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No. 5 Gonzaga stays undefeated with 79-56 win over No. 21 Saint Mary’s

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Nigel Williams-Goss scored 19 points and handed out six assists as No. 5 Gonzaga used a game-ending, 21-4 run as the Bulldogs beat No. 21 Saint Mary’s, 79-56.

Here are three takeaways from this season’s first installment of the WCC’s best rivalry:

1. It’s time to start talking about the potential of Gonzaga entering March undefeated: The Zags are the only undefeated team left in America. They’re legitimately ranked No. 5 in America. They have arguably the most underrated back court in college basketball – Nigel Williams-Goss and Josh Perkins are two former five-star point guard prospects that can share a starting lineup – and this may be the most talented, versatile and deep front line that Mark Few has ever had.

And to top it all off, they just beat their only real challenger in the WCC by 23 points.

It’s nothing close to a lock yet, not when the Zags still have to make a return trip to Moraga to play at Saint Mary’s, but it’s starting to look more and more like a real possibility that Gonzaga can enter March undefeated. The trip to Saint Mary’s will be tough, and BYU has the offensive firepower to make a run at just about anyone. The WCC is not a great league, but it is tough for Gonzaga to go on the road and take every team’s best shot in a gym packed to capacity.

Mark Few’s team has their work cut out for them.

But it’s time to start considering the possibility.

2. Which means you need to get ready for the No. 1 seed controversy!: It’s going to happen, and you know it. If the Zags run the table in the WCC and win the conference tournament title, they should be a No. 1 seed. When you enter Selection Sunday at 34-0, you get a No. 1 seed. That should be a hard-and-fast rule written into the tournament bylaws.

The bigger question is going to be what happens if Gonzaga has one or two losses on Selection Sunday, particularly in UCLA puts together the kind of résumé that we should expect them to. Then who would get the No. 1 seed out west? In an absolute best-case scenario, Gonzaga will have three wins over Saint Mary’s and wins over Arizona, Iowa State and Florida on neutral floors.

That’s not great, but it will give us plenty of fodder to argue about on podcasts and in columns.

3. Jock Landale’s inability to stay out of foul trouble ruined this matchup: Landale, the star center for Saint Mary’s, is a legitimate all-american candidate, but he spent the first 20 minutes on Saturday night battling foul trouble. He played just six minutes, and the Gaels entered the half lucky to be down just nine points. In the second half, Saint Mary’s looked like they were on the verge of taking this thing to the wire, but Landale committed three dumb fouls in the second half, getting sent to the bench as Gonzaga closed the game on a 21-4 run that made this game look like a mollywhopping instead of a WCC title fight.

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

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Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

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Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

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John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.

Ohio State snags third 2018 commitment in a week with four-star guard Luther Muhammad

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Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.

Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.

Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.