Rutgers ends a strong recruiting week by landing four-star 2018 guard Montez Mathis

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Rutgers has some positive recruiting momentum going after the the July live evaluation period as the Scarlet Knights and head coach Steve Pikiell added two quality perimeter recruits late this week.

The addition of four-star Class of 2018 guard Montez Mathis is the major addition to watch for Rutgers, as the 6-foot-4 native of Maryland pledged to the Scarlet Knights on Friday. Regarded as the No. 86 overall prospect in the national 2018 recruiting rankings, Mathis is a major grab for Rutgers as he’s one of the highest-regarded recruits to commit to the program in years.

An aggressive and productive scorer, Mathis gives the Scarlet Knights a guard who should be able to come in and play right away as he picked Rutgers over schools like UConn and Virginia Tech.

Mathis joins another solid commitment in three-star guard Mac McClung, as he joined Rutgers with a commitment on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-1 McClung is coming off of a strong spring and summer of his own playing with Team Loaded Virginia as he’s a deceptive above-the-rim athlete at his size and position. In fact, here’s a video of McClung throwing down an under-the-legs down on some poor dude late this week.

By getting Mathis and McClung (a solid name for a future backcourt or a police drama) Rutgers is in great shape when it comes to Class of 2018 recruiting as the duo joins four-star big man Mamadou Doucoure to form a three-man class.

Big Ten doesn’t listen to member schools, releases awful conference breakdown

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The Big Ten released the opponent breakdown for the 2017-18 men’s basketball season on Monday.

And they badly screwed it up.

The Big Ten has a difficult dilemma with scheduling its conference games because they are a 14-team league with an 18-game conference schedule. But the league is taking away a lot of classic rivalries this season that should always feature a home-and-away rivalry.

Here are some examples of rivalry games that we’ll only see once this season during Big Ten conference play:

  • National title contender Michigan State and Michigan — coming off of a Sweet 16 appearance — only play one time.
  • Indiana and new head coach Archie Miller only play in-state rival Purdue one time.
  • Northwestern — fresh off of its first NCAA tournament appearance — only plays in-state rival Illinois and new head coach Brad Underwood one time.

As noted by the SB Nation Purdue site, Hammer & Rails, Purdue will have hosted only one of the last five conference games against Indiana in West Lafayette. Which seems totally fair…

This isn’t a new development. The Big Ten has had this issue with rivalry scheduling in men’s basketball before.

All three of those rivalries even requested that the Big Ten “protect” each of them so that the conference could guarantee a home-and-away series between those schools every year.

Kyle Austin from MLive has some quotes from the Big Ten meetings in May from Purdue athletic director Mike Bobinski that drive this home.

From Austin’s report:

Bobinski said he didn’t think the protected rivalries could be added in time for the 2017-18 schedule, but said “I think we’ll get there in the reasonably near future.” Michigan-Michigan State and Indiana-Purdue were the two protected rivalries discussed, and Illinois and Northwestern also requested to have their rivalry protected, Bobinski said.

Clearly, the Big Ten didn’t listen in time to get this right for the 2017-18 season. And that’s a shame. Now we’re stuck with a Big Ten schedule that is missing a lot of fun home-and-away rivalry series this season.

Hopefully, the Big Ten listens to its members and rectifies this rivalry situation for future seasons.

VIDEOS: Michigan State’s Miles Bridges puts on another show at local summer Pro-Am

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Watching Michigan State’s Miles Bridges throw down high-level dunks in local summer pro-ams has been a good way to pass the time the last few weeks.

The 6-foot-7 Bridges has been annihilating rims all summer as he had more ridiculous dunks on Tuesday night. Playing with former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine and some of his current Spartans teammates, Bridges had more crowd-pleasing plays to add to his summer reel.

Lansing State Journal reporter James Edwards III has been on the scene for Bridges’ games all summer as he has more dunks from the future lottery pick.

Minnesota keeps in-state three-star 2018 guard Gabe Kalscheur at home

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Minnesota is keeping a big-time shooter at home as Class of 2018 shooting guard Gabe Kalscheur pledged to the Golden Gophers on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-4 Kalscheur is the third in-state prospect to pledge to head coach Richard Pitino in the Class of 2018 as he joins three-star forward Jarvis Thomas and four-star big man Daniel Oturu. The three-star Kalscheur gives Minnesota a valuable floor spacer and a winner as he’s a three-time state champion at DeLaSalle. All three of these commitments also played together with Howard Pulley in the Nike EYBL.

During this spring and summer in the Nike EYBL, Kalscheur averaged 14.9 points and shot 39 percent from three-point range as he made 61 treys in 21 games.

Pitino has certainly done a nice job of keeping local players home as he’s hoping that trend continues with upcoming in-state five-star prospects like 2018 point guard Tre Jones and 2019 forward Matthew Hurt. The Golden Gophers will have to win national recruiting battles to keep those guys home, but they’ve done a nice job of getting the other guys that they need to keep home.

VIDEOS: Michigan State’s Miles Bridges is destroying local summer leagues with his dunks

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Michigan State sophomore forward Miles Bridges might be the Player of the Year next season as he’s been putting on a ridiculous show this summer in local pro-am leagues.

The nation’s best in-game dunker was at it again on Thursday night, putting down multiple ridiculous dunks, including an under-the-legs finish that ignited the crowd and a game-winning dunk at the end.

Bridges is a preseason favorite to be a first-team All-American next season as the Spartans are a national title contender.

Let’s get another look at that, shall we?

Bridges was also responsible for the game-winning, buzzer-beating putback. And all I want to know is … who is on the other team that, in a summer league, they took a team with our Preseason National Player of the Year to the buzzer?

(H/t: James Edwards III, Lansing State Journal)

Michigan State adds four-star Class of 2018 commitment from Marcus Bingham Jr.

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Michigan State stayed busy in the Class of 2018 this week as the Spartans landed a commitment from four-star forward Marcus Bingham Jr. on Friday afternoon.

The 6-foot-9 Bingham is regarded as the No. 104 overall prospect in the Rivals national Class of 2018 recruiting rankings as he gives Michigan State and head coach Tom Izzo four commitments for that class.

As noted by Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, the Spartans and Michigan have been going back-and-forth during a recent in-state recruiting arms race. Nine consecutive commitments between the two schools have all been Michigan products as both storied programs have done a great job of locking up local talent.

When you also consider that Izzo and Michigan head coach John Beilein have recruited plenty of out-of-state talent — some of them five-star, NBA-caliber players — it means that Michigan is producing a ton of talent among its prep ranks that could potentially benefit both programs.

Bingham, a native of Grand Rapids, averaged 8.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game while playing with Spiece Indy Heat this spring in the Nike EYBL. He joins four-star guard Foster Loyer, four-star big man Thomas Kithier and three-star guard Gabe Brown in Michigan State’s Class of 2018 recruiting haul.