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.

Big Ten releases matchups for new 20-game league slate

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The Big Ten’s 14-team structure has made for some unwieldy scheduling with unbalanced schedules and long-time rivalries relegated to a single matchup in some seasons.

The conference’s move to a 20-game league schedule is being made in part to alleviate those issues. Teams will play seven opponents home-and-away and the remaining six in one-off meetings – half on the road and half at home.

“The new schedules ensure that all three of the Big Ten’s in-state rivals – Illinois/Northwestern, Indiana/Purdue, and Michigan/Michigan State-will play twice on an annual basis,” Big Ten assistant commissioner Kerry Kenny said in a statement. “Additionally, there will be regional rotations in both the east and in the west. Rather than protecting a single opponent on a yearly basis for the remaining eight teams, annual rotations involving the four eastern teams (Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers) and the four western teams (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin) have been strategically developed to optimize travel, academic and recovery impacts while encouraging increased competition among institutions that are near each other geographically.

“Increasing the frequency of conference competition allows the Big Ten to compete across a larger footprint, while respecting history and balancing the needs of our students, coaches and fans.”

The Big Ten released the scheduling matrix Thursday (see below) while the full schedule will be released at a later date.

 

2018-19 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Opponents

ILLINOIS

Home: Michigan, Michigan State, Rutgers

Away: Iowa, Maryland, Purdue

Home/Away: Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin

INDIANA

Home: Nebraska, Ohio State, Wisconsin

Away: Maryland, Minnesota, Penn State

Home/Away: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue, Rutgers

IOWA

Home: Illinois, Maryland, Michigan

Away: Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue

Home/Away: Indiana, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Rutgers, Wisconsin

MARYLAND

Home: Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern

Away: Iowa, Michigan State, Rutgers

Home/Away: Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

MICHIGAN

Home: Nebraska, Ohio State, Purdue

Away: Illinois, Iowa, Rutgers

Home/Away: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State, Wisconsin

MICHIGAN STATE

Home: Maryland, Minnesota, Northwestern

Away: Illinois, Penn State, Wisconsin

Home/Away: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Purdue, Rutgers

MINNESOTA

Home: Indiana, Iowa, Penn State

Away: Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State

Home/Away: Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin

NEBRASKA

Home: Northwestern, Ohio State, Wisconsin

Away: Indiana, Michigan, Rutgers

Home/Away: Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue

NORTHWESTERN

Home: Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue

Away: Maryland, Michigan State, Nebraska

Home/Away: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Rutgers, Wisconsin

OHIO STATE

Home: Minnesota, Penn State, Wisconsin

Away: Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska

Home/Away: Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue, Rutgers

PENN STATE

Home: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State

Away: Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State

Home/Away: Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin

PURDUE

Home: Illinois, Iowa, Rutgers

Away: Michigan, Northwestern, Wisconsin

Home/Away: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State

RUTGERS

Home: Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska

Away: Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin

Home/Away: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State

WISCONSIN

Home: Michigan State, Purdue, Rutgers

Away: Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio State

Home/Away: Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State

New Mexico’s Chris McNeal transferring

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Chris McNeal is heading to his fourth school in four years.

The New Mexico guard has asked for and received his release from the school to transfer, the Lobos announced Thursday.

“Chris has truly been a great person to have in our program,” head coach Paul Weir said in a statement. “We wish him nothing but the best in his future.”

McNeal began his career in 2015 at Western Kentucky, where he played one season and set the freshman assist record, before heading to Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Ia., becoming a junior-college All-American on his way to New Mexico.

In his one season with the Lobos, McNeal started 19 games and averaged 9.5 points per game.He shot 37.2 percent from the floor and 31.5 percent from 3-point range. He had three games of at least 20 points, including 29 against Tennessee Tech in which he connected on 7 of 11 3-pointers.

New Mexico went 19-15 and finished third in the Mountain West.

McNeal will have one year remaining of eligibility and also has a redshirt year still available to him after his stop at Indian Hills.

Syracuse transfer Matthew Moyer headed to Vanderbilt

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Bryce Drew’s already sterling group of 2018 newcomers got even better Thursday.

Matthew Moyer, a former top-100 recruit, committed to transfer from Syracuse to Vanderbilt to add to an impressive haul of talent Drew has brought to Nashville.

“I am so blessed to announce that the next step in my academic and athletic journey is to Vanderbilt to play for Coach Drew!!” Moyer wrote on social media.

Moyer was a four-star recruit in 2016 and redshirted his first season with the Orange. Last year, his first on the court, he played just 16.8 minutes per game, averaging 3.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 Ohio native chose Vanderbilt over the likes of Texas and Xavier.

While Moyer will be expected to sit out the upcoming season under transfer rules, he’ll still be part of a major transfer infusion for the Commodores. Drew already has two five-star recruits in top-15 prospects Simisola Shittu and Darius Garland, plus four-star recruit Aaron Nesmith, a top-60 prospect. They’re also still in the running for Romeo Langford, a top-10 player in 2018.

Vanderbilt took a significant dip last year in Drew’s second season after an NCAA tournament appearance in Year 1, but their work on the recruiting trail looks to be ensuring that’ll be a momentary drop in performance. Vanderbilt moved on from Kevin Stallings to Drew in large part because of languishing results, but Drew looks to be reinvigorating the program in the best way possible – with serious success on the recruiting trail that seems likely to be followed by wins on the floor.

Report: Pilot involved in last year’s Michigan crash went against protocol, saved lives doing so

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The pilot of the plane that was scheduled to carry the Michigan basketball team from Detroit to Washington D.C. for the 2017 Big Ten tournament broke protocol by aborting takeoff and, in the process, potentially saved the lives of everyone on board the plane.

Here’s what happened, according to a transcript of the cockpit recorder that was obtained by The Detroit News: The mechanism that an airplane uses to take-off is called an elevator, and one of the two elevators on the plane that the Michigan team was on was stuck in a position that would not have allowed the plane to get into the air the way it needed to.

By the time the pilot of the plane realized this, the plane was already past the speed that would have allowed them to abort the takeoff without damaging the plane. Generally speaking, when that happens, the protocol is to get into the air and then find a way to land safely. The pilot on this flight slammed on the brakes, reverse-thrusted the engines and hoped for the best.

What eventually happened was that the plane skidded to a stop off of the back-end of the runway, leaving the people on board with bumps, bruises, scratches and, in the case of Derrick Walton Jr., stitches in his leg.

The alternative?

Well, we don’t have to think about that.

Because the pilot of that plane, Mark Radloff, went against what he was taught to do.

I’d suggest you read the entire story here. It’s wild and frightening.

Ohio State basketball reportedly hit with recruiting violations

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The Ohio State men’s basketball program has been hit with some of the stupidest recruiting violations I’ve ever heard of.

According to a report from The Lantern, three basketball recruits and one football recruit were on campus on September 9th and, during the visit, took a trip to the set of ESPN Gameday, which was in town for the Ohio State-Oklahoma football game.

During that trip to set, the recruits all met former Ohio State players Kirk Herbstreit, who works for ESPN, and Eddie George, who was a guest picker that day, as well as two other ESPN personalities. Recruits are allowed to meet former players on their visit to campus. They aren’t, however, allowed to meet with the media, and since ESPN’s Gameday staff is considered to be media, Ohio State technically committed a recruiting violation.

Now this is where things get a little bit messy.

According to the story from the Lantern, the football staff self-reported the violation, ended their recruitment of the football player involved and suspended the staff member responsible for the violation for one game. The basketball program, however, very likely landed commitments from two of the recruits. While Ohio State will not confirm which players were specifically involved, reports from the websites that track these things list just three players — USC commit Elijah Weaver and two Ohio State commits, JaeDon Lee and Luther Muhammad — as being on a visit that weekend.

As a result, the NCAA has reportedly ruled the three basketball players ineligible pending an appeal — which, I would bet the naming rights of my second-born son on, they will win even if it costs them a game or two — while ruling that Scoonie Penn, who coordinated the violation, to be suspended for a game.

All because the recruits had a chance to visit the set of College Gameday and got a chance to meet some ESPN TV personalities who probably could not have cared less about the kids they were meeting.