Pregame Shootaround 1.21.13: Bigger Monday features Cincy-Cuse

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Game of the Day: No. 21 Cincinnati at No. 3 Syracuse (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

The biggest question heading into this game: Will Cashmere Wright play? It’s going to be a game time decision, but he was out warming up, which is something he didn’t do on Saturday against Marquette. Wright injured his knee last week in a win over DePaul.

The Bearcats need him, even if he’s not at 100%. Beyond the fact that Wright tends to play well against Syracuse, the Orange are excellent ar forcing turnovers with the length in their zone. It’s also important to note that the Orange play zone, and to beat that zone the Bearcats are going to need to be able to penetrate. Wright is the team’s best penetrator.

Syracuse will be without James Southerland, but they were without James Southerland when they went into Louisville and beat the Cardinals on the road.

Who’s Getting Upset?: Southern at Alabama A&M (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Southern puts their 7-0 SWAC record on the line as they trip to Alabama A&M, who has beaten Missouri State and won at Mississippi State this season.

Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: Wright State at Detroit (7:00 p.m. ET)

Valpo has taken over the lead in the Horizon League race, and that’s because they beat both Wright State and Detroit last week. I think the Titans were a bit upset about the loss; after blowing a 22 point second half lead to the Crusaders, they went out and beat Illinois-Chicago by 51 points and led 53-14 at the half.

Five Things to Watch For

1) Bigger Monday! We get two Big East games and two Big 12 games tonight, with the festivities kicking off at 3:30 p.m.

2) The Red River Rivalry just doesn’t have the same kind of hype in hoops that it does on the gridiron, but that doesn’t mean that the game isn’t important. Oklahoma looks like one of a handful of teams that could slide in behind Kansas State as the third best team in the conference, but to do so they have to beat teams like Texas at home. (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

3) There will be plenty on display when Oklahoma State visits Baylor (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), but what Scott Drew and Travis Ford have been able to do on the recruiting trail has yet to provide their programs with the kind of wins and championships that would be expected.

4) Three weeks ago, Georgetown and Notre Dame both looked like top 15 teams and legitimate threats to finished third in the Big East. Now? The Hoyas are coming off of a loss to South Florida and may be without Greg Whittington for the rest of the season. The Irish nearly blew a game at home to Rutgers after losing at St. John’s. How good are these two teams?

5) Towson is 5-1 in the CAA thanks in large part to Jerrelle Benimon, who is leading the team in scoring, rebounding, assists, blocks and is third in steals.

The Top 25

No. 21 Cincinnati at No. 3 Syracuse (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Georgetown at No. 24 Notre Dame (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Report: NCAA allows Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale to compete on Dancing with the Stars

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After a memorable March Madness run that included two game-winning jumpers in the Final Four and an eventual national title, Notre Dame junior guard Arike Ogunbowale became a breakout national star.

Ogunbowale already appeared on Ellen while meeting her basketball idol, Kobe Bryant. Now, Ogunbowale will get the rare opportunity to appear on Dancing with the Stars — which the NCAA will allow even though Ogunbowale is still a rising senior who is scheduled to return to school next season.

Dancing with the Stars compensates its contestants and also has a prize for the winner. Under NCAA Bylaw 12.4.1, college athletes cannot be compensated based on their athletic abilities.

But the NCAA is arguing that Ogunbowale’s appearance on the show is “unrelated to her basketball abilities,” according to a statement they released regarding the decision. According to a report from Jacob Bogage of the Washington Post, the NCAA is also limiting Ogunbowale’s visibility for the show’s promotional tools.

From the Washington Post report:

The NCAA has placed restrictions on Ogunbowale that limit her involvement with the show and her potential to build her brand. She is not allowed to appear in promotional materials for the show, including commercials, according to the NCAA’s statement. She didn’t join other contestants during a group appearance on “Good Morning America” last week. Show handicappers have already wondered whether the NCAA’s limits will hurt her chances.

And the NCAA could turn down future requests by arguing that Ogunbowale is not endorsing “Dancing with the Stars” by appearing on the program, but instead is participating in a “personal growth experience” by learning how to ballroom dance, said Barbara Osborne, a professor of exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina.

This is a slippery slope for the NCAA to take with this. Ogunbowale is, quite clearly, a famous basketball player. She’s on Dancing with the Stars because of her basketball abilities. The NCAA arguing anything else is just silly and embarrassing. The NCAA is also trying its best to uphold its argument about amateurism in the only way they know how.

But could this also could be a sign that the NCAA is perhaps open to the potential of allowing athletes to profit off of themselves in the future? The NCAA is currently handling a number of different court cases regarding amateurism, so it’s hard to say where all of this might go until the legal process starts to clear up.

Either way, this should be a fun experience for Ogunbowale while providing great national exposure for herself and women’s basketball. Ogunbowale might not be technically allowed to build her own brand during the show, but she’ll be gaining tons of new exposure for her basketball future — regardless of what the NCAA says in a statement.

Memphis center Karim Sameh Azab diagnosed with leukemia

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Memphis center Karim Sameh Azab announced on Saturday that he’s been battling leukemia lymphoma.

The 6-foot-11 big man from Egypt has been receiving medical treatment since the beginning of April as he took to Twitter to announce his current status.

Sameh Azab played in 15 games this season for the Tigers as he saw action for 84 total minutes. The reserve big man was a late addition in former head coach Tubby Smith’s first recruiting class at Memphis as he didn’t quality to play during his first season.

“Karim has my full support and the support of our whole team,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said in a statement earlier this month. “While we appreciate the support of the Tiger family in this matter, we would also like to protect the privacy of Karim and his family.”

South Dakota State’s Mike Daum declares for 2018 NBA Draft without an agent

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South Dakota State big man Mike Daum will enter the 2018 NBA Draft without an agent, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 redshirt junior has been a mid-major draft darling the past few seasons as Daum was one of the most productive players in the country last season. Putting up 23.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, Daum shot 46 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range during the season.

With his size and unique floor-spacing ability, Daum is going to be an interesting player to track during the NBA draft process. Teams are always looking for big men who can space the floor, and if Daum shoots well in workouts, he could wind up staying in the draft.

If Daum returns to South Dakota State, then he once again makes them a major NCAA tournament contender after the Jackrabbits won the Summit League last season.

Marquette lands Fordham grad transfer Joseph Chartouny

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Marquette pulled in a quality graduate transfer commitment on Friday as Fordham guard Joseph Chartouny pledged to the Golden Eagles.

The 6-foot-3 Chartouny was a three-year starter for the Rams as he should help offset the loss of guard Andrew Rowsey to graduation. While Chartouny isn’t nearly the perimeter threat that Rowsey was, he should be able to help significantly on the defensive end for Marquette. Chartouny put up 12.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game last season as he was one of the more productive all-around players in the Atlantic 10.

One of the nation’s leaders in steals the past three seasons, Chartouny has much better size to play alongside Markus Howard in the Marquette backcourt than Rowsey (5-foot-11) had. Since Howard is also 5-foot-11, Chartouny can now guard the bigger and more athletic perimeter matchup as Marquette tries to improve its porous defense from last season.

Marquette still has an open scholarship for next season as they’ve been investigating other transfer options to bolster the roster. Returning most of last season’s roster, the expectation will be for the Golden Eagles to make it back to the NCAA tournament next season.

Syracuse’s Tyus Battle to test NBA draft waters

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Syracuse announced on Friday afternoon that sophomore guard Tyus Battle will be declaring for the NBA draft without signing with an agent, giving him until the NCAA’s May 30th deadline to withdraw from contention and return to school.

Battle averaged 19.2 points as a sophomore for the Orange, who made a surprising run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

He is a projected late-first round or early-second round pick given his size, shooting ability and skill with the ball in his hands.

Losing Battle would be a massive blow to a Syracuse team that is already going to be without Matthew Moyer, who transferred out of the program, and Dareus Bazley, who is heading to the G League instead of enrolling in college.