Fred Hoiberg

Sunday’s Pregame Shootaround: Michigan travels to Ames in a matchup against Iowa State

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 7 Michigan at Iowa State, 5:00 p.m. (ESPN2)

Michigan welcomed UMass Lowell to Division I, outscoring the River Hawks 46-19 in the second half. The Wolverines followed that opening night win with A 34-point beatdown — thanks to 15 3-pointers — of South Carolina State. Iowa State began the season with two wins by a margin of 30 points or more against the likes of UNC-Wilmington and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. After a pair of easy wins for each squad, Michigan travels to the Hilton Coliseum in an early season test between Big Ten and Big 12 programs.

This will be a sophomore-heavy game with Michigan’s Mitch McGary, Caris LaVert, Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III while Iowa State features Georges Niang and Naz Long. The matchup to watch though will be DeAndre Kane vs. Derrick Walton in the back court.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: Long Beach State at Kansas State, 4:00 p.m.

Long Beach State is one of the favorites in the Big West this season, but has put together a tough non-conference schedule. The 49ers lost the last two to No. 6 Arizona and Loyola Marymount. Up next after K-State are games against No. 7 Michigan, Washington, Creighton, USC, and North Carolina State before Long Beach State kicks off conference play with UC-Irvine. The 49ers are looking to be the second team to knock off the Wildcats in Manhattan this season after Northern Colorado did so on opening night.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE DAY: Valparaiso at Ohio, 2:00 p.m.

Valparaiso and Ohio meet up in a Horizon League-MAC matchup after each team had battled with Big Ten programs. The Crusaders cut it close in the second half against Illinois only to lose 64-52. The Bobcats were also trying to pull the upset late in the game, but in-state rival Ohio State took care of business in a 79-69 win.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1) Rivalry game in Rupp Arena tonight? Well, not really. But you can imagine that Big Blue Nation wants to hand Robert Morris a beating after the Colonials upset the Wildcats in the first round of the NIT last season. Sure, Julius Randle, James Young and the Harrison twins were still in high school when the Cats when down in Coraopolis, Pa., but this will be their first game after Tuesday’s loss to No. 2 Michigan State at the Champions Classic.

2) Boston College looks for first win of the season against Florida Atlantic. The Eagles enter the contest at 0-3 after losing to short-handed Providence, followed with a loss to UMass two days later and then a loss at home to Toledo on Thursday. Steve Donahue put together a tough conference schedule and so far it has backfired. Rebounding has been the issue in all three games for BC.

3) Towson is looking to take down another Philly powerhouse after improving to 3-0 — the first time in four decades the Tigers started 3-0 — after taking down Temple at home on Thursday night. Towson will look to move to 4-0, but it will have to do so at Villanova.

4) Indiana State gave up 63 second half points to Belmont on Thursday night, blowing a 16-point halftime lead. The Sycamores, a team a that figures to contend in the Missouri Valley Conference, now has to turnaround and take the floor against No. 21 Notre Dame in South Bend. (12:00 p.m.)

5) Oregon State will travel to Maryland to take on the Terrapins on Sunday evening. As reported earlier in the week, President Obama will be the most notable fan in attendance. Beavers head coach Craig Robinson is the older brother of First Lady Michelle Obama.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Robert Morris at No. 1 Kentucky, 7:00 p.m.
  • Belmont at No. 12 North Carolina, 4:00 p.m.
  • Oakland at No. 15 Gonzaga, 8:00 p.m.
  • Boston University at No. 19 UConn, 12:00 p.m.
  • Indiana State at No. 21 Notre Dame, 12:00 p.m.
  • Charleston Southern at No. 22 New Mexico, 6:05 p.m.
  • Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 23 Baylor, 5:00 p.n.

Villanova beats Duke, Kansas, Indiana for Jermaine Samuels

Atlanta, GA - MAY 27: Nike EYBL. Session 4. Jermaine Samuels, Jr. #23 of Expressions Elite dunks. (Photo by Jon Lopez)
Jon Lopez/Nike
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Villanova landed a commitment from top 50 prospect Jermaine Samuels on Saturday.

Samuels is a tough and athletic 6-foot-5 wing that will remind many Wildcat fans of Josh Hart. He’s got the same kind of versatility and nose for the ball that will let him guard perimeter players as well as work in as a small-ball four. Players like this are a specialty of Jay Wright.

Samuels picked up an offer from Duke recently and also had Indiana, Kansas and Georgetown in his top five. Beating out blue-bloods for a prospect like this is quite the statement for Villanova, one that should tell you the reigning national champs are here to stay as a national power.

Syracuse lands critical piece in Andrew White

LINCOLN, NE - FEBRUARY 3: Andrew White #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers shoots the ball over Rasheed Sulaimon #0 of the Maryland Terrapins during their game at Pinnacle Bank Arena on February 3, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images
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Syracuse has found their replacement for Malachi Richardson.

On Sunday, Nebraska transfer Andrew White committed to the Orange, picking Syracuse, in the end, over VCU. White is a graduate transfer who spent last season with Nebraska, where he averaged 16.2 points while shooting 41.2 percent from three. A top 50 prospect out of Virginia back in the Class of 2012, White played a limited role for Kansas his first two seasons in college.

This is a significant pickup for the Orange, one that legitimately puts them into the conversation as a Final Four contender and a threat to finish at or near the top of the ACC. Jim Boeheim has put together a roster full of talented, long and athletic front court players, but after Richardson declared for the NBA Draft as a one-and-done freshman, he was left with just two back court players on his roster.

Earlier this offseason, Cuse landed Colorado State grad transfer John Gillon, a 6-foot-1 combo-guard, to reinforce their back court. The addition of White gives them a lights-out shooter and a big-time scorer on the wing, something that would have been a major void on their roster.

With Paschal Chukwu getting eligible at the center spot and Tyler Lydon likely landing on every breakout player list this preseason, the Orange should be a markedly better team than the one that made their way to the Final Four last season.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

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.