UCLA announces what appears to be a solid non-conference slate

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UCLA has announced their non-conference schedule for the 2014-2015 season, and it is more that respectable in terms of the kind of talent that Steve Alford has scheduled.

  • Nov. 14 Montana State
  • Nov. 16 Coastal Carolina
  • Nov. 20 Nicholls State
  • Nov. 23 Long Beach State
  • Nov. 26-28 Battle 4 Atlantis (The Bahamas)
  • Dec. 3 Cal State Fullerton
  • Dec. 7 San Diego
  • Dec. 10 UC Riverside
  • Dec. 13 Gonzaga
  • Dec. 20 vs. Kentucky, United Center (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Dec. 28 at Alabama

The season kicks off fairly slowly, with three relatively uninspiring matchups before the Bruins play Long Beach State, one of the better mid-major programs on the west coast. After that, Alford’s club will head to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis, which will likely be the strongest early season tournament. It also features Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma and Georgetown, among others.

After a trio of in-state foes, UCLA will wrap up their non-conference schedule by hosting a borderline-top ten team in Gonzaga, taking on preseason No. 1 Kentucky in Chicago and heading to Alabama for their one true road game before kicking off Pac-12 play.

I think this is a smart bit of scheduling by Alford. He’ll challenge his team, but with Kyle Anderson, Zach Lavine, Jordan Adams and the Wear twins all gone from last year’s roster, he’ll give his young guys a chance to get acclimated to the college level before forcing them to square off against Final Four caliber competition.

He’s also managed to schedule five of his team’s six toughest games away from Pauley Pavilion, and while that won’t be the same as a road trip to Arizona, it will force his guys to be able to adapt to an arena that they aren’t used to.

This won’t be the best non-conference schedule we’ll see in 2014-2015, but it is still pretty strong.

VIDEO: Michigan State’s Miles Bridges is dunking again

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Just what you wanted to see, a video of former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine throwing an alley-oop off the glass to current Michigan State star Miles Bridges in a Pro-Am in Michigan:

VIDEO: Kentucky’s entry into the #DriveByDunkChallenge

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A day after Grayson Allen threw an alley-oop to Trevon Duval for Duke’s entry into the #DriveByDunkChallenge, Kentucky’s team of freshmen decided to do one of their own:

https://twitter.com/i/web/status/889947577734574085

That would be, in order, Johnny David, Jarrod Vanderbilt, Nick Richards, PJ Washington and Kevin Knox abusing some poor sap’s rim somewhere in Lexington.

But was that better than John Calipari’s attempt?

VIDEOS: Michigan State’s Miles Bridges puts on another show at local summer Pro-Am

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Watching Michigan State’s Miles Bridges throw down high-level dunks in local summer pro-ams has been a good way to pass the time the last few weeks.

The 6-foot-7 Bridges has been annihilating rims all summer as he had more ridiculous dunks on Tuesday night. Playing with former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine and some of his current Spartans teammates, Bridges had more crowd-pleasing plays to add to his summer reel.

Lansing State Journal reporter James Edwards III has been on the scene for Bridges’ games all summer as he has more dunks from the future lottery pick.

Minnesota keeps in-state three-star 2018 guard Gabe Kalscheur at home

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Minnesota is keeping a big-time shooter at home as Class of 2018 shooting guard Gabe Kalscheur pledged to the Golden Gophers on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-4 Kalscheur is the third in-state prospect to pledge to head coach Richard Pitino in the Class of 2018 as he joins three-star forward Jarvis Thomas and four-star big man Daniel Oturu. The three-star Kalscheur gives Minnesota a valuable floor spacer and a winner as he’s a three-time state champion at DeLaSalle. All three of these commitments also played together with Howard Pulley in the Nike EYBL.

During this spring and summer in the Nike EYBL, Kalscheur averaged 14.9 points and shot 39 percent from three-point range as he made 61 treys in 21 games.

Pitino has certainly done a nice job of keeping local players home as he’s hoping that trend continues with upcoming in-state five-star prospects like 2018 point guard Tre Jones and 2019 forward Matthew Hurt. The Golden Gophers will have to win national recruiting battles to keep those guys home, but they’ve done a nice job of getting the other guys that they need to keep home.

North Carolina and NCAA set August hearing

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North Carolina and the NCAA have released additional responses and set the dates for a future hearing on Tuesday amid an investigation into paper classes given by the university’s African-American Studies Department.

The NCAA’s allegations center around UNC’s athletes — most notably members of football, men’s and women’s basketball teams — allegedly being guided to the fake classes in order to keep GPAs high enough to remain eligible. The fake classes typically had a high number of athletes enrolled each semester.

While North Carolina argued in May that this should be a school matter and not an NCAA matter, the NCAA responded to the matter in its belief that it has the right to investigate the classes. North Carolina is facing five top-level charges in the case with lack of institutional control among the charges.

A two-day hearing will be held with the NCAA in Nashville on August 16-17.

“The hearing is the next step in bringing closure to this longstanding issue by allowing us the opportunity to address the Committee on Infractions and present the facts,” said Joel Curran, vice chancellor of University communications. “The NCAA has requested certain individuals from the University attend the proceedings. It is standard practice for the current head coaches of programs referenced in a notice of allegations to attend. Therefore, Coaches Larry Fedora (football), Sylvia Hatchell (women’s basketball) and Roy Williams (men’s basketball) will accompany University representatives to the hearing.”