2012

Schedule pairings announced for 2012 Cancun Challenge

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Pairings for the 2012 Cancun Challenge have been announced with the tournament set to run from Nov. 13-21, both here in the United States and culminating in Cancun, Mexico.

The three most notable schools taking part are Iowa, DePaul, and Wichita State, with those schools competing alongside Austin Peay, Western Kentucky, Gardner-Webb, Howard, and Western Carolina.

The games get interesting once the tournament moves to Cancun, when DePaul tips off against Wichita State, and Iowa takes on Western Kentucky.

Iowa, coming off an NIT berth this past season, loses leading scorer Matt Gatens, but has a very strong recruiting class coming in to fill the gaps.

Center Adam Woodbury and guard Mike Gesell lead the group, along with Patrick Ingram, Kyle Meyer, and Anthony Clemens.

Both Woodbury and Gesell are Top 100 prospects.

As for DePaul, the Blue Demons come off an injury-plagued 12-19 season, including 3-15 in the Big East.

Swingman Cleveland Melvin will again be the centerpiece after averaging 17.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in 2011-12.

Illinois won the 2011 Cancun Challenge. Additionally, Missouri won in 2010, Kentucky in 2009, and Vanderbilt in 2008.

For the full schedule of games, click here.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Preview: Schedule and times announced for 2012 SEC/Big East Challenge

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The schedules and times for the 2012 SEC/Big East Challenge  have been released.

Below, NBCSports.com takes a look at the best games from each day, along with the full schedule.

Thursday, Nov. 29

Game of the Day: Kentucky vs. Notre Dame

John Calipari’s Wildcats are reloaded, led by No. 1 prospect Nerlens Noel, set to take on a Notre Dame team that returns forward Jack Cooley, along with guards Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant.

The Irish also have a solid three-man recruiting class coming in, led by Top-100 prospect Cameron Biedscheid.

On the other side, the defending national champions may look nothing like the team that took the title in 2012, but depending on how this group of young players gels, they could be in the national title discussion again.

Rest of Schedule

7:30 p.m.—South Carolina vs. St. John’s

9:00 p.m.—Marquette vs. Florida

9:30 p.m.—Seton Hall vs. LSU

Friday, Nov. 30

Game of the Day: Syracuse vs. Arkansas

Michael Carter-Williams, used sparingly during his freshman season at Syracuse, should be on every list of possible breakout players in 2012-13. The Orange will need to compensate for the loss of Dion Waiters, Kris Joseph, Scoop Jardine, and Fab Melo.

For Arkansas, BJ Young is a centerpiece after he declared for the NBA Draft but eventually withdrew his name. The Razorbacks had a problem winning on the road last season, which contributed to an 18-15 finish.

Marshawn Powell is also on track to be back in 2012-13 after tearing his ACL early last season.

Game tips at 8:30 p.m.

Rest of Schedule:

6:30 p.m.—Tennessee vs. Georgetown

7:00 p.m.—Georgia vs. South Florida

9:00 p.m.—DePaul vs. Auburn

Saturday, Dec. 1

Game of the Day: Alabama vs. Cincinnati

The final day is pretty weak, but Alabama will have freshman Devonta Pollard on display after he signed with the Crimson Tide in the spring. They will be without their top two scorers from last season, JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell.

Cincinnati is coming off a run to the Sweet 16, but is losing seniors Dion Dixon and Yancy Gates. Jaquon Parker and Sean Kilpatrick should emerge for the Bearcats. Kilpatrick, you’ll remember, went off for 6-of-9 shooting from three-point range in a Big East Tournament upset of Syracuse.

Tip is at 3:00 p.m.

Rest of Schedule

5:00 p.m.—Villanova vs. Vanderbilt

TBD—Mississippi State vs. Providence

TBD—Rutgers vs. Mississippi

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Preview: Schedule and times released for 2012 ACC/Big Ten Challenge

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The schedules and times for the 2012 ACC/Big Ten Challenge  have been released.

Below, NBCSports.com takes a look at the best games from each day, along with the full schedule.

Tuesday, Nov. 27

Game of the Day: NC State vs. Michigan

Don’t get me wrong, Indiana vs. UNC should be great, too, but NC State-Michigan sees a match-up between two teams who are glad to welcome back a key starter from last season to go along with a Top-10 recruiting class from 2012.

For Michigan, guard Trey Burke returns after a stand-out freshman year and will be joined by freshmen Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III.

NC State brings a loaded back-court of their own, assuming Lorenzo Brown’s injury heals as planned and freshman Rodney Purvis is cleared by the NCAA to join the Wolfpack. CJ Leslie returns to solidify the frontcourt.

They tip at 7:30 p.m.

Rest of Schedule:

7:15 p.m.—Minnesota vs. Florida State

Iowa vs. Virginia Tech

9:15 p.m.—Maryland vs. Northwestern

Nebraska vs. Wake Forest

9:30 p.m.—North Carolina vs. Indiana

Wednesday, Nov. 28

Game of the Day: Ohio State vs. Duke

The 9:30 nightcap provides the best game on Day 2, setting against each other two teams who are losing their biggest contributors from last season.

Jared Sullinger and Austin Rivers are gone to the NBA, but both teams should be in the Top 20 to begin the season. Duke will be without guard Andre Dawkins, who is redshirting this season, leaving guard duties to Seth Curry and freshman Rasheed Sulaimon.

Another interesting few recruiting sidenotes: Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood chose Duke over Ohio State. Incoming Duke freshman Amile Jefferson had Ohio State in the mix before choosing the Blue Devils.

Rest of Schedule:

7:00 p.m.—Wisconsin vs. Virginia

7:15 p.m.–Purdue vs. Clemson

7:30 p.m.—Michigan State vs. Miami

9:00 p.m.—Georgia Tech vs. Illinois

9:15 p.m.—Boston College vs. Penn State

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

What goes on inside an NBA draft workout? [VIDEO]

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Ever wonder what an NBA draft workout looks like? Video has surfaced from a number of players who are working toward the top of this June’s draft, including some of the best college players from this past season.

Take a look at some participants below:

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-0U9qRFbldw#!]

Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQR4UJK7Hn8&feature=relmfu]

Thomas Robinson, Kansas

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUQwGv3PES8&feature=related]

Fab Melo, Syracuse

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K-EKA_vwOU]

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Scott Machado wins 2012 MBWA Player of the Year award

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After a season in which he was one of the best point guards in the nation, Iona senior guard Scott Machado has been honored with the Haggerty Award as the 2012 Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association Player of the Year.

The MBWA honors the best players and coaches in the New York City-Metro area in a given year.

Machado led the Gaels with 13.6 points, 9.9 assists, and five rebounds per game in 2011-12, a season in which Iona finished 25-8, including 15-3 in the MAAC.

The Gaels lost to BYU in a First Four game of the NCAA tournament.

Machado, a Queens, N.Y., native, now enters the NBA draft, where he is projected to be selected between the late first round and mid-second round.

At 6-1, 180 pounds, Machado worked best in Iona’s high-scoring, up-tempo offense last season. He was rivaled by North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall as perhaps the nation’s best point guard.

In other Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association awards, Manhattan coach Steve Masiello and former Wagner coach Dan Hurley shared co-Coach of the Year honors.

Hurley is now at Rhode Island, where he takes over for Jim Baron as the Rams head coach.

St. John’s freshman Moe Harkless, who has declared for the NBA draft, was named the 2012 MBWA Rookie of the Year. He averaged 15.3 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Red Storm in 2011-12.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Syracuse, Temple to play at MSG in inaugural Gotham Classic

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One team is on its way into the Big East, the other is on its way out, but conference affiliation won’t matter on December 22.

Syracuse and Temple will meet just before Christmas in the inaugural Gotham Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

When the Classic tips off, these rosters will look much different than they do at this end of this season, as the hearts of both teams will either graduate or leave for the NBA.

For the Owls, Juan Fernandez and Ramone Moore are graduating. That leaves just Khalif Wyatt in the strong Temple backcourt from 2011-12.

To replace those departures, though, the Owls are adding two solid swingmen from the Class of 2012 in Quenton DeCosey and Daniel Dingle.

The Orange are hurt most by the departure of Sixth Man of the Year Dion Waiters, who is leaving for the NBA, and senior combination Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph, who will be graduating. Center Fab Melo, who was academically ineligible at the end of the season, could also head to the draft.

But, in typical Syracuse fashion, Jim Boeheim’s team will be reloaded with talent. Dematha (Md.) swingman Jerami Grant joins local product DaJuan Coleman and there’s still a possibility that highly-coveted blue-chip center Nerlens Noel could end up at Syracuse.

In this year’s NCAA tournament, the Owls lost to South Florida in the Round of 64, while Syracuse lost to Ohio State in the Elite Eight.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_