Monday’s Pregame Shootaround: Creighton, Ohio State among teams needing a win

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Creighton at No. 4 Villanova, 7:00 p.m.

The two best teams in the Big East square off tonight. Creighton has arguably the best player in the country in Doug McDermott, but he had a rough night against Providence on Saturday, “struggling” his way to 21 points in a blowout loss to the Friars. This will be a tough matchup for the Bluejays, as their strength is getting opposing big men out of position with jumpshooters in their front court. Villanova plays Jayvaughn Pinkston at the four and, if needed, can use Kris Jenkins at the five. They won’t be in a position where they have to deal with mismatches.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 24 Baylor at No. 8 Kansas, 9:00 p.m.

The Jayhawks start off their Big 12 campaign by playing the five best teams in the Big 12 not located in Lawrence. Thus far, they are all alone at 4-0 in the league. Baylor has been scuffling, losing two of their last three games. They struggle defensively and they aren’t getting the kind of dominant performance we’ve come to expect out of their front line. A couple things to watch in this game:

  • What’s up with Andrew Wiggins? Does he bounce back after his no-show against Oklahoma State?
  • What will Joel Embiid do now that he’s facing a front line that can match up with him athletically and from a size standpoint?

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1) Xavier will pay a visit to a DePaul team that has been better this season than expected, which is to say that they already have two wins in Big East play.

2) North Carolina is headed to Chapel Hill for what is almost a must-win game for the Tar Heels. They still have plenty of time to turn their season around, but starting out ACC play 1-4 is not an easy thing to overcome. The blessing? Wins over Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky will ensure that their status as a bubble-dweller is limited.

3) Speaking of teams that really need a win, No. 17 Ohio State and their stale offense will try to snap a three-game losing streak at Nebraska.

4) Sputtering Marquette will pay a visit to scuffling Georgetown in a game between two of the bigger disappointments in the Big East. Without Josh Smith, it will be interesting to see how the Hoyas deal with Marquette’s big bodies in the paint.

5) Maryland is finally heading in the right direction after beating Notre Dame on Wednesday. N.C. State? They lost by 35 at Duke.

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.