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Mountain West tournaments to remain in Las Vegas through 2016

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This spring Las Vegas will host four conference tournaments, and on Friday the conference that has been there the longest announced its decision to remain in Sin City.

The Mountain West announced on Friday that the league’s men’s and women’s basketball championships will remain in Las Vegas through 2016, with the Thomas & Mack Center continuing in its role as host.

The Mountain West Board of Directors approved a three-year contract with Las Vegas Events, with this season’s event being the 11th time in which the Mountain West Basketball Championships have been held in Las Vegas.

The Thomas & Mack Center has hosted the event every year since 2007, with the Mountain West also playing its conference tournaments in the city from 2000-2003.

“The Mountain West Basketball Championships are a signature event that highlights our student-athletes, coaches and institutions,” said league Commissioner Craig Thompson in the release. “Las Vegas is a destination city, and in recent years has become a hotbed for NCAA basketball.

“Extensive research has proven that MW fans prefer this location over any other, and our partnership with Las Vegas Events and the Thomas & Mack Center enables us to put on a first-class event, filled with the excitement and competitive spirit that defines Mountain West basketball.”

The Mountain West also unveiled the floor design that will be used for this season’s event. The court doesn’t have much in the way of color outside of the Reese’s logos, but if that means none of those oversized court stickers that become a safety hazard then I’m all for it.

Photo credit: Mountain West Conference

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

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)
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.