Thursday’s slate and what to watch

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It’s one of those fabulous days where the slate arrives and we’ve already had college hoops on TV thanks to the early season tournaments. So if you missed that glorious Purdue-Iona game, well, sorry about that.

The good news? There are plenty of games left.

(All times ET; TV info from HDSportsGuide.com)

Maryland vs. Alabama, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
No ACC team has lost this season. This ends tonight. Alabama ‘s defense is already thriving and the offense has actually been better than expected. The Terps should hang for a while, but this margin could hit double-figures.

Arizona at St. John’s, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
So many off-court storylines here, headed by Kevin Parrom’s return to NYC since being shot in September and Steve Lavin’s slow return to full health after prostate cancer surgery. And the game? Well, I’m just hoping it’s entertaining given how spotty the young teams have looked thus far.

VCU at Seton Hall, 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
Is it an upset when Shaka Smart’s involved?

Texas A&M at Miss State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
The SEC’s future meets up in the 2K Sports Classic. The Aggies has coach Billy Kennedy back on the sideline, but star Khris Middleton is out because of an injury. That should make this one closer than the Aggies would like. Of course, if Renardo Sidney ever decides to play well, the Bulldogs might actually win.

EAST
Penn at Rider, 7 p.m.
Maine vs. UConn at the XL Center, Hartford, Conn., 7 p.m.
Loyola (Md.) at UMBC, 7 p.m.
NJIT at UMass, 7 p.m.
Alcorn St. at West Virginia, 7 p.m.
Lyndon St. at Yale, 7 p.m.
Sacred Heart at Rutgers, 7:30 p.m.

SOUTH
Northwestern St. at Alabama St., 7 p.m.
Florida Christian at Bethune-Cookman, 7 p.m.
NC A&T at Campbell, 7 p.m.
Mercer at Furman, 7 p.m.
Asbury at Morehead St., 7 p.m.
Hampton at Richmond, 7 p.m.
UNC Pembroke at UNC Greensboro, 7 p.m.
Prairie View at Florida Gulf Coast, 7:05 p.m.
Coker at East Carolina, 7:30 p.m.
W. Carolina at Presbyterian, 7:30 p.m.
North Florida at Florida, 8 p.m.
Tenn. Temple at Murray St., 8:30 p.m.

MIDWEST
Fairfield at Minnesota, 7 p.m.
N. Illinois at Iowa, 8 p.m.
Niagara at Missouri, 8 p.m.
SIU-Edwardsville at Illinois St., 8:05 p.m.
W. Illinois at Michigan, 8:30 p.m.
Lipscomb at Illinois, 9 p.m.

SOUTHWEST
Southern U. at Rice, 8 p.m.
UT-Martin at Arkansas St., 8:05 p.m.

FAR WEST
Southern Miss. at Denver, 9 p.m.
Idaho at Montana, 9 p.m.
Montana St.-Billings at S. Utah, 9 p.m.
Pacific at Nevada, 10 p.m.
E. Washington at Oregon, 10 p.m.
Southern Cal at San Diego St., 10 p.m.
Canisius at UNLV, 10 p.m.
Sacramento St. at Washington St., 10:05 p.m.

TOURNAMENTS

2K Sports Classic
At New York
First Round
Texas A&M vs. Mississippi St., 7 p.m.
St. John’s vs. Arizona, 9 p.m.

DirecTV Charleston Classic
At Charleston, S.C.
First Round
Tulsa 65, W. Kentucky 49
LSU vs. Northwestern, 3 p.m.
VCU vs. Seton Hall, 5:30 p.m.
Georgia Tech vs. Saint Joseph’s, 8 p.m.

Puerto Rico Tipoff
At San Juan, Puerto Rico
First Round
Temple 69, W. Michigan 55
Purdue 91, Iona 90
Maryland vs. Alabama, 5 p.m.
Wichita St. vs. Colorado, 7:30 p.m.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Report: North Carolina not attending the White House after winning national title

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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.

VIDEO: John Wall gets emotional talking to his mom during 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.