... the safe, smart AM read for college basketball fans
~ XL Weekend Edition ~
Shortly before Miami was set to defend its home turf against No. 16 Florida State on Sunday, news that junior center Reggie Johnson had been ruled ineligible began to make the rounds. Stemming from an investigation into whether his family members accepted travel benefits from a member of Frank Haith's former staff, the university made a swift move to declare Johnson ineligible. The official statement from the school:
"In the process of the ongoing joint NCAA-UM inquiry, it was discovered that members of Johnson's family received impermissible travel benefits from a member of the former basketball coaching staff. Johnson was unaware of the benefits and his family was told they were permissible by that member of the former basketball coaching staff."
Basically, Miami self-reported its findings, and in turn is then asking the NCAA to re-instate Johnson as soon as possible because he clearly had no knowledge. It's likely that the NCAA will take some time to review this situation fully, and even if he is eventually cleared to return, the NCAA can still hand down a one-game suspension if it feels such a penalty is warranted.
Head coach Jim Larranaga, though, is hoping that isn't the way things go down. "It's my understanding Reggie and his family didn't do anything wrong," Larranaga said after Sunday's game. "Reggie's already paid a dear price, missing this game." And come to think of it, the man has a pretty good point. The school could have just as easily allowed Johnson to play against FSU, and then broke the news on Monday morning. By slapping itself on the wrist a little bit harder than it needed to, Miami's strengthened its case for leniency.
Without Johnson's hulking presence on the floor, the Hurricanes clawed out a season-saving victory that ended with an uproarious storm of the court by overjoyed fans. Even on a day when another negative news story popped up out of thin air to deject fans and players alike, Miami's basketball team somehow ended up putting a positive spin on things in the end. The euphoria will die down soon enough, but for now, this win over Florida State was exactly what this program needed in more ways than one.
* Vandy coach Kevin Stallings on Anthony Davis: "We blocked him out twice in the game. Twice. One time it was a freshman guard, and the other time it was a senior guard." (Lexington Herald-Leader)
* Hours after finding out Reggie Johnson was ineligible, Miami went court stormin' with FSU in town. Junior Durand Scott: "It was one of the greatest feelings in my life." (Miami Herald)
* URI'S Jim Baron on using his 2-3 zone to stifle St. Louis: "They're very, very good against man-to-man. They do a lot of high-low. They do a lot of pick-and-roll. We just felt the zone was our better chance." (Post-Dispatch)
* Predictably shocking: Colorado smacked Cal out of first in the Pac-12, further muddying up an already filthy conference (Denver Post)
* Time for Billy D's kids to wake up: UF shot just 21.7% from the outside in a brutal loss to GeorgiaAlligator Army)(
* Heart Burn: Mike Brey's Irish were no match for the Johnnies at MSGRumble In The Garden)(
* Robbie Hummel and company spoiled Senior Day and handed the Wolverines their first home loss of the year (Hammer and Rails)
* No regular season title for the first time in 11 years: Looking back at Gonzaga's WCC dominance (The Slipper Still Fits)
Purdue - The scenarios were clear: Lose to Michigan and drop to 8-8 with a dangerous uphill climb on the horizon, or beat Michigan and assert your at-large candidacy at 9-7 in the league. For nearly the entire 40 minutes of action on Saturday, the Boilermakers played like a team hell-bent on achieving the later of those two scenarios. Now, instead of being actively talked about as a bubble team, Purdue exits the weekend with a monumental road win to tack onto its resume, in addition to the comfort of knowing that fourth-place is now only a mere game away.
New Mexico - Over a four-day span at the end of January, New Mexico beat Colorado State and TCU by a combined 50 points. Knowing that, it becomes quite difficult to fathom how over the last five days the Lobos managed to go on the road lose to both of these schools by a combined 27 points. Saturday's 19-point drubbing at the hands of TCU takes the cake as the least timely individual MWC debacle of the season, and appears to have opened the door for somebody not named New Mexico to win the league. Considering the Lobos held a two-game lead with four to play just last week, this is an awful development for Steve Alford's team.
2 - Consecutive games where Oregon State guard Jared Cunningham did not record a steal. Cunningham, who is fifth in the NCAA at 2.67 per game, picked up at least one steal in each of OSU's first 26 games this year.
Sean Miller makes lip reading both easy AND fun (Gifulmination)