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Weekend Preview: Duke-North Carolina, plus four tickets getting punched

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SATURDAY’S SHOWDOWNS

No. 17 Duke at No. 5 North Carolina, Sat. 8:15 p.m. (ESPN): The biggest game of the night lost a bit of its luster when Duke dropped back-to-back road games last week. The Blue Devils bounced back this week with a win over No. 15 Florida State, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Tar Heels can now win an outright ACC regular season title even if they lose this game.

But it’s Duke-North Carolina.

That rivalry game is always going to be terrific, and this should be no different. The Tar Heels currently sit a game up on Notre Dame in the ACC regular season standings. A win locks them into the outright ACC regular season title, the eighth regular season title that Roy Williams has won in the last 13 seasons, but there should be little doubt that Duke, who is still playing for seeding in both postseason tournaments, would love to be able to say that they swept UNC in a year they won the ACC title.

And Duke has a real shot at this thing. The key is going to be the matchup at the four spot, where Duke’s Jayson Tatum is going to go up against Isaiah Hicks. Duke wants to play small-ball. North Carolina wants to play big. If Tatum can find a way to hold his own in the post and keep whoever he’s guarding from getting to the offensive glass, the Blue Devils will be in a really good spot. He did it when these two met in Cameron Indoor Stadium, but that came on a day where Isaiah Hicks was not in the lineup.

PREDICTION: North Carolina (-7)

FIVE MORE GAMES TO WATCH

No. 24 Iowa State at No. 10 West Virginia, Fri. 7:00 p.m.: The Cyclones, who have been one of the hottest teams in the Big 12 and are now sitting all alone in second place in the Big 12, will pay a visit to Morgantown, which has not been a fun place for ranked teams to visit this season. Monte’ Morris has 68 assists and just six turnovers in his last 10 games. Will that last against WVU’s pressure? PREDICTION: Iowa State (+8)

No. 19 Notre Dame at No. 8 Louisville, Sat. 2:00 p.m.: Surprisingly enough, Notre Dame is currently sitting all alone in second place in the ACC standings as of today. Louisville, however, is coming off of a confounding loss at Wake Forest and are not an easy team to beat in the KFC Yum! Center. PREDICTION: Louisville (-8)

No. 25 Miami at No. 15 Florida State, Sat. 4:00 p.m. (ACCN): There is a lot on the line in terms of seeding in this game, for both the ACC tournament and the NCAA tournament. Miami has been one of the hot teams in the ACC in recent weeks. PREDICTION: Florida State (-7)

No. 1 Kansas at Oklahoma State, Sat. 6:00 p.m. (ESPN): The Jayhawks have already clinched the outright Big 12 title and, in all likelihood, a No. 1 seed in the tournament. What do they have to play for? Not enough to keep them from needing to come back from 12 down in the second half to beat Oklahoma. PREDICTION: Oklahoma State (-1)

Tournament Finals: There are going to be four automatic bids earned this weekend. It starts on Saturday night in the Ohio Valley Conference, while Sunday features the Atlantic Sun, the Big Sky and the Missouri Valley title games. The race for the MVC title may be the most interesting, as both Wichita State and Illinois State are looking to get themselves off of the bubble by earning that automatic bid.

Buffalo sophomore arrested, charged with strangulation, witness intimidation

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Buffalo sophomore Quate McKinzie is facing a litany of charges stemming from an incident in which he allegedly attempted to strangle a female acquaintance.

McKinzie, who is 20 years old, was later handed more charges after he made threatening phone calls to his accuser from jail.
From the Buffalo News:

The original charges placed against the UB sophomore were second-degree strangulation, a D-felony; misdemeanor counts of criminal obstruction of breathing, assault, menacing, harassment; and stealing the victim’s vehicle.

The latest charges are third-degree witness intimidation and first-degree criminal contempt, both E-felonies; and two misdemeanors, aggravated harassment and disobeying a court mandate, according to Tonawanda Police Patrol Capt. Fredric Foels.

“University Athletics is aware of the alleged incident and is in communication with university and local authorities,” Buffalo released in a statement. “Quate McKinzie is currently enrolled at the University at Buffalo and is suspended indefinitely from the university’s basketball team. Due to the ongoing investigation and federal protections on student information, we will have no further comment on the matter at this time.”

McKinzie is a 6-foot-8, 195 pound forward that played in 17 games last season. He averaged 3.9 points and 4.3 boards.

Auburn’s Austin Wiley suffers stress fracture

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Auburn center Austin Wiley has a stress fracture in his left leg and will be out 4-6 weeks, the school announced Monday.

No surgery is required, but Wiley, who played with Team USA’s U19 team in Egypt earlier this month, will miss Auburn’s trip to Italy.

“You know how tough and committed a young man is when he plays through the pain of a stress fracture,” said Pearl. “He was receiving treatment while in Egypt, but had no way of knowing the extent of his injury. Doctors say it is in a good spot for healing, and he will be fine.”

Wiley averaged 8.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 18.1 minutes this past season. He started 21 of the Tigers’ 22 games after he enrolled in school midseason.

Virginia Tech loses key shooter to torn ACL

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Virginia Tech suffered a brutal blow earlier this month when Ty Outlaw went down with a torn ACL in his right knee.

Outlaw is one of the best shooters on Virginia Tech’s roster, banging home 48 percent of his three-balls last season, and he was expected to be a major part of the rotation following a season where he scored in double-figures in six of the last eight games, including four games of better than 16 points in that stretch.

This is a blow to Virginia Tech’s depth, but it is also a tough break for Outlaw, who transferred to Virginia Tech from a Junior College and had to sit out the 2015-16 season due to a heart issue. The redshirt senior will likely be eligible to receive a medical redshirt should he decide to apply for one.

Report: Miller brothers schedule Indiana-Arizona series

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The Miller family does not appear to be worried about sibling rivalry.

According to a report from FanRag Sports, Archie, the head coach at Indiana, and Sean, the head coach at Arizona, have agreed to a three-year deal to have the two programs face-off against each other. They’ll start in 2019-20, playing in Arizona, then face-off in Bloomington the following season before finally heading up to Madison Square Garden in 2021-22.

If you can get past the fact that we are now scheduling games for 2022 (!!!), this is actually going to be a pretty neat and unique thing. How often do two brothers end up coaching at the Division I level? The Drew brothers — Bryce at Vanderbilt and Scott at Baylor — are one pair, but they cancelled a series that would have seen the two programs square off last season. James and Joe Jones at Yale and Boston University are another pair. They were league rivals for eight yeas when Joe was the head coach at Columbia. When Sean Sutton was the head coach at Oklahoma State, his brother, Scott, beat them was the head coach at Oral Roberts.

So it’s not typical for this to happen, mainly because it’s not easy to compete at something so important against someone you care about so much.

Think about it.

Imagine working in a profession where your success comes at the expense of your brother? It’s one of the major reasons — beyond the obvious — that no one believed Sean Miller would actually consider taking the Ohio State job when it opened. Facing off against your brother in a non-conference game you choose to play is one thing. Competing for league titles against him for the foreseeable future is something totally different.

Which is a long way of saying that this should be an enticing matchup, however it plays out.

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)