Photo courtesy @IllinoisLoyalty

Even hoops recruits are thinking football right now

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Hello? (oh… oh… oh) Is there anybody in here? (ere… ere… ere)

College football weekend is starting off with a bang. I can’t even blame all y’all for not paying much attention to CBT right now. Even our game is heavily dependent on the gridiron right now, as college hoops coaches have invited top recruits to campus this weekend in order to wow them with full stadiums and decked-out fans.

John Groce, for instance, has coveted five-star forward Leron Black in Champaign for the day, and where were the two spotted? According to this photo from the Twitter account of @IllinoisLoyalty, they were hobnobbing at Memorial Stadium, which is all decked out in orange for the home opener vs. the Southern Illinois Salukis.

The fact that the slumping football team narrowly won against an FCS opponent by a score of 42-34 probably doesn’t make much difference in whether Black chooses the Illini or not, but the festival atmosphere of a kickoff game is intoxicating.

Plus, it’s not like you’re poor Bruce Weber, who has to explain to recruits why his once-dominant squad just lost to North Dakota State at home.

OK, run along and enjoy your football, kids. But we expect you back here, rested and ready to pay attention tomorrow morning.

Got it?

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.