Tuesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Kansas heads to Florida, Boise State visits Kentucky

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 13 Kansas at No. 19 Florida, 7:00 p.m. ET

I wonder how long it’s going to be before Bill Self regrets the schedule that he put together for this Kansas team? Three days ago, the Jayhawks were in Colorado, where they lost to the Buffaloes on a buzzer-beater by Askia Booker. They’ll return to Lawrence where they’ll get New Mexico on Saturday, following that up with home games against Georgetown, undefeated Toledo and San Diego State. Then they kick off Big 12 play. That’s as strong as it gets, and it comes at a time when Kansas is still trying to figure out who they are.

As far as tonight’s game, there are really three things I’m looking forward to seeing:

  • Can Andrew Wiggins build on the performance that he had on Saturday? Kansas lost, but it was the first time that Wiggins actually looked like Wiggins.
  • What will Joel Embiid do going up against Florida’s massive front line?
  • Scottie Wilbekin and Kasey Hill are both cleared to play tonight. It will be the first time that the two of them are both eligible and healthy at the same time. How good will they be? They are the difference between Florida being good and Florida being a legitimate contender.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 20 Gonzaga at West Virginia, 9:00 p.m. ET

The Zags are going to be an interesting team to watch this season, as they are one of the most potent offensive teams in the country. But can they guard? West Virginia has a pretty good offensive team, particularly in their back court, where Eron Harris and Juwan Staten have been awesome. How will Kevin Pangos and David Stockton matchup with those two?

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: Green Bay at Eastern Michigan, 7:00 p.m. ET

Green Bay is a really good team this season. They almost beat Wisconsin at home. They did beat Virginia at home. Kiefer Sykes in one of the nation’s best-kept secrets, and Alec Brown is a legitimate NBA prospect. That said, Eastern Michigan has a couple of high-major transfers, some length and athleticism and a coach that learned how to play a 2-3 zone under Jim Boeheim. Should be a good one.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

1) No. 11 Kentucky will be hosting Boise State, who needed to take a bus from Chicago to Lexington after a connecting flight got cancelled. The Broncos are one of the nation’s best three-point shooting teams. They get up and down the floor. They’ll make it hard for Kentucky to guard them. But they won’t have an answer for UK’s size inside.

2) Indiana will host the Oakland Fighting Travis Baders tonight. The irony: Indiana desperately needs some three-point shooting. If this was the NBA, they’d give up a recruit to be named later for Bader.

3) Cal will be looking to bounce back from a loss to UCSB by hosting Nevada tonight. The best individual matchup of the day will be Deonte Burton vs. Justin Cobbs.

4) Evansville squares off with Xavier tonight. The Muskies have not been impressive this season.

5) Minnesota hosts South Dakota State tonight in a game that would have been a lot more interesting if Nate Wolters hadn’t graduated.

IUPUI to become Horizon League’s 10th member

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The Horizon League officially announced this week that IUPUI will be replacing Valparaiso as the league’s 10th member. Valpo left to replace Wichita State in the Missouri Valley.

“We are excited to welcome IUPUI to the Horizon League family,” Horizon League commissioner Jon LeCrone said. “The Jaguars bring us tremendous competitive potential, particularly in men’s basketball, along with an engaged and energized city. Their addition solidifies our broad community partnerships in Indianapolis and is the right school at the right time.”

IUPUI — which stands for Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis — has been a member of the Summit League, which will be left with eight teams now that the Jaguars have departed. They’ve made it to one NCAA tournament, back in 2003, and have been a full-fledged member of Division I for 19 years. That was the year before NBA point guard George Hill enrolled. Current head coach Jason Gardner has been there for three years but has yet to record a winning season; IUPUI has not been over .500 since 2011, when Ron Hunter was still the head coach.

“We are excited about engaging with the other Horizon League member institutions to enhance the overall competitiveness of the league,” said IUPUI Director of Athletics Dr. Roderick Perry. “As an institution and athletics department, our mission, vision, and core values align closely with the Horizon League. This is an important step forward in the life of our athletics department.”

Former Louisville standout Chris Jones shot in Memphis

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Former Louisville point guard Chris Jones was shot while playing basketball in his native Memphis on Tuesday night.

According to a report from FOX 13 in Memphis, shortly after 11 p.m. shots rang out on in Halle Park after an altercation on the court. Two people were taken to the hospital, one with a head injury stemming from a fight. The other was Jones, who was shot in the leg twice, according to the Courier-Journal. His injuries are not life-threatening and he has already been released from the hospital, according to Steve Forbes, his former Junior College coach.

Jones played at Melrose High in Memphis before spending two years at Northwest Florida Junior College and two more seasons at Louisville.

This past year, he spent time playing professionally in Greece and in France, although he played just a grand total of three games in the two leagues.

Perhaps the craziest part about this story is that Jones was shot on a court that is next to a police station. This is a screengrab from FOX 13’s live shot from the basketball courts, and you can see the police cars in the station’s parking lot in the back ground:

Preaching patience, new Pitt AD says hoops program “a complete rebuild”

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Things did not go particularly well for Kevin Stallings in his first year at Pitt. The program, which essentially pushed Jamie Dixon out the door for being consistently good but not often enough great, struggled, going 16-17 overall and 4-14 in the ACC, just two games out of the cellar.

On top of that, six players prematurely left the program this spring.

Not great, especially when you’ve got a new boss that didn’t hire you, as is the case for Stallings with new Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke, who came aboard in March. In her first meeting with Stallings, Lyke asked a rather blunt question.

“Do you want to be here?” according to the Beaver County Times.

Stallings answered that he did, and his new athletic director would appear to be willing to give her predecessor’s hire time to reclaim and rebuild the program.

“It’s a steep climb, if you will,” Lyke said. “It’s not something that’s going to come easy and it takes an incredible amount of work.”

Stallings’ personal reputation took a significant amount of damage this spring when he attempted to block Cameron Johnson from an intra-ACC transfer to North Carolina. NBC Sports’ Scott Phillips called him a “town-deaf clown” in his attempt to keep Johnson from being a Tar Heel, a position he later relinquished, allowing Johnson to head to Chapel Hill.

Losing Johnson certainly won’t help Stallings and the Panthers recover from the difficult first season. Pitt didn’t hit any grand-slams in recruiting but is adding four-star guard Marcus Carr in its 2017 class.

The immediate outlook doesn’t look particularly bright, but Pitt appears to be positioning itself to exhibit some patience.

“If you look at the team, it is a complete rebuild,” Lyke said. “So I do think that (Stallings) is going to need a little time to develop it.

“But, we’ve got to be headed in the right direction. There’s some things that have got to get better and noticeable improvements. I’ve already seen those things start to happen.”

 

Miller Time: Indiana coach cashes in with $24 million deal

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — New Indiana coach Archie Miller will make $24 million under his seven-year deal — and potentially even more in bonuses.

Miller accepted the job in March, but the athletic department didn’t announce details of the contract until Tuesday.

He will receive a base salary of $550,000 per year and $1 million in deferred income each season. Miller also will receive an additional $1.85 million in outside marketing and promotional income — and will get a $50,000 per year raise each year through March 2024.

Miller can earn a $250,000 bonus for winning a national championship. He can earn an additional $125,000 for a Big Ten regular-season title, reaching the Final Four and producing multiyear Academic Progress Rate scores over 950.

Utah, BYU rivalry back on after one-year hiatus

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The BYU-Utah annual rivalry series will be back on this season after taking a one-year hiatus last year.

For just the second time since 1909, the Utes and the Cougars did not play in 2016-17 after Utah head coach Larry Kyrstkowiak asked for a one-year cooling off period stemming from an intense and emotional game against BYU in 2015-16. In that game, then-freshman Nick Emery was ejected as a result of this punch that he threw:

The last time those two teams did not play was due to World War II.

The game will be played at BYU on Dec. 16th.

Utah will also play Utah State this season, the first time that they have played the Aggies since 2011.