Ranking the Sweet 16 matchups

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1. No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Kentucky: Ohio State is the best team in the country. But Kentucky may be the best collection of individual talent. Its creates an interesting dynamic for the game. Aaron Craft should be able to slow down Brandon Knight. Josh Harrellson will, at the least, make Jared Sullinger have to work to get position. But what about Terrence Jones? Who on Ohio State is going to be able to match up with him?

2. No. 2 Florida vs. No. 3 BYU: This is a rematch of what proved to be a pretty good game from last year’s first round. If you remember, that game featured Jimmer Fredette scoring 37 points (when it wasn’t normal for him to score 37 points) as the Cougars won in double overtime. This round should be just as entertaining. Florida is playing their best basketball of the season while the Cougars surprised a lot of people with how easily they made it to the Sweet 16.

3. No. 2 SDSU vs. No. 3 UConn: San Diego State has that big front line, but UConn has Kemba Walker. The key to this game may end up being who wins the battle of the small forward between sophomore Kawhi Leonard and freshman Jeremy Lamb.

4. No. 10 Florida State vs. No. 11 VCU: The ultimate matchup of styles. Florida State is a grind-it-out defensive team that, often times, struggles to score points. VCU, on the other hand, likes to press and push the tempo a little more, looking to play inside-out and get up a bunch of threes. Whoever can assert their will on the game will win.

5. No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Butler: The make up of these two teams is incredibly similar. Two talented, scoring point guards in Jordan Taylor and Shelvin Mack. Two versatile, senior power forwards in Jon Leuer and Matt Howard. Slow paced games, efficient offenses, not-quite-so-efficient defenses.

6. No. 2 UNC vs. No. 11 Marquette: This game may actually end up being better than most are giving it credit for. UNC has a vast talent advantage, but Marquette is a group of scrappy, blue-collar fighters led by a scrappy, blue-collar, fighter of a coach. There is no quit in the Golden Eagles.

7. No. 1 Duke vs. No. 5 Arizona: Derrick Williams should have a field day against the Duke front line. The rest of the Blue Devils should have a field day against the rest of the Wildcats.

8. No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 12 Richmond: I’m a huge fan of Richmond. Justin Harper and Kevin Anderson are terrific players. But Kansas? Well, they are Kansas.

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

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After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

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Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

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Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

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John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.

Ohio State snags third 2018 commitment in a week with four-star guard Luther Muhammad

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Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.

Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.

Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.