The Dagger

  • Rodney Purvis will try to help lead UConn to its first ever league title in the AAC. (AP)
    Rodney Purvis will try to help lead UConn to its first ever league title in the AAC. (AP)

    Yahoo Sports will break down the top 10 leagues for the upcoming college basketball season working backward from No. 10 to No. 1. Here’s a look at our No. 7 league, the American Athletic Conference.

    For a program whose rich history suggests it belongs in a stronger league, UConn hasn’t exactly dominated the American Athletic Conference.

    The Huskies have yet to come close to winning a league title, finishing tied for third in their national championship 2013-14 season, tied for fifth a year later and alone in sixth last March.

    This could be the year UConn ascends to the top of the American Athletic Conference if the Huskies can come close to reaching their ceiling. Not only do they return a high-scoring wing, an elite shot blocker and a promising young point guard, they also add maybe the best group of newcomers coach Kevin Ollie has landed in his four-year tenure.

    In an era in which two point guard

    Read More »from Five-minute season preview: American Athletic Conference
  • Jim Boeheim (AP)
    Jim Boeheim (AP)

    Nineteen months after the NCAA ordered Syracuse to vacate 101 victories, we finally have a better sense of the extent of that punishment.

    Wiped from the record books are wins from from five different seasons including one in which the Orange won the Big East regular season title and another in which they captured the Big East tournament championship. The Syracuse Post-Standard reported which seasons were impacted Monday.

    The punishment stems from the NCAA’s 2015 findings regarding infractions Syracuse committed from 2004-2012. The NCAA ruled that members of Syracuse’s academic support staff did impermissible work for players, that a player broke the rules by accepting money for delivering a speech and that the university failed to follow its own drug policy with athletes who tested positive for use of marijuana.

    Whereas Syracuse amassed a 34-3 record and captured the Big East title during the 2011-12 season, the Orange’s official record will be 0-3 that year. That

    Read More »from Report reveals which victories NCAA made Syracuse vacate
  • Minnesota's Richard Pitino is among the coaches in the most need of a bounce-back season. (AP)
    Minnesota’s Richard Pitino is among the coaches in the most need of a bounce-back season. (AP)

    Our 2016-17 season preview continues with a look at eight coaches under the most pressure to win. Check back each day for more college hoops preview content.

    Steve Alford, UCLA

    Why the pressure is on: Whereas Alford’s first two UCLA teams peaked in March and reached the Sweet 16, his third season in Westwood ended in disaster. The Bruins dropped eight of their last 10 games and plummeted to 15-17 overall, a performance so bad that empty seats abounded at Pauley Pavilion and fans flew planes over campus towing banners calling for Alford’s firing. Alford subsequently wrote a letter apologizing for the poor season and pledging to return a previous one-year contract extension, but that gesture alone won’t assuage a fan base that continues to view the fourth-year coach with a skeptical eye. The only way he can win over UCLA fans is to restore the program to its former status as a perennial

    Read More »from Eight coaches under the most pressure to win this season
  • The NCAA has reversed course and declared Oakland's Isaiah Brock eligible to play this season. (AP)
    The NCAA has reversed course and declared Oakland’s Isaiah Brock eligible to play this season. (AP)

    Isaiah Brock’s eligibility saga has reached its inevitable conclusion.

    Amid heavy public pressure to remove the restrictions placed on Brock, the NCAA initial eligibility committee made a sensible decision, approving the decorated U.S. Army veteran’s appeal seeking the right to play for Oakland University this season.

    Brock’s eligibility was in question because his high school grades were insufficient to qualify to play Division I college basketball. He instead enlisted in the Army in 2012, serving four years including stints in Kuwait and Afghanistan.

    Oakland coach Greg Kampe told the Detroit Free Press and CBSSports.com earlier this month that he first met Brock at a charitable event in Kuwait connecting soldiers with basketball coaches. While Kampe wasn’t sure that Brock would ever develop into an impact player at Oakland, he offered the 6-foot-8 forward a spot on his team anyway in

    Read More »from Army veteran wins appeal to play for Oakland this season
  • Nigel Hayes (AP)
    Nigel Hayes (AP)

    Three days before ESPN’s College GameDay visited Madison for Saturday’s football game between Ohio State and Wisconsin, Badgers basketball player Nigel Hayes sent the following Tweet.

    “I’ll be there for Game Day and I’ll have a great sign!” he wrote.

    Hayes delivered on his promise, bringing an attention-grabbing sign that lambasted the NCAA for its amateurism policies preventing high-profile college athletes from obtaining more of the income they help generate. The sign read “BROKE COLLEGE ATHLETE, ANYTHING HELPS” and included the Venmo account “BrokeBadger1.”

    A quick search on Venmo reveals that the BrokeBadger1 account appears to belong to Taurean Villolovos, who like Hayes is a former high school basketball player from Toledo, Ohio.  Eight people had already publicly paid the account as of 12 p.m. on Saturday

    Read More »from Nigel Hayes takes jab at NCAA with clever College GameDay sign
  • Dayton's Charles Cooke and St. Bonaventure's Jaylen Adams are both league player of the year candidates. (AP)
    Dayton’s Charles Cooke and St. Bonaventure’s Jaylen Adams are league player of the year candidates. (AP)

    Yahoo Sports will break down the top 10 leagues for the upcoming college basketball season working backward from No. 10 to No. 1. Here’s a look at our No. 8 league, the Atlantic 10.

    One year after a trio of teams claimed a share of the Atlantic 10 title, the battle for the league championship could again be a three-way race.

    There’s Dayton, which returns four starters from last year’s co-league champs and adds a promising transfer. There’s Rhode Island, which also brings back last year’s core and welcomes back one of the conference’s best players from injury. And there’s VCU, which still boasts ample talent despite having to replace two of its top three scorers from its co-league title team.

    If there’s a favorite among the three top contenders, it’s probably Dayton, which is seeking its fourth straight NCAA tournament bid. The Flyers are well-stocked at every position despite the

    Read More »from Five-minute season preview: The Atlantic 10
  • Semi Ojeleye has endured a tumultuous 23-month layoff since he last played a game. (AP)
    SMU’s Semi Ojeleye has endured a tumultuous 23-month layoff since he last played a game. (AP)

    One of college basketball’s most star-crossed players can’t help but chuckle at his hard-luck career path.

    He left Duke in search of more playing time four months before the Blue Devils won the 2015 national title. He arrived at SMU just in time for the NCAA to uncover academic impropriety and declare the Mustangs postseason-ineligible. He then voluntarily delayed his return to game action another 11 months, only to have the hall-of-fame coach who recruited him to SMU abruptly quit in July.

    Hardly anything has gone right for Semi Ojeleye since his college basketball career began, but you’d never know it from his relentlessly positive attitude. The skilled 6-foot-8 forward remains confident he can turn his tale of woe into one of redemption as soon as his agonizing 23-month wait to play again finally ends next month.

    “You could say I’ve been unlucky because of everything that has happened, but I

    Read More »from Star-crossed SMU forward Semi Ojeleye aims for reversal in fortune
  • Isaiah Briscoe and Kentucky make five appearances on this list (AP)
    Isaiah Briscoe and Kentucky make five appearances on this list (AP)

    Our 2016-17 season preview continues with a look at the 25 most intriguing non-conference games. Check back every day for the next five weeks for more college hoops preview content.

    1. Duke vs. Kansas, Nov. 15 (New York): The first real test for likely preseason No. 1 Duke could be the premier non-conference game of the 2016-17 season. Even if prized freshman Harry Giles doesn’t recover from his latest knee surgery in time to participate, this clash will still feature five McDonald’s All-American freshmen, a slew of returning standouts and two teams with legitimate national title aspirations.

    2. Kentucky at Louisville, Dec. 21: College basketball’s most hostile rivalry pits a Kentucky team loaded with its usual array of elite freshmen against a Louisville team with a pair of sophomores who could be poised for breakout seasons. If guard Donovan Mitchell and forward Deng Adel can help replace the scoring void created by

    Read More »from The 25 most intriguing non-league games of the 2016-17 season
  • Trey Kell and San Diego State will try to help the league bounce back from last year's one-bid embarrassment. (AP)
    Trey Kell and San Diego State will try to help the league emerge from its steep decline. (AP)

    Yahoo Sports will break down the top 10 leagues for the upcoming college basketball season working backward from No. 10 to No. 1. Here’s a look at our No. 9 league, the Mountain West.

    Three years after it finished first in conference RPI, sent five teams to the NCAA tournament and briefly eclipsed the Pac-12 as the West’s best league, the Mountain West sunk to unimaginable depths last spring.

    The league finished outside the RPI top 10 for the second straight season and put only one team in the NCAA tournament. After Fresno State upset regular season champ San Diego State in the Mountain West title game, the Bulldogs landed a No. 14 seed and bowed out meekly in the round of 64 against Utah.

    Such futility raises two obvious questions: How did the league tumble so far so quickly and is it poised to recover some pride this season?

    Any explanation of the Mountain West’s fall begins with the

    Read More »from Five-minute season preview: The Mountain West
  • Duke's Frank Jackson (left) and Kansas' Josh Jackson (right) are among this season's top freshmen.
    Duke’s Frank Jackson (left) and Kansas’ Josh Jackson (right) are among this season’s top freshmen.

    Our 2016-17 season preview continues with a look at the freshmen most likely to make an immediate impact next season. Check back the next five weeks for more college hoops preview content.

    1. Josh Jackson, G, Kansas: Some guys have ideal physical tools. Others have a motor that never quits. Jackson has both. The ultra-athletic, fiercely competitive 6-foot-7 wing was Rivals.com’s top prospect in the 2016 class. He should start right away for Kansas and make an immediate impact with his ability to defend multiple positions, create off the dribble and finish in transition.

    2. Markelle Fultz, G, Washington: The early departures of Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss last spring left no doubt that Washington will be Fultz’s team this season. The late-blooming McDonald’s All-American point guard showed he was ready during the Huskies’ tour of Australia and New Zealand this summer when he

    Read More »from Sixteen freshmen who will make the biggest impact this season
  • The NCAA has ruled Oakland's Isaiah Brock ineligible to play this season (AP)
    The NCAA has ruled Oakland’s Isaiah Brock ineligible to play this season (AP)

    Even for an organization known for sometimes making tone-deaf decisions, the NCAA has outdone itself once again.

    It has reportedly denied immediate eligibility to a decorated U.S. Army veteran because of a 2011 high school transcript that no longer accurately reflects the caliber of student he is.

    Isaiah Brock is a Baltimore native who enlisted in the military in 2012 because he believed it was his best means of escaping his hardscrabble neighborhood. He served four years in the Army including six-month stints in Kuwait and Afghanistan.

    [ STACK: Is JR Smith thinking about switching to football? ]

    Oakland coach Greg Kampe told the Detroit Free Press and CBSSports.com that he first met Brock at a charitable event in Kuwait connecting soldiers with basketball coaches. While Kampe wasn’t sure that Brock would ever develop into an impact player at Oakland, he offered the 6-foot-8 forward a spot on his team anyway

    Read More »from NCAA's decision to rule Army veteran ineligible defies common sense
  • How Przemek Karnowski recovers from back surgery will be key to Gonzaga's WCC title hopes (AP)
    How Przemek Karnowski recovers from back surgery is key to Gonzaga’s WCC title hopes (AP)

    Yahoo Sports will break down the top 10 leagues for the upcoming college basketball season working backward from No. 10 to No. 1. Here’s a look at our No. 10 league, the West Coast Conference.

    Like Nick Saban’s facial expressions or Mike Krzyzewski’s hair color, the pecking order in the WCC never seems to change.

    Gonzaga reigns over the conference, Saint Mary’s frequently rises up to mount a challenge, BYU rounds out the league’s top tier and the WCC’s seven other programs forlornly press their nose against the glass staring up at the Marquee Three.

    No program besides Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s or BYU has reached the WCC title game in the past eight years. San Francisco’s second-place finish in 2014 is the only time any other team has cracked the top three in the WCC standings since BYU joined the league in 2011.

    The chasm between the WCC’s top three and the best of the rest appears to be wider than

    Read More »from Five-minute season preview: The West Coast Conference
  • Harry Giles underwent a third knee surgery on Monday (AP)
    Harry Giles underwent a third knee surgery on Monday (AP)

    Harry Giles’ latest knee surgery raises some ominous questions for Duke.

    The first is whether the prized freshman forward will regain peak form at any point in what is expected to be his lone season of college basketball.  The second is whether Giles might be better off sitting out most or even all of this season rather than risking suffering another injury or exposing a potential loss of explosiveness.

    Duke announced Monday that Giles underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee earlier in the day and is expected to be sidelined for six weeks. That is the same knee in which Giles tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus prior to his sophomore year in high school.

    Giles returned from his original injury to reclaim his status as the top prospect in the 2016 class, but his comeback was derailed last fall when he tore the ACL in his other knee and had to sit out his entire senior season of high school.  The 6-foot-10 forward had

    Read More »from Third knee surgery delays prized freshman Harry Giles' Duke debut
  • AP_297453394832
    Nigel Williams-Goss, a transfer from Washington, is expected to be one of Gonzaga’s leaders this season (AP)

    Our 2016-17 season preview continues with a look at transfers most likely to make an immediate impact next season. Check back the next five weeks for more college hoops preview content.

    1. Austin Nichols, Virginia (from Memphis)

    Comment: While Virginia lost big men Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey to graduation last spring, the Cavaliers have a very promising replacement. The 6-foot-9 Nichols averaged 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds as a sophomore at Memphis and blocked 3.4 shots per game, third most in the nation. He should provide interior scoring and make Virginia’s always-stingy defense even tougher to score on around the rim.

    2. Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga (from Washington)

    Comment: From Kelly Olynyk to Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga players have consistently made the most of a redshirt year. The latest example could be Williams-Goss, a former McDonald’s All-American who averaged 15.6

    Read More »from Sixteen transfers who will make the biggest impact this season
  • Virginia took a stand Thursday by kneeling together (AP)
    The Cavaliers took a stand Thursday by kneeling together (AP)

    Virginia’s basketball team is joining the fight against racial inequality.

    Players posted photos Thursday night of the entire team dressed in black, arms interlocking and kneeling at midcourt of the John Paul Jones Arena practice floor. Each of the photos included the caption, “Kneel for Injustice. Kneel for Equality.”

    Virginia is the first college basketball team to come together to protest injustice since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem last month. Kaepernick’s controversial protest has inspired others NFL players to kneel or raise their fists during the anthem as well as athletes in college football and other sports.

    Virginia players hinted at their motivation in their Tweets and Instagram posts Thursday night.

    “Using our platform to help create

    Read More »from Virginia's basketball team takes a stand against inequality by kneeling together
  • Iowa State's Monte Morris could be the senior who makes a Buddy Hield-esque leap this year (AP)
    Iowa State’s Monte Morris could be the senior who makes a Buddy Hield-esque leap this year (AP)

    Since Villanova coach Jay Wright climbed atop a ladder and trimmed that last strand of net in Houston last April, we’ve all patiently waited for college basketball to resume.

    At long last it’s finally almost here.

    Friday is the first day that Division I college basketball teams can begin practicing for the upcoming season. Yahoo Sports begins its season preview coverage by posing and answering eight key questions entering a new year in college hoops.

    1. Who’s the favorite to capture the national title?

    Oddsmakers have anointed Duke the favorite to win a championship next April, and with good reason. With four key players back from last season’s 25-win team, Amile Jefferson returning from injury and the nation’s most decorated recruiting class now on campus, Mike Krzyzewski’s program boasts a superior blend of talent and experience than either of his two most recent national title teams.

    Read More »from Eight key questions as college basketball practice opens
  • Pitt and West Virginia last played in 2012 (AP)
    Pitt and West Virginia last played in 2012 (AP)

    In the five years since both schools declared they were leaving the Big East to join other conferences, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins has always pushed to get longtime rival Pittsburgh back on his schedule.

    Soon he’ll finally get his wish.

    West Virginia and Pitt announced Thursday that they’ve agreed to a four-year series that will begin during the 2017-18 season. The Panthers will host the basketball version of the Backyard Brawl in 2017 and 2019 and will visit Morgantown in 2018 and 2020.

    “I think this is great not only for both schools but for college basketball,” Huggins said in a statement. “This has been such a great rivalry, and it is a game that fans of both schools look forward to. I have great respect for Kevin Stallings, and I have followed his teams throughout the years. Pitt has been our biggest rival since I can remember and we have been theirs. The game makes sense.”

    Pitt and West Virginia have played 184 times since 1904,

    Read More »from At last, West Virginia and Pitt agree to revive their historic rivalry
  • Reigning NIT champ George Washington will have a new coach next season (AP)
    Reigning NIT champ George Washington will have a new coach next season (AP)

    Since George Washington fired Mike Lonergan less than two weeks before college basketball teams are allowed to start practice, the Colonials had little choice but to elevate a current staffer to interim coach rather than conduct a nation-wide search.

    The only surprise is which of Lonergan’s former assistants received the promotion.

    George Washington announced Tuesday that Maurice Joseph will serve as interim coach during the upcoming season. Joseph, 31, played for Lonergan at Vermont and has worked on his staff at George Washington the past five years, the last three as an assistant coach.

    “MoJo emerged as the right individual for this interim position,” George Washington provost Forest Maltzman said in a statement. “He’s a strong teacher and he has the full support of the university. MoJo will be an excellent mentor for the young men he will lead with his understanding of the ideals of what a student-athlete

    Read More »from George Washington names least experienced assistant as interim coach
  • Miami celebrates after capturing last year's Puerto Rico Tip-Off (AP)
    Miami celebrates after capturing last year’s Puerto Rico Tip-Off (AP)

    This season’s Puerto Rico Tip-Off won’t actually be played in Puerto Rico.

    ESPN announced Monday that it’s moving the annual holiday tournament from San Juan to Orlando because of concerns over the Zika Virus.

    “We enjoy the beauty and accommodations that are afforded in Puerto Rico and wanted to make every effort in playing the event in San Juan, but the concern for student-athlete and spectator welfare became the primary driver in the decision,” Pete Derzis, senior vice president of ESPN Events, said in a statement.  “We intend to return to Puerto Rico in the future.”

    The tournament will still take place Nov. 17-20 and feature the same eight teams as previously announced. Oklahoma and Xavier highlight the field, while Arizona State, Clemson, Davidson, Missouri, Northern Iowa and Tulane will also participate.

    Primarily spread by mosquitoes, the Zika Virus is a major concern for pregnant women, women who are actively

    Read More »from Puerto Rico Tip-Off will relocate to Orlando due to Zika concerns
  • The NCAA ruled Villanova freshman Omari Spellman academically ineligible. (AP)
    The NCAA ruled Villanova freshman Omari Spellman academically ineligible. (AP)

    Replacing Daniel Ochefu just became a whole lot tougher for reigning national champion Villanova.

    Omari Spellman, the heralded freshman hailed as Ochefu’s heir apparent at center, has been ruled academically ineligible to play for the Wildcats this season, the school announced Friday morning. The 6-foot-9 big man will redshirt during the 2016-17 school year now that the NCAA has denied his final appeal to play right away.

    “We are extremely disappointed for Omari,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said in a statement. “While we don’t agree with the NCAA’s decision, we are members of the association and respect it. We understand why the NCAA felt it had to rule this way.

    “We will make a positive out of this for Omari. He will concentrate on his academics and individual development this season. In the long run Omari will be a better student and player for this experience.”

    Spellman, Rivals.com’s No. 18 prospect in the

    Read More »from NCAA rules Villanova's prized freshman ineligible to play this season