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By John N. Mitchell The Philadelphia Inquirer (MCT) • Updated Mar 7, 2014 at 10:54 PM

While much of No. 7 Syracuse’s late-season struggles can be tied to the Orange’s inability to get much offense from its big men, Syracuse would be better served if it could get Trevor Cooney back on track.

Normally a threat from behind the three-point line, Cooney was just 1 for 8 from behind the arc in Syracuse’s 67-62 loss to Georgia Tech on Tuesday, their fourth loss in the last five games. In his last eight games, Cooney is just 15 for 58 (25.8 percent) from long range.

“I’m getting good shots. I’m getting the same shots,” Cooney told the Syracuse-based Post-Standard. “Obviously, I don’t’ know what it is. I can go back and watch film; I doubt I will, though. I’ve just got to keep shooting.”

Before his slump, Cooney was making 43.5 of his three-point attempts.


St. Louis struggling

Formerly top-ranked Syracuse (26-4) isn’t the only team that was sailing though the season before hitting hard times.

St. Louis (25-5, 12-3 Atlantic Ten), which won a school-record 19 straight games from Dec. 3 to Feb. 22, has dropped its last three.

It started with an ugly home loss to lowly Duquesne, followed by reasonable losses to VCU and Dayton. Still, the Billikens earned at least a tie for the A-10 title by virtue of St. Joe’s loss at George Washington on Wednesday.

The No. 17 Billikens’ offense has abandoned them during this stretch. Averaging more than 70.3 points per game on the season, St. Louis has been limited to an average of just 62.3 points in their three losses.


Backing college hoops

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently suggested that top high school prospects would be better served going straight to the NBA D-League rather than attending college for one season and then entering the NBA draft.

That idea didn’t go over too well with former Sixers coach Larry Brown, now doing a pretty good job at SMU.

“I admire him and think he’s one of the bright guys we have in our profession,” Brown told Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan, “but that was the worst thing I’ve heard.”

Brown said of the D-League, “They don’t teach guys how to play, in my mind. The head coaches in the NBA and a lot of the assistants do, but (college basketball) is the greatest minor-league system in the world.

“If you didn’t go to one class and just lived in a college environment, then you’re way ahead. And I think most coaches are responsible enough to make them go to class, make them go to study hall, give them life lessons.

One thing Brown and Cuban agree on is that college players should spend three years in school.


Parker’s the guy

The consensus is that Duke freshman Jabari Parker and Kansas freshmen Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins will be the top picks in the NBA draft this summer, should they elect to come out.

One of those guys could wind up a 76er.

So, which one is the most-ready for the NBA?

“I know that people love the size and athleticism of Joel Embiid, a general manager told The Inquirer this week, “but I really like the way Jabari Parker has been playing lately. He hit a lull midway through the season. But he shows me the most skill.

“Wiggins may have the highest ceiling ultimately,” the GM said, “but, right now, I really like what I see from Parker.”


New uniforms for NCAAs

At least seven teams that appear to be locks for the NCAA tournament will sport new March uniforms from Adidas.

Wisconsin and Kansas are reasonable candidates to earn top seeds, and Baylor, UCLA, Cincinnati, and Michigan look to be headed to the tournament.

Baylor, which is one of four teams that will wear the short-sleeve version, is really breaking from tradition. The Bears’ uniforms will have their mantra, SIC’EM, across the front of the jerseys.

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Coach K’s future?

You have to be concerned with what’s going on at No. 4 Duke (23-7, 12-5 ACC) — not so much with the team, which despite losing two of its last four games, is still positioned to make a nice NCAA run.

Following the Blue Devils’ ugly 82-72 loss to Wake Forrest, the 67-year old Krzyzewski was unable to address the media and spent some of the night in a Durham hospital. Although he was back preparing his Blue Devils for Saturday’s regular-season finale against No. 14 North Carolina (23-7, 13-4), you have to wonder how much longer the Hall of Fame coach can keep this up.

He’s still committed to coaching the USA Men’s Basketball Team through 2016, so he’s not getting much of a break.

In 1995, Krzyzewski was forced to leave the bench because of back problems and exhaustion.


Expatriate of the week

Junior guard Jabril Trawick, who starred at Abington Friends, Pa., has played well for Georgetown since missing five games in January with a broken jaw. The 6-foot-5 Trawick, who returns home Saturday when the Hoyas meet Villanova at the Wells Fargo Center, is averaging 10.7 points and 3.8 rebounds in Big East play. For the season, his averages are 8.9 points and 3.1 rebounds, and he is shooting 52.3 percent from the field.

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