PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Georgetown/Syracuse, Arizona/Gonzaga lead a fun Saturday

0 Comments

GAME OF THE DAY: No. 14 Syracuse at Georgetown, 1:00 p.m.

From Rob Dauster’s weekend preview:

The rivalry renewed.

For the first time since Syracuse left for the ACC and forced the old Big East to become the American while the new Big East split off, the Orange and the Hoyas — the fiercest rivalry from what was once college basketball’s best conference — will square off on a college basketball court. This year’s edition will take place at The Phone Booth in Washington, D.C., but the shame of it all is that Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim will not be allowed to coach. He’s not even allowed to communicate with his team, as he “won” an appeal and will begin serving his nine-game suspension on Saturday.

Which kind of sucks, right? John Thompson Jr. is going to be there, and it was Big John and Boeheim that started this whole deal back in the late 70’s. Big John is still a larger-than-life presence around the Georgetown program — his son is the coach — and missing out on the chance to get those two legends of the game together is a blow.

Everyone is ripping the NCAA for this decision. I’ll get in on that as well. YOU COULDN’T HAVE WAITED UNTIL MONDAY????

Really?

Thanks, guys.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: No. 19 Arizona at No. 13 Gonzaga, 3:15 p.m. (ESPN)

Also from Rob’s weekend preview:

This game doesn’t have quite as much intrigue as it did last season, but there is still plenty at stake here. Arizona is going to be looking to bounce back from a performance in the Wooden Legacy that left people seriously doubting whether or not they are going to be able to contend for the Pac-12 title. Winning at Gonzaga? That’s a good way to win back those doubters. For the Zags, they’re looking to notch a second win over a ranked team, having beaten UConn in the Battle 4 Atlantis last week.

SIX THINGS TO WATCH FOR

1. Ole Miss head up to Amherst to take on UMass in a game that will give the nation a chance to see Stefan Moody — a 5-foot-8 guard with a 45 inch vertical and range to 30 feet — play on NBCSN and the Live Extra App.

2. No. 10 Virginia should win this game handily, but William & Mary is pretty good this year. They already won by 17 at N.C. State this season.

3. Rivalry game! Providence and Kris Dunn will head to Rhode Island to determine who is the king of our nation’s smallest state. The shame here? E.C. Matthews is injured so we won’t get to see those two go head-to-head.

4. No. 11 Purdue should get a test from New Mexico, but it will be interesting to see if the Lobos have the size inside to handle Purdue. Watch for the production of New Mexico forward Tim Williams, who has to have a good game for the Lobos to have a shot.

5. Arizona State hosting No. 18 Texas A&M is an intriguing nightcap. The Sun Devils have two consecutive two-point victories, so they’ve been managing to win close games. They’ll try to stay close enough to win over a ranked opponent as the Aggies as deep and balanced.

6. Ohio State hosts VMI today as the Buckeyes look to snap a four-game losing streak. The Buckeyes have not looked cohesive at all and need to forge an identity at both ends of the floor.

OTHER TOP 25 GAMES

  • Binghamton at No. 3 Michigan State, 11:00 a.m.
  • Harvard at No. 4 Kansas, 2:15 p.m.
  • Buffalo at No. 7 Duke, 4:15 p.m.
  • Western Kentucky at No. 12 Xavier, 7:30 p.m.
  • Kennesaw State at No. 20 West Virginia, 11:30 a.m.
  • Charlotte at No. 21 Miami, 3:oo p.m.
  • New Hampshire at No. 22 SMU, 12:30 p.m.
  • No. 23 Providence at Rhode Island, 6:00 p.m.
  • Grand Canyon at No. 24 Louisville, 11:00 a.m.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • Bucknell at N.C. State, 11:00 a.m.
  • Indiana State at Butler, 11:00 a.m.
  • Seton Hall at Rutgers, 11:00 a.m.
  • Eastern Michigan at Penn State, 11:00 a.m.
  • Temple at Wisconsin, 11:30 a.m.
  • IPFW at Utah, 1:00 p.m.
  • Abilene Christian at Nebraska, 1:00 p.m.
  • North Florida at Dayton, 1:00 p.m.
  • Creighton at Loyola (IL), 1:00 p.m.
  • Chicago State at DePaul, 1:00 p.m.
  • Houston Baptist at Michigan, 1:00 p.m.
  • Maine at Marquette, 1:30 p.m.
  • Cal at Wyoming, 2:00 p.m.
  • SIU Edwardsville at Northwestern, 2:00 p.m.
  • Weber State at BYU, 2:00 p.m.
  • UMKC at Iowa, 2:00 p.m.
  • Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Virginia Tech, 2:00 p.m.
  • Western Carolina at Illinois, 2:00 p.m.
  • South Dakota at Minnesota, 2:00 p.m.
  • Missouri State at Oklahoma State, 2:30 p.m.
  • South Florida at South Carolina, 3:00 p.m.
  • Nevada at Oregon State, 3:00 p.m.
  • Georgia Tech at Tulane, 4:00 p.m.
  • Southeast Missouri State at Memphis, 6:00 p.m.
  • Morehead State at Indiana, 6:00 p.m.
  • UIC at UCF, 6:00 p.m.
  • Colgate at TCU, 7:00 p.m.
  • Wichita State at Saint Louis, 8:00 p.m.

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.

Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes

Getty Images
0 Comments

TUCSON, Ariz. — Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald is returning to Arizona to work under coach Adia Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald will serve as director of recruiting operations while continuing to fulfill her WNBA commitments. She will oversee all recruiting logistics, assist with on-campus visits, manage recruit information and social media content at Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after transferring from Washington as a sophomore. She was an All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020-21, leading the Wildcats to the national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career scoring average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick of the 2021 WNBA draft.