Kent State picked up a commitment from one of the top remaining transfers on the market Thursday, with it being reported by multiple outlets that former Maine guard Xavier Pollard has decided to join the Mid-American Conference program.
As a junior Pollard averaged 14.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for the Black Bears, who struggled mightily before the decision was made to not retain Ted Woodward as head coach. Pollard played in 24 of Maine’s 29 games in 2013-14, reaching double figures in 21 of those games. He scored a season-high 26 points in a loss at Hartford in January, making 11 of his 18 shot attempts from the field.
Pollard’s expected to have to sit out the 2014-15 season per NCAA transfer rules, and with that in mind he’s a very important addition for head coach Rob Senderoff.
Kent State’s top two returning scorers from last season, guards Kris Brewer (11.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.9 apg) and Derek Jackson (10.7, 3.7, 2.0), will both be seniors next season. Pollard would then be able to slide into the rotation in 2015-16 as Kent State looks to account for the losses of those two guards
Pollard becomes the sixth member of Kent State’s 2014 recruiting class, with the other five players being eligible to play next season. The Golden Flashes, who finished the 2013-14 season with a record of 16-16 (7-11 MAC), will also have Hofstra transfer Jimmy Hall. Hall played in just seven games in 2012-13 before legal issues led to his being dismissed from the Hofstra program.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.
The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.
We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
- Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
- Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
- Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
- No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
- No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.
And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.
The rest of the top 10?
They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: