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The Secondary Break: Wednesday’s Links

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Cal-Stanford game has plenty at stake (San Francisco Examiner)
On the heels of their win over then-No. 1 Arizona, California’s looking to keep the momentum going with a win over Stanford on Wednesday night. However the game represents an opportunity for Stanford as well, with the Cardinal looking to move closer to earning the first NCAA tournament appearance of the Johnny Dawkins era.

Temple living with conference woes (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Before the 2013-14 season began the general feeling about the Temple Owls was that even with their low numbers, Fran Dunphy’s team had the pieces needed to factor into the middle of the American Athletic Conference pecking order. But things haven’t gone as planned, and that can be said for the entire athletic department as well.

Gary Waters reflects on his successful run at Cleveland State (Lake County News-Herald)
Last week Gary Waters became the winningest coach in the history of Cleveland State basketball, winning his 150th and 151st games. With the Vikings currently tied for second place in the Horizon League, there’s a chance that this season could result in a trip to the NCAA tournament as well. Waters reflected on his tenure at CSU to date after grabbing those victories.

Alabama’s season could be on downward spiral (Associated Press)
Conference play has been a struggle for the Alabama Crimson Tide, as they’ve dropped four of their last five games with the average margin of defeat being 15 points per game. Those struggles make their game at Arkansas even more important, with Alabama looking to avoid the first losing season of the Anthony Grant era.

Guards help Gators to another 20-win season (Gainesville Sun)
With the debut of freshman forward Chris Walker on Tuesday night, Florida’s front court received the majority of the attention entering Tuesday’s game against Missouri. But by the end of that game, a 68-58 win, it was the backcourt that stood out for a Florida team that has now won 14 games in a row.

Road victory gives Ohio State morale boost (Columbus Dispatch)
On the heels of a tough win at Wisconsin on Saturday, Ohio State was able to follow up that result with a much-needed win at No. 17 Iowa on Tuesday night. The 76-69 win may have represented a step forward for a team that has struggled offensively, with the Buckeyes scoring 45 points in the second half.

Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall puts teeth into coaching (USA Today)
No. 4 Wichita State is 23-0 on the season entering its game at Indiana State on Wednesday night, with the Shockers utilizing a very good defense and a balanced offensive attack. The architect is head coach Gregg Marshall, with his team taking on the fighting spirit that has made him such a successful coach.

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.