Monday’s Pregame Shootaround: Three automatic bids to be handed out

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Manhattan vs. Iona, 7:00 p.m.

The two best teams in the MAAC who just so happen to be bitter rivals will square off in Springfield for the right to play in the NCAA tournament. These are two well-coached, talented teams with high-octane offenses square off with a title on the line. Oh, and did I mention that they’re rivals? This game is what Championship Week and mid-major basketball is all about.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: William & Mary vs. Delaware, 7:00 p.m.

The Tribe will be playing for the right to participate in their first ever NCAA tournament tonight on NBC Sports Network. Delaware won the CAA regular season title over Towson, who got upset by W&M in the semifinals. Marcus Thornton going up against Delaware’s back court will be fun to watch.

WATCH LIVE: You can watch the CAA title game here.


1) A third automatic bid will be handed out tonight as Western Carolina squares off with Wofford in the Southern Conference title game.

2) The WCC semifinals will be interesting to watch. Gonzaga squares off with Saint Mary’s in the early game while BYU goes up against San Francisco in the nightcap. Both the Zags and the Cougars potentially have at-large bids on the line with a loss.

Three other conference tournaments will be in action tonight:

  • 3) The MEAC first round
  • 4) The MAC first round
  • 5) The Summit League semifinals

Texas lands commitment from top 100 center

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James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.

Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.

“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”

He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.

Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.

Memphis guard could miss season with shoulder injury

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Memphis just cannot catch a break.


It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.

Today, reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.

Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.

This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.

That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.