Tuesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Kicking off the Big Ten/ACC Challenge

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 22 Michigan at No. 10 Duke, 9:15 p.m. ET

The highlight of tonight’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge slate was supposed to pit two top ten teams against each other. Instead, both the Blue Devils and the Wolverines head into Tuesday night’s matchup with a pair of losses. Duke has been beaten by Kansas and Arizona this season, which is hardly a cause for concern for this group. What is concerning, however, is Duke’s front court, which isn’t big enough to handle the likes of Mitch McGary.

It’s not all peaches and cream for Michigan, however, as their three best players — McGary, Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III — have all been dealing with injuries this season. The story line that is going to be too overhyped here: McGary’s decision on where to go to school came down to Duke and Michigan.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: UC-Santa Barbara at No. 18 UCLA, 11:00 p.m. ET

UCLA has looked really good through the first month of the season, with their three wings — Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine — making up one of the nation’s most potent perimeter attacks. That said, UCSB is pretty good. They beat UNLV by 21 at UNLV and lost to Colorado and Utah State by single digits despite missing Alan Williams, who is currently averaging 29.0 points and 11.7 boards.

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: Belmont at Middle Tennessee State, 8:00 p.m. ET

Nothing but a pair of really strong mid-major programs in Tennessee. Both the Bruins and the Blue Raiders have put together strong starts to the season despite losing key pieces to graduation. Methinks Rick Byrd and Kermit Davis know what they’re doing.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

1) The Big Ten/ACC Challenge kicks off tonight. Our preview can be found here.

2) The best game of the night not including Duke or Michigan? Notre Dame’s visit to No. 23 Iowa.

3) But you’ll want to keep an eye on Pitt and Penn State as well. The Nittany Lions are a much-improved team, but I think Pitt can legitimately contend for the ACC title this season.

4) No. 21 UMass pays a visit to Eastern Michigan, a team that might be able to give them some trouble. EMU is coached by a Jim Boeheim disciple in Rob Muprhy. He plays zone and has some length and athleticism. Don’t be shocked to see UMass struggle against that kind of defense.

5) No. 2 Arizona takes the court again tonight as Texas Tech pays a visit to the McKale Center.

NOTABLES:

  • USC-Upstate at Cincinnati, 8:00 p.m.
  • Colorado at Colorado State, 9:00 p.m.
  • Creighton at Long Beach State, 10:00 p.m.
  • Utah at Boise State, 10:05 p.m.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

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Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.

The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.

The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.

(h/t: Courtside Films)

Five-star 2018 point guard Darius Garland cuts list to six schools

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Five-star Class of 2018 point guard Darius Garland revealed the final six schools that he’s considering on Friday.

The N0. 12 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals, the 6-foot-0 Garland is one of the top floor generals in the nation as he is still considering Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and Vanderbilt.

A native of Nashville, Garland is a potentially elite perimeter threat at the college level as he’s one of the more deadly three-point marksmen in the nation.

Garland spent this spring and summer playing with Bradley Beal Elite in the Nike EYBL as he averaged 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per game in the league this spring.

VIDEO: Kentucky’s John Calipari participates in the #DriveByDunkChallenge

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The #DriveByDunkChallenge is sweeping the nation on social media this summer.

Rules to participate are pretty simple:

  1. Drive around in your vehicle.
  2. Find a basketball hoop (or a basketball ring if you’re Ted Cruz) on a random driveway.
  3. Run out of your car and dunk on that random hoop while a friend films.
  4. Run back to your car and drive away.

Let Anthony Davis show you how it works:

Pretty simple, right?

The #DriveByDunkChallenge isn’t raising money or awareness for ALS like the #IceBucketChallenge did three years ago, but it’s something harmless and fun to do to pass the time during the dog days of summer.

Sensing an opportunity to join an Internet craze, while also following in the footsteps of his former player Kentucky star, Wildcats head coach John Calipari got involved with his own dunk late Friday night.

And his video is much funnier than I thought it would be.

While most #DriveByDunkChallenge videos are done by healthy and spry teenagers who are cruising neighborhoods during the day, Calipari, and his hip replacement, got in on the fun with a late-night dunk.

I love that Calipari ditched the ball behind his back while running back to the car after the dunk.

Most people who participate in the challenge usually have their own ball and keep it with them through completion. But Calipari either picked up a random ball in the driveway or just he lost the handle with his own ball and had a turnover.

The next time Calipari goes hard on one of his point guards for losing control and playing too fast, remember this moment.

Creighton’s Khyri Thomas posterizes defender

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Creighton rising junior wing Khyri Thomas, like several of his teammates, are taking part in the Omaha Summer League this offseason.

On Thursday night, the 6-foot-3, 205-lb. Thomas eviscerated a defender with a one-handed posterization.

Thomas is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign for the Bluejays. He started all 35 games, averaging 12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Aside from the increase in offensive production, Thomas served as one of the top defenders in the Big East. He shared the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award with Villanova’s Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges.

Zion Williamson throws down 360 windmill dunk

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Zion Williamson added another jaw-dropping dunk in the layup lines on the first night of the second live evaluation period.

Williamson and his SC Supreme team took on Each 1 Teach 1 at the Hoopseen Best of the South at the LakePoint Sporting Community in greater Atlanta.

The 6-foot-7 power forward threw down a 360 windmill dunk during his pregame routines.

Each 1 Teach 1 would pick up a 70-67 victory over SC Supreme. Williamson would end with a monster stat line of 37 points and seven rebounds.