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College basketball picks – Identifying the next major upset

Kentucky’s loss to Evansville on Tuesday night stands as the most shocking moment of the young 2019-20 season to date. In a season in which pinpointing a true standout team could prove difficult, ESPN.com’s college basketball experts identified which other heavyweights could be susceptible to a similar upset, and also made their selections for this weekend’s biggest contests.

Jump to score predictions for the weekend’s top games

First let’s wrap up the story of the week in college basketball (with apologies to James Wiseman). What are we going to be saying about Kentucky’s loss to Evansville when the calendar flips to 2020?

Myron Medcalf, senior college basketball writer: I think we’re going to say that Evansville turned the corner and entered Missouri Valley Conference play as a conference title threat while acknowledging that John Calipari doesn’t have one of his great Kentucky teams.

There are tiers under Calipari in Lexington. We often use “one-and-done” as a blanket assessment of his talent, and that’s not wise. Calipari’s 2009-10, 2011-12 and 2014-15 teams were superior to the rest. This has been one of America’s best offensive rebounding teams. But the Wildcats were bullied by a smaller team when they played the Purple Aces. Barring a dramatic change, nothing about a trip to the second weekend seems like a guarantee for Kentucky. But I hope we’re still talking about Evansville and Walter McCarty. Because what they did is more important than what Kentucky failed to do. This is their story.

Jeff Borzello, college basketball insider: Well, we’re very likely going to be talking about Kentucky losing more so than Evansville winning, and for the Wildcats, I think we’ll probably see it as more of a blip than the first of several losses.

I do think Kentucky could lose to Ohio State or Louisville, but I don’t think the Wildcats will lose both. John Calipari generally gets his teams playing better in February than in November, and I think he’s still trying to find his best group — and his healthiest group. I also don’t think Kentucky will go to Nick Richards in the post next time it’s in a must-score situation.

As for Evansville, this is a team we could be talking about as a legitimate Missouri Valley contender. The league was fairly wide open entering the season, and the favorite — Missouri State — already lost at home to Little Rock. Outside of next Monday’s game against SMU, the Purple Aces might be favored in every single game until 2020 … until their trip on New Year’s Eve to Missouri State. That game will undoubtedly determine how we discuss Evansville’s NCAA tournament hopes entering the new year.

John Gasaway, college basketball writer: We are going to be saying that UK, and more specifically the Wildcats’ offense, can’t just show up and expect to win. Give full credit to the Purple Aces (and to K.J. Riley for a game-high 18 points). They got the job done.

I wondered in the preseason about Kentucky’s perimeter shooting, and, fine, John Calipari’s guys were just 4-of-17 from out there in this game. But the really impressive thing to me about Evansville is that the Aces owned their defensive glass. Did not see that coming, at all. Evansville has been a great stylistic story the past couple of years, as a program that adamantly refused to shoot 3s for years is now attempting a normal number of them. The Aces hit nine treys in Rupp on no less than 30 attempts. It’s a new day under Walter McCarty.

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Rick Barnes’ enduring genius and other hot takes I can prove

The November interim between the splashy start of the season and onrush of Feast Week basketball is customarily somewhat calm. Not this season. We’ve already seen James Wiseman make a startling departure of indefinite duration, while Myles Powell recorded a surprisingly fast return. Therefore, my first hot take is that November 2019 has been wild.

Here are some other such takes that I think I can prove….

Rick Barnes is on a multiyear tear that few saw coming

When Tennessee tipped off Rick Barnes’ third season in Knoxville with a home game against Presbyterian on Nov. 10, 2017, the head coach’s record with the Volunteers stood at 31-35. Since that day, however, Barnes has gone 60-15, with win No. 60 coming Saturday afternoon by the score of 75-62 on a neutral floor in Toronto against No. 20 Washington.

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Hillcrest Prep Wins by 77 POINTS in Mike Bibby & DeVontes Cobbs’ Debut 🤯

Under new head coach Mike Bibby, Hillcrest Prep (AZ) dominated in their debut with a 123-46 win on Wednesday. The 77-point margin of victory was the most in school history.

Junior forward Mike Foster dropped 25 points with 15 boards. Arizona commit Dalen Terry added 25 points.

RELATED: Mike Bibby’s OG Jordan Brand PEs are TOO FIRE

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Penny Hardaway, James Wiseman and the Memphis Tigers — a timeline

An impromptu news conference by a Memphis lawyer on Nov. 8 delivered shockwaves through college basketball: Former No. 1 recruit and potential No. 1 NBA draft pick James Wiseman had been declared ineligible by the NCAA. The decision centered on moving and relocation costs given to Wiseman’s family by Penny Hardaway, Wiseman’s former high school and AAU coach and current college coach at Memphis, in 2017. A Shelby County judge ruled a short time later that Wiseman could play, pending a hearing, but six days later Wiseman dropped his lawsuit and agreed to sit out pending the NCAA’s review of his eligibility. Wiseman’s return to college basketball remains up in the air.

How did we get here? It goes back more than 11 years.

Aug. 21, 2008: Hardaway donates $1 million to the University of Memphis, which uses the money to build the Penny Hardaway Hall of Fame on the Tigers’ campus.

Spring/summer 2016: After his freshman season at The Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee, Wiseman plays for the St. Louis Eagles grassroots team on the Nike circuit. He’s considered one of the top rising sophomores in high school basketball, with the likes of Alabama, Vanderbilt and Florida extending scholarship offers during the summer.

Spring/summer 2017: After playing his sophomore season at Ensworth, Wiseman joins the Team Penny grassroots team on the Nike circuit. Team Penny was founded by Hardaway, and he was a mainstay on the bench and sideline of the team’s EYBL games.

August 2017: Wiseman transfers from Ensworth to East High School in Memphis, Tennessee, for his junior year, with his family relocating from Nashville. The East High School basketball team is coached by Hardaway.

Nov. 16, 2017: Wiseman and East teammate Ryan Boyce are ruled ineligible by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association due to an “athletic coaching link” with Hardaway. Both Wiseman and Boyce played for Team Penny. The Shelby County Board of Education files a lawsuit five days later seeking to overturn the ruling.

Dec. 13, 2017: A Shelby County chancellor rules in favor of Wiseman and Boyce, saying they can play, pending another hearing.

March 14, 2018: Memphis fires Tubby Smith after two seasons. Smith’s ouster comes after weeks of speculation that Memphis planned to fire Smith and hire Hardaway. Hardaway is the clear front-runner to replace Smith.

March 17, 2018: Wiseman leads East High School to the school’s third straight state championship.

March 20, 2018: Hardaway is introduced as Memphis’ head coach and is immediately tasked with two things: bringing excitement back to the Tigers’ program and getting Memphis involved with high-level recruits again. The buzz in the city waned under Smith, but Hardaway — who grew up in Memphis, played for the Tigers and returned to coach both high school and AAU ball in the city after playing in the NBA — immediately brings optimism to the fan base.

April 7, 2018: Memphis offers Wiseman. Smith went to see Wiseman a couple of times while he was the head coach, and Wiseman visited the campus once, but the Tigers weren’t a serious threat to sign him. Kentucky was the heavy favorite until this point.

April 18, 2018: Hardaway conducts an in-home visit with Wiseman, making it clear that Wiseman is the Tigers’ top target in the 2019 class.

July 15, 2018: After a spring and summer playing for the Bluff City Legends (the rebranded name of the Team Penny program), Wiseman says on ESPNU that “Memphis and Kentucky are definitely my top two schools right now.”

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Post Up: Devonte’ Graham Sinks Hornets’ Second-Straight Game-Winner 🚨

Nets 117 (5-7), Bulls 111 (4-9)

The Kyrie-less Nets managed to drop 43 points in the fourth quarter to pull off the road win.

Joe Harris dropped 22 points with 8 dimes and had a +16 plus/minus. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 20 of his team-high 24 points during the fourth.

Bucks 102 (9-3), Pacers 83 (7-6)

Milwaukee took care of business against a depleted Pacers squad.

Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped a game-high 26 points with 13 boards, 6 dimes and had +19 plus/minus.

Hornets 103 (6-7), Knicks 102 (3-10)

The Knicks looked like they were on their way to their fourth win of the season, but a red-hot Devonte’ Graham ripped their hearts out with a game-winning three.

Graham dropped a game-high 29 points, including 9 threes.

Rockets 125 (10-3), Wolves 105 (7-6)

The game was close until the fourth quarter, when Houston outscored the Andrew Wiggins-less Wolves by 12 points.

James Harden dropped 49 points on an insane 41 shot attempts (22 three-point attempts), finishing with a +16 plus/minus.

The Rockets have now won 7 straight.

Pelicans 94 (3-9), Heat 109 (9-3)

Miami took care of business against a depleted Pelicans team.

Jimmy Butler dropped 16 points, with 13 dimes and 8 boards, finishing with a +22 plus/minus. Bam Adebayo added 18 points with 14 rebounds. Kendrick Nunn dropped a team-high 22 points.

Raptors 102 (8-4), Mavs 110 (7-5)

Up 14 points mid-way through the fourth quarter, the Mavericks nearly blew the entire lead, but ultimately was able to hang on.

Luka Doncic dropped a game-high 26 points with 15 boards and 7 dimes.

Blazers 121 (5-8), Spurs 116 (5-8)

Down by 15 points early the third quarter, the Spurs would go on a run of their own after Gregg Popovich was tossed from the game. San Antonio would take a 15-point lead in the fourth, but Portland rallied back to regain the lead.

Damian Lillard dropped 22 points with 6 dimes, finishing with a +18 plus/,minus. CJ McCollum added a game-high 32 points with 7 dimes.

After the heartbreaking loss, San Antonio has now lost 5 straight.

Hawks 101 (4-8), Clippers 150 (8-5)

The Clippers simply couldn’t be stopped, as the TEAM shot 53.8/51.5/94.3 splits for the entire game.

In just his second game this season, Paul George dropped 37 points, scoring the most points of any Clipper in his home debut. PG would finished with a +28 plus/minus.

Ryne Nelson is a Senior Editor at SLAM. Follow him on Twitter @slaman10.

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A week into the college basketball season, Evansville pulls off upset of the year

Last season, Evansville won 11 games and lost in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. Voters in the league’s preseason poll this year picked the Purple Aces to finish eighth in the conference standings.

On Tuesday, however, Evansville upset No. 1 Kentucky on the road.

College basketball is back.

Three things from Tuesday

Evansville is the story of the night after upset over No. 1 team

Evansville just pulled off the regular season’s version of No. 16 UMBC’s victory over No. 1 Virginia in the 2018 NCAA tournament. After his team’s loss to Evansville, John Calipari admitted that second-year coach Walter McCarty, a star on the 1995-96 Kentucky team that won a national title under Rick Pitino, “outcoached” him.

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Eric Gordon To Miss Six Weeks After Knee Procedure

The Houston Rockets will be without shooting guard Eric Gordon for six weeks as he braces to undergo a knee procedure, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.

The guard will have the procedure to clean things up after an MRI revealed that he had significant debris in his knee, Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic adds.

The absence, which would keep Gordon on the sidelines until around Christmas, will test the Rockets’ second unit. While Gordon has averaged just 10.9 points per game so far this season, he averaged north of 16 in 2018-19.

The 30-year-old will sacrifice a sizable chunk of the 2019-20 campaign to finally address an issue that head coach Mike D’Antoni says has been troubling him since the middle of last year.

Gordon will fail to play 70 games this season, his 10th time missing the mark in 12 seasons.

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Kentucky Wildcats loss to Evansville won’t necessarily hurt in March

No sooner was the headline written — Get used to Kentucky at No. 1 — than the words “kiss of death” crossed my mind.

College basketball is too unpredictable, with so many more games determined by younger and younger players, for anything to last very long. Even the vaunted and generally infallible ESPN Power Rankings are apparently a little more fallible than we thought.

Here are two quick reactions from the not-even-ready-for-the-season Bracket Bunker: One, it’s the second week of November and we never used to play games this early. So we all need to take a deep breath.

And, two, the emergence of year-round Bracketology — I know, it’s my fault! — dictates there be an immediate consequence when top-ranked Kentucky falls to an Evansville team that hasn’t had a top-50 win since the first day of 2015 against Northern Iowa. In nonconference games, the Purple Aces haven’t knocked off a top-50 foe since winning at Butler in November 2011.

As for the Wildcats, let’s remember they are already the third preseason No. 1 seed to lose in barely a week’s worth of action. Kentucky took out former No. 1 overall Michigan State in the opening night Champions Classic, and Duke did the same to fellow top-liner Kansas in the same doubleheader.

What does it all mean for the next bracket update on Nov. 15? Michigan State and Kansas, barring additional wreckage, will remain No. 1 seeds. Both lost on a neutral court to the highest possible level of competition.

Kentucky, meanwhile, will drop off the top line despite owning the aforementioned victory over the Spartans. Before Big Blue Nation arrives in protest, remember Bracketology always values “body of work” over head-to-head results. The loss to sub-150 Evansville hurts considerably more than a marquee win helps, even one over the No. 1 team. The latter is considered a 50-50 game, and the loss is analytically inexplicable.

But the sun will come up in Lexington. The season is in no way lost. A No. 1 seed for Big Blue remains very attainable, even the No. 1 overall seed. No one in the Commonwealth should tear up their Final Four tickets.

The most similar loss in recent times came a little less than two years ago when North Carolina fell in Chapel Hill to a rising Wofford program. Those Tar Heels dropped a line or two in the short run but managed to recover enough for a No. 2 seed on Selection Sunday. And that was a fairly pedestrian Carolina team, 26-11 overall and tied for third in the ACC.

This Kentucky team is better than that North Carolina team, and the Wildcats will probably begin proving it as soon as John Calipari regains their attention. Meanwhile, we can all assume there will be many more projected top seeds to lose between now and March.

And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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The ‘Alien’ Yeezy Boost 380 is Now Live on StockX

The “Alien” Yeezy Boost 380 is now available on StockX.

Originally the Yeezy Boost 350 V3, Ye’s newest silhouette in his Three Stripes line was given its own name. The sneaker, which features the same shape as the 350s, comes with a never-before-seen PrimeKnit pattern on the upper and doesn’t come with the popular lateral side strip. There’s also an upgraded Boost midsole and an engineered outsole grip that adds the finishing touches on the sneaker.

The Price Premium (over original retail price) is at 239.1% and has an average sale price of $722. Hit StockX to grab your pair.

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