Russ Smith

Wednesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Louisville-SMU square off in an AAC battle


GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 11 Louisville at No. 18 SMU, 7:00 p.m.

Two Hall of Fame head coaches square off on Wednesday night at SMU in a key AAC battle between two top 20 teams. (Imagine the look you’d give me if I said that sentence two years ago.) The Cardinals look like a team that could string together six straight wins in the NCAA tournament, but right now, they are destined for a seed that may make it difficult to pull off a third straight Final Four. SMU is as tough as anyone in the country in Moody Coliseum, however. Nic Moore vs. Russ Smith and Montrezl Harrell vs. Markus Kennedy will be fun.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: St. Joseph’s at George Washington, 9:00 p.m.

George Washington is in the tournament, and fairly comfortably right now. St. Joe’s, on the other hand, is in need of a couple of wins to get them onto the right side of the bubble. Losing at GW would certainly not be a bad loss for the Hawks, but that is a win that would definitely help them climb the ladder.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 11 San Diego State at UNLV, 11:00 p.m.

SDSU has been struggling to score the ball in the half court of late, and UNLV has the kind of athletes that can matchup with the Aztecs. A loss, and a New Mexico win over Air Force, would put the Lobos in first place in the MWC.


1) Dayton will have a chance to lock up an NCAA tournament bid at No. 17 Saint Louis, who has lost three games in a row.

2) Some key bubble matchups in the Pac-12, as Utah visits Cal (11:00 p.m.) and Colorado makes a trip to Stanford (9:00 p.m.).

3) All three of the SEC’s bubble teams will be in action. Tennessee visits Auburn, Missouri hosts Texas A&M and Arkansas will get a visit from Ole Miss.

4) Two top five teams head on the road tonight. No. 3 Arizona will visit Oregon State and No. 4 Duke will head down to Wake Forest.

5) Four conference tournaments will happen tonight. The Big South first round kicks off at noon, while the OVC first round, the NEC quarters and the Patriot League quarters all take place tonight as well.


  • Texas Tech at No. 8 Kansas, 8:00 p.m.
  • Purdue at No. 9 Wisconsin, 9:00 p.m.
  • Rutgers at No. 19 UConn, 7:00 p.m.
  • Air Force at No. 21 Air Force, 9:00 p.m.
  • West Virginia at No. 23 Oklahoma, 9:00 p.m.
  • TCU at Texas, 8:00 p.m.
  • UMass at Duquesne, 7:00 p.m.
  • Nebraska at Indiana, 7:00 p.m.

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
AP Photo
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.

Arizona’s Tarczewski out 4-to-6 weeks

Kaleb Tarczewski, Sean Miller
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Arizona will be without senior center Kaleb Tarczewski for 4-to-6 weeks, the school announced on Tuesday. The 7-foot Tarczewski suffered a stress reaction and strained muscle to his left foot and he’ll have some time to heal before the main portion of the Pac-12 conference schedule.

The experienced Tarczewski was averaging 8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game before going down with injury. Without the senior in the lineup, Arizona fell to Providence in the Wooden Legacy last week. Without Tarczewski in the lineup, the Wildcats could turn to center Dusan Ristic while forward Ryan Anderson has had some solid outings this season.

Missing Tarczewski for the rest of non-conference play will hurt but he’ll get to rest and recover for the stretch run while the Wildcats can mix in some new frontcourt pieces.