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Weekend Preview: LA’s Hall Of Fame Classic, a Kansas bounceback and some rivalry action

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THE WEEKEND SHOWDOWNS

*(NOTE: Lines are not posted for Saturday or Sunday games as of publication. Spreads referenced are via Kenpom.com)

No. 16 ARIZONA STATE at No. 2 KANSAS (-13), Sun. 2:00 p.m.

After a disastrous performance against Washington in Kansas City, the Jayhawks will look to get back on track against an Arizona State team that will be coming off of a Friday night game against St. John’s. What’s intriguing about this matchup is the number of talented guards that are going to be on the floor at the same time. Both the Sun Devils and the Jayhawks play small. Both of them spread the floor. Both shoot plenty of threes, run the floor and look to create mismatches. If you like uptempo basketball with shooters galore, guards allowed to show off their full arsenal and teams that don’t mind jacking up threes, this is a game for you.

  • PREDICTION: 13 points is a lot of points. I do think the Jayhawks win this game, but I’m not sure they get to 13. Arizona State (+13)

No. 5 FLORIDA vs. No. 17 CINCINNATI (-3), Sat. 6:00 p.m.

This matchup was a whole lot more exciting before Florida lost three straight games and Cincinnati got smacked around by Xavier in the Crosstown Shootout. The Bearcats are going to have a decided advantage in the paint, and I do think that their front court pieces – Gary Clark, Jacob Evans – are athletic enough that they should be fine chasing the likes of Egor Koulechov and Jalen Hudson off the three-point line. And if we learned anything this week, it’s that Florida is not a good basketball team when they don’t shoot the ball well.

That said, they can also beat anyone if they have one of those 17-for-35 nights from three.

  • PREDICTION: Like I said, I think Cincinnati’s bigs will be able to run around the perimeter with Florida’s wings. I don’t think Florida’s wings will have a shot against Clark and Evans on the other end of the floor. PICK: Cincinnati (-3)

ST. JOHN’S (-1) at No. 16 ARIZONA STATE, Fri. 8:00 p.m.
OKLAHOMA vs. No. 25 USC (-2), Fri. 10:30 p.m.
No. 22 NEVADA vs. No. 20 TCU (-2), Fri. 1:00 a.m.

In what feels like the 27th Hall Of Fame Classic that has been held in the first month of the season, there will be a triple-header on Friday night featuring six teams that all have a shot at getting to the NCAA tournament.

And believe it or not, the best game of the night might end up being the nightcap with Nevada taking on TCU. The Wolf Pack could really use a non-conference win like this, particularly after they blew a game at Texas Tech during the week, but despite how good the Martin twins (I’m not going to pretend to know the difference) and Jordan Caroline have been, TCU is a disciplined, well-coached and good team that will not beat themselves.

Oklahoma and USC will be a terrific gauge game for the Sooners, who have looked pretty good through the early part of the season but have been totally reliant on the insane play of Trae Young. USC has top ten talent but happens to be coming off of a pair of double-digit losses to Texas A&M and SMU, respectively.

St. John’s taking on Arizona State will be another matchup of terrific back courts. Keep an eye on the status of Marcus Lovett. If he’s out, that changes things.

  • PREDICTION: If Lovett does not play, Arizona State (+1) is a lock. I think I like USC (-2), but I love the over in that game. And in the nightcap, I’ll be on TCU (-2), as Jamie Dixon gets the job done against Eric Musselman.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO WATCH?

  • ALABAMA at ARIZONA (-7), Sat. 10:00 p.m.: Arizona gets a shot at beating their third-straight potential NCAA tournament team at home against Alabama and Collin Sexton. I think Alabama spreads Arizona out, and if we’ve learned anything about Arizona, it’s that they struggle vs. small-ball. PICK: Arizona (-7)
  • No. 12 GONZAGA (-10) at WASHINGTON, Sun. 8:00 p.m.: Washington’s win at Syracuse felt fluky and Gonzaga got embarrassed by Villanova flying to the other side of the country. This feels like a game where things return to the norm. PICK: Gonzaga (-10)
  • No. 14 Minnesota at Arkansas (-2), Sat. 6:45 p.m.: The Razorbacks are favored in this one, but Minnesota should have an advantage in the paint and are coming off of a loss on Wednesday at Nebraska. We’ll see if Minnesota can shake off this slow start.

THE REST OF THE WEEKEND’S ACTION

UCLA at Michigan, Sat. 12:00 p.m.
Marquette at Wisconsin, Sat. 12:00 p.m.
Indiana at Louisville, Sat. 2:00 p.m.
Nebraska at Creighton, Sat. 2:30 p.m.
VCU at No. 19 Seton Hall, Sat. 3:00 p.m.
No. 6 Wichita State at Oklahoma State, Sat. 4:00 p.m.
Colorado at No. 13 Xavier, Sat. 5:00 p.m.
Ole Miss at Middle Tennessee State, Sat. 6:00 p.m.
No. 18 West Virginia at Pitt, Sat. 8:00 p.m.
Illinois at UNLV, Sat. 12:00 a.m.

Elite Class of 2020 point guard to reclassify

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Nico Mannion, a five-star point guard from Arizona, announced on Friday that he will be reclassifying into the Class of 2019.

Mannion was a top 20 player in 2020 but, according to 247 Sports, he will be ranked No. 11 in 2019. The athletic, 6-foot-3 Mannion was long-rumored to be considering a move up a class because of his age. He’ll turn 18 in March of next year, meaning that he’ll arrive on campus the same age as a typical college freshman.

Mannion cut his list to ten schools in June — Duke, Arizona, Villanova, Kansas, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Vanderbilt, Marquette and Utah — but Duke and Arizona appear to be the favorites at this point.

Mannion plays his high school ball for Pinnacle High School in Phoenix and with West Coast Elite on the Under Armour Association circuit. He played for Team USA’s youth ranks, but his mother is Italian and, in June, he was called up to the Italian men’s senior national team, scoring nine points in 29 minutes of a FIBA World Cup Qualifier.

Nebraska to lose junior big man to transfer

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Nebraska’s frontcourt depth took a blow on Thursday as junior big man Jordy Tshimanga informed the program that he will be transferring.

“Jordy called me tonight and asked for his release,” head coach Tim Miles said in a statement that was given to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “The University of Nebraska and our program wish Jordy and his family the best.”

Tshimanga averaged 4.0 points and 4.6 boards in 13 minutes this past season, and a source close to the program told NBC Sports he wasn’t expected to play much more than that this season.

Miles’ has spent the better part of the last two seasons on the hot seat, and this certainly doesn’t make his job easier, but with the talent the Cornhuskers have on their roster, they look like an NCAA tournament team already. They bring back their top four scorers, including former five-star prospect Isaac Copeland and potential first-team all-Big Ten wing James Palmer. With or without Tshimanga, Nebraska has a shot to finish top four in the Big Ten.

North Carolina, UCLA, Michigan State part of Las Vegas event

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — North Carolina, UCLA, Michigan State and Texas will play in an early season basketball tournament in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Invitational will include games at campus sites, then the final two rounds on Nov. 22-23 in Las Vegas. North Carolina takes on Texas in one semifinal, and Michigan State faces UCLA in the other.

UNC, UCLA and Michigan State are all top 20 teams in the NBC Sports preseason top 25.

The championship is Nov. 23, and the semifinal losers also play each other that day.

NCAA to study possible effects of widespread legal wagering

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA plans to study how the expansion of legalized betting could affect college athletics and member schools.

The NCAA announced Thursday it will create a working group of “subject matter experts” to assess areas such as officiating, NCAA rules, federal and state laws, and the use of integrity services. NCAA leadership has already called for federal regulation on sports betting. NCAA rules prohibit sports wagering by athletes and athletic department employees.

The Supreme Court opened the door for states to have legal wagering on sporting events when it struck down a federal ban in May. Schools in some states such as West Virginia, Mississippi and New Jersey are already exploring the possibility of collecting integrity fees in anticipation of legal sports books opening in their states.

“While we certainly respect the Supreme Court’s decision, our position on sports wagering remains,” said Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer. “With this new landscape, we must evolve and expand our long-standing efforts to protect both the integrity of competitions and the well-being of student-athletes.”

The NCAA Board of Governors has already suspended the association’s ban on holding championships in states with legalized sports betting, a policy that only affected Nevada.

“Legalized sports gambling across the country is rather new, but the NCAA and its members have committed significant resources over the years to policy, research and education around sports wagering,” said Joni Comstock, senior vice president of championships and alliances. “With student-athlete well-being as the centerpiece, we will continue to build upon these efforts to assist members as they adapt to legalized sports wagering in their states and regions.”

Arizona releases non-conference schedule

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A trip to Maui, a home date against Baylor and trips to UConn and Alabama highlight Arizona’s non-conference schedule, which the school released Thursday, this season.

Despite losing nearly the entirety of last year’s talented-but-troubled group, Sean Miller still scheduled aggressively. The first test will come the week of Thanksgiving in Hawaii at the Maui Invitational. It’s an extremely competitive field with Duke, Auburn, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Illinois, San Diego State and Xavier. The bracket for the event has yet to be released.

The Wildcats travel to Storrs to face UConn in Dan Hurley’s first season on Dec. 2, and then a week later visit Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

The marquee home game will be Saturday, Dec. 16, when Scott Drew and Baylor come to Tucson.

Here’s the full schedule:

Day Date Opponent Location

Sunday Nov. 11 Cal Poly Tucson, Ariz.

Wednesday Nov. 14 UTEP Tucson, Ariz.

Monday Nov. 19 vs. TBA Lahaina, Hawai’i

Tuesday Nov. 20 vs. TBA Lahaina, Hawai’i

Wednesday Nov. 21 vs. TBA Lahaina, Hawai’i

Wednesday Nov. 28 Texas Southern Tucson, Ariz.

Sunday Dec. 2 at UConn Hartford, Conn.

Thursday Dec. 6 Utah Valley Tucson, Ariz.

Sunday Dec. 9 at Alabama Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Saturday Dec. 15 Baylor Tucson, Ariz.

Wednesday Dec. 19 Montana Tucson, Ariz.

Saturday Dec. 22 UC Davis Tucson, Ariz.