tom crean

How will Sunday’s games affect the top five seeds in the Big Ten tourney?

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The final day of the regular season is going to be thrilling for Big Ten fans.

There are four Big Ten games that are going to be played that day, involving all five teams with a shot at getting one of the top four seeds in the Big Ten tournament.

Here are the games:

  • No. 22 Wisconsin (11-6 B1G) at Penn State, 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Illinois at No. 14 Ohio State (12-5 B1G), 12:30 p.m. ET
  • No. 2 Indiana (13-4 B1G) at No. 7 Michigan (12-5 B1G), 4:00 p.m. ET
  • Northwestern at No. 10 Michigan State (12-5 B1G), 6:00 p.m. ET

And here is how the outcomes will affect the top five seeds, the top four of which get a bye:

INDIANA: Indiana has already locked up the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament regardless of what happens on Sunday. If they win at Michigan, they are the outright Big Ten champs. But even if they lose, the Hoosiers just so happen to own all of the tiebreakers, regardless of how the other three games play out.

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MICHIGAN: Michigan may have the most on the line on Sunday. Obviously, they have a share of the Big Ten title and, potentially, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. If Michigan beats Indiana, they will be the No. 2 seed if Illinois beats Ohio State and the No. 3 seed if Ohio State beats Illinois. But if the Wolverines lose, they will be the No. 5 seed unless Wisconsin pulls a Michigan and loses at Penn State. The No. 2 or No. 3 seed means they avoid Indiana until the finals. That matters.

Michigan fans need to root for: ILLINOIS and PENN STATE

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OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes control their own destiny. If they beat Illinois, they will be the No. 2 seed regardless of what else happens on Sunday.

If the Buckeyes lose: the only way they can still get the No. 2 seed is if Indiana beats Michigan AND Wisconsin loses to Penn State AND Michigan State loses to Northwestern. That’s probably not happening. What could end up happening, however, is the Ohio State falls all the way down to the No. 5 seed. There’s only one scenario where that plays out, but it is a long way from far-fetched: if Michigan beats Indiana AND Michigan State and Wisconsin both win. Minnesota’s loss on Wednesday would mean that the Badgers have a tiebreaker with the Buckeyes, and Ohio State would miss out on their bye.

Here are the rest of the possible outcomes:

  • If Indiana beats Michigan: Ohio State will be the No. 3 seed if Michigan State loses to Northwestern OR Wisconsin loses to Penn State. If both Michigan State AND Wisconsin win, the Buckeyes will be the No. 4 seed.
  • If Michigan beats Indiana: Ohio State will be the No. 3 seed if both Michigan State AND Wisconsin lose. They will be the No. 4 seed if either Michigan State OR Wisconsin wins. They will be the No. 5 seed if both Wisconsin AND Michigan State win.

Ohio State fans need to root for: INDIANA, PENN STATE, and NORTHWESTERN

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Michigan State: Beating the Badgers on Thursday locked the Spartans into a first round bye, but then things start to get complicated:

  • If Indiana beats Michigan: the Spartans will fall no lower than a No. 3 seed. If Illinois also beats Ohio State, Michigan State is locked into the No. 2 seed as long as Wisconsin beats Penn State OR Michigan State beats Northwestern. If Ohio State beats Illinois, the Spartans will be the No. 3 seed whether they win or lose.
  • If Michigan beats Indiana: the Spartans will be the No. 4 seed unless Illinois beats Ohio State AND EITHER Wisconsin beats Penn State OR Michigan State beats Northwestern.

Michigan State fans need to root for: INDIANA, ILLINOIS, and WISCONSIN

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WISCONSIN: If Wisconsin loses to Penn State, they will be 11-7 in the league and locked into that No. 5 seed in the Big Ten tournament. If they win, they are still going to need some help to climb their way into a first round bye.

  • If Michigan beats Indiana: the Badgers can only climb out of the No. 5 seed if Illinois beats Ohio State, Michigan State beats Northwestern. In that case, Wisconsin will have the tiebreaker with Ohio State thanks to Minnesota’s loss to Nebraska.
  • If Indiana beats Michigan: Wisconsin will be the No. 4 seed unless Illinois beats Ohio State AND Michigan State beats Northwestern. If that happens, they climb all the way up to the No. 3 seed.

Wisconsin fans need to root for: INDIANA, ILLINOIS and MICHIGAN STATE

(A huge h/t to The Only Colors for making this chart)

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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.

VIDEO: Jim Boeheim makes TV appearance to talk Carmelo Anthony

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Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has drawn attention for some recent comments about former Orange star Carmelo Anthony.

After Anthony captured his record third gold medal with USA Basketball, his former college coach told Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard that Anthony didn’t have a great chance at winning an NBA title.

“He’s unlikely to win an NBA title,” Boeheim said of Anthony. “He’s never been on a team that even had a remote chance of winning an NBA title.”

Boeheim maintains that he was speaking of Melo’s legacy being about more than an NBA title and that he’s one of the game’s greats thanks to other accomplishments like the Syracuse title and gold medals. On SportsCenter, Boeheim made sure to stress where those comments were coming from, while also making sure his kids would stop being mad at him.

It’s much easier to understand where Boeheim is coming from in this instance and it clears up something that will probably go away now.