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Late Night Snacks: Michigan State, Kentucky win at home

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 3 Michigan State 71, Indiana 66

This was an important game for the Hoosiers and after one half, led Michigan State — without Adreian Payne — with a one-point lead. In the second half, Gary Harris took over scoring 20 of his 24 points in the second half.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 14 Kentucky 68, Texas A&M 51Last season the Aggies picked up a win on the Rupp Arena floor. This time, Kentucky handed Texas A&M a 68-51 conference loss. Alex Poythress had himself a night, scoring a season-high 16 points and added five rebounds. Julius Randle ended with a double-double of 13 points and 11 boards.

LSU 77, Missouri 71: Despite 28 points from Jabari Brown and taking the lead with under four minutes to play, Missouri still didn’t have enough to leave Baton Rouge with an SEC victory. Jordan Mickey and Anthony Hickey connected on field goals and free throws down the stretch for LSU.

New Mexico 84, Boise State 75The Lobos benefitted from an early start, and first half shooting woes from the Broncos to build a double-digit halftime lead. In the second half, Boise State tried to dig itself out of its first half hole, cutting the lead to seven twice, getting it as close as five. But Boise State couldn’t make the shots down the stretch, while Hugh Greenwood and Cameron Bairstow did for New Mexico.

STARRED

1) DeAndre Daniels and Shabazz Napier, UConn: combined for 58 points, 19 rebounds, and six assists in Connecticut’s drubbing of Temple, 90-66.

2) Cameron Bairstow, New Mexico: The Lobos got off to a hot start, and throughout the game Bairstow was a constant presence. The New Mexico forward iced the game with a transition layup after the Lobos beat the Boise State press. 

3) Ian Miller, Florida State: While Aaron Thomas led the Seminoles with 20 points, Miller did his best Michael Snear impression with a floater with four second left to survive a rally from Notre Dame.

STRUGGLED

1) Harvard: The Crimson lost to Florida Atlantic tonight 68-53, in a game that was as ugly as the score may indicate. The Crimson shot a paltry 23% FG (14-61). Given that they don’t have a very strong resume to begin with, an at-large bid — if necessary — was slim, and tonight’s loss all but clinches that they must win the Ivy League championship.

2) Clemson: The Pitt Panthers 56 percent to Clemson’s 32 and 53 percent from deep compared to the Tigers’ 21. The end result was a 76-43 road loss. Talib Zanna, Lamar Patterson and Cameron Wright outscored the entire Clemson team by four.

3) Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky: In the last three games for Kentucky, Cauley Stein has put up a combined three points, off 1-for-9 shooting, with 10 rebounds and two blocks. On Tuesday night he went for one point and one rebound.

TOP 25

NOTABLE

  • Connecticut 90, Temple 66
  • Wright State 73, Milwaukee 57
  • SMU 70, Rutgers 56
  • Florida State 76, Notre Dame 74
  • Providence 65, Butler 56
  • Georgia Tech 68, Boston College 60

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.