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Texas Tech adds some new pieces for next season

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Texas Tech has stayed active on the recruiting trail the last few days as they’ve reeled in two commitments for next season.

The Red Raiders brought in junior college wing Deshawn Corprew and Italian point guard Davide Moretti in recent days as they’ve added more depth to their backcourt for next season.

The 6-foot-5 Corprew is intriguing because he is a former top-100 national prospect who has three years of eligibility remaining. If Corprew can make an impact then Texas Tech might have themselves a rugged and physical guard who can

The 6-foot-3 Moretti made a name for himself at the FIBA U18 European Championships in 2016 as he’ll have a chance to earn minutes at point. Moretti put up 14.9 points, 5.0 assists and shot 45 percent from three-point range during that FIBA event last summer, so if he shoots the ball like that, he could also see time as another floor spacer for the Red Raiders.

Texas Tech has a chance to be an intriguing team next season thanks to their depth and some new additions.

Kansas releases non-conference schedule

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Kansas released its non-conference schedule on Thursday as the Jayhawks have a pretty strong group of games before defending the Big 12 title.

The non-conference schedule is highlighted by a Champion’s Classic tilt against Kentucky on Nov. 14. Kansas also has neutral-court games against Syracuse (in Miami), Washington (in Kansas City), Stanford (in Sacramento) as well as Nebraska (in Lincoln) and the Jayhawks will also host Arizona State at home.

While only one of those teams made the NCAA tournament last season, the neutral court factor should help and Kentucky will be a major early-season test for two teams looking to take hold of No. 1 in an uncertain season.

You can view the complete Kansas non-conference schedule in the tweet below. While the power conference group of teams is a little bit underwhelming, Kansas has some tough mid-major teams like Oakland, Texas Southern and Toledo that they’ll also face in the early weeks of the season.

Texas Tech forward Zach Smith returns to school after withdrawing from NBA Draft

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Texas Tech forward Zach Smith will return for his senior season, the school confirmed on Monday.

The 6-foot-8 forward is one of the most intriguing athletes in college basketball as he’s been a double-figure scorer for the Red Raiders the past two seasons. As a junior, Smith put up 12.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game as he shot 50 percent from the field.

Three-point shooting was something that Smith improved dramatically last season as he increased it to 39 percent in a small sample size. If Smith can continue to show that he’s a perimeter shooting threat then he could be an ideal three-and-d candidate at the pro level.

By returning to Texas Tech, Smith gives head coach Chris Beard a potential all-league candidate who should be counted on to be a double-double threat next season.

 

Oklahoma State wing Jeffrey Carroll will return to school

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After initially stating that he would test the 2017 NBA Draft process, Oklahoma State wing Jeffrey Carroll will return to school for his senior season, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

The 6-foot-6 Carroll was one of the breakout players of the 2016-17 college basketball season as he dramatically improved during his junior season. Carroll averaged 17.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game for the Cowboys while shooting 53 percent from the field and 44 percent from three-point range.

With point guard Jawun Evans declaring for the NBA Draft and senior guard Phil Forte exhausting his eligibility, Carroll could be one of the premier scorers in the country next season as he’ll undoubtedly be Oklahoma State’s go-to player.

Carroll will be one of the preseason favorites to earn potential All-American honors as he tries to replicate his outstanding junior season.

Oklahoma State promotes assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach

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Oklahoma State has decided to promote assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach, the school announced on Friday.

Boynton was an assistant with the Cowboys under former head coach Brad Underwood, who left Oklahoma State to take the Illinois job last weekend. Also an assistant coach at Stephen F. Austin, South Carolina, Wofford and Coastal Carolina, Boynton is a native of New York City who played his college ball for the Gamecocks.

The hire of Boynton is surprising since he doesn’t have any head-coaching experience as it follows in the footsteps of Cal promoting assistant coach Wyking Jones earlier in the day. Boynton also notably won the job over broadcaster and former Oklahoma State guard Doug Gottlieb as Gottlieb interviewed for the job but wasn’t selected.

 

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.