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Late Night Snacks: Tuesday night shows college basketball means business

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Game of the Day: No. 3 Michigan 76, No. 10 Ohio State 74 (OT)

It was billed as “Trey Burke vs. Aaron Craft Pt. II” and it didn’t disappoint. We saw a battle of two of the nation’s best point guards, but the most important player for Michigan in its overtime win was junior Tim Hardaway, Jr. He hit three-pointers on three straight possessions in the middle of the second half that kept the game close when the Wolverines could not get a stop defensively. He finished with 23 points.

Deshaun Thomas finally got help on the offensive end, this coming from LaQuinton Ross and Lenzelle Smith, Jr., but when Ohio State needed him the most, overtime, he was not given a chance to score. Instead, Aaron Craft controlled the ball for the majority of the extra period. He was 1-of-4 from the field and had a turnover in the final five minutes.

Important Outcomes 

1. Arkansas 80, No. 2 Florida 69

Florida had been steamrolling through the SEC, but the Gators got a taste of their own medicine against an Arkansas team that has played distinctly different at home than it has on the road. Florida shot just 41 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 16 times, while the Razorbacks shot close to 50 percent and turned it over just eight times.

Florida is still the class of the SEC, but they now fall to within one game of Kentucky in the race for the top of the conference.

2. Southern Illinois 64, Wichita State 62

After reaching as high as 15th in the nation, the Shockers have lost three games in a row and are slipping further back into a crowded Missouri Valley race. Malcolm Armstead, Cleanthony Early, and Carl Hall all did not have the games that the Shockers needed on the road, and a last-second shot from Jalen Pendleton was enough to sink WSU against a Southern Illinois team that came into the game 1-10 in conference play.

3. No. 8 Miami 72, Boston College 50

Miami continues to roll and remain undefeated in the ACC. The Hurricanes shot 11-of-22 from three-point range and 47 percent overall. Kenny Kadji is continuing to prove his value as a power forward who can stretch the floor, while Rion Brown had one of his biggest games of the year with 22 points.

Starred

1. Tim Hardaway, Jr., Michigan (23 points, 6-of-9 3pt FG)

Without Hardaway, Jr., this game would have gone much differently for the Wolverines. In the middle of the second half when Michigan was having trouble getting a stop defensively, the junior hit big shots to keep Michigan in the game. He has greatly expanded his game this season, but that three-point shot is still his bread and butter.

2. Reggie Bullock, North Carolina (23 points, 7-of-10 FG, 4-of-5 3pt FG)

Now having returned from a concussion earlier in the year, Bullock helped to pace a strong offensive attack Tuesday for the Tar Heels in their dominating win over Wake Forest.

3. Javonte Green, Radford (23 points, 13 rebounds)

A lineup of players who starred would not be complete without some love for a mid-major double-double. Though it came in a loss, Javonte Green’s 23 points and 13 rebounds made for one of the more impressive individual performances of the night.

Struggled 

1. D.J. Byrd, Purdue (2 points, 0-of-6 FG, 0-of-6 3pt FG)

Purdue shot 40 percent from the field in its win over Penn State, but moving forward, the Boilermakers will need more output from Byrd against teams that aren’t 0-10 in league play.

2. Jermaine Marshall, Penn State (7 points, 2-of-14 FG, 0-of-5 3pt FG)

Penn State as a team shot just 31 percent from the floor, and Marshall was among those who struggled. He was far from his average of 15 points per game and the Nittany Lions fell to Purdue.

3. Carl Hall, Cleanthony Early, Wichita State (15 points combined)

This Wichita State duo averages over 27 points per game between them, but was unable to generate much Tuesday in a loss to Northern Iowa. The Shockers have now lost three in a row and Hall and Early will be key to getting back on track in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.