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  1. #1 Cnotes college basketball 2019-2020 news/trends/best bets thru ncaa championship 
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    Odds to make 2020 Final Four
    September 30, 2019
    By VI News



    The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook released its odds on which schools will make the Final Four in 2020.


    Selection Sunday will be on March 15, 2020 and the Final Four will take place on Saturday April 4, 2020.


    The 2020 tournament will be played at Mercendes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.


    Odds To Make the 2019-20 College Basketball Final 4


    Michigan State Spartans 3/2
    Kentucky Wildcats 7/4
    Duke Blue Devils 2/1
    Kansas Jayhawks 2/1
    North Carolina Tar Heels 3/1
    Memphis Tigers 7/2
    Louisville Cardinals 4/1
    Villanova Wildcats 5/1
    Florida Gators 5/1
    Virginia Cavaliers 5/1
    Gonzaga Bulldogs 6/1
    Oregon Ducks 15/2
    Texas Tech Red Raiders 15/2
    Arizona Wildcats 15/2
    Maryland Terrapins 10/1
    LSU Tigers 10/1
    Baylor Bears 10/1
    Ohio State Buckeyes 15/1
    Seton Hall Pirates 15/1
    Auburn Tigers 15/1
    Florida State Seminoles 15/1
    Houston Cougars 15/1
    Purdue Boilermakers 15/1
    Xavier Musketeers 15/1
    Michigan Wolverines 20/1
    Mississippi State Bulldogs 20/1
    Tennessee Volunteers 15/1
    Washington Huskies 20/1
    Texas Longhorns 25/1
    Marquette Golden Eagles 25/1
    Cincinnati Bearcats 25/1
    Iowa Hawkeyes 25/1
    Iowa State Cyclones 25/1
    Syracuse Orange 25/1
    Creighton Bluejays 25/1
    Arizona State Sun Devils 25/1
    Georgia Bulldogs 25/1
    Illinois Fighting Illini 25/1
    UCLA Bruins 25/1
    USC Trojans 25/1
    Utah State Aggies 25/1
    VCU Rams 25/1
    West Virginia Mountaineers 25/1
    Wisconsin Badgers 25/1
    Alabama Crimson Tide 50/1
    Colorado Buffaloes 50/1
    Indiana Hoosiers 50/1
    Minnesota Golden Gophers 50/1
    NC State Wolfpack 50/1
    Oklahoma Sooners 50/1
    Ole Miss Rebels 50/1
    U Conn Huskies 50/1
    Missouri Tigers 75/1
    Penn State Nittany Lions 75/1
    Butler Bulldogs 75/1
    Georgetown Hoyas 75/1
    Kansas State Wildcats 75/1
    Nebraska Cornhuskers 75/1
    New Mexico State Aggies 75/1
    Notre Dame Fighting Irish 75/1
    Oklahoma State Cowboys 75/1
    Oregon State Beavers 75/1
    Saint Mary's Gaels 75/1
    Wichita State Shockers 75/1
    Davidson Wildcats 75/1
    Texas A&M Aggies 125/1
    Arkansas Razorbacks 125/1
    Miami, Fl. Hurricanes 125/1
    Missouri State Bears 125/1
    Providence Friars 125/1
    St Louis Billikens 125/1
    TCU Horned Frogs 125/1
    Utah Utes 125/1
    Virginia Tech Hokies 125/1
    Boise State Broncos 125/1
    UC Irvine Anteaters 125/1
    Northwestern Wildcats 125/1
    Pittsburgh Panthers 125/1
    Rutgers Scarlet Knights 125/1
    San Diego State Aztecs 125/1
    SMU Mustangs 125/1
    South Carolina Gamecocks 125/1
    St Bonaventure Bonnies 125/1
    Stanford Cardinal 125/1
    Temple Owls 125/1
    Vanderbilt Commodores 125/1
    Harvard Crimson 125/1
    South Florida Bulls 125/1
    St. John's Red Storm 250/1
    Nevada Wolfpack 250/1
    New Mexico Lobos 250/1
    Belmont Bruins 250/1
    Buffalo Bulls 250/1
    BYU Cougars 250/1
    California Golden Bears 250/1
    Central Florida Golden Knights 250/1
    Charleston Cougars 250/1
    Clemson Tigers 250/1
    Dayton Flyers 250/1
    Depaul Blue Demons 250/1
    Fresno State Bulldogs 250/1
    Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 250/1
    Grand Canyon Antelopes 250/1
    Liberty Flames 250/1
    Lipscomb Bisons 250/1
    Loyola Chicago Ramblers 250/1
    Northern Iowa Panthers 250/1
    Old Dominion Monarchs 250/1
    Pennsylvania Quakers 250/1
    UNLV Runnin' Rebels 250/1
    Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 250/1
    Yale Bulldogs 250/1
    Vermont Catamounts 250/1
    Rhode Island Rams 500/1
    San Francisco Dons 500/1
    Wake Forest Demon Deacons 500/1
    Washington State Cougars 500/1
    Austin Peay Governors 500/1
    Ball State Cardinals 500/1
    Boston College Eagles 500/1
    Bowling Green Falcons 500/1
    Bradley Braves 500/1
    Central Michigan Chippewas 500/1
    Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 500/1
    Colorado State Rams 500/1
    CS Fullerton Titans 500/1
    Drake Bulldogs 500/1
    Duquesne Dukes 500/1
    East Tennessee State Buccaneers 500/1
    Florida Atlantic Owls 500/1
    Florida Int'l Panthers 500/1
    Furman Paladins 500/1
    George Mason Patriots 500/1
    Georgia Southern Eagles 500/1
    Georgia State Panthers 500/1
    Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 500/1
    Hofstra The Pride 500/1
    Iona Gaels 500/1
    Jacksonville State Gamecocks 500/1
    Kent State Golden Flashes 500/1
    La Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns 500/1
    La Monroe Warhawks 500/1
    La Salle Explorers 500/1
    Long Beach State 49ers 500/1
    Loyola Marymount Lions 500/1
    Marshall Thundering Herd 500/1
    Montana Grizzlies 500/1
    Murray State Racers 500/1
    NC Greensboro Spartans 500/1
    North Texas Mean Green 500/1
    Northeastern Huskies 500/1
    Northern Kentucky Norse 500/1
    Oakland Golden Grizzlies 500/1
    Princeton Tigers 500/1
    Richmond Spiders 500/1
    San Diego Toreros 500/1
    South Alabama Jaguars 500/1
    South Dakota State Jackrabbits 500/1
    Southern Miss Golden Eagles 500/1
    St. Joseph's Hawks 500/1
    Texas State Bobcats 500/1
    Toledo Rockets 500/1
    Tulsa Golden Hurricane 500/1
    UAB Blazers 500/1
    UCSB Gauchos 500/1
    Texas Arlington Mavericks 500/1
    UTSA Roadrunners 500/1
    Wofford Terriers 500/1
    Wright State Raiders 500/1
    Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 500/1
    Utah Valley Wolverines 1250/1
    UTEP Miners 1250/1
    Valparaiso Crusaders 1250/1
    William & Mary Tribe 1250/1


    Odds Subject to Change
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  2. #2  
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    Minnesota's Curry out with knee injury
    October 16, 2019
    By The Associated Press

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Minnesota forward Eric Curry has suffered another season-ending knee injury.


    Gophers coach Richard Pitino announced Wednesday that Curry was hurt in practice last week and will have surgery next week.


    ''We are obviously disappointed in Eric's recent setback,'' Pitino said. ''He has worked so hard and stayed positive throughout this whole process. He is still a valuable member and leader on this team. I can't wait to get him back, better than ever next year.''


    The 6-foot-9 junior redshirted the 2017-18 season after a knee injury that summer. He had a setback a year ago that required a second operation and kept him out of the first 12 games of the 2018-19 season. After returning to action in January, Curry hurt his foot and was limited to 15 games.


    In 49 career games, the native of Memphis, Tennessee, who attended high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, has averaged 5.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 19.6 minutes.
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    Wade, Pearl build on success amid drama
    October 16, 2019
    By The Associated Press

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) Auburn coach Bruce Pearl and LSU's Will Wade are both hoping to build on big seasons while dealing with a major potential challenge for their respective programs off the court.


    Both programs were at the center of a federal corruption investigation into college basketball. Pearl and Wade are still coaching and trying to keep those winning ways going on the court. They spoke with optimism about the state of their teams Wednesday at Southeastern Conference media day, but there is still uncertainty surround the teams.


    LSU is coming off an SEC regular-season title while Auburn made its first run to the Final Four.


    What the coaches can't control is what the NCAA does, and what repercussions might come in the aftermath, if any.


    Auburn expects to receive a notice of allegations from the NCAA stemming from a bribery scheme involving former assistant coach Chuck Person, who has been sentenced in federal court for his actions. Pearl wasn't accused of any wrongdoing by federal investigators but does have a past run-in with the NCAA from his Tennessee days.


    LSU suspended Wade through the postseason after he declined to meet with then-athletic director Joe Alleva about a leaked FBI wiretap transcript that raised questions about whether the coach committed recruiting violations.


    LSU reinstated Wade in April , two days after the coach met with school and NCAA officials. Asked if he ever doubted he'd be back this season, he said: ''I felt good about things.''


    ''Obviously it was a difficult time, but I was always in communication with LSU,'' Wade said. ''I was always in communication with our folks, and I felt like once we could get to the table with everybody that things would work out and we'd be here.


    ''I'm certainly excited to be here. I'm excited to be back and excited to coach LSU and looking forward to continuing to do that for a long time.''


    Alleva said he had little choice except to reinstate Wade because there was no evidence showing the coach violated NCAA rules.


    ''I have no idea what the NCAA is going to do at this point,'' Wade said, ''but we're very, very comfortable and confident with how we've run our program.''


    He now has contract clauses making it easier for LSU to fire him if he commits a Level I or Level II NCAA violation, or if the NCAA infractions committee gives LSU formal notice that Wade was involved in a Level I or Level II infraction.


    Kansas and North Carolina State have each already received a notice of allegations stemming from the federal probe.


    Pearl, meanwhile, has a checkered past with the NCAA. He came to Auburn in the final months of a three-year show cause for violations - and lies about them - that led to his firing at Tennessee.


    Auburn has said it expects to receive a notice of allegations, saying in a victim impact statement in federal court that the school was a ''victim'' of Person's bribery scheme. Auburn found that current players Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy or their families received money from Person.


    Both players sat out the 2017-18 season and the NCAA's punishment of Purifoy extended into last season as well.


    ''I would say that adversity reveals character way more than it builds it, so I'd like to think the last couple years our character has been revealed, because these have been some challenging times,'' said Pearl, who received a new five-year, $20 million contract in April. ''So we've done a lot of things the right way in that situation, and we're not done yet, but I'm confident in the process.''


    He said he wasn't worried about its potential impact on him personally. ''I'm very confident in the process,'' Pearl said.


    Auburn's investigation found that Purifoy's parents received some $4,500 in cash and hotel rooms from Person. Purifoy received $1,250 of that, according to Auburn.


    Wiley, whose father is a cousin of Person, received spending money totaling some $800 from the then-Auburn assistant during his freshman year.


    Wiley said Pearl doesn't want the team distracted by the potential NCAA issues.


    ''He wants us to focus on the season,'' the senior center said. ''If it's not pertaining to us, we have no reason to even talk about it. So we're going to let that be.''


    Added forward Anfernee McLemore: ''I hear about it sometimes, but I really just try to focus on school and things. I don't know any specifics of any allegations or anything like that, but I just kind of let it go through one ear and out the other.''
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    Cyclones reload at guard with Rasir Bolton
    October 16, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    AMES, Iowa (AP) Iowa State's hopes for competing for a Big 12 title suffered a blow when Talen Horton-Tucker decided to leave for the NBA after just one season.


    The Cyclones hope they have filled that hole with guard Rasir Bolton, a Penn State transfer whose offensive numbers were similar to Horton-Tucker's as a freshman in 2018-19.


    The 6-foot-3 Bolton, a sophomore who figures to slide into Horton-Tucker's starting spot in the backcourt, averaged 11.6 points on 38.3% overall shooting and 36.1% from deep. Bolton also led the Big Ten from the line at 87.6%.


    The 6-foot-4 Horton-Tucker, while a much better rebounder than Bolton, averaged 11.8 points on 40.6% shooting. But Talen Horton-Tucker shot just 30.8% on 3s and 62.5% from the line.


    Iowa State isn't banking on Bolton performing like a future draft pick. But the NCAA's decision to grant Bolton immediate eligibility last month certainly raised expectations in Ames.


    The Cyclones (23-12 in 2018-19), which lost nearly 70% of its scoring from a year ago, open play on Nov. 5 against Mississippi Valley State.


    ''He's a guy that, I think, can really impact our team,'' Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said at the team's annual media day. ''Offensively, he's very talented, gifted. He can score in a lot of ways.''


    Bolton, 20, committed to play for the Nittany Lions after a season at Massanutten Military Academy in which he led the team to a school-record 32 wins and the No. 1 spot in the national prep school rankings.


    Penn State threw Bolton right into its rotation. Bolton averaged 20 points over a five-game stretch in December, and he had a nine-game stretch scoring in double figures while coming off the bench during Big Ten play.


    Bolton struggled down the stretch, bottoming out with a zero-point effort in a loss to Minnesota in the league tournament. Bolton left after the season and, after months of waiting, was granted a waiver to play right away in Ames.


    ''Just felt like leaving was the best decision for me and my family,'' Bolton said. ''It felt like a real family fit (at Iowa State). It just felt like a place for me ... I felt like I could come in and help this team (and) contribute by watching coach Prohm's playing style and how he plays his guards. That really intrigued me.''


    What Bolton should give the Cyclones is a perimeter threat who can create his own shot as the shot clock winds down.


    Bolton's experience at the point should also allow Iowa State to move around star point guard Tyrese Haliburton, a preseason first-team All-Big 12 pick, in hopes of creating mismatches.


    Bolton has areas he needs to improve. He had 83 turnovers against just 47 assists - ghastly numbers for a point guard - and he only shot 40.3% on 2s.


    ''Defensively, keep making strides,'' Bolton said when asked about his goals for 2019-20. ''Offensively, just being efficient. Cut down on turnovers, scoring the ball at a higher rate, (having) a higher field goal percentage. Just all the little things.''


    One area where Bolton might help the Cyclones is on defense. Bolton was a key contributor to a Penn State team that, while finishing just 14-18, was one of the more efficient defensive teams in the country.


    ''It's kind of like having another dog on the defensive side. He talks really well and gives us another communicator,'' Haliburton said. ''He's one of the guys who wants to defend.''
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    Familiar favorites, NCAA concerns in SEC
    October 16, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) There will be plenty of new faces with an opportunity to make an impact in the Southeastern Conference now that the upperclassmen who dominated the league last year have departed.


    Auburn coach Bruce Pearl is confident the league will remain strong, even after losing 12 of its top 13 scorers from last season.


    ''We had a terrific, terrific group of kids in this league a year ago,'' Pearl said Wednesday during the SEC media day event. ''While I'm not sure the individuals list is as strong as it was, the coaching continues to get stronger and I don't think it will have any effect on the quality of teams. This is a really, really balanced league.''


    The SEC certainly will have a different look.


    Twelve of its players were selected in the NBA draft, second only to the Atlantic Coast Conference's 13. No other league had more than six players drafted.


    Those departed players had a major role in the SEC's recent resurgence. The SEC had seven NCAA Tournament invitations last season and eight in 2018, a huge step forward for a league that never got more than five bids in any year from 2009-17.


    ''I can remember when we'd get two to three in and I said our goal was to get eight or nine in and everybody laughed at me,'' Kentucky coach John Calipari said. ''Some of you that have been here a long time, you laughed at me. Now all of a sudden we're looking at trying to get eight or nine teams in every year.''


    Now it's up to some new players to continue that momentum.


    Even the SEC's preseason player of the year is a newcomer of sorts, albeit one with plenty of experience elsewhere. Virginia Tech graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. selected Florida over a host of other SEC programs including Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas.


    Blackshear averaged 11.2 points and 6 rebounds while playing in the ACC last season. The 6-foot-10 forward sees similarities between the SEC and ACC.


    ''I think the two conferences mirror each other a lot in terms of talent,'' Blackshear said. ''It's going to be potentially one, two, maybe even three top-10 teams at one time in the AP poll. I think they compare in a lot of ways.''


    Upperclassmen formed the foundation of the SEC's success last year.


    Auburn earned its first Final Four berth thanks largely to a backcourt featuring senior Bryce Brown and junior Jared Harper. Tennessee earned the No. 1 ranking for nearly a month and reached the Sweet 16 with junior Grant Williams earning first-team All-America honors while senior Admiral Schofield and junior Jordan Bone delivered all-conference performances.


    Even Kentucky had Stanford graduate transfer Reid Travis complementing its usual collection of talented freshmen.


    None of those players are still in the SEC. The only first- or second-team Associated Press all-SEC selection from last year returning this season is Mississippi guard Breein Tyree, who ranked third in the league in scoring. LSU's Skylar Mays earned second-team all-conference honors from the league's coaches last year.


    The league's freshmen will have to immediately deliver. The SEC signed eight of the nation's top 24 prospects in the most recent high school class according to composite rankings of recruiting sites compiled by 247Sports.


    Anthony Edwards, ranked second in the 247Sports Composite, should spark a Georgia program that went 11-21 and finished ahead of only Vanderbilt in the SEC last season. Georgia coach Tom Crean says Edwards ''can be not only an outstanding offensive player but he can be an elite defensive player without question.''


    ''He doesn't even really have an idea of how fast he is, how good he can be,'' Crean said.


    Kentucky, the preseason SEC favorite for a ninth consecutive year, signed three top-25 recruits: Tyrese Maxey (10th), Kahlil Whitney (11th) and Keion Brooks (24th). Other top-25 prospects to join SEC schools include Florida's Scottie Lewis (7th) and Tre Mann (21st), LSU forward Trendon Watford (18th) and Tennessee guard Josiah-Jordan James (22nd).


    ''There will be a lot of good new faces,'' Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said. ''Look at the recruiting in our league. It's really, really going strong, not just for Kentucky but for everybody.''


    Howland notes that the SEC also has a quality group of sophomores. That group includes preseason first-team all-SEC picks Reggie Perry of Mississippi State and Ashton Hagans of Kentucky plus second-team selections Kira Lewis Jr. of Alabama, Isaiah Joe of Arkansas, Andrew Nembhard of Florida and EJ Montgomery of Kentucky.


    Coaches believe the league has grown to such an extent that it won't have to rebuild every time it suffers a major talent drain.


    ''This league is getting to the point where it's reloading every year,'' Howland said.
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    Crean expects 'huge impact' from Edwards
    October 16, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) The Latest on Southeastern Conference men's basketball media day (all times local):


    4:40 p.m.


    Former NBA standout Jerry Stackhouse is back in school - now as a coach.


    Stackhouse, who played for 18 years in the NBA, is a first-time college coach at Vanderbilt after receiving an offer he couldn't refuse.


    Stackhouse says he ''had some interviews lined up for possible NBA jobs. My mom always said a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.''


    Stackhouse is one of the SEC's four new head coaches.


    The first-time college head coach was joined at SEC media day by Alabama's Nate Oats, Arkansas' Eric Musselman, Texas A&M's Buzz Williams.


    The other new SEC coaches have longer coaching pedigrees, if not nearly Stackhouse's resume as players.


    Williams led the Virginia Tech program from 2014-19. Oats led Buffalo to three NCAA Tournaments in four seasons. Musselman spent the past four years running Nevada's program and is a former NBA head coach with the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.


    ---


    3:45 p.m.


    Kentucky coach John Calipari says the launch of the SEC Network five years ago merits some credit for the league's basketball resurgence.


    Calipari said Wednesday at SEC media day. that ''now all of a sudden everybody's facilities, travel and all the other stuff is catching up and we're all in the same boat now'' thanks to the SEC Network revenue distributed to each of the 14 league members.


    Calipari added that the coaches and administrators throughout the league have made an effort lately to make sure ''basketball in the SEC's going to be as good as anybody in the country.''


    The SEC received seven NCAA Tournament bids last year and got eight invitations in 2018.


    Calipari says, ''I remember when we'd get two to three in and I said our goal was to get eight or nine in and everybody laughed at me.''


    ---

    3:20 p.m.



    LSU coach Will Wade is back trying to build on a season when the Tigers won an SEC regular season title.


    Asked Wednesday at SEC media day if there was any doubt he would return, Wade said: ''I felt good about things.''


    LSU suspended Wade through the postseason in the wake of a Yahoo report about excerpts of an FBI wiretap that captured Wade speaking with Christian Dawkins, who was convicted of funneling illegal payments to the families of college basketball recruits.


    LSU reinstated Wade in May, two days after the coach met with school and NCAA officials.


    Wade says ''it was a difficult time, but I was always in communication with LSU. ... I felt like once we could get to the table with everybody that things would work out and we'd be here.''


    The coach says he is ''excited to be back and excited to coach LSU and looking forward to continuing to do that for a long time.''


    ---


    2:20 p.m.


    Tennessee coach Rick Barnes says that he believes ''the final chapter of my coaching career is going to be in Knoxville.''


    Barnes nearly left Tennessee for UCLA after leading the Volunteers to a Sweet 16 berth last season. Barnes said afterward that he probably would have left if UCLA officials had been willing to pay the buyout owed as part of his Tennessee contract. UCLA hired Mick Cronin away from Cincinnati instead.


    After agreeing to stay at Tennessee, the 65-year-old Barnes received a hefty raise enabling him to make $26 million over the next five seasons.


    While discussing the likelihood he will stay in Tennessee for the rest of his coaching career, Barnes praised the Volunteers' fans. Barnes noted how Tennessee fans were supportive early in his tenure when the team wasn't as successful as it has been the last two seasons.


    ---


    1 p.m.


    Missouri forward Jeremiah Tilmon says extra film study has helped him as he tries to reduce the foul trouble that has hindered him throughout the first two years of his college career.


    Tilmon says that he's been focused on doing all the fundamental tasks necessary to avoid fouls and stay on the floor longer. The 6-foot-10 forward has fouled out 10 times each of the last two seasons.


    When he's on the floor, Tilmon has been a difference maker. He averaged 10.1 points and 5.9 rebounds last season.


    Missouri needs a big season from Tilmon as it attempts to outperform preseason expectations. Tilmon said he got a smile on his face when he saw the SEC media picked Missouri to finish 13th out of 14 teams in the league because ''it adds fuel to the fire.''


    ---


    12:25 p.m.


    Florida forward and Virginia Tech graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. says the persistence of his new teammates helped him select the Gators over a host of other Southeastern Conference suitors.


    Blackshear, the SEC preseason player of the year, considered Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas among other schools before making his choice. Florida guard Andrew Nembhard says he was communicating daily with the 6-foot-10 forward in the latter stages of that recruiting process.


    Blackshear considers Florida a ''hand-in-glove fit.''


    Blackshear averaged 11.2 points and 6 rebounds at Virginia Tech last year while playing for Buzz Williams, who has since left for Texas A&M. Blackshear and Williams both said they don't know quite what to expect when Florida visits Texas A&M on Feb. 12.


    Blackshear says ''it's going to be really weird because I'm used to being in those huddles with him, getting ready for games with him.''


    ---


    11:30 a.m.


    Auburn coach Bruce Pearl says he's not worried about the prospect of a notice of allegations from the NCAA.


    Pearl said Wednesday at SEC media day that he is ''very confident in the process.'' Auburn is expecting to receive a notice of allegations at some point stemming from a federal investigation into corruption in college basketball.


    Former Auburn assistant coach Chuck Person has been sentenced in federal court for accepting bribes to steer players to a financial adviser. The NCAA held current players Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy for the entire 2017-18 season and Purifoy missed part of last season after they or their families accepted money from Person.


    Pearl is not accused of wrongdoing by federal investigators.


    The coach says, ''I think everything that we've gone through over the last couple of years - I always say that adversity reveals character way more than it builds it.''


    Pearl says ''the last couple of years our character has been revealed because these have been challenging times. We've done a lot of things the right way in that situation. We're not done yet. But I'm confident in the process.''


    The Tigers reached the Final Four for the first time in program history last season.


    ---


    10 a.m.


    Georgia coach Tom Crean expects a ''huge impact'' from Anthony Edwards and says the highly touted freshman doesn't realize yet how good he can be.


    Edwards was the nation's No. 2 overall prospect in his high school class according to composite rankings of recruiting sites compiled by 247Sports. The Bulldogs are counting on the 6-foot-5 guard to spark a program coming off an 11-21 season and 13th-place finish in the SEC.


    Crean says Edwards can be an ''outstanding'' offensive player and ''elite'' defensive player and that the freshman ''doesn't even really have an idea of how fast he is, how good he can be.''


    Crean says one reason is Edwards' youth; he just turned 18 years old on Aug. 5.


    ---


    4 a.m.


    The Southeastern Conference has a new wave of highly rated recruits to replace departed stars, Kentucky remains the favorite and two programs could be in the NCAA crosshairs.


    Those are among the storylines for SEC men's basketball media day held Wednesday in Birmingham.


    Among those taking the podium are LSU coach Will Wade and Auburn's Bruce Pearl. Both programs are coming off terrific seasons but also were among those caught up in a federal investigation into corruption in and around college basketball.


    Auburn has said it expects to receive a notice of allegations from the NCAA, as North Carolina State and Kansas already have.


    On the court, teams welcomed some five-star recruits. Georgia brought in freshman Anthony Edwards, rated the No. 2 overall recruit. Florida got graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear along with five-star prospect Scottie Lewis. Kentucky's latest class of talented freshmen includes Tyrese Maxey and Kahlil Whitney. LSU has Trendon Watford.
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    Izzo welcomes expectations at Michigan St.
    October 15, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Tom Izzo's 25th team at Michigan State might be one of his best.


    All-America guard Cassius Winston is one of four returning starters from last season's team that won the Big Ten title and advanced to the Final Four.


    Izzo has another quartet of players with some experience along with a freshman class that includes highly touted guard Mark Watts.


    It all adds up to giving the Hall of Fame coach one of the nation's top teams. The Spartans might be ranked No. 1 when The Asociated Press college basketball poll is released next week.


    ''There's a chance we could be ranked No. 1 for the first time in the history of our school to start out the season, which means - unfortunately - nothing,'' Izzo said Tuesday at the team's media day. ''The only team I know that went end to end in the last 20 years was (North) Carolina, and they beat us by 20-some at the beginning of the year and beat us by 18 at the end of the year.''


    The 2009 Tar Heels beat Michigan State 98-63 early in the season and won the rematch 89-72 for the national title, winning both games at Ford Field in Detroit.


    Izzo reached the Final Four for the eighth time last season before falling short of winning it all for a second time, extending his national title drought to 19 years.


    He seems to have another shot to contend for an NCAA championship with a talented, experienced and deep roster.


    ''I'm still proud of where we are, happy with where we're rated, wherever that is, excited about having a chance to live up to expectations,'' Izzo said. ''But the reality of things is there's been a lot more loss than we're looking at, and that's what I'm trying to stay humble about.''


    Michigan State will be without the low-post scoring presence and rebounding of Nick Ward, who skipped his senior year to play professionally, and the outside shooting, defense and leadership provided by Matt McQuaid and Kenny Goins last season as seniors.


    Izzo acknowledges there's a lot he likes about this team, but he isn't sure how well Joshua Langford and Kyle Ahrens will bounce back from injury-shortened seasons.


    He also doesn't know who will start at forward next to Xavier Tillman and Aaron Henry.


    The decision will be easier if the NCAA allows former Marquette forward Joey Hauser to play this season. Izzo expects to know if the 6-foot-9 Hauser, who averaged nearly 10 points last season, will be cleared to play this week.


    Hauser is hoping for the best, but is prepared to sit out for the season.


    ''On the court in practice, I'm preparing like I'm going to play,'' he said. ''And if I do get the waiver, it will be an awesome surprise.''


    If Hauser isn't eligible to play, sophomores Thomas Kithier, Gabe Brown and Marcus Bingham are candidates to start.


    Langford is expected to be among the first five on the floor after averaging 15 points in 13 games last season.


    After needing season-ending surgery last winter, the senior shooting guard started playing basketball again last summer. He insisted there are no limitations placed on him during practice.


    ''I'm very comfortable out there doing anything and everything,'' Langford said. ''There's not one thing I'm holding back on.''
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    Kentucky is preseason pick to win SEC
    October 15, 2019
    By The Associated Press

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) Kentucky is once again the favorite to win the Southeastern Conference men's basketball title and Florida forward Kerry Blackshear is the preseason pick as player of the year.


    It's the ninth consecutive year the Wildcats are picked to win the league and 15th time since the 1998-99 season. The predictions announced Tuesday were made in voting by SEC and national media members.


    Blackshear is a graduate transfer who helped lead Virginia Tech to back to back NCAA Tournament appearances. He averaged 11.2 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in 103 games for the Hokies.


    The first-team All-SEC picks were Blackshear, Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards, Kentucky's Ashton Hagans, Mississippi's Breein Tyree and Mississippi State's Reggie Perry.


    Kentucky also had a pair of second-team preseason All-SEC picks, Tyrese Maxey and EJ Montgomery.


    Florida was picked to finish second, followed by LSU, Final Four participant Auburn and Tennessee.
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    Memphis, UH share top AAC hoops spot
    October 14, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    PHILADELPHIA (AP) Houston and Memphis share the top spot in the American Athletic Association's preseason basketball coaches' poll.


    The Cougars and Tigers finished with 113 points. Houston received seven first-place votes, while Memphis got four first-place votes in the poll released Monday at the conference's media day in Philadelphia.


    Houston won the 2018-19 American regular-season championship, reached the NCAA Sweet 16 and won a program-record 33 games. Memphis coach Penny Hardaway has landed what is widely considered the No. 1 recruiting class in the country in just his second season on the bench.


    Cincinnati senior Jarron Cumberland was named the league's preseason Player of the Year and Memphis freshman James Wiseman was unanimously picked as the American's preseason Rookie of the Year. Cumberland was the 2018-19 AAC Player of the Year and the American's Championship Most Outstanding Player.


    Wiseman, Cumberland, Temple guard Quinton Rose, Houston guard DeJon Jarreau and USF guard Laquincy Rideau all made the preseason first team.
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    Syracuse's Boeheim ready for 44th season
    October 11, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Jim Boeheim is set for his 44th season at Syracuse, and this time around the Orange got a jump start with a summer trip to Italy.


    With five freshmen on board and lots of scoring to replace, that's a plus.


    ''Everybody on the trip contributed and looked comfortable in what we were trying to do. We're a little further ahead,'' Boeheim said Friday at the team's annual media day. ''From that point of view, it was very helpful. But basically you still go back and do the same things that you would do every year. We're a little further ahead. There's personnel coming back, but there's so many new guys you do a lot of teaching stuff that is new to them.''


    Among those returning are forwards Elijah Hughes, Marek Dolezaj, Robert Braswell, and Bourama Sidibe, and guards Howard Washington, Buddy Boeheim - the coach's youngest son - and Jalen Carey. Gone is a trio - Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett and Frank Howard - that played big minutes and accounted for 55 percent of the scoring on a team that averaged 69.7 points a game last season, as well as towering center Paschal Chukwu, who had 57 blocks.


    ''The difference with this year's team and last year's with Tyus, Frank, and Oshae you basically had three guys that were going to play 38 minutes,'' Boeheim said. ''And this year the only guy at this stage that looks like he would be playing that many minutes would be Elijah. I think there's more flexibility in terms of the minutes.''


    Hughes was second on the team in scoring last season at 13.7 points per game and led with 87 3-pointers, and he'll be looked at to be one of the leaders.


    ''It's what you come to Syracuse for. You want to be a leader. You want to be that guy that people look at to make plays,'' Hughes said. ''I'm looking forward to it.''


    Newcomers include forward Quincy Guerrier, centers John Bol Ajak and Jesse Edwards, and guards Joseph Girard III, New York state's all-time leading scorer, and Brycen Goodine.


    ''We're pretty flexible where guys are going to play,'' Boeheim said. ''We have five guards and four can play the point. We'll see how it goes. It's a work in progress. We're trying to figure out who's going to play. There's nothing set in stone. We'll be flexible with how we play guys. It could change, literally, from game to game. We'll see how people play.''


    Last year the Orange had the nation's tallest team - topped by the 7-foot-2 Chukwu - but Boeheim's defensive scheme faltered in the postseason, allowing Baylor to hit 16 3-pointers in a 78-68 first-round victory over Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament.


    Syracuse, which went 20-14 last season, was picked to finish eighth in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2019-20, behind Notre Dame and just ahead of Miami. Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, reigning national champion Virginia and Florida State were the top five. No Syracuse player was picked for the All-ACC team.


    This season marks the ACC's first 20-game conference slate, including seven league games to begin the regular season. Doubleheaders are scheduled for Nov. 5-6 on the ACC Network, with Virginia visiting Syracuse on Nov. 6 in the Orange's season opener after a pair of late-October exhibitions.


    ''Obviously, it's a tough conference,'' Boeheim said. ''It's the same for everybody. You're starting new. It's new challenges every year. I look forward to it.''


    For Girard, also a star quarterback in high school, it was a surreal moment as he contemplated playing in the Orange's scrimmage Friday night in the Carrier Dome as a member of the basketball team he rooted for as a kid back home in Glens Falls.


    ''It's crazy,'' Girard said. ''I played football games in the dome before. To think that I'm going to be here playing basketball repping Syracuse this year is really different. You've kind of got to pinch yourself - is this really happening?''
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    Vols need 5th-year senior Turner to emerge
    October 11, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee's Lamonte' Turner embraces having the ball in his hands when his team must get a basket with time running down.


    Now the fifth-year senior finally gets his opportunity at being the Volunteers' go-to scorer.


    ''This is something you work for all your life,'' the 6-foot-2 guard said Friday during Tennessee's preseason media day event. ''You work to be in a role like I am. But I don't just see myself as a go-to scorer. I've gotten better in a lot of things. I think I can pass the ball really well know. I'm more vocal, more of a floor general.''


    Turner has delivered some of the most memorable shots in this program's recent history. He sank last-minute 3-point baskets to beat Kentucky each of the last two seasons.


    ''He's as competitive as any player that we've coached since we've been here,'' Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said.


    The Vols want Turner to continue delivering those big shots while also developing into a team leader.


    Tennessee must replace first-round draft pick and All-America forward Grant Williams as well as second-round selections Admiral Schofield and Jordan Bone from a team that reached the Sweet 16 and owned the No. 1 ranking for nearly a month last season. Those three players plus departed forward Kyle Alexander combined for 387 career starts and over 4,700 points.


    Their exits will make Tennessee a more backcourt-oriented team featuring Turner, senior Jordan Bowden and heralded freshman Josiah-Jordan James. Turner is the Vols' top returning scorer after averaging 11 points last season.


    ''I just want to be the best player possible - the best player I can be,'' said Turner, who graduated in May with a degree in communication studies. ''I want to handle criticism well. I want to handle adversity well. I don't want to put my head down. I don't want to feel like I can't do something or anything like that. I want to give myself the best opportunity, the best chance possible to succeed.


    ''Whatever that means statistically, whatever that means as far as the record, then so be it. But I'm going to give it my all.''


    The Vols have let Turner know how vital he is their success. Assistant coach Kim English has studied film with him and preached the importance of maintaining positive body language amid adversity. Strength coach Garrett Medenwald has recommended leadership-themed podcasts to him.


    ''We're just helping him be that Patrick Beverley, that Jrue Holiday, that type of mean, aggressive tough guard, and at the same time being a great teammate, being a fifth-year senior, being a guy that the guys look up to,'' English said.


    Turner's 3-point shooting percentage dipped from .395 in 2017-18 to .320 last season as he dealt with an injured left shoulder that caused him to miss nine games and required arthroscopic surgery after the season. Turner says he's feeling better now, but the shoulder issue indirectly helped him adapt to his new leadership role.


    While Turner was recovering, he had more time to watch his new teammates and offer advice.


    ''When he was hurt over the offseason with the shoulder injury, Coach Barnes would get on me a lot because I have a little bit of a learning curve,'' James said. ''(Turner) would always take me to the side if I was off and just tell me that Coach Barnes isn't really yelling at you, he just wants to get the best out of you and is testing you so that by the time the game comes, you'll be able to execute when you need to. That went a long way.''


    Turner's a major-conference rarity as a fifth-year senior in a game increasingly focused on underclassmen. His experience could help him guide Tennessee to a third straight NCAA Tournament berth even after all those draft losses.


    ''It's just experience,'' Turner said. ''You come into the game, you come into practice knowing what to expect. I've not been surprised at all by a sprint or coach yelling or anything like that. I won't be surprised going into Kansas this year. I won't be surprised by anything. That helps me just play the game and it helps me just come in and be able to help my teammates and be able to worry more about them than myself.''
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    UCLA rebuilds under new HC Mick Cronin
    October 10, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    LOS ANGELES (AP) UCLA faces a rebuilding year under Mick Cronin and the young Bruins are busy adjusting to their new coach's ways.


    Different drills, different philosophies, different schemes, different personality.


    The Steve Alford era is a distant memory for a team that finished 17-16 and missed the NCAA Tournament last season. Alford was fired at the end of December, shortly before Pac-12 play began, and assistant Murry Bartow took over the rest of the way.


    ''Last year didn't really go too well,'' senior guard Prince Ali said Thursday. ''I could have done a better job of leading this team. I'm trying to be more vocal, trying to do things the right way from jump and just get this ship going.''


    Cronin was hired from Cincinnati in April after a long coaching search. He's learning his players at the same time they're figuring him out.


    ''The guys' attitude and effort has been tremendous,'' he said. ''I'm a big believer that is 70 to 80 percent of the battle.''


    Cronin hired a new staff to work with a team that lost 7-foot-1 center Moses Brown and guards Jaylen Hands and Kris Wilkes, all of whom left early for the NBA draft. Brown and Wilkes went undrafted, while Hands was taken in the second round.


    After going against each other in practice, the Bruins will scrimmage Friday against an unnamed Division I team.


    The starting lineup remains in transition.


    Ali and forward Alex Olesinski are the only seniors who played major minutes last season. They're joined by six sophomores along with redshirt freshmen Tyger Campbell and Shareef O'Neal, son of NBA great Shaquille O'Neal.


    Campbell is aiming to be the starting point guard, although an ACL tear forced him to miss last season.


    O'Neal returns to the team after undergoing heart surgery that also kept him out last season.


    The only player not healthy is guard David Singleton, who is coming off a foot injury and can't go full-speed yet. As a freshman, he shot 47% from 3-point range. He could join Campbell in the backcourt.


    The Bruins were picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12 in a poll of media. They were 9-9 in league play last season.


    Junior guard Chris Smith called the media selection ''realistic.''


    ''We know what we have here and we know what we have to do,'' he said. ''The past two years I feel like I've underachieved as a person here and as a player here, and as a team we have, too. People shouldn't expect us to be doing super-well when we've shown that we have a lot of things to work on.''
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    Duke picked to win ACC -- again
    October 10, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) Duke is the preseason pick to win the Atlantic Coast Conference while Louisville forward Jordan Nwora is the league's preseason player of the year.


    The ACC released its preseason poll Thursday following a vote of 111 media members at the league's media day earlier this week in Charlotte.


    Duke, which received 51 first place votes and 1,564 voting points, is the preseason favorite for the fourth straight year and the sixth time in seven seasons. Behind preseason freshman of the year Cole Anthony, North Carolina was picked second, followed by Louisville and reigning national champion Virginia.


    Nwora and Anthony were joined on the preseason all-ACC team by Duke's Tre Jones, Notre Dame's John Mooney and Virginia's Mamadi Diakite.




    **************************




    Seton Hall picked to win Big East
    October 10, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    NEW YORK (AP) Myles Powell calls it an easy decision to return to Seton Hall and not turn pro. He wants to be the first person in his family to graduate college.


    The Pirates' star senior guard has Seton Hall atop the Big East preseason conference poll, ending Villanova's five-year run.


    ''I sit back and say for me to be the first one, no one can take that for me,'' said Powell, the conference's preseason player of the year. ''I have five little brothers and sisters who look up to me, and I can set an example for them. For me to be the first to say that in my family is important.''


    Powell also wants to help Seton Hall win the Big East title after they fell short to Villanova in the title game last year.


    ''The NBA isn't going anywhere, overseas isn't going anywhere, so why not do it,'' said Powell, second in the conference with a 23.1-point scoring average. ''We lost in the finals of the conference tournament and first round of the NCAAs. I want to change that.''


    Wearing a blue suit with preseason player of the year stitched inside, Powell was chosen over Marquette guard Markus Howard for the preseason award. Howard was the conference's player of the year last year. He said it will motivate him this season.


    ''Definitely does. Same thing happened last year,'' Howard said. ''All I'm worried about is trying to make us the best we can be. When the team comes first, the individual stuff takes care of itself.''


    The Pirates return four starters from last season's NCAA team, including Powell. Seton Hall received one more vote than the Wildcats on Thursday. Villanova has won five of the past six regular-season titles and topped Seton Hall by two points in the conference tournament title game in March.


    It wasn't tight in the predictions for just the top two teams. Only seven points separated third through seventh place. Xavier was third, with Marquette and Providence tied for fourth. Georgetown, Creighton, Butler, St. John's and DePaul round out the poll.


    ''It definitely is very close from top to bottom,'' Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said. ''It makes the conference more exciting.''


    Villanova forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl was voted the conference freshman of the year in the Big East's 40th anniversary season.
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    The Latest: ACC commissioner 'open minded' on pay for play
    October 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Latest from ACC men's basketball media day on Tuesday (all times local):


    4:15 p.m.


    The Atlantic Coast Conference wrapped up media day with coaches and two players from each team participating in the event. Next up for the ACC will be to announce the results of its media picks for preseason favorite and all-conference players on Thursday.


    The conference lost many of its top players to the NBA, including Zion Williamson, and appears more balanced overall than in years past.


    One of the main topics of conversation Tuesday is college players being paid for play, a proposal that has gained momentum last month when California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law that goes into effect in 2023. The law will allow athletes at universities in California to make money from their images, names or likenesses beginning in 2023.


    Commissioner John Swofford says the ACC needs to be ''open-minded'' to the idea and several of the league's high-profile coaches agreed with that notion. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski says college athletics can no longer ''put our heads in the sand'' and must have a better game plan moving forward instead of being reactionary.


    That said, nobody had a solution to a problem many view as a slippery slope.


    ---


    3:15 p.m.


    North Carolina will be without three players to start the season - freshmen guards Anthony Harris and Jeremiah Francis and junior forward Sterling Manley, all of whom are battling knee injuries.


    Coach Roy Williams put no timetable on their returns.


    North Carolina still has one of the top recruits in the country in freshman Cole Anthony, but injuries have left the Tar Heels thin at the guard position. Along with Harris and Francis being out, Leaky Black and Andrew Platek have also been battling through minor injuries forcing Williams to bring up a player from the JV team for practice.


    Williams joked ''the day before practice started I didn't even know the guy's name.''


    ---

    2:25 p.m.



    Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim is lukewarm to the idea of the ACC changing its schedule to require each team to play 20 conference games instead of 18.


    Boeheim worries that it could mean the heavily-talented ACC will get fewer teams into the NCAA Tournament.


    Boeheim says it's been ''proven over time when you talk to people that experts about what you need to do to get into the NCAA Tournament that the more conference games you play doesn't help you any because you have more losses.''


    Commissioner John Swofford said earlier one of the reasons the league is going to a 20-game schedule is because of the new ACC Network.


    Syracuse will have a challenge to open the season, hosting defending national champion Virginia in a conference game on Nov. 6.


    ---

    2:05 p.m.



    Notre Dame coach Mike Brey says one of the most difficult aspects of his job these days is dealing with parents of basketball recruits.


    Brey says now more than ever parents are ''really, really involved.''


    The coach says the difficult part is while recruiting a player you have to develop a close relationship with a player's' parents, but once they're on the team ''I have to try to severe that'' to avoid answering constant questions about playing time.


    Brey says most parents want to know ''what's my return on investment with little Billy, because I have had little Billy traveling all over the country for the last 10 years?'' Brey says he constantly has to remind them that they're getting a degree from Notre Dame.


    ---


    1:45 p.m.


    Clemson forward Aamir Simms believes college players should be paid to play - but with some limitations.


    Simms says players bring a lot of attention and money to the school and should be compensated financially within reason. Simms says the danger is if players are getting paid millions of dollars ''they won't really care about playing for the school; they will just care about getting the most endorsements.''


    Not everyone agrees change is needed.


    Louisville's Steven Enoch says he has no complaints with his four years of college and how the system is being run. He says that's largely because of the NCAA ruling in 2014 that allows college programs to grant athletes unlimited meals and snacks gives him what he needs to survive. That ruling came about as the result of Shabazz Napier's comments about going to bed hungry because he didn't have enough food while at Connecticut.


    Enoch says ''that is the one change I am most thankful for.''


    ---


    1:35 p.m.


    Miami Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga is still mourning the loss of his older brother Bob, who died last Wednesday at age 79.


    Larranaga said Tuesday at the ACC men's basketball media day that his brother was ''the greatest guy I have ever known.''


    Bob Larranaga played two seasons under renowned St. John's coach Joe Lapchick and young assistant Lou Carnesecca in 1959-60 and 1960-61.


    Jim Larranaga, 70, says his brother, who was 9 years older than him, lived at home while attending St John's and made a point to read to him every night from the book ''The Secret Project of Sigrud O'Leary.''


    He plans to fly to Minneapolis on Thursday to attend the funeral.


    ---


    11:50 a.m.


    Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner says his team is handling the news of a postseason ban and four years of probation for major recruiting violations as well as possible.


    Pastner says their energy, their enthusiasm has been extremely high, adding: ''Most times when you get punched in the nose and kicked in the shin, it's easy to lay down and just say forget it. These guys have had a good fight about them.''


    The sanctions handed down on Sept. 26 by the NCAA included a reduction in scholarships, limits on recruiting and a fine of $5,000 plus 2% of the program's budget.


    The NCAA says former assistant coach Darryl LaBarrie gave $300 to a highly touted prospect for a visit to an Atlanta strip club and arranged for him to meet with a former Georgia Tech athlete who played for the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, including a visit to the player's home and a free meal at a lounge owned by the player.


    ---


    11:20 a.m.


    Virginia coach Tony Bennett says just like his team didn't obsess over losing to 16th-seeded UMBC in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament, the Cavaliers won't obsess over winning the national championship this past season.


    Bennett says when his team became the first to lose in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed he didn't try to ''sweep it under the rug.'' Instead he says his team addressed it and learned from it.


    Now, as champions, he says they have enjoyed the success of winning it all but won't obsess over it and allow it to impact the upcoming season which he expects will be filled with growing pains after losing three players to the NBA draft.


    Bennett says ''you don't overdue either, and we are thankful for both extremes.''


    ---


    11:10 a.m.


    Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski says he won't be surprised if the NBA expands its annual draft to include more than two rounds in the not-so-distant future.


    With the league's increasing reliance on the G League to develop young players, Krzyzewski says ''if I'm the owner of an NBA team and I have a G League affiliate I don't want to just protect two guys - I want to protect everybody.''


    Krzyzewski says that could have an impact on the college game with more players turning professional earlier so they can get paid.


    He says the NBA isn't going to stand still - and college athletics can't either, adding ''we cannot keep our heads in the sand. ... We are not good game planners. We are very reactionary.''


    He also says he expects the G League will increase in popularity, predicting it won't be long before its games are broadcast on national television.


    ---


    10:45 a.m.


    Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford says he is ''open minded'' when it comes to college athletes being paid for endorsement deals.


    Last month California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law that goes into effect in 2023 allowing athletes at universities in his state make money from their images, names or likenesses. The law also bans schools from kicking athletes off the team if they get paid.


    Swofford says that California law is ''extreme,'' but added that he is not opposed to ''modernizing'' rules for amateur athletics. However, he says he would prefer a consistent national approach rather than individual states laws that can vary.


    Swofford says, ''I don't think this is going to be the end of college athletics by any means. We've been resilient in the past and we will be now and we will be in the future.''


    ---


    10:15 a.m.


    The Atlantic Coast Conference will open the season trying to replace a significant amount of star power.


    The league holds its preseason men's basketball media day on Tuesday in Charlotte, North Carolina. The ACC is coming off its third national championship in five years with Virginia winning that program's first title.


    Yet the league must replace several big names, including national player of the year Zion Williamson from Duke, the headliner among the league's 10 NBA first-round draft picks in June.


    Louisville's Jordan Nwora and Notre Dame's John Mooney are the only returning all-ACC players.


    Tuesday's schedule includes a full day of interviews for players and coaches, which includes Virginia Tech's Mike Young as the lone new coach.


    The ACC will release media picks for preseason favorite and all-conference players Thursday.
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    Michigan State's Winston earns preseason Big Ten honors
    October 2, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany would just as soon leave the paychecks to the pros. The conference‚??s coaches and players have different takes.


    The amateur model of college athletics could be shaken to its core after once California‚??s Fair Pay to Play Act takes effect in a few years, requiring schools to allow athletes to profit from their names, images and likenesses through things such as endorsement deals or autograph signings. All are against current NCAA rules.


    The issue was front and center at the Big Ten‚??s annual basketball media day. Some coaches said they see the move as a step in the right direction. Others voiced some concerns while insisting they‚??re in favor of improving conditions. Players seem to be all for it.


    As for the conference‚??s commissioner?


    ‚??My view is that there may be some players who are ready for the professional ranks, but that‚??s not for the college ranks,‚?? said Delany, who is retiring Jan. 1. ‚??I would like to see players who are ready for the professional ranks to be able to access the professional game either through the G-League or I‚??d like to see the owners and unions open opportunities for young players as they have in baseball. Same thing about the NFL. We‚??re not the minor leagues.‚??


    Delany called it a ‚??slippery slope‚?? and seemed relieved he won‚??t have to deal with the issue.


    ‚??We‚??re involved in an enterprise that touches maybe 100,000 players, so maybe there‚??s 1% or 2% that may have commercial value, but I would prefer they have the choice to move that into the professional ranks,‚?? he said


    NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said the league is ready to scrap the rule requiring players to wait a year out of high school before entering the draft. The change is likely to be in place by 2022. The NFL requires players to be at least three years removed from high school. Underclassmen can apply for approval from the league to enter the draft.


    The law passed by California raises all sorts of possibilities - and questions. It takes effect in 2023. Other states are considering similar legislation. And a major shift could be coming to the college landscape; the NCAA has a working group studying the issue with recommendations expected this fall.


    Some coaches called the law a welcome change.


    ‚??I do think (players) should be able to profit off their individual brand,‚?? Minnesota‚??s Richard Pitino said. ‚??If they‚??re profiting off their individual brand, that means we‚??re winning. That means they‚??re getting better. I think everybody wins in it.‚??


    New Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg called it ‚??progress.‚?? He said he would have ‚??loved‚?? to be compensated back when he was starring for his hometown team, Iowa State.


    ‚??I think that would‚??ve been a pretty good deal for a guy like me,‚?? he said.


    Hoiberg joked he probably would have made ‚??a couple hundred bucks.‚?? But for today‚??s star players, the potential for big profits could be there.


    That‚??s one reason Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is a bit skeptical.


    ‚??I don‚??t know what it‚??ll be like to be on a team if some guy is doing this and some guy is getting nothing,‚?? he said. ‚??I don‚??t know what that does to the chemistry.‚??


    Then again, Penn State star Lamar Stevens said that could be good preparation for the NBA. After all, not everyone makes a max salary.


    ‚??You see so many people wearing your jersey or somehow having your face out there to promote their business and they‚??re making money off of you,‚?? he said. ‚??I think it‚??s only right that college athletes are able to benefit from that, because a lot of college athletes come to school and don‚??t have anything. Their families don‚??t have anything.‚??


    Michigan State All-America guard Cassius Winston said it ‚??would be nice‚?? for players to be paid for their likeness.


    ‚??You see your name in places, posters, T-shirts,‚?? the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year said. ‚??It would be nice to be paid for it. But‚??s not like we‚??re complaining that we‚??re not.‚??


    NCAA members have passed legislation in recent years increasing the value of an athletic scholarship to include the federally regulated true cost of attending a school, providing unlimited meals for college athletes and putting more defined restrictions on the amount of time coaches can require players to take part in team activities.


    The law signed in California and those being considered by other states take the compensation issue to a different level. Izzo wondered why politicians are getting involved, saying he‚??s ‚??baffled by that a little bit.‚?? Pitino said if it takes a nudge from the government to ‚??get the NCAA on board,‚?? so be it.


    One thing they all seemed to agree on: There needs to be a national standard - not different rules for different states.


    ‚??I think what we all want is just an even playing field when it‚??s all said and done,‚?? Maryland‚??s Mark Turgeon said. ‚??I know it‚??s going to be a process, and so it‚??ll be interesting to see what happens over the next three or four years.‚??
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    Michigan State opens No. 1 in AP Top 25
    October 21, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    There isn't much Michigan State has yet to accomplish under Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo, from Big Ten titles and Final Four trips to winning a national championship.


    The Spartans can now add another milestone to the list: They are No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 men's college basketball preseason poll for the first time in program history.


    The Spartans were the overwhelming choice with their veteran returnees led by star Cassius Winston. They topped 60 of 65 ballots in voting results released Monday, easily outdistancing No. 2 Kentucky and No. 3 Kansas as the only other teams to receive first-place votes.


    Duke was fourth, followed by Louisville, Florida, Maryland, Gonzaga, North Carolina and Villanova to round out the top 10.


    Michigan State had been ranked No. 1 for 12 weeks in the AP poll before Monday. But none had come in the preseason poll, with the Spartans starting at No. 2 four times in the past decade.


    ''It's almost bizarre to me because I would've thought Magic's team was No. 1,'' Izzo said in an interview with the AP.


    Nope, the Magic Johnson-led bunch that beat Larry Bird and Indiana State in the 1979 NCAA title game started at No. 7.


    The Spartans won 32 games last year and reached Izzo's eighth Final Four before falling to Texas Tech. They return Winston with fellow starters Xavier Tillman and Aaron Henry from that run, and they get back another starter in Joshua Langford after he missed much of last year with a foot injury.


    That nucleus is good enough that only one voter picked the Spartans as low as third, with four others picking them second and the rest at No. 1. They will be tested right away, too: the Spartans open the season against Kentucky in a 1-vs-2 matchup Nov. 5 in New York.


    ''This is a program deal and it's the players in the program, and I'm really proud of them for that,'' Izzo said. ''Unfortunately, what you are at the beginning of the year doesn't help you at the end of the year, but I think it does say something about the program and what we've done over these years.''


    THE TOP TIER


    Roughly half of the voters (33 of 65) chose Michigan State, Kentucky and Kansas in some order atop their ballot. Kentucky received two first-place votes, while Kansas received the other three.


    It marks the ninth straight year that John Calipari's Wildcats have been a top-five preseason pick and seventh in a row for Bill Self's Jayhawks, who open the season with the program facing NCAA charges tied to a federal corruption investigation into the sport.


    Kansas and Duke open their seasons against each other on the same bill with Michigan State-Kentucky.


    CHAMPS AT 11

    Virginia has gone from facing questions about how it would respond to an unprecedented tournament loss against UMBC to how it will build on its run to its first NCAA title. Tony Bennett's Cavaliers are 11th after losing De'Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome and Final Four most outstanding player Kyle Guy to the NBA draft. It is the lowest preseason ranking for a champion since Connecticut was 17th to start the 2014-15 season.

    CONFERENCE WATCH



    The Atlantic Coast, Big Ten and Southeastern conferences each had four ranked teams to lead all leagues.


    The ACC ended last season with four top-10 teams, then picked back up with four teams all ranked in the top 11.


    No. 18 Ohio State and No. 23 Purdue joined Michigan State and Maryland for the Big Ten's quartet, while the SEC had No. 22 LSU and No. 24 Auburn - fresh off its Final Four run - joining Kentucky and Florida.


    The Big 12 (three), Big East (three), Pac-12 (two) and West Coast Conference (two) also had multiple ranked teams.


    THE WATCH LIST

    The Pac-12 could quickly add to its total with Washington and Colorado as the top vote-getters among unranked teams. Washington twice appeared in last season's poll at No. 25. But it's been a much longer wait for the Buffaloes, who haven't cracked the poll since January 2014 but have five starters back and are picked to finish second in the Pac-12 behind No. 15 Oregon.
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    Duke-Kansas, tourney highlight MSG slate
    October 18, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    NEW YORK (AP) This season's college basketball schedule at Madison Square Garden tips off next month with a marquee doubleheader featuring four powerhouse programs: Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State.


    The NCAA Tournament also comes to ''The World's Most Famous Arena'' again with the East Regional semifinals March 27 and final March 29. It will be the third appearance at MSG for the sport's showcase event since returning in 2014 for the first time in decades.


    The annual Champions Classic on Nov. 5 will begin with Duke taking on Kansas, followed by Kentucky against Michigan State. The event was first played at The Garden in 2011, and those schools have combined for 18 national championships.


    MSG will also host the annual 2K Empire Classic, Jimmy V Classic, MSG Holiday Festival, Big Ten Super Saturday, Big East Tournament and the postseason NIT.


    Duke will be back Nov. 21-22 along with California, Georgetown and Texas for the 2K Empire Classic Benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, played at The Garden since 1998.


    St. John's and West Virginia will participate in the long-running MSG Holiday Festival on Dec. 7. And the Jimmy V Classic for cancer research, returning to Madison Square Garden for the 17th straight year on Dec. 10, features a doubleheader of Louisville against 2019 NCAA runner-up Texas Tech, and Indiana vs. UConn.


    The Big East Tournament runs from March 11-14, its 37th consecutive season at the arena.


    St. John's will play six Big East home games at MSG, and the 83rd annual NIT wraps up the 2019-20 schedule with the semifinal doubleheader March 31 and then the championship game April 2.
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    Juwan Howard talks up Michigan
    October 17, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) When asked if anything about his new job has surprised him, Michigan coach Juwan Howard mentioned recruiting.


    ''I knew you have to recruit, but all the work that comes behind the recruiting. Like I haven't talked on the phone in years. What we all do now is just text, right? Or email,'' Howard said. ''I've been on the phone sometimes with recruits for like 30 minutes. ... You've got to do a really good job with your text game, too. A lot of kids like to text.''


    Michigan held its men's basketball media day Thursday, another first for Howard as he prepares for his initial season at the helm. The former Fab Five star returned to his school after coach John Beilein left for the NBA this offseason.


    Hours after his media day news conference, Howard had a recruiting victory when Isaiah Todd of Word of God Christian Academy in North Carolina chose Michigan in an announcement streamed on WRAL.com. Todd is ranked 12th overall among 2020 recruits at 247sports.com.


    Howard has big shoes to fill after Beilein led Michigan to two Final Fours and returned the school to relevance both in the Big Ten and nationally.


    ''I don't expect my players to trust me. I want to earn their trust,'' Howard said. ''I want them to know that I'm in their corner 110%, and that has to be proven by my actions, not just my words.''


    The Wolverines have to replace some key players from last season's Sweet 16 team. Iggy Brazdeikis, Jordan Poole and Charles Matthews all left early for the NBA draft.


    Returning are point guard and defensive standout Zavier Simpson, 7-foot-1 Jon Teske and forward Isaiah Livers. Howard says the team is healthy at the moment.


    Howard also welcomes freshman Franz Wagner of Berlin, the brother of former Michigan star Moe Wagner.


    As Howard noted, recruiting is a big part of his job - and it will likely play a significant role in his success or failure. Under Beilein, Michigan wasn't necessarily beating out Kentucky and Duke for the top-ranked high school prospects, but the coaching staff excelled at identifying talent and developing players.


    It remains to be seen how Howard and his staff will do in those regards, but landing Todd was a sign that the program's brand is strong - and that the new coach is plenty capable of selling it.


    Although there are rules governing what coaches can and can't say about their recruiting efforts with specific players, Howard was asked at media day to explain how he pitches Michigan to young prospects.


    ''Michigan - this block `M' right here - it's a beautiful university, one of the best institutions in the world,'' Howard said. ''I went to watch Franz play ... in Greece, and it wasn't, like, Athens, Greece. We were like, in the mountains. ... There was a Michigan block `M' shirt - that right there speaks for itself.''
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    Michigan's Franz Wagner out 4-6 weeks
    October 21, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Michigan freshman Franz Wagner is expected to miss four to six weeks with a fractured right wrist.


    The school said Monday a full recovery is anticipated. The 6-foot-8 Wagner is the younger brother of former Michigan standout Moe Wagner. He's expected to be a key newcomer in the basketball team's first season under new coach Juwan Howard.


    The Wolverines open Nov. 5 against Appalachian State. They face Creighton on Nov. 12 and Louisville on Dec. 3, and play in a tournament in the Bahamas in late November. Those are all games Wagner could conceivably miss if he ends up on the long end of his recovery timeline.


    Michigan opens Big Ten play Dec. 6 against Iowa.
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    Clemson looks to new faces to in ACC play
    October 23, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) Clemson forward Aamir Simms didn't enjoy what he saw during the summer with the Tigers.


    Simms, a 6-foot-8 junior, was accustomed to seeing older teammates like Donte Grantham, Elijah Thomas, Marcquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell make crisp passes, dig in on defense and finish plays strongly. Instead, Clemson's roster was filled with newcomers who weren't quite getting it in Simms' eyes.


    Simms stayed patient and helped lead the young Tigers to a 6-0 run at the World University Games in Italy in July, when Clemson represented the United States.


    ''I see now, as an older player, how easily you can get frustrated watching a younger guy kind of mess up continuously,'' Simms said. ''It's like something I've learned since I've been here is to have composure and be poised in certain situation.''


    That will be essential this season for Simms, Clemson's lone returning starter following the departures of Thomas, Reed, Mitchell and David Skara, all seniors who helped the Tigers make the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 and two NIT appearances the past three seasons.


    It's up to Simms now to step forward and lead as Clemson's most experienced player.


    ''You have to approach situations differently with each kind of guy on the team, especially with young guys because we have a really good mix of young to old,'' Simms said.


    Clemson has little choice but to get all the newcomers up to speed in a hurry. The nine new players include four freshman and four transfers, including former Texas and Alabama forward Tevin Mack.


    The 6-6 Mack was recruited by Clemson coach Brad Brownell as a Columbia, South Carolina, prospect who played for Shaka Smart with the Longhorns before spending last year with Avery Johnson, who agreed to leave the Crimson Tide after last season. Mack joins Clemson as a graduate transfer.


    Also eligible to play immediately is grad transfer guard Curran Scott, whose 41 3-pointers led Tulsa last season.


    ''I like this team,'' Brownell said. ''I think there's a difference sometimes when half your roster in new. The new guys come in with this youthful exuberance and enthusiasm.''


    Clemson was picked 11th in the ACC's annual preseason poll.


    MISSING PIECES



    The Tigers were hit with significant injuries to a pair of veterans they expected to play big roles in 2019-20. Jonathan Baehre, a 6-10 transfer from UNC Asheville, and 6-4 junior guard Clyde Trapp both suffered torn ACLs in the spring and there's no timetable for their return, although Brownell says both are ahead of schedule in their recoveries and could see action this season.


    NCAA WAIT


    Clemson is also waiting to hear from the NCAA if two undergraduate transfers - Khavon Moore of Texas Tech and Nick Honor of Fordham - will get the OK to play immediately. The school has applied for waivers for both players. Moore played just two minutes for the Red Raiders due to injury. Honor led the Rams with 15.3 points a game.


    WORLD CHAMPS


    Brownell was as surprised as anyone that his team full of new faces came together so quickly to capture gold at the World University Games. ''Everybody played and everybody played unselfishly,'' he said. ''They've been really fun to coach because they're excited to be coached every day.''


    NEW ASSISTANT


    Clemson added assistant Anthony Goins this offseason after not renewing the contract of longtime staffer Steve Smith, who was heard on a federal wiretap at the college basketball corruption trial last spring. Smith was due to have his contract renewed before his name came up in the trial for discussing Clemson's national championship football program. Smith was not charged by federal prosecutors.


    SCHEDULE


    Clemson, like most of the ACC, begins league play with its opener on Nov. 5 against Virginia Tech, which advanced to the NCAA's Sweet 16 last season. The Tigers' most difficult stretch comes when they play at North Carolina on Jan. 11 trying to break their 0-59 mark in Chapel Hill. Three days later, Clemson returns home to play Duke.
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    Michigan team has to replace scoring
    October 23, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Juwan Howard will have an immediate chance to put his stamp on the Michigan program.


    This is no rebuilding project - not with the Wolverines coming off their third straight Sweet 16 appearance - but there has been enough turnover in Ann Arbor that it is hard to know what to expect this coming season. Michigan didn't just lose coach John Beilein, who went to the NBA and was replaced by Howard. The Wolverines also lost Iggy Brazdeikis, Jordan Poole and Charles Matthews, their top three scorers from 2018-19.


    With so many ties to Beilein's successful tenure already gone, this very much feels like Howard's program now.


    ''It's been fun. It's been great for me, as my first time as a head coach, with all the ideas bouncing around in my head, with all the information that I've gathered, tucked away in my file, to now bring it to life,'' Howard said. ''It's also made me lose a lot of sleep too, because my brain is always working.''


    If Michigan were returning more starters, perhaps the transition from Beilein to Howard would be a more gradual change, but the start of the season is full of unknowns. The Wolverines played a distinctive style under Beilein, shooting a lot of 3-pointers, spacing the floor well and keeping turnovers to a minimum. Howard takes over a clean slate of sorts, with so many key players to replace.


    The staff of assistants is new as well and includes former Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli.


    ''They're all hands on deck,'' forward Isaiah Livers said. ''They just want players to be good. They just want them to be just better than the previous year, getting that mindset of just growing each year. I can say honestly that every player has grown from last year.''


    TOP RETURNERS


    Michigan will be able to lean on a couple seniors who were important members of last season's team. Point guard Zavier Simpson and center Jon Teske are both back. Simpson in particular has been a driving force behind the defensive resurgence that led the Wolverines to the Final Four in 2018 and to more success last season. The 7-foot-1 Teske averaged 9.5 points last season and blocked 75 shots. He also made 23 3-pointers.


    HIGH HOPES


    Freshman Franz Wagner arrives amid a good deal of fanfare. He's the younger brother of former Michigan standout Moe Wagner. Franz, however, will have to wait to begin his college career. He's expected to be out at least until the latter half of November with a fractured wrist.


    BACKCOURT OPTIONS


    Howard mentioned David DeJulius, Eli Brooks and Adrien Nunez when asked about the competition at the other guard spot alongside Simpson. Brooks averaged 12.9 minutes a game last season, and DeJulius played more sparingly. Howard said Nunez is one of the best shooters on the team.


    ''I have a team that loves to get in the gym,'' Howard said. ''That's what it's about.''


    BIGGER ROLE?


    Livers started 22 games as a freshman but mostly came off the bench last season as a sophomore. His 3-point percentage improved from 36 to 43, and he can expect plenty of opportunities in 2019-20, given how much scoring Michigan lost. Teske is the team's top returning scorer, followed by Simpson (8.8 ppg) and Livers (7.9).


    SCHEDULE


    The Wolverines open the season Nov. 5 against Appalachian State. Their nonconference schedule also includes Creighton on Nov. 12. They play at an event in the Bahamas in late November that includes a matchup with Iowa State and a possible meeting with No. 9 North Carolina. Michigan plays at No. 5 Louisville on Dec. 3 and starts conference play three days later against Iowa.
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    Michigan State will find out how good it is
    October 23, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Michigan State's basketball team is ranked No. 1 in the preseason for the first time and is looking forward to validating the votes.


    ''Now you have to go out and prove why you're ranked No. 1,'' All-America guard Cassius Winston said.


    The Spartans will find out soon if they're that good because Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo has put together one of his toughest schedules - even for him. Izzo regularly tests his teams during the nonconference schedule, hoping it prepares them to win Big Ten championships and contend for national titles.


    If Izzo can cut down the nets after winning a second NCAA championship, he may look back on a grueling gauntlet of games fondly.


    The top-ranked Spartans open the season against No. 2 Kentucky on Nov. 5 in New York and return to the area the following week to play No. 12 Seton Hall. At the Maui Invitational, Michigan State could match up with No. 3 Kansas. And less a month after the opener, Michigan State plays No. 4 Duke in one of the most highly anticipated games in Breslin Center history.


    ''With the brutal schedule we play early, especially in the first 26 days, I think it will be important to maintain a perspective regardless of wins and losses and what we're really trying to accomplish,'' Izzo said. ''We're trying to accomplish get better every day. We're trying to accomplish get better by the end of the season. And, that's what we're going to keep our eyes on.''

    STAR WATCH



    Winston could have entered the NBA draft last summer as an All-America guard and Big Ten player of the year. Winston briefly looked into his options with the league and was told he would likely be a second-round pick. He returned for his senior season in the hopes of capping his career with the school's third national championship.


    ''You dream of going to the NBA, that's the ultimate goal, and it's hard to turn down,'' he said. ''But the NBA is going to be there.''


    Winston is the only consensus selection on The Associated Press preseason All-America team.


    To be considered one of the best at the end of the year, Winston relentlessly worked on improving his 6-foot-1, 185-body over the offseason after being told to rest for six weeks. Winston said he reduced his body fat by 6% after lifting weights five days a week.


    ''He is the straw that stirs the drink and I think deserves all the attention he's been getting because he is a special player,'' Izzo said.


    INJURY REPORT


    Michigan State will be without senior Joshua Langford, the projected starter at shooting guard, until at least January. He had a setback with a foot injury that led to him playing just 13 games last season and needing surgery after averaging 15 points per game.


    ''He's handled everything a lot better than I would have handled it,'' Izzo said. ''And, now my job is to support him in every way I can.''


    Senior Kyle Ahrens is out for about a week with an ankle injury after missing last season's run to the Final Four because of an ankle injury. Highly touted freshman guard Rockets Watts was limited in a scrimmage against Gonzaga because of a strained Achilles tendon injury, but he was able to practice this week.

    COMING AND GOING



    Michigan State opens the season with Xavier Tillman and Aaron Henry returning as starters along with Winston and four other players coming back with some level of experience from last season. The Spartans may miss the low-post scoring presence of Nick Ward, who skipped his senior year to play professionally. They also will need new players to step in to fill the outside shooting, defensive and leadership roles previously filled by Matt McQuaid and Kenny Goins.


    FAMILIAR NAME


    Izzo's son, Steven, is a walk-on freshman after growing up going to games as a fan in the stands. The 5-8, 150-pound guard played for Lansing Catholic High School last season, playing without his father in attendance 16 times.


    ''I just want to make sure everybody knows nobody's taking a scholarship from anybody or really a spot from anybody,'' Izzo said.
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    NC State aims to return to NCAAs in 2020
    October 23, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) The motivation for North Carolina State is clear this season: don't be on the wrong side of the bubble come NCAA Tournament time.


    The drive to return there for the second time in three seasons under Kevin Keatts will lean on a deep perimeter led by preseason all-Atlantic Coast Conference pick Markell Johnson. That group offers versatility and the potential to play more of Keatts' pressure style than at the start of his tenure, which could help them claim some marquee wins lacking from a resume that landed them in the NIT last year.


    ''That was one big thing we heard a lot this summer,'' junior guard Braxton Beverly said of the tournament snub.


    North Carolina State (24-12) went on to win two NIT games, allowing the Wolfpack to match the program's best single-season win total since the Jim Valvano's ''Cardiac Pack'' won 26 games and an unexpected NCAA championship in 1983.


    The Wolfpack lost leading scorer and rebounder Torin Dorn (14 points, 7.2 rebounds), but the next six scorers return to a team picked to finish sixth in the 15-team ACC.


    It starts with Johnson, a 6-foot-1 senior point guard and preseason all-ACC second-team pick who averaged 12.6 points and 4.2 assists. He's shown the ability to take over games for stretches, though Keatts has also had to work to extract a start-to-finish edge from him, too.


    There's plenty of complementary help for Johnson on the wing in C.J. Bryce (11.6 points), Beverly (9.4) and Devon Daniels (9.3).


    ''Not a lot of teams have a 24-win season and not make the tournament,'' said Pat Andree, a graduate transfer from Lehigh. ''Yeah, it was definitely a point of conversation with the guys coming in. Everybody's pretty hungry to make it this year.''


    EXPERIENCED HELP


    North Carolina State added experienced help with graduate transfers Andree and Danny Dixon.


    The 6-8 Andree averaged 12.9 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 41.9% from behind the arc at Lehigh last year. The 6-10, 230-pound Danny Dixon provides bulk in the paint after averaging 7.5 points and 3.6 rebounds at UMKC.


    UNCERTAINTY UP FRONT


    There is uncertainty about N.C. State's front line.


    Top returning big man D.J. Funderburk (8.8 points, 4.2 rebounds) is suspended indefinitely for a violation of team policy, and Keatts has said there is no timetable for his return. N.C. State will have 6-11 redshirt freshman Manny Bates to help protect the rim, though he missed last season following shoulder surgery.

    BEVERLY'S SHOT



    North Carolina State needs Beverly's outside shot to be more on target.


    Beverly has proven he can hit big 3s, most notably with his buzzer-beater against Clemson in January. But Beverly's 3-point percentage dipped from his freshman to sophomore years (38.5% to 34.7%), including struggles in losses to Virginia Tech (0 for 9), Georgia Tech (0 for 7) and eventual national champion Virginia (0 for 5) in the ACC Tournament.


    TROUBLE LURKING?


    North Carolina State will start the season with the program facing four serious NCAA charges amid the federal corruption investigation into college basketball. The NCAA has suspended filing deadlines in the case and it's unclear when it could reach resolution.


    No one from the current staff or roster are accused of wrongdoing, and Keatts is keeping the team's focus on the court.


    ''Our guys, they're worried about what we're doing in practice and then after practice, they're worried about what they're going to do tonight - and that's it,'' Keatts said. ''But nobody says anything about it, we don't concern ourselves with it.''


    GAMES TO WATCH


    North Carolina State was criticized for a soft nonconference schedule that did it no favors on Selection Sunday. There are at least some better games to help the Wolfpack this time around along with the ACC's move to a 20-game league slate, starting with the Nov. 5 opener against Georgia Tech at home.


    The Wolfpack plays No. 14 Memphis and its touted freshmen in Brooklyn (Nov. 28), hosts Wisconsin in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge (Dec. 4), visits a UNC Greensboro team that won 29 games last year (Dec. 15) and then travels to No. 24 Auburn (Dec. 19) in a rematch of the game won by the Wolfpack last year against a team that wound up in the Final Four.
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    Iowa going with youth, waiting on Bohannon
    October 23, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Iowa has a leadership void to fill after forward Tyler Cook left for the NBA, point guard Jordan Bohannon had hip surgery and guard Isaiah Moss bolted for Kansas. All three were lined up to play their senior years for the Hawkeyes this winter.


    Iowa is left with an interesting blend of potential and experience, and the Hawkeyes could find themselves back in the NCAA Tournament if their revamped roster can jell.


    Iowa (23-12 in 2019-20) figured Cook might make the jump to the pros after he averaged 14.5 points and 7.6 rebounds last season. But Moss unexpectedly elected to go the graduate transfer route, and Bohannon finally had surgery in late May after playing through pain last season. Bohannon's timeline for a return is 6-9 months, and his status is the team's biggest question mark.


    Still, returning starters Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza headline a roster that is deep at every position.


    ''What you'll see is a team that plays like a veteran team, that's not a turnover team, that's not a mistake team,'' Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. ''We're going to push the ball. We're going to get good shot opportunities. We're going to defend.''


    J-BO UPDATE


    Bohannon, the school's all-time leader with 264 3s, could try and play a few games in November and see how his hip responds without burning a medical redshirt. Bohannon's numbers were down last season, as he shot 38.3% on 3s after hitting 43% of them as a sophomore. He averaged just 11.6 points a game after scoring 13.5 points two years ago. Though Bohannon said he's itching to play, expect him to be smart about this season.


    ''It's hard for me to gauge when my body will be ready,'' Bohannon said. ''I'm trying to take it day by day because it was such a long process.''


    WIESKAMP


    Iowa hopes of returning to the NCAA Tournament, where it came within a few possessions of the program's first Sweet 16 in 20 years in March, might hinge on how much Wieskamp improves as a sophomore. The two-time Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year was one of the biggest recruits in school history, and he responded with 11.1 points and 4.9 rebounds a game. Wieskamp was often used as a spot-up shooter a year ago, but the soft-spoken star will be asked to expand his game for a team in desperate need of a perimeter threat who can also attack the rim.


    ''He's always led by example with his work ethic and his productivity, but he has to understand that he has a voice that in the locker room, at crunch time, people are going to listen,'' McCaffery said.


    THE BACKCOURT


    With Wieskamp locked in at shooting guard and Bohannon's status unknown, Iowa will look to graduate transfer Bakari Evelyn, sophomore Connor McCaffery and freshman Joe Toussaint to emerge at the point. Evelyn provides a veteran presence and versatility, and McCaffery is a leader who knows his father's system inside and out. Toussaint, the rare New Yorker to play for the Hawkeyes, might just have the speed and quickness Iowa is looking for to head up its up-tempo attack though.


    THE FRONTCOURT


    The 6-foot-11 Garza (13.1 points, 4.5 rebounds in 2018-19) is a throwback big who can bury open 3s. Fellow post player Jack Nunge, a Mr. Basketball finalist in Indiana in 2017, is back after a redshirt season and could start the season at power forward. Veterans Ryan Kriener and Cordell Pemsl should provide toughness off the bench - but watch out for McCaffery's other son, Patrick. He's spindly at 6-foot-9 and just 190 pounds, but he is a strong outside shooter with the versatility to beat opponents off the dribble and the length to harass smaller guys defensively 20 feet from the basket.


    THE SCHEDULE


    Iowa opens its 10th season under McCaffery on Nov. 8 against SIUE. Iowa has quite an up-and-down non-conference slate. The Hawkeyes play Texas Tech, Syracuse, Iowa State, DePaul and Cincinnati, but they've also got a fair share of cupcakes like Cal Poly, Oral Roberts and Kennesaw State. Iowa will need to beat a few high majors before the start of the year - or the selection committee could ding the Hawks for putting too many guaranteed wins on the schedule.
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  25. #25  
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    Florida State reloads for next run to NCAA
    October 23, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) A nucleus of veterans helped fuel Florida State's run to the Elite Eight in 2018 and the Sweet 16 last season.


    Now the Seminoles have reloaded after losing first-round NBA draft pick Mfiondu Kabengele and second-round pick Terance Mann as well as starters Phil Cofer and P.J. Savoy. The expectations remain high, however, because of the return of senior point guard Trent Forrest as well as five-star forward Patrick Williams, graduate transfer center Dominik Olejniczak and Rice transfer forward Malik Osborne.


    ''We've developed some consistency over the years,'' said coach Leonard Hamilton, who is beginning his 18th season at Florida State. ''I think we've developed a culture that our players have bought into. We've been able to recruit to who we are. Early on, I thought we adjusted our system to the talent that we have available.''


    Florida State is a desirable destination for top basketball players because of the successful foundation built by the 71-year-old Hamilton. The Seminoles have made three straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, while the coach and his staff have helped construct a pipeline to the NBA with draft picks like Malik Beasley, Dwayne Bacon, Jonathan Isaac, Kabengele and Mann in the last four years.


    Forrest and Williams may be the next ones. The 6-foot-4 Forrest averaged 9.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists - and that was while playing for more than four months with a broken toe. He is a well-rounded guard who is quick to dribble through traffic, has exceptional vision in the open court and is a strong defender.


    Williams is the latest five-star player to land on campus. A 6-8 forward who has the potential to be a one-and-done, Williams flies to the rim and already has become a favorite of Forrest's as they make eye contact and connect on alley oops.


    ''He is a freak, really, just how fast he gets off the floor,'' Forrest said. ''You can really just throw it anywhere and basically know he is going to come get it.''


    The Seminoles are deep, featuring guards like M.J. Walker (7.5 points, 44 3-pointers) and Devin Vassell (4.5 points, 26 3-pointers) as well as forward RaiQuan Gray (3.9 points, 2.3 rebounds). Hamilton also has added Olejniczak, a 7-foot, 260-pound center who transferred after graduating from Mississippi, to bring a post presence. Osborne sat out last year after transferring from Rice but is among the team's top rebounders.


    If the pieces fit - the returning players as well as the transfers and freshmen - FSU could again challenge Virginia, Duke and North Carolina and has a shot at claiming its first Atlantic Coast Conference title since 2012.


    LOFTY PURSUITS


    After taking over a rebuilding job in 2002, the Seminoles are now among the ACC's best year in and year out. And Hamilton is not reluctant to share an ultimate goal for the program.


    ''We are still driven by the fact that we have not won a championship, which I'm not real sure very many people feel like that should be a goal of our ours,'' Hamilton said. ''But we've been knocking on the door the last several years.


    ''The fact that we haven't made it to the Final Four or had an opportunity to compete for a national title, I think our guys are extremely motivated.''


    HOME SWEET HOME


    The Seminoles are tough to beat on their home floor. Florida State went 15-1 at home in 2018-19.


    IMPRESSIVE COMPANY


    Florida State is one of only six teams in the nation that have played in the Sweet 16 in each of the last two seasons. The others are Purdue, Texas Tech, Michigan, Kentucky and Duke.


    GAMES TO WATCH


    The Seminoles open on the road against Pittsburgh on Nov. 6 as the ACC moves to a 20-game conference schedule. Florida State will play at No. 6 Florida on Nov. 10. The Seminoles will play Tennessee at a neutral site as well as Indiana in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Florida State will also play No. 4 Duke, No. 5 Louisville (twice), No. 9 North Carolina and No. 11 Virginia (twice).
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