Chattanooga v Kansas

Ben McLemore is expected to play on Saturday

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A sprained right ankle won’t keep Kansas’ leading scorer, Ben McLemore out of Saturday’s game against Texas.

In a 61-44 win against Baylor on Monday night, McLemore landed awkwardly, resulting in the freshman guard rolling his ankle. According to the Kansas City Star, McLemore returned to practice on Thursday after sitting out practice on Tuesday and only participating in a light shootaround on Wednesday.

“He’s gonna be close to 100 percent come Saturday,” said Kansas head coach Bill Self.

The Jayhawks, in the middle of a 14 game winning streak, will have their star freshmen against a struggling Longhorns team. Texas is sitting at .500 and is off to an 0-3 start in Big 12 play this season. However, next Tuesday, No. 4 Kansas has a road game with in-state rival, No. 16 Kansas State. Kansas will get McLemore a game to test that recovering ankle before Tuesday’s top 25 matchup.

McLemore has been the best option offensively for the Jayhawks this season, pouring in 16.4 points per game. Missing McLemore for any period of time is something Kansas can’t afford.

“I’d be nervous for anybody to get hurt,” said Self. “But because it was Ben, it seemed like to me there was a little bit of air in the building that left.

“But I don’t think I was scared; concern would probably be a better word.”

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: