Monty Brown, Alex Kirk

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

2 Comments

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.

Five-star 2017 forward Porter Jr. releases top five schools

Father Tolton Catholic's Michael Porter, Jr. (1) celebrates after sinking a basket and drawing a foul during the first half of the Missouri Class 3 boys high school championship basketball game against the Barstow Saturday, March 12, 2016, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
Leave a comment

As one of the top players in the Class of 2017, 6-foot-8 small forward Michael Porter Jr. has been on the receiving end of attention from many high-major programs. Monday night Porter, a native of Columbia, Missouri who’s ranked second in the class by Rivals.com, revealed his top five schools at this point in time.

The five schools that made the cut (in alphabetical order): Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Virginia and Washington.

"Top 5 Top 5 Top 5" 🙏🏽 #Blessed

A photo posted by Michael Porter Jr. (@m1chael_porter) on

Of the five schools on Porter’s list Missouri and Washington may be the most interesting given the family connections. Not only is Missouri the hometown school, but Porter’s older sisters Bri and Cierra are members of the women’s basketball team.

And one of the assistants on that coaching staff was Porter’s father, who earlier this spring joined Lorenzo Romar’s staff at Washington. The elder Porter isn’t the only Washington connection either, with Michael’s younger brother Jontay being a commit in the Class of 2018.

Texas A&M lands Spanish forward Eric Vila

AP Photo
AP Photo/Patric Schneider
Leave a comment

With the loss of all-conference forward Jalen Jones, Texas A&M was in a position where they could afford to add another front court body alongside the likes of Tyler Davis and Tonny Trocha-Morelos. Thursday afternoon head coach Billy Kennedy and his staff managed to do just that, as 6-foot-9 forward Eric Martinez Vila made his pledge to the SEC program.

News of Vila’s commitment was first reported by TexAgs.com, and the FC Barcelona Lassa (that’s the club’s basketball program) product took visits to Texas A&M, Missouri and Wake Forest earlier this spring. Vila’s viewed as more of a combo forward, with the ability to step away from the basket and hit perimeter shots, giving the Aggies some added versatility in the front court.

Vila has plenty of experience playing for both FC Barcelona’s B team (however he did appear with the A-team during the 2014-15 season), and he represented Spain in the 2014 FIBA U16 EuroBasket and 2015 FIBA U18 EuroBasket events. Vila is the fifth member of Texas A&M’s 2016 class, joining guards J.J. Caldwell and J.C. Hampton, wing DeShawn Corprew and forward Robert Williams.

Nevada forward Cameron Oliver to return for sophomore season

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 11: Angelo Chol #3 of the San Diego State Aztecs drives to the hoop against Cameron Oliver #0 of the Nevada Wolf Pack during a semifinal game of the Mountain West Conference basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center on March 11, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the deadline for early entrants to withdraw from the NBA Draft set for Wednesday, some college basketball teams will receive important news as it pertains to the 2016-17 campaign. One of those teams was Nevada, which surprised many last season by winning 24 games in Eric Musselman’s first season at the helm. And with one of the key contributors from that team deciding to withdraw from the NBA Draft, the Wolf Pack will be well positioned to be even better in 2016-17.

Forward Cameron Oliver, who was one of the Mountain West’s best freshmen this past season, will return to Reno for his sophomore season with Musselman making the news official Monday afternoon.

The 6-foot-8 Oliver averaged 13.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game for Nevada, shooting 50.8 percent from the field in his debut season. Oliver was named third team All-Mountain West while also earning conference All-Defensive team honors.

Oliver and wing D.J. Fenner (13.7 ppg) are the team’s top two returning scorers, with guard Marqueze Coleman (15.1 ppg) out of eligibility, and they’ll lead the way for a team that can contend in the Mountain West next season.

In addition to Oliver and Fenner, Nevada adds two talented transfers in Leland King and Marcus Marshall, with the latter averaging 19.5 points per game at Missouri State in 2014-15.

Georgia’s Juwan Parker granted medical redshirt

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Juwan Parker #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs shoots under Joey King #24 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the first half at Madison Square Garden on November 28, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
Leave a comment

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Georgia guard Juwan Parker has been awarded a medical redshirt, leaving him with two years of eligibility, after missing the 2015-16 season with a partially torn Achilles tendon.

Parker, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, played in Georgia’s exhibition game against Armstrong State but missed the regular season. He originally suffered the injury in the 2014-15 season, when he averaged 4.9 points and 3.7 rebounds while starting 14 games.

Parker will be a junior in the 2016-17 season.

Georgia also announced that forward Osahen Iduwe will transfer after averaging 0.5 points in 18 games.

Iduwe, from Nigeria, attended Central Park Christian School in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2012-13 and St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin, in 2013-14.

Xavier star to return to school for junior year

Xavier's Trevon Bluiett celebrates after scoring in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Butler, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Leave a comment

Xavier forward Trevon Bluiett will return to school for his junior season.

Bluiett did not receive an invitation to the NBA Draft combine, but he did get a few workouts with NBA teams after declaring for the draft in March. He did not sign with an agent, meaning he can withdraw his name from consideration without losing any eligibility.

This is big for the Musketeers. Bluiett, a 6-foot-7 combo-forward that gives Xavier some lineup versatility, averaged 15.1 points and 6.1 boards while shooting 39.8 percent from three last season. With Bluiett back in the fold, the Musketeers return their top four perimeter scorers and may have the best 1-2 punch in the league with Bluiett and point guard Edmond Sumner.