Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and other top names in the sport condemning the NCAA for pushing forward with games in this COVID-19-marred campaign. Hundreds of games already have been postponed or canceled and many teams have chosen to pause activities for safety precautions.
Another big headline involved Florida player Keyontae Johnson, who after collapsing on the court during a game Dec. 12, spent a week in the hospital following a medically-induced coma. He was released Dec. 22, but the cause of his collapse has not been announced and he is not playing.
Wolverines crack top five
Five teams in the Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll are from this conference. No. 5 Michigan, No. 8 Iowa, No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 13 Illinois are all teams capable of reaching the Final Four. Then No. 19 Minnesota, Ohio State, Rutgers, Michigan State and Northwestern aren’t far behind. The league is the country’s toughest, posting the No. 1 NET score and likely to ship around 11 teams to the NCAA tourney. Coach Juwan Howard has the Wolverines undefeated thanks to freshman Hunter Dickinson’s strong play (17.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg), while the Hawkeyes are even better than they were behind dynamic big man Luka Garza. The crucial return of veteran guard Jordan Bohannon, who missed last season with an injury, is a big reason why.
Coach Shaka Smart was on the hot seat for his job in November, and now the No. 4 Longhorns (10-2 after a loss to No. 15 Texas Tech on Wednesday) are a Final Four threat that’s out front in the Big 12. Texas owns wins over Kansas and West Virginia and will battle Baylor for the Big 12 regular-season title and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Smart guiding Texas to success is an example of having patience in developing a program. This group is the sum of its parts, with nearly five players averaging double figures.
Coach says Wildcats picked ‘not a real good time’ to kneel during anthem
Coach John Calipari is one of the best molders of young talent, often getting teenagers to throw their egos aside and buy into his system to contend for SEC and NCAA hardware. But this Wildcats group (4-7) has gotten off to a rough start and could be in jeopardy of missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013. UK lost six consecutive games in non-conference play before starting 3-0 in SEC play. Then they coughed up a 20-point loss to Alabama earlier this week. Surprisingly, shooting is an issue for this group, too. The Wildcats rank 251st in scoring offense and 316th in three-point field goals made.
Follow USA TODAY Sports reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson