The Little Dances: Championship Week Day 3 Preview

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The NCAA Tournament doesn’t get going until March 19, but for the real college hoops fans, the days leading up to Selection Sunday is when the madness really begins. Over the next two weeks teams will fight for the postseason lives. Bubbles will burst and tickets will be punched, and Cinderellas will be born. This is the real March Madness.

(CLICK HERE to browse through all of our conference tournament previews)

Here’s what to watch for on Thursday.

Game of the Night: East Tennessee State vs. Stetson
The two teams split regular season games, with just three total points deciding the difference. Stetson is one of the top-30 teams in terms of efficient field goal percentage. On the flip side, the Buccaneers are one of the least efficient defensive teams in the country, having given up 80 or more points seven times this season. Plus, it’s a mid-afternoon start. There aren’t many things better than mid-afternoon single elimination basketball.

Player to Watch: Cole Dickerson, San Francisco
The 6-foot-7 junior has been a matchup nightmare for all WCC players not named Kelly Olynyk or Elias Harris. Dickerson has logged 11 double-doubles this season and is a threat to score from anywhere on the court. He’s one of the most talented and athletic mid-major players you’ve probably never heard of.

Miscellaneous Madness:
It’s day one of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, otherwise known as “Arch Madness”. While often considered one of the most entertaining tournaments on a yearly basis, three of the top four seeds have advanced to the semifinals every year for the past decade. In fact, a team seeded outside the top four has not made the finals since before 2006. So even while we can expect the unexpected, it’s almost guaranteed that one of the top fours seeds will win the automatic bid.

Tuesday Schedule:

Atlantic Sun Conference Quarterfinals
2:30 p.m. – East Tennessee State (6) vs. Stetson (3)
8:30 p.m. – USC Upstate (5)vs. Jacksonville (4)

Big South Conference Quarterfinals
Noon – Winthrop (5S) vs. Charleston Southern (1S)
2 p.m. – Longwood (6N) vs. VMI (2N)
6 p.m. – Campbell (3N) vs. Gardner-Webb (2S)
8 p.m. – Liberty (5N) vs. High Point (1N)

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
7 p.m. – Drake (9) vs. Bradley (8)
9:30 p.m. – Southern Illinois (10) vs. Missouri State (7)

Ohio Valley Conference First Round
7 p.m. – Morehead State (5) vs. Tennessee State (4)
9 p.m. – Southeast Missouri State (6) vs. Eastern Kentucky (3)

West Coast Conference First Round
9 p.m. – Loyola Marymount (9) vs. San Francisco (5)
11:30 p.m. – Pepperdine (7) vs. San Diego (6)

You can find Troy Machir on Twitter at @TroyMachir

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.