Cleat Geeks

Could Meyers Be More Outside of Portland?

Portland Trail Blazers power forward/center Meyers Leonard was the 11th overall pick in the first round in the 2012 NBA draft and in 2016, signed a four-year contract extension worth $41 million. Despite this, he has been relegated to the bottom of the Blazers rotation and just a couple of weeks ago heard boos from Blazers fans. Last season, he dealt with a nagging shoulder injury and producing his worst shooting season of his career despite signing the extension.

In 11 games this season, he is averaging 6.1 points per game but has started just two games and has only started in 40 games in his 6th season. In three road games this week, Leonard did not play at all but he seemed to be optimistic about turning the corner during the off-season.

“I’ve been working out a lot,’’ Leonard said in July while watching the Blazers’ Summer League entrant in Las Vegas. “I’m confident where I’m at in my progression this summer. And, I feel healthy. I feel as good as I have in five years.”

His head coach Terry Stotts had an observation of Leonard after last season is that he needs to “get a feel of reacting to the game.”

Furthermore, the Blazers coaching staff believes he needs to engage more in 5-on-5 action. Going forward, one of his main goals needs to be to not just appear in a game for 15 minutes, but to show he can start in a few more games. I am kind of puzzled because he seems to have a positive learning attitude, but there may be something that is happening behind the scenes that contradict this.Image result for meyers leonard

I am honestly not sure if he is going to have much of a future with the Blazers and was mentioned in trade rumors shortly after the season started.

He played two seasons collegiality at the University of Illinois at Champaign, and in his last season before going to the NBA, averaged over 13 and a half points a game, while also averaging nearly two blocks a game. What stood out is that from his first season to second at Illinois is that his shooting percentage improved by 10%. It is easy to second guess but I think it would have been beneficial for Leonard to play one more season at Illinois and have two seasons in a row where he would have started in a range of 28-30 games.

Let’s not forget that he is 7’1 and 255 pounds, he can be a powerful force inside and over power other teams big men. While I am not comparing him to Shaq, I would imagine that other NBA players would say that he could be an intimidating force on the court. With this being said, I think the longer he is in the pacific northwest, he will not get too many reps and the key to turning the corner is to get as many reps as possible. The good news is that he is only 25, but something will need to change because it would be unfortunate if he does not pan out considering how big and bulky this man is. Even in an era where it has become cool to shoot threes, fans still like seeing big men doing poster dunks with defenders in their face.

Top Ten Thursdays; NBA Basketball

Week 9 of the NBA season is behind us and many teams continue to dominate while some continue to fall short.

10. Denver Nuggets (15-13) Previous Rank: 10
Last game: Lost to the Boston Celtics 124-118
Next game: Friday night against the New Orleans Pelicans
With the Nuggets star out with an injury, Gary Harris has stepped into the role to help the team succeed.


9. Indiana Pacers (16-12) Previous Rank: N/A
Last game: Lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-95
Next game: Friday against the Detroit Pistons
Victor Oladipo seems to be the leader the Pacers needed to find success this season.


8. Minnesota Timberwolves (16-12) Previous Rank: 9
Last game: Lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in OT
Next game: Tonight against the Sacramento Kings
The Minnesota core has meshed well with each other early and the defense has grown with the addition of Butler.


7. Milwaukee Bucks (15-11) Previous Rank: N/A
Last game: Lost to the New Orleans Pelicans 115-108
Next game: Friday against the Chicago Bulls
The Greek Freak has improved a lot this season and with Bledsoe helping bring more offensive power early this season the team will continue to thrive.


6. Toronto Raptors (18-8) Previous Rank: 6
Last game: Defeated the Phoenix Suns 115-109
Next game: Friday against the Brooklyn Nets
The Raptors have the offensive firepower to be a legit threat in the east behind the dominance of DeRozan and Lowry.


5. Cleveland Cavaliers (20-8) Previous Rank: 4
Last game: Defeated the Atlanta Hawks 123-114
Next game: Tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers
Lebron keeps up the fire power and shows the league that he can still improve and dominate.


4. San Antonio Spurs (19-9) Previous Rank: 5
Last game: Lost to the Dallas Mavericks 95-89
Next game: Friday against the Houston Rockets
The Spurs dominated without superstar Kawhi Leonard, now imagine the success with him healthy and on the court.


3. Boston Celtics (24-6) Previous Rank: 2
Last game: Defeated the Denver Nuggets 124-118
Next game: Friday against the Utah Jazz
Kyrie and company have much to talk about after fixing the defense and now run the east.


2. Golden State Warriors (22-6) Previous Rank: 3
Last game: Defeated the Portland Trailblazers 111-104
Next game: Tonight against the Dallas Mavericks
Even with key player Steph Curry, the Warriors have Durant to help lead them to victory.


1. Houston Rockets (22-4) Previous Rank: 1
Last game: Defeated the Charlotte Hornets 108-96
Next game: Friday against the Houston Rockets
The powerful duo Harden and Paul continue to excite and prove their dominance in the west.

Cross-Court Cavs: Streak Gone, No Worries

The streak has finally ended this week, but not without tremendous upside as well. The Cavaliers played 4 games this past week, and took home 3 of 4 wins. It was an end of a stretch that showed us how great this team can be, as we have a lot to look forward to going forward.

The United Center in Chicago was the site for game 1 of the week for the squad, where the rebuilding Bulls tried to hang with the talented Cavs, but were no match. Kevin dropped in 24 points and added 13 rebounds to put on a typical Kevin Love like performance. His growing veteran leadership helped push the Cavs through a young Bulls core with a 113-91 victory.

The trip home for Wednesday’s contest with the Sacramento Kings was a quick pit stop. The Kings, another team undergoing a rebuild, were no match for LeBron and Kevin Love. The King himself poured in 24 points, dishing out 9 assists in a game that was closer than it realistically should have been. Credit goes to the Kings for hanging around through, but the veteran presence couldn’t be matched in a 101-95 victory.

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The streak all Cleveland fans have enjoyed finally came to an end on Friday against the Indiana Pacers. The resurgence of Victor Oladipo took over, as he dropped in 33 points, including the game sealing three pointer to send the Cavs back to Cleveland looking to start a new streak. The Pacers have surprised everyone so far this year, as Oladipo and Myles Turner have led the young core to a 5th seed in the East, and this win against the Cavs couldn’t have come at a better time, especially in 106-102 fashion.

The last slate of the week for the Cavs, with a fresh start and new streak to be born, put them up against the Philadelphia 76ers and The Process. The squad sure trusted The Process, but also shut it down on Sunday when they took care of business in a 105-98 victory. LeBron poured in a triple double, with 30-13-13, and showed the young guns how it was done down the stretch, helping guide his team to a 3-1 week.

Overall, this has been yet another great week for the Cavs, with much improvement being shown. The squad has taken on some tough teams and this next week will be even more of a challenge. Look for the train to not stop from the Cavs as the 3rd seed will look to become the 1st in a hurry.

Full Court Press: Quiet Surprises – College Basketball

December in college basketball has been full of unpredictable outcomes. Teams are trying to get as many good wins on their resume before the highly anticipated dog fights of conference play get going. With so much talent this year, many teams are quietly flying under the radar, poising themselves to be real sleepers come conference play. Here are a few more of college basketball’s surprise teams so far:

Seton Hall:

The Seton Hall Pirates are showing that they never should have dropped from the rankings in the first place. After a two game stretch where Seton Hall played then No. 22 Texas Tech before traveling to No. 17 Louisville, the Pirates have come out a very impressive 2-0. Sophomore Myles Powell has really stepped up his game lately for the Pirates, scoring 19 against Texas Tech. If the Pirates can continue to come out each game with a balanced scoring attack, they can certainly compete with any team in the country. If it weren’t for that one point loss to Rhode Island at the Barclays Center, the Pirates would be undefeated, and a top 10 team in the nation. Watch out for them come conference play.

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The Cougars have been playing perfect ball since an early season slip up with Drexel. Since that loss they have won 6 straight and look like they are primed to make a run in a very much improved American Athletic Conference. Led by seniors Rob Gray, who is averaging 21.5 points per game, and Devin Davis, who’s been getting 12.9 points per game along with 7.7 rebounds per game, the Cougars seem ready to finally get back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010. The Cougars just recently beat a very good Arkansas team 91-65, proving to the nation that this team is ready for the big time. Houston has some great opportunities ahead to get some more big resume wins thanks to a very tough schedule and contests against Providence and LSU before league play begins.

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After the Uconn game Tuesday night, there was a lot of talk about both teams not being exactly what they used to be. However, Syracuse Basketball is far from dead this year. The Syracuse Orange’s only loss this season comes at the hands of the No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks, which was expected. The Orange do have some solid wins against Maryland and Uconn, and they are currently 8th in the country in rebounding. Tyus Battle has been amazing so far, scoring an impressive team high 20.3 points per game. With winnable games against Colgate and Georgetown up ahead, look for the Orange to build upon their win total before they open up conference play against Virginia Tech.

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Boise State:

Once March rolls around, the Broncos have a chance to find themselves at the top of the Mountain West standings along with Nevada. Boise State is led by Justinian Jessup and Chandler Hutchison, and have an outstanding 8-1 record. Not to mention they are just coming off of their most impressive win at Oregon on a Lexus Williams game winning shot as time expired. The Broncos resume also includes a blowout win over an impressive Loyola-Chicago bunch. This team is ready to get back in the NCAA tourney and seems like they might just have what it takes to get there.


Image result for yante maten georgiaGeorgia is quietly playing some great basketball this year. With wins over Saint Mary’s and Marquette, the Bulldogs are building up a pretty good resume. The SEC features a lot of good teams this year so they will have many opportunities to get resume building wins. Georgia is led by senior Yante Maten and his insane numbers of 18.5 points per game and 9.4 rebounds per game. Maten is helped by William Jackson who is currently averaging 12.5 points per game. The Bulldogs are looking very impressive early on, with only one loss to a good San Diego State team on their record. A big game against Temple later on December will be a huge test for Georiga right before SEC play opens up.

St. John’s:

Friday night will be a very telling day for the Red Storm, as they go out to California to face the No. 16 Arizona State Sun Devils. Up until now, the Red Storm have been 8-1, holding opponents to 60 points per game. So far the Red Storm has overcome foes such as UCF, Grand Canyon, and Nebraska (noteworthy now after their win over No. 14 Minnesota Tuesday night). Despite the solid record, the St. John’s is yet to receive any national attention, particularly because of their lack of signature wins, which brings us back to Friday’s game against Arizona State. A win against the Sun Devils could gain the Red Storm top 25 votes, but a loss could send them back into a state of mediocrity. The thin St. John’s roster is going to have to defend without fouling against the high scoring Arizona State offence, but if they succeed, you will be hearing about the Red Storm a lot more in the upcoming weeks.


Top 10 Thursday; NBA Basketball

Week 8 of the NBA season is behind us and teams continue to try and find their place while others continue to be dominant. One team has even “streaked” there way to a higher ranking.

10. Denver Nuggets (13-10) Previous Rank: N/A
​Last game: Lost to the Dallas Mavericks 122-105
​Next game: Wednesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans
The Nuggets are 3-7 on the road this season and are going on a 6 game road trip, with or without Nikola Jokic. The last time the Nuggets went positive on a road trip was back in 2013 when they went 4-2 under Brian Shaw.


9. Minnesota (14-11) Previous Rank: 10
Last game: Lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 95-92
Next game: Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers
Minnesota is 7-5 this season in games within 5 points in the final five minutes of the game. Last season the Timberwolves didn’t record their seventh such win until January.


8. Philadelphia (13-10) Previous Rank: 9
​Last game: Lost to the Phoenix Suns 115-101
​Next game: Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers
Robert Covington has become a true playmaker for the 76ers so far this season ranking 6th in real plus-minus and first in defensive plus-minus this season.


7. Detroit (14-9) Previous Rank: 5
​Last game: Lost to the San Antonio Spurs 96-93
​Next game: Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks
The Pistons star Center Andre Drummond seems to have found his groove again as he leads the league in double-doubles while averaging more than a block and steal per game.


6. Toronto (15-7) Previous Rank: 7
​Last game: Defeated the Phoenix Suns 126-113
Next game: Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies
In the past 10 games, Kyle Lowry has averaged 20.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 7.5 APG while shooting 50% from the floor and 48% from 3-point range.


5. San Antonio (16-8) Previous Rank: 4​
​Last game: Defeated the Detroit Pistons 96-93
Next game: Wednesday against the Miami Heat
With Spurs are 15-8 without Kawhi Leonard but the offense needs a spark. Ranking 18th in offensive efficiency, which would be the worst under Popovich since he began coaching.


4. Cleveland (17-7) Previous Rank: 6
​Last game: Defeated the Chicago Bulls 113-91
Next game: Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings
Lebron James is having himself a career year as his efficiency rating currently is 44.1 which is the highest in the NBA with second being Porzingis with 35.4.


3. Golden State (19-6) Previous Rank: 3
​Last game: Defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 125-115
​Next game: Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets
Kevin Durant currently leads the league with 1.12 points per chance as a cutter off ball screens in the league.


2. Boston (21-4) Previous Rank: 1
​Last game: Defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 111-100
Next game: Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks
Rookie Jayson Tatum has made at least half of his 3-pointers in all three games last week and is No. 1 in 3-point field goal percentage, which is the first time in Celtic history a player has lead that stat.


1. Houston (18-4) Previous Rank: 2
Last game: Defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 118-95
Next game: Thursday against the Utah Jazz
The Rockets have been unstoppable since the return of Chris Paul. They have led by as many as 20 points in each of their past 7 wins since his return.

Cross-Court Cavs: The Streak Lives On!

The Cleveland Cavaliers are on a tear, and it doesn’t look like anyone can stop them right now. That is the lesson four tough teams learned this week in basketball action for the Cavs, which all resulted in wins, setting the streak up to 11 games. The Cavs are firing on all cylinders, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be slowing down anytime soon.

For this past week, the team started off in Philadelphia to match-up with the Sixers and “the Process.”  They came out red hot in the first half, and never looked back, with LeBron James pouring in 30 points and several other double digit scorers right behind him. It was an all around effort that proved how dominant the Cavs could be, in 113-91 victory fashion, and sent the hopeful city of Philadelphia looking for answers.

The next contest brought the team back home on Tuesday to welcome in LeBron’s former team, the Miami Heat. Kevin Love was the star of the show this time, dropping in 38 points in what was another dominant performance from the Cavs. The first quarter surge, led by Love, was an outburst of the offense the team has been searching for all year. It was yet another great upside to add to the streak with a 108-97 win.

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The final two battles of the week were much closer than the first two, with a 7 point victory in Atlanta on Thursday, and a 5 point win against Memphis on Saturday at home. Kevin Love and LeBron James led the way in both games, as the team took control of a rebuilding Atlanta team and showed a struggling Grizzlies team how to play a full 48 minutes. Both of these games were both learning experiences for the whole 14 man roster, as the leaders of the squad stepped up and showed us all how this team can get on a roll and never look back.

This week, overall, has been a part of an exciting stretch of the season for the Cavs. The streak is currently at 11 games, with a manageable week coming up next. The hype around the team is building up, and the guys are starting to embrace it, putting on a show we can only be more than excited about.

L.A. Clippers Have Serious Options & Questions With C DeAndre Jordan

After so many expectations and hope for a positive trend of change for the Los Angeles Clippers, injuries have once again plagued the team. The Clippers have now lost 4 of their 5 season-opening starters to injuries for a significant amount of time. PG Patrick Beverley is out for the season after his start against the New York Knicks after originally missing five games with a sore knee. C DeAndre Jordan is the only season-opening starter that has been healthy and plays consistently.

Now that the Clippers are 8-14 as well as  2nd place in the Pacific Division and 10th in the Western Conference, they are trying to find out how to win without Beverley or PF Blake Griffin, who suffered a minor knee injury in the game against their rivals in the Los Angeles Lakers. He will be out until around late January. One topic or rumor that seems to come up constantly is whether or not to trade C DeAndre Jordan to another team for key players and fill-in positions. This comes at a time when Jordan just hired an agent for him on Monday for the first time in 2 years, especially being a player-option free agent at the end of the season. Despite the multiple options the two-time 1st NBA All-Defensive team player could enquire, the Clippers should very careful of their options in regards to Jordan.


DeAndre Jordan – The Only Healthy Franchise Player

When PG Chris Paul left the Clippers, the leadership and responsibility didn’t just fall onto PF Blake Griffin but onto C DeAndre Jordan as well. While losing Paul did help make Jordan less impactful as a two-dimensional player (mostly on offense through assists) DeAndre is still making his presence known on the court. So far this season, Jordan has accounted for an average of 10.5 points per game, 13.9 rebounds per game, 1.14 blocks per game, a field goal percentage of .685%, and a free-throw percentage of .583% all on 32.4 minutes per game. Jordan has averaged 11 double-doubles in 22 games he has played and started this season. His rebounds is the 2nd highest accounted for in a season, this year is also his 5th highest field goal percentage, 4th in points per game, and his best career free-throwing percentage.

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This season so far has been brutal for the Clippers players where starting PG/SG Milos Teodosic (foot), starting SF Danilo Gallinari (glute), starting PG Patrick Beverley (knee) and starting PF Blake Griffin (knee) all suffered injuries. Teodosic and Gallinari could be back by Wednesday’s home against the Minnesota Timberwolves (14-11). Likely they could be back before a 4-game road trip starting on Wednesday, December 13th at the Orlando Magic (10-15). Blake Griffin will be out for a while with his knee injury but luckily it wasn’t a devastating knee injury. Expect him back around late January. The Clippers will be hit hard without their star Point Guard and defender in Patrick Beverley, who is out for the season.

November has been unbelievably tough for the Clippers and Clippers Nation. Los Angeles went 4-10 in the month of November including a 9-game losing streak where inefficiency, injuries, and potency all were a cause for the downfall. Despite Jordan accounting for 10.4 points per game, 12.7 rebounds per game and accounting for a .721 field goal percentage, Jordan had problems getting the ball with sloppy passing and having the paint tightly covered with him and Blake being the only consistent players outside SG Lou Williams. Teams have been focusing on Jordan and the direction of how he gets the ball, thus limiting him on offense. Even though Jordan has been one of the healthiest players on the team, it has been more difficult for him to perform on the court without a strong supporting cast outside Lou Williams.


Options The Clippers Have For Jordan: Trade, Keep And Resign, Or Lose Him

Once again, the Los Angeles Clippers have a tough decision to make with C DeAndre Jordan until February 8th. Jordan will be a player-option free agent where he can walk away and the Clippers get nothing in return. He could also be traded to another team who needs a solid rim protector of equal value. The Clippers could also wait and try to make DeAndre a new deal for either more money, take the year remaining clause on his current contract, or try and convince him to stay for less money so the team can add more solid and healthier teammates. All of them are incredibly risky to not only the Clippers organization but to DeAndre Jordan as well.

Jordan has stated that he wants to be a part of the Los Angeles Clippers organization and the Clippers organization still want to keep him. There does come the matter if they will lose a couple of their star players after the season. Griffin, Teodosic, and Gallinari have long contracts with the Clippers but this season is the last of their contract for PG Patrick Beverley, SG Lou Williams, SG Austin Rivers, and C Willie Reed. Reed and Beverley might be easier to secure for a long-term contract than Lou Williams. Keeping Griffin, Jordan, Gallinari and the rest of the Clippers enact will be expensive unless Jordan is willing to work in a contract reduction. Jordan could be interested in marketing himself for Image result for malcolm brogdon bucksadvertisements to fill in the void of the money lost from the Clippers. Thus hiring an agent for this purpose.

If the trade rumors are true then the Clippers will have to find a team that needs a solid two-dimensional player and can fill the void of both the injured players and Jordan departing. There are a number of teams willing to trade an equivalent value for DeAndre Jordan but it is unknown if they are willing to. The Milwaukee Bucks are one of the top teams interested in DeAndre and PF John Henson, 2016-2017 NBA rookie of the year in PG Malcolm Brogdon, and SF/PF Khris Middleton have come up multiple times in the trade talks. If the Clippers need to add another piece to make this trade possible, PF Brice Johnson might be the other Clipper traded too.Image result for tristan thompson

The Cleveland Cavaliers are a team that needs a solid Center and is willing to trade C Tristian Thompson, SG Iman Shumpert and a 2018 NBA Draft pick (possibly the Nets’ high pick). Tristian would be in Los Angeles where his girlfriend in Khloe Kardashian lives. The problem is for the Cavs is that Iman Shumpert has recently undergone knee surgery and will be out for another 8 weeks. Finally, the Washington Wizards are the latest team to come into the trade rumors for DeAndre Jordan. C Marcin Gortat, PF Markieff Morris and 2nd year rising star Kelly Oubre Jr. could be in the trade discussion. PF Brice Johnson or SF Sam Dekker could be the trade pieces needed to be added to make the trade equivalent.


Winning Cures Everything

All of the good offers that the Clippers will receive for C DeAndre Jordan will help the team in the short-run but will it be in the long run as well? The only thing that may truly benefit the Clippers is if they receive the Brooklyn Nets high Draft pick in the 2018 NBA Draft from the Cleveland Cavaliers. There are a ton of great top Center prospect that L.A. could be in the running for. Losing DeAndre when the Clippers have already lost Griffin or a while and Beverley for the season won’t entirely help the team.

The Clippers might need to take another 3 games to get situated and possibly prepare for Gallinari and Teodosic to be back at 100%. After they get back in the lineup, the Los Angeles Clippers will become more efficient in scoring, defending, and overall moving more efficiently. Time will tell if the Clippers will make the move but winning will heal every wound Los Angeles has suffered so far this season.



Full Court Press; The Best Games Of The Week

December is officially upon us, and with that we are inching closer to the New Year, which will be full of tight, in-conference match-ups night in and night out. However, this college basketball season has been particularly special because of the amount of high quality games in November and December, giving teams the opportunity to gain resume-building wins right away. Lets take a look at some of the best games on the schedule for the first week of December:Image result for crosstown shootout 2017

No. 11 Cincinnati at No. 21 Xavier

When: 12:00pm Saturday, FS1

It will be exciting to kick off this weekend with one of the greatest out of conference rivals in college basketball. Coming off of a momentum-building win against a talented Baylor team, the Musketeers have an opportunity to add another resume building win as they host Cincinnati. This Cincinnati team is top 6 in the nation in rebounds per game and least amount of points allowed, so seniors J.P. Macura and Trevon Bluiett will have to score efficiently against the strong Cincinnati defense. The Xavier big men will also have to be aggressive on the glass to have a shot at winning. This is arguably Cincinnati’s first real test. Whoever wins this game will be making a huge statement.

No. 8 Wichita State at No. 16 Baylor

When: 2:00pm Saturday, ESPNU

Both teams are 5-1 coming into this game. The Shockers are missing junior Markis Mcduffie, who averaged 11.5 points per game and 5.7 rebounds a season ago, while the Bears will be missing senior Terry Matson who has been averaging 11.7 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game. Manu Lecomte (17.7ppg) and Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. (13ppg,10rebounds) lead the Bears at home against Landry Shamet (14.2 ppgg), Shaq Morris (13.7 ppg) and the Shockers. Wichita State is one of the best offensive teams in the nation, and is currently 2nd in the country in rebounding. Look for Baylor to be putting forth its best defensive effort of the season thus far. This game is going to be a ton of fun and is a great early test for both clubs. Both teams losses have came against ranked foes within in the past week, and both teams look like they can be playing in the second weekend off the NCAA tournament. Buckle up.

Providence at Rhode Island

When: 5:00pm Saturday, CBSSN

This is another interesting match-up, with a Rhode Island team that has faced some tough losses against great teams, and a Providence team that has found themselves in a few close games down the stretch. Look for the hosting Rams to get the crowd involved with this cross-town rivalry, as the talent level for this game will be pretty dead even.

Image result for anas mahmoud louisvilleSeton Hall at No. 17 Louisville

When: 4:00pm Sunday, ESPN2

After a tough loss at Purdue earlier this week, Louisville will be looking to bounce back this weekend against the formerly ranked Seton Hall Pirates. If Seton Hall wants to win this game, they need to bring their defensive A-game and rebound. It will also be interesting to see how Seton Hall deals with the shot blocking presence of Anas Mahmoud and Ray Spalding, who have been combining for over 5 blocks a game. The Pirate should look to carry on that defensive momentum from their impressive win over No. 22 Texas Tech Thursday night. Will we see Seton Hall return to the top 25 next week?

Rutgers at No. 12 Minnesota

When: 6:00pm Sunday, BTN

These are two teams coming off of hard fought, 5 point home losses against power five opponents. Though Minnesota certainly has the talent to win this game, it won’t come easy. This is a Rutgers team that beat St John’s in an exhibition this year, and only lost to a talented Florida State team by 5. Deshawn Freeman’s ability to rebound and cause problems in the paint allows for Rutgers to hang around in games. Don’t sleep on the Scarlet Knights, because if you do, you will find yourself in a tight game as the clock winds down.

Florida State at No. 6 FloridaImage result for jalen hudson florida

The battle for the Sunshine State. Florida is looking as good as anyone. If it was not for a late collapse against Duke Sunday night we may be talking about the Gators as the new No. 1 team in the nation. Mike White has his squad looking like a major title contender. The Gators are led by guards KeVaughn Allen and Chris Chiozza, but the real game changer for Florida this season seems to be Virginia Tech transfer Jalen Hudson, who has been averaging 21.8 points per game thus far (He averaged 8.4 at VA Tech). With this ball club leading the nation in scoring at 99.5 points per game, Florida seems poised to beat the ‘Noles for the first time since 2013.

No. 4 Villanova V.S No. 15 Gonzaga

When: 7:00pm Tuesday, ESPN

What a surprise! Villanova is back towards the top of the college basketball world. Oh what’s that? So is Gonzaga? Wow! I am not shocked at all. Well anyway these two programs will meet up at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night and will put on a show. Gonzaga coming off a loss in what is probably the game of the year so far against Florida in the PK80 tournament. Make no mistake; the Bulldogs are hungry for a marquee win. This will be Villanova’s biggest test of the year and they will have a large backing because of the short trip from Philadelphia to New York. Both teams have offensive talent, but which defense will prevail?

Full Court Press; November Surprise Teams

Since the start of the season on November 10th, college basketball has been full of tough match-ups and unprecedented outcomes. This frenzied first month has left us with less than 21 undefeated teams remaining in the country (out of 351). With this first month of college hoops in the books, we have a much better idea of what many of these teams are all about. Of course we know teams like Duke, Michigan State, and Kansas have been playing well as expected, but we’re about to highlight a few teams that have surprised many this November, and could become forces to be reckoned with come March. Lets kick it off with the Pac 12:

Arizona State:Image result for tra holder asu

With an undefeated record, and wins over quality teams such as Kansas State, San Diego State, and most importantly a 102-86 win over a ranked Xavier team that reached the elite 8 a season ago, No. 20 Arizona State has made a name for themselves. This team can straight up put the ball in the basket, averaging 96 points a game so far, led by senior guard Tra Holder’s 23 points per game. JUCO transfer De’Quon Lake has been an absolute steal for the Sun Devils, making nearly 81% of his shots from the field (2nd in the nation). With the questionable depth of UCLA along with the current demise of Arizona, who just dropped out of the rankings after going 0-3 in the battle for Atlantas, Arizona State is looking like a legitimate favorite to win the PAC 12.

Washington State:

The Pac 12 just saw an Ernie Kent Coached Washington State team, projected to finish in the basement of the Pac 12, go on to win the Wooden Legacy tournament, leaving Titan Gymnasium with impressive wins over Saint Mary’s and San Diego State. With their undefeated record, the Washington State Cougars find themselves receiving top 25 votes in the AP Poll for the first time in years. With their next four games being very winnable, the Cougars have a chance to gain even more momentum before they host Kansas State and begin conference play. With other schools in the Pac 12 relatively down, this might just be the year Washington State really competes. We’ll have to wait and see.

Florida State:

Image result for phil cofer fsuThis is an undefeated Florida State team that no one seems to be talking about just yet. They love to get after it on the defensive end reminiscent of Leonard Hamilton’s teams circa 2009-2012. This team’s schedule has not been grueling by any means, but they have yet to lose and are coming off an impressive road win against a Rutgers team that is much improved and has a chance to be a middle of the pack Big Ten team. Phil Cofer is finally healthy and is balling out. Terrance Mann has stepped up as a key role player and a leader. C.J Walker had 22 second half points for the Seminoles against Rutgers and if he can continue to provide that kind of consistent output, watch out for this team. Guard wise this team is very deep and they’ll play aggressive all game. The ‘Noles are going to be fun to watch progress, as they are very young. A big test against #6 Florida is coming up this Monday.


At the start of this season, experts weren’t so sure that Virginia would be as good as they were a year ago. And while this team can certainly struggle to put the ball in the basket some nights, their superb defense has kept them undefeated so far this season, with impressive wins over VCU, Vanderbilt, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. Virginia definitely has some solid players, with guards Kyle Guy and Devon Hall shooting well from three. In addition to that, sophomore forward Mamadi Diakite has become increasingly more dependable. If the Cavaliers can figure out how to score more efficiently, watch out ACC, Virginia’s 1st in the nation with the least amount of points allowed.


Image result for dewan huell miamiAnother undefeated team out of the ACC, folks knew about how dangerous the Miami Hurricanes could be during the preseason, especially at the guard position with senior Ja’Quan Newton leading the pack amongst the highly talented Bruce Brown Jr. and five star freshman Lonnie Walker IV. However, coming off of a convincing victory at No. 12 Minnesota, it is clear that a key difference maker for this team is sophomore forward Dewan Huell and his thunderous dunks. He has gone from averaging 6 points a game as a freshman to leading the team in scoring with 15 points a game. He is a big reason why the Hurricanes are a dangerous top 10 team going into December.


If your team draws the Nevada Wolfpack in March, good luck to you! This team is a surely a force to be reckoned with. Caleb and Cody Martin transferred in from N.C State and they are rolling. Caleb is getting 19.3 points per game along with 5 rebounds, while Cody is getting 15 points per game with 6.5 rebounds. In addition to that deadly scoring duo, Jordan Caroline is back after a great season last year and is picking up right where he left off, averaging close to a double double (17 and 9). Iowa State transfer Hallice Cooke will get going soon enough and this team will be scary. Lindsey Drew is also a great point guard and controls this team very well. This team set the tone early on by beating a great Rhode Island team and haven’t looked back since. After a match-up with the Anteaters of UC Irvine Saturday night, they will go on to play two ranked Big 12 schools, traveling to #22 Texas Tech before returning home to host #23 TCU. After this week we will all know about the Wolf Pack. If they can take down the Big 12 schools, they should enter Mountain West play undefeated.


Image result for daniel gafford arkansasThis is a dangerous Arkansas team led by 3 senior guards: Jaylen Barford, Daryl Macon, and Anton Beard, who have been averaging 20, 16, and 12 points per game respectively. In addition to that, they have a talented freshman in Daniel Gafford who’s been getting 12.8 points per game along with 5.7 rebounds. The Razorbacks play a very up-tempo style, making them must watch T.V. in the world of college hoops. This ball club had a huge showing in the PK80 tournament, where they beat Oklahoma, lost a heartbreaker to UNC, then bounced back with a blow out win over Connecticut. If you like to watch fun basketball then you must tune into the Razorbacks, as they are sure to compete night in and night out in the SEC. They are senior led, and seniors in college basketball are always doing something special.


December is normally more of a dead month in college basketball, but with many teams scheduling tough opponents this year, it should be quite exciting. Stay tuned.

Top Ten Thursday; NBA Basketball

Week 7 of the NBA season has come to an end and with multiple teams surprising us earlier this season should be exciting. We did not have a Top Ten Thursday last week because of the holiday, so we will be referring back to our last article 2 weeks ago.

10. Minnesota Timberwolves (18-4) Previous Rank: N/A
​Last game: Defeated the Phoenix Suns 119-108
Next game: Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards
Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins, and Jeff Teague have all shown there worth for a team looking to break the drought.


9. Philadelphia 76ers (11-8) Previous Rank: N/A
Last game: Lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-91
​Next game: Wednesday against the Washington Wizards
J.J. Reddick continues to shine for this young team looking to make a statement in the East. Reddick made 8 three pointers against the Magic on Saturday.


8. Portland Trail Blazers (13-8) Previous Rank: N/A
​Last game: Defeated the New York Knicks 103-91
​Next game: Thursday against the Milwaukee Bucks
A new big three seems to have emerged behind Lillard, McCollum and Nurkic who combined for 89 points in a win against the Nets. All three players had at least 25 points.


7. Toronto Raptors (12-7) Previous Rank: 6
​Last game: Defeated the Atlanta Hawks 112-78
​Next game: Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets
The offense is starting to click after outscoring Atlanta by 25 pts in the second period.


6. Cleveland Cavaliers (13-7) Previous Rank: 9
​Last game: Defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 113-91
​Next game: Tuesday against the Miami Heat
The Cavaliers have won 8 straight games and Lebron has a PER of 45.1 in the fourth quarter but the point guard position is still in question.


5. Detroit Pistons (13-6) Previous Rank: 4
​Last game: Defeated the Boston Celtics 118-108
Next game: Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns
The Pistons 12-6 start has been there best through 18 games since 2007-08 when they last made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.


4. San Antonio Spurs (13-7) Previous Rank: 5
​Last game: Defeated the Dallas Mavericks 115-108
Next game: Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzles
In Tony Parkers debut after tearing his quad in the playoffs he had 6 pts and 4 assists. Last season he averaged 10 PPG which was the lowest since his rookie year.


3. Golden State Warriors (15-6) Previous Rank: 1
​Last game: Lost to the Sacramento Kings 110-106
Next game: Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers
Surprisingly enough the Warriors seem to do better without KD on the court winning two consecutive games by a combined 64 pts.


2. Houston Rockets (16-4) Previous Rank: 2
​Last game: Defeated the Brooklyn Nets 117-103
​Next game: Wednesday against the Indianapolis Pacers
With CP3 back the Rockets have been 5-0 with those wins coming by an average of 18.8 points.


1. Boston Celtics (18-4) Previous Rank: 3
​Last game: Lost to the Detroit Pistons 118-108
​Next game: Thursday against the Philadelphia 76ers
The Celtics have been great on defense and being led by a young star in Kyrie Irving the offense will soon be hard to stop.


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