Roy Devyn Marble, Justin Martin, Jalen Reynolds

Saturday’s Pregame Shootaround: Villanova and Iowa Battle 4 Atlantis

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GAME OF THE DAY: Villanova vs. No. 23 Iowa (9:30 p.m., NBCSN)  

Saturday’s best game features two undefeated teams as the No. 23 Hawkeyes (7-0) will face the Wildcats (6-0) for the championship of the Battle 4 Atlantis. Villanova upset Kansas last night to make the championship game while Iowa knocked off UTEP. It appears as though Villanova head coach Jay Wright has some of the grit and toughness of past Wildcat teams and it will be interesting to see how they matchup with a deep Iowa team that has a lot of experience.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: UTEP vs. No. 2 Kansas (7:00 p.m., NBCSN)

In the third-place matchup of the Battle 4 Atlantis, UTEP (4-3) meets up with the No. 2 Jayhawks (5-1), who suffered their first defeat of the season in Friday night’s semifinal loss to Villanova. Although UTEP fell to Iowa in the other semifinal, they will surely get a boost knowing that they get to face the No. 2 team in the country, so although Tim Floyd’s team won’t win the Battle 4 Atlantis, they can at least get a shot at playing a top team tonight. The Miners have the size to matchup with the Jayhawks at most positions, but Kansas has superior athleticism.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: Eastern Kentucky vs. North Carolina State, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN3)

There aren’t many games going on tonight, but one to keep an eye on for a potential upset is Eastern Kentucky visiting North Carolina State. The Colonels are a potent 6-1 team without a true road test, but with four double-digit scorers led by guard Glenn Cosey. Cosey has scored 20 points in four straight games and is averaging 19.6 points a game this season while he would also act as Eastern Kentucky’s closer, having going 41-for-44 from the free throw line this season. The Wolfpack have a lot of talent, but lost at home earlier this season in overtime to North Carolina Central, so they can slip-up from time-to-time. North Carolina State rebounded nicely after that loss with a 20-point win over Dunk City, but Eastern Kentucky can score enough to potentially upset the Wolfpack on the road if North Carolina State gets to a slow start.

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: New Mexico State vs. Colorado State 6:00 p.m. (ROOT)

The Aggies have won seven straight games since dropping their season opener to Western Michigan and they’ll be tested today as they face host Colorado State in the Colorado State Challenge. With the WAC being down this season after conference re-alignment completely changed the look of the conference, New Mexico State has a chance to test itself in the next four games as they face the Rams, in-state rival New Mexico, Gonzaga and Arizona in their next four games. Colorado State finds itself at 5-2 on the season and is hoping to win their own challenge as they continue to figure out their rotation after last season’s Round of 32 appearance.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW: 

1) After a surprising 6-1 start, Penn State faces Ole Miss (5-0) in the Barclays Center Classic today. The Nittany Lions knocked off St. John’s in overtime to advance to face Ole Miss and will look to build on their strong start.

2) Virginia had a nice win over SMU last night in the Corpus Christi Classic and now they face undefeated Missouri State. The Bears knocked off Texas A&M and are 6-0 this season as they’ll be a team to watch in the always tough Missouri Valley Conference.

3) BYU and Utah State will square off tonight in a neutral site contest in Salt Lake City in what should be a really good game. The Cougars have lost two of their last three games — to Top 25 teams Iowa State and Wichita State — and will look to right the ship against 5-0 Utah State. Utah State started the season with a solid victory over USC and also own a big win over Mississippi State early this season.

4) If you’re up for some late-night hoops, TCU and Harvard will meet for the Great Alaska Shootout title tonight. TCU has made a nice run to the title game with a win over host Alaska Anchorage and Tulsa after starting the season 0-2. Harvard is one of the premier mid-major teams in the country and a win at the Great Alaska Shootout would look positive for potential seeding purposes in the NCAA Tournament.

5) In the consolation of the Corpus Christi Challenge, nonconference in-state rivals SMU and Texas A&M meet. This game doesn’t have many implications on the floor except for being a solid match-up of high-major teams at this point in the season. Texas A&M hasn’t had a lot of tests this season, but blew a halftime lead over Missouri State yesterday, so it will be interesting to see how they bounce back.

THE TOP 25: 

  • UTEP vs. No. 2 Kansas, 7:00 p.m. (NBCSN)
  • North Dakota vs. No. 14 Oregon, 6:30 p.m. (PAC 12)
  • Villanova vs. No. 23 Iowa, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

NOTABLES: 

  • Lipscomb vs. Georgetown, 12:00 p.m. (FSN)
  • Xavier vs. USC 1:00 p.m. (AXS)
  • St. John’s vs. Georgia Tech 2:00 p.m.
  • San Diego vs. New Mexico 3:00 p.m. (ROOT)
  • Tennessee vs. Wake Forest 3:30 p.m. (AXS)
  • Rhode Island at George Mason 4:00 p.m.
  • Penn State vs. Ole Miss 4:30 p.m.
  • New Mexico St. vs. Colorado State 6:00 p.m. (ROOT
  • SMU vs. Texas A&M 6:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
  • BYU vs. Utah State 9:00 p.m.
  • Virginia vs. Missouri State 9:00 p.m. (CBSSN)
  • TCU vs. Harvard 12:30 a.m. (CBSSN)

VIDEO: University of New Orleans aids area flood victims

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After over 20 inches of rain fell over three days and over 60,000 homes were damaged in southeastern Louisiana, New Orleans coach Mark Slessinger called his acquaintance, John Derenbecker, in the area to check in. Derenbecker and his family were fine, Slessinger learned, but many in the area were not.

I told (Derenbecker) to figure out who needed the help the most,” Slessinger told the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “that I had my whole crew who could come help out on Saturday and Sunday.”

That led Slessinger and his team to the home of an elderly couple, Elbert and Ione Norred, whose house was ravaged by over four feet of flood water. The Privateers helped slog out debris, cut away wet insulation and whatever else needed removing from the soaked home.

“I appreciate everything you have done,” Ione Elbert told the Privateers. “Nobody knows how long it would have taken us to have done this.”

The Red Cross estimates that the relief effort for the flooding could cost upwards of $30 million in the region. To make a donation to the organization call 1-800-RED CROSS.

UNO’s baseball team also got in on the aid effort, heading to Baton Rouge over the weekend.

“We are proud to see our student-athletes, coaches and staff serve our fellow Louisianians in their time of need,” UNO Director of Athletics Derek Morel said in a statement. “The men and women of our program understand the importance of serving others and using our resources to help those in less-fortunate situations. We will continue to play for neighbors.”

Rutgers land 7-foot grad transfer from UNC Wilmington

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Brandon Ingram #14 of the Duke Blue Devils drives to the basket as he is defended by C.J. Gettys #23 of the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks in the second half of their game 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 Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
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Rutgers landed a commitment from seven-footer C.J. Gettys on Monday night.

Gettys is a graduate transfer from UNC-Wilmington, where he averaged 5.3 points, 5.1 boards and 1.4 blocks for a team that reached the NCAA tournament. Gettys is a slow-footed back-to-the-basket player, however, and that didn’t exactly fit with the way that UNCW head coach Kevin Keatts likes to play; think Shaka Smart’s VCU teams.

So Gettys opted for Rutgers, picking the Scarlet Knights over Dayton, Purdue and Chattanooga.

He is the fifth member of new head coach Steve Pikiell’s first recruiting class.

VIDEO: Seventh Woods dunks on UNC student

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Some poor UNC student decided that he was going to try and block Seventh Woods, a freshman point guard for the Tar Heels, on a dunk attempt.

What ended up happening was that he got windmilled on.

To quote Samuel L. Jackson, as portrayed the great philosopher Dave Chappelle, “You ain’t never seen my movies?” Woods was doing this as a freshman … in HIGH SCHOOL.

Former National Player of the Year Michael Brooks dies at 58

Brooks for All-American Brochure
Courtesy La Salle Athletics
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A Philadelphia basketball legend and a former National Player of the Year passed away on Monday night.

Michael Brooks, a 6-foot-7 forward who was named the NABC National Player of the Year in 1980, died in Switzerland on Monday night due to a massive stroke, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

He was just 58 years old.

Brooks finished his career with 2,628 points and 1,372 rebounds. He never averaged less than 20 points in his four seasons in college. (Think about that for a second.) He was the No. 9 pick in the 1980 NBA Draft and averaged double-figures for four years before season-ending knee injuries sent him to Europe to play. Brooks was also named the captain of the 1980 Olympic team that missed out on the Moscow games due to the USA’s boycott.

Brooks, according to the Inquirer, had aplastic anemia, which required him to receive a bone marrow transplant last week. His body rejected the marrow, which resulted in the strokes that ended his life.

UCLA cruises in opener on Australian tour

UCLA head coach Steve Alford, second from right, watches action against Cal Poly with his assistant coaches in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Baker)
AP Photo/Michael Baker
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UCLA, who will be the most interesting team in all of college basketball this season, played their first game of an Australian tour on Tuesday morning, and they won in pretty impressive fashion.

The Bruins had triple digits on the board early in the fourth quarter, eventually beating a club in Sydney by the score of 123-76. For comparison’s sake, Washington and potential No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz beat the same team 101-80 a couple of weeks ago, so the win and the margin of victory is somewhat impressive.

Also worth noting: None of UCLA’s freshmen started. Steve Alford rolled with Aaron Holiday, Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton on the perimeter — Holiday and Hamilton combined for 27 points, 18 assists and 11 boards while Alford had 17 points on just 10 shots — with G.G. Golomon and Thomas Welsh up front.

But the noteworthy performances here were from the McDonald’s All-Americans that Steve Alford brought into the program. In his first game in the blue and gold, Lonzo Ball, a potential top ten pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, was just OK. He finished with nine points and four assists while shooting 3-for-9 from the floor. Leaf, however, was terrific, as he led the team with 21 points to go along with nine boards and three assists.

The first exhibition game is hardly a great way to predict how a season is going to play out, but given the pressure and expectations currently surrounding the program, everything the Bruins do this season is going to be scrutinized.

This isn’t a bad way to start.