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.

Koby McEwen transferring to Marquette

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Steve Wojciechowski added a significant piece to his 2019-20 team over the weekend.

Koby McEwen announced his intention to transfer to Marquette from Utah State late Sunday evening.

“I would like to thank God, my family, inner circle and all the schools/coaches that recruited me during this process!” McEwen tweeted. “With that being said, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be furthering my college career at Marquette University.”

McEwen picked the Golden Eagles over fellow finalists Creighton and Grand Canyon after he decided to transfer when the Aggies announced South Dakota coach Craig Smith was taking over the program last month. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore.

After sitting out the upcoming season, McEwen will have to years of eligibility remaining. Marquette went 21-14 last season, but missed the NCAA tournament for the third time in Wojciechowski’s four years in Milwaukee.

Minnesota adds Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis

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Minnesota has added some depth for the future.

The Golden Gophers received a pledge from Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis over the weekend, giving him a guard with two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2019-20.

Willis will sit out the upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules.

The 6-foot-4 guard played a limited role in two seasons in Nashville, never averaging more than 18. 5 minutes or 5.2 points per game. He scored in double figures in three games as a sophomore.

Willis was a top-150 prospect in the Class of 2016 coming out of Fayetteville, Ark. with offers from the likes of Tulsa, Rice and Dayton. Vandy and Minnesota were his two high-major offers.

After being ranked in the top-15, Minnesota was beset by injury and suspensions last season as they limped to the finish line in a 15-17 season that featured losses in 12 of its last 13 games.

Richard Pitino still has two available scholarships for the 2018-19 campaign.

Report: Quade Green returning to Kentucky

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John Calipari just landed a critical recruit for 2018-19, and he was already on the roster.

Quade Green, who averaged 25 minutes per game last season, is returning to Kentucky for his sophomore season, his mother told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday.

Given that six Wildcat players have entered the draft (Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hami Diallo are signing with agents), getting the 6-foot point guard back for a second season is a massive deal for Calipari and Co. The Wildcats have always been at their best under Calipari with returning players as the cornerstones of the roster with talented one-and-dones providing the extra boost. Getting one such returner at the point guard position is even more critical.

Green, who came to Kentucky as a five-star recruit last year, averaged 9.3 points and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and a respectable 37.1 percent from 3-point range, an area where Kentucky continually needs help.

With Green back in the fold, Kentucky will now await the decisions of PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt, who are all going through the pre-draft process without hiring agents, which will potentially allow them to return to school and bolster a Kentucky roster has the look of a top-five team.

CBT Podcast: NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline: Winners, losers and who has the most on the line?

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The NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline came and went on Sunday night, meaning there are now roughly 60 college players that have signed with an agent and another 100 or so that have declared for the draft while retaining their college eligibility. Who were the winners? Who were the losers? Who has the most on the line? Sam Vecenie of the Game Theory podcast joined Rob Dauster to talk through all of it. The rundown:

OPEN: What do NBA teams value in players these days?

10:00: Villanova has more on the line during this testing the water process than anyone

19:00: Just how important was De’Andre Hunter’s decision to return to Virginia

25:25: Gonzaga getting Rui and Killian Tillie back makes them a title favorite

32:10: Nevada has a top ten season on the line with the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline

36:15: #RANTALERT – The decision to turn pro is so much more complicated than “is he a first round pick”

48:30: Rapid fire: Maryland, Kansas, Syracuse, Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan. What do they have on the line?

North Carolina’s Luke Maye declaring for NBA draft without hiring agent

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina junior Luke Maye has declared for the NBA draft but isn’t hiring an agent.

The 6-foot-8 forward was a third-team Associated Press All-American after averaging 16.9 points and 10.1 rebounds. He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s most improved player after increasing his scoring average by 11.4 points from his sophomore to junior seasons.

Coach Roy Williams says in a statement that it’s ”a great opportunity” for Maye to work out for NBA teams and get feedback on what to improve in his game.

The deadline for college players to declare early for the draft was Sunday night. Players who don’t hire an agent can maintain their college eligibility as long as they withdraw by May 30, which is 10 days after the NBA draft combine.