Corruption Probe Shows More Players, Teams Might Have Broken NCAA Rules

After reading over some documents on Thursday from a lengthy story on Yahoo! Sports and hearing the thoughts of one-time Indiana and Bowling Green Head Coach Dan Dakich this morning (Friday) on SportsCenter, one must wonder:

If the allegations are proven true, could many of the true tradition rich powers of the sport be ineligible to play possibly in time for the greatest moments that March usually provides?

The list is exhaustive and sometimes painful to look at.  Basically, the report cites more than 20 Division I schools that this FBI probe identified and reported by Yahoo! Sports spelled out in three distinctions:

  • Players who received impermissible benefits and preferential treatment
  • Players identified in expense reports by former ASM employee Christian Dawkins (including seven who are currently playing in college)
  • Players who met with Dawkins and have since left college

NCAA President Mark Emmert released a statement on Friday hoping to make sweeping changes:

“These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America…Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules…With these latest allegations, it’s clear this work is more important now than ever.”

Here is the link to the full article:

https://sports.yahoo.com/exclusive-federal-documents-detail-sweeping-potential-ncaa-violations-involving-high-profile-players-schools-103338484.html

and the thoughts of ESPN college basketball analyst Dan Dakich on what he thinks schools might be doing to possibly lessen the impending punishments to come:

http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/22553502/fbi-probe-corruption-reveals-basketball-powers-broken-ncaa-rules

Clearly, this story is not over…it is only just beginning.

 

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Michael Porter, Jr. of Missouri Cleared To Play

CBS Sports was first to report online on Thursday that doctors have given Michael Porter, Jr. clearance to practice and take part in all basketball related activities.

You might remember he only played two minutes in Missouri’s opening game of the season way back in November.  It is uncertain on when, or if he will play at all this season.

Please stay tuned to your favorite online or offline sports sources and my blog for more details in the coming weeks.

Drexel Makes Largest Comeback In Division I History

34 Point Deficit Overcome in Last 22 Minutes and 30 Seconds vs. Delaware

Just your typical Thursday night at the office, right?

Not so fast, my virtual and online friends.

The old record was set in the early days of television on December 30, 1950 when Duke edged out Tulane 74-72 after trailing by 32 points.

After seeing the frenetic highlights on SportsCenter, this is the best way I was able to break it down at Drexel’s campus, located not too far away from the final scenes of where Rocky I and Rocky II were shot.  Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did typing it while listening to Billboard and Pitchfork’s Best Song Playlists from the 1980’s:

Jacob Cushing buried a three (the team’s tenth of the half) with 2:36 to play before halftime which gave Delaware (12-18, 5-12 in the CAA) a rather comfortable 53-19 lead.  From that point on, Drexel (12-18, 6-11 in CAA play) outscored the Blue Hens 66-30 on 58-percent shooting.

First, the Dragons went on a 10-3 run to end the half.

Down 56-29 entering the second half, Drexel made a furious comeback scoring 34 of the game’s next 53 points.  The Blue Hens were still leading by 14 at 77-63 with 6:44 to play following an Eric Carter putback, but Drexel exploded for another 16-2 run when they somehow tied the game at 79 all on an Tramaine Isabell three-point play at the 3:50 mark.

After the last media time out, Isabell banked in a jumper to give Drexel its first lead of the night, before Ryan Allen responded back with a pull-up jumper of his own to tie the game again at 81.

Austin Williams tipped in a miss to help the Dragons regain the lead at 83-31, but Ryan Daly nailed a shot in the paint to tie the game again at 83-83 with 10 seconds left on the clock.

The next time Drexel had the ball, Isabell was fouled trying to shoot a three with 2.2 seconds left.  He hit two of three shots from the foul line before Eric Carter’s last second three-point attempt was off the mark.

Tramaine Isabell nearly had a triple-double for Drexel posting 29 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists.  Three other Drexel Dragons finished in double figures.  For Delaware, Ryan Allen led the Blue Hens in a losing cause with 21 points, while  Daly chipped in with a hard earned 17 points.  Eric Carter posted his 10th double-double of the season in this very tough luck loss with 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Anthony Mosley had himself a nice game with 14 points and six assists.

Allonzo Trier Suspended by NCAA For Use of Possible Banned Substance

Before Arizona played a key Pac-12 game at Oregon State, the NCAA suspended junior point guard Allonzo Trier for having traces of a banned substance.

Trier ended up sitting during the first 19 games of the 2016-17 season after traces of a banned substance were found in his blood stream.

According to ESPN and CBSSports.com on Thursday, he became eligible to play when traces of the undisclosed substance were no longer inside his blood stream.

But the timing of this is very strange indeed, as the Wildcats avoided a trap escaping at Oregon State 75-65 in overtime.

Trier is the team’s key leader, as this flashy combo guard is averaging 19.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game.  He has also made 43 percent of his 3-point attempts (64 for 149).

Although the exact timeline of events is unknown, this much we do know.

Here is the statement from the University of Arizona Department of Athletics:

“Earlier today, the University of Arizona was notified that the NCAA has declared Allonzo Trier ineligible. In late January 2018, Allonzo participated in an NCAA student-athlete drug screening. The results of that test, confirmed today, revealed the reappearance of a trace amount of a banned substance. The amount detected was minuscule by scientific standards and appears to be a remnant of a substance, which the NCAA agreed, Allonzo had unknowingly ingested in 2016. The University is appealing the decision and is hopeful that Allonzo will regain his eligibility soon.”

If the decision by an Appeals committee on the NCAA level shows that Trier cannot play, NBA draft prospect DeAndre Ayton along with Rawle Alkins and Dusan Ristic will have to shoulder more of the load and their possible top 4 seed could be in definite jeopardy.

Elsewhere…

Memphis survived Houston at the FedEx Pyramid, 91-85 while Jacksonville State surprised Belmont 78-67.

Carsen Edwards became the first Purdue Boilermakers player to score 40 points since Glenn “The Big Dog” Robinson, the pride of Gary Roosevelt High School did the same at the 1994 Knoxville Regional (in a 83-78 Sweet 16 victory over Kansas).  Edwards did it at the home of the Orange Crush in Illinois, going 11 for 19 from the field and 14 for 16 at the line in a key 93-86 win.

Edwards also matched former Illinois great Brandon Paul as the only Big Ten players to score 40 points in a conference game since 1998.

Even though Illinois managed to stay close, they have lost ten games by 9 points or less.  Purdue (25-5 overall, 14-3 in Big Ten play) shot 58.3 percent from the field as they played their second game since Vincent Edwards suffered a left ankle injury. The Boilermakers also went 11 for 23 from 3-point range and ended up outrebounding Illinois 32-20.  Those types of stats are going to be huge for the Boilers if they want to get at least into the Elite Eight like Robinson did in his senior year (A personal note–I saw the “Big Dog” play when I was in high school, with that deft jumper inside the free throw line was just as deadly as Patrick Ewing when he suited up for the New York Knicks).

Purdue will have Senior Day on Sunday prior to their Mackey Arena season finale against Minnesota.  Most bracketologists have them as a high 2 seed.  If Kansas loses at Texas Tech on Saturday, they could be back in that 1 seed conversation with a little over two weeks until Selection Sunday.

Finally, at the same city where Jamie Sale and David Pelletier from Canada dazzled the world and overcame a lot of controversy to win the world’s hearts at the 2002 Winter Olympics, the Runnin’ Utes surprised UCLA 84-78, as David Collette had 21 points to go along with seven rebounds.

Friday, there will be one day game on the Watch ESPN app as IUPUI hosts Wright State at 11 a.m. Eastern time.  Otherwise, there will be 17 other games highlighted by Harvard at Princeton, 7 p.m. on ESPNU, Ohio State at Indiana–8 p.m. on FS1 and Western Michigan at the alma mater of David Letterman in Ball State, 9 p.m. on ESPN2.

Unless there are any upsets, the next time I plan to blog about the games again witll be on Saturday.  Expect your second to last “Under The Microscope” blog to appear your inboxes sometime on Friday.

Before I go tuck myself in for the night, here is a general PSA:

Please take some time to make sure your smartphone batteries (especially if you have an Apple iPhone) are fully up to date.  Step one is to have your key data and components backed up to the Cloud.  The $30 discounted price for a battery replacement on slightly older phones like the iPhone 6 and 6S will expire on December 31, 2018.  One of my good friends told me recently that a great place to start is by booking your reservation with a Geek Squad expert at a Best Buy store near you.  Just be prepared to spend anywhere from one hour to possibly 90 minutes there so they can test your phone and make sure it is in tip-top shape going forward.  Thanks for noticing and remembering.

Please have yourself a good night.

For Fans Who Watch Stadium on Facebook, Kristen Balboni Will Add Studio Time To Her Sideline Reporting Duties Online

Found this nice article from Awful Announcing about sideline reporter and one-time researcher for Mike & Mike from 2011 to 2015, Stadium sideline reporter at select college football and basketball games Kristen Balboni.

She recently added studio duties, which will start once her portion of the college basketball schedule ends on March 8 with two First Round games in the Conference USA postseason tournament.

Balboni did not give off too many details, but for astute fans that check out the Stadium Facebook page, they do have a very good thing going with Seth Davis’ popular show talking to major names in the sport and doing some “Best Of” compilation shows on Top Ten Best Champions of the 2000’s and Top Ten Best College Players of the 2000’s (yes, Stephen Curry of Davidson is on that list).

Here is the link to the article, definitely a great read worth a few minutes of your time:

http://awfulannouncing.com/orig/kristen-balboni-talks-joining-stadium-full-time.html

Seton Hall (Finally) Wins At Providence In Completion of Suspended Game

Move from Dunkin’ Donuts Center to Alumni Hall on Providence College Campus Meant Only Students, Faculty, and Cheerleaders Were Allowed to Attend

In a crucial contest as far as NCAA seeding could be concerned, Seton Hall (RPI of 24 entering Wednesday night’s contest) beat Providence (RPI of 15) by a score of 89-77.  Providence loses for the third time in their last four games.

This was the first completion of a suspended game in the illustrious history of the Big East Conference and the first instance of condensation affecting a hardwood flor since Gonzaga was involved on that military base a few Novembers ago in Okinawa, Japan.

Around 1,300 people attended in the suspended game that took about 39 minutes to complete in real time.  According to Providence’s Twitter account (@PCFriarsMMB), they actually played all of their games there between 1955 to 1972, compiling an overall record of 178-29 (.860 winning percentage).

This part of the suspended game was televised regionally on the YES Network and some Fox Regional Sports Networks (RSN’s).  Lucky for me, I found my means to listen on I-Heart Radio, AM 970 The Answer out of New York and going solo on Seton Hall’s winning broadcast was Dave Pompkin.

Some final miscellaneous tidbits I was able to gather from listening to the Seton Hall broadcast:

Both teams did in fact wash their uniforms in the morning before the noon Eastern time resumption of play.  However, Seton Hall Head Coach Kevin Willard decided to wear sweats as if he was leading a Physical Education class, while Providence Coach Ed Cooley dressed up to the nines as usual.

As for the completed game, here is what you need to know:

Seton Hall shot 54..7 percent for the game, as two players achieved some milestones at Alumni Hall:

  • Kyron Cartwright for Providence passed the 1,000 point milestone for his college career.
  • Khadeen Carrington, senior from Seton Hall in the final 1:20 of the completed game crossed the 1,700 point plateau.  He finished with sharing an overall game high of 25 points on 8 of 13 combined shooting and shot all 8 of his free throws in 38 total minutes played.

As for the other key stats, both teams did shoot the ball well from three-point land:  Seton Hall at 43.8 percent and Providence not too far behind at 42.3%.  Both teams had similar numbers as far as rebounds and turnovers were concerned.

I also found interesting that when any player had either 3 or 4 personal fouls, both coaches were smart to keep them in the game instead of a normal circumstance where that said player might have been headed for the bench.

But the biggest disparity took place at the free-throw line, with Seton Hall going to the line 35 times and making 24 of them (68.6 percent).  Providence only toed the line 18 times and converted on only eight of those charity attempts (44.4%).

Myles Powell had a nice game with 20 points for the Pirates, as they move one step closer to a possible at-large bid with a record 19-9.

For Providence (you have to admit them as being gracious hosts and all), they were led by the aforementioned Cartwright sharing scoring honors with 25 points, while Rodney Bullock had 13 and Alpha Diallo chipped in with 10 points.  The Friars drop to 17-11 on the season and need every type of win they can get between now and the Big East Tournament in a few weeks time.

Tonight, a game worth keeping an eye is out West on ESPN as UCLA travels to the former Winter Olympics home base of Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Utes at 9 p.m. Eastern time.

Fans on Facebook can catch two games on the Stadium Digital Network:

Lousiana Tech at UTEP 9 p.m. Eastern

Pepperdine at Saint Mary’s 10 p.m. Eastern

If I get a bit of time, I will try to get my next installment of “Under The Microscope” either sometime this afternoon or on Friday.  Hope you enjoy the rest of your day.

Oklahoma State Earns Fifth Win Over Top 25 Team

SONG SELECTION:

S. Carey, “More I See” from Hundred Acres

Released February 23, 2018 via Jagjaguwar Records

Cowboys appear to have a Very Large Bubble Indeed

On Wednesday night, Oklahoma State (16-12 overall, 6-9 in the Big 12) upset Texas Tech 79-71 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.  Kendall Smith scored 21 points as the students rushed the court following the final buzzer–but it was mostly tame, thanks to Stillwater and OSU campus security.

Good thing the fans who saw text messages saying there is severe weather with snow and ice in the forecast for Thursday heeded very good advice indeed.   52.2 percent shooting, along with going 11 for 22 from three-point territory really helped the Cowboys cause.

The loss by the Red Raiders (22-6 overall, 10-5 in Big 12 play) means that Kansas has leapfrogged Texas Tech by one full game heading into their huge showdown on Saturday afternoon in Lubbock.  Zhaire Smith led the team with 18 points, while Jarrett Culver chipped in with 15.  A bigger concern coming into this game was the availability of Tech guard Keenan Evans, who happens the Big 12’s No. 2 scorer.  His night only had two points on the score sheet, going 1-for-7 from the field.  Evans missed the second half of the Red Raiders’ loss to Baylor last Saturday due to suffering a toe injury.  He did start in this game and finished with two rebounds ans one assist in 25 minutes played.

Elsewhere…

North Carolina held off Syracuse 78-74 as Theo Pinson led the defending champs with 23 points.  Top ranked Virginia held off Georgia Tech 65-54.

Besides Villanova and Xavier winning easily, Duke rolled over hapless Louisville 82-56, as the school honored longtime ESPN broadcaster Mike Patrick as he announced his retirement after nearly 36 years at the network.

Patrick will be remembered for being the first voice of NFL games on Sunday nights.  From 1987 until 2005, he was the mainstay that made fans take notice shortly after Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, and for a short time Pete Axthelm did their unique take on the afternoon’s action during the highly rated show NFL Primetime.

Mike also did plenty of college football, the College World Series, and also announced at the NCAA Women’s Final Four from 1996 until the early 2000’s.  Another one of the nice guys in the business closes up the book, and we as fans were better for listening.

Seton Hall at Providence, postponed until Thursday

If you were watching FS1, you might have noticed a lot of slipping and sliding.  No, this was not any video of Playboy Playmates going down a water chute outside of the Playboy Mansion.

Instead, it was a scary sight as some players injured themselves thanks to major condensation inside the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.  Very warm, springlike conditions invaded New England on Wednesday and thanks to the floor boards underneath the Friars’ hockey rink, it created a situation where personally, the game should not have even started to begin with.

As the game went on, Desi Rodriguez turned his ankle on the slippery court and did not return.  The only factual thing we know thanks to Twitter, is that Seton Hall is leading the Friars 56-47 with 13:03 to play.

The game will resume at noon Eastern time on Thursday at Alumni Hall, with the simple fact that according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

“Only Students and faculty will be allowed.  Same three refs.”

Will the school site show us some pics of the action, just in case if FS1 does not show the final moments of the game?  I will hope to briefly blog about the ending tomorrow afternoon.  Please have a good night.

Meanwhile, There Were Some Cool Games–Especially With Rhode Island

SONG SELECTION:

Kero Kero Bonito, “The One True Path”

Found on the TOTEP EP

Released February 20, 2018 on Spotify

Rhode Island Escapes, And I Mean Barely Escapes

The Rhode Island Rams led all of the second half and appeared to have victory in hand before regulation time ended.

Leading 81-78 with 4.7 seconds left, Rhode Island purposely fouled Pookie Powell of LaSalle.  He easily sank the first free throw and intentionally missed the second. Tony Washington snared the long rebound and made the putback to tie the game at 81.  Initial replays thought the ball hit all glass and did not hit the rim.  But after a few minutes of the referees looking at the CBS Sports Network monitor from behind the backboard, it showed that the ball clearly nicked the front of the rim.

Basket counted and the game went to overtime.  In the extra period, Cyril Langevine scored four straight points as the Rams moved out to a 91-87 lead with 2:20 remaining on the overtime clock.  LaSalle scored the next three points before two straight trips to try and take the lead came up empty.

Jeff Dowtin (who led the Rams in scoring with 25 points) hit two free throws to give Rhode Island back the 3point lead and Powell was fouled again.  This time around with 3.2 seconds left, Powell made the first and purposely missed the second but the Explorers ended up being called for a lane violation.  Had the violation not occurred, the rebound bucket would have counted.  Instead, Rhode Island clinched a share of the Atlantic 10 title with a hard fought 95-93 overtime win.

LaSalle was led in scoring by B.J. Johnson’s double double of 29 points and 23 rebounds.

Kentucky and West Virginia win big on the road

Kentucky shot 31 of 67 for the night as Kevin Knox led the charge scoring 28 points on 8 of 18 shooting–to go along with seven rebounds and two assists in a 87-72 road win in Arkansas.  The Razorbacks committed 19 turnovers in the loss.

West Virginia dominated from the opening tip against struggling Baylor and won going away 71-60.  The Mountaineers raced out to a 40-18 halftime lead.

Elsewhere on another light night of hoops action…

North Carolina State kept their tournament hopes alive with a nice home win, 82-66 over woeful Boston College.

Michigan State clinched a tie for the Big 10 regular season title with a convincing 81-61 win over Illinois in East Lansing.  Jaren Jackson took care of the paint during the first half, while Miles Bridges hit some shots from three point land in the second half as part of his team high 19 points in the win.  Ohio State however kept pace bouncing back from their tough loss Sunday afternoon in Michigan by outdistancing Rutgers 79-52 on Senior Night in Columbus.

Ole Miss won its’ first game without Andy Kennedy as coach, surviving at Missouri in overtime 90-87 as the Rebels outscored the Tigers 6-3 in the extra stanza.

Finally, it was also Senior Night at Valparaiso.  While most areas in northwest Indiana were getting upwards of 3 to 4 inches of rain that had besieged the area since Monday morning (the one good thing was that 13 inches of snow instantly went away as a result of the runoff flooding in some places).

The Crusaders lost for only the third time on Senior Night in the last 27 seasons, as Northern Iowa broke a 53 week long drought of not winning on the road–the Panthers last road win came on February 13, 2017.

Bennett Koch dominated in the paint for the UNI Panthers as they held off a late Valpo rally to beat the Crusaders 68-63.  Both teams are under .500 for the year, but are hoping to make some noise next season (UNI is 14-15, Valparaiso is 14-16 for the season).  Bakari Evelyn had 19 points on the same day famous alumnus Ginger Zee proudly showed off her second baby boy Miles to the world.

Wednesday’s action will have 52 games in all.  The night will feature Seton Hall at Providence, with the loser more than likely going to the NIT.  That game airs at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time on FS1.

North Carolina travels to Syracuse, as the Orange try to save their season–7 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN.  I bet famous Syracuse alum Mike Tirico will be watching somehow via satellite in-between setting up the NBC audience for Lindsey Vonn’s final skiing run in South Korea as the XXIII Winter Olympics finally begin winding down.

Other games worth taking a peek:

  • Michigan at Penn State, 7 p.m. on BTN
  • Loyola at Southern Illinois, 8 p.m. on the Watch ESPN app
  • Alabama at Auburn, 8:30 p.m. on the SEC Network
  • Texas at Kansas State, 9 p.m. on ESPNU
  • at the same time, Louisville tries to move on after the sex scandal claiming 123 past victories from 2011-2012 through 2014-2015 as the Cardinals pay a visit to Duke.  That game airs on ESPN.

A pretty exhausting day turned into a mostly tiring evening.

Hope everyone sleeps well, and I will be back and better than ever with my second to last “Under The Microscope” blog.  This time around, it will be Kansas State and Northeastern University from the CAA.