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.
NEW YORK (AP) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s next book will be a fond look back at his long friendship with John Wooden, the celebrated basketball coach at UCLA.
“Coach Wooden and Me” will be published next June and will combine personal memories and lessons learned from his friend and mentor, Grand Central Publishing told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Wooden, who died in 2010, coached 10 NCAA championship teams at UCLA. Three titles were won while Abdul-Jabbar, then called Lew Alcindor, was the Bruins’ star center.
Abdul-Jabbar, who went on to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, remained close to Wooden. In a statement released through Grand Central, he called Wooden a great coach and “an even better teacher and friend.” Abdul-Jabbar’s other books include the memoir “Giant Steps” and the novel “Mycroft Holmes.”
Five-star 2017 prospect Brian Bowen has trimmed his list of possible collegiate destinations to six.
Creighton, North Carolina State, UCLA, Michigan State, Arizona and Texas are still under consideration, Bowen announced Wednesday evening.
Bowen, a consensus top-20 recruit, is a 6-foot-8 small forward out of Sagniaw, Mich., but he currently is attending the prestigious La Lumiere School in Indiana. He’s also the cousin of former Michigan State star Jason Richardson, leaving many to believe that he’s a heavy Spartan lean.
“People think I’m 100 percent to Michigan State,” Bowen told Brendan Quinn of MLive.com earlier this month. “I love them to death and I’ve been there my whole life and everything — it’s a great coaching staff and everything — but I’m not 100 percent to a school until I commit there. Right now, I’m open to the schools that are recruiting.”
Bowen hasn’t said when he plans on making a final decision.
Indiana senior Collin Hartman underwent surgery to repair damage on his left knee, the school announced Wednesday.
The Hoosiers provided no timetable for Hartman’s return following a non-contact injury he suffered in practice last week.
“Any time you see one of your players go down to injury,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said in a statement, “it tears you up as a person and as a program — even more so when it’s someone like Collin Hartman, who has been a huge part of our success and is in his senior year. We all look forward to helping him recover and rehabilitate.”
After playing sparingly as a freshman, Hartman has been a role player for the Hoosiers the last two seasons, averaging right around 20 minutes per game. He put up 5.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists last year as a junior.
The school hasn’t released the nature or severity of the Hartman’s injury, so it’s impossible to even guess when he might be able to suit up next for the Hoosiers, who are a likely top-15 team heading into the season.
Indiana opens the year in a big way on Nov. 11, facing off against Kansas in the Armed Forces Classic in Honolulu.
The upward trajectory of Virginia Tech basketball under Buzz Williams continued Wednesday.
Wabissa Bede, a Class of 2017 point guard, committed to the Hokies to give them their second top-100 player in the class.
The 6-foot-1 Massachusetts native choice Virginia Tech after taking official visits to both Blacksburg and Butler with UMass and LaSalle also in the mix. He’s ranked 77th in the 247Sports composite rankings.
“Wabissa Bede is a rugged guard who helps his team win games by defending and playing smart basketball,” NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips said. “He can stand to improve his perimeter jumper, but he has a high IQ and can make plays for others as a passer.
“Bede is a perfect Buzz Williams fit.”
Williams is developing quite the backcourt in this class with top-50 shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker already committed to the Hokies.
It’s becoming a good time to be a Virginia Tech basketball fan after a couple of lean years to start the Williams era. The Hokies are a likely top-25 team and expected to end a 10-year NCAA drought this season with Seth Allen and Zach LeDay returning.
With the improvement of the on-court product and the recruiting successes, Virginia Tech certainly looks like a program on the rise.
Indoor basketball courts.
A kitchen that’s nicer than what is in my home.
A pool table.
A rooftop patio overlooking the baseball field.
Flat-screens literally everywhere.
The $12 million building also houses 17 students that don’t play on the basketball team. I wonder how much money their parents had to donate to the school to get them on that list?
[Video via KUHoops.com, a Jayhawk-centric vertical launched by the Kansas City Star this month. Go ahead and bookmark that page. You’ll want it.]