Pregame Shootaround 1.15.13: Indiana has lost 10 straight to Wisconsin?

Leave a comment

Game of the Day: Wisconsin at No. 2 Indiana (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Want to hear one of the stranger stats in college hoops? Wisconsin has beaten Indiana the last ten times they played. Seriously. The Badgers also come in having won their last six games — including a 23-point thrashing of Illinois over the weekend — and playing their best basketball of the season as they seem to have finally figured out a way to thrive without Josh Gasser in the fold. But Indiana also played their best basketball of season in the first half against Minnesota on Saturday, which can only mean one thing: this should be a great game.

Who’s Getting Upset?: No. 20 Notre Dame at St. John’s (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Notre Dame is coming off of a loss at home against UConn while St. John’s knocked off Cincinnati at Fifth Third Arena two weeks ago. The Johnnies have pretty good perimeter attack and a shotblocker in the paint that should help keep Jack Cooley in check. The Johnnies have plenty of athleticism, the question is whether or not they are going to be disciplined enough defensively and can execute well enough offensively.

Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: Northern Iowa at No. 12 Creighton (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Two months ago, we would have thought that this was going to be one of the best games of the Missouri Valley regular season. While Creighton has been as good as advertised, Northern Iowa hasn’t held up their end of the bargain. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Panthers can’t knock off the Bluejays, which is why this falls under out Mid-Major Matchup of the Day. UNI has a really good trio of guards and a couple of talented big men.

Also worth noting: Doug McDermott originally signed his LOI with Northern Iowa before his dad took the coaching gig at Creighton.

Five Things to Watch For

1) The night kicks off with one of the more intriguing games in the SEC this season. Kentucky hosts Tennessee, with both teams desperately needing to pick up a win for their at-large profiles. Big Blue Nation might revolt with another loss in Rupp.

2) George Mason was one of the favorites in the CAA heading into the season, but they’ve started out league play just 2-2. Tonight, they host James Madison, who is a game out of first place.

3) Ole Miss puts their undefeated SEC record on the line in Nashville tonight as they take on a Commodore team that managed all of 33 points against Arkansas on Saturday.

4) Stony Brook is probably the best team in the America East this year, but Boston U. has a talented enough back court to challenge the Terriers.

5) Cincinnati had climbed into the top ten a couple of weeks ago, but they needed a win over Rutgers to snap a stretch where they lost three out of four games and fell out of the top 25. The Bearcats shouldn’t have trouble at DePaul tonight.

The Top 25

  • Wisconsin at No. 2 Indiana, (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • Northern Iowa at No. 12 Creighton, (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
  • No. 20 Notre Dame at St. John’s, (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Other Notable Games

  • Tennessee at Kentucky, (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • Cincinnati at DePaul, (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
  • Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, (9:00 p.m. ET ESPN2)

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Nevada’s Jordan Caroline pulls out of 2018 NBA Draft

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jordan Caroline has opted to pull his name out of the 2018 NBA Draft as he will return to Nevada for his senior season, he announced on Saturday.

The 6-foot-7 Caroline put together a strong season for the Wolf Pack as he averaged 17.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game as Nevada made the Sweet 16 behind one of the most talented offenses in the country.

Caroline’s return is a huge boost for Nevada as they still await the NBA draft decisions of Caleb and Cody Martin.

Currently ranked No. 17 in the NBCSports.com Preseason Top 25 (without the Martin twins), the Wolf Pack will still have a ton of talent around Caroline next season. Five-star freshman center Jordan Brown recently committed to Nevada. The program also a number of talented transfers entering the mix, including Tre’Shawn Thomas, Nisre Zouzoua and Ehab Amin.

If the Martin twins return to school (and that is a big if) then Nevada could have a potentially elite offense next season. But even if the Martin twins go pro, Nevada should still be the favorite in the Mountain West and a threat to once again make the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.

Dewan Huell returning to Miami for junior season

Getty Images
1 Comment

Miami received some positive news on Saturday afternoon as the school announced the return of forward Dewan Huell for his junior season.

After testing the NBA draft waters without an agent, the 6-foot-11 Huell will be back for the Hurricanes. Starting all 32 games for the program last season, Huell averaged 11.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while shooting 57 percent from the floor.

“After getting feedback from NBA teams and talking it over with my family and coaches, I would like to announce that I will be returning to Miami for my junior season,” Huell said in the release. “I’m really excited to get back to work with my brothers so we can accomplish more than ever during the 2018-19 season.”

A former McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school, Huell’s return gives the Hurricanes stability in the front court for next season as he’ll play with other returning players like Sam Waardenburg and Ebuka Izundu. With Miami losing both Lonnie Walker and Bruce Brown early to the 2018 NBA Draft, Huell could be expected to provide more offensive production as a junior.

Bruce Weber receives contract extension at Kansas State

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kansas State and head coach Bruce Weber have agreed to a two-year contract extension, according to a release from the school.

After leading the Wildcats to a surprising Elite Eight appearance in March, Weber will be the head coach at Kansas State through the 2022-23 season, which gives him another five seasons to work with. Weber will be paid $2.5 million in 2018-19 and he’ll receive a $100,000 increase to his salary in each remaining contract year.

Weber had already signed a two-year extension in August 2017, but this move gives the veteran head coach more job security (and positive recruiting perception) for the next few seasons.

“We are very fortunate to have not only such an outstanding basketball coach but also a man in Coach Weber who conducts his program with integrity and class and is widely respected across the nation,” Kansas State Director of Athletics Gene Taylor said. “Certainly last season was one of the most memorable postseason runs in our program’s history, and we are excited for next season and the years ahead under Coach Weber’s leadership.”

With Kansas State returning most of its roster from last season, including the return of guard Barry Brown from the 2018 NBA Draft process, expectations are sky-high for Weber and the Wildcats this season. Currently ranked as the No. 8 team in the NBCSports.com Preseason Top 25, Kansas State’s veteran club could give Kansas a serious run for a Big 12 regular season title this season.

Northwestern loses incoming freshman point guard

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Northwestern and incoming freshman point guard Jordan Lathon are parting ways. The 6-foot-4 Lathon was viewed as a potential candidate to replace Bryant McIntosh at lead guard for the Wildcats this season, but Northwestern has reportedly revoked his offer of admission and basketball scholarship.

It is unclear why Lathon was unable to be admitted into Northwestern, but the school’s VP for University Relations, Alan Cubbage, gave a statement to Inside NU’s Davis Rich and Caleb Friedman.

“Northwestern University has revoked its offers of admission and an athletic scholarship for Jordan Lathon, a recruit for the Northwestern men’s basketball team,” the statement said. “Out of respect for the privacy of the student, the University will have no further public comment.”

Lathon later acknowledged the situation in a tweet explaining to fans that he will no longer be attending Northwestern.

While it is unclear why Lathon and Northwestern are parting ways, other high-major programs are already very interested in bringing in Lathon for next season. Oklahoma State immediately jumped in with a scholarship offer. There is also speculation that Lathon, a native of Grandview, Missouri, could also hear from the in-state Tigers as well.

It’ll be interesting to see where Lathon lands, and how this also affects Northwestern’s point guard situation. The loss of a four-year starter like McIntosh will be tough to fill, especially since Lathon was committed to Northwestern since last June. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Wildcats and head coach Chris Collins seek out a veteran point guard graduate transfer to try and get some immediate help.

Nebraska’s James Palmer Jr. returning to school

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Nebraska received some important news on Friday night as senior guard James Palmer Jr. will be back for next season.

The 6-foot-6 Palmer had tested the NBA draft waters, but he decided to return to the Cornhuskers. After putting up 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game last season, Palmer is expected to be an All-Big Ten candidate once again this season. Palmer shot 44 percent from the floor and 30 percent from three-point range last season.

After transferring in from Miami, Palmer became the Huskers’ go-to scorer last season in helping Nebraska to a 22-win season and NIT appearance.

With Palmer back, Nebraska will have some legitimate expectations for the upcoming season, especially if the team’s second-leading scorer, Isaac Copeland Jr., also returns from the NBA draft process.