Previewing your College Hoops weekend



Sat. 4:00 pm: UNLV @ No. 9 BYU: You want to get a feel for how good Jimmer Fredette has been this season? His past two games, he’s scored 32 points and 26 points against New Mexico and Wyoming, respectively, and people are talking about the fact that he has played poorly. Yes, he hasn’t been the Jimmer that we witnessed against San Diego State or in the first meeting with UNLV, but scoring 58 points over the course of two games is hardly playing poorly.

The key to beating BYU isn’t strictly shutting down Jimmer. Yes, when going against a player capable of scoring 40, keeping him in check is going to be one of the priorities of every game plan. But just as important will be keeping Jackson Emery and Brandon Davies in check. Emery is a lights out shooter and creates point with his ability to anticipate and jump a passing lane, but there isn’t much else to his game. Davies is one of the must underrated big men in the country. He’s got awkward looking post moves, but awkward-looking and ineffective are two completely different things.

In the first matchup, UNLV failed to do all of the above. Jimmer had 39 points, Emery had 22 and a number of big jumpers to keep put an end to the surges that UNLV made, and Brandon Davies went for 15 points and 10 boards, outplaying the Rebel’s big men. In the end, it lead to an 89-77 win for the Cougars. And that game was in Vegas.

This one is in the Marriott Center, where BYU is notoriously difficult to beat. But the Rebels come in hot, having won their last three games. Tre’Von Willis is back from injury, Chace Stanback looks like he is rounding back into form, and Quintrell Thomas is playing the best basketball of his career. UNLV needs this win badly.


Sat. 1:00 pm: No. 24 Illinois @ Northwestern: I think I’ve picked Northwestern to be an upset in every game against a team at the top of the Big Ten. I’ve been wrong every time. No sense in stopping now. I know that the Illini won the first matchup by 25 points, but I still like how the Wildcats matchup with them. Neither team really has a big, burly post presence and both teams have a number of talented perimeter players. This game will come down to who is hitting their jumpers. When Northwestern is hot, they have a chance against anybody.

Sat. 1:30 pm: South Carolina @ No. 24 Vanderbilt: The Gamecocks are a pesky team. There isn’t a ton of talent on their roster, but freshman point guard Bruce Ellington and senior forward Sam Muldrow are both having solid seasons. Vanderbilt is a bit of a question mark as well. They have a nice ranking, but if you look at what they have actually accomplished this season, it really isn’t all that impressive. And that includes their overtime loss to South Carolina earlier this year, a game in which Muldrow had a triple double (16 points, 14 boards, 10 blocks) and Ellington had 22 points and caught fire late in the game.

Sat. 2:00 pm: Baylor @ No. 16 Texas A&M: I am not all that impressed with Texas A&M. They can’t score and they aren’t great defensively. They are a team that benefited from an easy early schedule and a couple of close, home wins. I’m not impressed with Baylor, either. They don’t have a point guard and their defense and rebounding is bad for a team with their size and athleticism. That said, the Bears really need this win if they are going to have any shot of making the NCAA Tournament. They have no wins of note and have just one road win, at Texas Tech. There is talent on that roster, however, and I think there is a chance the Bears can bounce back from their ugly loss to Oklahoma.

Sat. 4:00 pm: No. 2 Kansas @ Nebraska: The Cornhuskers, believe it or not, are quite competitive this season. They’ve won all three of their Big XII home games and they’ve been very competitive on the road, including a five point loss in the Phog in January. They do it with size, defense, and rebounding while controlling the pace. Against Kansas, they are going to have to control the Morrii. The Huskers did a solid job of it in their first meeting, holding the twins to a combined 23 points and 18 boards. The problem was that they shot 36.1% from the floor. If they get that same defensive effort and knock down a couple more shots, Nebraska could remain undefeated in the Big XII at home.


Sat. 12:00 pm: West Virginia @ No. 12 Villanova: With everything that has gone on in the West Virginia program this season — a disintegrating freshmen class, the suspensions of Casey Mitchell, Danny Jennings leaving the bench during a game — would you be surprised if I were to tell you that the Mountaineers are tied for second in the Big East at 6-3? One of the three teams they are tied with is Villanova, which adds some importance to an already intriguing game. Villanova’s got a loaded back court, but their question marks are on the front line, which is where the ‘Eers excel.

Sat. 1:00 pm: St. John’s @ UCLA: Obviously, this game is interesting because of Steve Lavin’s return to LA, where he coached the Bruins for seven years. But this is more than just an interesting coaching storyline. Both the Johnnies and the Bruins have their sights set on an NCAA Tournament bid this season. There are two matchups that I will be intrigued to watch — Reeves Nelson vs. Justin Brownlee and DJ Kennedy vs. Tyler Honeycutt.

Sat. 2:00 pm: Old Dominion @ George Mason: This will end up being one of the most important games in the CAA this season. Mason, after a slow start to conference play, as won eight straight games to move into a first place tie in the league and to plant themselves firmly on the bubble. ODU, on the other hand, sits a game behind Mason and VCU in the standings. But they do own a win over the Patriots.

Sat. 9:00 pm: No. 11 Kentucky @ No. 23 Florida: This is the time for the Wildcats to prove themselves. Kentucky has struggled away from home all season long, including going 0-3 in SEC play. Their issue has been execution and leadership, especially down the stretch in close games. Florida, on the other hand, is currently leading the SEC East by a game in the loss column. With a win, the Wildcats close that gap. And not only do they add to their resume, they build up their confidence. UK has as much talent as just about anyone in the country, but that talent goes to waste when you can’t execute.

Sun. 1:00 pm: Michigan State @ No. 18 Wisconsin: Its awkward to still put Michigan State into a list regarding the best matchups, but until the Spartans are dead in the water — and not just in the midst of drowning — they deserve that much respect. The only reason that Michigan State isn’t dead are the three, overtime wins they picked up in the past few weeks. One of those wins came against Wisconsin in East Lansing. I’m just saying.

Sun. 2:00 pm: No. 1 Ohio State @ No. 20 Minnesota: If Al Nolen wasn’t injured, I would say that I really like this matchup for the Golden Gophers. They have the size and physicality to matchup with Sullinger inside. Trevor Mbakwe is a beast while Ralph Sampson and Colton Iverson are both capable Big Ten big men. But I have trouble seeing Minnesota being able to score on a very good Ohio State defense without Nolen.

Sun. 2:00 pm: Florida State @ North Carolina: So here we have it folks. The battle for second place in the SEC. As you should be well aware of, the Seminoles are easily one of the best defensive teams in the country. They have size, they are strong and they are physical. UNC’s defense isn’t too poor, either, and with their offense starting to click, the Heels all of a sudden have a reminiscent look about them. UNC is tied for first in the ACC at 6-1, while FSU is a game back in the loss column.



  • 7:00 pm: Harvard @ Princeton: Both the Crimson and the Tigers head into this game undefeated in league play.
  • 9:00 pm: Iona @ Fairfield: The best team in the MAAC (Fairfield) takes on the MAAC’s best player (Mike Glover).


  • 11:00 am: St. Louis @ Xavier: The Musketeers are coming off of their first loss in Atlantic 10 play … at Charlotte?
  • 12:00 pm: Providence @ No. 15 Georgetown: The Hoyas have bounced back nicely from their 1-4 start in Big East play. They should be able to keep their five game winning streak alive against Providence.
  • 12:00 pm: VCU @ James Madison: Both of these teams are coming off of bad losses in conference play. The Rams lost to Northeastern, while the Dukes fell to William & Mary at home.
  • 12:00 pm: Butler @ Cleveland State: This game would be a lot more intriguing if Butler wasn’t, you know, bad this year.
  • 1:00 pm: Wake Forest @ Maryland; Clemson @ Georgia Tech; Virginia Tech @ Boston College: I mean, someone has to emerge from the middle of the ACC, right? Anyone?
  • 1:00 pm: Northern Iowa @ Drake: The Panthers are streaking right now, but it will be interesting to see what happens to this team without Lucas O’Rear.
  • 1:00 pm: Richmond @ Fordham: The matchup between Justin Harper and Chris
    Gaston will be a fun one to watch, especially for NBA scouts.
  • 2:00 pm: No. 17 Syracuse @ South Florida: The Orange bounced back from their four game losing streak with a nice win at UConn. Can they keep this new streak alive?
  • 2:00 pm: Rhode Island @ Temple: Talk about a contrast of styles — Temple plays fundamental, half court defense. URI presses and shoots a ton of threes.
  • 3:05 pm: Indiana State @ Missouri State: Both the Bears and the Sycamores have been slumping a bit the past two weeks.
  • 4:00 pm: No. 19 Washington @ Oregon: The Huskies lost at Oregon State on Thursday. Washington State was blown out at Oregon the same night. Please, someone from the state of Washington salvage that trip.
  • 4:00 pm: Memphis @ Gonzaga: Two of the country’s best non-BCS programs. Also two of the country’s most disappointing teams this season.
  • 4:00 pm: Furman @ Charleston: The Cougars thumped Wofford on Thursday night. Can they turn around and beat the third contender in the SoCon’s south division?
  • 4:30 pm: Quinnipiac @ Long Island: These two teams could very well be the best two teams in the NEC.
  • 5:00 pm: Alabama @ Tennessee: The Vols have rebounded nicely from their midseason slump. Lets see how the handle the SEC leader. That’s right, Alabama leads the SEC in February. Who saw that coming?
  • 6:00 pm: Cincinnati @ No. 4 Pitt: The Bearcats matchup pretty well with Pitt personnel-wise. But in terms of talent, discipline, and execution, its no contest.
  • 6:00 pm: NC State @ No. 5 Duke: NC State beat Duke a little more than a year ago. Duke’s lost three ACC games since then. NC State has won only eight.
  • No. 7 UConn @ Seton Hall: Kemba Walker is struggling right now. He hasn’t shot well in the last five games, and during UConn’s losing streak he is shooting 10-37 from the floor, 3-16 from three, and is averaging only 14.0 ppg.
  • 7:30 pm: Colorado @ No. 15 Missouri: The Buffaloes beat Missouri in their first meeting. That one was in Colorado. Can Mizzou return the favor? The Tigers really could use the win.
  • 8:00 pm: DePaul @ No. 13 Louisville: The Cardinals will be without Preston Knowles on Saturday. This team has been as beat-up as anyone this season.
  • 8:00 pm: No. 22 Arizona @ Cal: Congratulations, Wildcats. You are now all alone in first place in the Pac-10.
  • 9:00 pm: Texas Tech @ No. 2 Texas: The Red Raiders had won three in a row … before getting obliterated by Kansas.
  • 9:00 pm: Boise State @ No. 21 Utah State: What will Wild Bill be wearing on Saturday?
  • 9:00 pm: Murray State @ Austin Peay; Morehead State @ Tennessee Tech; UT-Martin @ Tennessee State: All five of the OVC’s contenders will be playing in the same time slot on Saturday. That’s pretty cool.
  • 10:30 pm: TCU @ No. 6 SDSU: The Aztecs get an MWC bottom-feeder at home? That’s a must-win. Or a can’t-lose.


  • 12:00 pm: Michigan @ Penn State: The battle of the spoilers or the battle of the not-so-good-at-football football schools.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Purdue’s Edey returning to school at NBA draft deadline; Kentucky’s Tshiebwe stays in

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Purdue’s Zach Edey decided it was the right call to go back to school instead of staying in the NBA draft. His predecessor as national player of the year, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, is sticking with his pro pursuit.

And Connecticut’s reign as NCAA champion will begin with multiple starters having left for the NBA draft and one returning after flirting with doing the same.

The 7-foot-4 Edey and UConn guard Tristen Newton were among the notable names to announce that they were withdrawing from the draft, the NCAA’s deadline for players who declared as early entrants to pull out and retain their college eligibility.

Edey’s decision came in social media posts from both the center and the Boilermakers program that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament behind Edey, The Associated Press men’s national player of the year.

But Tshiebwe announced late in the afternoon that he would remain in the draft after a college career that included being named the AP national player of the year in 2022.

For the current champions, Newton (10.1 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds) is returning after being one of four Huskies to declare for the draft after a run to UConn’s fifth national championship in early April. He scored a game-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds in the victory over San Diego State in the title game.

The others were Final Four Most Outstanding Player Adama Sanogo, wing Jordan Hawkins and versatile guard Andre Jackson Jr. Sanogo (17.8 points) and Hawkins (16.3) have made it clear they have closed the door on their college careers, while team spokesman Phil Chardis said that Jackson (6.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists) would remain in the draft.

The Huskies have 247sports’ No. 3-ranked recruiting class for next year to restock the roster, led by McDonald’s All-American point guard Stephon Castle.

The NBA’s withdrawal deadline is June 12, but is moot when it comes to college players returning to school due to the NCAA’s earlier timeline to retain playing eligibility.


TREY ALEXANDER: Creighton gets back a 6-4 guard who averaged 13.6 points and shot 41% from 3-point range in his first full season as a starter.

ADEM BONA: The 6-foot-10 forward and Pac-12 freshman of the year is returning to UCLA after starting 32 games as a rookie and averaging 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks – with coach Mick Cronin praising his toughness for “competing through multiple injuries for as long as he could” in a statement Wednesday.

EDEY: He averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 assists while shooting 60.7% from the field. His presence alone helps Purdue be a factor in the Big Ten race.

JOSIAH-JORDAN JAMES: The 6-6 guard went through the NBA G League Combine and had workouts with multiple teams before opting to return to Tennessee for a fifth season alongside teammate Santiago Vescovi.

JUDAH MINTZ: The 6-3 freshman averaged 16.3 points and 4.6 assists for Syracuse, ranking third among Division I freshmen in scoring behind only Alabama’s Brandon Miller and Lamar’s Nate Calmese.

OWLS’ RETURNEES: Florida Atlantic got good news after its surprise Final Four run with the return leading scorers Johnell Davis (13.8) and Alijah Martin (13.4). ESPN first reported their decisions, while Martin later posted a social media statement.

TERRENCE SHANNON JR.: Illinois got a big boost with Shannon announcing his night in a social media post. The 6-6 guard is returning for a fifth college season after averaging 17.2 points.

SPARTANS’ RETURNEES: Michigan State announced that guards Jaden Akins and A.J. Hoggard have withdrawn from the NBA draft. Standout guard Tyson Walker had previously withdrawn in April, setting up Tom Izzo to have five of his top scorers back.


KOBE BROWN: Missouri’s 6-8 swingman opted against returning for a fifth college season after being an AP first-team all-Southeastern Conference pick averaging 15.8 points last season.

JAYLEN CLARK: The third-year UCLA guard averaged 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while leading the Pac-12 with 2.6 steals en route to being named Naismith national defensive player of the year. Cronin called him a winner with strong intangibles who made UCLA “a better program because he chose to be a Bruin.”

BRICE SENSABAUGH: The Ohio State freshman averaged 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 31 games before missing his final two in the Big Ten Tournament due to a knee injury. He’s a potential first-round prospect.

TSHIEBWE: The 6-9, 260-pound forward is a tough interior presence who led the country in rebounds for two straight seasons (15.1 in 2022, 13.7 in 2023) while racking up 48 double-doubles. But he faces an uncertain next stop and is projected at best as a second-round prospect.

North Carolina transfer Caleb Love commits to Arizona

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Caleb Love is now headed to Arizona.

The North Carolina transfer tweeted, less than a month after decommitting from Michigan, that he will play next season with the Wildcats.

“Caleb is a tremendously talented guard who has significant experience playing college basketball at a high level,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said in a statement. “We look forward to helping Caleb grow his game at Arizona. And as we near the completion of the roster for the upcoming season, we feel great about how everything has come together. Now it’s time for the real work to start.”

A 6-foot-4 guard, Love averaged 14.6 points and 3.3 assists in three seasons at North Carolina. He averaged 17.6 points in seven NCAA Tournament games, helping lead the Tar Heels to the 2022 national championship game.

Love entered the transfer portal after leading North Carolina with 73 3-pointers as a junior and initially committed to Michigan. He decommitted from the Wolverines earlier this month, reportedly due to an admissions issue involving academic credits.

Love narrowed his transfer targets to three schools before choosing to play at Arizona over Gonzaga and Texas.

Love will likely start on a team that will have dynamic perimeter players, including Pelle Larsson, Kylan Boswell and Alabama transfer Jaden Bradley.

Biden celebrates LSU women’s and UConn men’s basketball teams at separate White House events


WASHINGTON – All of the past drama and sore feelings associated with Louisiana State’s invitation to the White House were seemingly forgotten or set aside Friday as President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed the championship women’s basketball team to the mansion with smiles, hugs and lavish praise all around.

The visit had once appeared in jeopardy after Jill Biden suggested that the losing Iowa team be invited, too. But none of that was mentioned as both Bidens heralded the players for their performance and the way they have helped advance women’s sports.

“Folks, we witnessed history,” the president said. “In this team, we saw hope, we saw pride and we saw purpose. It matters.”

The ceremony was halted for about 10 minutes after forward Sa’Myah Smith appeared to collapse as she and her teammates stood behind Biden. A wheelchair was brought in and coach Kim Mulkey assured the audience that Smith was fine.

LSU said in a statement that Smith felt overheated, nauseous and thought she might faint. She was evaluated by LSU and White House medical staff and was later able to rejoin the team. “She is feeling well, in good spirits, and will undergo further evaluation once back in Baton Rouge,” the LSU statement said.

Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, Biden said, more than half of all college students are women, and there are now 10 times more female athletes in college and high school. He said most sports stories are still about men, and that that needs to change.

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs and activities.

“Folks, we need to support women sports, not just during the championship run but during the entire year,” President Biden said.

After the Tigers beat Iowa for the NCAA title in April in a game the first lady attended, she caused an uproar by suggesting that the Hawkeyes also come to the White House.

LSU star Angel Reese called the idea “A JOKE” and said she would prefer to visit with former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, instead. The LSU team largely is Black, while Iowa’s top player, Caitlin Clark, is white, as are most of her teammates.

Nothing came of Jill Biden’s idea and the White House only invited the Tigers. Reese ultimately said she would not skip the White House visit. She and co-captain Emily Ward presented team jerseys bearing the number “46” to Biden and the first lady. Hugs were exchanged.

Jill Biden also lavished praise on the team, saying the players showed “what it means to be a champion.”

“In this room, I see the absolute best of the best,” she said, adding that watching them play was “pure magic.”

“Every basket was pure joy and I kept thinking about how far women’s sports have come,” the first lady added, noting that she grew up before Title IX was passed. “We’ve made so much progress and we still have so much more work to do.”

The president added that “the way in which women’s sports has come along is just incredible. It’s really neat to see, since I’ve got four granddaughters.”

After Smith was helped to a wheelchair, Mulkey told the audience the player was OK.

“As you can see, we leave our mark where we go,” Mulkey joked. “Sa’Myah is fine. She’s kind of, right now, embarrassed.”

A few members of Congress and Biden aides past and present with Louisiana roots dropped what they were doing to attend the East Room event, including White House budget director Shalanda Young. Young is in the thick of negotiations with House Republicans to reach a deal by the middle of next week to stave off what would be a globally calamitous U.S. financial default if the U.S. can no longer borrow the money it needs to pay its bills.

The president, who wore a necktie in the shade of LSU’s purple, said Young, who grew up in Baton Rouge, told him, “I’m leaving the talks to be here.” Rep. Garret Graves, one of the House GOP negotiators, also attended.

Biden closed sports Friday by changing to a blue tie and welcoming the UConn’s men’s championship team for its own celebration. The Huskies won their fifth national title by defeating San Diego State, 76-59, in April.

“Congratulations to the whole UConn nation,” he said.

Marquette’s Prosper says he will stay in draft rather than returning to school

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MILWAUKEE — Olivier-Maxence Prosper announced he is keeping his name under NBA draft consideration rather than returning to Marquette.

The 6-foot-8 forward announced his decision.

“Thank you Marquette nation, my coaches, my teammates and support staff for embracing me from day one,” Prosper said in an Instagram post. “My time at Marquette has been incredible. With that being said, I will remain in the 2023 NBA Draft. I’m excited for what comes next. On to the next chapter…”

Prosper had announced last month he was entering the draft. He still could have returned to school and maintained his college eligibility by withdrawing from the draft by May 31. Prosper’s announcement indicates he instead is going ahead with his plans to turn pro.

Prosper averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds last season while helping Marquette go 29-7 and win the Big East’s regular-season and tournament titles. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

He played two seasons at Marquette after transferring from Clemson, where he spent one season.

Kansas’ Kevin McCullar Jr. returning for last season of eligibility

kansas mccullar
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Kevin McCullar Jr. said that he will return to Kansas for his final year of eligibility, likely rounding out a roster that could make the Jayhawks the preseason No. 1 next season.

McCullar transferred from Texas Tech to Kansas for last season, when he started 33 of 34 games and averaged 10.7 points and 7.0 rebounds. He was also among the nation’s leaders in steals, and along with being selected to the Big 12’s all-defensive team, the 6-foot-6 forward was a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.

“To be able to play in front of the best fans in the country; to play for the best coach in the nation, I truly believe we have the pieces to hang another banner in the Phog,” McCullar said in announcing his return.

Along with McCullar, the Jayhawks return starters Dajuan Harris Jr. and K.J. Adams from a team that went 28–8, won the Big 12 regular-season title and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Arkansas in the second round.

Perhaps more importantly, the Jayhawks landed Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson, widely considered the best player in the portal, to anchor a lineup that was missing a true big man. They also grabbed former five-star prospect Arterio Morris, who left Texas, and Towson’s Nick Timberlake, who emerged last season as one of the best 3-point shooters in the country.

The Jayhawks also have an elite recruiting class arriving that is headlined by five-star recruit Elmarko Jackson.

McCullar declared for the draft but, after getting feedback from scouts, decided to return. He was a redshirt senior last season, but he has another year of eligibility because part of his career was played during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a big day for Kansas basketball,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “Kevin is not only a terrific player but a terrific teammate. He fit in so well in year one and we’re excited about what he’ll do with our program from a leadership standpoint.”