NCAA Talk

NCAA Hoops: No. 20 Notre Dame upset

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NCAA Hoops: No. 20 Notre Dame upset

NEW YORK (AP) Steve Lavin has no idea how work is going to be every day.

Just three days after playing one of its worst games of the season, St. John's came up with a very solid effort in a 67-63 victory over No. 20 Notre Dame on Tuesday night, the Fighting Irish's second straight loss.

It was hard to believe the Red Storm were the same team that lost 67-51 to then-No. 19 Georgetown on the same Madison Square Garden court.

"I told you expect the unexpected," Lavin said of his roster that doesn't have a senior or junior on it. "Buckle up and enjoy the roller coaster ride with this young team that at times is maddening but they balance it out with some brilliant play."

The man was right and it all happened in one game.

Playing man-to-man rather than a zone defense as they have all season, St. John's started out strong, unlike the previous game, and held a 32-31 lead at halftime.

"We came out very intense today," forward Amir Garrett said. "Against Georgetown that definitely wasn't the we played. Tonight we came. We came out hard, with intensity, very fierce."

The Red Storm (10-7, 2-3 Big East), who had lost two straight and four of five, had a 12-point lead midway through the second half and despite giving it all up, they managed to score the game's final six points for the win, their third straight over the Fighting Irish.

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DePaul hangs tough, but can't overtake Cincinnati

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) Cashmere Wright scored 20 points before leaving with an injury, leading Cincinnati to a 75-70 victory over DePaul Tuesday night.

Cincinnati (15-3, 3-2 Big East) won its second straight game after breaking a two-game losing streak at Rutgers. DePaul (10-7, 1-3) has lost four of its last five games.

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Bradley narrowly escapes SIU

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) Dyricus Simms-Edwards scored 18 points and Bradley defeated Southern Illinois 69-66 Tuesday night.

Four Braves were in double figures. Walt Lemon Jr. scored 16 points and added eight assists, Tyshon Pickett scored 15 and Will Egolf had 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots for Bradley (11-7, 3-3 Missouri Valley).

Desmar Jackson led the Salukis (8-9, 1-5) with 21 points. Jeff Early had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Anthony Beane Jr. added 13 points for SIU.

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Say it ain't so: DePaul commit Tyger Campbell reopens recruitment

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AP

Say it ain't so: DePaul commit Tyger Campbell reopens recruitment

It looks like it was too good to be true.

Tyger Campbell shocked the recruiting world when he committed to DePaul on May 8.

Less than four months later, Campbell has reopened his recruitment.

The Rivals.com four-star point guard out of La Lumiere High School in Indiana, who is the No. 66 prospect in the 2018 Class, took to Twitter Friday night to explain his decision.

One of Campbell's original draws to the Blue Demons was DePaul hiring Shane Heirman as an assistant coach. Heirman coached Campbell for two seasons at La Lumiere.

"I like DePaul and honestly my coach (Shane Heirman) just went there and we have a great connection and he's always had my back," Campbell told Scout.com when he committed to the Blue Demons. "I like [DePaul] coach Dave Leitao, too. I like his program and he's an intelligent guy."

Campbell currently has offers from a handful of D1 schools, including Illinois, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Purdue, SMU, Memphis and Tennessee.

Upset alert? Why a confident UIC is challenging juggernaut Kentucky

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USA TODAY

Upset alert? Why a confident UIC is challenging juggernaut Kentucky

On the heels of a 12-win improvement, UIC basketball is riding confidently into the new season. 

And why shouldn't they be? Head coach Steve McClain returns a young, talented nucleus that's expected to challenge for a Horizon League championship and NCAA Tournament berth. 

In fact, the program is in such good shape that they thought: Let's play Kentucky. 

Yup, that's right. The UIC Flames will match up with the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena on Nov. 26, a necessary stage in development, according to McClain. 

“Every year you build your program, there’s steps you have to take," McClain said. "When we got the opportunity to go to Kentucky, I think that’s the next level of exposure for our program.

"When you're chasing trying to be great, you gotta show your kids and show people what greatness looks like. I don't think anyone can argue what Kentucky has done, so I want to put our kids in that environment so they see what it is." 

The contrast between programs is severe. UIC hasn't made an NCAA Tournament since 2004. The Wildcats have made 11 since then. UIC has never advanced out of the first round at the Big Dance. Kentucky has eight National Championships. 

Even this upcoming season, as the Flames boast one of their most skilled teams in school history, none of them were ever touted like Kentucky's freshman class, which ranks No. 2 in the nation per ESPN. 

But the disparities in past successes don't seem to bother UIC. Instead, players, who were likely snubbed by bigger schools in recruitment, are excited about the opportunity to compete on a national stage that the Flames rarely see. 

“First I was like, ‘It’s about time we got someone like (Kentucky) on our schedule,’" said center Tai Odiase, one of the few seniors on the roster. "We’ve been trying to play bigger teams to showcase what we’re made of."

“I don’t see why you go into a place like that without a chip on your shoulder. You don’t go in there just to play basketball, we’re trying to win."

UIC will be heavy, heavy underdogs. There's no way around that. But there are certain spots where they may not be at such a disadvantage. 

On the defensive end, Odiase continued to terrorize guards and big men alike, finishing fifth in the NCAA with 2.9 blocks per game. The dynamic guard duo from "The Six," Godwin Boahen and Marcus Ottey, are quick enough to hang and both took a huge step down the stretch last season. Then there's the return of 2015-2016 Horizon League Newcomer of the Year Dikembe Dixson, who is recovering from a torn ACL.

"The doctors at times thought he was a freak of nature because he was back as quick as he was," McClain said.  

Still, it's a tune-up game for Kentucky, who also scheduled Kansas, UCLA and Louisville on their non-conference slate. But one team's expected walk through is another team's vital experience. 

"Our guys can walk in and see that on a given night, you can compete with anyone," McClain said. 

Given new athletic director Garrett Klassy's comments at his introductory press conference, it doesn't seem as if games like this are a one-hit wonder for UIC. 

“I am an aggressive scheduler," Klassy said. "I helped with the scheduling at George Washington. We’ll play anyone, anytime, anywhere.

"You want to measure yourself against the best. We have a lot of returning starters. It’ll be nice to go on the road, play a tough game and maybe sneak out an upset."