Wednesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Eight top 25 teams hit the road

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 Iowa at No. 21 Michigan, 7:00 p.m.

We all think we know that Michigan State is the best team in the Big Ten when they’re healthy. But who’s second? Who will give the Spartans a run for the league title? The trendy pick two weeks ago would have been either Ohio State or Wisconsin, but those teams have lost a combined six straight games.

That leaves Iowa and Michigan. The Hawkeyes are dangerous. They’re talented, they’re versatile and they’re deep. Michigan, on the other hand, has seemingly adapted quite well from losing Mitch McGary to back surgery. It doesn’t hurt matters that, at this point in the season, Nik Stauskas and Roy Devyn Marble are both playing like Big Ten Player of the Year candidates.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 9 Wisconsin at Minnesota, 9:00 p.m.

Wisconsin lost two games last week after starting the season 16-0. Minnesota is better than they are getting credit for, and they actually matchup fairly well with the Badgers. The Golden Gophers have a slew of guards on their roster, and if anything has been proven these last two games, it’s that the Badgers can be susceptible to penetration. Minnesota could really use a quality win, and Wisconsin is a good place to start.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 18 Duke at Miami (FL), 7:30 p.m.

The Hurricanes have been one of the scrappier teams in the ACC to dispatch of. They play a packed in defense, controlling the tempo and doing everything they can to turn games into slugfests. They don’t have the talent to run up and down with the best teams in the league this season, but they can muck it up with the best of them. Duke seemingly bounced back from their sluggish start to league play by pounding N.C. State, and theoretically, they match up with the Canes much better than, say, Syracuse. This should be an interesting test for the Blue Devils.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE DAY: Boston U. at American, 7:30 p.m.

First place in the Patriot League is on the line as these two teams, who both sit at 6-0 in conference play, square off in DC.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1) No. 5 Wichita State will be making the trip to Illinois State tonight, and the Redbirds are a feisty, better-than-anyone-expected team. Roadtrips are never easy in the MVC, and Wichita State will be the biggest home game of the season every single time they hit the road.

2) No. 13 UMass has had a nasty habit of falling behind early in games, needing some kind of miraculous comeback in the final minutes to pull off a win. They visit Richmond tonight. Eventually, that’s going to come back to burn the Minutemen.

3) There are a couple of other key A-10 battles tonight:

  • No. 19 Saint Louis at Duquesne
  • La Salle at St. Bonaventure
  • VCU at Dayton
  • Rhode Island at St. Joe’s

4) There will be some upsets tonight, as two other ranked teams also hit the road:

  • No. 12 Louisville at South Florida
  • No. 7 San Diego State at San Jose State

5) Cal isn’t ranked, but they should be. They will also be on the road tonight, visiting USC.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

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Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.

The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.

The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.

(h/t: Courtside Films)

Five-star 2018 point guard Darius Garland cuts list to six schools

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Five-star Class of 2018 point guard Darius Garland revealed the final six schools that he’s considering on Friday.

The N0. 12 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals, the 6-foot-0 Garland is one of the top floor generals in the nation as he is still considering Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and Vanderbilt.

A native of Nashville, Garland is a potentially elite perimeter threat at the college level as he’s one of the more deadly three-point marksmen in the nation.

Garland spent this spring and summer playing with Bradley Beal Elite in the Nike EYBL as he averaged 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per game in the league this spring.

VIDEO: Kentucky’s John Calipari participates in the #DriveByDunkChallenge

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The #DriveByDunkChallenge is sweeping the nation on social media this summer.

Rules to participate are pretty simple:

  1. Drive around in your vehicle.
  2. Find a basketball hoop (or a basketball ring if you’re Ted Cruz) on a random driveway.
  3. Run out of your car and dunk on that random hoop while a friend films.
  4. Run back to your car and drive away.

Let Anthony Davis show you how it works:

Pretty simple, right?

The #DriveByDunkChallenge isn’t raising money or awareness for ALS like the #IceBucketChallenge did three years ago, but it’s something harmless and fun to do to pass the time during the dog days of summer.

Sensing an opportunity to join an Internet craze, while also following in the footsteps of his former player Kentucky star, Wildcats head coach John Calipari got involved with his own dunk late Friday night.

And his video is much funnier than I thought it would be.

While most #DriveByDunkChallenge videos are done by healthy and spry teenagers who are cruising neighborhoods during the day, Calipari, and his hip replacement, got in on the fun with a late-night dunk.

I love that Calipari ditched the ball behind his back while running back to the car after the dunk.

Most people who participate in the challenge usually have their own ball and keep it with them through completion. But Calipari either picked up a random ball in the driveway or just he lost the handle with his own ball and had a turnover.

The next time Calipari goes hard on one of his point guards for losing control and playing too fast, remember this moment.

Creighton’s Khyri Thomas posterizes defender

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Creighton rising junior wing Khyri Thomas, like several of his teammates, are taking part in the Omaha Summer League this offseason.

On Thursday night, the 6-foot-3, 205-lb. Thomas eviscerated a defender with a one-handed posterization.

Thomas is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign for the Bluejays. He started all 35 games, averaging 12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Aside from the increase in offensive production, Thomas served as one of the top defenders in the Big East. He shared the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award with Villanova’s Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges.

Zion Williamson throws down 360 windmill dunk

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Zion Williamson added another jaw-dropping dunk in the layup lines on the first night of the second live evaluation period.

Williamson and his SC Supreme team took on Each 1 Teach 1 at the Hoopseen Best of the South at the LakePoint Sporting Community in greater Atlanta.

The 6-foot-7 power forward threw down a 360 windmill dunk during his pregame routines.

Each 1 Teach 1 would pick up a 70-67 victory over SC Supreme. Williamson would end with a monster stat line of 37 points and seven rebounds.