Already lacking front court depth, Siena loses starting forward to ankle injury

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Less than two weeks after senior forward Brett Bisping went down with a toe injury that required surgery, Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos has another personnel loss to deal with. According to Mark Singelais of the Albany Times-Union, sophomore forward Lavon Long suffered a high left ankle sprain during practice Wednesday afternoon.

While initial reports had the 6-foot-7 Long missing anywhere from two to three weeks, Siena issued a release declaring Long to be “day-to-day.” Yet with that being the case the school has ruled Long out for the team’s game at Radford Friday night.

Long’s started all eight games for Siena this season, averaging 9.9 points,  5.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 28 minutes of action per contest. Long’s most productive game came in Siena’s loss t Rider December 7, as he scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds in 31 minutes of action.

Without Long the expectation is that senior Rob Poole, the team’s leading scorer, will shift into the small forward role. But what’s of even greater importance for Siena is that they’ll be playing without their top two rebounders for the time being. Poole is grabbing an average of 4.3 rebounds per game and players such as Javion Ogunyemi, Willem Brandwijk and Jimmy Paige (who averages just 3.2 minutes per game) will need to step up.

The Saints, who are 1-1 in MAAC play, won’t play another conference game until they visit Fairfield January 3.

Pipkins scores 24, Providence beats No. 19 Marquette 84-72

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) Luwane Pipkins scored 24 points and David Duke had 15 to lead Providence to an 84-72 victory over No. 19 Marquette on Saturday, the Friars’ third straight victory – all over ranked teams.

Markus Howard scored 38 points for Marquette, which lost its third straight game. Howard shot 10 for 25 from the field and had just one assist while committing four of the Golden Eagles’ (17-9, 7-7 Big East) 18 turnovers.

RELATED: Latest CBT Bubble Watch | Bracketology

AJ Reeves added 11 points and three others had 10 for Providence (16-12, 9-6), which held a double-digit lead for all but 39 seconds of the game’s last 26:29. Trailing 71-50, the Golden Eagles scored seven points in a row, but they could get no closer.

Providence led by as many as 17 in the first half thanks to its 3-point shooting (8 for 15) and 17 points from Pipkins. After Marquette cut the lead to nine, 52-43, midway through the second, the Friars scored six straight points.

It was 62-50 when Providence scored nine in a row, the last five on a basket and a 3-point play by Duke.

BIG PICTURE

Marquette: The Golden Eagles dipped into The Associated Press Top 25 at No. 18 on Feb. 10 and have lost three in a row. Though the first two were to higher-ranked teams, the loss at Providence will certainly drop them out of the rankings

Providence: The Friars are fourth in the Big East and the top unranked team in the conference. They are 4-4 against ranked teams this season.

UP NEXT

Marquette: Hosts Georgetown on Wednesday.

Providence: At No. 12 Villanova on Saturday.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Dominant Doke leads No. 3 Kansas past No. 1 Baylor

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Udoka Azubuike wasn’t hard to find this time around.

The 7-footer put together the best performance of his college basketball career on Saturday afternoon, going for 23 points, 19 boards and three blocks while shooting 11-for-13 from the floor as No. 3 Kansas went into the Ferrell Center and staked their claim to the title fo the best team in college basketball with a 64-61 win over No. 1 Baylor.

After Baylor scored the first five points of the game, Kansas answered with a 9-0 run and never looked back. The Bears were only able to draw level once for the remainder of the game, and while Ochai Agbaji managed to make things interesting down the stretch with a late turnover against Baylor’s pressure, the Jayhawks were more or less in control throughout.

RELATED: Latest CBT Bubble Watch | Bracketology

And the reason for that is simple: Udoka Azubuike.

The first time that these two teams squared off back in January, when Baylor landed the program’s first-ever win in Phog Allen Fieldhouse, Azubuike was invisible, especially offensively. He finished with just six points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field largely due to the fact that Baylor’s defense is uniquely designed to take away players in the post. The Bears fronted Azubuike, they played off of non-shooters on the weak side of the floor and they dared Kansas to beat them from the perimeter.

It did not go well.

But giving Bill Self four days to devise and implement a game-plan is never going to work out well for anyone, and Baylor learned that the hard way.

And the tweak, truthfully, really quite simple:Mi

Middle ball-screens.

This had an impact on two things on that end of the floor. For starters, it made it difficult for Baylor to influence which way the ball-handler would come off of the screen. You can’t ‘ice’ a ball-screen in the middle of the floor. You can ‘weak’ it — forcing the ball-handler to come off of the screen going to his weak hand — but this is risky, especially with a point guard that is as quick as Dotson is. He was allowed to get a full head of steam going with only Freddie Gillespie between him and the rim. That’s a good thing for Kansas.

The other part of this is that since the ball is in the middle of the floor, and since Baylor cannot make the offense go the way they want them to go, it’s harder to sell out as a helper. This creates open lanes for Azubuike to run to the rim, and there is no one in college basketball that is a better lob-catcher in traffic than Azubuike.

“He was great and controlled the paint,” Self told reporters after the game. “That was about as well overall as I’ve seen him play.”

And he’s not wrong.

Azubuike was a titan on the offensive end of the floor.

But he was just as good defensively.

Baylor’s guards were never able to get into a rhythm on Saturday afternoon. MaCio Teague hit a couple of threes, but for the most part, he was a non-entity. Matthew Mayer scored eight straight points in the first half but was invisible outside of that run. Devonte Bandoo took one shot. Davion Mitchell shot 2-for-11 from the floor, and while Jared Butler went for 19 points and six assists, he needed 18 shots to get there.

Much of the credit there belongs to the perimeter defenders on this Kansas roster. Marcus Garrett is a walking, talking, ball-hawking demolition derby. He’ll take the soul of someone that is careless with their dribble, and Mitchell learned that the hard way. Devon Dotson more than held his own, while Ochai Agbaji, Isaiah Moss and Christian Braun did just enough to keep whoever they were guarding from getting a clean look. The Jayhawk ball pressure was, throughout the game, something else.

But the reason that ball-pressure was possible is because of the human eraser at the five. Doke owned the paint. He only finished with three blocks, but that’s because Baylor opted to settle for jumpers instead of trying to challenge the big fella. His ability to move his feet eliminated Baylor’s ball-screen offense:

All told, when you factor in both ends of the floor, this was one of the single-most dominant performances that I can remember seeing this season.

Kansas is going to enter this upcoming week as the biggest talking point in the sport.

Is this the best team in the country?

Can the Jayhawks win a national title this year?

Are they actually the favorite to cut down the nets?

And the reason that the answer to all three of those questions is ‘yes’ is the presence of Udoka Azubuike.

The more interesting question that we should be having has less to do with Kansas as a team and more to do with Udoka Azubuike: Is he, and not Dotson, the All-American on this Kansas team?

And where should he factor in the Player of the Year race?

Auburn’s Jaylin Williams throws himself a lob off the backboard (VIDEO)

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It’s only 1 p.m. but we have already seen the play of the day: Auburn forward Jaylin Williams through himself a lob off the backboard that was so impressive it had Clark Kellogg making up words to describe it:

Bubble Banter: All of Saturday’s bubble action in one place

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There is plenty of action happening on the bracketology bubble watch despite it being a relatively slow night for college hoops.

Dave Ommen’s latest bracketology can be found here. Rob Dauster’s Bubble Watch can be found here. The full NET rankings can be found here.

Here is everything you need to know to.

THE BUBBLE WATCH WINNERS

… AND LOSERS

LEFT TO PLAY

VIRGINIA (NET: 55, NBC: 10) at Pitt

Missouri at ARKANSAS (NET: 48, NBC: Off the bubble)

No. 22 Houston at MEMPHIS (NET: 63, NBC: Next four out)

Michigan at PURDUE (NET: 32, NBC: First four out)

MISSISSIPPI STATE (NET: 50, NBC: First four out) at Texas A&M

No. 8 Florida State at N.C. STATE (NET: 52, NBC: 11)

OKLAHOMA (NET:46 , NBC: 10) at Oklahoma State

RHODE ISLAND (NET: 31, NBC: 11) at Davidson

LSU at SOUTH CAROLINA (NET: 62, NBC: Next four out)

ALABAMA (NET: 45, NBC: Off the bubble) at Ole Miss

GEORGETOWN (NET: 43, NBC: Play-in game) at DePaul

Bubble Watch: Breaking down every team in at-large conversation

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It’s that time of the year again, which means that we are diving head first into our annual NCAA tournament bubble watch.

The way that it will work is simple: We’ll be looking at every team that our Dave Ommen, the best bracketologist in the business, considers in the mix for an at-large bid. In an effort to keep this somewhat manageable, we are going to assume that the top 36 teams in the field — every team that is a No. 9-seed or above — is “off the bubble”. This does not mean those teams are a lock to dance, it just means that they have given themselves enough room for error that we can take them out of the conversation until they do something dumb.

Dave’s latest bracket can be found here. The full NET rankings can be found here.

So with all that in mind, let’s get into the full NCAA tournament bubble watch:



ACC BUBBLE WATCH

TOP 9: Duke (NBC: 2), Florida State (NBC: 2), Louisville (NBC: 4)

VIRGINIA (NET: 55, NBC: 10): The Wahoos have now won three in a row and six of their last seven after picking off Boston College (143) at home. They have three Quad 1 wins and an 8-6 mark against the top two Quads with home dates left against Duke (6) and Louisville (10). They can’t afford slip-ups, and could really use four or five more wins before Selection Sunday. But Virginia is starting to make much better, and as of today they are in a pretty good spot.

N.C. STATE (NET: 52, NBC: 11): The Wolfpack are easily the biggest bubble winners of the week, as they blew out Duke (6) at home on Wednesday. It’s the fifth Quad 1 win for Kevin Keatts — they’ve also beaten Wisconsin (29) at home and three sub-50 teams on the road — to go along with an 8-6 record against the top two Quads. The biggest problem here is that they have three Quad 3 losses, two of which came at home. Before beating Duke, the Wolfpack lost at Boston College (143). It’s worth noting that Markell Johnson, N.C. State’s best player, did not play in two of the three Quad 3 losses — Georgia Tech (81) and North Carolina (94) at home.


AMERICAN BUBBLE WATCH

TOP 9: Houston (NBC: 8)

WICHITA STATE (NET: 42, NBC: 10): Wichita State is up to three straight wins after handling South Florida (113) at home on Thursday. They have beaten VCU (49) and Oklahoma (46) at home, and they don’t have any truly terrible losses, but with just three potential Quad 1 games left on their schedule — all of which are on the road — the Shockers need to get hot, and soon. I think they need to win two of at Cincinnati (56), at SMU (75) and at Memphis (63)

MEMPHIS (NET: 63, NBC: Next four out): Memphis is hanging on by a thread right now, but they are still alive after knocking off a bad East Carolina (208) team at home. Memphis has just one Quad 1 win and they don’t have a win over a team inside the top 50; their best win is Cincinnati (56) at home. Throw in a pair of Quad 3 losses, and the Tigers have plenty of work to do. The good news? They still get two games against Houston (26), a trip to SMU (75) and a home date with Wichita State (42), but playing without D.J. Jefferies, I don’t think that this ends well.

CINCINNATI (NET: 56, NBC: First four out): The Bearcats shot themselves in the foot on Wednesday, losing at home to UCF (125) in the fourth straight overtime game that they have played and their sixth one possession game in a row. The loss came after Jarron Cumberland hit a halfcourt shot that came just a split second after the buzzer in a second overtime. As of this very moment, Cincinnati has just two Quad 1 wins and four Quad 3 losses, all of which came to teams sitting outside the top 100. They’re in a bad spot right now, and with just one more potential Quad 1 win on their resume, I’m not sure just how much they’ll be able to do to fix it.


ATLANTIC 10 BUBBLE WATCH

TOP 9: Dayton (NBC: 2)

VCU (NET: 52, NBC: Off the bubble): VCU lost at home to Dayton (5) on Tuesday, which essentially eliminates them from being in bubble contention this season. This is the last time they’ll be listed in this space for the time being.

RHODE ISLAND (NET: 31, NBC: 11): URI did what they needed to do and picked off St. Joseph’s (237) at home on Saturday. They have not played since then. They’re 19-6 overall and they have just one Quad 1 win, but they are 6-5 against the top two Quads. The loss to Brown (218) is ugly, but as long as URI avoids the landmines on their schedule, I think they can get an at-large even with a loss to Dayton (5) at home in March.

RICHMOND (NET: 43, NBC: Play-in game): The Spiders are still in a good spot for an at-large bid after beating up on George Mason (167) at home. They’re sitting at 20-6 overall with a pair of Quad 1 wins — Wisconsin (29) on a neutral and at Rhode Island (31) — as well as two Quad 2 wins. The trouble with their resume is a pair of Quad 3 losses, but in a year where so many bubble teams look destined to amass 11 or 12 losses, Richmond will be in the mix. They cannot truly improve their resume until the A-10 tournament, but they are the best hope that the A-10 has at getting a third bid to the NCAA tournament.


BIG 12 BUBBLE WATCH

TOP 9: Baylor (NBC: 1), Kansas (NBC: 1), West Virginia (NBC: 4), Texas Tech (NBC: 8)

OKLAHOMA (NET:46 , NBC: 10): The Sooners have a weird resume. After losing to Kansas (4) and Baylor (2) in the last week, they are sitting at 16-10 overall and 6-7 in the Big 12. They don’t have a truly bad loss this season — nine of their ten losses are of the Quad 1 variety, and the 10th is a Quad 2 road loss to Kansas State (99) — but they also only have one Quad 1 win — West Virginia (10). Oklahoma is 1-9 against Quad 1 opponents but they are 8-1 against Quad 2 teams. Their next three games — at Oklahoma State (70), Texas Tech (20), at West Virginia (10) — are all of the Quad 1 variety. This is their chance.


BIG EAST BUBBLE WATCH

Top 9: Seton Hall (NBC: 3), Villanova (NBC: 3), Creighton (NBC: 3), Butler (NBC: 5), Marquette (NBC: 7), Xavier (NBC: 9)

GEORGETOWN (NET: 43, NBC: Play-in game): Georgetown is one of the biggest bubble winners last week after they landed their fifth Quad 1 of the season and by far their best win of the year by going into Indianapolis and knocking off Butler (17). And it’s fitting that the Hoyas followed that up by losing at home to Providence (51). They are now 15-11 on the season with road trips to DePaul (74), Marquette (23) and Creighton (11) and home dates with Xavier (41) and Villanova (14), Georgetown has a tough, tough schedule remaining. They do have five Quad 1 wins and a 9-11 mark against the top two Quads, so they are in a good spot, but those losses are adding up.


BIG TEN BUBBLE WATCH

TOP 9: Maryland (NBC: 2), Penn State (NBC: 4), Michigan State (NBC: 5), Iowa (NBC: 6), Ohio State (NBC: 6), Michigan (NBC: 6), Illinois (NBC: 7), Wisconsin (NBC: 7), Indiana (NBC: 9)

RUTGERS (NET: 35, NBC: 10): The Scarlet Knights have one of the weirder resumes on the bubble right now. They’re 17-9 overall and they are 9-7 in the Big Ten. They had three Quad 1 wins, just one Quad 3 loss and a 7-8 mark against the top two Quads. They played a tough non-conference schedule, and they have some really impressive home wins. The problem? They’re only one a single game outside of the RAC this year, and that came at Nebraska (183), who is more or less the worst team in the Big Ten. Their season finishes like this: at Wisconsin (29), at Penn State (25), Maryland (8), Purdue (32). Rutgers has some work left to do.

PURDUE (NET: 32, NBC: First four out): After the Boilermakers lost at Wisconsin (29) on Tuesday night they are sitting at 14-13 on the season. They do actually have a pretty strong resume in regards to the number of good wins that they have, but the biggest issue currently facing Purdue is the number of losses, including a pair of Quad 3 losses. The most losses and at-large team has ever had is 15. For context, Indiana last season was 17-15 with six Quad 1 wins and nine Quad 1 and 2 wins and they were left out. Purdue is 5-10 against Quad 1 opponents — three of those five wins vacillate between Quad 1 and Quad 2 — and 7-11 against the top two Quads with a 3-8 record on the road. Their best road win is at Indiana (58). They’re in a tough spot right now.


PAC-12 BUBBLE WATCH

TOP 9: Oregon (NBC: 4), Colorado (NBC: 5), Arizona (NBC: 6), Arizona State (NBC: 9)

USC (NET: 44, NBC: Play-in game): Even after losing at Colorado (18) on Thursday night, I think USC is in a decent shape after sweeping the Washington schools in LA last week. They only have two Quad 1 wins, but they are now 8-7 against the top two Quads with an 8-6 mark away from the Galen Center, including five road wins. The home loss to Temple (104) is not ideal, but it is survivable. The biggest issue may be how tough their remaining schedule is. The Trojans still play at Utah (92) and then get Arizona (7), Arizona State (40) and UCLA (90), who is a game out of first place in the Pac-12, at home.

STANFORD (NET: 34, NBC: First four out): The Cardinal finally snapped their losing streak by going into Seattle and knocking off Washington (71) to pick up their third Quad 1 win of the season. They are now 3-5 against Quad 1 opponents, 5-8 against the top two Quads and have just a single Quad 3 loss to their name. They still get Colorado (12) at home and Oregon (19) on the road, so there will be chances to improve their resume.


SEC BUBBLE WATCH

TOP 9: Kentucky (NBC: 4), Auburn (NBC: 5), LSU (NBC: 8), Florida (NBC: 9)

ARKANSAS (NET: 48, NBC: Off the bubble): The Razorbacks lost at Florida (36) on Tuesday night, meaning that they have now lost four straight games and are sitting with a 4-10 record against the top two Quadrants with just two Quad 1 wins — at Alabama (45) and at Indiana (58). They desperately need to get Isaiah Joe back, but it might be too little, too late by the time he returns.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (NET: 50, NBC: First four out): After beating South Carolina (62) at home on Wednesday night, the Bulldogs have now won two straight games and five of their last seven games. Those two Quad 3 losses are not going away, but with a pair of Quad 1 road wins and a 6-7 mark against the top two Quads, Mississippi State has themselves in a spot where they have a shot. They cannot afford to slip-up given that they have just a single Quad 1 opportunity left on their schedule.

ALABAMA (NET: 45, NBC: Off the bubble): Alabama fell to 14-12 overall with a loss to a bad Texas A&M (125) on Wednesday. They now have just one Quad 1 win compared to a pair of Quad 3 losses. Throw in their overall record and the fact that they don’t have a road win over a team ranked in the top 95, and they are in serious trouble.

SOUTH CAROLINA (NET: 62, NBC: Next four out): The Gamecocks had a chance to play themselves into a really good spot on Wednesday, but they lost a close game at Mississippi State (50). At 16-10 overall with a Quad 3 and a Quad 4 loss, the Gamecocks have plenty of work left to do and not all that many great chances left for wins.


BUBBLE WATCH FOR EVERYONE ELSE

TOP 9: Gonzaga (NBC: 1), San Diego State (NBC: 1), BYU (NBC: 7), Saint Mary’s (NBC: 8)

UTAH STATE (NET: 41, NBC: Play-in game): After beating Wyoming (301), the Aggies have won five in a row and eight of their last nine games, ensuring they are still in the NCAA tournament mix and fully turning around a season that looked like it was lost as recently as four weeks ago. Wins over LSU (30) and Florida (36) are nice, but with three road losses to sub-90 teams and no more chances to land marquee wins, how are they going to make up for those losses? They don’t play another top 100 team the rest of the season. I don’t see how they can get in without beating San Diego State (1) in the MWC tournament.

NORTHERN IOWA (NET: 47, NBC: 12): Northern Iowa has now lost back-to-back road games. Losing at Loyola-Chicago (95) might have been survivable. But losing at Indiana State (107), that might not be. UNI has a win at Colorado (12) and they beat South Carolina (62) on a neutral court, but they are 4-3 against the top two Quads and a pair of Quad 3 losses. I’m not sure they can get in.

EAST TENNESSEE STATE (NET: 41, NBC: 11): After beating Furman (76) on Wednesday night, the Buccaneers have gotten through the toughest part of their schedule. They have a win at UNCG (60) and a win at LSU (30). With a 21-4 record and a loss to Mercer (205) at home, the Buccaneers have to win out and lose to only UNCG or Furman in the SoCon tournament to have a chance, and even that might be a bit of a longshot.