Tourney Preview: Khalif Wyatt, Nova-UNC, McBuckets highlight the day

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GAME OF THE DAY: 1:40 PM: (9) Temple vs (8) North Carolina State — TBS

NC State wants to do nothing other than get out and run the floor. They don’t defend. They don’t even really execute in the half court. They want to run and they want to get their talent in a position to score. That’s a fun style of play to watch, especially when you have the number of really good basketball players that Mark Gottfried does.

But the Owls are pretty entertaining in their own right. Let’s move beyond, for a second, their versatile and dangerous trio of big men — Jake O’Brien, Anthony Lee and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson — as well as the dangerous Scootie Randall. Temple has Khalif Wyatt, and if you’ve never seen him play, you won’t want to miss this. He won’t blow you away with speed or athleticism, but he’s a crafty veteran that hits really tough shots and plays his best when the lights are the brightest. I’m expecting a huge game out of Wyatt on Friday.

Three more games you cannot miss

  • 7:20 PM: (9) Villanova vs (8) North Carolina — TNT: Does anyone really think they know what to expect here? Villanova has a ton of good wins and bad losses. North Carolina doesn’t really have either. The Heels spread the floor, the Wildcats pressure on the perimeter. Jay Wright and Roy Williams. This has “final possession” written all over it.
  • 9:20 PM: (10) Oklahoma vs (7) San Diego State — TBS: SDSU has really good guards and a talented swingman in Jamaal Franklin. Oklahoma has some versatile big men that matchup with well with SDSU. And Lon Kruger used to coach UNLV, SDSU’s rival.
  • 9:45 PM: (10) Iowa State vs (7) Notre Dame — CBS: If you like guard play, there are a lot of them in this game.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET: 3:10 PM: (13) La Salle vs (4) Kansas State — tru TV

I don’t have this in my bracket, but after watching the Explorers handle Boise State on Wednesday night, I got to thinking: How is Kansas State going to matchup with La Salle’s guards? I still haven’t come up with an answer. I think Ramon Galloway goes off and John Giannini advances to the round of 32.

WHO’S NOT GETTING UPSET: 9:57 PM: (11) Minnesota vs (6) UCLA — tru TV

I know the thinking. UCLA is without Jordan Adams, they are allergic to rebounding and all Minnesota can do offensively is rebound the ball. I see it, I promise. But I also know that Minnesota is 5-11 in their last 16 games. Are we really supposed to just assume that this team can simply turn it back on for the postseason?

BEST INDIVIDUAL MATCHUP: 7:15 PM: (15) Iona vs (2) Ohio State — CBS

Momo Jones is a talented basketball player and a blessed scorer. The Arizona transfer is now a member of the Iona Gaels. He’ll be locking horns with Aaron Craft, arguably the best on-ball defender in the country. That should be fun, and I fully expect Jones to be locked down.

INTRIGUING MATCHUP: 2:45 PM: (10) Cincinnati vs (7) Creighton — CBS

Creighton has a ton of scoring and arguably is the best three-point shooting team in the country, but they can’t defend all that well. Cincinnati is as tough and as physical on the defensive end as anyone in the country, but they cannot score. What wins out? And more importantly, if you took Cincinnati’s defense and Creighton’s offense, would that team win the national title?

 

FRIDAY’S SCHEDULE

12:15 PM: (15) Albany vs (2) Duke — CBS
12:40 PM: (12) Ole Miss vs (5) Wisconsin — tru TV
1:40 PM: (9) Temple vs (8) North Carolina State — TBS
2:10 PM: (15) Pacific vs (2) Miami (FL) — TNT
2:45 PM: (10) Cincinnati vs (7) Creighton — CBS
3:10 PM: (13) La Salle vs (4) Kansas State — tru TV
4:10 PM: (16) James Madison vs (1) Indiana — TBS
4:40 PM: (10) Colorado vs (7) Illinois — TNT
6:50 PM: (15) Florida Gulf Coast vs (2) Georgetown — TBS
7:15 PM: (15) Iona vs (2) Ohio State — CBS
7:20 PM: (9) Villanova vs (8) North Carolina — TNT
7:27 PM: (14) Northwestern State vs (3) Florida — tru TV
9:20 PM: (10) Oklahoma vs (7) San Diego State — TBS
9:45 PM: (10) Iowa State vs (7) Notre Dame — CBS
9:50 PM: (16) Western Kentucky vs (1) Kansas — TNT
9:57 PM: (11) Minnesota vs (6) UCLA — tru TV

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

John Calipari lobbies for change in one-and-done rule to help athletes

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Kentucky head coach John Calipari is hoping the one-and-done rule changes so that athletes have more rights.

In a revealing interview with Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Calipari went into great detail about his thoughts behind a rule that many believe he has exploited greatly to his benefit over the last 10 years. Even though the Wildcats and Calipari have figured out the one-and-done rule to their advantage, the Hall of Fame coach still wants the rule to be abolished.

“Kids should be able to go (to the NBA) out of high school. That’s not our deal. That’s between the NBA and the Players Association,” Calipari said Friday. “Don’t put restrictions on kids.”

Calipari told Engel that he met with the NBPA last week in the hopes of the organization creating a combine for worthy high school juniors with pro potential. Calipari also wants agents more involved with high school kids.

“The players and the families need to know – here are the ones who should be thinking about the NBA, and here are the ones who should not,” Calipari said. “That’s why you need a combine.”

“If they want to go out of high school, go. If they want to go to college and then leave, let them leave when they want to leave. Why would we force a kid to stay? ‘Well – it’s good for the game?’ It’s about these kids and their families. Because let me tell you, if we (abolish one-and-done), the kids that do come to college will stay for two to three years.”

Calipari also has plenty of thoughts on the NBA G-League and how the league could potentially help young athletes with an education fund if they choose to turn pro directly out of high school. Regardless of what happens with the NBPA and the one-and-done rule, Calipari also said that his program would be fine — regardless of the rules.

Given that Calipari has operated on a different recruiting plane than everyone else in college basketball (with the exception of a few other bluebloods like Duke and Kansas) the last several years, it’s always notable when he gives his thoughts on the overall landscape of basketball.

But is Calipari actually lobbying for this? Or is this yet another way for Calipari to mold quotes into a recruiting pitch for elite players? Ultimately, it’s up to the NBPA to decide how the rules will be for future pros.

Report: NCAA allows Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale to compete on Dancing with the Stars

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After a memorable March Madness run that included two game-winning jumpers in the Final Four and an eventual national title, Notre Dame junior guard Arike Ogunbowale became a breakout national star.

Ogunbowale already appeared on Ellen while meeting her basketball idol, Kobe Bryant. Now, Ogunbowale will get the rare opportunity to appear on Dancing with the Stars — which the NCAA will allow even though Ogunbowale is still a rising senior who is scheduled to return to school next season.

Dancing with the Stars compensates its contestants and also has a prize for the winner. Under NCAA Bylaw 12.4.1, college athletes cannot be compensated based on their athletic abilities.

But the NCAA is arguing that Ogunbowale’s appearance on the show is “unrelated to her basketball abilities,” according to a statement they released regarding the decision. According to a report from Jacob Bogage of the Washington Post, the NCAA is also limiting Ogunbowale’s visibility for the show’s promotional tools.

From the Washington Post report:

The NCAA has placed restrictions on Ogunbowale that limit her involvement with the show and her potential to build her brand. She is not allowed to appear in promotional materials for the show, including commercials, according to the NCAA’s statement. She didn’t join other contestants during a group appearance on “Good Morning America” last week. Show handicappers have already wondered whether the NCAA’s limits will hurt her chances.

And the NCAA could turn down future requests by arguing that Ogunbowale is not endorsing “Dancing with the Stars” by appearing on the program, but instead is participating in a “personal growth experience” by learning how to ballroom dance, said Barbara Osborne, a professor of exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina.

This is a slippery slope for the NCAA to take with this. Ogunbowale is, quite clearly, a famous basketball player. She’s on Dancing with the Stars because of her basketball abilities. The NCAA arguing anything else is just silly and embarrassing. The NCAA is also trying its best to uphold its argument about amateurism in the only way they know how.

But could this also could be a sign that the NCAA is perhaps open to the potential of allowing athletes to profit off of themselves in the future? The NCAA is currently handling a number of different court cases regarding amateurism, so it’s hard to say where all of this might go until the legal process starts to clear up.

Either way, this should be a fun experience for Ogunbowale while providing great national exposure for herself and women’s basketball. Ogunbowale might not be technically allowed to build her own brand during the show, but she’ll be gaining tons of new exposure for her basketball future — regardless of what the NCAA says in a statement.

Memphis center Karim Sameh Azab diagnosed with leukemia

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Memphis center Karim Sameh Azab announced on Saturday that he’s been battling leukemia lymphoma.

The 6-foot-11 big man from Egypt has been receiving medical treatment since the beginning of April as he took to Twitter to announce his current status.

Sameh Azab played in 15 games this season for the Tigers as he saw action for 84 total minutes. The reserve big man was a late addition in former head coach Tubby Smith’s first recruiting class at Memphis as he didn’t quality to play during his first season.

“Karim has my full support and the support of our whole team,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said in a statement earlier this month. “While we appreciate the support of the Tiger family in this matter, we would also like to protect the privacy of Karim and his family.”

South Dakota State’s Mike Daum declares for 2018 NBA Draft without an agent

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South Dakota State big man Mike Daum will enter the 2018 NBA Draft without an agent, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 redshirt junior has been a mid-major draft darling the past few seasons as Daum was one of the most productive players in the country last season. Putting up 23.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, Daum shot 46 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range during the season.

With his size and unique floor-spacing ability, Daum is going to be an interesting player to track during the NBA draft process. Teams are always looking for big men who can space the floor, and if Daum shoots well in workouts, he could wind up staying in the draft.

If Daum returns to South Dakota State, then he once again makes them a major NCAA tournament contender after the Jackrabbits won the Summit League last season.

Marquette lands Fordham grad transfer Joseph Chartouny

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Marquette pulled in a quality graduate transfer commitment on Friday as Fordham guard Joseph Chartouny pledged to the Golden Eagles.

The 6-foot-3 Chartouny was a three-year starter for the Rams as he should help offset the loss of guard Andrew Rowsey to graduation. While Chartouny isn’t nearly the perimeter threat that Rowsey was, he should be able to help significantly on the defensive end for Marquette. Chartouny put up 12.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game last season as he was one of the more productive all-around players in the Atlantic 10.

One of the nation’s leaders in steals the past three seasons, Chartouny has much better size to play alongside Markus Howard in the Marquette backcourt than Rowsey (5-foot-11) had. Since Howard is also 5-foot-11, Chartouny can now guard the bigger and more athletic perimeter matchup as Marquette tries to improve its porous defense from last season.

Marquette still has an open scholarship for next season as they’ve been investigating other transfer options to bolster the roster. Returning most of last season’s roster, the expectation will be for the Golden Eagles to make it back to the NCAA tournament next season.