7 things to know about the start of college basketball season

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 12:06 PM

Amazing drone view of UD Arena interior renovation

The four-month journey to March Madness begins this weekend across the country. 

Here are seven things to know about the start of college basketball season! 

1. It’s a new era for Dayton Flyers basketball. 

Anthony Grant’s first real game as the head coach at his alma mater is tonight when Ball State comes to UD Arena, which will also have a new look

The Flyers will have a much different starting lineup and perhaps a new style of play. They were picked fifth in the Atlantic 10 and begin the season 103rd in the KenPom.com rankings after finishing 39th last year. 

2. Wright State is building on last year but with a different cast, too. 

Dayton native Mark Alstork transferred to Illinois after leading the Raiders in scoring during Scott Nagy’s first season as coach. 

WSU (201 in KenPom) will start the season at Loyola a bit short-handed, but there’s reason for fans to hope Nagy’s team can get hot down the stretch. 

READ MORE: Wright State preview

If the Raiders are playing their best basketball in late February, they could be dangerous in the Horizon League tournament. 

Oakland is the preseason HL favorite with Wright State picked fifth. 

3. Ohio State is starting over, too. 

Chris Holtmann is the head coach of the Buckeyes, replacing Thad Matta after 13 seasons. 

Holtmann inherited an interesting if flawed group that could finish in the top half of the Big Ten if a few things break right or near the bottom of the standings if they don’t. 

The Buckeyes begin the season 79th in KenPom after finishing 73rd last season. They are 12th in the Land of 10 preseason power poll and host Robert Morris tonight. 

4. Miami University has two new coaches. 

Dayton native Meg Duffy is a first-time head coach charged with reviving the Miami women’s basketball team. Her 12 letter-winners returning include Lauren Dickerson, the reigning MAC Freshman of the Year, and the team was picked to finish fourth in the MAC East

Jack Owens is the new man in charge of the men’s squad, which has eight newcomers and was picked to finish last in the MAC East

KenPom’s 294th-ranked team opens the season at Fordham. The RedHawks host Wright State on Tuesday night. 

5. Down south, it could be another big year. 

Cincinnati opens the year 11th in the KenPom rankings while Xavier is No. 26. 

The Bearcats are 12th in the preseason AP poll while the Musketeers are 17th. 

UC returns the top three scorers (Jacob Evans, Kyle Washington and Gary Clark) from a 30-win team and has not been this high in the preseason polls since opening No. 2 in 1999. 

Trevon Blueitt and J.P. Macura headline Xavier’s squad while 

6. Keep an eye on Vincent Edwards. 

Last year, the local product making national headlines was Franklin grad Luke Kennard. Since he left Duke for the NBA draft, who will it be this year? 

Vincent Edwards from Middletown is a good bet. The 6-foot-8 Purdue forward is on the Naismith Award watch list and according to his school is the only active player in the country with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists. He was a third-team All-Big Ten pick last season.  

7. Familiar faces fill the preseason rankings. 

Duke is No. 1 in both major polls after bringing in No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley III. 

Michigan State is next followed by Arizona (a school caught up in the FBI’s investigation of illegal recruiting practices), Kansas and Kentucky. 

Wichita State, the team that knocked Dayton out of the NCAA tournament last season and a newcomer to the American Athletic Conference, is No. 7, while Bob Huggins’ latest West Virginia team is No. 11. 

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ESPN’s Rece Davis disagrees with vacating punishment

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 9:14 AM

ESPN’s Rece Davis has a problem with the NCAA’s punishment of vacating games and championships.

The College GameDay host tweeted his displeasure with the penalty shortly after the NCAA upheld its decision to vacate Louisville men’s basketball records from the 2011-12 to 2014-15 seasons — including the program’s 2013 national championship and 2012 Final Four appearance.

Louisville president Greg Postal expressed a similar sentiment in a press conference following the NCAA’s decision Tuesday.

“The NCAA’s ruling cannot change the accomplishments or the excitement generated by our Cardinals basketball team,” Postel said. “It cannot change the feeling many of us shared as we experienced the victories those teams earned. And it cannot change the love so many of us have for this great university.

“I hope you will join me in continuing to remember those teams and their contributions. And I hope you will join me as the university looks to brighter days in athletics and as an academic institution.”

It may not have a trophy or banner to show for it, but the truth is that Louisville won the 2013 national championship.. It withstood the gauntlet of winning six consecutive games, culminating in an 82-76 victory over Michigan in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.

That memory is not forgotten by college basketball fans simply because the NCAA wipes it from the record book.

 

 

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Year 1 done: DB Jordyn Peters did ‘the most’ with opportunities in 2017

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 9:00 AM

An Iron Bowl in Jordan-Hare Stadium was likely the biggest stage any of Auburn’s freshmen had played on to that point in their college careers.

Some survived and some thrived, with Jordyn Peters definitely among the newcomers who managed the latter.

“We’re real proud of how he’s developed,” said Muscle Shoals High School coach Scott Basden, who kept up with his former player in 2017. “He got an opportunity and did the most with it.”

On a critical third down during the second quarter of a tie game, it was Peters who came up with a critical pass breakup — against Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, of all people.

RELATED: Auburn freshman Malik Willis learned importance of being QB ‘all the time’ 

Seniors such as Tray Matthews and Stephen Roberts took Peters under their wings and asked the freshman to step up in a thinned-out safety unit. After adjusting quickly, he obliged. Among his 24 tackles on the year, Peters had a team-high 8 in the Peach Bowl loss to UCF.

“He just said the speed of the game is so different and he just, he felt real comfortable,” Basden said. “Coach [Kevin] Steele brought him along slow and didn’t put too much on him. He said he was very comfortable in the scheme he was playing and really enjoying it.”

Anther factor that may have allowed Peters to acclimate so fast as a freshman was his “dynamic personality.” It’s the thing that will help the 6-foot-1, 185-pound defensive back adopt a leadership role in 2018 and the years to come.

MORE: TD Moultry ‘ready to take that next step’ with Auburn defense 

“That’s one thing that Jordyn’s always had,” Basden said. “He can light up any room. People gravitate towards people like that, and you’re going to know he’s there. I think that obviously helps.”

Basden doesn’t see a slump coming in Year 2 for Peters. Quite the opposite.

“I really believe he’ll get bigger physically and I think the sky is the limit for him,” Basden said. “He’ll play more of an impact role and I think, obviously Coach Steele does a great job and he used him on some blitz packages this year. I just see that role expanded for him.”

The two haven’t had an in-depth conversation about being more vocal during his second season on the Plains, but the Trojans coach has no doubts that’s what Peters will do.

“We haven’t talked about that, but I know it’s just his personality,” Basden said. “He’s going take ownership and he’ll be a great leader there.”

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Louisville 2013 National Championship gear still on sale at NCAA.com after decision to vacate title

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 9:04 AM

There is a growing sentiment around college athletics that the NCAA is a hypocritical organization. The  National Collegiate Athletic Association added fuel to that fire with its punishment for Louisville on Tuesday.

Even after denying the school’s appeal and ruling that the Cardinals must vacate their 2013 national title, the NCAA was still selling Louisville championship gear from that season on its website.

Screenshot from NCAA.com

Louisville sports personality Howie Lindsey tweeted a screenshot of the Louisville 2013 championship gear still on sale at NCAA.com. As one would expect, his followers didn’t take too kindly to the NCAA still attempting to profit from an event that no longer exists according to their record books.

In addition to losing the 2013 national championship, Louisville will also vacate its appearance in the 2012 Final Four and 123 victories the program earned from 2011-15.

During those four seasons, which the NCAA has essentially wiped from history, Louisville won 30 games in a season three times and captured 35 victories on the way to the 2013 national title. That is the most wins in an individual season in program history.

The Cardinals violated NCAA rules when the school’s director of basketball operations acted “unethically when he committed serious violations by arranging striptease dances and sex acts for prospects, student-athletes and others,” the NCAA rules. The NCAA also claimed that the director did not cooperate with the investigation.

All of those wins will be docked from the record of former coach Rick Pitino, who was “fired with cause” in October. Including the vacated wins, Pitino accumulated a 416-143 record during 16 seasons with the Cardinals.

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Washington, six other Pac-12 programs land in USA Today softball top 25

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 8:54 AM

A fresh set of softball rankings were released Tuesday, including a new No. 1 squad hailing from the Pac-12.

Washington Huskies, come on down!

Washington (12-0) is ranked No. 1 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll for the first time in nearly eight years, with the Huskies’ last appearance atop the rankings coming in May 2010. The ascension to the top spot follows an impressive week in which the Huskies racked up seven wins and allowed just two runs combined in the victories, outscoring opponents 63-2 during that span.

Washington leads the nation in batting average (.449) and runs per game (11.44).

The Pac-12 softball bonanza only begins there, though, with six more programs landing in the top 25, including two more in the top five.

While Washington unseated Oklahoma (which slid to No. 4),  UCLA jumped from No. 5 to No. 3. Oregon traded places with the Bruins, moving to No. 5 after the Ducks suffered their first loss of the season, 1-0 to No. 16 Mississippi. Arizona (No. 13), Arizona State (No. 17), California (No. 19) and Utah (T-24th) rounded out the seven member schools in the top 25. Oregon State also received top 25 votes.

 

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