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NCAA Daily Links

Thu, 12/15/2011 - 4:20pm

December 15, 2011

Huge NBA trade yesterday with the Clippers acquiring Chris Paul and the Hornets getting Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman's expiring contract (and Kaman, I suppose) and the heavily coveted Minnesota Timberwolves first round pick. Only time will tell who wins in the deal, but in the mean time the world of college basketball is explored once more in NCAA Daily:

Jared Sullinger Returns From Injury in Ohio State Romp
(Ben Axelrod/The-Ozone.net)

Jared SullingerJared SullingerIt was a good sign for Buckeyes fans that star big man Jared Sullinger was warming-up with the team before the game. While they were unsure whether he would play after junior Evan Ravenel once again started in his place, as he had the past two games Sullinger had missed, the star PF/C was finally inserted into the game at the 14:37 mark of the first half. Sullinger was cleared by the training staff just hours before the contest against South Carolina-Upstate and decided that while he would play, it was unfair to the hardworking Ravenel to steal his starting spot so close to game time.

The #2 Buckeyes won by a hefty 82-58 margin, with Sullinger contributing a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) while still shaking off the rust in his 25 minutes of action. Fellow sophomore Deshaun Thomas continued to take more of the scoring initiative with the big man getting back to speed, as the combo forward scored 23 points. Senior guard William Buford netted 14, as the Buckeyes moved to 9-1 on the year. Ohio State coach Thad Matta, who has had numerous key players miss time due to injury in his tenure with the program, was happy to have Sullinger back from injury.

“We have dealt with that far too often,” Matta said. “I know it’s going to be a process to get him back to where he’s playing, but for him to come out and get a double-double tonight was pretty impressive.”

The Buckeyes next take on the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday and we will see if Jared Sullinger takes back his starting spot. Either way, it is good to see one of the better players in college basketball back in action, with hope that he will not miss any more this season.

Baylor Keeps Things Rolling In Bethune Cookout
(Mac Engel/The Big Mac Blog/Star-Telegram)

The #6 Baylor Bears had very little trouble staying perfect on the year with a 69-42 victory over the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. Their were no huge individual performances, the only Bears scoring in double figures being Pierre Jackson with 12 and Quincy Acy with 10. But, while Baylor's two potential lottery picks did not have major scoring games, they both seemed to be very into the concept of playing solid, team basketball.

Scott Drew's team had an underwhelming 2010-11 season after facing huge expectations. Much of the reason that the expectations were so high was due to his acquisition of 6'11 Perry Jones III. Seen as an incredibly talented forward, Jones III was viewed as having the skills to take the Baylor program to a level it had yet to reach, expectations even above their Elite 8 appearance the year before. But, while his freshman year was solid with his averaging 13.9 ppg and 7.2 rpg, the team disappointed and many felt like Perry was not as assertive as one with his gifts should be. Also, he was suspended for the Big 12 tournament due to NCAA violations, with Baylor declining to play in the post season whatsoever.

With the suspension apparently carrying into the first 5 games of his sophomore season, many figured Perry Jones III would just enter the 2011 NBA Draft. But, Jones III surprised many by returning for this season, saying that he was not yet ready to play in the NBA. His goals seem to be set for the short term, which include gaining the physical, mental and emotional maturity to be as productive a basketball player he could be. Joined by another talented freshman forward Quincy Miller, Jones III wants to prove that he is not only more assertive as a player, but that he is able to compete with the best right now rather than down the line. So far, Baylor looks like a changed team, helping his case.

Cincy Cruises Despite Suspensions
(Bill Koch/Cincinnati.com)

Sean Kilpatrick led the way with 20 points in the Bearcats 78-58 victory over Wright State. After jumping out to a 17-2 start, Cincy led big for most of the game, this despite only having 8 scholarship players. This was the first game for Cincinatti following a brawl against rival Xavier, which led to 4 players being suspended over a multiple game period. Kilpatrick, whose statement regarding Xavier star guard Tu Holloway caused serious bad blood before and during the Xavier/Cincy game, was the high scorer as all starters hit double digits. The Bearcats are now 6-3 on the season.

Machado, Glover Lead Iona Past Richmond
(Sean Brennan/New York Daily News)

NCAA assist leader Scott Machado had another virtuoso performance as court conductor, passing for 15 dimes to go with 13 points and 6 boards in the Iona Gaels 88-79 victory on the road versus Richmond. Senior forward Michael Glover had a dominant performance from the field, making 11-13 FG's on his way to 24 points on the game. The Gaels play in the small Mid Atlantic Athletic Conference, but are seen as a good possible Cinderella choice should they make the NCAA tournament.

Scott Machado is seen as a possible All-American with his incredible PG numbers, plus they have two major players who can fill it up in Glover and sophomore Arizona transfer Lamont "Momo" Jones. The Gaels got 5 of their 8 trey's from bench player Sean Armand and shot 58.7% FG on the day. The Richmond Spiders, a Sweet 16 team in last season's NCAA tournament, were led by sophomore guard Cedrick Lindsay with 21 points and 8 assists.

UCLA Gets Seasons First Win Streak in Post-Reeves Nelson Era
(Baxter Holmes/Los Angeles Times)

The news for UCLA has not been overly positive this season, as the Bruins had yet to win consecutive games before parting ways with last years leading scorer and rebounder, Reeves Nelson. But, they started the post-Reeves era off right with a 60-47 win over the Eastern Washington Eagles, good for their first consecutive wins of the season. The Bruins were led by guards Lazeric Jones and Tyler Lamb, who had 19 and 14 points respectively. It has been a mostly disappointing season for the now 4-5 Ben Howland coached team, but getting consecutive victories could be a confidence booster.

Kazemi Grabs 16 Boards in Rice Victory, Takes NCAA Rebounding Lead
(Joseph Duarte/Houston Chronicle)

On Tuesday, I highlighted an article on Arsalan Kazemi of the Rice Owls. The combo forward is the first Iranian born player to play on a basketball scholarship in the United States. Not only that, he is playing incredibly well, as his 20 point, 16 rebound, 3 assist and 4 steal performance in a 109-58 drubbing of Louisiana College shows. This gives Kazemi an average of 12.4 rpg, putting him .1 in front of current runner-up Mike Moser of UNLV. Canadian freshman PG Dylan Ennis provided some more international flavor for Rice, as he chipped in 16 points for the now 7-2 Owls.

UNLV Manages To Win Ugly Against UTEP
(Ray Brewer/Las Vegas Sun)

The UNLV Runnin' Rebels started the season off with a bang, going 8-0 with a win over than top ranked North Carolina. Since than, they have split four games, including two ugly losses to Wichita State and Wisconsin. In this last contest against the UTEP miners, they pulled out an ugly 65-54 victory, with key players such as Chace Stanback and Mike Moser only combining for the 11 point difference. The Rebels were led by guard Anthony Marshall with 20 and got a perfect shooting performance from utility guard Justin Hawkins. UNLV will have a tough test on Saturday against #19 Illinois, so we will see if they can get back to early season form.

What Has Happened to the Tennessee Vols?
(Ryan Overhiser/Charleston City Paper)

The Tennessee Volunteers looked like a pretty decent team to me as I watched them play in the Maui Invitational. They hung in the game against a tough Duke team and took Memphis to double overtime, Jeronne Maymon missing the potential game tying shot as the buzzer sounded. After ending Maui with a convincing win over Chaminade, the Vols have now lost 4 games in a row after falling to College of Charleston, 71-65.

Now, College of Charleston is 8-1 and led by a solid coach in Bobby Cremins, so that is one thing. But, the Vols lost to 2-9 Austin Peay 74-70 over the weekend, at home! This team is clearly struggling with life after the firing of Bruce Pearl. C of C was led by intriguing senior forward Antwaine Wiggins, who had 24 points. College of Charleston did indeed rush the court after the victory over the SEC foe, but fans were indeed, a tad confused at the state of the Vols.

Jabari Brown Looking at Missouri, Georgia Tech
(Jeff Goodman/CBSSports.com)

The former Oregon Duck freshman, Jabari Brown is making the rounds and is said to be eyeing two possible destinations. He took a trip to Missouri to see coach Frank Haith and the Tigers. Brown would figure to step in for senior guards Marcus Denmon or Kim English. He also plans to meet with Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory and get a tour of the program, as it could use a marquee recruit. Brown appeared to be a likely go-to player for the Ducks, but the 6'3 freshman left the program after playing in only two games. He is a very talented player and whatever school lands him will get a player who is definitely able to shoot lights out. The key will be his deciding a place he feels comfortable in playing and also, staying.

Kevin Ware Expected To Play Immediately For #4 Louisville
(CL Brown/The Courier-Journal)

The injury marred Louisville Cardinals got some good news as they have added Kevin Ware to the active line-up. The freshman from Conyers, Georgia just recently became eligible and has done surprisingly well in the practices he has attended.

“If he has another good practice tomorrow, he will see some time in this game, which is a little bit of a surprise,” coach Rick Pitino said. “But he’s in much better physical shape than we expected.”

Ware is expected to play a few positions for the 9-0 Cards and should see some time in their Saturday contest against the Memphis Tigers.

That is your NCAA Daily for today. For my high school and college readers, hope that finals are going well. Thank you for reading, I will hit you up with the latest tomorrow!

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