Elite 8 Preview: Kansas vs. Virginia Commonwealth

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No. 1 Kansas (35-2) vs. No. 11 VCU (27-11)

Tip-off: 2:20 p.m. ET, CBS

At stake: Kansas is both poised and in great position to win their second national championship in four seasons, and they’re certainly the favorite to cut down the nets. If they are to lose, the stage is set for one of the most improbable Final Four match-ups in history, as VCU from the CAA would advance to play Butler from the Horizon League. The field continues to open up with each passing upset. If the Jayhawks are stunned, just who becomes the favorite to win in Houston?

Kansas wins if: They play basketball like they know how to play basketball. Let’s be honest, they probably don’t even have to play their best to win this afternoon, but they will have to ensure their perimeter defense is buttoned up. The Rams are shooting 47 percent from beyond the arc this tournament, and it’s accounted for 41 percent of their scoring. I expect the Jayhawks to get their own points, but it will be interesting to see how long VCU can match their output.

VCU wins if: Plain and simple, the Rams need to shoot above 50 percent from three-point land; 47 percent doesn’t cut it it. The three-point shot has been, for the most part, what’s carried them this far. And against a juggernaut like Kansas it will have to continue – and likely even improve – for them to shock the world.

Key matchup: Kansas’ Bigs vs. VCU’s Guards – It’s a match-up that resembles quarterback vs. quarterback, Larry vs. Magic when they were on opposite coasts, myself against all my ex-girlfriends as we look to one-up each other in life.  The Jayhawks frontcourt isnt actually going toe-to-toe against the Rams backcourt, but the production of both groups of players here will dictate how this game plays out. If the Morris twins are getting points and rebounds, that probably means Bradford Burgess and Brandon Rozzell aren’t stroking it early and often.

X-factor: Shaka Smart – Also known as Shaka Flocka Flame (look it up if you’re over the age of 30), Smart is just that, and has to have something up his sleeve to keep this game close.

Winner: Kansas, because Corporate America doesn’t root for two mid-majors to square off in the Final Four.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

(YouTube)
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Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.

The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.

The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.

(h/t: Courtside Films)

Five-star 2018 point guard Darius Garland cuts list to six schools

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Five-star Class of 2018 point guard Darius Garland revealed the final six schools that he’s considering on Friday.

The N0. 12 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals, the 6-foot-0 Garland is one of the top floor generals in the nation as he is still considering Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and Vanderbilt.

A native of Nashville, Garland is a potentially elite perimeter threat at the college level as he’s one of the more deadly three-point marksmen in the nation.

Garland spent this spring and summer playing with Bradley Beal Elite in the Nike EYBL as he averaged 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per game in the league this spring.

VIDEO: Kentucky’s John Calipari participates in the #DriveByDunkChallenge

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The #DriveByDunkChallenge is sweeping the nation on social media this summer.

Rules to participate are pretty simple:

  1. Drive around in your vehicle.
  2. Find a basketball hoop (or a basketball ring if you’re Ted Cruz) on a random driveway.
  3. Run out of your car and dunk on that random hoop while a friend films.
  4. Run back to your car and drive away.

Let Anthony Davis show you how it works:

Pretty simple, right?

The #DriveByDunkChallenge isn’t raising money or awareness for ALS like the #IceBucketChallenge did three years ago, but it’s something harmless and fun to do to pass the time during the dog days of summer.

Sensing an opportunity to join an Internet craze, while also following in the footsteps of his former player Kentucky star, Wildcats head coach John Calipari got involved with his own dunk late Friday night.

And his video is much funnier than I thought it would be.

While most #DriveByDunkChallenge videos are done by healthy and spry teenagers who are cruising neighborhoods during the day, Calipari, and his hip replacement, got in on the fun with a late-night dunk.

I love that Calipari ditched the ball behind his back while running back to the car after the dunk.

Most people who participate in the challenge usually have their own ball and keep it with them through completion. But Calipari either picked up a random ball in the driveway or just he lost the handle with his own ball and had a turnover.

The next time Calipari goes hard on one of his point guards for losing control and playing too fast, remember this moment.

Creighton’s Khyri Thomas posterizes defender

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Creighton rising junior wing Khyri Thomas, like several of his teammates, are taking part in the Omaha Summer League this offseason.

On Thursday night, the 6-foot-3, 205-lb. Thomas eviscerated a defender with a one-handed posterization.

Thomas is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign for the Bluejays. He started all 35 games, averaging 12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Aside from the increase in offensive production, Thomas served as one of the top defenders in the Big East. He shared the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award with Villanova’s Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges.

Zion Williamson throws down 360 windmill dunk

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Zion Williamson added another jaw-dropping dunk in the layup lines on the first night of the second live evaluation period.

Williamson and his SC Supreme team took on Each 1 Teach 1 at the Hoopseen Best of the South at the LakePoint Sporting Community in greater Atlanta.

The 6-foot-7 power forward threw down a 360 windmill dunk during his pregame routines.

Each 1 Teach 1 would pick up a 70-67 victory over SC Supreme. Williamson would end with a monster stat line of 37 points and seven rebounds.