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Team of the Week: Syracuse Orange

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The Orange thrust themselves back into the NCAA tournament pictures this week, as they knocked off Wake Forest and Florida State in the Carrier Dome.

The two wins bump the Orange up to 13-9 on the season and 5-4 in the league, but, more importantly, the two wins are two of the best wins that the Orange have this season. Syracuse has the look of a tournament team on paper. The problem is their tournament profile: It just isn’t good enough.

They’ve lost to UConn, Boston College, Georgetown and St. John’s already this season, losses that wouldn’t be bad if this was 2007 instead of 2017. As it stands, none of those four teams are going to the NCAA tournament, and it means that the Orange are going to have to pick up a lot of high-RPI wins in the next five weeks if they want a chance to dance. Florida State factors in there. Wake Forest actually has pretty decent computer numbers, and there is the win over Miami from last month that will carry some weight as well.

But maybe, just maybe, these are the kind of wins that can get the ship righted for the Orange as they enter a crucial stretch of their schedule. Three of their next four and four of their next six games are on the road. But, more importantly, three of their remaining four homes games are against Louisville, Virginia and Duke. Quality wins are there for the taking.

THEY WERE GOOD, TOO

  • Georgetown: All of a sudden, Georgetown looks like a team that still have a prayer of getting to the NCAA tournament. After nearly going a full year between wins over Big East foes not named Creighton or DePaul, the Hoyas picked off No. 16 Creighton and No. 11 Butler on the road in the same week.
  • Georgia Tech: At this point in the season, the Yellow Jackets are an NCAA tournament team. That doesn’t mean they’re a lock to dance on Selection Sunday – there are still plenty of chances for them to do dumb things over the course of the next six weeks – but after blowing out Florida State and beating Notre Dame, Josh Pastner looks like he’ll be heading back to the Big Dance.
  • Miami: The Hurricanes landed the quality win their profile desperately lacked, smacking around North Carolina on Saturday to improve to 16-5 on the season. Miami looks like they are a tournament team.
  • West Virginia: The Mountaineers kept the door open for everyone else in the Big 12 this season as they picked off the Kansas Jayhawks in Morgantown this week.
  • Tennessee: The Vols gave Kentucky their first loss of the season in Knoxville on Tuesday and followed that up by beating a good Kansas State team over the weekend.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

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Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.

The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.

The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.

(h/t: Courtside Films)

Five-star 2018 point guard Darius Garland cuts list to six schools

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Five-star Class of 2018 point guard Darius Garland revealed the final six schools that he’s considering on Friday.

The N0. 12 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals, the 6-foot-0 Garland is one of the top floor generals in the nation as he is still considering Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and Vanderbilt.

A native of Nashville, Garland is a potentially elite perimeter threat at the college level as he’s one of the more deadly three-point marksmen in the nation.

Garland spent this spring and summer playing with Bradley Beal Elite in the Nike EYBL as he averaged 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per game in the league this spring.

VIDEO: Kentucky’s John Calipari participates in the #DriveByDunkChallenge

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The #DriveByDunkChallenge is sweeping the nation on social media this summer.

Rules to participate are pretty simple:

  1. Drive around in your vehicle.
  2. Find a basketball hoop (or a basketball ring if you’re Ted Cruz) on a random driveway.
  3. Run out of your car and dunk on that random hoop while a friend films.
  4. Run back to your car and drive away.

Let Anthony Davis show you how it works:

Pretty simple, right?

The #DriveByDunkChallenge isn’t raising money or awareness for ALS like the #IceBucketChallenge did three years ago, but it’s something harmless and fun to do to pass the time during the dog days of summer.

Sensing an opportunity to join an Internet craze, while also following in the footsteps of his former player Kentucky star, Wildcats head coach John Calipari got involved with his own dunk late Friday night.

And his video is much funnier than I thought it would be.

While most #DriveByDunkChallenge videos are done by healthy and spry teenagers who are cruising neighborhoods during the day, Calipari, and his hip replacement, got in on the fun with a late-night dunk.

I love that Calipari ditched the ball behind his back while running back to the car after the dunk.

Most people who participate in the challenge usually have their own ball and keep it with them through completion. But Calipari either picked up a random ball in the driveway or just he lost the handle with his own ball and had a turnover.

The next time Calipari goes hard on one of his point guards for losing control and playing too fast, remember this moment.

Creighton’s Khyri Thomas posterizes defender

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Creighton rising junior wing Khyri Thomas, like several of his teammates, are taking part in the Omaha Summer League this offseason.

On Thursday night, the 6-foot-3, 205-lb. Thomas eviscerated a defender with a one-handed posterization.

Thomas is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign for the Bluejays. He started all 35 games, averaging 12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Aside from the increase in offensive production, Thomas served as one of the top defenders in the Big East. He shared the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award with Villanova’s Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges.

Zion Williamson throws down 360 windmill dunk

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Zion Williamson added another jaw-dropping dunk in the layup lines on the first night of the second live evaluation period.

Williamson and his SC Supreme team took on Each 1 Teach 1 at the Hoopseen Best of the South at the LakePoint Sporting Community in greater Atlanta.

The 6-foot-7 power forward threw down a 360 windmill dunk during his pregame routines.

Each 1 Teach 1 would pick up a 70-67 victory over SC Supreme. Williamson would end with a monster stat line of 37 points and seven rebounds.