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Cyber Monday Specials: Who should you buy on special?

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In order to help you maximize your online shopping on this Cyber Monday, we at CollegeBasketballTalk ahve provided you with a guide on who to buy, who to buy lots of, and who to stay away from after the first three weeks of the season.

Who are you buying on sale?:

Raphielle Johnson: Miami. I think some had their doubts when the Hurricanes lost at Florida Gulf Coast to begin the season, even with Durand Scott out of the lineup. With him back the perimeter play is much better, and they’re coming off of a solid win over Detroit. Get them cheap.

Dan Martin: Connecticut. Kevin Ollie has his team playing with house money, having been banned from postseason play this year. They caught the nation’s eye with a win over Michigan State to start the season and I’ll take them at 35% off.

Troy Machir: Maryland. Tight on funds but looking to surprise a fan of conference realignment? The trio of Len, Faust and Howard should bring a smile to any downtrodden ACC fan outside of the Tobacco Road Triangle.

Rob Dauster: VCU. The Rams are 3-3 right now, after dropping decisions to both Duke and Missouri in the Battle 4 Atlantis. You can get this team on the cheap right now, and it will pay dividends when they run through March.

Eric Angevine: I’ll buy some cheap North Carolina. Roy’s teams always hit some speed bumps in the early going, but a loss to a very good Butler team is nothing to hang your head about. This team always rounds into shape for ACC play. I’d buy Ohio cheap, but they aren’t really on sale. They’ll be overlooked all season until March, when everyone realizes how good this team really is. Always in the bargain bin, but they don’t belong there.

David Harten: Colorado. As far as most pundits were concerned entering the season, it was Andre Roberson and the rest of the Buffaloes. They’ve proven they’re not one-dimensional with a prolific scorer in Askia Booker and have received a boost from freshman Josh Scott.

Who are you buying three of on sale to resell on Craigslist for profit?:

Eric Angevine: I’ll buy three of Minnesota on sale, and try to resell for a profit. I’ll admit that I’m shorting them, because I think the team is good enough to win 20 games, but will be cut down to size in the Big Ten. They ain’t that good.

Rob Dauster: Missouri. I had the Tigers top five in the preseason. No one else did, and everyone else’s opinion of them went down when Mizzou got run out of the Dance Hall by Louisville in the Bahamas. But the Tigers are playing without their two best wing-scorers in Mike Dixon and Jabari Brown. Get them now.

Dan Martin: Pittsburgh is under the radar at this point, so I’ll gladly grab three of them and sell high later in the season. James Robinson and Tray Woodall make up a very solid backcourt.

Raphielle Johnson: Montana. The Grizzlies moved to 3-1 with a one-point win over San Diego and they’ve got a trip to BYU on Wednesday night. But this is all happening with Will Cherry out of the lineup. When he returns in December Montana will be the team expected by many to not only win the Big Sky but possibly scare someone in the Big Dance.

David Harten: Drexel. Bruiser Flint returned a ton of talent from last season’s team, but is currently sitting at 2-4 after losses to Xavier, St. Mary’s, Kent State and Illinois State, three of which have legitimate shots at the NCAA Tournament. On paper, some sucker would take this bargain, though in the end it might be a good one.

Troy Machir: Davidson. A relatively cheap gift considering their 3-3 record, but with close losses to Gonzaga and New Mexico along with a few more high-profile, non-conference opponents still remaining, the Wildcats could be a very desirable commodity for bracket enthusiasts come March. De’Mon Brooks is safe for children 12 and up.

Who are you avoiding, even at a 50% discount?:

Troy Machir: The A-10. It looks like a great gift now, but after a month of non-conference play, how confident are you with the over-priced investment you are likely to make now? Hold off until the President’s Day sale.

Dan Martin: Memphis. The Tigers came into the Battle 4 Atlantis ranked in the Top 20 and leave with two losses and a narrow win over Northern Iowa.

Rob Dauster: I’ll give you two: Baylor and UNLV. The Bears lost at home to Charleston and have, once again, failed to play up to their talent level. UNLV’s roster concerns are beginning to manifest themselves. Stay away from both.

David Harten: UCLA. The Bruins just tanked a game against Cal Poly. Before that, it took overtime to beat UC-Irvine and they squeaked past a Georgia team that got owned at home by Youngstown State. Maybe this is too knee-jerk, but there was a warning label attached to this team from the beginning. And it’s starting to show why.

Eric Angevine: UCLA obviously. So the non-obvious answer is Memphis. Great talent as usual, but not gelling as a team.

Raphielle Johnson: UCLA. That front court. Don’t even know what to say after their loss to Cal Poly, in which they were outscored by the Mustangs 28-16 in the paint. There’s talent on the perimeter but teams that get to the Final Four have dependable interior options. Bruins don’t have those right now.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers 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 Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.