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February 2020
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‘College Basketball’ Articles

Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week and Weekly Notes


A.J. Green Northern Iowa

Marcus Domask, Southern Illinois


Nothing But NET
Eight MVC schools rank in the top 160 of the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET).  Last year, only three MVC teams were in the Top 160 at season’s end. Four league schools are rated higher than last year’s best-rated team in the NET (Loyola led the league with a season-ending 131 NET rating in 2018-19.)  Co-champion Drake was the league leader at the end of the regular season with a 127.  This season, the MVC has three in the Top 100, led by UNI’s No. 37 ranking.  As a conference, the MVC is the 11th-rated league in the NET ratings.  Last season, the MVC was No. 14 in the NET at season’s end.  Although no longer a primary tool used by the Selection Committee, UNI is No. 18 in the RPI.

Sunday, Feb. 16
Evansville at Drake (ESPN3) 3:00 p.m. CT
Missouri State at Indiana State (ESPNU) 3:00 p.m. CT

MVC Player of the Week
AJ Green, UNI
6-4, 175, So., G
Cedar Falls (Iowa) Cedar Falls High

Green averaged 26.5 points per game in two Valley wins last week as UNI won at Valparaiso and defeated Drake at home. Green shot 46% from the field, made eight three-pointers, recorded six rebounds and had six assists. Green finished with 19 points going 7-of-20 from the field in a win at Valparaiso. The reigning MVC Freshman of the Year returned to the McLeod Center on Saturday afternoon for one of his best performances of his career. Green finished with 34 points, going 12-of-21 from the field with six made three-pointers in front of a sold-out crowd.

MVC Newcomer of the Week
Marcus Domask, Southern Illinois
6-6, 215, Fr., F
Waupun (Wis.) Waupun High

Domask hit the game-winning jumper as time expired in Southern Illinois’ 68-66 win over Missouri State on Saturday. Domask averaged 20 points and 7.5 points over SIU’s two wins. Domask came a rebound shy of a double-double in SIU’s win at Evansville on Wednesday (22 points, 9 rebounds). On Saturday at home vs. Missouri State, Domask was 6-of-9 from the field and had 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. With only 1.6 seconds left, Domask grabbed a full-court pass, took one dribble and hit a triple-teamed turnaround 18-foot jump shot as the clock expired to give SIU its win.

Trending Towards 20 Wins
UNI reached 20 victories with its win at Valparaiso on Feb. 5.  Five other league teams have 14+ wins with six regular-season games remaining.  Should two of them also reach 20 wins before the tournament it will mark the 10th time in 30 years of the event in St. Louis that three teams had 20+ wins prior to the tourney.  It hasn’t happened since 2010, and the league championship has never had four 20-win teams prior to the event.

3 Teams, 20+ Wins at Arch Madness
1994 — Bradley#, Southern Illinois*, Tulsa*
2000 — Creighton*, Indiana St.*, Missouri St.#
2004 — Creighton#, S. Illinois*, Wichita State#
2005 — Creighton*, UNI*, Southern Illinois*
2006 — Missouri State#, UNI*, Wichita State*
2007 — Bradley#, Missouri State#, S. Illinois*
2008 — Creighton#, Drake*, Southern Illinois#
2009 — Creighton#, Illinois State#, UNI*
2010 — Illinois State#, UNI*, Wichita State#
*denotes NCAA; #denotes NIT

Six Games Remain
UNI holds the league lead with six games remaining.  Since 1991-92, teams that have held the MVC lead (or co-lead) with six games left have reached post-season play 41 out of 42 times (32 NCAA bids and nine NIT berths).  The only league leader through 12 games that failed to reach post-season play was Illinois State in 1993.  The last time an MVC team led the league through 12 games and didn’t win the regular-season title was in 2012 when Creighton was 11-1 through 12 games and finished second in the standings at 14-4.  Wichita State won the league that year with its 16-2 mark.  The Shox went 6-0 in their final six games as Creighton went 3-3.

Poll Chatter
UNI is No. 28 in this week’s AP top-25 poll with 44 points.  The Panthers’ last AP ranking was on March 16, 2015, when they were No. 11 in the poll.  UNI was ranked No. 14 in the final ESPN/USA Today coaches poll that year.  The last MVC team to be ranked was Loyola Chicago, which clocked in at No. 7 in the coaches poll in the final rankings of 2018 after its Final Four run.  This week, UNI has 20 points in the coaches poll for 28th.

Another MVC Coaching Alum
There are currently five MVC head coaches who have also played in the MVC.  Dan Muller and Bryan Mullins are both coaching at their alma maters.

Moving Up the Charts
Now in his 14th season as head coach at UNI, Ben Jacobson continues to climb the all-time MVC lists for victories.  Only one other coach has won as many as 287 games during his 14th MVC season.  Henry Iba of Oklahoma State had 302 total wins at the end of his 14th year.

Home Cooking
Two league schools are still unbeaten at home this year (Indiana State, UNI).  UNI has 13-straight home wins, and Indiana State has won 12 in a row at home.  Collectively, the league has won 73.3 percent of the time at home during league play this year (after winning 90.2 percent of its home games in non-league play).  That 73.3 percent winning percentage is the best in the MVC since at least 1996-97.  The top six teams in the league standings have combined for a full-season 70-5 record at home.

Salukis Surging
Southern Illinois enters this week in sole possession of second place in the league race (9-3 in the MVC).  The Salukis were picked to finish last in the preseason poll.  Only one team in MVC history has finished in the Top 3 after being picked last in the league’s pre-season poll.  Drake, in 2017-18, was picked 10th and tied for third place.

Worst Picks to Finish in Top 3
1988-89 – Creighton (picked 7th of 8) — 1st
2007-08 – Drake (picked 9th of 10) — 1st
2017-18 – Drake (picked 10th of 10) — t3rd
2018-19 – Drake (picked 9th of 10) — t1st

Climbing the 3-Point Ladder
Indiana State’s Jordan Barnes continues to climb the MVC’s all-time lists for three-point field goals as the senior has 262 in his career to rank 3rd at Indiana State.  He’s tied for 11th in MVC history.

MVC Three-Pointers Made — Career
371 Kyle Korver, Creighton, 1999-03
314 Shane Hawkins, Southern Illinois, 1994-98
284 Jason Holsinger, Evansville, 2005-09
283 Michael Menser, Indiana State, 1997-01
278 Osiris Eldridge, Illinois State, 2006-10
276 Blake Ahearn, Missouri State, 2003-07
270 Brenton Scott, Indiana State, 2014-18
268 Matt Bohannon, UNI, 2012-16
266 Johnny Murdock, Missouri State, 1991-95
263 D.J. Balentine, Evansville, 2012-16
262 Jordan Barnes, Indiana State, 2016-pres.
262 Jeremy Crouch, Bradley, 2004-08
262 Colt Ryan, Evansville, 2009-13

Top Scoring MVC Freshmen
Marcus Domask of Southern Illinois leads MVC freshmen with 371 points.  In league history, 22 freshmen have scored 400+ points, including 10 since 2000.    Eight MVC freshmen since 2000 to hit 400 points earned the league’s Freshman of the Year award.  Domask’s 371 points this season rank 13th nationally among NCAA freshmen.

MVC — Top Scoring Freshmen, Since 2000
581 – *Doug McDermott, Creighton (2010-11)
509 – *A.J. Green, UNI (2018-19)
478 – *Milton Doyle, Loyola (2013-14)
435 – *Colt Ryan, Evansville (2009-10)
428 – Rayvonte Rice, Drake (2010-11)
416 – *P’Allen Stinnett, Creighton (2007-08)
412 – *Luke McDonald, Drake (2000-01)
411 – *Landry Shamet, Wichita State (2016-17)
410 – *David Moss, Indiana State (2002-03)
402 – Darrell Brown, Bradley (2016-17)
399 – *Cameron Krutwig, Loyola (2017-18)
377 – *Kevin Dillard, Southern Illinois (2008-09)
376 – Phillip Gilbert, Bradley (2000-01)
374 – Toure’ Murry, Wichita State (2008-09)
371 – Marcus Domask, S. Illinois (2019-20)
368 – *Marcus Marshall, MSU (2012-13)
*denotes league’s Freshman of the Year

Reaching 1,000 Points
AJ Green of UNI enters this week with 988 career points.  Below is a list of the top point totals for MVC student-athletes who played their freshmen and sophomore seasons in the MVC.  Doug McDermott of Creighton scored 1,382 in his first two years at Creighton to lead the way.

Top MVC Point Totals Thru Sophomore Season
1,382 — Doug McDermott, CU (2010-11 & 2011-12)
1,225 — Mitchell Anderson, BU (1978-79 & 1979-80)
1,125 — John S. Williams, INS (1982-83 & 1983-84)
1,095 — Hersey Hawkins, BU (1984-85 & 1985-86)
1,071 — Shea Seals, Tulsa (1993-94 & 1994-95)
1,069 — Cliff Levingston, WSU (1979-80 & 1980-81)
1,050 — *Cleo Littleton, WSU (1951-52 & 1952-53)
1,043 — Tarise Bryson, ILS (1998-99 & 1999-00)
1,034 — D.J. Balentine, UE (2012-13 & 2013-14)
1,010 — Rodney Buford, CU (1995-96 & 1996-97)
The first season NCAA permitted freshmen to participate was in 1972-73, but freshmen were also permitted to play during “War Years” in seasons prior to 1972-73. WSU’s Cleo Littleton played as a freshman during the Korean Conflict.

JJ Jumper
Since 1992-93 only two players have played a full season in which he made zero two-point baskets and 40 or more three-pointers.  Jonah Jackson of Drake enters this week with 50 made field goals this year (all three-pointers), and he’s looking to join that elite group.

King Krut
Loyola’s Cameron Krutwig ranks among the MVC leaders in points, rebounds, assists and FG percentage.  Only seven previous times since 1980 (the first year assist leaders were tracked) has a player ranked in the MVC’s Top 10 in each of those four categories.  No player in MVC history has finished in the Top 5 in each of those four categories.  Notably, Krutwig is also 4th in the MVC in steals per game and 8th in blocks.

It’s a Steal
Javon Freeman-Liberty of Valparaiso leads the league with 2.2 steals per game (56 total).  He led the MVC in steals per game last year and he could be the first player since Bradley’s Hersey Hawkins in 1986-87-88 to lead the league in steals in back-to-back seasons.

Charity Tosses
Earlier this season, AJ Green of UNI established a school record by making 44-straight free throws.  He currently leads the league and ranks third nationally with his 92.1 percent accuracy from the foul stripe.  Only three players in MVC history have had a full-season percentage better than that:  Blake Ahearn of Missouri State (4x), Rick Fields of Indiana State and Mike Glenn of Southern Illinois.

MVC Free Throw Percentage — Season
.975 Blake Ahearn, MSU, 2003-04 (117 of 120)*
.949 Rick Fields, Indiana State, 1982-83
.947 Blake Ahearn, MSU, 2004-05 (90 of 95)
.936 Blake Ahearn, MSU, 2005-06 (117 of 125)
.930 Mike Glenn, Southern Illinois, 1976-77
.925 Blake Ahearn, MSU, 2006-07 (111 of 120)
.921 AJ Green, UNI, 2019-20 (93 of 101)
.920 Vince Greene, Illinois St., 2004-05 (81 of 88)
.914 Brad Duncan, Illinois St., 1984-85 (53 of 58)
*denotes NCAA single-season record




Carlos Olivera leaves NFL’s Jaguars for American Athletic Conference digital media post

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Commissioner Mike Aresco announced today the hiring of Carlos Olivera at the American Athletic Conference as director of social media and digital communications. Olivera joins The American following six years working with the Jacksonville Jaguars, most recently as the organization’s manager of digital media.


“We are extremely pleased to welcome Carlos to our social media and digital team at the American Athletic Conference,” Aresco said. “He brings a strong overall background and a creative social media skill set to our conference. His ability to create engaging and unique content will increase our fan engagement and be of great value in helping us tell The American’s story of achievement and success.”

Carlos Olivera (courtesy Jacksonville Jaguars photo)


A 2011 graduate of East Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism, Olivera served as digital media coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2014-16, following two years working at ESPN as a stats analyst (2012-14). He was elevated to the position of social media manager in Jacksonville in 2016 and then named manager of digital media in 2017. During his first year in that position, the Jaguars ranked first in the NFL in growth of visitors, site visits and page views across all its social media platforms.



Mid-American Conference Men’s Basketball Players of the Week


Justin Turner, Bowling Green

Jason Preston, Ohio

Eugene German, NIU













Brandon Johnson, Western Michigan

MAC Men’s Basketball East Division Co-Players of the Week
Justin Turner, Bowling Green, Guard
R-Junior, Detroit, Mich. (Renaissance)
Turner averaged 26.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists, as the Falcons went 1-1 with a Battle of I-75 victory over Toledo. Turner opened the week with one of the best games of his career, as he scored 31 points on just 16 shots at Central Michigan on Feb. 4. Turner shot 50.0 percent from the floor, and went 11-of-11 at the charity stripe. In Bowling Green’s win over Toledo on Feb. 8, Turner was dominant down the stretch. He scored or assisted on eight of BGSU’s final 11 field goals. The native of Detroit finished the ballgame with 21 points, five assists and five rebounds. He’s now scored 20-plus points in six-consecutive games.

Jason Preston, Ohio, Guard
Sophomore, Orlando, Fla.(Boone)
Preston was masterful on Saturday against Miami, recording his first career triple-double and only the second in Ohio men’s basketball history. Preston finished the game with 15 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. Preston sent 6-of-9 (.667) from the field and 3-of-4 (.750) from the free throw line to help the Bobcats to a commanding 77-46 victory over arch rival Miami, snapping the Bobcats’ four-game losing streak.

MAC Men’s Basketball West Division Co-Players of the Week
Eugene German, NIU, Guard
Senior, Gary, Ind. (21st Century Charter)
German averaged 26.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game, shooting 51.5 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from three, as the Huskies extended their winning streak to six games with a sweep of Toledo (Feb. 4) and Kent State (Feb. 7) last week. With the pair of wins, NIU took sole possession of first place in the MAC West. German opened the week 25 points in a 66-61 win at Toledo, going 7-of-14 from the floor, 3-of-6 from three and 8-of-9 from the free-throw line. With the Huskie up by a pair in the final minute against the Rockets, the Huskie senior scored four-straight points to give NIU a two-possession lead and, ultimately, the victory. Against Kent State, the Gary, Ind., native scored a season-high 27 points, with six rebounds and three assists, as the Huskies outlasted the Golden Flashes, 57-54. German went 10-of-19 from the floor against Kent State, including 3-of-7 from three.

Brandon Johnson, Western Michigan, Forward
R-Junior, Chicago, Ill. (Thea Bowman Leadership Academy)
Johnson led the Broncos to two victories this past week, leading the team with 21 points at Miami followed by a career-high 29 points vs. Ball State. Against the RedHawks last Tuesday Johnson scored the go-ahead basket with 36.9 seconds left to cap off a 7-of-10 shooting night from the field to go along with seven rebounds. Johnson also made his mark at the free-throw line at Miami going 7-of-10. Johnson followed up his 21-point performance with a career-high 29 points in a 68-64 win at home over Ball State. Johnson scored 19 of his 29 points in the second half including 15 straight during the final five minutes of play. The Chicago, Ill. forward was 12-of-14 from the field against the Cardinals while recording seven rebounds. It was the 5th and 6th 20-point performances of the season for Johnson and now has 7 20-point games in his career. Johnson is also inching close to the 1,000-point mark, needing just 122 more points to become WMU’s 43rd member of the 1,000-point club. Johnson ranks second on the team with 15.4 points per game while during MAC play is averaging 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds.

Other Top Performances
Tyler Cheese, Akron, Guard
Senior, Albany, Ga.
In Akron’s lone game of the week, Cheese led the Zips to a come from behind victory, scoring 11 second-half points. Cheese kept the game close with timely 3-pointers and knocking down 8-of-9 free throws to set up late game heroics by teammate Xeyrius Williams for a 59-58 win at the buzzer over Eastern Michigan. Cheese added three rebounds and three assists while shooting 5-of-13 from the floor which included a 3-of-8 effort from deep.

Jayvon Graves, Buffalo, Guard
Junior, Malvern, OH
Graves had the best rebounding week of his career as he averaged 11.0 boards over the two contests.  He tied his career high with 12 rebounds in the victory over Central Michigan as he completed the double-double, while adding 11 points. Graves had another 11 rebounds earlier in the week at Eastern Michigan. He leads the Bulls in scoring at 16.2 points per game.

David DiLeo, Central Michigan, Forward
Senior, Iowa City, Iowa (New Hampton School [N.H.])
DiLeo had a standout and memorable week, first leading Central Michigan to a pivotal win and then making program and conference history. For the week, DiLeo averaged 21.0 points and 4.0 rebounds, shooting .583 overall, .556 from beyond the arc and 1.000 from the line. On Tuesday, DiLeo scored 26 points, making 6-of-8 3-point attempts, and had six rebounds in a 92-82 win over Bowling Green, snapping the Falcons’ eight-game win streak and handing the MAC’s top team just its second conference loss of the season. On Friday at Buffalo, DiLeo helped spark an 18-point second half comeback by the Chippewas and, in the process, became the CMU and MAC 3-point shooting career leader. He finished the game with 16 points, 2 rebounds and 3 steals.

Ty Groce, Eastern Michigan, Forward
Redshirt Junior, Ypsilanti, Mich. (Lincoln)
Groce averaged 14.5 points per game, as the Eagles went 1-1 last week. Eastern Michigan notched its second-consecutive victory in the Mid-American Conference with a 66-62 win over Buffalo, Feb. 4, but dropped a cross-divisional affair at Akron in the final seconds, 59-58, Feb. 8. The redshirt junior finished the week shooting 50 percent (11-of-22) from the field and averaged 3.5 blocks, 3.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. Groce led the Green and White with 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting against the Bulls. He also contributed four steals, three blocks, and three assists in 38 minutes of play. On Saturday, the Ypsilanti, Mich. native recorded his 16th double-figure scoring performance with 15 points versus the Zips. Groce went 5-of-7 from the field and tallied four rebounds, three steals, and two assists in 40 minutes of action. The redshirt junior has led the Eagles in scoring 10 times this season and is leading the team averaging 11.4 points per game. Groce is tied for second in the MAC with 2.0 steals per game.

Danny Pippen, Kent State, Forward
Junior , Detroit, Mich.
Pippen led the Flashes efforts this week for the Flashes. Over two games, Pippen averaged 12 points a game and 10 rebounds a game. Against Ball State, Pippen grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds, his sixth game this season grabbing double-digit boards and third straight game. He also added eight points. At Northern Illinois, Pippen scored a team-high 16 points, his 20th game this season scoring in double figures. Pippen added eight boards and two assists.

Marreon Jackson, Toledo, Guard
Junior, Cleveland, Ohio (Garfield Heights)
Jackson averaged 22.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg and 4.5 apg in two games for the Rockets last week. Jackson tallied 14 points, six rebounds and five assists against MAC West leader Northern Illinois before erupting for 31 points and grabbing six boards at MAC East leader Bowling Green. Jackson scored the Rockets’ final five points vs. the Falcons to tie the score at 83-83.


Conference USA Bonus Play Schedule to be released Sunday, February 15


February 13, 2020
DALLAS – Conference USA men’s basketball will enter the second phase of its conference slate with the release of its Bonus Play schedule Sunday afternoon. It is the conference’s second year utilizing the innovative format. The Athletics Directors and Board of Directors originally passed the concept in January 2018. Head Men’s Basketball Coaches and Athletics Directors finalized the details during the league’s annual spring meetings in May 2018.

Sunday’s release will include the full schedule with all tip times and TV selections.

Within the format, teams will conclude the first seven weeks of the conference season on Feb. 15. Teams will be placed in one of three groups based on conference standings through the first 14 games of league action and will be guaranteed conference tournament seeding within that group. The teams will be divided into two groups of five (1-5 and 6-10) and a group of four (11-14). During the final three weeks, teams will play within their respective grouping for the last four games of conference play. Home and away games within the groups are determined by a preset formula.

Once all 18 games have been completed, 12 teams, based on their overall conference record, within their respective group, will be seeded in the conference tournament. For example, if a program lands in the second group (6-10), it will seed no higher than six and no lower than 10 in the tournament field.

The 2020 C-USA Basketball Championships presented by Baylor Scott & White Sports Performance Center at The Star will be held in Frisco, Texas, March 11-14, at Ford Center.


Conference USA Men’s Basketball Player of the Week


Jahmir Young Charlotte

Jhivvan Jackson UTSA


February 10, 2020
DALLAS – UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson garnered his fourth C-USA Player of the Week award of the season following a 45-point outburst in a win at Old Dominion. Charlotte guard Jahmir Young averaged 15 points a game in a weekend sweep to earn his sixth C-USA Freshman of the Week honor. Awards are chosen by a vote from a media panel representing the 14 member schools. All C-USA weekly awards are presented by Top of the World.

Player of the Week
Junior, 6-0, 160, G, Bayamón, Puerto Rico
Jackson put together another stellar week in leading UTSA on a two-game East Coast road swing, averaging 35 points, 4.5 rebounds, two assists and 1.5 steals per game. The junior tallied 45 points in a win at Old Dominion, equaling the third-most points scored in a single game in C-USA history. Jackson shot 51.5 percent, going 9 of 15 from the field and 8 of 18 from beyond the arc. It was his second game of the year with 40 points or more and his ninth game of the season with at least 30 points. Against Charlotte, he added 25 points and a team-high eight rebounds, going a near-perfect 10 of 11 from the stripe. His current average of 27.0 points per game this season ranks second in the nation and would set a new program standard.

Freshman of the Week
Freshman, 6-1, 185, G, Hyattsville, Maryland
Young averaged an impressive 15 points, eight rebounds and 5.5 assists in Charlotte’s two weekend victories over UTEP and UTSA. Against the Roadrunners, the freshman scored 16 points, connecting on a season-high-tying four 3-pointers. The Hyattsville, Maryland, product scored 14 points to go along with eight boards and six assists in the 49ers win over UTEP. This season, Young has recorded 15 double-figure scoring games and 12 games with at least five rebounds. The award is the sixth of his young career.

C-USA Players of the Week
N11:    Xavier Green, Old Dominion
N18:    Trey Murphy III, Rice
N25:    Osasumwen Osaghae, FIU
D2:      Charles Bassey, WKU
D9:      Bryson Williams, UTEP
D16:    Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA
D23:    Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA
D30:    Jarrod West, Marshall
J6:       Devon Andrews, FIU | Carson Williams, WKU
J13:     Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA
J20:     Bryson Williams, UTEP | Taveion Hollingsworth, WKU
J27:     Javeion Hamlet, North Texas
F3:       Bryson Williams, UTEP
F10:     Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA

C-USA Freshmen of the Week
N11:    Jahmir Young, Charlotte
N18:    Jahmir Young, Charlotte
N25:    Jordan Rawls, WKU
D2:      Jalen Benjamin, UAB
D9:      Kenan Blackshear, Florida Atlantic
D16:    Tyson Jackson, Middle Tennessee
D23:    Andrew Taylor, Marshall
D30:    Goran Miladinovic, Marshall
J6:       Jahmir Young, Charlotte
J13:     Jalen Benjamin, UAB
J20:     Jahmir Young, Charlotte
J27:     Jahmir Young, Charlotte
F3:       Andrew Taylor, Marshall
F10:     Jahmir Young, Charlotte



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