Keith Appling

Sunday’s Pregame Shootaround: Michigan State vs. Michigan with first place on the line

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 13 Michigan State vs. No. 20 Michigan, noon (CBS)

The rivalry has some added incentive beside bragging rights on Sunday afternoon. First place in the Big Ten is on the line with Michigan State clinging to a half game lead over Michigan, which already handed the Spartans a loss earlier this season.

Sparty got Keith Appling back in the lineup but they suffered their worst of the year to Nebraska before defeating Purdue. The Wolverines dropped their last game to Wisconsin, at home by double digits. Michigan’s leading scorer Nik Stauskas is averaging only 10.2 points per game over the last five games.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET? SMU vs. No. 21 UConn, 2 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

The Mustangs handed UConn its second consecutive straight loss back in January. The rematch will be tougher, getting the Huskies inside Gampel Pavilion.

SMU hasn’t been great on the road (see losses to South Florida and Temple) but crazier things have happened in the American this season. The Mustangs have a difficult slate to end conference play with games against Louisville and at Memphis still remaining. A win today would be huge.

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAYDrexel vs. Delaware, 3 p.m.

Two top four teams in the Colonial Athletic Association square off in Newark, Del. on Sunday afternoon. Delaware controlled the first meeting, 90-77, back on Jan. 20. The Fightin Blue Hens can extend its lead atop the CAA to two games ahead of Towson.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

1) Doug McDermott, he national player of the year favorite, is in action as Creighton hosts Seton Hall in Big East play.

2) You can catch Yale at Columbia on the NBC Sports Network. Yale is tied with Harvard in the Ivy League standings with a win.

3) Iona can go ahead two games in the MAAC standings with a win over Marist.

4) After Florida Gulf Coast breezed past Mercer on Friday night, the top two teams in the Atlantic Sun are back in action on Sunday. Dunk City is at home against last-place Kennesaw State. Mercer is on the road at Stetson.

5) Sunday’s bubble games

  • Purdue at Nebraska, Sun 4:15 p.m.
  • Florida State at Pittsburgh, Sun. 6 p.m.
  • Providence at Butler, Sun 6 p.m.
  • Arizona State at Utah, Sun 8 p.m.
  • USC at Cal, Sun 8 p.m.
  • Washington State at Oregon, Sun p.m.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25:

  • Seton Hall vs. No. 11 Creighton, 5 p.m.

NOTABLES:

  • Bucknell vs. Boston University, noon (CBS Sports Network)
  • Iona vs. Marist, 2 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Hartford vs. Vermont, 2 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Stony Brook vs. Maine, 2 p.m.
  • Chattanooga vs. UNC Greensboro, 2 p.m.
  • Eastern Michigan vs. Western Michigan, 2 p.m.
  • Purdue vs. Nebraska, 4:15 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
  • Florida State vs. Pitt, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • Providence vs. Butler, 6 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
  • Ball State vs. Toledo, 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Arizona State vs. Utah, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • USC vs. Cal, 8 p.m (Fox Sports 1)
  • Washington State vs. Oregon, 9 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

Butler lands commitment from second top 100 prospect

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Butler landed the commitment of top 100 small forward Christian David over the weekend.

“I am excited and proud to announce my commitment to Butler University,” David posted on twitter on Saturday night.

David is a well-rounded perimeter player. At 6-foot-6, he has the size and athleticism to finish and the rim and overpower smaller defenders, but he can also knock down a three and make plays with the ball in his hands.

A four-star recruit, Butler beat out Pitt and Creighton for the services of the native Canadian.

Pac-12 Commissioner Scott has no issue with pregame protests

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott has no issue with players protesting during the national anthem long as it’s done in a respectful way.

Athletes across the country have staged a variety of pregame protests after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem in protest of police violence against African-Americans and minorities.

“Very much believe in the idea of freedom of speech and individuals’ right to express themselves,” Scott said. “I’ve also always seen sport as a great platform for positive social change. To the extent that they’re individuals that want to use their celebrity or use the platform to try to send a positive message and make a positive impact on society. I think that’s great.

“I’ve seen plenty of examples in my career of tennis players and others doing that. As long as it’s done in a respectful way, in a way that’s not demeaning to other people and not disruptive, I think it’s absolutely fine.”

The entire Indiana Fever team recently knelt during the anthem before a playoff game. Several other NFL players, U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe and scores of high school and college players also have participated in some form.

Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade gave an anti-violence speech at the ESPYS and expressed their support of the values behind the Black Lives Matter movement in July.

University of California-Berkeley professor emeritus Dr. Harry Edwards told the Associated Press in July that today’s athletes have a level of power that Muhammed Ali and others didn’t have in the 1960s, and they have begun using it to speak out against violence both by and against police. The newfound power of today’s athlete comes from monetary wealth, celebrity status and having the vehicle of social media to communicate directly with the masses.

CBT’s 2016-17 College Basketball Season Preview Schedule

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Believe it or not, but college basketball season technically begins this week, as programs around the country are allowed to start practicing as early as September 30th, this Friday.

With that in mind, it’s time for us to kick off the process of previewing the 2016-17 season, getting you ready for everything that will happen in our beloved sport for the next five months with a series of predictions that, hopefully, won’t prove to be totally and completely wrong by the end of the year.

Here is a complete schedule of everything you can expect to see from us over the next six weeks.

And be sure to bookmark this page, as we will be updating the schedule with links as each story gets posted. That way, if you miss anything — which is unlikely if you follow @CBTonNBC on twitter and like the College Basketball Talk page on FaceBook — you can go back and find it quite easily.

AWARDS

Sep. 27: NBCSports.com All-American Team
Sep. 27: Expert Picks and Predictions
Oct. 31-Nov. 4: Preseason Top 25 Countdown
Oct. 31: Mid-Major All-Americans
Oct. 31: Mid-Major Power Rankings

RANKINGS

Oct. 24-28: Top 100 Players Countdown
Oct. 25: Top Back Courts
Oct. 25: Top Front courts
Oct. 26: Top Lead Guards
Oct. 26: Top Off-Guards
Oct. 27: Top Wings
Oct. 27: Top Big Men

CONTENDERS SERIES

Oct. 3: Final Four Sleepers
Oct. 10: Final Four Favorites, part 1
Oct. 14: Final Four Favorites, part 2
Oct. 17-21: Title Contenders

CONFERENCE PREVIEWS

Sep. 29: WCC
Oct. 4: ACC
Oct. 5: Mountain West
Oct. 6: Atlantic 10
Oct. 7: American
Oct. 11: Big Ten
Oct. 18: Big 12
Oct. 25: Pac-12
Nov. 1: SEC
Nov. 8: Big East

Sep. 29: America East
Sep. 30: Atlantic Sun
Oct. 3: Big Sky
Oct. 4: Big South
Oct. 5: Big West
Oct. 6: CAA
Oct. 7: Conference USA
Oct. 10: Horizon
Oct. 11: Ivy
Oct. 12: MAAC
Oct. 12: MAC
Oct. 13: MEAC
Oct. 14: Missouri Valley
Oct. 17: NEC
Oct. 18: Ohio Valley
Oct. 19: Patriot
Oct. 20: SoCon
Oct. 21: Southland
Oct. 24: SWAC
Oct. 26: Summit
Oct. 27: Sun Belt
Oct. 28: WAC

LISTS

Sep. 26: Best Non-Conference Games
Sep. 28: Programs on the Rise and Decline
Sep. 28: Impact Transfers
Sep. 30: All-‘Yup, He’s Still In School’ Team
Nov. 1: Top Dunkers
Nov. 2: Coaches on the Hot Seat
Nov. 2: Key Assistant Coaching Hires
Nov. 2: Best, Worst Head Coaching Changes
Nov. 3: Impact Freshmen
Nov. 3: Breakout Stars
Nov. 7: Under-the-Radar Stars
Nov. 8: X-Factors
Nov. 9: Potential Cinderellas
Nov. 9: Most Important Players
Nov. 10: 68 Things To Watch For

Illinois PG expected to be ready for practice

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Illinois point guards and injuries have been an unfortunate trend over the past two seasons with Tracy Abrams, who missed the past two seasons with a torn ACL followed by a torn Achilles the next year.

On Sunday, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported some good news for an incoming Fighting Illini floor general. Te’Jon Lucas, a three-star prospect from the Class of 2016, will be fully cleared for the start of practice, according to Rothstein. In February, Lucas had broke his fibula in his right leg in two places during a game.

Lucas had committed to Illinois the previous September.

Abrams received a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA in June, and he decided to remain in Champaign for his final season. If healthy, he’ll be the starter. Jaylon Tate is also back for another season. But they are both seniors, which makes Sunday’s report important for John Groce’s program. Lucas will be on the floor Day 1 of practice, being molded for the future by two experienced guards.

The 5-foot-11 Lucas is the only true freshman on the roster.

Illinois begins the 2016-17 season on November 11, hosting Southeast Missouri State.

Xavier adds to class with three-star center

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Xavier added a fourth piece to its 2017 recruiting class on Sunday morning.

Kentravious Jones, a 6-foot-11, three-star recruit, committed to the Musketeers. He announced the decision via Twitter.

Chris Mack’s current recruiting class is headlined by four-star swingman Naji Marshall. The incoming quartet also includes guard Elias Harden and forward Jared Ridder. But Jones’ commitment fits an area that needs to be addressed for the Musketeers moving forward. Xavier isn’t particularly deep when it comes to big men. That frontcourt only gets thinner once RaShid Gaston, a graduate transfer from Norfolk State, exhausts his eligibility after this season.

Jones, along with current freshman forward Tyrique Jones, gives Xavier a young foundation for the future. Jones is an old-school, big-bodied center. He’s got a nice back-to-the-basket game, and had his best stretch of the summer during the UAA Finals. In three games with the Atlanta Xpress, he averaged 15.3 points, shot 59 percent from the field, and grabbed nine boards per game.

Conditioning will be the emphasis for him over the course of the next year. However, we have seen Xavier work well with a big, skilled centers in the past (see: Stainbrook, Matt). According to Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Jones has dropped 30 pounds.

Sunday morning’s news may not even be Xavier’s last score on the recruiting trail. The Musketeers have one scholarship remaining (two, or three if Edmond Sumner and Trevon Bluiett enter the NBA Draft this spring), and are in play for several coveted prospects like point guards Paul Scruggs, Quade Green and Matt Coleman, as well as forward Kris Wilkes.