Washington, D.C. - It will be Michigan against Wisconsin for the Big Ten Tournament title.
In the first game, Derrick Walton (6'1''-G-95) won the battle of the point guards against Nate Mason. Walton led Michigan with 29 points as the Wolverines defeated the Golden Gophers 84-77. Mason chipped in 23 points in the loss.
Michigan got off to a huge start in the first half, but Minnesota eventually tied it at 55 midway in the second half. That is when Walton Jr. took over. Walton used his elite quickness and burst to get into the lane and finish at will. He also made several pull up clutch three's. This was all Michigan needed to pull away late in the game. Walton showed why he is considered one of the best point guards in the Big Ten. He set up his teammates on several occasions. He also has the ability to elevate and chip in on the glass with the big boys. In addition to his 29 points, Walton added nine assists, five rebounds and two steals. He will be a huge factor if Michigan looks to make a run next week in the NCAA tournament.
Mo Wagner also provided stability in the post as well as on the perimeter. The 6-11 sophomore power forward made 6-of-7 shots, including two from three. Wagner had 17 points and four rebounds, all of this in just 18 minutes of action due to foul trouble. The other factor for the Wolverines was 6-6 senior shooting guard Zak Irvin. Irvin is at his best when attacking the lane hard, using his athleticism and length to his advantage. He has an ability to hit the three but has been inconsistent this season. Irvin finished with 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Michigan is a very dangerous team on offense. The question for them going into the tournament will be can they stop the other team from scoring. Today they did a decent job until the game opened up at the end and Mason got several free lay ups. They will be in line for an eight or a nine seed depending upon how they do in the title game. That will provide them with yet another tough match-up in the first round, and especially if they advance from there. But at least they will avoid Dayton this time.
Wisconsin had its way with Northwestern in other semifinal. The Badgers cruised to a 76-48 romp. Northwestern struggled from the opening tip and never got any resemblance of offense going during the contest. Wisconsin out rebounded them 36-27, and shot 47 percent compared to the 35 percent of the Wildcats.
Leading the way for Wisconsin were its two post players Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes. Happ continues to be super-efficient and productive. He is always in the right spot at the right time. He has elite footwork in the post and is much stronger than he appears. He continually is around the ball and comes up with 50/50 balls at a exceptional rate. Happ had 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting, while also hitting 8-of-11 at the foul line where he normally struggles. He chipped in eight rebounds and kept countless possessions alive with his hustle. Happ may not look like the most intimidating or impressive specimen but he is a natural basketball player. His smarts and court awareness are already at a high level.
Senior forward Hayes had one of his most effective games of the season. He ended up with 18 points, ten rebounds and two assists. Hayes was working the mid-post game to perfection. Northwestern had no answer for him. He is an extremely physical player and if he can be consistent with his outside shot he has a good chance to succeed in the NBA. Hayes provides versatility with his size (6-8, 240) which is a match-up nightmare at the collegiate level. He is stronger than some centers and also has the ability to put the ball on the floor and create for himself or kick out to open teammates. While senior point guard Bronson Koenig struggled on the night the rest of the Badgers squad stepped up. Zak Showalter chipped in ten points and Vitto Brown tallied eight points and eight rebounds.
If Wisconsin can handle business tomorrow against a hot Michigan team it could be in line for a four or five seed in the NCAA tournament. Wisconsin's tough and gritty style of play is a tough matchup for any team, but a team that might stand a chance is a team with an up tempo style of play like Michigan. Tomorrow should be a solid game to decide who will win the 2017 Big Ten Tournament.
Weng'an, China - Brittany Crain scored 16 points to lead the NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars to a 64-53 win over Canada in front of 3,841 fans in Weng'an in the opening game of a nine-game China tour. Alisia Jenkins added 11 points and eight rebounds while point guard Simone DeCoud contributed seven assists and five steals against only one turnover. Kyanna Pingue-Giles led Canada with 19 points and 11 rebounds [read more]
Weng'an, China - Brittany Crain scored 16 points to lead the NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars to a 64-53 win over Canada in front of 3,841 fans in Weng'an in the opening game of a nine-game China tour. Alisia Jenkins added 11 points and eight rebounds while point guard Simone DeCoud contributed seven assists and five steals against only one turnover. Kyanna Pingue-Giles led Canada with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
The USA All-Stars took an early 19-9 lead before the Canadians battled back to take a 26-25 lead just before halftime. Crain then hit a three-pointer to give the Americans a 28-26 lead into halftime. The Americans then outscored Canada 21-12 in the third quarter to help put the game out of reach. The USA extended the lead to 16 midway in the fourth quarter and then coasted to the win.
It was the first game the Americans played together and it showed. The USA All-Stars took 21 more shots than Canada but shot only 26-for-82 (31.7%) from the field. They did make nine three-pointers (9-of-27) with Crain drilling three and Kari Korver and Leslie Lopez-Wood two each. The Canadians had a +8 edge on the boards but that was mainly the result of the USA missing 15 more shots than Canada. The USA came up with 19 steals and forced Canada into 22 turnovers.
Rachel Mitchell was impressive defensively for the USA coming up with four early blocks and Kiara Kudron (7 rebounds) came up big in the second half with some strong rebounding. Crain also grabbed seven boards and was very active in her time on the court.
NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars Head Coach Perry Huang "I thought this was a good effort for the first time we've played together. We didn't hit our shots but I thought we played good defense most of the time in the second half and started to rebound better. We'll look for improvement in tonight's game."
China was impressive in the opener as they destroyed Lithuania 89-46. Six Chinese players scored in double-figures and they out-rebounded Lithuania by 15. China faces Canada in the first game tonight while the USA faces Lithuania in the nightcap.
ORU hires Baylor assistant Paul Mills as the next Golden Eagle basketball coach - 2 days ago
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Oral Roberts University announced the hiring of Baylor assistant Paul Mills as the next Golden Eagle head basketball coach in a press release Thursday afternoon. After 18 seasons, 328 victories, five Summit League titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances, Scott Sutton was fired by ORU President Billy Wilson on April 10. From a list of about 50 coaches who expressed interest in the position, athletic director Mike Carter is believed to have interviewed five finalists: Mills, current Go... [read more]
Oral Roberts University announced the hiring of Baylor assistant Paul Mills as the next Golden Eagle head basketball coach in a press release Thursday afternoon. After 18 seasons, 328 victories, five Summit League titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances, Scott Sutton was fired by ORU President Billy Wilson on April 10. From a list of about 50 coaches who expressed interest in the position, athletic director Mike Carter is believed to have interviewed five finalists: Mills, current Golden Eagle interim coach Rodney Perry, Iowa State assistant Daniyal Robinson, Baylor assistant Jerome Tang and North Dakota State assistant Kyan Brown. Mills has been a member of Scott Drew's Baylor staff since 2003. Last month, the Drew-coached Baylor program made its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance. A Houston native, Mills played high school basketball at Houston MacArthur and signed to play at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, but his college career was shortened by a back injury sustained during his freshman season. Mills then transferred to Texas A&M, from which he graduated in 1996 with a degree in finance. Before working at Baylor, Mills was a head coach at two Houston-area private high schools: North Belt Christian and Fort Bend Baptist Academy. According to the school's 2014 990 form, Sutton was being paid almost $435,000 per year. ORU is a private school and not obligated to release the details of its employee contracts, but it is believed that the university entered the search process with a preference of not paying a new coach more than $250,000 a year. A source said ORU may not go beyond three years on a contract. The NCAA Division I standard for head-coaching contracts is a five-year deal. Courtesy of: tulsaworld.com
Farokhmanesh headed to Drake as assistant coach - 2 days ago
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Nebraska basketball staffer Ali Farokhmanesh is headed back to the Missouri Valley Conference. Thursday reports of Nebraska's director of player relations and development heading to Drake became reality Friday, as the Huskers made Farokhmanesh's hiring as an assistant coach official with a news release. Farokhmanesh will be the third assistant on Niko Medved 's new staff at Drake, joining Dave Thorson and JR Blount. It will be the former Northern Iowa star's first on-the-court coaching jo... [read more]
Nebraska basketball staffer Ali Farokhmanesh is headed back to the Missouri Valley Conference. Thursday reports of Nebraska's director of player relations and development heading to Drake became reality Friday, as the Huskers made Farokhmanesh's hiring as an assistant coach official with a news release. Farokhmanesh will be the third assistant on Niko Medved 's new staff at Drake, joining Dave Thorson and JR Blount. It will be the former Northern Iowa star's first on-the-court coaching job. Medved, a former assistant to Tim Miles at Colorado State, was hired by Drake May 26 after a four-year stint at Furman. "It is with mixed emotions that I will be leaving the University of Nebraska to accept an assistant coaching position at Drake University,' Farokhmanesh said in a news release. "I want to thank Coach Miles for the incredible opportunity to be a part of Husker basketball. It has been an honor to work with Shawn Eichorst and Marc Boehm, who have allowed me to be a part of a very special university and athletic department. I will always be grateful for the experience of working with Coach Miles and his staff. Under their leadership and trust, I have grown as a person and as a coach. I have had a remarkable three years at Nebraska with some very special student-athletes, and I will cherish those relationships. This program will go on to do great things." Farokhmanesh recently completed his third season on the Husker staff, first joining the Huskers in 2014 as a graduate manager before being promoted to his latest role prior to the 2016-17 season. According to his bio, Farokhmanesh played a major role in creating and implementing a mentoring program, as well as coordinating community outreach with Nebraska's Life Skills staff. He also assisted with recruiting, including on-campus hosting duties. Farokhmanesh, of course, is a legend in The Valley and the state of Iowa after helping lead Northern Iowa to a 30-5 record and a spot in the Sweet 16 in 2010. His three-pointer against Kansas with 34 seconds to go that sealed the Panthers' 69-67 upset landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated and cemented his place as a March Madness legend. Courtesy of: journalstar.com
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