Thursday’s Pregame Shootaround: Arkansas, Oregon with big bubble chances

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Oregon at UCLA, 11:00 p.m.

Prior to these last two games from Arizona, the two most entertaining teams in the Pac-12 have been Oregon and UCLA. The Bruins are loaded with talent, run up and down the floor and are finally starting to win games because they are playing defense. Oregon? You can pretty much say the same thing about them, other than the fact that they don’t play much defense at all. So expect a lot of points in this one. It’s also a key bubble game for the Ducks, who are in the tournament as of now but no where near as comfortable as they would like to be.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: Arkansas at No. 17 Kentucky, 7:00 p.m.

The Razorbacks are in an interesting position right now. They’ve won two of their last three road games and five of their last six games overall. They beat Kentucky at home earlier this season. They have found themselves popping up in a couple of brackets recently. This loss won’t hurt their resume, per se, but missing out on a chance to notch a win over one of the two elite teams in the SEC certainly won’t help matters.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 20 Iowa at Indiana, 9:00 p.m.

I just don’t know what to make of Iowa at this point. They have the talent, the depth, the computer profile. On paper, they look like a top ten team. On the court, they can’t close out big wins and have struggled to consistently get stops of late. The good news? Indiana stinks this year.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1) Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 10 St. Louis tonight, a game that will tip at 8:00 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.

2) No. 22 Ohio State pays a visit to Penn State. The Nittany Lions knocked off the Buckeyes in Columbus earlier this season.

3) There are about five Big East teams currently sitting on or around the bubble and two of them — Georgetown and Marquette — square off tonight. Josh Smith is ineligible to play, however, which means that we won’t get a chance to see him go up against Davante Gardner.

4) Gonzaga (at Pacific), Davidson (vs. UNC-Greensboro), Stephen F. Austin (at New Orleans), North Dakota State (vs. South Dakota), and Georgia State (at UT-Arlington) can all clinch at least a share of a league title tonight.

5) Temple at No. 7 Louisville and No. 21 Memphis at Houston highlights the AAC slate tonight.

VIDEO: Mixtape for Duke commit R.J. Barrett, potential 2019 No. 1 pick

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Last week, after the NBA draft officially concluded, we posted a mock draft for the lottery in 2019.

At the top of that list was R.J. Barrett, a Duke-commit and Canadian-native that has NBA scouts wowed and intrigued. This mixtape should give you a good feel for why.

Trae Jefferson to transfer out of Texas Southern

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Texas Southern guard and NCAA tournament darling Trae Jefferson announced on Saturday that he’s leaving the school.

The 5-foot-7 Jefferson was sensational at times during his sophomore season with the Tigers as he put up 23.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, helping lead Texas Southern to a victory in the 2018 NCAA Tournament’s First Four in Dayton over North Carolina Central. One of the most entertaining talents in college basketball, Jefferson is leaving Texas Southern in-part because former head coach Mike Davis took the job at Detroit this offseason.

While Detroit is going to be the favorite to land Jefferson, because of his connection to Davis, it’ll be interesting to see what his transfer market looks like. Jefferson also made it clear on his Twitter page that he would like to be closer to his hometown of Milwaukee so that he can be closer to his ailing grandfather.

Given NCAA transfer rules, Jefferson would likely have to sit out next season before getting two more years of eligibility. But he could be applying for a waiver if he’s trying to be closer to home to deal with his family situation.

Nevada’s Josh Hall transfers to Missouri State

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Nevada lost a talented player from last season’s team as rising junior Josh Hall opted to transfer to Missouri State on Friday night.

The 6-foot-7 Hall is a former top-150 recruit who played a key part in the Wolf Pack’s postseason run as he elevated his play to average 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Hall also made the game-winning bucket to lift Nevada past No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second round.

Although Hall picked up his play late in the year, he was coming off the bench most of his sophomore campaign as he averaged 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season.

Since Nevada took in some talented transfers, while players like Jordan Caroline and the Martin twins opted not to turn pro, it left head coach Eric Musselman with too many scholarship players for the 2018-19 season. It looks like some of those issues are now going away as Hall is leaving for Missouri State and graduate transfer guard Ehab Amin opted to decommit from the school.

Nevada is expected to be a preseason top-10 team next season with all of the talent they have returning to the roster, along with the addition of some new pieces like McDonald’s All-American big man Jordan Brown.

Hall will likely have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules as he still has two years of eligibility remaining.

Chris Webber accepts Jim Harbaugh’s invitation to be honorary Michigan football captain

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The frosty relationship between Chris Webber and the University of Michigan could be thawing — thanks to an invitation from football head coach Jim Harbaugh.

On Friday, Harbaugh called in to WTKA’s “The M Zone” as show host Jamie Morris had Webber on the show. Harbaugh offered Webber the opportunity to be an honorary captain for the Michigan football team next season, to which Webber replied that he would love the opportunity.

Webber, a former member of the “Fab Five” who helped the Wolverines to two consecutive NCAA tournament title-game appearances in 1992 and 1993, has not associated directly with the school, or with other members of the Fab Five, for many years.

The NCAA mandated that Webber and Michigan not associate with one another for 10 years after the Ed Martin booster scandal. Webber has always been reluctant to participate in anything Michigan or Fab Five related. When the famous Fab Five documentary was made a few years ago, Webber was the only member of the quintet not to participate in the making of the film. Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson all have a solid relationship with the University of Michigan at this point.

Webber later criticized the film during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, as King and Rose fired back with responses to reignite the feud. In the past, Rose has also been vocal in his belief that Webber should apologize for what happened at Michigan, as the group is hoping to move forward.

Although Webber still isn’t mending fences with the other Fab Five members, or the basketball program, returning to Michigan in some kind of official capacity is a big deal considering his past with the school.

Harbaugh and Webber haven’t decided on a game for next season yet as that will be something to watch for over the next several months.

Akoy Agau returning to Louisville as graduate transfer

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Louisville received a boost to its frontcourt rotation on Friday as former big man Akoy Agau will return to the Cardinals as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau originally committed and enrolled at Louisville for a season and a half to begin his college hoops career before transferring to Georgetown. After leaving the Hoyas to play at SMU last season, Agau received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA after battling injury for much of his career.

Agau gives Louisville an experienced forward who should earn some solid minutes next season. With the Mustangs during the 2017-18 season, Agau averaged 5.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 16.1 minutes per contest.

While this isn’t the biggest splash for the Cardinals, they have plenty of scholarships to use for next season as new head coach Chris Mack tries to find a stable rotation. Getting a graduate transfer like Agau, who should be familiar with the school and the conference at the very least, is a nice step for a one-year placeholder.