Michigan and Michigan State will sweat out the NBA Draft deadline

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The NCAA’s meaningless deadline to enter the NBA Draft has come and gone, but there are still 12 days until the NBA’s April 28th deadline to declare passes.

That means there are still 12 days for current underclassmen to leave school and put their names up for draft consideration. The smart players have waited, and there are a number of them that are still weighing their options.

These next 12 days could shape how college basketball looks in 2013-2014. If Kelly Olynyk returns to Gonzaga, Mark Few should have another Final Four contender on his hands. Marcus Smart coming back for another season would make Oklahoma State a Big 12 title favorite. Baylor will be waiting patiently to hear back from Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson. Syracuse (CJ Fair), Miami (Shane Larkin), Creighton (Doug McDermott) and UConn (Shabazz Napier) all have potential all-americans considering whether it’s worth it to make to jump to the league.

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

Hell, even Andrew Wiggins, the best high school player in the country and a near-lock to be the first pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, has yet to pick a school.

But nowhere will the next 12 days have more of an impact than in the state of Michigan.

The Wolverines already know that they are losing Trey Burke, which really isn’t a surprise. Burke wanted to leave for the NBA last season, but he decided to stay and became the National Player of the Year. Beilein knew he was gone before this season even began. Luckily, Beilein has a couple of point guards in the fold, as top 50 recruit Derrick Walton enters the program and Spike Albrecht — he of ’17 points in the first half of the national time game’ fame — returns for his sophomore season.

That probably would be enough to make Michigan a Big Ten contender once again, if they get everyone else back.

And that’s a big ‘if’.

Mitch McGary has the makings of a superstar at the college level, but since he finally showed that off during the NCAA tournament, the NBA has taken notice as well. McGary would likely get snatched up somewhere in the first round if he left school this year, and has a shot at sneaking his way into the back end of the lottery. Draft Express currently ranks McGary as the 17th best NBA prospect. Is that enough to get him to leave?

What about Glenn Robinson III? Many think that he actually wants to leave school this year, and there’s a decent chance that he could get snatched up in the first round of the draft if he did. Draft Express ranks him as the 21st best prospect in this draft and projects him to go 6th in their 2014 mock draft. He’s a 6-foot-6 athlete with three-point range and tremendous athleticism. His skills can be developed. You can’t teach potential.

That leave Tim Hardaway Jr., who would become the face of the program next season. But does he want to be the face of a program that looks nothing like the one that he played in this past season? If the rest of his team leaves, what else is there left for Hardaway to do at the college level?

And if those three end up going to the NBA, where does that leave Michigan? With Albrecht, Nik Stauskas, Caris LaVert and a bunch of freshman? There’s a chance that team could end up missing the NCAA tournament?

Michigan State doesn’t have the same kind of doomsday scenario as Michigan does. Keith Appling will be back in school, as will Denzel Valentine and Branden Dawson. Travis Trice also returns, and they’ll be joined by a trio of big men capable of playing in a Big Ten rotation. That group should be enough to get Michigan State into the top 25 in the preseason.

But that doesn’t include Adreian Payne and Gary Harris in the conversation.

Payne was a top 20 recruit coming out of high school that finally found a way to put his ridiculous skill set to good use this season, coming on strong in Big Ten play and shooting his way up NBA Draft boards. He’s a borderline first round pick if he leaves. His teammate, shooting guard Gary Harris, may actually be worthy of a higher pick but, as Gary Parrish reported today, may actually be more likely to return to school. He’s dealt with a bad shoulder all season long, and he could be a top ten pick with a full season of playing at full strength.

Michigan State, with Payne and Harris in the fold, is a top five team and a national title contender.

Michigan, with McGary, Hardaway and Robinson back, is likely a top ten team and a Big Ten contender.

But if all five end up leaving, you may see a top 25 poll with neither Michigan school ranked.

That’s a lot on the line over the next 12 days.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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.