WEEKEND PREVIEW: 11 top 25 teams on the road, including five top ten

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GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 11 West Virginia at No. 2 Oklahoma, Sat. 4:00 p.m.

West Virginia will become the first team since 1997 to play the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country in the same week when they head to Norman on Saturday to take on No. 2 Oklahoma. On Tuesday night, the Mountaineers knocked off No. 1 Kansas in Morgantown.

With a win, West Virginia will become the first team since 1989 to beat the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country in back-to-back games. That honor belongs to Kansas, who pulled off the feat on back-to-back nights in November of that season during the Preseason NIT.

For the Bobby Huggins’ club to make that happen, they are going to need the press that turned the Kansas guards into a high school team to be operating in top gear. Oklahoma can be susceptible to pressure. Buddy Hield is averaging more than 26 points on a nightly basis, but he’s turnover prone. Ask Oklahoma State. They got him to cough up the ball 10 times on Thursday night. Isaiah Cousins has been inconsistent this season. Jordan Woodard doesn’t really have a back-up ready to handle the kind of pressure that West Virginia is going to throw at them. They’ve got a chance.

That said, the question with this group is whether or not they can travel. We know how good they are in their own building; it’s a long flight to Morgantown to play in a loud arena against a team that plays tough, physical, in your jock defense for 94 feet for 40 minutes. That’s not fun. It’s also a different story when they’re trying to do that same thing on the road, when they have to make that long trip and the crowd is getting loud when they mess up.

But in a year where five top ten teams losing in the span of three days doesn’t seem all that strange, West Virginia sweep the top two teams in the country in the span of five days isn’t out of the question.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 6 Villanova at Georgetown, Sat. 1:00 p.m.

A good old fashioned Big East battle. After struggling through the early part of the season and getting run out of the gym by Oklahoma and Virginia, Villanova has found a rhythm. They’re shooting less threes than they were at the start of the season, they’re hitting a higher percentage of the threes that they do take and, as a result, they’re winning games and currently sitting atop the Big East conference standings. The team sitting directly behind them right now? Georgetown, who is 4-1 in the Big East. That said, the Hoyas have yet to beat one of the top four teams in the conference and they’ve also lost to the likes of Monmouth, Radford and UNC Asheville. I don’t totally trust them yet.

But I will if they pick up this win at home on Saturday.


  1. Michigan is coming off of a huge win over No. 3 Maryland at home on Tuesday night, but they’ll be on the road on Sunday afternoon to take on No. 16 Iowa at 4:30 p.m. It’s unclear if the Wolverines will be with or without Caris LeVert, who is still battling a left foot injury.
  2. No. 7 Xavier, on the other hand, will be back at full strength at Marquette on Saturday, a game that tips at 2:00 p.m. Edmond Sumner, the star point guard for the Musketeers, will return to the lineup for the first time since New Year’s Eve, when he suffered a concussion that caused him to miss the last two weeks.
  3. No. 13 Virginia bounced back from a rough week on Tuesday when they knocked off No. 8 Miami at home. The prior week the Cavaliers had lost a pair of road games to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, giving them their third true road loss of the season. Virginia will play on the road at Florida State on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m.
  4. No. 9 Duke will be looking to bounce back from an upset loss at Clemson on Thursday night when they host Notre Dame on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. If you like high-scoring basketball games, games that have a lot of points and a lot of threes and not all that much defense, this will be right up your alley. The Blue Devils have been nearly unguardable since Brandon Ingram moved to the four when Amile Jefferson broke his foot.
  5. The first edition of this year’s Tobacco Road rivalry will pit N.C. State heading over to Chapel Hill to take on No. 5 North Carolina on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. This is getting pretty close to must-win territory for the Wolfpack, who have not exactly lived up to their talent this season.
  6. It’s not a secret that John Calipari and Bruce Pearl are not exactly the best of friends. That’s a rivalry that stems back to the days when Memphis and Tennessee were two of the best teams in college basketball. On Saturday at 4:00 p.m., No. 14 Kentucky makes the trip down to Auburn to take on Bruce Pearl’s new program. This is a winnable game for the Tigers. Don’t think Bruce Pearl doesn’t know that.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 8 Miami FL at Clemson, Sat. 2:00 p.m.

In the last three games, Clemson has knocked off Syracuse, they’ve knocked off Louisville and they’ve knocked off Duke. And on Saturday, they get Miami, who just may be the best team out of that quartet. (That’s crazy to think about, isn’t it?) The Hurricanes are coming off of a loss at Virginia on Tuesday, a loss where they did not play all that well and got lit up by UVA’s big three down the stretch. At 4-1 in the ACC, Clemson currently looks like a team that might end up being a factor in ACC play this season. If they can beat Miami on Saturday, you might be able to take the ‘might’ out of that last sentence.

WHAT WILL WE BE TALKING ABOUT ON MONDAY?: This has not been a good week for teams currently ranked in the top 10. Five of them lost this week: No. 1 Kansas, No. 3 Maryland, No. 4 Michigan State, No. 8 Miami and No. 9 Duke. Four of those five were on the road.

In total, nine top 25 teams lost this week, with all but two of them falling in games that came away from home.

This weekend?

There are 11 top 25 teams that are playing away from home, with five of the top ten wearing road jerseys this weekend.

Only one of those teams — No. 11 West Virginia — will be playing on the road against a fellow top 25 program.

In other words, if you thought that this week was a bloodbath for highly-ranked teams, just wait until you see what happens this weekend.

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

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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

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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.