March Madness game times and locations Thursday

Here are the teams, times and locations for Thursday’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.

All times Eastern Standard. 

(10) Oklahoma vs. (7) Rhode Island
12:15 p.m. in Pittsburgh, PA

(14) Wright State vs. (3) Tennessee
12:40 p.m. in Dallas, TX

(13) UNCG vs. (4) Gonzaga
1:30 p.m. in Boise, ID

(16) Penn vs. (1) Kansas
2 p.m. in Wichita, KS

(15) Iona vs. (2) Duke
2:45 p.m. in Pittsburgh, PA

(11) Loyola-Chicago vs. (6) Miami (Fla.)
3:10 p.m. in Dallas, TX

(12) South Dakota State vs. (5) Ohio State
4 p.m. in Boise, ID

(9) NC State vs. (8) Seton Hall
4:30 p.m. in Wichita, KS

(16) LIU-Brooklyn/Radford vs. (1) Villanova
6:50 p.m. in Pittsburgh, PA

(12) Davidson vs. (5) Kentucky
7:10 p.m. in Boise, ID

(11) San Diego State vs. (6) Houston
7:20 p.m. in Wichita, KS

(14) Stephen F. Austin vs. (3) Texas Tech
7:27 p.m. in Dallas, TX

(9) Alabama vs. (8) Virginia Tech
9:20 p.m. in Pittsburgh, PA

(13) Buffalo vs. (4) Arizona
9:40 p.m. in Boise, ID

(14) Montana vs. (3) Michigan
9:50 p.m. in Wichita, KS

(11) St. Bonaventure/UCLA vs. (6) Florida
9:57 p.m. in Dallas, TX

 

Best Hair in March Madness

Vote for your choice of best hair in college basketball below in the comments.

Here’s the field of 16…

16.  Garrett Collins – UNCG Spartans
Forward Garrett Collins gets the party started (and happy belated) with our Sweet 16 list.

15.  Caleb Wood – Pennsylvania Quakers
Caleb Wood looks like one of the 3 Musketeers on the guard as the Quakers march into tournament territory.

14.  Bobby Morehead – Montana Grizz
The headband game needed to be represented in this bracket.

13.  Terrell Miller – Murray State Racers
Terrell Miller makes the NBA’s Nene look thin-haired.

12.  Jaylen Barford – Arkansas Razorbacks
Jaylen Barford’s distinguished grey gives “senior night” a new connotation.

11.  Rob Gray – Houston Cougars
Replacing Kyle Guy this year as an ambassador of team man bun.

10.  Trae Young – Oklahoma Sooners
Some chicks dig the “just woke up” look.

9.  Dylan Osetkowski – Texas Longhorns
You should see this modeled in corn rows.   Osetkowski broke it out earlier this season.

8.  Collin Sexton – Alabama Tide
This freshman has entered the college game and surpassed his own teammates – like Dazon Ingram and John Petty – with the voluminousness.

7.  Jalen Fisher – TCU Hornfrogs
Jalen Fisher brings color, curls, and style to the bracket – a Cinderella story in the making.

6.  Nate Watson – Providence Friar’s
Nate Watson rocks the sherbet colored frosted tips, as do some teammates.

5.  Cartier Diara – K-State Wildcats
You can define this one.

4.  Lonnie Walker – Miami Hurricane
Anyone comfortable with the nickname pineapple head belongs on this list.

 

3.  Vincent Edwards – Purdue Boilermakers
Edwards reminds us of Rufio from Hook but has drawn other comparisons on Twitter.

2.  Jacob Evans – Cincinnati Bearcats
Coaches nationwide are looking for versatile players this time of year.  Evans has displayed his range this season, showcasing earlier this season the short dreads, and now sporting something more reminiscent of the 1990s New York Knicks front court.

  1.  Donte DiVincenzo – Villanova Wildcats
    Nicknamed “The Big Ragu” by Gus Johnson, his hairdo matches the theme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Champions Classic

Each year, ESPN’s Champions Classic is promoted as the real tip-off to the college basketball season.  It always features a rotation of match-ups among these powerhouses:  Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State and Duke.

There are also reports that the Champions Classic may literally kick-off the NCAA season next year, with no games tipping off before it.  This year, it featured a sloppy matchup of Kansas versus Kentucky (Jayhawks win 65-61) and a Duke victory over Michigan State that left the viewer asking, “was this really a matchup of number 1 and number 2?”

However, tonight when Florida plays Duke and Michigan State plays North Carolina, it will feel like the Champions Classic that would have been if the planners had the ability to pair the nation’s best four teams.

Kansas’s roster is thinner than recent years. Kentucky’s is even more immature than recent years.  Meanwhile, top 10 ranked teams like (2) Arizona is struggling (losing three consecutive games) and (6) Wichita State is without its primary scoring wing, Markis McDuffie.  Swapping-in defending champion UNC with an incumbent veteran roster of Gators would be the ideal substitute for a Champions Classic.

Luckily, for college basketball fans, they’ll get that final four after a full slate of football Sunday.  It’s the semifinals of the PK80 Invitational!

(1) Duke versus (7) Florida
TIP OFF 10:30 EST 

Let’s start with Florida.  The gators are returning an experienced team, highlighted by its gritty backcourt of KeVaughn Allen and Chris Chiozza.  Add-in Russian-born guard Egor Koulechov, Kevarrius Hayes, and a load of talented underclassmen, and you have a national contender.  The Florida Gators already accomplished a great resume-builder during this tournament.  They beat the defacto hometown team, the Gonzaga Bulldogs (games in Portland).  Meanwhile, Duke had an impressive win itself.  They came storming back in the final stanzas against a Texas Longhorns team that looked like it could bring Havoc to teams down the line.  It’s Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s youngest starting roster since 1982-83.  The Blue Devils start senior Grayson Allen with 4 freshmen, headlined by forward Marvin Bagley III.

(4) Michigan State versus (9) North Carolina
TIP OFF 8:30 EST 

UNC is somehow overlooked at number 9.  Yes, they have lost Justin Jackson and Tony Bradley to the NBA draft.  However, they return importance piece of last year’s championship team.  They include Joel Berry II, Luke Maye, Kenny Williams and Theo Pinson.  Michigan State has the next coming of Vince Carter in Miles Bridges, along with a huge cast of sophomores who can grow into something special.

 

 

Sons of NBA Players in College Basketball 2017 – 2018

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This blog has been keeping track of the impressive number of second generation NCAA players whose fathers played in the NBA for a number of years.  Before we get into the list of sons of NBA stars in college basketball, here is a roster of them from recent years:

Sons of NBA Players in College Basketball 2016-17
Sons of NBA Players in College Basketball 2015-16

This year’s list of second generation basketball stars is headlined by freshmen Jules Erving, son of NBA legend Julius Erving, and top recruit Gary Trent, Jr., who is the son of former Dallas Maverick and Minnesota Timberwolves player, Gary Trent.

Son Team Father Former NBA Team
Gary Trent, Jr. Duke Gary Trent Minnesota Timberwolves
Justin Robinson Duke David Robinson San Antonio Spurs
Tanner Lohaus Northern Iowa Brad Lohaus Milwaukee Bucks
Wyatt Lohaus Northern Iowa Brad Lohaus Milwaukee Bucks
Isaiah Wilkins Virginia Dominique Wilkins Atlanta Hawks

Brandan Stith Old Dominion Bryant Stith Denver Nuggets
B.J. Stith Old Dominion Bryant Stith Denver Nuggets

Jalen Brunson Villanova Rick Brunson New York Knicks
Trey Mourning Georgetown Alonzo Mourning Miami Heat
Jules Erving California Julius Erving Philadelphia 76ers

K.J. Smith UNC Kenny “The Jet” Smith Houston Rockets
Avery Johnson Jr. Alabama Avery Johnson San Antonio Spurs

Kameron Rooks San Diego St. Sean Rooks Dallas Mavericks

College Basketball Futures – Best Values

If you wager on college basketball, you know that it is a turbulent market.  Normally, the blue bloods like Kentucky and Duke are always 12-to-1 or lower.   However, in the 15-to-1 plus territory, there are normally always great values.

And, if you bet the tournament, holding stock of a great futures bet made in November can help you hedge as the Sweet 16 and beyond approach.

Here are our top 4 future values to win a championship at this point in the season.
Ironically, two of these teams have played each other.

  1. Minnesota 80/1  
    Sitting at number one are the Gophers.  As a veteran club with size and 2017 tournament experience, college basketball’s only Pitino coach could make a serious run in the spring.

2.  Wichita State 16/1 

The Shockers should be the favorite on this list to win a championship, and their value at this point is spot-on.  As the season continues, pay close attention to Markis McDuffie.  If Wichita State wants to win a title, he may need to bring his scoring to a new level.

3.  Cincinnati 40/1

The Bearcats have a balanced roster and one of the nation’s best coaches.  Justin Jennifer is the go-to point guard after sharing the role last year with Troy Caupain, who had the nation’s 6th best assist-to-turnover ratio.  Senior Gary Clark will the the headlines as a versatile scorer, but keep an eye on senior Kyle Washington, an ambidextrous power forward who blended into the rotation nicely after transferring to Cincy.

4.  Providence 125/1

Providence has one of the nation’s most underrated coaches, in Ed Cooley.  Last year, the Friars recovered well after losing two NBA draft picks from its roster.  They lost to USC in the tournament, ironically, by a close margin.   Yet, USC is a sexy pick as a future (just 28/1) while Providence is not.  Watch last year’s highlights and compare rosters:

Future odds were found atCollege Basketball Future Odds

Champ-less “Champions Classic” Cont’d?

For two years running, champions did not play during the “Champions Classic.”  We mention this, only because the inflated rankings ahead of a nationally televised ESPN game, is almost laughable.  Last year, Michigan State came into the Champions Classic ranked 13th in the nation.  They finished week 18 of the AP rankings at season’s end outside of the top 25.  In fact, they only received one AP voter’s vote.  Yet, for tonight, it’s #1 versus #2.  And we should be happy that college basketball season has arrived!

The NCAA’s Second-Round Draft Picks (and undrafted) poised for NBA Rosters

BY MATTY D. 

For us college basketball junkies, the NBA Summer League is Christmas in July.  It’s like watching an All-Star game of America’s National Collegiate Athletic Association players.  There’s even a nostalgia about it.  When Johnny O’Bryant III and Jarnell Stokes jump to the top of the stat charts for points and rebounds, you reflect on how it “felt like yesterday” you saw them as 18-year-olds flexing their way through the SEC.  But for them it’s serious.  So many super talented American athletes will never make an NBA roster.  The Jarnell and Johnny’s of the basketball world have seen how hard it is over theses few years.  And here are the rookies that we see making an NBA roster in 2017-18, despite not being selected in the first round.

5.  Nigel Williams-Goss, Utah Jazz, former Gonzaga Bulldog

Obviously, the loss of Gordon Hayward opens the Jazz up to a vacancy for another primary ball-handlers.  Williams-Goss already looked like a pro while running point for the Final 4-bound Gonzaga Bulldogs.   He averaged 5 assists per game across his collegiate career.  We could easily see Williams-Goss behind Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum at the point guard depth chart.

 

4.  Anthony Gill, Cavaliers, former Virginia Cavalier

A Virginia Cav becomes a Cleveland Cav.  And you have to think that LeBron James fully aware of what Gill’s fellow UV teammate, Malcolm Brogdon, did with up-and-coming East Coast contending Milwaukee Bucks.  Virginia and Tony Bennett specifically is solidifying a reputation of planting rotation-ready players in the NBA.  The Cavs are in desperate need to get younger.  Players like Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson might have difficulty keeping a roster spot with what Gill brings in terms of low post grit.  In college, Gill played power forward (even center at times when fellow summer leaguer Mike Tobey was on the bench).  In the NBA and on the Cavaliers rotation, he can be a slightly smaller version of the types of things Tristan Thompson brings to the court.

3.  Reggie Upshaw Jr., Milwaukee Bucks, former Middle Tennessee State Raider

This guy is a winner.  Upshaw Jr.’s eye test report showed us how his sweet left-handed jumper and ability to stretch the defense propelled his Raiders to March Madness upsets.  He looks like a Michael Beasley with the addition of court-awareness.  His college team was a bunch that enjoyed rugged defense that turned into up-tempo offense.  And Upshaw was the most athletic in a cast of finishers.  The Bucks are seemingly stockpiling a bunch of hybrid forwards like Upshaw (Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Thon Maker), so he would hypothetically be in great company to model his game for the NBA.

2.  Caleb Swanigan, Portland Trailblazers, former Purdue Boilmaker

College Basketball Eye Test.com’s founder Matty D. is glad he started trolling Chad Ford in the winter of 2017 about Swanigan’s first round draft-worthy game.  This kid’s got game.  For all the so-called draft experts who said he was too slow and unathletic, we have one question for you.  Was that same question uttered about Detroit Piston champion Ben Wallace?  Because “Biggie” Swanigan’s game is looking more and more like a carbon copy—only Swanigan has the midrange jump shot and offensive foot work.  In a city where Zach Collins was drafted first round, Portland may just have discovered that their best two forwards are rookies.

 

  1.  Jordan Bell, Golden State Warriors, former Oregon Duck

The rich get richer.  Jordan Bell is an elite shot-blocker.  On a roster where rangy defenders like Andre Iguadala, Kevin Durant, Draymon Green and Klay Thompson already cover a lot of ground, Bell’s wingspan could help make up for any lapses.  We leave you with this example…

 

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