Jordan Brand All-Stars predict they could beat Michael Jordan, nation laughs

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The naivety of youth is great. When most of us were younger, we all had fantasies of doing things that, while we didn’t know it yet, were impossible. Apparently those thoughts extend into the older teenage years of some Jordan Brand All-Stars.

Some of the players got into a debate over whether or not they could beat Michael Jordan in 1-on-1. No, not 50-year-old M.J. We’re talking Jordan in his prime.

So USA Today took a poll. Some of the players, such as Washington-bound guard Nigel Williams-Goss, knew the right answer.

“He’s the best to ever do it,” said Findlay Prep point guard Nigel Williams-Goss. “I mean, c’mon now, it’s M.J. No one’s beating him one-on-one.”

Goss said he would lose, in a game to 11, 11-0. Kennedy Meeks (11-6), Wayne Selden (11-2) and Chris Walker (11-7) shared his thoughts.  Turns out not all of them shared their opinion.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (11-10), Dakari Johnson (11-10), Andrew Harrison (11-7) and Matt Jones (11-5) all think they could beat Jordan in a game of 1-on-1.

They all were asked to provide an explanation as to why they would win or lose.

Harrison:

“I think he’d get a couple buckets here and there, but then I’d start to lock him down and give him buckets. Yeah, I think I’d get him.”

Yea, Andrew. You’d lock down a career 30.1 points per game scorer down.

Jones:

“Well, I’m feeling a little generous today, so I think he’d get his five points. This is how it would go: I’d get ball first, then I’d score the first few baskets because he’d definitely be sleeping on me. Then I’d go to my old-man game and take it to the hole every time. No matter how small the foul was I’d call ball every time until I made it. So it’s gonna be a long grind-it-out win. But I’d win.”

I’m going to assume he was joking. The man was too competitive to sleep on anyone. This is a dude, at 50, that just beat Charlotte Bobcats guard Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who is barely older than these guys, in 1-on-1. Oh and your “old-man game” isn’t getting past a former NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Have fun.

Then there’s Johnson, who provided the most reasonable answer to the question.

 “I’m taking him to the post every time. He’d stop me a couple of times, but I’d just keep going back down there. I’d just contest his jump shots and pray that he’d miss. I think in the end, I’d get him though. I’m too big down there.”

Ok, this I can at least deal with. He’s a great post player. And a 6-6, Jordan would have an issue with him. But for starters, praying is the  best you can do to hope a career 49.7-percent shooter misses. Then we could just show Dakari what happens when Jordan gets the ball against big dudes.

I understand the competitive fire that drives these guys. It’s all in fun and hey, they’ve worked hard enough to earn some bragging rights, being that all of these guys are major college signees and some might be future NBA draft picks. But someone needs to show these guys an hour-long highlight film of Jordan. Or just a video of Game 2 of the 1986 Eastern Conference First Round.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

College Basketball Coaches Poll: Michigan State moves atop the Top 25

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Michigan State is your new No. 1 team in the country, according to the USA Today Coaches Poll.

The Spartans received 20 of a possible 32 first-place votes after their comeback from 27 points down to beat Northwestern on the road on Saturday.

Virginia is still sitting at No. 2 while Villanova and Xavier round out the top four. Duke climbed a few spots to No. 5.

Here is the full coaches poll:

1. Michigan State (20 first-place votes)
2. Virginia (8)
3. Villanova (4)
4. Xavier
5. Duke
6. Gonzaga
7. Texas Tech
8. Kansas
9. Purdue
10. North Carolina
11. Cincinnati
12. Wichita State
13. Auburn
14. Arizona
15. Ohio State
16. Michigan
17. Clemson
18. Rhode Island
19. Tennessee
20. Saint Mary’s
21. West Virginia
22. Nevada
23. Houston
24. Middle Tennessee State
25. Arizona State

Was Bob Huggins justified in his anger over foul shots in Kansas win over West Virginia?

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Much has been made of Bob Huggins’ ejection on Saturday evening, as West Virginia blew yet another double-digit lead at Phog Allen Fieldhouse as Kansas picked up a critical, 77-69 win.

The ejection was hilarious, and everything that I want to remember Huggy Bear by: Cussing out all three refs as he earns his second technical and an ejection while needing to hold up his pants with his hands:

Huggs is a national treasure.

The more interesting conversation, however, centered around why Huggins was tossed. Kansas shot 35 free throws on Saturday. West Virginia shot just two, which is an absolutely staggering number.

And I thought this was deserving of further scrutiny.

Let’s start with the obvious: West Virginia fouls a lot, enough that it’s not an exaggeration to say that a foul could probably be called on every possession. Part of the strategy of playing the way that Press Virginia does is that they are betting that officials are not going to call a foul on every possession, because they won’t. West Virginia is also a jump-shooting team this season, as nearly 40 percent of their field goal attempts come from beyond the arc. Their free throw rate both offensively and defensively is dead last in the Big 12.

Put another way, the Mountaineers are always going to be outshot from the free throw line.

Then you have to combine that with the Kansas stats. The Jayhawks are second in the Big 12 on offensive free throw rate and third in defensive free throw rate. Throw in the home court advantage that comes with playing in the Phog, and the safest bet in the world would have been Kansas outshooting West Virginia from the charity stripe.

It also needs to be noted that the 35-2 advantage was 27-2 before West Virginia started fouling intentionally and before Kansas went to the line for those two late Huggins’ technical fouls.

But that didn’t stop Huggins from going off in the press conference after the game:

“We blew the game last year,” Huggins said. “We should have won the game. We had the game. They did a great job, they made shots, we threw it around, we missed free throws, we did everything humanly possible to lose the game. That was us.”

“I’ve been doing this 40 years. I don’t I’ve ever been in a game where we shot two free throws. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a game where the disparity 35-2. I’ve never been in a game like that.”

But perhaps his most telling line was this, when asked what his message to his team was:

“It wasn’t their fault.”

It’s pretty clear that Huggins believed his team was hosed on the road.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

West Virginia is normally going to shoot fewer free throws than their opponents. Kansas is normally going to shoot more free throws that their opponents. Studies have proven that home environments in college basketball have an impact referee decisions as much as any sport in the world, including English soccer. That’s part of having a home court advantage, and it’s part of the advantage of having a rowdy, raucous and loud crowd. It’s why places like Phog Allen, and Cameron Indoor Stadium, and Koch Arena, and the McKale Center, and anywhere else with a big and loud fan base.

But 35-2 is 35-2, and it will take quite a bit of video evidence to proof to me that Kansas did not get a significant benefit from playing in front of their home crowd on Saturday night.

So did the referees cost West Virginia the game?

Debatable. I’d argue that Jevon Carter missing some shots and Daxter Miles’ insistence on passing up open threes to try and pass the ball to players going for a rebound played a pretty big role, as did the fact that Kansas is a really good team that made some big shots down the stretch.

But the whistles played some kind of a role.

Just like they always do in the Phog.

College Basketball AP Poll: Virginia, Michigan State, Villanova top the Top 25

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Virginia remained in the No. 1 spot in the AP Poll while Michigan State and Villanova still sit at No. 2 and No. 3 with Xavier once again in fourth.

The biggest change in the poll was that Duke rose to No. 5 after three straight wins; they were No. 12 last week.

Kentucky is still not a part of the top 25.

Here is the full AP Poll:

1. Virginia (42 first-place votes)
2. Michigan State (19)
3. Villanova (4)
4. Xavier
5. Duke
t-6. Texas Tech
t-6. Gonzaga
8. Kansas
9. Purdue
10. North Carolina
11. Cincinnati
12. Auburn
13. Wichita State
14. Arizona
15. Clemson
16. Ohio State
17. Michigan
18. Rhode Island
19. Tennessee
20. Nevada
21. West Virginia
22. Saint Mary’s
23. Houston
24. Middle Tennessee
25. Florida State

VIDEO: Wichita State celebrates in locker room after win over Cincinnati

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Wichita State went into Cincinnati — well, Northern Kentucky — on Sunday evening and landed their biggest win of the season.

They were fired up about it, as you might imagine.

And their locker room celebrating after the win was, as the kids say, litty:

Here’s the funny part to me: This game wasn’t played at Cincinnati. It wasn’t played at Wichita State. It was played at Northern Kentucky, where the Bearcats are playing their home games while they wait for the renovations on their arena to be completed.

Which means that some poor NKU employee that had nothing to do with either of these two programs had to spend the time cleaning up this mess.

CBT Podcast: Monday Overreactions: Villanova-Xavier, the Big 12 is drunk, the best in the Big Ten is … ?

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Rob Dauster was joined by Eamonn Brennan of The Athletic on today’s show to overreact to everything that happened this weekend, from Villanova pasting Xavier to the insanity that is the Big 12 to what happened in the Big Ten in the last ten days. We also spend a good 30 minutes talking about bubble teams, tournament resumes and some misconceptions with both. The rundown.

OPEN: Bubble Banter. We talk about weird bubble teams and whether or not we like the new Quadrant system.

36:08: Villanova’s win over Xavier and the Big East title race.

45:15: The Big 12 makes no sense and I love it.

58:30: Michigan State deserves the Big Ten title.