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Pregame Shootaround 11.30.12: Three ranked teams playing on Friday

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Each day, CollegeBasketballTalk brings you the “Pregame Shootaround,” which will be posted at 2 p.m. ET and lay out a preview for the slate of games that night. We’ll take a look at some key match-ups and important games, as well as make some predictions and point out what you need to watch for. Take a look below at today’s edition:

Game of the Night: Tennessee at No. 20 Georgetown (6:30 PM)
This should be an entertaining contest in the nation’s capital, and the Volunteers still without the services of power forward Jeronne Maymon. That means Jarnell Stokes and Kenny Hall will be asked to lead the way in the paint for Tennessee, who will be a tough team to handle inside once Maymon returns. Georgetown will call on Otto Porter and Markel Starks offensively, and Whittington has been solid with an average of 13.6 points per game.

Who’s getting upset?: No. 6 Syracuse at Arkansas (8:30 PM)
With Georgetown at home and Kansas taking on Oregon State in Kansas City, the Orange are the Top 25 team most ripe for the picking. Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks dropped both of its games in Las Vegas last weekend and they’ve had some time to let the defeats fester. In front of what should be a spirited crowd at Bud Walton Arena do B.J. Young and company have enough to knock off a very good Syracuse team? They’ll need to force point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who has played well to start the season, into some hurried decisions in order to do so.

Mid-Major Match-Up of the Night: Montana at San Francisco (10 PM) 
Two very good wings will be on display in this one, as the versatile Kareem Jamar leads the Grizzlies into War Memorial to take on the Dons’ De’End Parker. Parker’s averaging 20.2 points per game for San Francisco, which has won three straight after dropping its season opener to Stanford. Another individual match-up to keep an eye on is Montana’s Mathias Ward, reigning Big Sky Player of the Week, and one of the country’s best rebounders in San Francisco’s Cole Dickerson (13.8 ppg).

Five Things to Watch For:

1) Oregon State takes on Kansas. The Jayhawks are coming off of a “closer than it should have been” victory over San Jose State, and while Bill Self’s team should win tonight the Beavers have the potential to be dangerous. If Oregon State’s front court (Joe Burton, Eric Moreland and Devon Collier) can hold their own with Jeff Withey they’ve got a shot.

2) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia) and Victor Rudd Jr. (South Florida) on the same court. One of these two, if not both, will produce an above the rim highlight tonight.

3) More late-game heroics from Deonte Burton? The Nevada point guard knocked down his second game-winning shot of the season earlier this week in the Wolf Pack’s 84-83 win over UC Davis. With Ben Simons and the Drake Bulldogs in town, Nevada may have to call on Burton again.

4) Who guards Cleveland Melvin? Tough to find too much quality in that DePaul/Auburn match-up but don’t sleep on Melvin. It will be interesting to see who Auburn head coach Tony Barbee asks to guard the versatile junior, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Melvin posted 22 or more points for the fourth time this season.

5) Louisiana State looking to move to 7-1. The Bulldogs, led by one of the WAC’s best guards in Raheem Appleby, have won six straight and visit Georgia State. Michael White’s team has limited opponents to 58.4 points per game and 38.4% shooting from the field, and while they haven’t taken on college basketball’s answer to a “Murderers Row” (their lone defeat came at Texas A&M) Tech’s fast start shouldn’t be overlooked.

The Rest of the Top 25:

Oregon State vs. No. 10 Kansas (8 PM; in Kansas City)

Other Notable Games:

Georgia at South Florida (7 PM)

Tennessee Tech at Lipscomb (7:30 PM)

DePaul at Auburn (9 PM)

Drake at Nevada (10 PM)

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.

UNLV transfer to finish career at Michigan State

UNLV forward Ben Carter, right, celebrates after his team defeated Oregon in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Las Vegas. UNLV won 80-69. (AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher)
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Former UNLV center Ben Carter announced on Wednesday that he will be transferring to Michigan State to finish his collegiate career.

Carter, who began his career at Oregon, averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 boards in his one season with UNLV before tearing his ACL in late January. He spent two seasons with the Ducks before transferring to Vegas, which is why he’s eligible immediately for the Spartans.

And that’s the biggest reason that Tom Izzo and company targeted him.

The Spartans lost Deyonta Davis to the NBA Draft after one season, a fact that became an inevitability midway through the year but one that the Spartans didn’t necessarily plan for heading into last season. Carter isn’t going to be an instant impact kind of player, particularly not when he’s coming off of an ACL injury, but he is a big body and a veteran presence on a front line that wasn’t going have much of either.