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10 things you must to do prepare for Kentucky – Louisville


source:  Sorry Ohio State and Kansas. As good as your game might be, there’s just not enough hype to go around for everyone leading up to this weekend.

Even if you don’t carry an allegiance to Kentucky or Louisville, that’s no excuse to not  fully envelop yourself in the first of two Final Four games this Saturday night, so you better get educated on all things Cats and Cards before tip-off.

On the court this one may end up a lopsided victory for Big Blue, but everything surrounding this game is what makes it so special.

Here’s 10 things to help you get prepared for the Bourbon State invading Bourbon Street.

1)  Learn everything about Russ Smith, and also be sure to follow @FakeRussSmith on Twitter. You won’t find a more lovable rascal in this year’s Final Four than the Cardinals offensive-minded guard.

2)  Set up an RSS feed in your Google Reader for and They’re the two best UK/UL for-the-fan blogs, and they’re run by two mildly famous people who double as “get it guys”.

3)  Follow this link, then explore. The Pitino – Calipari passive-aggressive relationship/rivalry goes way back, beginning in New England and now spreading its roots in the Bluegrass State. The more you know about these two, the better off you are at 6:09pm on Saturday night.

4)  Watch videos from The Rivalry, which was produced by WHAS in Louisville.

5)  Remind yourself just how little this rivalry means to most of the players, as the six 2011 McDonalds All-Americans threw light jabs and laughs at each other exactly one year ago this week. “They’re still going to be our boys for life,” Anthony Davis said when the discussion turned to their regular season match-up at Rupp Arena. That’s right, no venom here between these talented 18-year old kids.  Also please note how hot Michael Kidd-Gilchrist comes in and takes control of the conversation. Just like on the court, MKG does random YouTube videos with ferocity.

6)  Watch this Gorgui Dieng GIF….a lot. It is a quintessential example that GIFs are funny almost solely because of the element of repetition. I love this GIF so much.

7)  We would not be here today if it weren’t for this. While it looked bizarre and problematic for the Wildcats at the time, the firing of Billy Gillispie set into motion the start of a new regime in Lexington.

8)  But we must be bipartisan here: Louisville, although it was short-lived, recently had to deal with their own shameful moment.

9)  Understand that it’s completely normal for no fan of either of these two proud fan-bases to ever graduate.

10) Find a Kentucky– or Louisville-centric viewing party in your city and immerse yourself to fully appreciate one of college basketball’s best rivalries.

Follow Nick Fasulo on Twitter @billyedelinSBN

Jalen Coleman-Lands cleared to practice

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Jarrod Uthoff #20 of the Iowa Hawkeyes defends against Jalen Coleman-Lands #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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When Illinois takes on Southeast Missouri State in the opener of the 2016-17 season, the Fighting Illini should have it’s starting backcourt out on the floor.

According to Jon Rothstein, Jalen Coleman-Lands has been cleared for all basketball activities. The sophomore two-guard has been recovering from a broken bone in his right hand.

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.

Coleman-Lands will team up with Tracy Abrams, a point guard who was granted a sixth year of eligibility after missing the past two seasons due to injuries.

This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.

The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.

NBC Sports projected Illinois to finish eighth in the Big Ten this season.

Curtis Jones jumps over Tom Crean

Tom Crean
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Indiana held its annual Hoosier Hysteria on Saturday night.

One of the highlights from the team’s dunk contest was when freshman guard Curtis Jones jumped over Indiana head coach Tom Crean.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a newcomer us his coach as a dunk contest prop. Last week, Rawle Alkins cleared Arizona head coach Sean Miller en route to a reverse jam.

Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.

WATCH: Edmond Sumner take off from the foul line

CINCINNATI, OH - FEBRUARY 03:  Edmond Sumner #4 of the Xavier Musketeers dunks the ball during the game against the St. John's Red Storm at Cintas Center on February 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Edmond Sumner is a big reason why Xavier is likely going to be a preseason top-10 team.

On Saturday night, during Musketeer Madness, Sumner won the team’s dunk contest when he took off from the foul line.

Sumner defeated freshmen Tyrique Jones and Quentin Goodin. J.P. Macura, the reigning Big East Sixth Man of the Year, took home the honors last year.

The 6-foot-6 redshirt sophomore is coming off a debut season in which he averaged 11.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

WATCH: Duke goes crazy for Chase Jeter’s bottle flip

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Chase Jeter #2 of the Duke Blue Devils looks on in the second half against the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The bottle flip has become an international sensation in recent months.

It’s as simple as it sounds: flipping a water bottle in the air, attempting to have it land upright.

Duke sophomore forward Chase Jeter, in front of 9,300-plus fans, successfully pulled off the bottle flip on Saturday night at Duke’s Craziness.

Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.

Auburn to honor Charles Barkley with a statue

HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 04:  Former NBA player and commentator Charles Barkley looks on prior to the 2016 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game between the Villanova Wildcats and the North Carolina Tar Heels at NRG Stadium on April 4, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.

The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.

“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”

Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.

His number 34 is retired at Auburn.