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Top 10 College Basketball Games in 2013

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The New Year is here! To help you reminisce about the basketball that was during 2013, here is a list of the top ten games of the year.

What did we miss? What shouldn’t be on the list? Why are we smart or dumb or haters or biased? Let us know in the comments:

1. Luke Hancock outshines Spike Albrecht: In the most exciting national title games this side of Mario Chalmers, Spike Albrecht, Michigan’s no-name back-up point guard, did his best Trey Burke impression as he scored 17 first half points to give the Wolverines a double-digit first half lead which was erased in the span of two minutes as Luke Hancock went all Spike Albrecht on Michigan, hitting four threes and turning this back into a ball game.

Louisville would eventually go on to win the national title, but that first half will go down as one of the most exciting, unpredictable 20 minutes of basketball that I have ever seen.

2. Hinkle Magic?: On College Gameday, Butler and Gonzaga — the nation’s two preeminent mid-major programs — squared off in a thriller that ended with Roosevelt Jones  making one of the most unlikely buzzer-beaters you’ll ever see:

3. Jerian Grant brings Notre Dame all the way back: Notre Dame knocked off Louisville in a five overtime game last February in a game that was less great basketball than it was memorable. But the highlight of the game? Grant went for 12 points in 28 seconds to erase an eight-point lead in the final minute of regulation:

4. No. 1 Indiana falls at Illinois: Playing for their NCAA tournament lives, Illinois knocked off Indiana on this buzzer-beating layup from Tyler Griffey:

5. Indiana wins the Big Ten: Indiana won the 2013 outright Big Ten title in a thrilling, 72-71 win over Michigan in Ann Arbor. Cody Zeller went for 25 points and 10 boards, hitting the game-winner with 13 seconds left on the clock.

6. Kansas doesn’t believe in Hilton’s Magic: Elijah Johnson scored 18 of his 39 points in a game-changing, 21-9 run as the Jayhawks once again avoided getting upset by Iowa State with a 108-96 win in overtime.

7. Ben Brust forces overtime: This entire list could end up being made up of games from the Big Ten regular season, but there may not have been a more impressive shot made all year than this buzzer-beater:

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8. Speaking of half-court buzzer-beaters:

9. Wichita State upsets No. 1 Gonzaga: We all knew that Wichita State could play heading into the tournament, but they solidified themselves as one of the strongest mid-major programs in the conutry with a run to the Final Four. That run got started with an upset of Gonzaga that featured a game-changing nine-possession stretch where Gonzaga scored 23 points.

10. Belmont beats Murray State: Belmont’s Kerron Johnson hit two huge shots down the stretch, including a game-winner with 1.2 seconds left, as the Bruins knocked off Murray State and Isaiah Canaan to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

UConn duo returning to school

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Connecticut may have lost its 6-foot-7 wing scorer but it is keeping its defensive stalwart and leading scorer.

Center Amida Brimah and guard Rodney Purvis have withdrawn their names from NBA Draft consideration and will return to the Huskies for another year, the school announced Tuesday.

The decisions from Brimah, a 7-foot center, and Purvis, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, help soften the blow dealt by Daniel Hamilton’s decision to sign with an agent and leave school despite having some shaky draft stock. The Huskies may not open the season as a top-25 team, but they won’t be far behind and will be one of the AAC’s favorites, along with Cincinnati.

Brimah averaged 6.5 points per game last year, but blocked 2.7 shots per game. He missed 11 games last season with a broken finger. Purvis registered 12.8 points per game while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor.

Neither Brimah or Purvis were among those invited to this month’s NBA Draft combine nor were either expected to be drafted should they have kept their names in the draft.

Gonzaga’s Karnowski returning for fifth year

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The man in the middle is returning to Gonzaga.

Przemek Karnowski will return to the Bulldogs for his final year after a medical redshirt waiver was granted allowing him a fifth season in Spokane, the school announced Tuesday.

“I’m excited to be coming back,” Karnowski said in a statement. “After talking with the coaches, my parents and the team, I decided this was the best decision for me. I still have a ways to go with my rehab, but I’m staying positive about the upcoming season.”

The 7-foot-1 Karnowski, a Poland native, would have, at minimum, had professional opportunities overseas, but instead will return to play for the Bulldogs once more after a back injury limited him to five games last season. He averaged 10.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game as a junior in 2014-15.

With Karnowski returning along with  Josh Perkins and Silas Melson, Gonzaga coach Mark Few will be having newcomers Nigel Williams-Goss, Zach Norvell, Johnathan Williams II and Zach Collins joining an experienced and talented group.

Gonzaga (shocker) will be the West Coast Conference favorite once more, but the Bulldogs will also be fielding a team that should open the season in most everyone’s top-15.

Michigan St. at Duke highlights ACC/Big Ten Challenge

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A matchup in Durham of likely top-10 teams is the headliner of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, whose schedule was released Tuesday.

Michigan State, expected to open the season in the top-10, and Duke, the presumptive preseason No. 1, will meet Tuesday, Nov. 29, at Cameron Indoor Stadium in the most intriguing contest of the 14-game event.

The Spartans are losing Denzel Valentin, Bryn Forbes and Matt Costello, but the recruiting class of Miles Bridges, Cassius Winston, Joshua Langford and Nick Ward is one of coach Tom Izzo’s best and has Michigan State positioned as one of the Big Ten’s favorites.

Izzo’s recruiting class, though, pales in comparison to what coach Mike Krzyzewski is bringing to the Blue Devils, with Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, Marques Bolden, Frank Jackson and Javin DeLaurier in their 2016 class, which is why, when paired with the likes of Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson and Luke Kennard, make Duke nearly everyone’s No. 1 heading into next season.

Krzyzewski is 9-1 all-time against Izzo’s Spartans.

Among the other highlights of the conference competition is Syracuse at Wisconsin (Nov. 29) Pittsburgh at Maryland (Nov. 29), Purdue at Louisville (Nov. 30) and Ohio State at Virginia (Nov. 30).  

Monday, Nov. 28

Minnesota at Florida State

Wake Forest at Northwestern

Tuesday, Nov. 29

Syracuse at Wisconsin

Michigan State at Duke

Pittsburgh at Maryland

Iowa at Notre Dame

Georgia Tech at Penn State

N.C. State at Illinois

 

Wednesday, Nov. 30

Purdue at Louisville

North Carolina at Indiana

Ohio State at Virginia

Virginia Tech at Michigan

Rutgers at Miami (Fla.)

Nebraska at Clemson

 

Hayes returning to Wisconsin for senior season

Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes celebrates with fans after an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, in Iowa City, Iowa. Wisconsin won 67-59. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Wisconsin has cemented itself as one of the teams to beat in the Big Ten for the 2016-17 season.

Forward Nigel Hayes, the Badgers’ leading scorer and assist man, is withdrawing his name from NBA Draft consideration to return to Madison for his senior season, he told the Wisconsin State Journal on Tuesday evening.

Hayes declared for the draft last month, but did not hire an agent, taking advantage of new NCAA legislation that allowed him to attend the NBA Draft combine and workout for pro franchises. He was largely regarded as a fringe first-round prospect by draft observers.

His decision is a major boon for Greg Gard, who may have the Big Ten’s best team in his first full season at the helm after taking over for Bo Ryan in the middle of last season. Wisconsin had a major turnaround under Gard, which ultimately resulted in him moving from interim to full time. The Badgers were 7-5 when Ryan stepped down, but recovered by going 13-4 to end the season and make the Sweet 16. 

Now, the entirety of that team, headlined by Hayes, is returning for another year and almost assuredly will be a top-15 (or better) preseason pick. Michigan State will welcome in a dynamite recruiting class that features five-stars Miles Bridges and Cassius Winston, and Indiana should remain strong, but the Badgers, with some players having the experience of  playing in two Final Fours, could very well have the best roster on paper with its blend of talent and experience. Whichever team is pegged as the favorite, the top of the Big Ten is shaping up to be a fantastic race.

Illinois dismisses Kendrick Nunn

Illinois guard Kendrick Nunn (25) tries to go up for a basket against Indiana center Thomas Bryant (31) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at in Champaign, Ill., on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Heather Coit)
(AP Photo/Heather Coit)
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Illinois announced on Tuesday that they have dismissed Kendrick Nunn from the basketball program.

Nunn was sentenced to community service after pleading guilty to a battery charge that stemmed from a domestic violence incident. He was alleged to have hit a woman in the head and pushed her to the ground before pouring water on her.

“We have made the decision to dismiss Kendrick Nunn from the men’s basketball team, effective immediately,” a statement put out by head coach John Groce and athletic director Josh Whitman read. “After extensive deliberation, we think it best for our program to reaffirm our core values of trust and respect, to send a strong message about what is acceptable behavior.”

Nunn averaged 15.5 points as a junior last season.