Aaron Craft, Ohio State return the favor with 76-69 road win over No. 17 Iowa

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The first meeting between Iowa and Ohio State ended with a double-digit road victory for the Hawkeyes. That was the second loss in a four-game losing streak for the Buckeyes. That skid continued until the end of January when the Buckeyes lost to Penn State at home in overtime.

On Saturday, Ohio State looked like it was starting to turn it around, defeating No. 14 Wisconsin on the road. Three days later, the Buckeyes capped off its two-game road trip with a 76-69 victory over Iowa on Tuesday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, returning the favor from three weeks ago.

The Ohio State perimeter defense allowed Iowa to shoot a dismal 3-of-20 from 3-point range. That defensive pressure made the Iowa offense stagnant at times, and its two leading scorers — Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White, averaging 16.3 points and 13.5 points per game, respectively — being held for a combined 18 points off 7-of-20 shooting from the field.

Aaron Craft played his best game of the season with 17 points, three rebounds, six assists and six steals.

These are two impressive wins by Ohio State, grinding out a must-win at Wisconsin on Saturday and pulling out another good win three days later at Iowa. It shows that Ohio State may be back on track for the final month of Big Ten play. For the Hawkeyes, it’s the second consecutive home loss.

Last week, Iowa welcomed in a shorthanded Michigan State lineup, and let a potential marquee win go back to East Lansing with a 71-69 overtime victory.

Iowa has all the tools to make a deep run in March. The Hawkeyes have talented scorers, versatile bigs and depth with the ability to get up and down the floor. To date, Iowa has missed chances to pick up signature wins over Villanova, Iowa State, Wisconsin and Michigan this season. None of those games were at home, which made the loss to the Spartans all the more frustrating.

On Jan. 12, a win at Columbus was a great one for Iowa, but it wasn’t held is such regard as Ohio State continued to slide down and out of the rankings, losing five out of six games during that stretch.

Iowa has the talent, the kind of talent some think make them a Final Four-caliber team, but without a marquee win over an elite program there is questions as to just how good the Hawkeyes actually are.

They get another chance earn a statement win on Saturday at home against No. 10 Michigan, a team that previously defeated Iowa and is coming off an upset loss at Indiana.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

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The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.

 

VIDEO: Zion Williamson’s coach is holding a sleeping baby

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LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:

This is peak AAU basketball.

It will never be more AAU than that.

PHOTOS: Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball showdown was, of course, insane

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In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.

The crowd was insane for the game:

According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.

Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:

At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:

(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)

Puerto Rico Tip Off bracket revealed

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The bracket of the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip off was revealed Wednesday, setting up a showdown between a 2016 Final Four participant and the 2016 Big 12 tournament champion.

South Carolina and Iowa State headline the event, which will be played Nov. 16-19, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, opening against Illinois State while the Cyclones are on the bottom half, squaring off against Appalachian State.

Boise State vs. UTEP is the other top-half quarterfinal while Tulsa vs. Western Michigan is the other.

The championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Sunday, Nov. 19.