Kentucky v Wisconsin

Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison beats Wisconsin, sends the Wildcats to title game (VIDEO)

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ARLINGTON, Texas — He did it again.

Aaron Harrison hit the three that put Kentucky ahead for good with 40 seconds left of a win over Louisville. He sent Kentucky to the Final Four, hitting a three with 2.3 seconds left to beat Michigan in the Elite 8. And on Saturday night, in front of a record crowd of just under 80,000 people at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Harrison did it again.

WATCH: Harrison’s game-winner to beat Michigan

He hit a three with 5.7 seconds to put Kentucky ahead 74-73 and, after Traevon Jackson’s jumper bounced harmlessly off the rim, into the national title game against UConn.

“You got Aaron, The Assassin, making the shot that is the dagger,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said.

Alex Poythress phrased it just a bit differently. “He’s got some hangers,” Poythress said. “He’s got the biggest balls I’ve seen.” Andrew Harrison added, “They’re growing. We’re just glad he has those.”

Harrison finished with just eight points on the night. The three was the first shot that he had attempted from beyond the arc and it was just Kentucky’s second three-ball of the evening. The Wildcats executed their game-plan to perfection, pounding the ball inside and doing everything they could possibly do to allow their athletes to take over around the rim.

RELATED: UConn beat Florida by playing Florida’s game

Julius Randle finished with 16 points while Dakari Johnson, Alex Poythress and Marcus Lee combined for 22 points. In total, the Wildcats finished with 46 points in the paint, as everyone in a Kentucky jersey made a concerted effort to get the ball into the paint.

The offensive end of the floor isn’t the only place where Kentucky dominated the interior. Wisconsin’s star big man Frank Kaminsky, the man that was supposed to be the most difficult player to matchup with in college basketball, finished with just eight points and five boards on 4-for-7 shooting. But the Badgers actually did a pretty good job of getting the ball to the guys that they needed to. With all the attention on Kaminsky, Wisconsin’s shooters were able to take advantage of the space on the perimeter, hitting 8-for-20 from beyond the arc.

MORE: Aaron Harrison will get the headlines, but Alex Poythress was just as important

In the end, the difference in the game was Kentucky’s execution offensively. They did what they had to do to be able to beat the Badgers, which included protecting the ball. They committed just one turnover in the last 34:54 of the game, and they did not commit a turnover in the second half.

Sam Dekker and Ben Brust led the way for the Badgers with 15 points apiece.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.