Dan Hurley

Rhode Island adds forward Ifeanyi Onyekaba, but will he be allowed to play this season?

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Given the fact that Rhode Island has a limited roster this season with three transfers having to sit out, any help that first-year head coach Dan Hurley can find is more than welcome in Kingston.

Last week it was Northeastern transfer Alwayne Bigby who joined the program, and his status as a graduate student allows him to take the floor immediately for the Rams.

And according to Andy Katz of ESPN.com Hurley has made another addition to the roster, this time adding 6-8, 240-pound Nigerian Ifeanyi Onyekaba.

But will Onyekaba, who was expected by many to be a 2013 product out of Virginia Episcopal School, be cleared to take the floor this season?

That’s the question that remains to be answered, and if he’s allowed to suit up the Rams would be up to ten eligible players.

“He has enrolled but right now we’re working with our (rules) compliance office and the NCAA’s Eligibility Center on his case,” Hurley told Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal.

And given how much stronger the Atlantic 10 has become with not only the additions of Butler and VCU but also the amount of talent that some of the conference mainstays return, URI fans likely have their fingers crossed in the hope that Onyekaba is cleared to play.

Jim Baron’s dismissal capped what was a horrendous 2011-12 campaign for Rhode Island, and the troubles weren’t limited to the games as they posted their lowest win total (seven) since the 2004-05 season (six wins).

Talented forward Jonathan Holton was dismissed from school for multiple legal issues, Jamal Wilson was dismissed from the program in December and Billy Baron transferred to play for his father at Canisius.

And forward Orion Outerbridge graduated, meaning that Hurley was essentially working with a blank canvas when he was hired in the spring.

With talented transfers Gilvydas Biruta (Rutgers), DeShon Minnis (Texas Tech) and Jarrelle Reischel (Rice) sitting out this season the Rams won’t have the same depth issues in 2013-14.

But they have to deal with the 2012-13 campaign first, and while Onyekaba being allowed to play wouldn’t make them a lock to reach the 12-team Atlantic 10 tournament it certainly wouldn’t hurt matters.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A Big 12 and a Big Ten showdown

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.

The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.

We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
  2. Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
  3. Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
  4. Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
  5. No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.

 

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POWER RANKINGS: Buddy Hield isn’t going anywhere

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) drives to the basket as LSU guard Antonio Blakeney (2) defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
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It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.

And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.

The rest of the top 10?

They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: