North Texas v Creighton

How many NBA scouts are going to be at North Texas-Lehigh?

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Perhaps the biggest reason that this season is interesting for those that love college hoops — and the main reason that this is a year where the casual fans may end up missing more of the regular season than usual — is that there really isn’t any greatness in the college game this year.

Indiana and Duke are the two best teams in the country, but neither of them are on the same level as last season’s Kentucky team. That group had five first round draft picks on the roster. Last year’s North Carolina team had four. Depending on how the collegiate careers of guys like Victor Oladipo and Rasheed Sulaimon play out, the Hoosiers and the Blue Devils may end up having two first round picks. Combined.

And there’s no guarantee that those two players — Mason Plumlee and Cody Zeller, who may end up going head-to-head for National Player of the Year over the course of the next four months — will end up being stars at the next level, either.

In fact, in addition to there not being any great teams in college hoops this year, there aren’t that many great NBA prospects, either.

Which is why it’s the perfect season for the mid-major ranks to be as strong as they have been in a long time. Take, for example, next week’s matchup between Lehigh and North Texas, which features potential first round picks Tony Mitchell and CJ McCollum:

45 NBA scouts to see North Texas and Lehigh!!!

That number is insane, as anything over 30 is generally considered a large amount of scouts, even when it’s teams like Kentucky or North Carolina playing.

But hey, this is a chance to see two NBA players that won’t see much NBA caliber competition over the next three months play against each other in the same locale.

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

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.