The Dagger

  • Baylor didn’t necessarily fall flat on its face against Texas Tech, but once again it responded to a No. 1 ranking in about the worst way possible. (Getty)

    The NCAA tournament selection committee made history Saturday by releasing its first-ever in-season bracket projection, and of all the words uttered by committee chairman Mark Hollis on CBS’s telecast, 10 were as emphatic as any.

    “The separation is great,” Hollis said. “The ones are clearly the ones,” he emphasized, leaving no doubt about the teams at the top of the bracket.

    Baylor was one of those teams, and those words, more than anything, were a positive appraisal of the Bears, who came in as the third of those four top seeds. Scott Drew’s team had been talked about on the bridge between the 1-seed and 2-seed lines. The committee clearly felt otherwise. And thus Hollis left Baylor with a clearly explicated directive: Continue to do what you’ve been doing — continue to win like you’ve been winning in the Big 12 — and you’ll be here

    Read More »from Baylor follows up 1-seed projection with damaging loss at Texas Tech
  • Clarke drives through the lane during a February loss at Miami. (AP)

    One day after arguably its biggest win of the season, Virginia Tech received a similarly big blow: Chris Clarke, a starter and the team’s leading rebounder, tore his left ACL in Sunday’s game, and is out for the season.

    Clarke, a multi-talented sophomore forward who plays bigger than his 6-foot-6 frame, was averaging 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game in nearly 29 minutes. He also led the Hokies with 1.3 steals per game.

    The announcement from the program comes less than 24 hours after the Hokies beat No. 12 Virginia in double overtime Sunday night at Cassell Coliseum, a win that definitively pushed them onto the right side of the bubble.

    “Our hearts hurt for Chris,” coach Buzz Williams said in a statement. “He has worked really hard to become an outstanding player and an incredibly important teammate to what we are trying to build. I am confident that he will turn this situation into good and return

    Read More »from Virginia Tech loses leading rebounder Chris Clarke for season with torn ACL
  • This may be the precursor to men’s basketball adopting four quarters instead of two halves. (Getty)

    The NCAA intends to use this year’s NIT to experiment with a rule change that could be the precursor to men’s college basketball adopting four quarters instead of two halves.

    In all 31 NIT games this season, team fouls will reset to zero at the 10-minute mark of either half. There will be no one-and-one free throw bonus. Instead, if one team commits four fouls during a 10-minute segment, its opponent will be awarded two free throw attempts for all subsequent fouls until the totals reset.

    The purpose of the potential rule change would be to prevent foul-plagued games from getting bogged down with nothing but free throws down the stretch. A switch to four quarters would have the same effect, however, it would force the NCAA to alter when it takes TV timeouts.

    This experiment comes two years after women’s college basketball switched from two 20-minute halves to four 10-minute quarters. The

    Read More »from NCAA to experiment with rule change during this year's NIT
  • Northwestern’s win over Wisconsin Sunday brought the Wildcats closer to an NCAA tournament berth than they’ve ever been before. (AP)

    MADISON, Wis. — Bryant McIntosh knew it wasn’t the right play. He knew one last exclamation point wasn’t necessary. But that knowledge didn’t curtail his celebrations, nor did it inhibit his appreciation of the moment.

    McIntosh watched as the Kohl Center clock ticked down under eight seconds alongside a scoreboard that read Northwestern 64, Wisconsin 56. He watched as teammate Sanjay Lumpkin raced down the floor. He knew that the right move was to pull the ball out and enjoy a historic victory.

    Then he watched as Lumpkin flew towards the rim. He might have seen Chris Collins, 20 feet away, roaring without restraint, and with shaking fists; neither Collins himself nor his coaching box could contain his joy. And he saw Lumpkin flush the ball through the hoop.

    “It’s probably not the right play, but it was a great punctuation,” McIntosh said postgame. “That

    Read More »from Northwestern arrives, and the Chris Collins era comes full circle, with win at Wisconsin
  • London Perrantes’ potential game-winning layup got stuck on the rim (via ACC Digital Network)

    When Virginia’s London Perrantes knifed into the lane and attempted a tie-breaking layup late in Sunday night’s first overtime period, it seemed certain he was about to give his team the lead.

    Somehow, someway, the ball had other ideas.

    Perrantes’ potential game-winning layup bounced around every part of the basket before getting stuck atop the back rim. Referees then ruled the play a jump ball and awarded possession to Virginia Tech.

    While the Hokies failed to score on their final possession in the game’s first overtime, they took advantage of their new life in the second extra session. Seth Allen scored a short pull-up jumper with just over three seconds left to give Virginia Tech an 80-78 double-overtime victory over the 12th-ranked Cavaliers.

    Read More »from Virginia falls after potential tie-breaking layup gets stuck on back rim
  • (Getty)

    De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo, both freshman basketball players at the University of Kentucky, were involved in a car accident on Sunday afternoon, Lex18 reports.

    A UK spokesperson says that Fox and Adeboyo were both uninjured. The players were passengers in the car and were on their way to campus for a team meeting. Police confirmed to Lex18 that because neither player was driving, they were able to call another ride and attend the meeting and spoke with police at the Joe Craft Center.

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    Fox is averaging 5.4 assists per game this season and is the team’s second leading scorer, putting up 15.7 points per game. Adebayo is averaging 12.9 points and 6.9 boards per game. The Wildcats sit at 20-5 on the season.

    Read More »from Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo passengers in car accident
  • John Davis, a forward for Towson University, suffered a gunshot wound in a drive-by shooting in Philadelphia on Saturday.

    In a statement released by the school, Towson head coach Pat Skerry said that Davis had stayed back in his hometown of Philadelphia after the team played Drexel for the birth of his son, Bryson Hunter Davis Harris.

    “He was outside of his family home when a car drove by and opened fire,” Skerry continued in the statement. “We are extremely thankful that John, and everybody else involved, was not seriously harmed. Our main focus is the health of John Davis.”

    In the 2016-17 season, Davis has averaged 11.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. The communication studies major leads the team in rebounds. His status for the remainder of the season is undetermined.

  • Sixteen minutes into an already tough first half for his team, Indiana coach Tom Crean’s day somehow got even worse.

    Michigan’s Mo Wagner turned to run down court after hitting a 3-pointer and accidentally plowed into Crean, sending him tumbling to the floor. 

    The play was the perfect metaphor for the damage Michigan inflicted on Indiana with its 75-63 road win in Bloomington on Sunday afternoon. The outcome makes it very difficult to envision the Hoosiers picking themselves off the ground and climbing back into NCAA tournament contention this season.

    At 15-11 overall and 5-8 in the Big Ten, Indiana almost certainly wouldn’t be NCAA tournament-bound were the field selected today. The Hoosiers boast a pair of massive non-league victories over Kansas and North Carolina, but they’ve lost to every other KenPom top 50 opponent they’ve faced.

    Four of Indiana’s five remaining games are on the road, where they’re only 1-5 this season. (AP)

    The bubble is weak enough that obituaries for Indiana’s

    Read More »from Indiana's fifth loss in six games has its NCAA tournament hopes flickering
  • Przemek Karnowski led undefeated Gonzaga to a win in its toughest conference game this season. (AP)

    Hours after the NCAA tournament selection committee made it clear that Gonzaga’s No. 1 seed could be in jeopardy if loses even once before Selection Sunday, the Zags delivered a message of their own.

    They have no intention of dropping a game and leaving even a shred of doubt.

    Gonzaga survived its toughest test of West Coast Conference play Saturday night, cruising to a comfortable 74-64 road win at No. 20 Saint Mary’s. The Zags surged to a 15-point lead late in the first half and never allowed the Gaels to pull any closer than within five points the rest of the game.

    Dispatching of Saint Mary’s for the second time this season leaves Gonzaga (26-0, 14-0) with a clear path to its first-ever undefeated regular season. The remaining schedule features visits from San Francisco, Pacific and BYU and a lone road game against a rebuilding San Diego team that the Zags routed by 36 earlier this

    Read More »from Gonzaga responds to selection committee's snub with big road win
  • (Getty)

    Fab Melo, a native of Brazil and former Syracuse center, has died at the age of 26, according to multiple reports Saturday night.

    Melo was found dead at his family’s home in Brazil. He reportedly went to sleep at the house Friday night and did not wake up Saturday morning. The cause of death is not yet known.

    Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim confirmed the news in a pair of tweets.

    Melo had an impressive career with the Orange. He was Big East Defensive Player of the Year his sophomore season. The 7-footer also helped lead Syracuse to a 34-3 overall record in 2011-12 and to a 1-seed in the NCAA tournament that

    Read More »from Fab Melo, former Syracuse big man, dies at 26
  • On a day when North Dakota State’s Khy Kabellis scored a game-high 17 points, his most impressive shot counted against his own team.

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    Kabellis scored one of the greatest own baskets of all time during the Bison’s 81-63 win over visiting Denver on Saturday afternoon.

    When Denver’s Thomas Neff missed a 3-pointer with just over six minutes left in the game, Kabellis scrambled after the rebound, corralled it in his left hand and flipped the ball behind his back as he fell into the opposing bench. Somehow, someway, the ball unintentionally landed in the basket, putting points on the board for Denver and leaving Kabellis with a sheepish grin on his face.

    Credit referees for knowing one of college basketball’s more obscure rules and awarding Denver two points even though Kabellis was behind the 3-point arc when he

    Read More »from North Dakota State guard scores this season's greatest own basket
  • The fan entered the court from the stands during a first-half timeout, and was taken down by police. (AP)

    A 31-year-old fan was arrested at Saturday’s Louisville-Miami game after he ran onto the court and attempted to disrupt the Miami huddle during a timeout.

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    With 7:59 remaining in the first half, the man, who has been identified as Randall Bolton, entered the court from the stands, bumped into a Louisville dancer, and headed toward the Hurricanes huddle. He was tripped and detained by police near center court.

    Miami coach Jim Larranaga was aware of the fan in the moment. “There was a little bit of a commotion in our huddle,” Larranaga said, “and I glanced up, and there was someone, I believe, in red, and we don’t normally wear red. I had asked the coach, and they just said it was some fan.”

    Miami forward

    Read More »from Louisville fan arrested after trying to run into Miami's huddle
  • St. Mary’s plays one of the biggest regular season games in program history Saturday night against No. 1 Gonzaga.

    Students were understandably fired up for the primetime game. They brought signs, flags, foam fingers, and more. They painted their faces, and likely consumed plenty of alcoholic beverages beforehand.

    They also brought and painted a dog:

    Um … What? Why? How?

    Some colleges have real, live dogs as their real, official mascots. But those dogs are almost always on leashes, and they’re taken care of by school employees.

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    This dog A) is right in the middle of the student section, B) is not in any way related to St. Mary’s official mascot, and C) somehow got through security — surely St. Mary’s doesn’t permit fans to bring their pets to the gym for games, right?

    The dog also looks miserable. Seriously. It isn’t

    Read More »from St. Mary's students painted a real, live dog and brought it into their student section (Photo)
  • Creighton Basketball’s Marcus Foster threw down a one-handed dunk with such authority on Saturday afternoon against DePaul that one of his teammates fainted.

    OK, not really. But the slam brought the bench to its feet and one player fake-fainted into the arms of two other Bluejays players. Foster was issued a technical foul after the dunk for staring down the defender.

    No. 23 Creighton won the game 93-58 to improve to 8-4 in conference play and 10-1 on the road. Foster finished with 13 points, three assists and three rebounds.

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    Read More »from Creighton's Marcus Foster throws down a filthy dunk in win over DePaul
  • Just when it seemed Syracuse was surging back into NCAA tournament contention, the Orange suffered a damaging loss.

    They fell 80-75 against a Pittsburgh team that entered play having dropped eight of its previous nine games.

    Overpowered on the glass by Pittsburgh forwards Sheldon Jeter and Michael Young, Syracuse fell behind by as many as 12 points midway through the second half. Full-court pressure helped the desperate Orange storm back into striking distance, but their last chance slipped away when a pass from John Gillon bounced off Tyler Lydon’s fingers with the deficit at four and 50 seconds remaining.

    Syracuse’s loss snaps a five-game win streak and adds to the topsy-turvy nature of the Orange’s NCAA tournament résumé.

    Syracuse’s five-game win streak ended abruptly on Saturday with a damaging loss at Pitt (AP).

    On the one hand, Syracuse (16-10, 8-5) owns victories over Virginia, Florida State, Wake Forest and Miami, each of whom are among the KenPom top 40. On the other hand, the

    Read More »from Bubble breakdown: Momentum-killing loss shrinks Syracuse's margin for error
  • The moment Louisville fans had been waiting for finally arrived midway through the second half. They had waited for almost a month as Quentin Snider recovered from a hip injury; they then waited for over an hour more as their Cardinals labored through a disappointing first half, and to an early 14-point deficit against unranked Miami on Saturday.

    Their noise level — eerily low for the entire first half — reflected the surprise of the extended wait. It most often resembled a concerned murmur. Even with the home team down just seven with under 13 minutes to play, the reaction to a Miami turnover was casual and muffled.

    Then Snider slid to the left wing, and the moment arrived. His triple was true. The Yum! Center rose. And although it would be forced to sink back into its collective seat by the two timeouts within a minute that followed, it was right back on its feet one possession later. Snider drilled another 3-pointer to cut Miami’s lead to one. His offense led a second-half comeback,

    Read More »from Full-strength Louisville sputters, then looks like title contender in Snider's return
  • Kentucky basketball has had a rough few weeks. The Wildcats have lost three of their last five, and even after giving up 58 second-half points in a seven-point win over LSU this week, John Calipari had a message for his team in his postgame interview with ESPN: “You won’t want to be at that practice tomorrow,” he warned.

    The last thing the Wildcats needed as they look to snap out of their funk is an actual, physical reason to drift back into a funk. But that’s what they received the night before their road game Saturday at Alabama.

    In the wee hours of the morning before a noon local time tip, the fire alarm at Kentucky’s hotel went off not once, not twice, but three times.

    And to make matters worse, the alarms were at intervals that prevented players from getting any more than two hours of sleep at a time after the initial alarm.

    Read More »from Kentucky woken up by three false fire alarms night before road game at Alabama
  • College basketball’s first-ever Selection Saturday wasn’t kind to the Big Ten.

    The NCAA tournament selection committee sent a clear message that it’s not impressed with the league by not including a single one of its teams in its top 16.

    The most prominent snub was Big Ten leader Wisconsin, which is 21-3 overall and ranked seventh in the latest AP poll. The committee likely deemed the Badgers unworthy of a spot on the top four seed lines because they lack the marquee wins that other top teams have.

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    Not a single team Wisconsin has beaten received votes in either the AP or Coaches poll this week. The Badgers have no inexcusable losses, but the best teams they’ve beaten are Indiana, Marquette, Syracuse and Tennessee, none of whom are a lock to make the NCAA tournament yet.

    The Big Ten’s exclusion was the biggest talking point to emerge from a bracket reveal that otherwise featured few surprises.

    The selection committee revealed
    Read More »from Big Ten fails to land a single team in committee's in-season top 16
  • Because of its lack of marquee wins, Wisconsin could be disappointed with its seed on Saturday. (AP)

    At this time last year, Iowa was cruising toward a No. 1 seed and Wisconsin was projected to miss the NCAA tournament altogether.

    By Selection Sunday, the Hawkeyes had faded to a No. 7 and the Badgers had surged to the same seed line.

    The lesson here is that Saturday’s bracket preview show will provide just a snapshot — nothing more. When the selection committee unveils its first-ever in-season top 16 rankings, they’re sure to generate discussion and controversy, yet they’re ultimately not especially meaningful since teams still have a month of games left to play.

    What will at least be somewhat instructive is the glimpse at how the committee assesses the nation’s elite teams to this point. Here’s a look at the four biggest questions entering Saturday’s first in-season bracket preview:

    1. Who will the four No. 1 seeds be?

    Even after two chaotic weeks rife with upsets, the race for a No. 1

    Read More »from Four key questions before the selection committee reveals its top 16
  • LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 09: Malik Dime #10 of the Washington Huskies brings the ball up the court against the Stanford Cardinal during a first-round game of the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 9, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Washington won 91-68. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    University of Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar announced that he has suspended center Malik Dime indefinitely after Dime slapped a student fan who was heckling him during the Huskies’ Thursday night game against Colorado.

    “I was caught up in the emotion of the game and allowed my frustrations to influence my behavior,” Dime said in a press statement, per Tim Booth of the Associated Press. “I made a very poor decision, and did not represent my team, my university and my family the way I want to. I am glad I had the chance to apologize in person to the students involved in the altercation, and I am prepared to accept the full consequences of my actions.”

     

    Read More »from UW's Malik Dime suspended after slapping a fan on Thursday night