UCLA, Gonzaga announce home-and-home series agreement

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UCLA and Gonzaga haven’t met on the basketball court since the 2006 Sweet 16, with the Bruins winning in one of the wildest finishes in the recent history of the event. That will change on December 13, as it was announced Wednesday that the two programs have come to an agreement on a two-game, home-and-home series. Gonzaga will host the return meeting on December 12, 2015.

“We are excited to face Gonzaga in a home-and-home series beginning with the 2014-15 season,” UCLA head coach Steve Alford said in the release. “Mark Few has built a strong and consistent program in Spokane, and we know this will be a very entertaining matchup for our fans in Pauley Pavilion.

“Playing Gonzaga will add to what we already believe is a very competitive non-conference schedule next season.”

This matchup will benefit both teams, and for the Bulldogs this game will be played one week after their visit to Pac-12 favorite Arizona (December 6). Gonzaga’s put together quality non-conference schedules over the years, and having Arizona and UCLA on the slate will not only benefit them ahead of West Coast Conference play but also give them the chance to take on two of the western United States’ most storied programs.

“Obviously, we are excited about the opportunity to play both UCLA and Arizona home-and-home,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said in a release. “It’s great for our fans, our program and for all college basketball fans, especially the ones out West that get to see the three of us playing home-and-home.”

UCLA, which reached the Sweet 16 this past season, will have some significant holes to fill as three players (Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine) entered the NBA Draft and the Wear twins ran out of eligibility. However the Bruins add a solid recruiting class led by Kevon Looney, and the addition of Isaac Hamilton will help as well.

As for Gonzaga, the Bulldogs lose David Stockton but return Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr. and Przemek Karnowski, and the addition of Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer will be a big one.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

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The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.

 

VIDEO: Zion Williamson’s coach is holding a sleeping baby

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LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:

This is peak AAU basketball.

It will never be more AAU than that.

PHOTOS: Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball showdown was, of course, insane

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In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.

The crowd was insane for the game:

According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.

Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:

At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:

(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)

Puerto Rico Tip Off bracket revealed

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The bracket of the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip off was revealed Wednesday, setting up a showdown between a 2016 Final Four participant and the 2016 Big 12 tournament champion.

South Carolina and Iowa State headline the event, which will be played Nov. 16-19, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, opening against Illinois State while the Cyclones are on the bottom half, squaring off against Appalachian State.

Boise State vs. UTEP is the other top-half quarterfinal while Tulsa vs. Western Michigan is the other.

The championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Sunday, Nov. 19.