- Grading each of the head coach hirings College Pride Press
Grading the head coach hirings this offseason
by: Jonathon Warriner
Indiana-Archie Miller, Grade: B
This is a very good hire for the Hoosiers, while at Dayton his teams were always a threat to win the Atlantic-10 and during the 2014 NCAA Tournament, Miller lead the Flyers to the Elite Eight. This hire is really good but is it spectacular, no. Most people consider Indiana a Top-10 program in College Basketball, while Miller is a great coach he is not a Top-10 coach in College Basketball right now. I think Miller will be a good coach at Indiana and the Hoosiers will be a consistent threat to win the Big Ten.
Georgetown- Patrick Ewing, Grade: C+
This could turn out to be a complete failure or a great hire, only time will tell. While Ewing is an all time great and arguably the best player in Georgetown history, he has no experience in College Basketball coaching. The big thing the program was thinking during this hire is to keep John Thompson happy, this hire did that successfully. I think Ewing will lead Georgetown to the tournament a few times and the Hoyas might have some seasons where they are contending for the Big East title, but I don’t see Georgetown returning to the power they were back in the 1980s
North Carolina State- Kevin Keatts, Grade: A
If North Carolina State wanted to compete in the ACC, they finally got the guy to do it with. Keatts won the Colonial back to back years and both times in the tournament competed with tough ACC teams. I think it might take a few years for Keatts to get his feet under him coaching in the ACC, but he’ll be a successful hire. I expect in 5 years the Wolfpack to be consistently making the NCAA Tournament.
Illinois- Brad Underwood, Grade: A+
I think Oklahoma State regrets lowballing Brad Underwood right now. While at Stephen F. Austin he took the Lumberjacks to the Round of 32 twice and was a rebound away from a Sweet 16 in 2016. This past year after starting 0-6 in Big 12 play he turned the Cowboys around and they won 9 of their next 11. While in his first year Underwood won’t have the players, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are right there with a chance to make the tournament. I think when Underwood settles in the Illini will be consistent threats to win the Big Ten.
Missouri- Cuonzo Martin, Grade: A
No coach has had a better start to their coaching campaign than Cuonzo Martin. In his month at Missouri, he brought the top recruit in the nation to Missouri and has fans actually excited for next season. While Martin underachieved with the talent he had at California and wasn’t a contender in the SEC at Tennessee, he’s still better than what they had. I don’t expect Missouri to contend in the SEC consistently, but I do expect Martin to bring some good teams to Missouri.
Oklahoma State- Mike Boynton Jr. Grade: C
One year ago, Boynton was expected to be named the head coach of Stephen F. Austin after Underwood left for Oklahoma State. The Lumberjacks instead hired Kyle Keller, and Boynton then followed Underwood to Oklahoma State. After Underwood left for Illinois, Boynton became the head coach of Oklahoma State. I expect Boynton to continue some of the success that Underwood had in his first year, ultimately the big question with him is if he can get players to Oklahoma State. I think Boynton will be a good head coach short term, but I could see him searching for a job in about five years.
Washington- Mike Hopkins, Grade: D
Mike Hopkins was the head coach in waiting at Syracuse, but after Jim Boeheim signed an extension Hopkins decided to start his own coaching career. I think Washington could have gotten someone better, as Eric Musselman, Kermit Davis, and Randy Bennett were all good options. I think Hopkins could end up being a good head coach but I think its more likely you see more years of an irrelevant Huskies program. I think Hopkins will not last long at Washington and Hopkins is looking for a new job in 5 years.
California- Wyking Jones, Grade: C
I’m never opposed to promoting a head coach, Jones was a top assistant under Cuonzo Martin and left a good impression as an assistant. Jones could end up being a great head coach or end up being a bust, I’m not sure which. The only thing I would have thought of is possibly hiring Musselman or Bennett as those are two proven coaches. Overall, I could see Jones searching for a new job in five years or leading California consistently to the NCAA Tournament, either is a possibility.
LSU- Will Wade, Grade: C
Will Wade is a good coach from a good school but we’ve seen Jeff Capel, and Anthony Grant previously get fired when going to other schools and Shaka Smart has yet to win a tournament game at Texas. While Wade seems to be a good candidate, VCU appears to be a stepping stone for head coaches. We’ll have to wait and see what Wade does before acclaiming him as a great head coach. I think we’ll see LSU improve from their current position but I ultimately can see Will Wade joining Capel and Grant as former VCU head coaches to be fired.
VCU- Mike Rhoades, Grade: B+
Another former VCU assistant coach got the job, that coach will be successful and help VCU be a threat in the A10 and ultimately leave VCU for a major Conference head coaching job. Mike Rhoades is another coach that seems to follow that trend. Rhoades was an assistant under Shaka Smart and moved to Rice for three years before getting the job. I expect Rhoades to continue the program success that VCU has had, in 5 years he could be coaching for another Major conference team, and the head coaching process will go on at VCU.
Dayton- Anthony Grant, Grade: B-
Anthony Grant has had an up and down coaching career, being very successful at VCU and getting fired at Alabama. Grant now will coach again in the Atlantic 10 hoping to continue the success Archie Miller had before him. I think that Grant will lead Dayton to multiple NCAA Tournaments and will use this job to get him another job around College Basketball.
- IU’s Roster in Flux as Hoosier Nation Awaits NBA Decisions College Pride Press
This offseason for the Hoosiers’ men’s basketball program has been one of the more exciting ones in recent memory. Headlined by a coaching change and renovations to the Assembly Hall, fans will have plenty of things to look forward to for next season. However, just how high of a bar should be set for this program? Many factors still have to be determined for that to question to be answered.
Nine days after Tom Crean was fired, Indiana athletic director Fred Glass hired former Dayton head coach Archie Miller to fill the void. The hire was a homerun in the eyes of the fans and the national press but to appease the win now attitude of Hoosier fans, Miller must have a strong first campaign. The Hoosier faithful still have a sour taste in their mouths after a losing Big Ten record and a first round exit from the NIT Tournament. For Miller to go through a two or three year rebuilding phase with his new school is not an option. Fans have a hunger for wins that only a deep NCAA Tournament run could satisfy but unfortunately.
The immediate future of the program looked to be in peril. The situation further declined after four starting players (OG Anunoby, Robert Johnson, James Blackmon Jr., and Thomas Bryant) all decided to test the NBA waters and declare for the draft. Anunoby has hired an agent and will not be returning to IU while the other three still have the option of returning. After all of the early offseason commotion, the dust settled for at least the next few weeks. With 15 current scholarship players (13 is the limit), Archie Miller will need to navigate a potential log jam if some of the players pull their name from the NBA Draft.
Once Miller was hired, two of the three Indiana recruits asked out of their National Letters of Intent. Only Justin Smith, a power forward from Stevenson High School in suburban Chicago remained faithful to his original commitment. The other two recruits, power forward Clifton Moore and point guard Al Durham, asked for time to reconsider their original decisions. Following visits from Archie Miller, both Clifton Moore and Al Durham recommitted.
Durham gives IU a quick guard with excellent court vision who can work well with the bigs inside. Durham would most likely come off the bench and play behind guards Josh Newkirk and Robert Johnson. He is a driver at this point in time with lots of fundamental work needed on his jump shot.
Justin Smith, the highest rated recruit of the three, offers a unique skill set for a player of his size. Smith’s inside game is subpar due to his slender frame but he can run the floor and is an effective slasher. At 6’7” Smith can create matchup nightmares as opposing coaches will have to decide whether to defend him with smaller quick-footed players or taller post defenders who may be caught off guard by the quickness of Smith. Playing time will be hard to come by for Smith who will be in the rotation behind Juwan Morgan and Colin Hartman.
Clifton Moore, a 6’10” power forward is one of the more underrated prospects in his class. Moore’s recruiting ranking should be taken with a grain of salt as he elected not to play for a shoe sponsored AAU team and therefore did not receive as much exposure as others. If Thomas Bryant decides to stay in the draft, Moore will be needed to provide some minutes at the 5 to backup De’Ron Davis. Unfortunately, Moore will have to bulk up to compete with other Big Ten centers but at a program like Indiana, he should have no trouble doing so.
Collin Hartman will also done the candy stripes for one more season next year after missing all of last season due to a knee injury. His return is a winning recruitment in itself with it being a surprise to Hoosier Nation.
Because we have not heard anything from some players, there is still the possibility of a someone transferring as the semester of classes ends in two weeks. Some players may see the writing on the wall when it comes to scholarships or even simply playing time with Archie Miller now at the helm. If two of Bryant, Blackmon, or Johnson return to school, Archie Miller will have to find a way to get down to 13 scholarship players.
The 2017-2018 IU basketball roster is still an ever changing work in progress. Expectations should certainly be held in check if Indiana loses Bryant, Johnson, and Blackmon to the draft as the Hoosiers will be left without a true leader or star player on the court. The next six weeks will be a waiting game for Hoosier nation as we wait to finalize the roster. Nothing is set in stone for the time being and all Hoosier fans can do at this point is wait and hope.
Indiana University ’21
- Jonathon Warriner’s Bracketology: 4-18-2017 College Pride Press
West Region (Los Angeles)
1.Arizona (San Diego)
16.Idaho/ Texas Southern
2.North Carolina (Charlotte)
Midwest Region (Omaha)
16.Stephen F. Austin
3.USC (San Diego)
14.New Mexico State
2.Wichita State (Dallas)
15.Long Beach State
South Region (Atlanta)
16.Hampton/ St. Peter’s
3.West Virginia (Pittsburgh)
East Region (Boston)
1.Michigan State (Detroit)
16.Mount St. Mary’s
14.Florida Gulf Coast
11.Vanderbilt/ Oklahoma State
Four Out: South Carolina, Kansas State, Creighton, Texas
Next Four Out: Dayton, Wake Forest, Texas A&M, Florida State
- Jaren Jackson Jr. the perfect fit for Michigan State Sean Bock
Jaren Jackson Jr. was living the good life at Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis.
After his junior season, Jackson was selected to be a part of the Indiana All-Star Core team which consists of the top six junior high school players in the state. Shortly after that, he was also offered a roster spot on the USA U17 World Championship team who won the Gold Medal this summer in Spain.
But, even after all the success, he had his junior season, there was still room to improve.
Jackson wanted a challenge. He wanted to play with the best day in and day out every day in practice. Park Tudor, the alma mater of former Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell and current Xavier guard Trevon Bluiett, didn’t offer what the 6-foot-11 17-year old needed.
So he made the switch. A popular trend in today’s day and age, Jackson decided to transfer to a school that would challenge him more and forces him to become a better player.
About 2.5 hours up US-31 was a little prep school known for its basketball tradition. In the town of La Porte, Indiana was where Jackson was to call his new home. La Lumiere, a boarding school with a little over 200 students, is notorious for bringing high school kids from not only around the United States but also the whole world.
Jackson would team up with other senior high-major prospects such as fellow McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic participant Brian Bowen, Michigan commit Jordan Poole, Creighton signee Jacob Epperson from Australia, along with a highly touted sophomore guard in Tyger Campbell to revenge La Lumiere’s loss in the 2016 Dick’s National Championship.
Throughout the year, La Lumiere was ranked #1 in the USA Today High School Rankings playing against the best competition and other highly ranked players.
Ultimately leading his team to a Dick’s National Championship, Jackson blossomed and immediately proved himself as one of the best big men in the 2017 Class.
Over the past couple weeks, Jackson has held his own against fellow All-Americans and showed flashes of his lottery pick potential in practices and games. In the Nike Hoops Summit last week, Jackson put up 13 points and 10 rebounds in the 98-87 in the win over the World Team.
The scary thing about Jackson is he hasn’t even turned 18 yet. Similar to Purdue big Caleb Swanigan who reclassified and skipped his senior year of high school, Jackson technically should be a part of the 2018 class because he turns 18 this upcoming September.
According to ESPN NBA Draft Insider Chad Ford, “Jackson is a classic modern 4, with length, athleticism, an outstanding 3-point shot and the ability to rebound and protect the rim.” As of now, Ford has Jackson as No. 6 in the 2018 NBA Mock Draft.
Jackson can do a little bit of everything. Big men who can run the floor and finish in transition are vital in college basketball nowadays. Not only can he finish around the rim, but Jackson also can step out and beat his opponents from the perimeter with his silky smooth stroke.
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is known for his excellent player development especially this year with freshman big man Nick Ward who had trouble adjusting at the beginning of the year but then went on to become a huge reason why Sparty snuck into the tournament.
With Miles Bridges confirming he’ll be returning to East Lansing along with a majority of last year’s youthful roster, Jackson has a legitimate chance to flourish in Izzo’s system as he will be relied on to contribute right away.
Joining Jackson is the No. 82 ranked player in the class according to ESPN.com F Xavier Tillman. In addition to those two, Brian Bowen and 4-star guard Mark Smith are still on the market and consider MSU to be one of their potential landing spots.
This 2017 class for Michigan State has all the talent and potential in the world to be special. With Jackson leading the charge, the national title could be heading back to East Lansing soon.
Featured Image via 247 Sports
- Miles Bridges returning to Michigan State for Sophomore Year Sean Bock
Considered by many to be a potential lottery pick in this year’s NBA Draft, Michigan State’s Miles Bridges announced he would be staying another year in East Lansing.
— Spartan Avenue (@SpartanAvenueFS) April 13, 2017
In his first year at Michigan State, the 6-foot-7 Bridges averaged 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Almost immediately after setting foot on Sparty’s campus, Bridges was depended on to grow up fast and become a leader for a young Michigan State squad right away.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that Bridges decided to return for his sophomore year due to the fact he announced on Twitter earlier this morning he had an announcement that stated “I’ve got something to say. It’s not about me, It’s about us.”
Not only does Bridges’ return mean he’ll be able to improve his draft stock over the next year. But, as of right now, Bridges is a surefire All-American candidate for next year, and Michigan State might as well be considered as a top five team at this point.
In addition to Bridges, all of Tom Izzo’s heralded 2016 recruiting class will be coming back next year along with a solid 2017 group led by 5-star forward Jaren Jackson Jr.
Photo via Big Ten Network
- Indiana Hoosiers 2017 Recruiting Board College Pride Press
It has been a crazy offseason thusfar in Bloomington as Tom Crean has been relieved of his duties and Archie Miller is the new sheriff in town. At a time when we wrap up 2017 recruiting and begin focusing on 2018 we must cover all bases as the IU recruiting class is up in the air due to the coaching change.
Collin Hartman will use a medical redshirt and will return for a 5th year of eligibility. This creates a scholarship crunch for the Hoosiers as Hartman was the only senior on the roster. Sophomore OG Anunoby has hired an agent for the NBA Draft so his departure opens up one scholarship as of right now. Here are the IU recruits for 2017 and their statuses.
Al Durham (Committed)
Durham has been committed to IU since early last year and has maintained his commitment through the coaching change. Although he showed signs that he may want to look at other schools he recommitted once he met with Archie Miller over the weekend. Durham is a tough guard who is not great in one particular facet but does so many things very well. He will be a great fit in Archie Miller’s system that loves tough guards. His jump shot will need some work as he enters Bloomington this summer.
The highest rated recruit of the IU class is Justin Smith. Smith signed his letter of intent in the Fall but says he has not made a decision after meeting with Archie Miller recently. Smith is not the athlete Troy Williams is but he is more fundamental and will look more like Juwan Morgan as his career grows. Coach Miller has told Smith and his family that Smith is the top priority in recruitment right now and bringing in Smith could help fill the void left by OG Anunoby at the forward position. I believe Smith will end up in Bloomington when summer classes begin in June.
While I believed that Smith and Durham would end up Hoosiers when the coaching change was made, I was always questioning about Clifton Moore. Moore is the wildcard of the group being from Pennsylvania and having a great senior season could lead to better offers then he had this summer. Moore is a mobile stretch four who is big and has a very nice inside out game. Moore said the meeting with Coach Archie Miller went well but he is not ready to make a decision about IU. Moore’s status will be interesting to watch in the coming weeks because he could receive interest from big time schools if he decides Indiana is not the place for him.
6’3 Point Guard
Inevitably, Archie Miller’s Dayton recruits have interest in the Hoosiers now that their expected coach has moved to Bloomington. Wright is the highest rated recruit in Dayton’s class and the most outspoken to this point. As a 3-star point guard it is tough to see Wright fit in the Hoosiers roster if Robert Johnson, Josh Newkirk, Curtis Jones, and Devonte Green all stay at IU as expected. Wright could still provide upside with both Johnson and Newkirk being seniors for the future and that might be why Archie Miller could bring him in. Wright has stated before that Archie Miller expressed interest in him coming to Bloomington and listed them again in top schools he is interested in. If Wright doesn’t go to IU, he could become a Big Ten foe by staying home and attending University of Minnesota. The scholarships don’t add up unless there is an unexpected transfer or other recruits stray away from IU.
Jordan Tucker has been a tough recruit to peg as he has moved from New York to Atlanta and has taken a number of visits to varying schools across the country. He listed IU as the favorite before Tom Crean was canned but says they are still on the list even with the new coach. Tucker has James Blackmon like shooting abilities packed into his skinny 6’8″ body. He could be a huge pickup for the Hoosiers if Archie can pickup where Tom Crean left off in that recruitment.
Smith has been a late riser in his senior year and received an offer from Tom Crean early this winter. Smith has picked up a number of big time offers with Michigan State and Kentucky recently rolling out the red carpet to the Illinois stud. IU will be mentioned with Smith but barring the unexpected he will not be in candy stripes in October.
Other Names to Watch
- Jeremiah Tilmon-has Indiana ties formerly a La Lumiere student.
- Tremont Waters- IU came in second the first time Waters committed but with Georgetown firing JT3 he is looking for new college plans.
- Naz Carter, Jordan Pierce (Dayton recruits)
- IU Hires Archie Miller College Pride Press
Before I say one thing about Archie Miller, I want to say thanks to Tom Crean. He helped get the program back on it’s feet, from a team facing numerous sanctions, and winning only 6 games in his first year, to a team that won 2 outright Big Ten titles, to go along with 2 sweet sixteen runs. Not only that, but he helped the program tremendously overall, making academics and character both a focus, while also churning out several solid NBA players, such as Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, Yogi Ferrell, and Eric Gordon to name a few. Despite what some fans may tell you, he is a good coach, and what he did to help the program cannot be understated, so thank you Tom Crean. However, I also want to say that IU fans should be absolutely ECSTATIC to have Archie Miller as the new head coach!
For those of you who don’t know much about Archie, 1 thing you must know before anything else is that he absolutely LOVES the game of basketball. He comes from a very successful basketball family, where his dad was an extremely successful high school coach in Pennsylvania, and him, his brother, and his sister were all division 1 basketball players. Miller played 4 years at NC State, where he was very solid as a 5’9 point guard. Since then, he has had several assistant jobs, including at Western Kentucky, and Ohio State, with mentor Thad Motta. At only 32 years old, he accepted his first head coaching a job at Dayton, and he succeeded instantly. They have since made the tournament the last 4 years, something never done at Dayton, while also averaging 25 wins in each of those seasons. He also led them to an incredible run to the elite 8, beating Syracuse, and Ohio State along the way. His tremendous success has not gone unnoticed, as he has been linked to numerous head coaching vacancies, as well as coming in 2nd place in 2015 in coach of the year voting.
While his signing may have surprised many Hoosier fans after all the Billy Donovan and Steve Alford talk, Archie Miller is far and away the right guy for the job. Despite speculation, Donovan was not going to come to IU. And while he would have been excellent at Indiana, who knows how long he would stay before taking another job in the NBA, or going somewhere else. Steve Alford, while a beloved Hoosier after what he did in the 80’s as a player, including winning a National Championship, would have been a horrendous hire. While he is a great recruiter, his teams, like Crean’s, play great on offense, and horribly on defense. Not to mention, his UCLA team last year was 2 games under .500, and he has never reached an elite 8 in 22 years of coaching, while Archie has in only 6 years. Not to mention his questionable handling of a rape allegation against one of his players a few years ago. There are no doubts in my mind that he was the right hire, and his resume above speaks for itself.
As I said, he has had his name brought up in several job openings, and is well known and respected around college basketball. However, most people probably don’t watch a ton of A-10 basketball, and probably have not seen his teams play, me included. However, i’ve talked to several fans, and watched film of some of their games, and have gotten a pretty good feel for what to expect. First and foremost, Hoosier fans should expect to see an intense, focused team come out to play in every game. When it comes to players he recruits, to practice, to games, he makes sure his players are always focused, and instills the same tireless work ethic he had as a player, and has as a coach, in his players. This is evident not only by his team’s success, but also their ability to overcome adversity. In his time at Dayton, his teams have overcome a player’s death, as well as player dismissal, but still came out to play, while staying focused. When it comes to X’s and O’s, IU fans should also be very excited. Miller’s teams, unlike IU under Crean, play excellent defense, ranking in the top 40 in the country in defensive rating over the last several years. Miller also plays a very fast offense, that is “never still” and is constantly “on the move”, which is a nice change in pace for the Hoosiers, for a team who many times last year just looked stagnant, and didn’t have nearly enough ball movement. He also is a very solid recruiter, and it will be nice to see how he does with much more resources at IU, compared to what he had at Dayton. Not to mention he is only 38 years old, and has a chance to grow into his ceiling, along with the program, and be there for a very long time. IU fans should be very excited about their future. It may take a couple years to get going, and for Archie to get his guys, but expect him to turn Indiana into a contender over the next several years. As he said in his opening press conference, “the expectations high”, but they are “very achievable”. Welcome to Indiana Archie!
- CPP Podcast: IU Hires Archie Miller College Pride Press
On this special edition of the College Pride Press Podcast, Brad Kreppel is joined by Ryan Dahlkamp and special guest Duncan Hensley to discuss all aspects of the Archie Miller hire.
- Sweet 16 Recap: Friday March 25 College Pride Press
Two great games and two lopsided games to bring us to 8 teams. The games today were not as exciting as last night’s games but still provided plenty of storylines and entertainment.
#7 South Carolina Destroys #3 Baylor
Final Score: 70-50
Headline: What in tarnation?
MVP: Sindarius Thornwell (24 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals)
What in tarnation? South Carolina did not beat Baylor, they destroyed the Bears in all aspects of the game. Sindarius Thornwell did Sindarius Thornwell things with his all around game. He had twice as many points as the second leading scorer for the Gamecocks. South Carolina allowed Jonathan Motley to score getting 18 points but no other Baylor player achieved double digits in the scoring column. This was a blowout at halftime and South Carolina did not let up in the second half. Frank Martin’s team is playing exceptionally and will look to continue their hot streak with a chance to go to the Final Four on Sunday.
#1 UNC Beats #4 Butler
Final Score: 92-80
Headline: UNC Does UNC Things
MVP: Joel Berry (26 points, 2 assists)
The score does not do this game justice. UNC was ahead by more than 15 for most of the game before Butler made a late run when the game was no longer in doubt. Looking at the stats shows this to be an average North Carolina game. They knocked down a decent amount of deep shots at an average rate of 35%, they out rebounded their opponent, and Joel Berry filled it up. Happy to see the Tar Heel point guard back to being healthy after dealing with an ankle injury last weekend. The Tar Heels played their game and that formula punched their ticket to the Elite 8. They will play Kentucky for a chance to go to the Final Four.
#2 Kentucky Beats #3 UCLA
Final Score: 86-75
Headline: De’Aaron Fox > Lonzo Ball
MVP: De’Aaron Fox (39 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists)
De’Aaron Fox was sick of your “Lonzo Ball is amazing” takes. He put on a show in Memphis with 39 points. Kentucky held UCLA to 75 points which is an accomplishment given what the Bruins have done this season on the offensive end of the floor. Once Thomas Welsh got into foul trouble it seemed to go downhill as the other UCLA bigs struggled to keep protect the rim and keep Derek Willis off the glass. Fox and Monk carried the bulk of the scoring combing for 60 points while Dominque Hawkins came off the bench to pour in 11 points. UCLA did not have the giddy up in the second half to get on a run and Kentucky stayed in control of the game. The Bruins looked defeated well before the game was decided. Kentucky will go on to face fellow blue blood North Carolina in another rematch of a non conference game that Kentucky won earlier this season.
#4 Florida Outlasts #8 Wisconsin
Final Score: 84-83 OT
Headline: Game of the Tournament!
MVP: Chris Chiozza (8 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds)
This was the best game of the NCAA Tournament thus far. Two great teams going back and forth and needing the extra five minutes to decide the winner. Both teams fought through adversity with foul trouble and Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig played injured in the last 6 minutes of the game. Zak Showalter stepped up and made a ridiculous three pointer in the closing seconds of the game to tie it up and force overtime. Wisconsin had a chance to put the game away with a breakaway layup but Canyon Berry came out of nowhere for a season saving block which led to an easy layup for Florida to tie the game. Nigel Hayes than found his way at the line and knocked down both his free throws with only 4 seconds left. Chris Chiozza did not want to see Zak Showalter’s shot on a loop for the next 2 weeks so he topped him by going the length of the court in 4 seconds and drained a running three pointer at the buzzer to get the win and advance to the Elite 8. As great as Chiozza’s shot was, the Gators wouldn’t have been in any position to win if it wasn’t for KeVaughn Allen’s 35 points. He has broken out of his shooting slump and did so in a big way to propel the Gators to the Elite 8. He carried their offense at times and kept them within striking distance.
- Sweet 16 Recap: Thursday March 24 College Pride Press
What a crazy day in college basketball. The four games provided us with some close finishes, one blowout, and one huge upset. If you weren’t able to watch all of the games just keep on scrolling because we are going to recap them for you right here.
#11 Xavier over #2 Arizona
Final Score: 73-71
Headline: Who is Ed Sumner?
MVP: Trevon Bluiett 25 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
Let’s start it off with a bang. The team that seemed to be done after losing star point guard Ed Sumner to a season ending injury is going to the Elite 8. Chris Mack has done a tremendous job and getting past the red hot Wildcats was no easy task. Bluiett might be the MVP on the offensive side but Kaiser Gates and Sean O’Mara were the studs on the defensive end holding star freshman Lauri Markkanen to only 9 points. Bluiett was huge for Xavier handling the ball and providing the team with a third of its points. He needs to continue to play like this if Xavier has aspirations of advancing farther. The Musketeers will face Gonzaga for the chance to go to the Final Four. It would be a phenomenal story if Xavier can pull off another upset.
#1 Kansas over #4 Purdue
Final Score: 98-66
Headline: The Kansas guards are good at basketball
MVP: Frank Mason 26 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists
I am an IU fan but I felt bad for Purdue. IU went through the same thing last year with a UNC team that was clearly on their way to the championship game. Kansas has that feeling to them this year. Those guards they have a pretty good at basketball with both Mason and Graham scoring 26 points a piece. Bill Self is a great coach and drew up a defense to slow down Caleb Swanigan. Landen Lucas, Dwight Coleby, and Carlton Bragg all helped the cause guarding Swanigan in the post. Kansas was too much for the Boilermakers to handle on defense. The dynamic duo of point guards scored and distributed while Josh Jackson crashed the glass and ran in transition. Kansas will play Oregon on Saturday and these teams matchup perfectly together.
#3 Oregon Beats #7 Michigan
Final Score: 69-68 (nice)
Headline: Michigan’s Magical Run Comes to an End.
MVP: Jordan Bell 16 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks
Michigan’s magical run from the Big Ten Tourney ends in Kansas City with a loss in the Sweet 16. Derrick Walton had an open jumper in the last possession but could not get it to fall. Oregon’s three point defense is the reason they won this game as they held Michigan to 35% from deep. Jordan Bell was massive in this game for the Ducks. He had 16 points and 13 rebounds, including two big offensive rebounds down the stretch. Bell has stepped up big time to replace Chris Boucher and did so honorably tonight. His offense was great but his defense was even better as he held Mo Wagner to only 7 points. I stated that Bell’s defense on Wagner would be the difference and it was crucial. I cannot talk about this game without mentioning Tyler Dorsey who poured in 20 points. While all eyes were on All-American Dillon Brooks, Dorsey had open looks and easy driving lanes. Dorsey has played his way to being Brooks’s sidekick in this tournament.
#1 Gonzaga over #4 West Virginia
Final Score: 61-58
Headline: Late Game Offense Costs West Virginia
MVP: Jordan Matthews 13 points, 3 rebounds
West Virginia had Gonzaga right where they wanted them until they needed to score in their half court offense. West Virginia held Gonzaga to 61 points and turned them over 16 times. That was exactly how Bob Huggins drew it up…except for the end. One disastrous possession costed them a shot at the Elite 8 and possibly the Final Four. Gonzaga endured the pain that is Press Virginia and used a balance scoring attack to overcome it. The Zags had 3 players score 13 points and that was the team high. Jordan Matthews is the MVP because he made 3 of Gonzaga’s 4 made deep shots. His shooting was crucial to stretch the floor and provide some scoring in such a low scoring game. The Bulldogs survived and advanced and will play Cinderella Xavier in the Elite 8. Hopefully that game will be a little bit more up and down pace.
Check back tomorrow for game recaps for the rest of the Sweet 16 games.