Drexel Arizona Basketball

Wednesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Three top five teams take the court

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GAME OF THE DAY: New Mexico State at No. 1 Arizona, 9:00 p.m. ET

Arizona deserves their No. 1 ranking. They’ve played like the best team in the country all season long. But New Mexico State is good. Let’s start with the obvious: this group is the favorite to win the WAC. Daniel Mullings is one of the best guards on the west coast. And Sim Bhullar? Well, he’s 7-foot-5, and while he may not Yao Ming, he’ll definitely be able to give Kaleb Tarczewski all that he can handle. Having said all that, the Aggies enter this one on a three-game losing streak, having losing to Colorado State, New Mexico and Gonzaga. And in the next six days, they’ll be heading to Drake and New Mexico — again — as well. It’s a tough stretch for NMSU.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: North Dakota State at Notre Dame, 7:00 p.m. ET

Notre Dame has not been very impressive early on this season, losing to Indiana State at home and struggling to knock off Bryant on Monday. North Dakota State is good. They are the favorite to win the Summit this season, led by Taylor Braun, who is one of this year’s best mid-major players. The Irish will be in for a fight.

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: Canisius at Buffalo, 8:00 p.m. ET

MAAC vs. MAC. Canisius and Buffalo will both compete for their respective league titles, but what makes this game so interesting is the stars on those two teams. Canisius point guard Billy Baron and Buffalo big man Javon McCrea are two of the best players in the country you haven’t seen play.


1) George Washington is sitting pretty at 8-1 right now, but they will be pushed by a good Boston U. team tonight. The Colonials have gotten quite a bit of publicity since Sunday’s buzzer-beating win over Maryland. How will they respond?

2) Bryant gave Notre Dame a fight in South Bend on Monday. They head to Columbus tonight to take on No. 3 Ohio State.

3) Milwaukee is sitting at 9-2 this season, but they’ll have their work cut out for them going up against No. 4 Wisconsin.

4) Denver was thought to be one of the best mid-major teams in the country this season, but they are currently sitting at 2-5 on the year. The Pioneers will have a chance to bounce back tonight against Colorado State.

5) Niagara’s Antione Mason leads the nation in scoring at 29.4 points. He plays Davidson at home tonight.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.