Thursday’s Pregame Shootaround: How good is Colorado sans Dinwiddie?

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 25 UCLA at No. 21 Colorado, 8:00 p.m.

Who is the second best team in the Pac-12? In the preseason, Colorado looked like they would be Arizona’s biggest challenger, but then they lost Spencer Dinwiddie. Oregon has been putting up a ton of points this season, but they don’t play any defense. Cal has looked great this season, but they don’t have any front court depth.

Can UCLA be that team? Well, UCLA doesn’t defend, either, and they still haven’t beaten anyone noteworthy this season. Are the Bruins really going to be a contender in this league? And how will Colorado respond without Dinwiddie?

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 11 Ohio State at Minnesota, 9:00 p.m.

The Golden Gophers have been one of the most surprising teams in the country this season. Richard Pitino is doing a terrific job getting this group to be competitive. They have a shot at an at-large berth this year, but they are going to have to notch a couple wins over teams like — oh, I don’t know — Ohio State.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE DAY: Belmont at Eastern Kentucky, 7:00 p.m.

Eastern Kentucky was the favorite in the Ohio Valley entering the season. They took VCU to overtime in Richmond back in November. But it’s Belmont that is 4-0 in the OVC this season. It’s the Bruins that won a game at North Carolina. Can they stay on top of the conference?

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1) If UConn is really going to be a contender in the American, this is the week that will determine that. Tonight, they visit No. 17 Memphis. On Saturday, they host No. 18 Louisville. Lose both, and the Huskies will be sitting at 1-4 in league play.

2) Speaking of Louisville, they host Houston tonight.

3) No. 1 Arizona will square off with in-state rival Arizona State tonight. The Sun Devils need to get this win.

4) Gonzaga will be making one of the tougher road trips in the WCC this season as they head down to Malibu to take on Pepperdine tonight.

5) Big game out in the Big Sky as Northern Colorado makes their toughest road trip of the season as they head up to Montana State tonight and Montana over the weekend.

NOTABLES:

  • Providence at St. John’s, 7:00 p.m.
  • Missouri at Vanderbilt, 7:00 p.m.
  • Elon at Davidson, 7:00 p.m.
  • New Mexico State at Chicago State, 8:00 p.m.
  • USC at Utan, 10:00 p.m.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.