Andrew Wiggins

Kansas lost, but Jayhawk fans should be happy after the Colorado game

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Dear Kansas fans: Do not start freaking out just yet.

I know what happened on Saturday. I saw Colorado’s Askia Booker hit that buzzer-beating, euro-stepping three to beat the No. 6 Jayhawks, 75-72. I saw the bench mob him at half court and Jimmy Dykes ask him questions on ESPN in the postgame that made little-to-no sense. I watched it all happen.

And I’m still telling you that Saturday was a good thing for your team.

Because Andrew Wiggins finally started to look like the Andrew Wiggins that we’ve been telling you all about.

The bottom-line for this Kansas team is that they won’t be any better than normal without Wiggins playing like a go-to guy. He needs to command defensive attention and demand the ball on the offensive end of the floor. He needs to be a freight train with busted brakes running downhill in transition. He needs to attack the glass and be a night mare on the defensive end of the floor.

Remember, as good as the likes of Joel Embiid, Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis are, before Wiggins made the decision to play his collegiate ball in Lawrence, this group was a borderline top 25 team. They were thought to be right there with Baylor as a distant second in the Big 12 race, trailing Oklahoma State. They were a talented group that had just a little bit too much youth and not quite enough point guard play.

The reason they jumped into everyone’s top five or top ten was Wiggins.

And the reason that they haven’t played like a top five or a top ten team to date is … well, Wiggins.

It’s not that he has played poorly. In fact, he’s been pretty good, averaging 14.3 points, 5.6 boards and shooting 49.3% from the floor entering Saturday. But pretty good isn’t enough for Kansas, especially when Wiggins defers far too often in critical moments. Thus far this season, the guys that Kansas has gone to in those big moments have been Frank Mason and Naadir Tharpe, with a sprinkling of Perry Ellis in there as well. And with all due respect to those three, that’s not a group that will strike fear in the hearts of national title contenders.

On Saturday, it was Wiggins taking over in the second half. He finished with 17 of his 22 points after the break, attacking the rim in transition, remaining active on the offensive glass and helping to slow down Colorado’s offense in the second half at the top of the Jayhawk’s 1-2-2 zone. It was his best game at the collegiate level, and the first time that he looked like he was starting to figure out just how unstoppable he can be.

Colorado noticed as well. Down 72-70 with 11 seconds left, Bill Self even designed a sidelines out-of-bounds play built entirely around using Wiggins as a decoy to get Ellis a driving look at the rim.

Here’s the scarier part: Wiggins didn’t even play his best basketball. He made some dumb passes and he committed some silly fouls. He’s still got room to improve.

He’ll get there, but it’s a learning process.

So while this loss will hurt for a while — it should, losing like that stinks — at the end of the day, Kansas just lost to a top four team in the Pac-12 on the road at the buzzer. Colorado’s a good team.

Kansas is, too.

And they’re only going to get better if Saturday was truly Wiggins getting ready to take that next step.

Because if Wiggins doesn’t, Kansas will not live up to expectations.

Cal and San Diego State set three-game series

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 10:  Jarmal Reid #32 of the Oregon State Beavers tries to steal the ball from Ivan Rabb #1 of the California Golden Bears during a quarterfinal game of the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 10, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. California won 76-68.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Cal and San Diego State played last season in the Las Vegas Invitational and decided to play more often.

According to multiple reports, the two teams will play each other the next three seasons, starting with a neutral-court matchup in Sacramento on Nov. 21. The game in Sacramento will be unique in a couple of ways, as it will be the first college basketball game in the Sacramento Kings’ brand-new home arena. It will also be Cal’s first game in Sacramento since 1947.

After the Sacramento game during the 2016-17 season, San Diego State will host the Golden Bears the next season and Cal will host the Aztecs the following year to close out the three-game deal.

With both Cal and San Diego State returning plenty of talent from last season, this season’s contest should be one of the more intriguing non-conference games between schools out west and it should be fun for the players as they get to take the floor in a new NBA arena.

Report: Creighton’s Zach Hanson to miss a few months following knee surgery

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 3: Zach Hanson #40 of the Creighton Bluejays fights for position with Daniel Ochefu #23 of the Villanova Wildcats  during their game at CenturyLink Center March 3, 2015 in Omaha, Nebraska.   (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
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Creighton will be without a key big man for the start of practice as senior Zach Hanson will be out after having knee surgery.

According to a report from Marjie Ducey of the Omaha World-Herald, the 6-foot-9 Hanson will likely be out for eight to 12 weeks. Creighton head coach Greg McDermott told Ducey that Hanson will hopefully be available when Creighton opens its regular season in November.

As a junior, Hanson was a key rotation big man for the Bluejays as he put up 6.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, making one start on the season. As McDermott noted in Ducey’s story, he’s not concerned about Hanson missing practice time from a learning curve standpoint but he is a bit worried about his conditioning. Before the knee surgery, Hanson was also nursing some ankle injuries that he was dealing with during the season, so he hasn’t had a great chance to get in proper condition.

This loss will definitely hurt Creighton as they have a ton of backcourt pieces for next season, but not as many in the front court. Hanson’s an experienced player who will help once he returns but it will something worth monitoring to see what kind of condition he’s in during the early season.

VIDEO: Mixtape of the Under Armour Association

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Now that summer basketball is nearly finished, a lot of good mixtapes are beginning to pop up from this spring and summer’s action.

Ball is Life just dropped some highlights from all of the Under Armour Association events from this spring and summer in one mixtape and it’s loaded with high-level players making tremendous plays.

Some of the top Class of 2017 prospects included in the video include Trevon Duval, Kris Wilkes, Ira Lee, M.J. Walker and North Carolina commit Jalek Felton.

Judge to review surveillance video in Appling gun case

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 30:  Keith Appling #11 of the Michigan State Spartans reacts against the Connecticut Huskies during the East Regional Final of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 30, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) A Michigan judge will review surveillance footage from the night former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling was arrested outside a strip club on weapons and drug charges.

Appling’s defense attorney presented the footage at Friday’s preliminary examination. It includes security videos from the Pantheon Club parking lot and video from police dashboard cameras.

The hearing was adjourned until Aug. 5 to allow Judge William Hultgren time to review the footage.

The 24-year-old Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and had two 10-day contracts with the Orlando Magic this season.

He was arrested in May after two guns and suspected marijuana were found in a vehicle he was in.

Appling also faces a trial in Detroit where he was charged in June with carrying a concealed weapon.

Arkansas hoping for more backcourt depth and stronger press in 2016-17

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: Dusty Hannahs #3 of the Arkansas Razorbacks drives to the basket against Michael Humphrey #10 of the Stanford Cardinal  at Barclays Center on November 27, 2015 in Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Arkansas is coming off of a disappointing 16-16 season in which they missed the postseason.

The Razorbacks lost two key guards in Anthlon Bell and Jabril Durham — who both exhausted their eligibility — but they’re hoping a couple of additions will bolster the depth of their backcourt and make their trademark press stronger.

In a story from Tom Murphy of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Razorbacks are excited about the possibilities of their new backcourt.

Although Arkansas lost two talented seniors and a transfer in Jimmy Whitt, they return Dusty Hannahs, Manny Watkins and Anton Beard while also getting two of the best junior college guards in the country. Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon come in highly touted for next season and both junior college guards garnered a lot of praise from their play last season.

With Arkansas also bringing in some freshman guards like C.J. Jones and RJ Glasper, head coach Mike Anderson is hoping to have enough bodies to play fast and use his press. The team appears to be optimistic as well.

“I think we’ll have a lot more toughness at the guard position, and depth,” Watkins said to Murphy. “We’ve got a lot of guys. When we’re pressing and stuff, we’ve got bodies we can bring in.”

Arkansas also returns an SEC Player of the Year candidate in big man Moses Kingsley and they could be an intriguing team to track this season if Barford and Macon are as good as advertised. They’ll certainly have more bodies to throw at opposing guards and that should help Arkansas play faster than they did last season.