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No. 14 UCLA secures Wooden Legacy title with win over Texas A&M

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UCLA has as flashy of an offense as we’ve seen in college basketball in recent memory, but entering Sunday night’s battles with Texas A&M in the title game of the Wooden Legacy in Los Angeles, there were still plenty of questions regarding what they can be this season.

What happens when a team gets physical with them?

What happens when they get dragged into a slow-tempo, half-court game?

Are they going to be able to get enough stops to beat good teams?

And while it’s too early in the season to definitively give an answer to any of those three questions marks, the early returns sure are promising.

The No. 14 Bruins improved to 7-0 on the season with a 74-67 win over the Aggies on Sunday, an impressive performance against a team that plays the exact style that we all thought would give UCLA trouble. Billy Kennedy’s club wants to slow the game down. They want to pound the ball inside to Tyler Davis – who might be the pound-for-pound strongest man in college hoops – and Robert Williams. They win games not because they’re going to light up the scoreboard but because they’ve been pretty efficient at playing at their pace, keeping games in the 60s.

It didn’t matter.

Isaac Hamilton scored all 17 of his points in the first half, Lonzo Ball finished with 16 points, 10 assists, five boards and three blocks and Bryce Alford shook off a cold-shooting night to make a number of critical shots down the stretch. More importantly, Thomas Welsh and T.J. Leaf held their own against A&M’s front line and, when Steve Alford needed his team to make a play on the defensive end of the floor, they did just that.

We’re not quite sure how good this A&M team is going to be up being this season. With the pieces they lost to graduation and with projected starting point guard J.J. Caldwell ineligible, the Aggies do have some limitations.

What they are is a solid, well-coached team that plays a style that matches up well with how UCLA wants to play, and the Bruins got passed them in a game that never really felt like they were in danger of losing.

The real test for the Bruins comes on Saturday, when they head to Rupp Arena to face off with Kentucky.

And after UCLA’s run to the Wooden Legacy title, Bruins fans should feel a bit more confident that their team may be able to eke out a win on the road.

VIDEO: Top 2018 recruits Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford go head-to-head at adidas

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This weekend is the first live evaluation period of the spring recruiting calendar as college coaches from all over the country are scouting (and babysitting) the top recruits in the Class of 2018 and 2019.

Friday night the adidas Gauntlet in Dallas opened with a marquee matchup of two star players as five-star forward Zion Williamson and five-star guard Romeo Langford went head-to-head in what should be one of the best games of the spring.

Most scouting services have Williamson and Langford as the No. 2 and No. 3 overall prospects in the Class of 2018 as the duo didn’t disappoint in front of the huge crowd in Fort Worth.

Williamson helped his team to a win with 26 points and seven rebounds while Langford had 28 points, four rebounds and four assists. You’ll be hearing plenty about both of these guys over the next few months as both are still wide open in the recruting process.

(H/t: Ball is Life)

Report: Coppin State hires Juan Dixon as new head coach

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Coppin State has hired former Maryland star guard Juan Dixon to be its next head coach, according to a report from Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun.

The 38-year-old Dixon is best known for leading Maryland to the 2002 national championship as he was the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four that year. Now Dixon will have a chance to lead a Division I program for the first time.

Dixon spent seven years in the NBA and also played professionally in Europe before joining the Maryland coaching staff in 2013 as a special assistant to head coach Mark Turgeon. Not retained by Maryland after the 2015-16 season, Dixon took the head coaching job for the women’s team at the University of the District of Columbia last season as the Division II program finished only  3-25.

Coppin State finished last season with an 8-24 record after losing its first 12 games of the season. While Dixon will generate some positive local buzz given his background, he’s going to have an uphill battle trying to rebuild that program.

Nebraska scores important Class of 2017 commitment from four-star guard Thomas Allen

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Nebraska landed an important commitment from the Class of 2017 on Friday as four-star guard Thomas Allen is heading to Lincoln next season.

The 6-foot-1 guard is considered the No. 99 overall prospect by Rivals in the national Class of 2017 rankings as Allen was previously committed to N.C. State before head coach Mark Gottfried was fired.

A scorer with a good amount of skill, Allen has a chance to come in and make an immediate impact at Nebraska as he can play a bit on or off the ball. Allen should help offset the loss of senior Tai Webster in the Husker backcourt.

Allen joins wing Nana Akenten in Nebraska’s Class of 2017 recruiting efforts.

North Carolina lands four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks

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North Carolina pulled in a late Class of 2017 commitment to begin the weekend as the Tar Heels secured a pledge from four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks.

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Brooks was previously committed to Mississippi State, but he was granted his release this spring to explore other opportunities.

The Tar Heels pounced as they’re getting a low-post threat who could develop into a potential double-double threat. A solid rebounder who isn’t afraid to play with physicality, Brooks has a chance to earn some immediate rotation minutes with seniors like Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks exhausting their eligibility.

Brooks is regarded as the No. 120 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, according to Rivals, as he is a four-star prospect. The native of Auburn, Alabama joins a North Carolina recruiting class that includes point guard Jalek Felton, shooting guard Andrew Platek and big men Brandon Huffman and Sterling Manley.

Report: NCAA ‘anticipates’ hearing UNC case in mid-August

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Today, the AP churned out a story on Greg Sankey’s involvement with the NCAA’s investigation into the academic scandal at North Carolina, and buried within that story is this little nugget:

UNC must respond to the latest charges by May 16. The NCAA enforcement staff then has until July 17 for its own response. Sankey wrote that his panel will hear the case in August with “anticipated” dates of Aug. 16 and 17.

Rulings typically come weeks to months later.

We’ve been down this road before, as the current iteration of the Notice of Allegations is the third that the NCAA has provided the university. The first was given out back in May of 2015 for an investigation that began back in 2010.