Tuesday’s Pregame Shootaround: BYU-Wichita State, Saint Louis-Wisconsin highlight the night

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GAME OF THE DAY: BYU vs. No. 12 Wichita St, 10:00 p.m. ET

You want to talk about a contrast of styles? BYU loves to run and loves to score, taking advantage of the talent in their back court — Tyler Haws, Matt Carlino — to light up scoreboards. Wichita State? They’re a physical team, one that would rather get into a streetfight than a foot race. The Cougars have looked good this season, but the issue is going to be whether or not they can score against Wichita State’s tough defense. And if they can’t, they will be in trouble, because if BYU proved anything last night, it’s that they are not going to be much of a defensive team this season.

Expect the Sprint Center in Kansas City, where this game is being played, to have a large contingent of Wichita State fans. It will be a tough environment for BYU to get a win.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: Saint Louis vs. No. 10 Wisconsin, 8:30 p.m. ET

Wisconsin is good, and while I’m struggling to come to terms with the idea that the Badgers are playing faster than they have in the past, this is a team that is quite potent on the offensive end, whether they are playing faster or slower. Saint Louis is undefeated, but they are also somewhat untested at this point. The Atlantic 10 is looking tougher and tougher by the day. Is this the Billikins’ chance to make a statement?

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE DAY: Utah State at Weber State, 9:30 p.m. ET

Weber State entered the season as the favorite to win the Big Sky this season, but they are now sitting at 0-2 on the season after taking pretty solid beatings from Colorado State and BYU. Utah State isn’t on the same level as some of the best teams in the Mountain West, but with Preston Medlin and Jarrad Shaw, that team has the talent.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: Dayton vs. No. 18 Baylor, 10:00 p.m. ET

Can we really bet against Dayton to pull an upset in Maui at this point? They are 6-1 in program history in the event, they are undefeated this season and they now own wins over Georgia Tech and Gonzaga. The key for the Bears will be taking advantage of their size inside. Few teams can handle the likes of Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1) The Maui Invitational semis take place today, and the best matchup of the bunch might actually be Cal taking on No. 8 Syracuse. The Bears are currently unranked this season, but they are 5-0 and have the kind of talent on their perimeter to attack the Cuse zone.

2) The final of the Legends classic takes place tonight and will pit Pitt against Stanford. This will be the first real test for the Panthers this season. Can they actually compete in the ACC?

3) Some exciting late-night hoops are on the docket as Illinois will square off with UNLV at 10:45 p.m. The Rebels are struggling this season, having lost at home to UC-Santa Barbara and BYU. Can Illinois take advantage?

4) Evansville was supposed to be in rebuilding mode this season, but the 5-0 Purple Aces will head to Assembly Hall to take on Indiana tonight.

5) Dylan Cormier is averaging 29.8 points this season for Loyola MD. The Greyhounds get UConn tonight.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 11 Gonzaga vs. Chaminade, 4:30 p.m.

NOTABLES

  • North Carolina A&T at Ole Miss, 4:00 p.m.
  • Longwood at St. John’s, 7:00 p.m.
  • UMass-Lowell at Cincinnati, 7:00 p.m.
  • Florida-Gulf Coast at N.C. State, 7:00 p.m.
  • Sacred Heart at Boston College, 7:00 p.m.
  • Hampton at Virginia, 7:00 p.m.

Missouri lands No. 1 player in Class of 2017 as Michael Porter Jr. commits

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Missouri and new head coach Cuonzo Martin have landed the No. 1 player in the Class of 2017 a week after he took the job as forward Michael Porter Jr. committed to the Tigers on Friday.

Formerly a Washington commit under now-fired head coach Lorenzo Romar, the 6-foot-9 Porter was released from his Letter of Intent this week and many believed he’d end up back at Missouri.

The Porter family lived in Columbia for many years as two of Michael’s older sisters play for the Missouri women’s team while Michael Porter Sr. was an assistant coach for the women’s team.

When Porter Sr. was hired to Missouri to be an assistant coach on Martin’s staff this week — after losing his assistant coaching job at Washington when Romar was fired — it all but sealed the deal that the Porters would return to Missouri and Michael Jr. would play for the Tigers.

Missouri might not be an NCAA Tournament team next season after struggling to an 8-24 finish and 2-16 record in the SEC. But Porter might be the most productive freshman entering college basketball next season as he has a chance to be dominant in the SEC.

Oklahoma State promotes assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach

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Oklahoma State has decided to promote assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach, the school announced on Friday.

Boynton was an assistant with the Cowboys under former head coach Brad Underwood, who left Oklahoma State to take the Illinois job last weekend. Also an assistant coach at Stephen F. Austin, South Carolina, Wofford and Coastal Carolina, Boynton is a native of New York City who played his college ball for the Gamecocks.

The hire of Boynton is surprising since he doesn’t have any head-coaching experience as it follows in the footsteps of Cal promoting assistant coach Wyking Jones earlier in the day. Boynton also notably won the job over broadcaster and former Oklahoma State guard Doug Gottlieb as Gottlieb interviewed for the job but wasn’t selected.

 

Rhode Island junior E.C. Matthews will return to school

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Rhode Island junior guard E.C. Matthews will return to school for his redshirt senior season, the school announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-5 Matthews led the Rams in scoring at 14.9 points per game this past season as he returned from a torn ACL and helped Rhode Island reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.

Besides for being a talented scorer, Matthews is a good overall playmaker for the Rams as he also put up 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

With Matthews returning, it gives head coach Dan Hurley a huge weapon for next season as Rhode Island returns everyone besides the senior front court of Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson.

Cal promotes assistant Wyking Jones to head coach

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Cal will promote interim head coach and former assistant coach Wyking Jones to head coach, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The story was first reported by Jon Rothstein of FanRagSports.com

A native of Inglewood, California, Jones has been an assistant coach for the Golden Bears for the past two seasons as he replaces former head coach Cuonzo Martin, who departed to take the Missouri job. This promotion comes as a bit of a surprise for some since Jones has never been a head coach at the Division I level.

Jones has spent 15 years as an assistant coach at the Division I level at places like Cal, Louisville, New Mexico, Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount — where Jones spent his playing career.

Helping Louisville to the Final Four in 2013, Jones is a respected coach and recruiter who gets a great opportunity for his first head coaching job at the Division I level with Cal.

The Golden Bears made the NCAA tournament last year but finished 21-13 this season as they missed making the field of 68. Sophomore big man Ivan Rabb has already declared for the NBA Draft and it will be interesting to see what kind of roster Jones gets to work with right away.

One of the reasons Jones might have been retained is to help Cal keep its solid five-man recruiting class from bolting. While the Golden Bears don’t have any five-star talents coming in, it is a solid foundation for the program’s future led by a four-star guard in Jemarl Baker.

Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac declares for 2017 NBA Draft

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Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac has declared for the 2017 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-10 Isaac was a five-star prospect out of high school as he averaged 12.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. One of the most versatile defenders in the country, Isaac could protect the rim (1.5 blocks per game) and also switch out to the perimeter and cover smaller wings as well (1.2 steals per game). Also showing a solid skill level, Isaac shot 50 percent from the field, 34 percent from three-point range and 78 percent from the free-throw line.

That kind of versatility is what Isaac is banking on in the NBA Draft as he’s expected to be a top-15 pick. If Isaac can prove that he’s a reliable perimeter shooter then teams could be intrigued by him as a matchup nightmare in the front court.