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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

D.J. Harvey cuts list to ten schools

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With the July Live Period coming to an end, it’s time for schools to starts deciding who they’re going to target, who they’re going to offer a scholarship to and who they’re going to cut bait with.

At the same time, we’re going to see a flurry of players starting whittling down the number of schools they’re actually considering.

D.J. Harvey was once considered a top ten prospect in the Class of 2017, and while the DeMatha product has seen his stock slide a bit in the last year, he’s still a top 50 player that has a number of power programs knocking on his door.

Over the weekend, he announced that he has cut his list to ten schools: Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Duke, Texas, Villanova, UConn, UCLA, Maryland, Arizona and Louisville.

Rick Pitino: ‘We’re going to press more than we’ve ever pressed’

Louisville coach Rick Pitino shouts instructions to his team during the first half of its NCAA college basketball game against Florida State, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
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Rick Pitino hopped on the air with 93.9 in Louisville recently and discussed the stuff you expect to hear a coach discuss on the radio in July.

He talked about the players that are improving (Jaylen Johnson). He talked about how he’s worried about how his team is going to score next season. He talked about the glut of big men on his roster and how none of them have done much to separate themselves from the pack.

It was all fairly typical.

But this line did catch my eye:

“Defensively, we’re going to press more than we’ve ever pressed,” Pitino said. “We’ve pressed a lot in the past but this team is very long, very athletic. I’m very bullish on this basketball team.”

Pitino’s teams have always pressed but he hasn’t been mentioned with the likes of Shaka Smart (Havoc) or Bobby Huggins (Press Virginia) because it isn’t an all-out press. Typically, the Cards run a 2-2-1 zone press that drops back to a half-zone/half-man amalgam that’s designed, in part, to confuse opponents as much as it is to force turnovers.

Is that going to change this year?

It would make some sense. This team is as athletic, long and versatile as any that he’s coached in recent memory. Think about the kind of physical tools that Ray Spalding and Jaylen Johnson and Deng Adel have. Think about what Donovan Mitchell can do if he’s allowed to ball-hawk the way Peyton Siva and Russ Smith did in the past.

This group can cause a lot of problems if they’re allowed to fly around the floor, and it sounds like Pitino may let them do just that.

Malik Williams cuts his list to eight schools

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Yesterday, when we released our July Live Period Superlatives, we listed Malik Williams as being the biggest stock riser in the country.

He went from being a kid that wasn’t playing in a shoe-company affiliated league in the spring to a five-star lock that has a bright future and NBA potential.

And on Monday, he announced that he has trimmed his list to eight schools:

N.C. State, Georgetown, Louisville, UCLA, Michigan State, Purdue, Iowa and Indiana.

Former Southern Miss forward Jonathan Mills shot and killed

Southern Mississippi forward Jonathan Mills (24) reacts at the buzzer in Memphis' 60-58 win in an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Lance Murphey)
AP Photo/Lance Murphey
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In two seasons as a member of the Southern Miss basketball program from 2011-13, forward Jonathan Mills made an impression based on how hard he played the game. Monday afternoon it was reported that Mills was shot and killed in Chicago, not too far away from his alma mater of North Lawndale High School.

Before attending Eastern Utah CC and Southern Miss, Mills plied his trade at North Lawndale where he helped the school win a state title in 2008 and the Chicago Public League title as a senior in 2009. North Lawndale HS coach Lewis Thorpe told the Chicago Tribune that he and Mills had plans to work out at the school Monday afternoon, only for Thorpe to receive a phone call from his nephew informing him of Mills’ death.

Mills was going through workouts with his high school coach in preparation for a move overseas to play professionally.

The coach said he heard from witnesses at the scene that Mills had gone to a corner store with some friends and, when they came out, a car drove up and someone inside shot him.

“I’m so messed up. I am so shocked,” he said. “When I say he was well liked…everybody loved him.’’

Thorpe said Mills called him “Pops” when he coached him in high school.

After word of Mills’ death made the rounds many paid tribute to him via social media including Donnie Tyndall, who coached Mills at Southern Miss.

Richmond announces change to European trip itinerary

Chris Mooney - UR
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With the NCAA allowing college basketball programs to take one trip outside of the country every four years, some coaches look at it as an opportunity to get a head start on preparations for the upcoming season. Chris Mooney’s Richmond Spiders are one team taking a trip this summer, as they’re due to leave the United States for Europe on August 8 with three exhibitions scheduled for their 12-day tour.

The trip was originally scheduled to begin in France, with the Spiders spending their first week there before making stops in the Netherlands and Germany. Monday afternoon the program announced a change to the itinerary, with the Spiders now spending their first week in Ireland and not France.

“We continue to be excited about the opportunity to travel abroad this summer,” Mooney said in the release. “We were able to make some changes to our travel itinerary, and we believe that this new itinerary will give our team a great opportunity to grow together and see other parts of the world.”

It isn’t stated as the reason for the change in the release but this news comes just over a week after a man drove a truck into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, claiming the lives of 84 people and leaving more than 200 others injured.

Richmond, which returns two of its top three scorers from a season ago in forward T.J. Cline and guard ShawnDre’ Jones, is schedule to return to the United States August 20. Per NCAA rules they’re also afforded the opportunity to practice for two weeks leading up to the trip, and heading to Europe can help the team build stronger connections in unfamiliar surroundings.