Wednesday’s slate, what to watch has 3 Top 12 showdowns

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On a night featuring Duke-North Carolina and Georgetown-Syracuse – two of the sport’s greatest rivalries and a pair of Top 15 showdowns, no less – it’d be easy to overlook Kansas-Baylor.

But don’t.

In fact, it’ll probably be the best game of the night.

(All times ET; TV info from HDSportsGuide.com)

Kansas at Baylor, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
The last time the No. 7 Jayhawks (18-5, 8-2 in Big 12) played Baylor, it wasn’t much of a game. Thomas Robinson owned the pain, Tyshawn Taylor could do no wrong and Jeff Withey was blocking shot after shot. That was in Lawrence. This one’s in Waco, where the No. 6 Bears (21-2, 8-2) have lost just once this season. Still, Baylor remains somewhat perplexing. It’s won four straight, but none have been impressive wins (and all were vs. average teams). Kansas has lost two of its last three. Both are trying to stay with Missouri in the Big 12 title race. Expect some great plays, occasional bafflement and a superb finish.

Duke at North Carolina, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
It’s the Heels and Devils. It doesn’t need any additional help, especially when we’ve already written this and this. But if you need more to ponder, stare at these shots charts. I could for the next few hours.

Georgetown at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Another game that doesn’t need additional hype. But in caser you forgot, it might be one of the last games when the two are in the same conference. That’s reason enough to have two TVs for the early games.

Northern Iowa at Wichita State, 8 p.m. (The Valley; FS Midwest; CSN Chicago)
Here’s where the Shockers (20-4, 11-2) can grab the upper hand in the Missouri Valley. Creighton lost to Evansville Tuesday night, which means if WSU can hold court against UNI (16-9, 6-7) it’ll be one game up on the Blue Jays with Saturday’s trip to Omaha looming. Classic trap game, right? Maybe not. The Panthers are a step behind Evansville and are in Wichita. If Gregg Marshall’s team can’t handle this one, there’ll be serious questions about its March potential.

St. Louis at St. Joe’s, 8:30 p.m. (Comcast, CW11)
Billikens (18-5, 6-2) could use some solid road wins to help their at-large profile. If the schedule holds, St. Louis should win the rest of its games, end the regular season at 25-5 and eye a top 4, top 5 seed.

Notre Dame at West Virginia, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
The Mountaineers (16-8, 6-5) are fading. They avoided a four-game losing streak thanks to an OT win at Providence at Sunday, but that’s not a result Bob Huggins is happy about. The win, yes. But how West Virginia is playing, not so much. Contrast that to Notre Dame (15-8, 7-3), winning of its last four – Syracuse, Seton Hall, UConn and Marquette. Winning in Morgantown would go down as one of the more impressive five-game runs of the season.

EAST
George Washington at Temple, 6 p.m.
Lafayette at Army, 7 p.m.
Florida St. at Boston College, 7 p.m.
Bucknell at Colgate, 7 p.m.
UNC Wilmington at Delaware, 7 p.m.
Monmouth (NJ) at Fairleigh Dickinson, 7 p.m.
Wagner at Mount St. Mary’s, 7 p.m.
Holy Cross at Navy, 7 p.m.
CCSU at Quinnipiac, 7 p.m.
Bryant at Sacred Heart, 7 p.m.
Robert Morris at St. Francis (Pa.), 7 p.m.
Cincinnati vs. St. John’s at Madison Square Garden, 7 p.m.
Georgetown at Syracuse, 7 p.m.
St. Bonaventure at UMass, 7:30 p.m.
Saint Louis at Saint Joseph’s, 8:30 p.m.
Seton Hall at Rutgers, 9 p.m.
LIU vs. St. Francis (NY) at Madison Square Garden, 9 p.m.
Notre Dame at West Virginia, 9 p.m.

SOUTH
Memphis at East Carolina, 7 p.m.
Hofstra at George Mason, 7 p.m.
Northeastern at Georgia St., 7 p.m.
Drexel at James Madison, 7 p.m.
Jacksonville St. at Morehead St., 7 p.m.
La Salle at Richmond, 7 p.m.
Pittsburgh at South Florida, 7 p.m.
Marshall at UCF, 7 p.m.
Old Dominion at William & Mary, 7 p.m.
Houston Baptist at Bethune-Cookman, 7:05 p.m.
Towson at VCU, 7:30 p.m.
Wake Forest at Virginia, 7:30 p.m.
Arkansas at Georgia, 8 p.m.
South Carolina at Tennessee, 8 p.m.
Southern Miss. at UAB, 8 p.m.
Duke at North Carolina, 9 p.m.
LSU at Vanderbilt, 9 p.m.

MIDWEST
Penn St. at Michigan St., 6:30 p.m.
Bowling Green at Ball St., 7 p.m.
Buffalo at Cent. Michigan, 7 p.m.
Kent St. at E. Michigan, 7 p.m.
Ohio at Toledo, 7 p.m.
Akron at W. Michigan, 7 p.m.
Rhode Island at Xavier, 7 p.m.
Indiana St. at Bradley, 8 p.m.
Miami (Ohio) at N. Illinois, 8 p.m.
Missouri St. at S. Illinois, 8 p.m.
N. Iowa at Wichita St., 8 p.m.
Drake at Illinois St., 8:05 p.m.
Michigan at Nebraska, 8:30 p.m.

SOUTHWEST
Kansas at Baylor, 7 p.m.
Rice at Houston, 8 p.m.
Northwestern St. at Lamar, 8 p.m.
TCU at SMU, 8 p.m.
Texas-Arlington at Sam Houston St., 8 p.m.
Nicholls St. at Stephen F. Austin, 8 p.m.
Cent. Arkansas at Texas St., 8 p.m.
CS Bakersfield at Texas-Pan American, 8 p.m.
SE Louisiana at UTSA, 8 p.m.
Tulsa at UTEP, 9 p.m.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will play its annual Blue-White men’s basketball scrimmage in Eastern Kentucky to benefit victims of the devastating summer floods.

The school announced that the Oct. 22 event at Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville will feature a pregame Fan Fest. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

Wildcat players will also participate in a community service activity with local organizations in the relief effort.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.”

The scrimmage traditionally is held at Rupp Arena. It will occur eight days after its Big Blue Madness public workout at Rupp.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies

Joe Rondone/USA TODAY NETWORK
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SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.

Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald is returning to Arizona to work under coach Adia Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald will serve as director of recruiting operations while continuing to fulfill her WNBA commitments. She will oversee all recruiting logistics, assist with on-campus visits, manage recruit information and social media content at Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after transferring from Washington as a sophomore. She was an All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020-21, leading the Wildcats to the national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career scoring average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick of the 2021 WNBA draft.