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Tuesday’s Pregame Shootaround: There’s more than just Okla State-Memphis tonight

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 11 Memphis at No. 7 Oklahoma State, 8:00 p.m. ET ESPN

This matchup is so tantalizing we had to give it a separate post.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: Arizona State at UNLV, 10:05 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Net

Do we know what is going on with UNLV yet? How did they go from a team with as much talent as anyone on the west coast to a team that loses by 21 to UC-Santa Barbara? Arizona State is good this year. Jahii Carson is well worth tuning in for, and Jordan Bachynski should help counteract the Rebel’s size advantage. This will be a good gauge for UNLV. The Sun Devils are an NCAA tournament caliber team.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: Georgia State at Alabama, 8:00 p.m. ET ESPN3

Georgia State is really good this season. R.J. Hunter is one of the best mid-major prospects in the country, Devonta White and Manny Atkins have no business playing in the Sun Belt, and Ryan Harrow looks like a different player now that he’s out of Lexington. Alabama is a middle-of-the-pack SEC team that the Panthers match up well against. A win gets them to Madison Square Garden for the NIT semifinals.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE DAY: Canisius vs. Elon at Rutgers, 5:00 p.m.

Canisius guard Billy Baron is fun to watch play, while Elon is good enough that they could win the Big South and make it to the NCAA tournament.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1) In addition to Marcus Smart taking the floor against No. 11 Memphis tonight, the nation’s top four freshmen will all be playing tonight: Jabari Parker and Duke host East Carolina, Julius Randle and Kentucky take on UT-Arlington, Iona visits Kansas and Andrew Wiggins, and Arizona and Aaron Gordon go up against Rhode Island.

2) If that’s not enough, No. 3 Louisville is also playing tonight, as they host Hartford. Five of the top six teams in the country playing on the same night?

3) Rutgers hosts Drexel in the fourth quarterfinal in the Preseason NIT. The winner heads to Madison Square Garden. Alabama, Arizona and Duke are also hosting quarterfinals.

4) North Dakota is one of the favorites in the Big Sky and they’ll visit No. 12 Wisconsin tonight. Troy Huff is worth watching, but the No Nicknames will be playing their first Division I opponent tonight.

5) A potential upset to keep an eye on: Bucknell visiting St. John’s.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Utah Valley at No. 17 Oregon, 9:00 p.m. ET

NOTABLES

  • Vanderbilt at Butler, 6:00 p.m. ET FS1
  • Navy at Virginia, 7:00 p.m. ET
  • La Salle at Penn State, 7:00 p.m. ET
  • Coastal Carolina at Minnesota, 8:00 p.m. ET
  • Seattle at Boise State, 9:00 p.m. ET
  • Colorado State at UTEP, 9:05 p.m. ET

Illinois State ends No. 21 Wichita State’s 12-game win streak

Fred VanVleet
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Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.

In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.

And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.

Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.

And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.

This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.

VIDEO: New Mexico loses game on blown call by officials

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Nothing like a nice, controversial finish to get the blood flowing.

New Mexico was on the receiving end of a rule misinterpretation on Saturday afternoon, and that interpretation likely cost the Lobos a win over San Diego State and, arguably, a shot at the MWC regular season title.

Here’s the situation: New Mexico is up by three with 12 seconds left and the ball under their own basket. Their allowed to run the baseline, so Craig Neal calls a play where the inbounder throws the ball to a player running out of bounds.

Totally league as long as the player establishes out of bounds before touching the ball. The referee rules that he doesn’t.

Here’s the video:

The problem?

According to the rules, Xavier Adams — the player receiving the pass from Cullen Neal — only needed one foot on the floor out of bounds in order to establish himself as an inbounder that was able to catch that ball. He got one foot down (see the picture above), but the referees appeared to rule that he needed to have both feet down.

That was incorrect, according to the Mountain West office.

“While this was a very close judgment call made at full speed, it has been determined after careful review of slow-motion video replays the call was in fact incorrect,” the league said in a release. “The New Mexico player did get one foot down (two feet are not required) out-of-bounds before receiving the ball, thus establishing his location in accordance NCAA Basketball Playing Rules 4.23.1.a and 7.1.1.  By rule, the officials were not permitted to go to the monitor during the game to review this play.”

And here’s the kicker: When SDSU got the ball back, they hit a three to send the game into overtime, where the Aztecs won. But if New Mexico had won this game, they’d be sitting at 8-2 in MWC play, one game behind SDSU in the loss column with a return game against them in The Pit.

Instead, they’re now three games back with seven to play, meaning that the race is effectively over.

It’s tough to blame the referees here — it was a bang-bang call that is only clear in slow-motion replay — but man, that’s a big call to miss.