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Wednesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Conference powerhouses on the road

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 4 Wichita State at Indiana State, 8:05 p.m.

This is it. This is the toughest game that Wichita State is going to play before Arch Madness begins in a month. If they are going to end up losing at some point during the regular season, this is the game that it could happen in. Indiana State is a good basketball team that is tough in their own gym. They’re also healthy now, which wasn’t the case when Wichita State beat them down earlier this season.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 5 San Diego State at Boise State, 9:15 p.m.

It’s weird. Entering the season, if I would have told you that one of these two teams would be undefeated in league play and top five in the nation and the other would barely be holding on to hopes of an at-large bid, you would have figured it to be the other way around. The Broncos were supposed to be the MWC contenders and the Aztecs were supposed to be rebuilding. So much for that. Boise State is chock-full of shooters. Will they be able to effectively spread the floor on SDSU?

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 13 Saint Louis at St. Joseph’s, 7:00 p.m.

Saint Louis has been the best team in the Atlantic 10 this season. They’re undefeated in the league because their defense put opponents in a vice-grip. But St. Joe’s has been pretty good in their own right, winning 11 of their last 13 games with the only two losses coming on the road. This about as good as it will get in the A-10 this season.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1) No. 25 Pitt will head on the road to take on a Miami team that has scrappier than we all thought they could be this season. The Panthers have lost two in a row and are still without a notable win this season.

2) No. 21 Oklahoma will be on the road as well, paying a visit to Morgantown where they’ll have their hands full dealing with Juwan Staten.

3) Rock-Paper-Scissors will get you into Navy’s home game against Boston U. tonight.

4) Vanderbilt will be hosting Tennessee tonight in a game that the Vols cannot afford to lose if they want to make the NCAA tournament.

5) Minnesota is 4-5 in the Big Ten. They have some wins that are good enough to make them a tournament team, but they’re coming off of a loss to Northwestern.

NOTABLES:

  • Nebraska at No. 10 Michigan, 6:30 p.m.
  • No. 14 Louisville at Houston, 7:00 p.m.
  • Boston College at No. 20 Virginia, 7:00 p.m.
  • Portland at No. 23 Gonzaga, 11:00 p.m.
  • UNLV at Colorado State, 9:00 p.m.
  • Stanford at Cal, 9:00 p.m.
  • Washington State at Colorado, 9:30 p.m.
  • Wyoming at New Mexico, 11:05 p.m.

Michigan gets Caris LeVert back in a win over No. 18 Purdue

Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan (50) tries to steal the ball from Michigan guard Caris LeVert (23) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
(AP Photo/Tony Ding)
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Zak Irvin scored 22 points and Michigan’s outmanned front line held Purdue’s redwoods to just seven offensive boards, six second chance points and just 22 points in the paint as the Wolverines landed a critical, 61-56, win over the No. 18 Boilermakers.

Depending on who you listen to, Michigan entered the day, at worst, on the bubble and at best, in headed for the 8-9 game.

And they picked up a top 25 win.

So yes, this win was big for them moving forward.

But more important than the win itself was that Wolverine fans got a glimpse of all-american guard Caris LeVert. He played just 11 points and didn’t return in the second half, he didn’t score and he missed the only shot that he took, but LeVert took the court for the first time since Dec. 30th. That day, LeVert rolled his left ankle and most likely reinjured a foot that had had a broken bone surgically repaired twice in the last 20 months. Michigan never confirmed what the actual injury was and never gave a timetable for when he would be back in the lineup, which is what made his brief appearance so important.

LeVert isn’t done for the season.

And since the Wolverines managed to post a 9-4 Big Ten record with LeVert acting as little more than a spectator, they have a chance to make a run in the Big Ten tournament and get into the NCAA tournament.

That will happen with LeVert in the rotation and, if all goes according to plan, the starting lineup.

So even with a loss against Purdue, the Wolverines had a good day. Bolstering their NCAA tournament profile was an added bonus.

VIDEO: Memphis’ Shaq Goodwin gets technical foul for copying famous Vince Carter dunk

Memphis forward Shaq Goodwin (2) shoots over Cincinnati forward Quadri Moore (0) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
(AP Photo/Gary Landers)
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Memphis senior forward Shaq Goodwin picked up one of the dumbest technical fouls of the season on Saturday with the Tigers on the road against Tulane. Goodwin attempted to copy Vince Carter’s famous arm-in-the-rim dunk from the 2000 NBA dunk contest. This would have been okay during pregame warmups, but Goodwin tried to pull this off on a breakaway near the end of the first half. He was quickly hit with the T for hanging on the rim.

Goodwin has good timing when it comes to current events, as the NBA’s dunk contest airs on Saturday night, but the timing of pulling this off in the first half of a tight conference game is not so great.

For past reference, here’s Carter’s original arm-in-the-rim dunk from 2000, which had everyone astonished since it had never been done before.

(H/T: The Cauldron)