The 2014-2015 season continues for six of the eight schools participating in the 2015 DIRECTV Wooden Legacy led by NCAA qualifiers Arizona (Pac-12 Conference), Boise State (Mountain West), Michigan State (Big Ten), Providence (Big East) and UC Irvine (Big West). Evansville (Missouri Valley) also earned a post-season berth in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Other schools competing in the three-day, 12-game DIRECTV Wooden Legacy will be Boston College (Atlantic Coast) and Santa Clara (West Coast). The 2015 DIRECTV Wooden Legacy will be played in southern California featuring the opening rounds November 26 and 27 at Titan Gym on the campus of Cal State Fullerton with the final four games being staged November 29 at Honda Center in Anaheim.
Arizona (16-2 Pac-12 record, 31-3 overall) – After netting both the Pac-12 regular- and post-season championships, the Wildcats will be the second-seeded school in the NCAA West Region and will play Texas Southern game in a second-round game Thursday at Portland. Arizona defeated Cal, UCLA and Oregon by a margin of 18.7 points to win the Pac-12 tourney in Las Vegas. The Wildcats have five underclassmen among their top six scorers led by freshman Stanley Johnson (6-7 forward, 14.1 points and 6.6 rebounds a game), a 2015 Wooden Award finalist and the Pac-12’s freshman of the year. Other Arizona leaders are juniors Brandon Ashley (6-9 forward, 12.3 points and 5.4 rebounds), Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0 center, 9.1 points and 5.1 rebounds, 58.0 field goal percentage) and Gabe York (6-3 guard, 9.1 points), and sophomore Rondae Hollis–Jefferson (6-7 forward, 10.9 points and 6.8 rebounds). Ashley was the most valuable player in the Pac-12 tourney. Hollis-Jefferson was named to the league’s all-defensive team and joined Johnson as a first-team all-Pac-12 selections.
Boise State (14-4, 25-8) – Winners of 15 of its last 17 games, Boise State will be the 11th-seeded team in the NCAA East Regional and will play a first-round game Wednesday in Dayton against the home-standing Flyers.. The top-seeded school in the Mountain West tourney, the Broncos split two games by defeating Air Force before having Wyoming snap their seven-game winning streak in a 71-66 overtime game in a Las Vegas semi-final. Top underclassmen include junior Mikey Thompson (6-4 guard, 7.9 points per game), and sophomores James Webb III (6-9 forward, 11.3 points and 7.9 rebounds, 55.6 field goal percentage) and Nick Duncan (6-8 forward, 9.7 points). With coach Leon Rice the league’s coach of the year, Webb was a second-team selection along with being named the newcomer of the year and a member of the all-defensive team.
Boston College (4-14, 13-19) – By splitting a pair of games in the ACC tourney in Greensboro, N. C., the Eagles finished the season by winning four of their last five games. Boston College defeated Georgia Tech in their ACC opener before being eliminated by North Carolina. Wooden Award nominee Olivier Hanlan earned first-team all-ACC honors as the junior guard led the league in scoring by averaging 19.5 points a game along with being 10th in assists (4.2 per contest). Dennis Clifford, a 7-1 junior center is the team’s top rebounder (5.5 per game) while scoring 6.9 points per contest for first-season coach Jim Christian.
Evansville (9-9. 19-12) – The Purple Aces will be making its fifth postseason appearance in the last seven years as Evansville will host IPFW in an opening round game Wednesday in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Evansville’s “Dynamic Duo” of D.J. Balentine (6-2 guard) and Egidijus Mockevicius (6-10 center) were MVC’s first-team all-league selections. Balentine leads the league in scoring (18.9) and Mockevicius in rebounding (9.8). Mockevicius has 17 double-doubles this season and is shooting 59.3 percent (128-216) from the field. He also is averaging 2.2 blocked shots per game.
Michigan State (12-6, 23-11) – The Spartans open NCAA play Friday against Georgia in Charlotte as the seventh-seeded school in the East Region. Michigan State enhanced its post-season resume by advancing to the finals of the Big Ten tourney where the Spartans lost in overtime to Wisconsin. Top Michigan State underclassmen are juniors Denzel Valentine (6-5 guard, 14.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game), Bryn Forbes (6-3 guard, 8.6 points) and Matt Costello (6-9 forward, 7.4 points and 5.4 rebounds), sophomore Gavin Schilling (6-9 forward, 5.3 points and 4.1 rebounds), and freshman Marvin Clark, Jr. (6-6 forward, 4.8 points). The “versatile” Valentine was a third-team All-Big Ten pick.
Providence (11-7, 22-11) – The Friars will be the sixth-seeded team in the NCAA East Region as Providence plays either Boise State or Dayton Friday in Columbus.. The Friars dropped a two-point decision (63-61) decision to Villanova in the BIG EAST semi-finals with the Wildcats claiming the title the next day New York’s famed Madison Square Garden with a win over Xavier, who won one of three games in the 2014 DIREVTV Wooden Legacy. Sophomore Kris Dunn (6-3 guard, 15.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 2.8 steals per game) and junior Tyler Harris (6-9 forward, 10.2 points) are Providence’s top underclassmen. Dunn currently ranks second in the nation in assists and fourth in steals. A BIG EAST first-teamer, Dunn is also the league’s co-Defensive Player of the Year. Dunn is the first player in the history of the BIG EAST to lead the league in assists and steals.
Santa Clara (7-11, 14-18) – Jared Brownridge (6-2 guard, 15.9 points and 2.5 assists per game) was a first-team All-West Coast Conference pick as he became the first true Bronco sophomore and just third in WCC history to score 1,000-plus career points. Brownridge, the WCC’s newcomer of the year last season when he led the team with 17.2 point average, has scored 1,076 career points. Other top underclassmen are sophomore Nate Kratch (6-6 forward, 5.2 points and 4.6 rebounds) and Matt Hubbard (6-9 forward, 6.8 points and 4.0 rebounds), who was named to the WCC’s all-freshman team.
UC Irvine (11-5, 21-12) – The Anteaters earned their first-ever NCAA (Division I) berth by defeating UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara and Hawai’i in the Big West tourney at Honda Center, the site of the final 2015 DIRECTV Wooden Legacy placement games. UC Irvine is the 13th-seeded team in the East Region and will challenge Louisville in a second-round game Friday in Seattle. Guards Luke Nelson (6-3 sophomore) and Alex Young (6-1 junior) are averaging 10.5 and 9.6 points per game, respectively, while combining for 7.6 assists per contest. Sophomore center Mamadou Ndiaye is the nation’s tallest player (7-6). He has played in only 14 games this season with a 10.5 scoring average.