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Marquette got rid of their bat problem.

Louisville got back on track.

Kansas won again.

Grambling State lost again.

That’s the hand we were dealt last night.

Let’s hit the links.

Tuesday’s Top games:
7:00 p.m. – Wisconsin @ No. 11 Ohio State
7:00 p.m. – No. 19 North Carolina State Virginia
7:00 p.m. – Stony Brook @ Albany
8:00 p.m. – Indiana State @ No. 15 Wichita State
9:00 p.m. – Kentucky @ No. 16 Ole Miss
9:00 p.m. – Nebraska @ No. 23 Minnesota
9:00 p.m. – North Carolina @ Boston College
10:00 p.m. – Nevada @ UNLV
 
 
Read of the Day:
Garry Parrish discusses Miami in his latest “Poll Attacks”. He applauded John Feinstein for ranking the ‘Canes at No. 5, blasts others who rank ‘Canes outside top-20. Sounds about right. Read it. (Eye on College Basketball)

Read of the Day:
Mike Lopresti of USA Today catches up with former-Butler star Ronald Nored, who is living the dream coaching high school hoops in Brownsburg, Indiana. Read it. (USA Today)
 
 
Top Stories:
The reign of terror ends for the Bradley Center Bat: The biggest story from the weekend was that a bat disrupted play during the Providence-Marquette game at the Bradley Center on Saturday. It really was a pretty hilarious sequence of events.Anyways, the bat was removed from the arena on Monday.

Marshall Henderson, the most entertaining villain in the country: The college hoops world hasn’t had a good “villain” character in a good long time. But Marshall Henderson of Ole Miss is becoming the guy everybody loves to hate. He’s arrogant, cocky, and colorful. But he’s also one of the game’s top players this season.

According to Rick Pitino, freshman Kevin Ware won’t be returning to the court anytime soon:Freshman guard Kevin Ware was suspended prior to the Cardinals’ Monday game against Pittsburgh. Following the win over the Panthers, Rick Pitino let it be known that Ware probably won’t be returning any time soon.

VIDEO: ECU’s Shamarr Bowden rains punches on UTEP player: ECU guard Shamarr Bowden has been suspended for one game following an incident during the Pirates’ loss o UTEP on Saturday. Bowden got tangled up with UTEP’s Konner Tucker,and during the scrum, threw punches that glanced off of Tucker’s head.

So how bad is Trevor Mbakwe’s wrist injury? The Minnesota center injured his wrist during the Gophers’ loss to Wisconsin on Saturday. Mbakwe says he won’t miss any game time, but with the Gophers amid a four-game losing streak, they cannot afford to lose their big man for any amount of time.

How concerned should Indiana be about Cody Zeller’s struggles? Indiana has looked like the best team in the Big Ten, a top five team and a national title contender all while Cody Zeller has looked somewhat pedestrian. Victor Oladipo is playing like an All-American, but is that why Zeller hasn’t played like Player of the Year?

There’s no rush for a 12th Big East team, because it doesn’t improve much: On Big East Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco told reporters that the conference is looking to add a 12th team after the recent losses of Boise State and San Diego State. But at this point, will it really matter? No potential member will improve the depleted conference.
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping:
– It was announced on Monday that North Carolina and Kentucky are going to renew their non-conference series. The two played each other last season, and after the hiatus this season, they will resume next season in Chapel Hill. (Cats Illustrated)

– Syracuse freshman Dajaun Coleman will miss the next four weeks due to knee surgery. (Syracuse.com)

– The SEC/Big East Challenge will not continue. This was the final year of the contract and the two conferences decided against renewing the event. (AL.com)

– UConn football commit Jordan Fuchs wants to play for the Huskies’ basketball team too. (Connecticut Post)

– Wisconsin big-man Frank Kaminsky remains a game-time decision against Ohio State because of an eye injury. (Bucky’s 5th Quarter)

– Bradley center Will Egolf was arrested for drug possession earlier in January. On Monday a man from South Peoria was charged with selling Vicodin to Egolf. (Peoria Journal Star)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– We shouldn’t blame Rick Pitino for being hesitant about handing over the reigns of the offense to Russ Smith, but he just might have to. (Courier-Journal)

– A handful of coaches from NYC-metro schools helped ring the NASDAQ closing bell. (New Jersey Hoops Haven)

– Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution thinks college basketball stinks this season. Please tell me I’m not the only one who vehemently disagrees? (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

– Akron was hoping to wear a special uniform for “Social Media Night” against Ohio. They will still wear the jerseys, but the NCAA won’t allow them to put the @ZipsMBBTwitter handle on the uniforms. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Providence’s Bryce Cotton is just 27 points shy of eclipsing the 1,000-point plateau. This is a great-read on his voyage to 1,000. (Friar Basketball)

– Jeff Goodman saw five games in 31 hours. He has a lot of things he wants to get off of his chest. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Should Oklahoma State press more often? They certainly have the athletes to do so. Then why doesn’t Travis Ford employ the press more frequently? (Cowboys Ride for Free)

– In case you want more of Ole Miss’ Marshall Henderson (Which I know you do), Deadspin has the goods. (Deadspin)

– Virginia is likely to be planted firmly on the bubble come Selection Sunday. A win against North Carolina State tonight will definitely help. (Washington Post)

– What exactly does the absence of Dajuan Coleman do to the Syracuse frontcourt? (900 Irving)

– Anybody want to take a guess at how many NCAA bids the ACC gets? Could be three, could be five. A little consistency would help. (USA Today)

– A slide show of some of the better signs in attendance at Cameron Indoor Stadium for Maryland’s ACC farewell game against Duke. (The Blue Zone)

– Seriously, the staff at the Bradley Center had to call in pest control to remove a rogue bat of the rafters, and AC/DC was used in the process. (The Dagger)

– What’s the difference between this season’s Florida State team and the one that won the ACC last season? Defensive Toughness. (Rush The Court)
 
 
Video(s) of the Day:
This is from Russia, and is absolutely hilarious.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFR4L6GegXA%5D
 
 
Dunk(s) of the Day:
Arizona’s Carrick Felix wants in on the NCAA Slam Dunk Contest.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzivbNEBhyM&w=580&h=415%5D
 
 
Dunk(s) of the Day:
Illinois State’s Tyler Brown wants in as well. I’m leaning towards Brown after this video.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzZYI3WrW4M&w=560&h=315%5D
 
 
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Alabama coach Nate Oats gets new 6-year, $30 million deal

alabama basketball
Marvin Gentry/USA TODAY Sports
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nate Oats has agreed to a new six-year, $30 million contract amid the program’s best regular season in decades.

Oats will average $5 million plus incentives over the deal running through the 2028-29 season under a deal approved Friday by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees Compensation Committee.

It makes him the fourth-highest paid basketball coach in the Southeastern Conference and among the Top 10 nationally, athletic director Greg Byrne said.

Oats, who is in his fourth season, will make $4.5 million for the first year with $200,000 annual raises. The fourth-ranked Crimson Tide (19-3, 9-0 SEC) has the team’s highest ranking this deep into a season since 1976-77.

“I am honored and humbled to receive a contract extension from the University of Alabama,” Oats said in a statement. “As I have said many times, my family and I love this community, the city of Tuscaloosa and the university.

“I am incredibly proud of what we have been able to build during our time at UA which is a direct reflection of the student-athletes, coaches and staff who have all played a big part in our success. I am excited for what’s happening in the future of our program and the direction we are heading.”

Alabama has gone 80-39 under Oats, winning the 2021 SEC regular season and tournament championships.

“Coach Oats has done an outstanding job leading our men’s basketball program, and we want him to continue doing so for many years to come,” Byrne said in a statement. “He and his staff have lifted the program back to national prominence and built a product that is exciting to be a part of for our team and for our fans.

“We were confident Nate was going to be an outstanding coach for us when we hired him, and he is not only that, but also a great leader of our young men.”

The new contract comes nearly three weeks after Alabama basketball player Darius Miles and another man were charged with capital murder following a fatal shooting near campus. Miles, a reserve forward, was removed from the team and suspended from the university following his arrest.

Duke women’s coach Kara Lawson says men’s ball used vs. FSU

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Duke coach Kara Lawson said her team played with a men’s basketball for the first half of a loss to Florida Stated.

The 16th-ranked Blue Devils lost to the Seminoles 70-57 in Tallahassee, Florida – the team’s second Atlantic Coast Conference loss of the season.

After her team beat Pittsburgh 53-44 , Lawson ended her news conference by speaking animatedly.

“This would never happen in a men’s game. This would never happen. It’s embarrassing for our sport,” she said.

The circumference of a women’s ball is about an inch smaller than a men’s ball and it is typically 2 ounces lighter. While it may not seem like a lot, that’s a big difference.

Lawson said throughout the first half, Duke players were “complaining about the ball.” The Blue Devils were 7 for 34 from the field in the opening 20 minutes of that game. They were 12 for 38 in the second half. Florida State made 10 of its 30 shots in the first two quarters and 14 of 31 in the second half.

“To have a game that, at the end of the season, could be the difference between a seed, between a title, my players don’t deserve that and neither do their players,” Lawson said. “It’s a complete failure. And you can figure out who the people I’m talking about that failed the sport and our players and both teams.”

Lawson said assistant coach Winston Gandy went to the scorer’s table at the half to check on the ball when he realized what the problem was. She said the game officials changed the ball to start the second half.

“We have concluded through our investigation that it was a men’s ball,” Lawson said. “The conference and Florida State is saying that it wasn’t.”

The ACC said it did a comprehensive review talking with game officials, administrators, the table crew and both schools.

“Following the thorough and objective review process, there was no evidence found to support the claim,” the conference said in a statement. “Per NCAA playing rules, there is no appeal or protest process.”

The ACC has instituted a procedural change that the game ball will be brought to the pregame meeting with the captains for approval.

“It’s very frustrating that (the game) … was not treated with the utmost respect that players on both teams deserve,” she said.

This wasn’t the first time this has happened in women’s basketball. In 2017, the College of Charleston played home games and practiced with men’s balls for most of its season until the error was was discovered.

“Let me be clear: Florida State beat us. They beat us playing with a men’s ball in the first half and a women’s ball in the second half. But I can’t say if we’d have played with a women’s ball in the first half and the second half that we would have won. But they can’t say that either,” Lawson said.

No. 1 South Carolina wins 28th straight 87-69 over ‘Cats

south carolina basketball
Jeff Blake/USA TODAY Sports
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dawn Staley’s pleased South Carolina had made its once-lopsided series with UConn more competitive the past few years.

She hopes her top-ranked team can accomplish another milestone when the teams meet for a top-five showdown on Sunday.

“It still stands true that we haven’t won up there,” Staley said.

Aliyah Boston had 14 points and 14 rebounds as South Carolina prepared for the top-five showdown with an 87-69 victory over Kentucky on Thursday night.

The Gamecocks (10-0 Southeastern Conference) improved to 22-0 and won their 28th straight, a run that included a 64-49 victory over the Huskies in Minneapolis last April to win the national championship.

Staley had lost her first seven games as South Carolina coach against UConn. The Gamecocks have won three of the past four matchups since.

“This particular class committed to each other,” Staley said. “When you have that type of commitment and you just want to win, you find yourself winning some games that you haven’t won before.”

Against Kentucky, reigning AP player of the year Boston extended her school mark with her 75th career double-double and moved within 11 of the SEC record of 86 games with a double-double held by LSU great Sylvia Fowles.

Things weren’t perfect for South Carolina, which fell behind early, then had its 15-point halftime lead cut to 54-48 midway through the third quarter.

Still, its dominant inside game – South Carolina outscored the Wildcats 62-14 in the paint – was more than enough to shut down Kentucky (10-12, 2-8), the last team to defeat the defending national champions at the SEC Tournament last March.

The Wildcats went on top 16-15 after a pair of baskets by Adebola Adeyeye.

That’s when South Carolina, fueled by its bench, took control with a 17-2 run. Ashlyn Watkins had three inside shots and Kamilla Cardoso scored four points during the surge.

The Wildcats used a 13-4 burst to start the third quarter to give South Carolina a few uncomfortable moments. But the Gamecocks got going once more with an 11-0 run to extend their margin.

Cardoso, the 6-foot-7 reserve, had 14 points and five of South Carolina’s 14 blocks. Defensive ace Brea Beal had 10 including both of the Gamecocks’ 3-pointers.

Beal thought the team held together well to blunt Kentucky’s runs and regain control. “I think it’s our mental aspect of the game and us believing in each other,” she said.

Robyn Benton had 24 points to lead Kentucky, which has lost three of its past four games.

Wildcats coach Kyra Elzy said South Carolina is difficult to match up with because of its deep bench. “They have depth after depth after depth,” she said. “They keep coming.”

BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: The Wildcats are the not the same team that featured two-time SEC player of the year Rhyne Howard the past few seasons. They have 10 newcomers – and six freshmen – who are still learning how to play against the SEC’s top teams like South Carolina.

South Carolina: Forgive the Gamecocks if their focus wasn’t fully on this one at first with a big week ahead. In an eight-game span, South Carolina will face No. 5 UConn and No. 3 LSU, a pair of high-profile games could expose any flaw – or show how powerful the Gamecocks are in chasing a second straight NCAA crown.

UCONN KARMA

South Carolina has opened 22-0 twice under coach Dawn Staley, in 2014-15 and the following year. Both runs ended against UConn. Next up for Gamecocks are the Huskies, although South Carolina has won three of the past four games over UConn including last April’s 64-49 victory to win the NCAA Tournament title.

UP NEXT

Kentucky returns home to face Alabama on Feb. 9.

South Carolina heads to No. 5 UConn on Sunday.

Miles, Citron lead No. 9 Irish past Boston College 72-59

notre dame basketball
Erica Denhoff/Getty Images
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BOSTON — Olivia Miles and Sonia Citron had already scored 10 straight points to put away Boston College when they turned their attention to other things.

“I told Sonia I needed two more assists for the double-double. And she was like, `All right, I’ve got you,”‘ Miles said after helping No. 9 Notre Dame beat BC 72-59 on Thursday night.

“That’s just kind of our communication on the court,” said Miles, who found Citron for baskets on the next two Irish possessions to complete a 14-0 run – with all 14 points from Miles and Citron. “We just really play off each other really well.

Miles scored 22 points with 10 assists and eight rebounds, and Citron scored 23 for the Irish (18-2, 9-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Maria Gakdeng scored 16 points, T’Yana Todd had 13 and Andrea Daly scored 10 with eight rebounds for BC (14-11, 4-8). The Irish beat BC at home 85-48 on New Year’s Day but hadn’t won in Chestnut Hill since 2019.

“This is such a tough place to play,” said Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey, whose team faces No. 16 Duke next. “We’ll celebrate it until about 12:30, and then we’ve got film. Tomorrow we start focusing on Duke.”

BC came within five points, 55-50, before the Irish ran off 14 points in a row – nine by Citron, and five by Miles. That put an end to what had been a back-and-forth game in which the Irish opened big leads and then frittered them away.

“I always feel like we’re close,” BC coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said. “They’re young; I think consistency comes with experience.

“I think it’s a big improvement from the first time we played Notre Dame,” she said. “I still want to see more, and I want to see us grow up as fast as humanly possible because I think we do have a dangerous team when we going well.”

Notre Dame led by 11 in the first quarter and held a 38-30 lead with two minutes gone in the third. BC scored 13 of the next 18 points, capitalizing on back-to-back Irish turnovers to tie it 43-all with three minutes left in the quarter.

But Natalija Marshall put back the rebound of her own miss, Miles drove to the basket, Maddy Westbeld added a pair of baskets and then Miles stole the ball and found Citron on the fast break to make it 53-43.

BIG PICTURE

Notre Dame bounced back from their first league loss of the season, a 69-65 defeat at North Carolina State on Sunday. Now they face No. 16 Duke.

The Eagles, who beat Pittsburgh on Sunday to snap a five-game losing streak, were looking for their second victory over a Top 25 team this season, having also beaten then-No. 10 N.C. State on Jan. 5.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame: Hosts No. 16 Duke on Sunday.

Boston College: Visits Syracuse on Sunday.

No. 16 Xavier beats No. 17 Providence 85-83 in OT thriller

xavier basketball
Kareem Elgazzar/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CINCINNATI — Jack Nunge had 23 points and 14 rebounds as No. 16 Xavier held off No. 17 Providence 85-83 in an overtime thriller Wednesday night.

Colby Jones and Souley Boum each scored 20 for the Musketeers, who won a first-place showdown in the Big East without injured forward Zach Freemantle.

Noah Locke had 22 points and Ed Croswell added 21 for Providence (17-6, 9-3), which had beaten Xavier three straight times.

A layup by Boum put the Musketeers (18-5, 10-2) ahead 82-79 with 51 seconds remaining in overtime. A turnover by the Musketeers led to a layup by Devin Carter that cut Xavier’s lead to one with 24 seconds left.

Boum hit one of two free throws, and Jared Bynum’s 3-point attempt from the left corner rimmed out at the buzzer as the Musketeers held on.

Xavier played its first game without Freemantle, the team’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer. He is expected to miss four weeks with a left foot injury, the same foot that required surgery in 2021.

Jerome Hunter, who has excelled off the bench for the Musketeers, made his first start of the season and scored nine points with eight rebounds. Xavier had used the same starting lineup in each of its previous 11 Big East games.

Things started well for the Musketeers. who went on a 12-1 run to build a 25-11 lead.

With Boum on the bench with two fouls, the Musketeers didn’t have a field goal in the final 4:18 of the first half and the Friars pulled to 39-35 at halftime.

Providence outscored Xavier 8-2 to start the second half and took its first lead, 43-41, with 17:41 left.

There was a frantic finish to the second half, with Adam Kunkel’s 3-pointer putting Xavier ahead 76-73 with 55 seconds left. But then Bynum banked in a tying 3 and Boum missed two long shots to send the game to overtime.

BIG PICTURE

Providence: The Friars, who won their first Big East regular-season title last year, entered the night tied atop the conference standings with Xavier and No. 14 Marquette, which hosted Villanova later. Providence was picked fifth in the preseason.

Xavier: Hunter, who averages 14 minutes, left with three minutes remaining in OT with an apparent cramp in his right leg. With Freemantle out, Hunter played 36 minutes.

UP NEXT

Providence: Hosts last-place Georgetown on Wednesday.

Xavier: Will host St. John’s on Saturday.