Pregame Shootaround: Two top-ten ACC matchups dominate a loaded Saturday

source: AP

GAME OF THE DAY:  No. 10 Notre Dame at No. 4 Duke, 1:00 p.m.

From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview:

These two teams squared off last month in South Bend, and it produced one of the most entertaining games of the entire season. Duke looked to be pulling away in the second half, but Jerian Grant sparked a comeback from 10 points down in the final eight minutes, notching the go-ahead bucket and the game-clinching assist in the final minute. Since that game, however, Notre Dame has lost to Pitt while Duke has gone into Virginia and knocked off the Cavaliers.

As it was the first time around, the key here is going to be how Duke tries to slow down Grant. The Irish are a nightmare to try and zone because of how many lethal shooters they have and how willing they are to make the extra pass. But the Irish love to put Grant in ball-screen actions — where he is as good as anyone in the country and playing All-American caliber basketball — and Duke’s Achilles’ heel on the defense end of the floor is pick-and-roll defense.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY:  No. 9 Louisville at No. 3 Virginia, 7:00 p.m.

Once again from Rob’s Weekend Preview:

This matchup might be even more intriguing that the Notre Dame-Duke game. Let me explain: Virginia runs the Pack-Line defense, which, essentially, is a man-to-man with aggressive on-ball defense and a ton of help side. (You can read an in-depth breakdown of what the Cavaliers do here.) The goal? Force ball-handlers to dribble into the help and dare teams to shoot threes over the top of the defense. Louisville has a pair of good penetrators in Chris Jones and Terry Rozier. What they lack is a bevy of catch-and-shoot threats.

In simpler terms, Louisville’s strengths offensively play right into the hands of what Virginia does best defensively. That’s usually not a good thing.

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: Harvard at Yale, 7:00 p.m.

The top two teams in the Ivy League meet in a game that could very well decide the fate of the league’s NCAA Tournament bid. The Crimson already have dropped an Ivy game at home to Dartmouth and could really use a road win at conference unbeaten Yale. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have been an underrated team this season who could very well take Harvard’s seat in the Big Dance if they continue to play this way. Justin Sears and Javier Duran are a nice one-two punch.


1. A duo of Atlantic 10 games will be played Saturday on NBCSN:

  • No. 18 VCU at St. Bonaventure, Sat. 2:00 p.m.
  • Saint Louis at Fordham, Sat. 4:00 p.m

2. A couple of sliding Big 12 teams play on Saturday as No. 25 Texas travels to Kansas State. Texas has fallen to 3-6 in the Big 12 this season, while Kansas State has lost three straight and four of their last five and just suspended their star, Marcus Foster. One collapse has to get stalled.

3. A big one in the Big East as No. 24 Georgetown travels to No. 7 Villanova. Georgetown pounded Villanova in the first meeting between these two teams in D.C., but the Hoyas are coming off of a really tough loss to Providence at home. Georgetown is essentially out of the Big East title race with a loss.

4. Many said that No. 1 Kentucky would get their biggest test in the SEC at Florida. Florida is down this season, but unexpected things happen in rivalry games. That said, it’s Gameday, and when Kentucky shows up fired up to play, they tend to embarrass people.

5. The AAC has an important one as No. 23 SMU travels to conference unbeaten Tulsa. The Mustangs were buried a bit prematurely after a rough start against good competition and they’ve been significantly better with Markus Kennedy in the lineup. Tulsa’s received great guard play, but played a very light schedule, even within the American.


  • No. 2 Gonzaga at San Francisco, 11:30 p.m.
  • Northwestern at No. 5 Wisconsin, 5:30 p.m.
  • No. 6 Arizona at Arizona State, 4:30 p.m.
  • No. 8 Kansas at Oklahoma State, 2:00 p.m.
  • Texas Tech at No. 11 Iowa State, 2:00 p.m.
  • No. 12 North Carolina at Boston College, 3:00 p.m.
  • No. 13 Utah at Colorado, 10:00 p.m.
  • Drake at No. 14 Northern Iowa, 8:00 p.m.
  • No. 19 Baylor at No. 15 West Virginia, 12:00 p.m.
  • Missouri State at No. 16 Wichita State, 8:00 p.m.
  • No. 21 Oklahoma at TCU, 3:00 p.m.
  • DePaul at No. 22 Butler, 3:30 p.m.


  • Creighton at St. John’s, 12:00 p.m.
  • Marquette at Seton Hall, 12:00 p.m.
  • Illinois at Michigan State, 12:00 p.m.
  • Tennessee at Georgia, 12:00 p.m.
  • Temple at Memphis, 1:00 p.m.
  • Providence at Xavier, 1:00 p.m.
  • Purdue at Minnesota, 3:00 p.m.
  • Syracuse at Pittsburgh, 4:00 p.m.
  • Nebraska at Penn State, 4:00 p.m.
  • UConn at Tulane, 6:00 p.m.
  • Alabama at LSU, 6:00 p.m.
  • UCLA at Cal, 8:00 p.m.

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

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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.”

Clemson leading scorer Hall withdraws from NBA draft, returns to Tigers

clemson pj hall
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson leading scorer PJ Hall is returning to college after withdrawing from the NBA draft on Thursday.

The 6-foot-10 forward took part in the NBA combine and posted his decision to put off the pros on social media.

Hall led the Tigers with 15.3 points per game this past season. He also led the Tigers with 37 blocks, along with 5.7 rebounds. Hall helped Clemson finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference while posting a program-record 14 league wins.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell said Hall gained experience from going through the NBA’s combine that will help the team next season. “I’m counting on him and others to help lead a very talented group,” he said.

Hall was named to the all-ACC third team last season as the Tigers went 23-10.

George Washington adopts new name ‘Revolutionaries’ to replace ‘Colonials’

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WASHINGTON — George Washington University’s sports teams will now be known as the Revolutionaries, the school announced.

Revolutionaries replaces Colonials, which had been GW’s name since 1926. Officials made the decision last year to drop the old name after determining it no longer unified the community.

GW said 8,000 different names were suggested and 47,000 points of feedback made during the 12-month process. Revolutionaries won out over the other final choices of Ambassadors, Blue Fog and Sentinels.

“I am very grateful for the active engagement of our community throughout the development of the new moniker,” president Mark S. Wrighton said. “This process was truly driven by our students, faculty, staff and alumni, and the result is a moniker that broadly reflects our community – and our distinguished and distinguishable GW spirit.”

George the mascot will stay and a new logo developed soon for the Revolutionaries name that takes effect for the 2023-24 school year. The university is part of the Atlantic 10 Conference.