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Preview: Schedule and times announced for 2012 SEC/Big East Challenge

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The schedules and times for the 2012 SEC/Big East Challenge  have been released.

Below, NBCSports.com takes a look at the best games from each day, along with the full schedule.

Thursday, Nov. 29

Game of the Day: Kentucky vs. Notre Dame

John Calipari’s Wildcats are reloaded, led by No. 1 prospect Nerlens Noel, set to take on a Notre Dame team that returns forward Jack Cooley, along with guards Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant.

The Irish also have a solid three-man recruiting class coming in, led by Top-100 prospect Cameron Biedscheid.

On the other side, the defending national champions may look nothing like the team that took the title in 2012, but depending on how this group of young players gels, they could be in the national title discussion again.

Rest of Schedule

7:30 p.m.—South Carolina vs. St. John’s

9:00 p.m.—Marquette vs. Florida

9:30 p.m.—Seton Hall vs. LSU

Friday, Nov. 30

Game of the Day: Syracuse vs. Arkansas

Michael Carter-Williams, used sparingly during his freshman season at Syracuse, should be on every list of possible breakout players in 2012-13. The Orange will need to compensate for the loss of Dion Waiters, Kris Joseph, Scoop Jardine, and Fab Melo.

For Arkansas, BJ Young is a centerpiece after he declared for the NBA Draft but eventually withdrew his name. The Razorbacks had a problem winning on the road last season, which contributed to an 18-15 finish.

Marshawn Powell is also on track to be back in 2012-13 after tearing his ACL early last season.

Game tips at 8:30 p.m.

Rest of Schedule:

6:30 p.m.—Tennessee vs. Georgetown

7:00 p.m.—Georgia vs. South Florida

9:00 p.m.—DePaul vs. Auburn

Saturday, Dec. 1

Game of the Day: Alabama vs. Cincinnati

The final day is pretty weak, but Alabama will have freshman Devonta Pollard on display after he signed with the Crimson Tide in the spring. They will be without their top two scorers from last season, JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell.

Cincinnati is coming off a run to the Sweet 16, but is losing seniors Dion Dixon and Yancy Gates. Jaquon Parker and Sean Kilpatrick should emerge for the Bearcats. Kilpatrick, you’ll remember, went off for 6-of-9 shooting from three-point range in a Big East Tournament upset of Syracuse.

Tip is at 3:00 p.m.

Rest of Schedule

5:00 p.m.—Villanova vs. Vanderbilt

TBD—Mississippi State vs. Providence

TBD—Rutgers vs. Mississippi

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.