WCC Basketball Tournament - Semifinals San Francisco v Saint Mary's

Weekend preview: Gonzaga can’t figure out San Francisco on the road

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Who’s getting upset? No. 5 Gonzaga at San Francisco (Sat., 4:30 p.m. EST, ROOT):

History is suggesting this one.

Look at the past few years, and the Bulldogs have had an incredibly hard time traveling to War Memorial Gym. The last time they went there, they lost 66-65 last season. The time before that? A 96-91 loss in 2011. Before that? An 81-77 loss. In fact, the last time the Zags won at San Francisco was a 78-74 victory during the 2008-09 season. Not one player on the Dons roster has lost to Gonzaga at home. That’s kinda wild. In fact, this San Francisco team doesn’t have a senior on its roster.

This Gonzaga team, of course, is much better than the ones that visited before. Actually, it’s probably the best team since that one in 2008-09, they went to the Sweet Sixteen that season.

However, I’m a huge believer that mental obstacles exist and are just as tough to get over as physical ones.

UCLA transfer De’End Parker has done his thing since coming over, averaging 12.4 points per game. They’ll need big games from Cole Dickerson (14.6 ppg) and Cody Doolin (12.3 ppg). But the real task will fall on guys like Mark Tollefsen, who have to guard Kelly Olynyk in the paint.

The guard play could be somewhat even with Parker v. Pangos, but Gary Bell, Jr. against Cody Doolin is an interesting match-up to look out for.

Who else is on Upset Alert?

Oklahoma at No. 17 Oklahoma State (Sat., 1:30 p.m. EST, ESPN3): You never know what you’re going to expect in Bedlam. It’s a deeply-rooted rivalry with tons more on the line between the Cowboys and Sooners. I always feel like you can throw a lot of numbers out the window in a big rivalry game. Okie State is hanging in their for a spot in the Big Dance, the Sooners, after their big win over Kansas, are back in position to be on the bubble, which for a team with the recent trials that OU has had, is a great progress. A lot of that is owed the Lon Kruger. Romero Osby v. LeBryan Nash will be interesting, but who will guard Marcus Smart for Oklahoma? Figure that out, and do it, and the Sooners walk out of Gallagher-Iba Arena with a win. Though losing Buddy Hield will be a big problem for OU.

No. 25 Kentucky at Tennessee (Sat., 1:00 p.m. EST, CBS): This is a mental game for the Wildcats. All mental. Can they get past the fact that they’ve lost their best player and most influential court presence for the season in Nerlens Noel? Or will they fold. Kentucky was getting themselves back into the swing things after a conference swoon, then they never threatened at Florida, even before the Noel injury. Paging Willie Cauley-Stein. You have to guard Jarnell Stokes. Can you?

No. 24 Colorado State at Air Force (Sat., 4:00 p.m. EST, check listings): Psst, the Falcons are one of the better teams in the Mountain West Conference. The problem? NO ONE is talking about them at all. They’re 15-8, 6-4 in conference with wins over San Diego State, Wyoming and UNLV. Not sure what else they need to do to get into the conversation. Colorado State is coming off a draining victory over San Diego State. And Air Force is 6-0 at Clune Arena in-conference.

Follow David on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Abdul-Jabbar writing book about UCLA coach John Wooden

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Book Discussion For "Streetball Crew Book 2 Stealing The Game"
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NEW YORK (AP) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s next book will be a fond look back at his long friendship with John Wooden, the celebrated basketball coach at UCLA.

“Coach Wooden and Me” will be published next June and will combine personal memories and lessons learned from his friend and mentor, Grand Central Publishing told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Wooden, who died in 2010, coached 10 NCAA championship teams at UCLA. Three titles were won while Abdul-Jabbar, then called Lew Alcindor, was the Bruins’ star center.

Abdul-Jabbar, who went on to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, remained close to Wooden. In a statement released through Grand Central, he called Wooden a great coach and “an even better teacher and friend.” Abdul-Jabbar’s other books include the memoir “Giant Steps” and the novel “Mycroft Holmes.”

Five-star Bowen cuts list to six

JACKSONVILLE, FL - MARCH 19:  Mississippi Rebels and Xavier Musketeers players run by the logo at mid-court during the second round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on March 19, 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Five-star 2017 prospect Brian Bowen has trimmed his list of possible collegiate destinations to six.

Creighton, North Carolina State, UCLA, Michigan State, Arizona and Texas are still under consideration, Bowen announced Wednesday evening.

Bowen, a consensus top-20 recruit, is a 6-foot-8 small forward out of Sagniaw, Mich., but he currently is attending the prestigious La Lumiere School in Indiana. He’s also the cousin of former Michigan State star Jason Richardson, leaving many to believe that he’s a heavy Spartan lean.

“People think I’m 100 percent to Michigan State,” Bowen told Brendan Quinn of MLive.com earlier this month. “I love them to death and I’ve been there my whole life and everything — it’s a great coaching staff and everything — but I’m not 100 percent to a school until I commit there. Right now, I’m open to the schools that are recruiting.”

Bowen hasn’t said when he plans on making a final decision.

Indiana’s Hartman undergoes knee surgery

Indiana's Collin Hartman (30) and Yogi Ferrell (11) celebrate late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Bloomington, Ind. Indiana won 85-78. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
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Indiana senior Collin Hartman underwent surgery to repair damage on his left knee, the school announced Wednesday.

The Hoosiers provided no timetable for Hartman’s return following a non-contact injury he suffered in practice last week.

“Any time you see one of your players go down to injury,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said in a statement, “it tears you up as a person and as a program — even more so when it’s someone like Collin Hartman, who has been a huge part of our success and is in his senior year. We all look forward to helping him recover and rehabilitate.”

After playing sparingly as a freshman, Hartman has been a role player for the Hoosiers the last two seasons, averaging right around 20 minutes per game. He put up 5.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists last year as a junior.

The school hasn’t released the nature or severity of the Hartman’s injury, so it’s impossible to even guess when he might be able to suit up next for the Hoosiers, who are a likely top-15 team heading into the season.

Indiana opens the year in a big way on Nov. 11, facing off against Kansas in the Armed Forces Classic in Honolulu.

Hokies add another top-100 guard

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The upward trajectory of Virginia Tech basketball under Buzz Williams continued Wednesday.

Wabissa Bede, a Class of 2017 point guard, committed to the Hokies to give them their second top-100 player in the class.

The 6-foot-1 Massachusetts native choice Virginia Tech after taking official visits to both Blacksburg and Butler with UMass and LaSalle also in the mix. He’s ranked 77th in the 247Sports composite rankings.

“Wabissa Bede is a rugged guard who helps his team win games by defending and playing smart basketball,” NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips said. “He can stand to improve his perimeter jumper, but he has a high IQ and can make plays for others as a passer.

“Bede is a perfect Buzz Williams fit.”

Williams is developing quite the backcourt in this class with top-50 shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker already committed to the Hokies.

It’s becoming a good time to be a Virginia Tech basketball fan after a couple of lean years to start the Williams era. The Hokies are a likely top-25 team and expected to end a 10-year NCAA drought this season with Seth Allen and Zach LeDay returning.

With the improvement of the on-court product and the recruiting successes, Virginia Tech certainly looks like a program on the rise.

VIDEO: The dorm for Kansas basketball players is ridiculous

LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 27: Bill Self head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks claps for his team as they celebrate winning the Big 12 Conference Championship after they defeated Texas Tech Red Raiders 67-58 at Allen Fieldhouse on February 27, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas. With the win, Kansas clinched its 12th straight conference championship. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Indoor basketball courts.

A kitchen that’s nicer than what is in my home.

A pool table.

A rooftop patio overlooking the baseball field.

Flat-screens literally everywhere.

The $12 million building also houses 17 students that don’t play on the basketball team. I wonder how much money their parents had to donate to the school to get them on that list?

[Video via KUHoops.com, a Jayhawk-centric vertical launched by the Kansas City Star this month. Go ahead and bookmark that page. You’ll want it.]