stauskas

Friday’s Pregame Shootaround: Big day for the Big Ten

1 Comment

GAME OF THE DAY: No. 14 Michigan vs. Florida State, 5:00 p.m. (ESPN2) 

Florida State may have put forth the performance of the day on Thursday, beating No. 10 VCU 85-67 in a game they by as much as 30 in the second half. The Seminoles are likely to meet more resistance in the half court against Michigan, with the Wolverines rebounding from their loss at Iowa State with a comfortable win over Long Beach State. John Beilein’s team doesn’t force a high number of turnovers, but that doesn’t mean that Florida State can expect to get away with turning the ball over 23 times as they did against VCU. Michigan will need to be mindful of Okoro White, Montay Brandon and Robert Gilchrist on the boards, with Mitch McGary, Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford needing to keep those three Seminoles from controlling the glass as they did against VCU.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: No. 18 UConn vs. Indiana, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2) 

Five games, four double-doubles for Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh, and given how UConn’s big men have struggled on the glass Vonleh could be in line for a fifth double-double on Friday. But the most intriguing individual battle will come on the perimeter, with Indiana sophomore Yogi Ferrell going up against UConn senior Shabazz Napier. One key for the UConn guards: make sure DeAndre Daniels gets quality touches, because he’s a tough matchup for opposing forwards due to his ability to step out on the perimeter and knock down shots.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE DAY: LIU-Brooklyn at UC Irvine, 10:00 p.m.

LIU-Brooklyn’s lost a lot inside, and that could be an issue in a matchup of two teams who will contend in their respective leagues. For as well as 7-foot-6 freshman Mamadou Ndiaye has played in the middle for UC Irvine, people shouldn’t forget about reigning Big West Defensive Player of the Year Will Davis II either. LIU sophomore E.J. Reed will have his hands full inside, but he’s a skilled interior prospect as well. And that point guard matchup of LIU’s Jason Brickman and UC Irvine’s Alex Young certainly won’t lack for entertainment.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH: 

1) No. 1 Michigan State’s back on the floor after two lackluster performances at home, and how the Spartans perform in the game’s first five minutes will be something to keep an eye on. Will Tom Izzo’s team come out ready to go, or will they give the underdog Virginia Tech some early hope?

2) Both Boston College and Washington are hoping to avoid leaving NYC with two losses, making the third place game in the 2K Sports Classic all the more important. BC’s the team people expected to make waves in their conference, and with the losses they’ve already taken the Eagles can’t afford to drop this one.

3) Southern Miss/South Alabama has the potential to be the best non-televised game on Friday’s slate, with Donnie Tyndall’s team still undefeated and South Alabama having one of the nation’s better front court players in senior Augustine Rubit.

4) Another game to keep tabs on is San Francisco at Montana, with some of the better players out west participating. The Dons feature seniors Cody Doolin and Cole Dickerson, and the Grizzlies will counter with the versatile Kareem Jamar.

5) Arizona State hosts Marquette on Monday night in what will be a highly anticipated battle, but the Sun Devils have some business to take care of in the form of the Bradley Braves. Geno Ford’s team is off to a 4-1 start, with seniors Walt Lemon Jr. (15.2 ppg, 4.4 apg) and Tyshon Pickett (14.2, 8.6 rpg) leading the way.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25:

  • Virginia Tech vs. No. 1 Michigan State, 9:30 p.m. (TruTV)
  • Towson at No. 2 Kansas, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Long Beach State vs. No. 10 VCU, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • UMass vs. No. 19 New Mexico, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Morehead State at No. 22 UCLA, 11:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

NOTABLES: 

  • Kansas State vs. Georgetown, 12:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Northern Iowa vs. Loyola Marymount, 1:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
  • Boston College vs. Washington, 5:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • Providence vs. Vanderbilt, 6:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
  • Oklahoma vs. Seton Hall, 7:00 p.m. (TruTV)
  • Delaware at Villanova, 7:00 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
  • Southern Miss vs. South Alabama, 8:05 p.m.
  • San Francisco at Montana, 9:00 p.m.
  • Davidson vs. Clemson, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • Bradley at Arizona State, 10:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
Leave a comment

Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.