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No. 7 Michigan outlasts No. 10 Oklahoma State in battle of elite point guards

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The battle of elite points guard lived up to the hype as No. 7 seed Michigan and senior Derrick Walton Jr. outlasted No. 10 seed Oklahoma State and sophomore Jawun Evans for a 92-91 win during a first-round game Friday afternoon in the Midwest Region.

Both guards flirted with triple-doubles in this NCAA Tournament game in Indianapolis, but it was Walton and the Wolverines who continued their stretch of inspired play after a scare during last week involving the team plane. D.J. Wilson made the game-clinching free throws with 3.7 seconds left for Michigan as Evans buried a three-pointer as time expired to make it the one-point difference.

Michigan (25-11) was led by Walton as he finished with 26 points, 11 assists and five rebounds as the Wolverines shot a blistering 55 percent (16-for-29) from three-point range. At one point in the second half, the Wolverines were 11-for-15 in the half from three-point range as their ability to hit the long ball changed the game.

Continuing to look like one of the elite floor leaders in college basketball, Walton was once again matched against a very good counterpart and outplayed that player while getting his team the win. During Michigan’s recent six-game winning streak, Walton is averaging 21 points, 8.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game as he’s now become one of the tournament’s dangerous players.

Wilson added 19 points for the Wolverines while Zak Irvin and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman each had 16 points to help form a balanced Michigan attack.

Oklahoma State (20-13) had a solid game from Evans as he totaled 23 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds. Although Evans was close to a triple-double he was only 10-for-26 from the field as he had a tough time getting some shots to fall around the rim. Jeffrey Carroll added 19 points while senior guard Phil Forte III added 12 points in his final college game. Davon Dillard also added 12 points for the Cowboys while Leyton Hammonds added 10 points.

Although Oklahoma State’s offense was once again good enough to keep them in this one, their perimeter defense allowed Michigan a number of easy different looks as the Cowboys lost another close game to a good team with a good offense.

Michigan moves on to face No. 2 seed Louisville in the second round of the Midwest Region on Sunday after the Cardinals ran past No. 15 seed Jacksonville State. The Wolverines have won eight of their last night games overall, including last week’s Big Ten Tournament title.

If Walton continues to play at an elite level and the Wolverines continue to stay motivated then they are going to be a dangerous team if Louisville advances. That could be one of the better second-round matchups in the tournament as Walton will go against some more high-quality guards in Donovan Mitchell and Quentin Snider for the Cardinals.

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

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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 NBCSports.com. 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.