The Dagger

  • Bob Huggins says he fell to his knees because his defibrillator activated

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 4 hrs ago

    Bob Huggins apparently isn’t worried about the health scare he endured during Monday night’s 77-62 victory over Texas.

    The West Virginia coach never left the game even after dropping to his knees late in the first half and clutching his chest.

    Medical personnel evaluated Huggins on the floor and Texas coach Shaka Smart approached him to ask if he was OK. The 63-year-old coach told ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe at halftime that his internal “defibrillator went off,” but he’s fine.

    Huggins previously suffered a heart attack while on a recruiting trip in Pittsburgh in 2002 and was fitted for the defibrillator. He remained as fiery and enthusiastic as ever on the sidelines ever since, taking over at his alma mater West Virginia in 2007 after stints with Kansas State and Cincinnati.

    It certainly didn’t seem like Huggins’ let Monday’s health scare affect him the rest of the game. He was cracking jokes within seconds and spent much of the second half bickering with referees.

    Bob Huggins just fainted in a timeout and got up and told one of his players, "It's your fault. You're trying to kill me."

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  • Loyola-Chicago priests unveil rap video for final home game

    Matt Fortuna at The Dagger 5 hrs ago

    Loyola-Chicago’s final home game is Wednesday, and as the kids say, it’s going to be lit.

    Or, in this case, Jesu-LIT.

    That’s right: This is the Ramblers’ annual Jesuit Jam game, and school brass is not pulling any punches in hyping this “Jesu-Lit!” event.

    Look no further than the absolutely hilarious promotional video Loyola unveiled Monday.

    Yes, those are priests that you see rapping and showing off their dance moves to the beat of Chicago-native Chance the Rapper’s “No Problem.” Team chaplain Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, 97 years young, makes an appearance. So, too, does school president Dr. Jo Ann Rooney.

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    A school tradition, Jesuit Jam features Jesuit-themed contests and promotions. The fifth-place Ramblers (17-12, 7-9 Missouri Valley Conference) host ninth-place Drake (7-21, 5-11) in their home finale ahead of Arch Madness, which tips off next week in St. Louis.

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  • Virginia's offensive woes continue in a fourth-straight ugly, worrying loss

    Henry Bushnell at The Dagger 6 hrs ago

    Minutes before Virginia tipped off against Miami Monday night in Charlottesville, fans at John Paul Jones Arena rose to their feet to salute a hero. It was Malcolm Brogdon jersey retirement night, and Brogdon, now a point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks, made his triumphant return to rapturous applause.

    Brogdon starred at Virginia for three straight years on teams that lost a combined nine ACC games. But after the pregame ceremony, he and those adoring fans settled in to watch a team that would go on to lose its seventh conference game this year alone. And boy did they wish number 15 still had some eligibility left.

    To say the Cavs struggled offensively is one of the understatements of the year. They bricked and clanged their way to a pathetic 48 points in a 54-48 overtime loss to Miami at home. A team that has hovered in and around the top 10 for much of the season has now dropped five of its last six and six of its last eight, and those aren’t even the most worrying numbers.

    The most worrying numbers, along with simple observation, warn that there may not be much improvement in sight.

    That’s a pace of 46 points per 40 minutes.

  • Why Wichita State could be a polarizing bubble team again this year

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 8 hrs ago

    When the NCAA tournament selection committee convened in New York last March, assessing Wichita State was one of its toughest decisions.

    On one hand, the Shockers boasted only one victory over a team 68th or better in the RPI, hardly the typical resume of an at-large contender. On the other hand, advanced metrics suggested the Shockers were one of the nation’s 15 best teams because so many of their victories came by massive margins.

    Ultimately the selection committee split the difference and sent Wichita State to the First Four, a decision that angered coach Gregg Marshall. The Shockers responded by proving themselves anew, outclassing Vanderbilt and Arizona before running out of energy against Miami in their third game in five days.

    “We beat Vanderbilt by 20. We had Arizona down by 25,” Marshall said. “Obviously we were a little better than an 11 seed.”

    One year later, Wichita State (25-4, 15-1) again appears to be a difficult team for the selection committee to evaluate. Once again, the Shockers look like a surefire NCAA tournament-caliber team even if their resume is lacking victories over NCAA tournament-caliber competition.

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  • Freak Show Podcast: Do Syracuse, Michigan St. deserve at-large bids?

    Brad Evans at The Dagger 14 hrs ago


    On the inaugural edition of the Freak Show Podcast, NCAAB version, Brad Evans and Stephen Bardo run the floor discussing various hot topics as we gear up for the Madness. What were the biggest takeaways from this past weekend’s games? What teams are climbing up the Bracket Big Board? What schools are tumbling down the mountainside? What clubs are on the bubble?

    Episode breakdown: Kansas’ dominance [1:45], SMU a dangerous draw [5:50], North Carolina moves to a No. 1 seed [9:00], Wichita St. needs more press [11:40], Oklahoma St.’s remarkable turnaround [14:54], Virginia falling hard [18:17], South Carolina slumping [21:09], Michigan St.’s concerns without Eron Harris [23:47], Syracuse dance chances [26:48], Providence has work to do [29:55], California on firm ground? [32:25], Illinois St. the second at-large Valley team? [34:33], Sneak preview of Villanova/Butler [37:24], True Big Ten frontrunner [40:03], West Virginia’s Final Four potential [42:01]


  • For prospective coaches, the NC State job promises pressure, potential

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    When NC State announced it was firing Mark Gottfried on Thursday night, that decision drudged up a familiar but polarizing question.

    Just how attractive is the job that will become vacant at the end of the season?

    One side argues that NC State has unrealistic expectations if it’s firing a coach who reached the NCAA tournament four times in six years. The other scoffs at that surface-level assessment and insists that a deeper examination of the Wolfpack reveals an undisciplined, underachieving program in need of an overhaul.

    So which side is correct? Oddly, it might be both.

    Despite Gottfried’s four NCAA bids and two Sweet 16 appearances in six seasons, NC State had ample reason to fire him. The Wolfpack went 47-55 in league play during his tenure and failed to consistently play up to their talent level even in his best seasons, twice sneaking into the NCAA tournament as one of the last teams selected.

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  • Interpretive Dance: North Carolina making case for a No. 1

    Brad Evans at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Still recuperating from your midweek bar crawl? Are you nostril deep in term paper research? Have no fear, fellow bracketeers. As a companion to the Bracket Big Board, the I.D. is here to highlight what teams are gaining and what teams are losing ground in the march toward the NCAA Tournament.  

    DA BULLS (Moving Up)

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    DA BEARS (Moving Down)

    DA BUBBLE (Living in limbo)

    Providence Friars (16-11; KenPom: 58 SOS: 37)  – On the peripheral only days ago, the Friars are knocking at the door of a potential at-large bid, despite their 6-8 record in the rugged Big East. Wins at Marquette and at home versus Butler and Xavier have them on the proper path. Providence’s three RPI top-50 wins are equal to expected at-larges Cincinnati, Northwestern, Oklahoma St. and Iowa St. Missteps against Boston College, DePaul and St. John’s are black eyes, but win their last four and Rodney Bullock and friends may dance.

  • Bubble breakdown: Missed opportunities abound in the ACC

    Henry Bushnell at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Three weeks and one day before the NCAA men’s basketball selection committee reveals its 68-team field for the 2017 NCAA tournament, no conference in America houses more intriguing candidates for that 68-team field than the ACC.

    And at around 1:45 ET on Saturday afternoon, three of those candidates were immersed in battles — battles that, if they were to end victoriously, could have drastically changed the discussions the committee will have on Selection Sunday. Clemson trailed Miami by two late in the second half in Coral Gables. Wake Forest was knotted up with Duke at halftime in Durham. Virginia Tech led Louisville by one on the road.

    The Tigers and Demon Deacons in particular have two of the trickiest résumés in college basketball, in part because both had been in similar situations before, and in part because on almost all those occasions, both had come up short. Clemson had been within a few possessions of potential tournament teams in the second halves of eight other conference games; they had lost seven of them. Wake had taken this same Duke team to the wire in Winston-Salem three weeks prior; but it had coughed up a double-digit lead.

  • The wildest three-quarters-court heave of the season didn't actually count

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    The most remarkable shot of the weekend won’t show up in a box score.

    With his team leading host Detroit by eight in the closing seconds of the first half on Sunday afternoon, Valparaiso guard Micah Bradford hoisted a three-quarters-court heave just before time expired. The ball hit the edge of the shot clock, caromed high in the air and somehow, someway fell through the rim.

    This shot didn't count … but WHAT? How? ????

    — ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) February 19, 2017

    Referees were correct to waive off the basket even though it appears Bradford got the shot off in time. The shot clock is considered out of bounds, meaning that the play was over as soon as the ball made contact with it.

    In reality, Valparaiso didn’t need the basket anyway. The Crusaders cruised to an 83-63 road victory to maintain sole possession of first place in the Horizon League, 1.5 games ahead of second-place Oakland.

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  • Wisconsin overcomes Ethan Happ's foul trouble to get badly needed win

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Nine minutes remained in his team’s biggest game of the season so far, and Wisconsin coach Greg Gard couldn’t hide his frustration.

    Just when it seemed the Badgers were about to pull away from fellow Big Ten title contender Maryland, star center Ethan Happ needlessly picked up his fourth foul swiping at the ball more than 25 feet away from the basket.

    When Gard pulled Happ out of the game to avoid him picking up a fifth foul, Wisconsin was clinging to a seven-point lead. By the time the Happ returned to the floor nearly six minutes later, the Badgers had increased their lead to 12 and were well on their way to an impressive 71-60 victory.

    That crunch-time stretch without Happ was the biggest key to a Wisconsin victory that halted a two-game losing streak and kept the Badgers from falling into third place in the Big Ten.

    Wisconsin’s remaining schedule is a tad more favorable than Purdue’s, but the Badgers will have to fix their recent scoring woes to take advantage. They had averaged less than 40 percent from the field in their previous six games and they shot just 41.4 percent from the field in Sunday’s victory.

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