GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 8 Villanova at No. 2 Syracuse, Sat. 2:00 p.m. (all times eastern)
Raphielle Johnson wrote about this game extensively here.
THE OTHER GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 6 Louisville at No. 18 Kentucky, Sat. 4:00 p.m.
I wrote 600 words on this game right here.
FOUR MORE TO KEEP AN EYE ON:
- Wake Forest at Xavier, Sat. 5:00 p.m.: The Skip Prosser Classic. Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com wrote a really touching preview for this game.
- Providence at No. 23 UMass, Sat. 6:00 p.m.: Chaz Williams and Bryce Cotton are two of the nation’s most entertaining guards to watch. Both the Friars and the Minutemen love uptempo basketball. Both of them score plenty of points. The Friars are coming off of a disappointing non-conference, not because of results but because of the loss of Kris Dunn (shoulder), Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock (suspensions). UMass lost their last time out to Florida State.
- No. 25 Missouri at N.C. State, Sat. 8:00 pm.: Wanna talk about teams with something to prove? Missouri’s best win at this point in the season is over UCLA at home. They lost to Illinois in the Braggin’ Rights game and haven’t done much else of note. The Wolfpack are in a similar situation. They’ve beaten Tennessee, but their resume isn’t all that impressive. T.J. Warren and Jordan Clarkson are two of the best players you haven’t seen yet.
- Alabama at UCLA, Sat. 10:00 p.m.: Talk about a contrast of styles. Alabama likes to muck-it-up defensively while UCLA is going to try to get out and run as much as humanly possible. Who wins out?
WHO’S ON UPSET ALERT?
- UC-Irvine at Arizona State, Sat. 2:00 p.m.: Jahii Carson is always must-see TV, but the Sun Devils can struggle on nights when he’s not playing his best. Irvine already has a win at Washington this season and they have a must-watch player in their own right in Mamadou N’Diaye, who stands 7-foot-6.
- UIC at Illinois, Sat. 2:00 p.m.: Kelsey Barlow is having a huge season for UIC, averaging 16.6 points, 5.2 boards and 4.5 assists. Illinois will have to slow down the former Boilermaker is they want to avoid getting upset.
THREE MORE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
1) Two of the nation’s best mid-major teams, Belmont and Indiana State, will square off at 1:05 on Saturday afternoon in Terre Haute.
2) BYU will head to LMU on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. to kick off WCC play. Anthony Ireland will be fun to watch facing BYU’s uptempo offense.
3) Notre Dame’s first game without Jerian Grant will take place on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. when they host Billy Baron and Canisius.
Five-star point guard Trevon Duval is the most electrifying lead guard in the Class of 2017. The native of Delaware dominated the Under Armour circuit this spring and is currently regarded by many as a top-five player in the class by most recruiting services.
Now he’s down to 10 schools as his recruiting is starting to become more of a focus. The 6-foot-2 Duval is down to Arizona, Cal, Kansas, Maryland, Oregon, St. John’s, Seton Hall, UCLA, USC and Villanova.
Things are still early in the process for Duval and it will be interesting to see if he schedules any official visits soon.
Ohio State has lost quite a few transfers and hasn’t had a lot go their way with regards to recent recruiting, but things could be changing after a good weekend.
The Class of 2018 is starting to look really good for the Buckeyes as they landed commitments from wings Darius Bazley and Justin Ahrens this weekend. The two in-state products are grassroots teammates together on King James and they give Ohio State three commitments in that class.
Bazley is considered a four-star prospect on Rivals while Ahrens checks in as a three-star. They join another Ohio native, guard Dane Goodwin, in the class as this could be the group that helps bring Ohio State back in regular Big Ten contention.
Butler picked up an important commitment on Monday as four-star forward Kyle Young committed to the Bulldogs.
A Class of 2017 stretch forward who can hit jumpers and has an improving skill set, the 6-foot-7 Young comes from Massillon, Ohio and he’s regarded as the No. 109 overall prospect.
Young was impressive in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer with King James as he averaged 15.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game as he shot 48 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3-point range.
This is a nice grab for Butler as Young is the type of versatile perimeter shooter that they like to utilize and he should be able to help a bit on the glass as well.
Young joins a class that includes guards Cooper Neese and Jerald Butler.
Earlier this summer, we told you the story of Collin Sexton, how the 6-foot-2 Georgia native went from being a mid-major recruit to a five-star prospect being courted by the likes of Kansas, Arizona, North Carolina and Villanova.
It’s because he’s a bucket-getter.
RELATED: Making A Five Star
He averaged 31 points in the Nike EYBL circuit, nine points better than Michael Porter, who finished second in the league in scoring. No one puts points on the board like he does, so it’s only fitting that he was the guy that made a shot from the balcony during ‘The Trip’, Nike’s effort to keep kids associated with their brand from Elite 24:
UCLA capped their three-game trip to Australia on Sunday night with a 94-91 win over the Brisbane Bullets, a game in which sophomore point guard Aaron Holiday finished with a team-high 17 points. Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton both added 16 points and freshman Ike Anigbogu finished with 13 points and 10 boards.
This win came just two days after the Bruins lost to Melbourne United, 89-84, when Hamilton — 18 points and five assists — and Holiday — 16 points — were both once again impressive. Alford also added 18 points in Friday’s loss.
It’s not surprising that the Bruins had some up and down performances abroad. Everyone does. It’s what happens when a team of college kids, with three freshmen playing key roles, heads to the other side of the world to square off against teams made up of professionals. Don’t go hanging the ‘Fire Steve Alford’ banners on anymore airplanes just yet.
There are, however, two interesting things to consider from this trip:
– Lonzo Ball, UCLA’s star freshman, was, at best, their fourth-best perimeter player. Seniors Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford and sophomore Aaron Holiday all played well and posted impressive numbers on the three-game trip. Ball? He didn’t shoot well. At all. In UCLA’s 47-point opening win, he was 3-for-9 from the floor and 1-for-3 from three, putting together was was by far his best shooting performance of the trip. In the three games, he shot a total of 25 percent (9-36) from the field and 19 percent (4-21) from three. He did average 5.0 assists and, in one game, notched 13 boards, but Ball’s ability to shoot will be something to keep an eye on.
– And then there’s this, from Bryce Alford:
UCLA needs to travel with more towels.