Late Night Snacks: ACC leads 4-2 after Day 1 of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge

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GAME OF THE DAY: Boise State 69, Utah 67

Lost in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge hype was the battle between Mountain West and Pac-12 programs. The Broncos and Utes entered as two of the time scoring teams in the nation, but both struggled from the field early. Derrick Marks had 17 points and Anthony Drmic added 14 for Boise State. Utah was led by a game-high 19 points from Jordan Loveridge. Late in the first half, Princeton Onwas was hit with a flagrant-2 foul.

Boise State improves to 7-0 and has one game on Thursday before next week’s showdown against No. 3 Kentucky.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

Duke 79, Michigan 69: Duke gets back in the win column after a loss to Arizona at Madison Sqaure Garden on Saturday. Michigan suffers its third loss in its last six games.

Colorado 67, Colorado State 62: The Buffalos got a scare, but in the end Spencer Dinwiddie was too much for the Rams as CU leaves with a road win. Won’t get easier … Kansas is on its way to Boulder for Saturday.

Iowa 98, Notre Dame 93: The Hawkeyes won the shootout. Notre Dame got itself back in the game early in the second half, and despite a career-high 29 points from Garrick Sherman, the Irish couldn’t make enough stops down the stretch.

STARRED

Quinn Cook, Duke: He matched Michigan’s Caris LeVert with 24 points, but Cook also added nine assists and four boards in Duke’s bounce-back win against the Wolverines.

Trevor Cooney and Tyler Ennis, Syracuse: The new-look back court is looking good so far, continuing its strong play from Maui. Cooney ended with 21 points, off five 3-pointers and Ennis took care of the rock with eight assists to one turnover, adding 17 points of his own.

J.J. Mann, Belmont: One of the key returners for Belmont dropped 32 points and added seven rebounds, four steals against Middle Tennessee. The Bruins were coming off a loss to VCU on Sunday.

STRUGGLED

Illinois: Georgia Tech closed out the game on a 19-4 run to steal a game from the Fighting Illini, handing them their first loss of the season.

Nik Stauskas/Michigan offense: The Wolverines leading scorer played 34 minutes, took two shots and finished with four points. He also lost his shoe at one point, but that’s neither here nor there. Tyler Thornton, Matt Jones and his injured ankle all caused problems. Stauskas is Michigan’s best offense and when he struggles, the team struggles.

Florida International: The Golden Panthers lost by 28 to Division II Nova Southeastern.

BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE

  • No. 4 Syracuse 62, Indiana 52
  • Georgia Tech 67, Illinois 64
  • Pittsburgh 78, Penn State 69
  • Duke 79, Michigan 69
  • No. 23 Iowa 98, Notre Dame 93
  • Minnesota 71, Florida State 61

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 2 Arizona 79, Texas Tech 58: Brandon Ashley goes for 18 points and 10 rebounds. Nick Johnson adds 18 of his own. Aaron Gordon goes for a game-high 19.
  • No. 18 UCLA 89, UC Santa Barbara 76: Closer than the score seems. UC Santa Barbara hit nine first half threes, but the Bruins buckled down on defense. Jordan Adams led with 22 points. Kyle Anderson added 21 points, nine assists and six boards.
  • No. 21 UMass 69, Eastern Michigan 57: The Minutemen survive their first game as a ranked team since 1998. Trailed by four at half, but UMass had five double figure scorers led by the much-improved Cady Lalanne.

NOTABLES

  • East Carolina’s Akeem Richmond and Presbyterian’s each went for 37 points on Tuesday night. ECU beat Fayetteville State and Presbyterian topped UNC Greensboro.
  • Spencer Dinwiddie went over 1,000 career points at Colorado
  • Miami (OH) and Stetson each won their first games this season. The RedHawks defeated IPFW 94-87  while the Hatters beat Bethune Cookman 56-52
  • Kyle Boswell hit five threes for UC Santa Barbara (same amount he did in the upset win over UNLV). The Gauchos hit 12 threes in the game, though, not enough against UCLA.
  • Minnesota picked up a nice win against Florida State at home on Tuesday. The Golden Gophers now 7-2.
  • Tyler Haws went for 23 points in BYU’s 97-67 win over North Texas. More importantly, Matt Carlino had 11 assists, 10 boards, only five more points and he would of had a triple-double.
  • Denver rallied to beat Southern 75-74 in overtime.
  • Dougie McBuckets goes for 21 points and four boards after a tough outing against George Washington in the Wooden Legacy. Creighton defeated Long Beach State 78-61.
  • Pittsburgh saw Tim Frazier drop 27, but remain unbeaten after a 78-69 win.
  • Troy Williams did this (WATCH HERE). Did he dunk on a teammate?

VIDEO: Mixtape for North Carolina-bound Nassir Little

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Nassir Little is one of the most improved players in the high school basketball ranks, going from being a guy that was a borderline five-star prospect to being a potential No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

At 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and athleticism to burn, he has all the makings of being one of the switchable wing defenders that are en vogue in the modern era of the NBA.

Former UNC star Phil Ford has surgery for prostate cancer

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina says former point guard Phil Ford has had surgery for prostate cancer.

Team spokesman Steve Kirschner said Wednesday that Ford underwent the procedure Tuesday after he was diagnosed during his annual physical. Dr. Eric Wallen, the UNC physician who is treating Ford, says the cancer was caught early because Ford “has been proactive regarding his health.”

Ford played for Dean Smith in the 1970s and scored 2,290 points, a mark that stood as the school record until Tyler Hansbrough broke it in 2008. Ford also spent 12 seasons as an assistant to Smith after a seven-year NBA career in which he was the rookie of the year in 1979.

Bruce Pearl: ‘Good chance’ Auburn returns four players testing the waters

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Bruce Pearl told reporters on Monday that there is a “good chance” that his Auburn program will return all four of the players that are currently testing the waters of the NBA draft.

“I think there’s a good chance they’re all going to consider coming back,” Pearl said. “There’s a chance they’re all going to come back, but that’s been the case since the beginning.”

“I just feel as we get closer to the deadline and they gather more and more information, I think that chance improves. It would not surprise me, still, to see a couple of them stay in.”

Those four players are Mustapha Heron, Austin Wiley, Bryce Brown and Jared Harper. Brown was the leading scorer for the Tigers last season, while Heron was arguably their best player and Harper a steady floor general that is the piece that holds everything together. Wiley did not play after he was ruled ineligible as a result of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball. If he returns he will be eligible to play the 2018-19 season.

Heron will be the most interesting decision of the four. A former McDonald’s All-American, when he declared for the draft last month, he announced that he intended to sign with an agent. But he has told reporters in the last week that he never actually signed and is still “50-50” on whether or not he will return. He was not invited to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last week. Wiley was, but he did not make enough of an impression to earn himself a first round guarantee. Brown and Harper are very unlikely to be drafted, but both juniors will get feedback from NBA teams on what they might need to do to play their way into the league.

Auburn is coming off of a year where they shared the SEC regular season title with Tennessee, but they struggled down the stretch of the season after Anfernee McLemore suffered a gruesome ankle injury. As it stands, under the assumption that Heron and Wiley are gone, we currently have the Tigers ranked as a top 15 team in the country in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25.

With Heron and Wiley back, however, Auburn will have the pieces to make a case as one of college basketball’s five best teams next season.

Forward Lance Thomas transferring from Louisville

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With Anas Mahmoud out of eligibility and Ray Spalding having made the decision to enter the 2018 NBA Draft, new Louisville head coach Chris Mack had some holes to fill in the front court ahead of his first season at the helm. There’s now another departure to account for, as it was announced Tuesday afternoon that 6-foot-8 forward Lance Thomas has decided to transfer.

Thomas, who will have three seasons of eligibility remaining at his next school, appeared in 12 games for the Cardinals last season and averaged 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds in 4.2 minutes per game.

Losing Thomas may not appear to be a big deal based upon his production as a freshman. But, given the combination of player departures and misses on the recruiting trail this spring it can also be argued that Louisville is not in a position where it can afford any more personnel losses.

Louisville is now down to four scholarship players in the front court, wings V.J. King and Jordan Nwora and forwards Malik Williams and Steven Enoch, with Enoch eligible after sitting out last season after transferring in from UConn.

Williams made 12 starts as a freshman, averaging 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game, with King averaging 8.6 points per game and Nwora 5.7 points per game. Enoch played in 29 games at UConn during the 2016-17 season, averaging 3.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per appearance.

Four-star wing Romeo Weems commits to DePaul

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DePaul landed its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2019 Tuesday afternoon, as four-star small forward Romeo Weems announced that he will be a Blue Demon. Weems, who attends New Haven HS in New Haven, Michigan, picked DePaul over Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Oregon and is considered by most major scouting services to be a Top 50 prospect in the 2019 graduating class.

The 6-foot-6 Weems plays his grassroots basketball for The Family on the Nike EYBL circuit, averaging 15.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this spring. Weems also has experience playing for USA Basketball, as he was part of the Under-16 team that won the FIBA Americas U16 title last year. Weems will also be part of the training camp from which the Under-17 team will be selected next month in preparation for this summer’s FIBA Under-17 World Championships.

DePaul managing to land a commitment from a prospect of Weems’ caliber, a versatile wing who can defend multiple positions while also being productive offensively, could be the shot in the arm that Dave Leitao’s program so desperately needs if they’re to improve their standing within the Big East.

Since making the move from Conference USA in 2005, DePaul has finished above .500 in a season just once (20-14 in 2006-07) with that also being the only time in which the Blue Demons finished above .500 in Big East play (9-7). Since Leitao, who led DePaul to its most recent NCAA tournament in 2005, returned for his second stint at the school the Blue Demons have gone 29-65.

Getting out of Allstate Arena and moving to the new Wintrust Arena ahead of last season was an important move for the DePaul program, but it’s been clear that the rebuild won’t be a “quick fix.” Bringing in a talent of Weems’ caliber should help DePaul moving forward, with the key now being to recruit well enough to ensure that the talented wing has ample help when he arrives on campus next year.

Among the players currently on the roster who will have eligibility remaining in 2019 are guards Devin Gage and Justin Roberts and wing Darious Hall, who will sit out the 2018-19 season after transferring to DePaul from Arkansas. Hall appeared in 35 games for the Razorbacks this past season, averaging 5.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in just under 15 minutes per game.