-Asheville 89, Campbell 82
– Davidson 88, Western Carolina 67
– Georgia State 75, UNC-Wilmington 61
– UNC-Greensboro 73, Charleston 66
– Milwaukee 58, Wright State 38
– MTSU 70, FIU 59
– South Dakota State 86, South Dakota 56
– Oral Roberts 71, Western Illinois 70 2OT
– Weber State 63, Montana State 49
– New Mexico State 80, Utah State 60
– UC-Riverside 79, UC-Santa Barbara 70 OT
– LBSU 86, UC-Davis 58

Top performers:

Matthew Dellavedova, St. Mary’s: 26 points, six assists, 10-16 shooting and a 21 point win over Gonzaga. Boom.

Dominique Morrison, Oral Roberts: Morrison continued his hot streak, scoring 27 points, hitting the game-tying jumper at the end of overtime and the game-winning free throw with 1.4 seconds left.

Phil Martin, UC-Riverside: A 6’4″ guard, Martin went for 33 points and 11 boards as UCR knocked off UCSB in overtime.

Eugene Phelps, LBSU: Phelps went for 23 points, 11 boards and four assists as the 49ers won in impressive fashion.

Vander Joaquim, Hawaii: Hawaii improved to 2-0 in the WAC on the strength of 23 points on 9-11 shooting and 16 boards out of Joaquim.

John Fraley, Austin Peay: Fraley had 25 points (on 10-12 shooting) and 12 boards (seven offensive) as the Governors picked up their first win in the OVC, knocking off contender Eastern Kentucky.

Tony Mitchell, North Texas: Mitchell had 21 points on 8-9 shooting and 13 boards as the Mean Green picked up another win.

O.D. Anosike, Siena: The Saints improved to 3-3 in the MAAC on the strength of 23 points and 14 boards from Anosike.

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

ncaa
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images
2 Comments

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
0 Comments

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
0 Comments

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

Joe Rondone/USA TODAY NETWORK
2 Comments

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

uconn
Michael Hickey/Getty Images
0 Comments

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.