Monty Brown, Alex Kirk

Weekend Preview: No. 25 New Mexico on upset alert?


Who’s on upset alert?: No. 25 New Mexico

The Lobos have put together a pretty impressive resume early in the season, with wins over Davidson, George Mason and UConn. Resumes can be deceiving, however. The win over Davidson was due, at least in part, to the fact that the Wildcats were ill-prepared to play at elevation in Albuquerque and that game was a 2 a.m. ET tip during Marathon Madness. The win over George Mason was even wilder, as the Lobos hit two threes in the final ten seconds to win the game.

Taken in context, New Mexico’s resume isn’t quite as impressive. On Saturday at 2:05 p.m., the Lobos will take to the road, heading to Terre Haute, IN, to play the Indiana State Sycamores, who are led by one of the nation’s best mid-major point guard in Jake Odum. Now, this is a bit of a down year for the Sycamores, but given the last of upset potential this weekend and the fact that both Kentucky and North Carolina have been run out of the gym during a road game to the Hoosier state this week, it only seemed fitting that ISU would do the same.

Who else is on upset alert?:

  • Saturday, 1:00 p.m.: Illinois State at No. 5 Louisville: Illinois State fields a pretty good team this season. Their Big Three averages 48.0 points, they shoot the heck out of the ball, and they have a veteran roster that has been through the MVC battles. The Cards had better be careful here.
  • Saturday, 4:00 p.m.: No. 3 Michigan at Bradley: Road games for young teams in college hoops are never easy, and Michigan is a pretty young team. Three sophomores play major minutes. Star point guard Trey Burke is only a sophomore. I’m not backing off what I said earlier this week, putting the Wolverines in the mix for best team in the country, but they better come out ready to play on Saturday.
  • Saturday, 7:00 p.m.: Detroit at Pittsburgh: Detroit has as much talent as any mid-major program in the country, as they are headlined by scoring point guard Ray McCallum and the high-flying Doug Anderson. Pitt has looked much improved this year, but if they aren’t careful, the Titans can sneak in and steal a win.
  • Sunday, 2:30 p.m.: George Mason vs. Maryland: At least one regional rivalry is being played at the BB&T Classic. George Mason is in their second season under Paul Hewitt as they look to land their biggest win with him at the helm, but the Patriots are going to have their work cut out for them trying to slow down future lottery pick Alex Len.
  • Sunday, 7:00 p.m.: Cal St.-Fullerton at Washington: Fullerton hasn’t exactly played a murderer’s row this season, but that doesn’t change the fact that the trio of DJ Seeley, Kwame Vaughn and Sammy Yeager have been terrific. Through five games, they are averaging 53.6 points, 14.4 boards, 12.0 assists and shooting 54.7% from the floor and 48.5% from three.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.

Albany’s Peter Hooley accepts Inspiration Award

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Last week, Albany senior Peter Hooley accepted the Inspiration Award at the Coaches vs Cancer Basket Ball in Troy, New York. The Albany athletic department uploaded his entire speech on Monday afternoon.

Hooley had one of the most uplifting moments of March after months and months of heartache.

The junior guard missed three weeks of the season to travel back home to Australia to be with his mother, who was battling colon cancer. She passed away in January. Hooley returned to the team in February and the following month, the Great Danes had a shot at an NCAA tournament berth. In the America East Tournament championship, Hooley sunk a game-winning shot with 1.6 seconds to go.

Hooley, who graduated in May, was selected to give the commencement speech.