San Diego St v Kansas

Wednesday’s Pregame Shootaround: 11 ranked teams in action tonight

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 18 Kansas at Oklahoma, 7:00 p.m.

The Jayhawks are coming off of an ugly loss against a San Diego State team that was big, burly and pounded Kansas in the paint. The Jayhawks will have a decided advantage in the paint against Oklahoma, but will that help? The Sooners can spread the floor and essentially play with four guards with Cameron Clark at the power forward spot. The Sooners are good enough to beat anyone in the Big 12 on the right night.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 23 Illinois at No. 4 Wisconsin, 9:00 p.m.

The only game of the night between two ranked teams. Illinois has a talented back court in Tracy Abrams and Rayvonte Rice, but the Badgers guards are a nightmare defensively. Wisconsin did not look great in their win over Iowa at home on Sunday, so this will be a good chance for us to get a feel on whether or not Illinois is truly a team that can compete atop the Big Ten.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: Harvard at UConn, 7:00 p.m.

I don’t even know if this should qualify as an upset. Even with Kenyatta Smith still injured, Harvard might actually be a better basketball team that UConn. The key, as always, is going to be slowing down Shabazz Napier, but the Crimson have routinely proven to be a solid defensive team. On the flipside, I’m not sure how the Huskies will deal with Wesley Saunders. This game is all the more important for Harvard because it’s the last chance they’ll have to beat a marquee team in the non-conference. They need to win it if they really want a chance to earn an at-large bid should they miss out on the Ivy title.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE NIGHT: Boise State at No. 13 San Diego State, 11:00 p.m.

I don’t think this actually qualifies as mid-major, but I still wanted to highlight it. Boise State is a perimeter oriented team built around a slew of talented wings and three-point shooting. San Diego State has a big, talented front line that can matchup with anyone in the country. What wins out? SDSU’s defense or BSU’s offense?

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1) No. 11 Oklahoma State is coming off of a loss at Kansas State. They’ll look to bounce back against Texas in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

2) No. 14 Kentucky has been out of the news since knocking off Louisville in Rupp ten days ago. They’ll host Mississippi State to kick off SEC play tonight.

3) No. 19 UMass kicks off Atlantic 10 play with a visit from St. Joseph’s.

4) No. 6 Wichita State puts their undefeated record on the line as Illinois State pays a visit. Tip is at 8:00 p.m.

5) Pac-12 play kicked off last weekend and Utah put together a couple of impressive performances against the Oregon schools at home. What can they do on the road? They head to Washington tonight.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 8 Villanova at Seton Hall, 7:00 p.m.
  • South Carolina at No. 10 Florida, 7:00 p.m.
  • No. 15 Colorado at Washington State, 9:00 p.m.
  • Georgia at No. 21 Missouri, 8:00 p.m.

NOTABLES

  • Wake Forest at Virginia, 7:00 p.m.
  • Georgetown at Providence, 7:00 p.m.
  • Minnesota at Penn State, 7:00 p.m.
  • Miami at North Carolina, 9:00 p.m.
  • New Mexico at Wyoming, 9:00 p.m.

CBT Podcast: Luke Winn joins to talk Kansas and their unorthodox backcourt

LAWRENCE, KS - DECEMBER 03:  Devonte' Graham #4 of the Kansas Jayhawks celebrates with Frank Mason III #0 after making a three-pointer during the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Allen Fieldhouse on December 3, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn, Mr. Power Rankings himself, joined the podcast this week to talk about something other than the Power Rankings.

Luke wrote a long feature on Kansas’ back court of Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham, a serendipitous pairing of former mid-major recruits that have turned into arguably the nation’s best pair of guards and the next great two-point guard back court. You can read that story here. You can listen to the podcast below.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom

VIDEO: Mark Gottfried on Sunday’s N.C. State performance: ‘It’s embarrasing’

CHAMPAIGN, IL - NOVEMBER 29: Head coach Mark Gottfried of the North Carolina State Wolfpack reacts during the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at State Farm Center on November 29, 2016 in Champaign, Illinois. Illinois defeated North Carolina State 88-74. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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Mark Gottfried is probably the happiest man in the world that his N.C. State team played – and lost – a home game against Georgia Tech on Sunday night, overlapping with the end of the thrilling Green Bay-Dallas NFC Playoff game.

No one was talking about it.

Well, that’s not exactly true. Joe Giglio of the News & Observer was there and, like he did after last weekend’s loss at Boston College, he took Gottfried to task for his team’s performance.

The biggest issue? Gottfried’s nonchalance at the way that a team with the talent to finish in the top six of the ACC and get to a Final Four is playing. The Wolfpack should not be sitting at 1-4 in the ACC having already played BC and Georgia Tech. Gottfried told the media after on the loss to Boston College that his team “got better,” which was as laughable then as it is now.

On Sunday night, he certainly did not try and view his team through rose-colored glasses:

That’s about as mad and emotional as you’ll see Gottfried get.

And he’s got every right to be mad, because the Wolfpack – who count a future top five pick, another future first rounder and at least three more guys that will get a shot on NBA Summer League teams – currently sit at the bottom of the ACC standings and third-to-last in KenPom’s ACC rankings.

The biggest issue is on the defensive end of the floor, which Gottfried made so clear Sunday.

“It’s embarrassing,” he said. “We’ve got to decide if we want to play some defense. I can talk about it for 2 hours every day at practice, at some point, they better make a decision. Right now, we struggle to guard anybody.”

The numbers back it up. N.C. State is dead last in the ACC in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric and the only high-major programs that are worse than them defensively are Michigan, Washington State, DePaul, LSU, Washington and Arizona State. The Wolfpack are by far the most talented team out of that group, and probably the most athletic as well. They should be good defensively, but, if you talk to coaches in the league and NBA scouts that have watched that team play, the most consistent knock on them is, simply, that they don’t play hard.

And that may be more worrying than any of the results the Wolfpack have posted this season.

“I don’t want to paint the picture that I walk in there every night, even after a loss, it’s Pollyanna inside my locker room,” Gottfried said. “I think it’s time they understand, they need to understand. I can coddle them, I can baby them, but they have to take ownership.”

VIDEO: Roy Williams gets customized shoes from Michael Jordan

CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 16:  Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels is presented with a gift as he celebrates after his 800th career victory with a 85-68 win over the Syracuse Orange at the Dean Smith Center on January 16, 2017 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Roy Williams became the second-fastest coach to get to 800 career wins last night, and to honor him, UNC did things like put together a video presentation, give him a jersey with the number 800 and bring him to the center of the Dean Dome floor to get cheered by everyone in attendance.

But it was Michael Jordan whose gift floored everyone.

Literally.

Because MJ got Ol’ Roy a pair of customized shoes, and it just about killed Brandon Robinson:

Here’s a closer look at those kicks:

No. 2 Kansas utilizes mismatches to outlast Iowa State

AMES, IA - JANUARY 16: Frank Mason III #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks battles for the ball with Monte Morris #11 of the Iowa State Cyclones, and Matt Thomas #21 of the Iowa State Cyclones in the first half of play at Hilton Coliseum on January 16, 2017 in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
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Kansas used its size advantage to pound the glass as the Jayhawks outlasted Iowa State for a 76-72 Big 12 road win on Monday.

Using only a seven-man rotation once again, Kansas (17-1, 6-0) used its size advantage on the interior and on the wings to crush the Cyclones on the boards as they outrebounded Iowa State 41-22. With a huge advantage on the interior, Kansas focused on working the ball inside-out as they shot 54 percent from the floor.

Kansas did a great job of finding mismatches on the offensive end and had a balanced scoring effort as all seven players scored between 16 and six points. Senior Frank Mason paced the Jayhawks with 16 points and chipped in six rebounds while Landen Lucas (14 points), Svi Mykhailiuk (13 points) and Carlton Bragg (10 points) all finished in double figures.

Iowa State (11-6, 3-3) was able to hang with Kansas for the entire game but they just couldn’t get over the hump every time they would cut the lead to around four points. The Cyclones tried to use a little bit of Hilton Magic to make a late charge, as Monte Morris (23 points) made two free throws to cut the Kansas lead to three with under 20 seconds left but it ultimately wasn’t enough.

With Iowa State lacking the size to matchup with Kansas, the Cyclone offense had a lot of one-and-done possessions since they had no offensive rebounders that were a threat. The Kansas perimeter defense limited Iowa State to a lot of contested jumpers as the Cyclones shot 33.3 percent (9-for-27) three-point shooting. Deonte Burton added 21 points for Iowa State while Naz Mitrou-Long added 18 points.

It’s never easy to win at Iowa State, so the Jayhawks will certainly take this win and be happy with it as they just seem to have a huge matchup advantage against the Cyclones this season.

Jenkins, Brunson, lead No. 1 Villanova past Seton Hall 76-46

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VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) Kris Jenkins scored 16 points and Jalen Brunson added 13 to lead No. 1 Villanova to a 76-46 win over Seton Hall on Monday.

The Wildcats (18-1, 6-1 Big East) looked every bit like a team that could win back-to-back national championships in their first game at No. 1 in The AP Top 25 poll following a one-week hiatus.

Villanova fell from the top spot to third in the poll following a Jan. 4 loss at Butler. But wins over Marquette and Xavier vaulted the Wildcats over the Kansas Jayhawks and back into the top spot.

Led by four 3s from Jenkins, the Wildcats set a school record 47 straight wins at the Pavilion. Under coach Jay Wright, Villanova has been nearly unbeatable at home for most of the last 10 years.

Seton Hall (12-6, 2-4) was just the latest to go down in front of the 177th straight sellout crowd. Villanova’s rare blemish on its national championship season was losing to the Pirates in the Big East Tournament title game.