Late Night Snacks: Indiana mounting a late charge towards the bubble?

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GAME OF THE DAY: Clemson 77, Maryland 73 (2OT)

With both teams looking to keep alive incredibly slim hopes of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, the Terrapins and Tigers needed ten extra minutes to determine a winner. Clemson would pull out the win in the end, with a Demarcus Harrison three with 1:08 remaining in the second OT giving them the lead for good. K.J. McDaniels finished the game with 26 points and 14 rebounds to lead the way for Clemson, while Seth Allen paced Maryland with 20 points.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) Indiana 72, No. 22 Ohio State 64

Could Indiana, a team that really didn’t accomplish a great deal during non-conference play, be mounting a late rally to join the bubble discussion? A question that seemed absurd just a week ago is now valid after the Hoosiers picked up wins over No. 20 Iowa and No. 22 Ohio State this week. Will Sheehey followed up his 30-point game against Iowa with 19 points and six rebounds on Sunday, and Yogi Ferrell scored 20 points to lead the way. Indiana’s chances of reaching the NCAA tournament remain slim but in the Big Ten they won’t lack for quality opportunities, whether it’s in their final two games of the regular season (vs. Nebraska, at No. 16 Michigan) or in the conference tournament.

2) No. 3 Arizona 79, Stanford 66

The Wildcats wrapped up the outright Pac-12 regular season title, and outside of a second-half stretch in which the Cardinal cut a 20-point Arizona lead down to 11 Sean Miller’s team played very well. Aaron Gordon tallied 19 points and 15 rebounds to lead five Wildcats in double figures. Arizona defended well, getting out in the open floor after forcing Stanford turnovers in the first half, and they once executed well offensively for the third consecutive game. Arizona certainly looks to be hitting its stride at the right time.

3) No. 20 Iowa 83, Purdue 76

The Hawkeyes went with more full-court pressure defensively and the move paid off, with Purdue committing 16 turnovers on the afternoon. Roy Devyn Marble led four players in double figures with 21 points and as a team Iowa racked up 17 assists with just five turnovers. Defending in the half court remains an issue for Iowa, with Purdue shooting nearly 60% from the field in the second half. With this being the case, not to mention Iowa’s depth, could we see more pressure looks from the Hawkeyes down the stretch?

STARRED

1) Bryant Mbamalu (Louisiana) 

Mbamalu scored 32 points (10-for-19 FG) and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Ragin’ Cajuns’ 102-76 win over South Alabama.

2) Sean Armand (Iona) 

Armand racked up 21 points (7-for-12 FG), nine rebounds and nine assists in Iona’s 97-81 win over Rider.

3) Aaron Gordon (Arizona) 

19 points (8-for-13 FG), 15 rebounds and two assists in Arizona’s 79-66 win over Stanford.

STRUGGLED

1) Billy Baron and Zach Lewis (Canisius) 

The Golden Griffins’ starting backcourt shot a combined 4-for-20 from the field in Canisius’ 68-63 loss at Manhattan.

2) Jay Hook (Tulane) 

Shot 2-for-11 from the field, finishing the Green Wave’s 73-47 loss at FIU with five points and seven rebounds.

3) Aaron Craft (Ohio State) 

Shot 2-for-11, finishing Ohio State’s 72-64 loss at Indiana with seven points, six rebounds and four assists.

NOTABLES

  • No. 14 Wisconsin won its seventh consecutive game Sunday, beating Penn State 71-66 with Josh Gasser scoring 15 points and Ben Brust adding 14.
  • Darrun Hilliard scored a career-high 26 points to lead No. 8 Villanova to a 73-56 win over Marquette, the Wildcats’ 26th win of the season.
  • St. John’s avoided what would have been a bad loss, beating DePaul 72-64. D’Angelo Harrison led the way with 25 points and ten rebounds.
  • Maurice Creek scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead George Washington to a 66-58 win over George Mason.
  • Marist blew out Quinnipiac 103-72, and that result combined with Manhattan’s 68-63 win over Canisius makes Steve Masiello’s Jaspers the two-seed in next week’s MAAC tournament.
  • Vermont capped its regular season with a 92-82 overtime win at Binghamton, finishing 15-1 in America East play. If the Catamounts can win two games in Albany next week and reach the tournament final, they’ll be the hosts.
  • Three of the top four teams in Conference USA (Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss and Tulsa) all won on Sunday, meaning that there’s still a four-way tie for first (Middle Tennessee’s also 12-3) with one league game remaining.
  • Florida State kept alive its NCAA tournament hopes with an 81-71 win over Georgia Tech.
  • No. 25 New Mexico shot 57.7% from the field in the second half as they turned a 14-point first half deficit into a 72-58 win at Nevada.
  • After failing to score a single point in the first meeting between the two teams, Jordan Adams scored 24 points and grabbed five rebounds in UCLA’s 74-69 come-from-behind win over Oregon State.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

North Carolina gets commitment from four-star 2020 forward

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North Carolina has its first piece in its 2020 recruiting class.

Day’Ron Sharpe, a 6-foot-9 forward, committed to the Tar Heels on Sunday, according to multiple reports.

The Winterville, N.C. native picked Roy Williams’ in-state program over offers from Florida, Georgetown and Virginia, among others, after a second visit to Chapel Hill recently.

“We weren’t expecting it, and it kind of came out of the blue,” his father, Derrick Sharpe, told 247 Sports about the commitment. “He told coach Williams and coach was just really excited about it.”

Sharpe averaged 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game during his sophomore season.

“He’s a very multi-talented player,” Dwayne West, executive director of the Garner Road Bulldogs told the Raleigh News & Observer. “He does several things very well at a high rate. He can obviously score the ball around the basket, has a solid shot and is actually a very good playmaker. Handles the ball very well.”

Sharpe is a four-star, consensus top-75 player in the 2020 class. Williams also has one commit in the 2019 class, top-50 point guard Jeremiah Francis, who, like Sharpe, committed to the Tar Heels the summer before his junior season.

Former Western Michigan basketball player cleared of murder

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A jury has acquitted a former Western Michigan basketball player of murder in the shooting death of a fellow student but convicted him of armed robbery and a weapons charge.

The Kalamazoo County jury deliberated two days before returning the verdict for Joeviair Kennedy. He faces a possible life sentence when he’s sentenced July 16.

Nineteen-year-old Jacob Jones was killed near the campus on Dec. 8, 2016.

Co-defendant Jordan Waire of Muskegon was convicted last month of felony murder, armed robbery and weapons charges.

Prosecutors said it was Waire who shot Jones. Kennedy has said they took marijuana and about $25.

Kennedy’s attorney, Eusebio Solis, said his client agreed to the robbery but not the killing.

Kennedy was arrested in 2016 at the start of his second basketball season.

Kansas, Missouri to play alumni game for charity

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Kansas and Missouri are putting their differences aside for charity.

Kareem Rush, a former Missouri Tiger and the brother of Brandon Rush, a former Kansas Jayhawk, is organizing a game called “Rivarly Renewed“, which will pit alumni from Missouri against alumni from KU.

On July 28th, the two teams will face-off in a game where the proceeds will go towards benefitting the Boys and Girls Club as well as Kareem Rush’s “Rush Forward Foundation”.

It’s also a chance for the Tigers and the Jayhawks to reignite a rivalry that has been dormant since Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC, although they did play a scrimmage prior to the start of last season. There is no lack of hatred between those two fan bases and any chance they get to square off is a good thing.

There should also be some big names involved. According to the Kansas City Star, Mario Chalmers, Cole Aldrich, Drew Gooden, Kim English, Ricky Paulding and Marcus Denmon are among the players that will be participating.

I love it.

Can we make sure that Bill Self is invited so that he can get convinced to play the Tigers in a non-conference game?

Doppelgangers Grayson Allen, Ted Cruz finally meet

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Ever since Grayson Allen burst onto the national scene during the 2015 Final Four, the former Duke star has been called a Ted Cruz lookalike.

That, frankly, is not exactly a compliment, and it is a comparison that Allen initially bristled at, but now that his college career, Allen seems to be embracing the long-running joke.

We know that because Allen met Cruz this weekend as he helped the senator from Texas beat Jimmy Kimmel in a game of one-on-one:

The actually game won’t be broadcast until Monday night so we won’t know exactly how Cruz won or what Allen did to help, but Cruz did beat Kimmel 11-9.

We will get getting our answers this evening.

2018 NBA Draft: What top ten picks are the most likely to be busts?

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The 2018 NBA Draft is loaded with top-end talent and potential future all-stars.

The fascinating thing about this group in the top ten is that you can make a solid case that most of these guys could become stars.

On the flipside, all of them also have some kind of glaring weakness.

Deandre Ayton is likely going No. 1 overall and there is a healthy contingent of draft analysts and skeptics who point to his lack of defensive presence as a 7-footer.

Some of these same detractors also believe the NBA is continually going smaller — meaning giants like Ayton will get played off the floor by certain small-ball lineups like the Golden State Warriors just did to some teams during another title run.

That’s just one example.

Going down the list of top-ten prospects and you can point to a lot of potential flaws that could lead to downfalls. But here are two top-ten prospects who could wind up being busts.

MICHAEL PORTER JR.

Before his freshman season at Missouri, I thought Michael Porter Jr. was going to put up monster numbers and be a Player of the Year candidate. His top-five status in the 2018 NBA Draft appeared to be safe. After a decorated high school career in which he destroyed most challengers and played well on the international stage with USA Basketball, Porter looked like he could be a jumbo scoring wing at the game’s highest level.

Then the back and hip issues began.

Porter only played in three games during his lone season with the Tigers — including two uninspiring postseason efforts in which he couldn’t get his shot to fall while trying to prove that he was healthy. And now it feels like there are a million questions about MPJ and his health.

During the NBA Draft process, Porter has cancelled and rescheduled pro days, kept medical records private for long lengths of time and given plenty of teams pause as to whether or not he is truly healthy. If Porter’s back and hip stay as a lingering issue then it changes who he is as a basketball player. Already a bit rigid, with hips that aren’t particularly fluid, Porter could have trouble moving laterally in an increasingly quick and nimble league that is only getting smaller.

Porter’s jumper also uses his whole body to elevate. It didn’t look nearly the same during those March games where he tried to gut it out. And Porter has been such a gifted scorer during his high school career that he’s never had to worry about passing or making others around him better.

Some have also questioned Porter’s ego and his ability to be a willing teammate — which are legitimate questions in a league that often sees its stars feud with others and move on to new teams.

Again, if Porter is fully healthy and ready to go, he could be a double-double threat on the wing and a 20-point per game scorer. But if Porter isn’t healthy? Some team is taking a big risk on not only taking an injured player but passing on a talented healthy player who could morph into an all-star.

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TRAE YOUNG

Perhaps the most fascinating prospect in the draft because of his insane range and overall offensive ability, Young is going to be one of the names to watch on draft night.

Some mock drafts feel he’s a top-three talent, or even the best prospect overall because of his new-age ability to pull-up and hit threes from 30 feet away. Others feel like he’s a potential defensive liability who doesn’t necessarily play winning basketball all the time because of his shot selection and high number of turnovers.

While Young could be a monster steal for some team hoping to get the next Steph Curry, those comparisons are also going to be dangerous, while likely following Young the rest of this career.

For Young, it could be all about fit and who winds up taking him.

When Young was in high school, he was at his best when he had elite talent around him. Michael Porter Jr. was the go-to scorer on a MoKan team that won the Nike Peach Jam. Young also looked solid during stretches with USA Basketball when he had tons of weapons around him.

Once teams in the Big 12 figured out his individual offensive tendencies after a hot start last season, they forced him into being a playmaker and the Sooners struggled to win games. Of course, the lack of talent around him doesn’t fall on Young, who didn’t recruit his teammates at Oklahoma. But what happens if Young falls to a dysfunctional franchise like the Orlando Magic? He’ll be expected to be a savior right away with minimal help — while also having to overcome glaring deficiencies like perimeter defense and a high number of turnovers.

And how do you think NBA players are going to react to the task of guarding Young? There’s an old Dream Team story about Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen practically fighting so they could defend future Chicago Bulls teammate Toni Kukoc one-on-one during the ’92 Olympics. They had heard about the hype surrounding Kukoc, even though he had never played in an NBA game.

After being a national media darling much of last season, Young is going to get a lot of strong one-on-one defenders who are hungry to slow him down. Game plans will revolve around limiting Young’s touches and ability to launch shots. Teams and veteran players are going to do everything they can to frustrate Young and make life tough.

Young is talented and skilled enough to make all of these questions go away. He’s a unique talent who could very well end up being worthy of all of the hype. But he’s going to need some help reaching his full potential, and some of those things are out of his control.