Miami, Marquette and Pitt among the teams on Upset Alert this weekend

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Who’s Getting Upset?: No. 2 Miami at Wake Forest (12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

I know this sounds silly, but hear me out. Miami has struggled their last two games. They needed a three-pointer from Kenny Kadji with 17 seconds left to beat Clemson on Sunday. On Tuesday, it was Shane Larkin finding Reggie Johnson by himself under the rim that save the Hurricanes from their first loss in ACC play this season.

Now, Wake Forest isn’t exactly a powerhouse, but they’ve been a tough team to beat on their home court this season. They beat UVA. They beat NC State. They were beating Duke after the under-four TV timeout in the second half. They beat Florida State by 25 points. With a visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium coming up next week, the Hurricanes cannot look past the Demon Deacons.

Who else is on Upset Alert?:

  • No. 17 Marquette at Villanova (6:00 p.m. ET, ESPN): Villanova has been a pesky opponent for some of the top teams in the Big East this season. They’ve already picked off Syracuse and Louisville at home, and last weekend went into Connecticut and beat the Huskies. Marquette is tied for the Big East lead with Georgetown and Syracuse, which clearly means they are ripe for the Villanova picking.
  • No. 24 VCU at Xavier (2:00 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network): Xavier doesn’t exactly have an NCAA tournament resume, but they are just two games behind St. Louis in the Atlantic 10 standings and they do have one of the best home courts in the conference. Can Semaj Christon and Dee Davis protect the ball well enough against VCU’s overwhelming pressure?
  • No. 14 Oklahoma State at West Virginia (2:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2): Oklahoma State is coming off of a loss where Marcus Smart played about as poorly as he has all season long. WVU has had their troubles this season, but Morgantown is a long way from Stillwater and always a tough place for opposing teams to visit. Will the Pokes avoid a slip-up on the road?
  • No. 20 Pitt at St. John’s (Sun. 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3): St. John’s has been one of the bigger surprises in the Big East this season, but they are currently sitting just on the wrong side of the bubble. That’s a bad place to be heading into the final weeks of the season. The Johnnies will have their chances, however: in addition to hosting Pitt, St. John’s will visit South Bend and play Marquette in NYC before the Big East tournament starts.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Koby McEwen transferring to Marquette

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Steve Wojciechowski added a significant piece to his 2019-20 team over the weekend.

Koby McEwen announced his intention to transfer to Marquette from Utah State late Sunday evening.

“I would like to thank God, my family, inner circle and all the schools/coaches that recruited me during this process!” McEwen tweeted. “With that being said, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be furthering my college career at Marquette University.”

McEwen picked the Golden Eagles over fellow finalists Creighton and Grand Canyon after he decided to transfer when the Aggies announced South Dakota coach Craig Smith was taking over the program last month. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore.

After sitting out the upcoming season, McEwen will have to years of eligibility remaining. Marquette went 21-14 last season, but missed the NCAA tournament for the third time in Wojciechowski’s four years in Milwaukee.

Minnesota adds Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis

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Minnesota has added some depth for the future.

The Golden Gophers received a pledge from Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis over the weekend, giving him a guard with two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2019-20.

Willis will sit out the upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules.

The 6-foot-4 guard played a limited role in two seasons in Nashville, never averaging more than 18. 5 minutes or 5.2 points per game. He scored in double figures in three games as a sophomore.

Willis was a top-150 prospect in the Class of 2016 coming out of Fayetteville, Ark. with offers from the likes of Tulsa, Rice and Dayton. Vandy and Minnesota were his two high-major offers.

After being ranked in the top-15, Minnesota was beset by injury and suspensions last season as they limped to the finish line in a 15-17 season that featured losses in 12 of its last 13 games.

Richard Pitino still has two available scholarships for the 2018-19 campaign.

Report: Quade Green returning to Kentucky

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John Calipari just landed a critical recruit for 2018-19, and he was already on the roster.

Quade Green, who averaged 25 minutes per game last season, is returning to Kentucky for his sophomore season, his mother told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday.

Given that six Wildcat players have entered the draft (Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hami Diallo are signing with agents), getting the 6-foot point guard back for a second season is a massive deal for Calipari and Co. The Wildcats have always been at their best under Calipari with returning players as the cornerstones of the roster with talented one-and-dones providing the extra boost. Getting one such returner at the point guard position is even more critical.

Green, who came to Kentucky as a five-star recruit last year, averaged 9.3 points and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and a respectable 37.1 percent from 3-point range, an area where Kentucky continually needs help.

With Green back in the fold, Kentucky will now await the decisions of PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt, who are all going through the pre-draft process without hiring agents, which will potentially allow them to return to school and bolster a Kentucky roster has the look of a top-five team.

CBT Podcast: NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline: Winners, losers and who has the most on the line?

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The NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline came and went on Sunday night, meaning there are now roughly 60 college players that have signed with an agent and another 100 or so that have declared for the draft while retaining their college eligibility. Who were the winners? Who were the losers? Who has the most on the line? Sam Vecenie of the Game Theory podcast joined Rob Dauster to talk through all of it. The rundown:

OPEN: What do NBA teams value in players these days?

10:00: Villanova has more on the line during this testing the water process than anyone

19:00: Just how important was De’Andre Hunter’s decision to return to Virginia

25:25: Gonzaga getting Rui and Killian Tillie back makes them a title favorite

32:10: Nevada has a top ten season on the line with the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline

36:15: #RANTALERT – The decision to turn pro is so much more complicated than “is he a first round pick”

48:30: Rapid fire: Maryland, Kansas, Syracuse, Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan. What do they have on the line?

North Carolina’s Luke Maye declaring for NBA draft without hiring agent

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina junior Luke Maye has declared for the NBA draft but isn’t hiring an agent.

The 6-foot-8 forward was a third-team Associated Press All-American after averaging 16.9 points and 10.1 rebounds. He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s most improved player after increasing his scoring average by 11.4 points from his sophomore to junior seasons.

Coach Roy Williams says in a statement that it’s ”a great opportunity” for Maye to work out for NBA teams and get feedback on what to improve in his game.

The deadline for college players to declare early for the draft was Sunday night. Players who don’t hire an agent can maintain their college eligibility as long as they withdraw by May 30, which is 10 days after the NBA draft combine.