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College Basketball Talk’s Top 25: How far does North Carolina fall?


We’re now a month into the college basketball season, which means that it is time to really take a look at the top 25. That’s why there are some pretty drastic changes to the top 25 here:

[MORE: Coaches Poll | AP Poll]

1. Michigan State (11-0, LW: No. 2): There’s no fighting it now. Michigan State has to be ranked No. 1 this week. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t a consensus in both the AP and Coaches Polls.

2. Maryland (9-1, LW: No. 4): We know how good Melo Trimble is and we know how well Rasheed Sulaimon complements him. Robert Carter hasn’t quite lived up to the hype he had this offseason but he’s been consistently solid this month. The good sign this week: Diamond Stone finally looked like a kid that was a top ten prospect in the Class of 2015. The bad sign this week: Jake Layman still looks overwhelmed by big games.

[MORE: Is Xavier for real? | What about UCLA?]

3. Kansas (8-1, LW: No. 5): It took a while for Kansas to wake up against Oregon State, but once they decided to start playing, they ran the Beavers off the floor. Wayne Selden is shooting 60 percent from three, has multiple threes in every games this season and has hit at least three in all but two games. And there’s an argument to be made that he isn’t even their best guard.

4. Oklahoma (7-0, LW: No. 8): I’m still not totally convinced that Oklahoma is truly a title contender, but after their beatdown of Villanova, we can’t ignore this team anymore. I’m not sure there is a better back court in the country than Jordan Woodard, Isaiah Cousins and Buddy Hield.

5. North Carolina (7-2, LW: No. 1): Maybe I’m just not yet ready to admit that I was wrong about North Carolina being the best team in the country — because I still think they will be come March — but I’m not ready to drop this team outside the top five when they lost a game on the road to an improving Texas team on a shot that may or may have actually come before the final buzzer sounded. Sorry not sorry.

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6. Kentucky (9-1, LW: No. 3): I’m still not sure what to make of this group. They looked so, so, so dominant against Duke, particularly in the back court, but that was really the only time this season they’ve looked really good. I get that we have to be patient with Skal Labissiere, but it’s now mid-December and he just went for zero points, zero boards and five fouls in 13 minutes against Arizona State. Yikes.

7. Xavier (10-0, LW: No. 11): Xavier was totally dominant in a ten point win over intra-city rival Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon, and that was not the first time this season that they’ve played like that. I’m not sure what the weakness is in this team outside of front court depth. Trevon Blueitt has been sensational, James Farr and Edmond Sumner have been much improved and Jalen Reynolds hasn’t yet hit his stride. Is this the best team Chris Mack has ever had at Xavier?

[MORE: Player of the Week: Javan Felix | Team of the Week: Wichita State]

8. Purdue (11-0, LW: No. 12): Purdue has the most overpowering front line in the country. Isaac Haas deserves all-american consideration at this point for the way that he has played this season and the scary part is that A.J. Hammons is better than him. Caleb Swanigan has fit in perfectly at the four and the Boilermaker guards are hitting jumpers, getting the ball to their bigs in a position to score and defending. This is a really, really good team, and it will be interesting to see what happens on Saturday when they face off with Butler.

9. Iowa State (9-0, LW: No. 7): The concerns that I had for this Iowa State team manifested themselves in the win over Iowa: They couldn’t stop Jarrod Uthoff when he got rolling and they don’t have the depth in the front court to keep Jameel McKay rested. If that 20 point deficit came against anyone other than Iowa, the Cyclones currently have a loss on their résumé.

10. Duke (8-1, LW: No. 9): Duke dropped a spot despite the fact that they didn’t even have a game this week. Virginia dropped a spot after beating West Virginia, a top 20 team in their own right. My opinion of those two ACC powers has not changed. In fact, I actually think more of Virginia after watching them in the Jimmy V Classic. But at this point in the season, I believe both Xavier and Purdue are better basketball teams, so it makes no sense to rank them lower than a pair of one loss team because of how I felt about them in the preseason.

[MORE: Best Dunk? Gary Payton II | Edmond Sumner | Alex Poythress]

11. Virginia (8-1, LW: No. 10)
12. Baylor (7-1, LW: No. 13)
13. Miami (8-1, LW: No. 15)
14. Villanova (8-1, LW: No. 6)
15. Butler (8-1, LW: No. 16)
16. Providence (10-1, LW: No. 17)
17. Arizona (9-1, LW: No. 18)
18. SMU (7-0, LW: No. 23)
19. West Virginia (8-1, LW: No. 19)
20. Louisville (7-1, LW: No. 21)
21. Cincinnati (8-2, LW: No. 22)
22. Texas A&M (8-2, LW: UR)
23. George Washington (9-1, LW: UR)
24. UCLA (7-3, LW: UR)
25. Wichita State (5-4, LW: UR)

DROPPED OUT: No. 14 Vanderbilt, No. 20 Gonzaga, No. 21 Oregon, No. 25 UConn
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 22 Texas A&M, No. 23 George Washington, No. 24 UCLA No. 25 Wichita State

High school basketball player collapses, dies at AAU event

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James Hampton, a member of Team United and a senior at Liberty Heights, a private high school in Charlotte, collapsed and died during a Nike Elite Youth Basketball League game on Saturday night.

Hampton was 17 years old.

In the second half of a game against Nike Phamily, a Phoenix-based program that is run by the father of Marvin Bagley III, Hampton collapsed to the floor unresponsive. Trainers at the event began CPR on and administered chest compressions. Parademics arrived within 10 minutes, but Hampton could not be revived.

The cause of death has not yet been released, but this is not the first time that Hampton had an issue. Last spring, at an event in the Washington D.C. area, Hampton collapsed on the court and had to be given CPR.

“He just fell down on the floor,” Team United director Jacoby Davis told the Charlotte Observer. “He had seizures a year ago and I remember (one of the Team United coaches) telling me that, ‘I saw his eyes rolling back in his head.’ I ran on the court thinking he was having a seizure. A trainer came over and said he didn’t know what was wrong. Another trainer checked his pulse. He said he didn’t have a pulse. It got crazy after that.”

RIP James Hampton.

Nevada’s Jordan Caroline pulls out of 2018 NBA Draft

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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

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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

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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

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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.