Introducing Cinderella: Kent State Golden Flashes are going dancing

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Conference: Mid-American Conference

Coach: Rob Senderoff (Kent State)

Record: 22-14 (10-8 MAC)

Ratings and Rankings:

Kenpom: 146
RPI: 155
AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding: Kent State went 22-14 on the year. Twelve of those losses came against teams with a RPI of 100 or lower. The Golden Flashes did themselves no favors, and with an RPI of 155 — compared to the RPIs of other one-bid league champions — they might be the lowest-seeded mid-major. NBC Sports latest bracket projection, which had Akron winning the automatic bid, had the Zips slotted as a No. 14 seed. The best they can hope for is that.

Names you need to know: Jimmy Hall, the 6-foot-8 senior forward, is an all-conference first-teamer after averaging a double-double of 18.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. He’s really good away from home too. In all but four road games this season, Hall has registered a double-double. Jaylin Walker has had a stellar sophomore season as well, and he’s coming off a 30-point performance in the MAC Tournament title game.

Stats you need to know: Only North Carolina collects more offensive rebounds per game. The Golden Flashes averaged 15 offensive boards per game. Against Akron in the MAC Tournament championship game, Kent State only had five offensive boards, although, no need for second-chance points when you shoot 53 percent from the field.

Big wins, bad losses: The Golden Flashes best win would have to be Texas back in December. But at that point, the Longhorns were 5-6. Kent State has 12 losses against teams with an RPI south of 100.

How’d they get here?: Kent State had to win four games in four days to earn the automatic bid. It started with an overtime win over Central Michigan in a 116-106 shootout with Marcus Keene, the nation’s top scorer. On the following three nights, the Golden Flashes took down Buffalo, Ohio and Akron. All three of those victories were decided by a combined 10 points.

Outlook: The Golden Flashes don’t have the most impressive resume entering the field, but that might have something to do with losing three starters and incorporating a number of transfers this season. While they may be peaking at the right time, is there enough time between know and the start of the first round, whether it be Thursday and Friday, to recover from this physical and emotional run?

How do I know you?: The Elite Eight team from 2002, led by future San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates.

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

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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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.