Kevin Ollie, DeAndre Daniels, Tyler Olander

The Secondary Break: Wednesday’s Links

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Illinois seemed headed for glory in ’89, but Michigan prevailed (Chicago Sun Times)
While the 1989 Final Four ended up being remembered for Michigan’s winning the national title, one of the two teams the Wolverines beat was an Illinois squad some felt was the favorite to win it all. But they fell two points short, and it’s a missed opportunity that still weighs on the minds of some of the members of the “Flying Illini.”

Look who’s talking: Ollie tells Daniels to be more vocal (Hartford Courant)
Guards Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright are the leaders for No. 7 UConn, and with that comes a lot of attention nationally. But junior forward DeAndre Daniels is also an important piece, and if anything there are times when head coach Kevin Ollie needs the Los Angeles native to be more assertive. And that goes for the verbal aspect of the game just as much as it does Daniels’ skill.

Gators heed advice of Billy Donovan, put aside Final Four distractions (Bradenton Herald)
One key for the teams in this weekend’s Final Four is to manage the distractions that come off the court. That means taking care of ticket requests and anything else that can get in the way of the players keeping their focus on the task at hand. For No. 1 Florida, head coach Billy Donovan gave his players Sunday and Monday to handle those areas, and his experience coaching in the Final Four is something the players will look to draw from.

Saints hope to rock the old house (Albany Times Union)
Siena hosts Game 2 of the CBI championship series on Wednesday, with the Saints looking to close things out after beating Fresno State on the road in Game 1. And they’ll be doing so on campus, with the Times Union Center unavailable¬†due to events that have been scheduled for the facility.

The Northwestern Decision: An Explainer (Grantland)
With Northwestern football players winning the right to form a union, there’s been confusion as to what the development means for college sports as a whole. Here’s a solid breakdown of the situation, what it all means now and what it could mean down the line for Northwestern and collegiate athletics as a whole.

Ten most important players in the Final Four (USA Today)
Here’s a look at ten of the most important players in this weekend’s Final Four, led by Wisconsin junior Frank Kaminsky.

Calipari reminds Kentucky players: “we ain’t dead yet” (Louisville Courier-Journal)
Earlier this season Kentucky head coach John Calipari was forced to spend a lot of his time teaching things such as effort and body language, which stunted the growth of his young team. Once that changed in the latter portion of the season so did the Wildcats’ fortunes, and they’re in the Final Four as a result. And Calipari has made sure to remind his players that they aren’t done yet.

BUBBLE BANTER: Key Atlantic 10, Big East bubble games

Kelan Martin, Kyle Alexander
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This post will be updated throughout the night.

Butler (KenPom: 41, RPI; 67) at Seton Hall (KenPom: 31, RPI: 37), 6:30 p.m.
LSU (KenPom: 53, RPI: 76) at South Carolina (KenPom: 45, RPI: 28), 7:00 p.m.
Nebraska at Wisconsin (KenPom: 51, RPI: 62), 7:00 p.m.
Saint Joseph’s (KenPom: 48, RPI: 30) at George Washington (KenPom: 71, RPI: 34), 7:00 p.m.
Missouri at Vanderbilt (KenPom: 35, RPI: 58), 9:00 p.m.
No. 14 Iowa State at Texas Tech (KenPom: 59, RPI: 51), 9:00 p.m.
Michigan (KenPom: 46, RPI: 56) at Minnesota, 9:00 p.m.
Washington (KenPom: 80, RPI: 57) at Utah (KenPom: 44, RPI: 16), 9:00 p.m.
San Diego State (KenPom: 65, RPI: 47) at Fresno State, 11:00 p.m.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Ben Simmons, LSU get tested at South Carolina; more important bubble matchups

FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2015, file photo, LSU forward Ben Simmons (25) drives downcourt as teammate Antonio Blakeney (2) follows in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina State in New York. For all of his gaudy numbers, Simmons is still trying to figure out the best way to put the Tigers in position to win. And now the schedule gets harder, starting with Tuesday night's, Dec. 29, 2015, tilt against Wake Forest, followed by the opening of Southeastern Conference play against Vanderbilt and No. 10 Kentucky. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: LSU at South Carolina, 7:00 p.m.

LSU attempts to stay atop the SEC standings when they travel on the road to face South Carolina. The Gamecocks have been very tough at home this season and they’re trying to form a potential four-way tie in the conference standings if they’re able to win this one (and Texas A&M wins tonight). It will be intriguing to see how Ben Simmons fares against South Carolina’s stingy defense.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: Saint Joseph’s at George Washington, 7:00 p.m.

An important game in the Atlantic 10 as Saint Joseph’s heads to the Smith Center to play surging George Washington. The Colonels have won three straight games as they try to stay with VCU and Dayton and make a move to tie the Hawks in the league standings. CBT’s Rob Dauster will be in the building for this one, so make sure to follow him on Twitter for updates.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. No. 21 Baylor will have a tough one in the Big 12 when they go on the road at Kansas State. The Wildcats just knocked off Oklahoma and the Octagon of Doom is a very tough place to play, even if Kansas State is struggling in the standings.
  2. No. 16 SMU will try to stay in the lead in the American as they host Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane could really use a road win like this for its postseason chances.
  3. An intriguing Pac-12 contest tips as Washington heads to Utah. The Pac-12 standings are a mess right now, but these two teams still have a chance to make one final move for the regular season title if they start building momentum now.
  4. In the SEC, Alabama hosts No. 15 Texas A&M, a team that has lost three of its last four games. The Aggies will be favored in this road contest, but this one could be interesting because of Avery Johnson’s unique connection to Texas A&M. Avery Johnson Jr., a transfer guard sitting out this season at Alabama, played for the Aggies last season, so he could have some useful tips for his dad on slowing down Texas A&M’s potent offense.
  5. No. 20 Providence will be looking for revenge when they head to Milwaukee to face Marquette. The Golden Eagles currently sit eighth in the Big East standings, but they did win on the road by a point over the Friars earlier this season.