Roy Devyn Marble, Lenzelle Smith

Tuesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Big Ten battle, Kentucky in the Bayou

Leave a comment

GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 7 Michigan State at No. 15 Iowa, 7:00 p.m.

Two weeks ago, Iowa was the trendy pick to win the Big Ten. Then the Hawkeyes lost to Michigan and ceded that title to the Wolverines. In fact, while Iowa may be one of the most talented teams in the country, they are still without a defining win this season. Xavier, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Minnesota. These are all good wins. They aren’t elite wins. Beating Michigan State, even if they are injury-ravaged, would be.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 11 Kentucky at LSU, 9:00 p.m.

This should have been one of the best games of the season in the SEC, but LSU simply has not been as good as we all expected this season. They have an NBA-caliber front line and a good enough back court, but the pieces just don’t quite fit right now. They do, however, matchup well with Kentucky. Johnny O’Bryant is big enough to get physical with Willie Cauley-Stein and the Tigers have enough size that they won’t need to sell out defensively to matchup with Julius Randle.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE NIGHT: New Mexico at Utah State, 11:05 p.m.

Utah State is one of the toughest places in the country to place, taking San Diego State to overtime on Saturday night. New Mexico may be forced to play without Alex Kirk, and even if he does play, he may not be at 100%. The good news for the Lobos? Hugh Greenwood seems to finally be hitting his stride this season.


1) Notre Dame hasn’t been the same team since Jerian Grant saw his season come to an end in December. They’re sitting at 2-5 in the ACC, and they host one of the hottest teams in the country in Virginia. The ‘Hoos have won six of their last seven since getting dropped by 35 points at Tennessee.

2) Interesting matchup in Omaha as No. 20 Creighton will do battle with St. John’s. The Johnnies have the kind of size and athleticism at the forward spot to give Doug McDermott trouble.

3) No. 4 Wichita State will have their undefeated record on the line tonight as they host Loyola (IL).

4) Missouri will head to Arkansas in a key game for a pair of teams that looks like they could end up sitting on the bubble come Selection Sunday.

5) Baylor has gotten off to a horrid, 1-5 start in Big 12 play. They’ll have a chance to turn that around tonight as they host West Virginia. The Bears will have plenty of chances to put together enough wins to earn a trip to the NCAA tournament. They have the talent, too. Can West Virginia be the cure to their woes?

Jalen Coleman-Lands cleared to practice

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Jarrod Uthoff #20 of the Iowa Hawkeyes defends against Jalen Coleman-Lands #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

When Illinois takes on Southeast Missouri State in the opener of the 2016-17 season, the Fighting Illini should have it’s starting backcourt out on the floor.

According to Jon Rothstein, Jalen Coleman-Lands has been cleared for all basketball activities. The sophomore two-guard has been recovering from a broken bone in his right hand.

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.

Coleman-Lands will team up with Tracy Abrams, a point guard who was granted a sixth year of eligibility after missing the past two seasons due to injuries.

This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.

The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.

NBC Sports projected Illinois to finish eighth in the Big Ten this season.

Curtis Jones jumps over Tom Crean

Tom Crean
Leave a comment

Indiana held its annual Hoosier Hysteria on Saturday night.

One of the highlights from the team’s dunk contest was when freshman guard Curtis Jones jumped over Indiana head coach Tom Crean.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a newcomer us his coach as a dunk contest prop. Last week, Rawle Alkins cleared Arizona head coach Sean Miller en route to a reverse jam.

Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.

WATCH: Edmond Sumner take off from the foul line

CINCINNATI, OH - FEBRUARY 03:  Edmond Sumner #4 of the Xavier Musketeers dunks the ball during the game against the St. John's Red Storm at Cintas Center on February 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Edmond Sumner is a big reason why Xavier is likely going to be a preseason top-10 team.

On Saturday night, during Musketeer Madness, Sumner won the team’s dunk contest when he took off from the foul line.

Sumner defeated freshmen Tyrique Jones and Quentin Goodin. J.P. Macura, the reigning Big East Sixth Man of the Year, took home the honors last year.

The 6-foot-6 redshirt sophomore is coming off a debut season in which he averaged 11.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

WATCH: Duke goes crazy for Chase Jeter’s bottle flip

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Chase Jeter #2 of the Duke Blue Devils looks on in the second half against the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks 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 Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The bottle flip has become an international sensation in recent months.

It’s as simple as it sounds: flipping a water bottle in the air, attempting to have it land upright.

Duke sophomore forward Chase Jeter, in front of 9,300-plus fans, successfully pulled off the bottle flip on Saturday night at Duke’s Craziness.

Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.

Auburn to honor Charles Barkley with a statue

HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 04:  Former NBA player and commentator Charles Barkley looks on prior to the 2016 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game between the Villanova Wildcats and the North Carolina Tar Heels at NRG Stadium on April 4, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.

The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.

“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”

Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.

His number 34 is retired at Auburn.