Malik Newman sets the bar for guards in 2015 class

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FRISCO, Tx. — Malik Newman is the best guard in the 2015 class. Recruiting rankings are a debate, but this debate for the moment isn’t very close. To put this argument into perspective the 6-3, Jackson, Mississippi-native is the No. 3 overall prospect in Rivals’ 2015 national rankings and the only guard among the top seven prospects. For guards in his graduating class, Newman is in a class of his own at the moment and looks to be an elite scorer.

Newman was averaging 23.4 points per game in eight games with the Jackson Tigers on the EYBL before more big scoring outings this weekend in Dallas. Malik came into Dallas as the EYBL’s leading scorer by a full point over Tyus Jones (22.1 ppg) despite being a grade younger than most of the other players.

“The EYBL has been great because every time we come out there’s at least one or two top players on the other team that are at least top 50 in the country so it’s always a  good experience going against them,” Newman told NBC Sports.

Newman handles the ball much of the time for the Jackson Tigers, but is likely more suited to play two-guard because of the way he naturally scores and attacks the basket. Still, Newman is open to discussion regarding his future position.

“I’m not really sure which guard spot I’ll play, it depends on which system I’m in,” Newman said.

Malik also listed a few things he’s looking for in a future college program.

“Probably a team that’s balanced; that can get up-and-down or slow it down a little bit,” Newman said. “Also, a team that’s going to push me to be the best that I can, a team that is going to get me to the next level, and good academics.”

But Malik currently isn’t focused on recruiting and doesn’t even know the schools that are actively involved, instead choosing to focus on his game.

“My Dad knows and my coach (knows the schools recruiting me) and I don’t really keep up with it,” Newman admitted.

For now, Newman is focused on the ways he can improve during the spring.

“My defense, my leadership and the way that I communicate with my players because you have to talk to some people differently than the way that you talk to others.”

Scott also writes for NY2LA Sports and can be followed on Twitter @sphillipshoops

No. 11 Louisville stops skid with rout of Syracuse

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Jordan Nwora scored 17 points, Dwayne Sutton added 16 and No. 11 Louisville routed Syracuse 90-66 on Wednesday night to end a two-game losing streak.

The Cardinals (22-5, 13-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) never trailed the Orange after losses at Georgia Tech and Clemson dropped them six spots in the rankings and out of the conference lead. They stretched a 41-34 halftime lead to double digits early in the second half before an 18-2 run made it 69-44.

Nwora shot just 5 of 18 from the field and 2 of 7 from beyond the arc but regrouped from scoring just seven points the past two games. Louisville shot 47% with 10 3-pointers and controlled the boards 45-36.

Sutton had three 3-pointers and eight rebounds, McMahon had four 3s for 13 points and 6-foot-11 Malik Williams 14 points while matching a career high with 13 rebounds in his first start this season.

Buddy Boeheim had 15 points and Quincy Guerrrier for Syracuse (14-12, 7-8), which shot 38% and lost its fifth in six games.

BIG PICTURE

Syracuse: After losing four of their last five by a total of 17 points, the Orange stayed within reach in the first half. Things steadily slipped away in the second as they struggled to limit Louisville’s offensive options, especially from long range. Bourama Sibide (five rebounds, two points) fouled out with 10 minutes left, leaving them more vulnerable inside and the Cardinals…

Louisville: After shooting 34% and 35% respectively in the two losses, the Cardinals were patient and worked the ball around Syracuse’s trademark 2-3 zone defense for looks. They initially succeeded from deep with Sutton and McMahon before working it down low for chances. Nwora struggled from deep despite good looks but created chances elsewhere.

UP NEXT

Syracuse: Hosts Georgia Tech on Saturday in search of a season sweep of the Yellow Jackets. The Orange won the first meeting 97-63 in December.

Louisville: Hosts struggling North Carolina on Saturday. The Cardinals won last season’s meeting 83-62 in Chapel Hill before the Tar Heels answered by winning 83-70 in the ACC Tournament.

Georgia hands No. 13 Auburn second-straight loss

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ATHENS, Ga. — Anthony Edwards of Georgia scored 18 points, including a late 3-pointer to slow No. 13 Auburn’s comeback attempt, and the Bulldogs beat the Tigers 65-55 on Wednesday night.

Auburn (22-4, 9-4 Southeastern Conference) suffered its second straight loss to a team with a losing record following seven straight wins. The winning streak ended with Saturday’s 85-73 loss at Missouri.

Georgia led 55-50 when Edwards’ 3-pointer with 2:15 remaining stretched the advantage to eight points.

J’Von McCormick led Auburn with 22 points. Samir Doughty, who had 15 points, cut Georgia’s lead to 58-53 with a three-point play with 1:02 remaining. Toumani Camara sank seven of eight free throws in the final 1:01 to help protect the Bulldogs’ lead.

It was a much-needed win for Georgia (13-13, 3-10), which had lost eight of nine, including four straight under second-year coach Tom Crean. The improbable win over the Tigers came before a sellout crowd.

Freshman forward Isaac Okoro missed his second straight game for Auburn with a hamstring injury. Another freshman, Allen Flanigan, again replaced Okoro in the lineup and scored three points.

Auburn was left with a three-guard lineup and appeared to miss the scoring of Okoro, who averages 13.1 points.

Edwards, who leads the nation’s freshmen with his average of 19 points, scored his first basket on a fancy layup midway through the first half. Edwards followed with a long 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 19-12 lead. A layup by Rayshaun Hammonds stretched the lead to nine points.

With Georgia leading 21-14, Crean gave Edwards and other starters a break with 8:33 remaining, The Tigers immediately launched a 9-0 run — with all the scoring coming from McCormick.

McCormick’s scoring spree gave Auburn a 23-22 advantage. The run ended on Anfernee McLemore’s turnover on an offensive foul. With Edwards and other starters back on the court, the Bulldogs took advantage of the turnover to start their own 9-0 run, including seven points from Sahvir Wheeler, who had 13 points.

Hammonds also had 13 points and Camara had 12.

BIG PICTURE

Auburn: McCormick was the Tigers’ floor leader and he continued to emerge as a go-to scorer. He topped 20 points for the third time in the last four games and only the fifth time this season. He was effective on long-range jumpers, short floaters and drives to the basket.

Georgia: Edwards appeared to have regained some strength after being slowed by flu-like symptoms for the last three games He was held to only six points, matching his season low, in a 74-69 loss at Texas A&M on Saturday. Edwards was active on the boards with six rebounds, but some of his season-high seven turnovers came on unforced errors.

UP NEXT

Auburn: Returns home to play Tennessee on Saturday.

Georgia: Visits Vanderbilt on Saturday night.

WATCH: No. 16 Seton Hall beats No. 21 Butler at the buzzer

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Seton Hall’s two-game skid came to an end in dramatic fashion Wednesday.

Sandro Mamukelashvili converted on a baseline-out-of-bounds play with 0.6 seconds left as the No. 16 Pirates defeated No. 21 Butler in Newark.

Quincy McKnight led the way for Seton Hall with 18 points while Myles Powell added 16. Mamukelashvili and Romaro Gill both had 15. Kamar Baldwin had 20 for the Bulldogs.

Seton Hall keeps its one-game lead in the Big East standings with the victory.

CBT Podcast: The Fifth Annual Why Your Team Sucks podcast ft. Brian Snow

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Rob Dauster was joined, once again, by the indefatigable Brian Snow of 24/7 Sports for the fifth annual Why Your Team Sucks podcast. If you can’t figure it out, we talk through every one of the good teams in college basketball are not, in fact, good and why they do, actually, suck.

In order:

Baylor (open)
Gonzaga (5:00)
Kansas (10:30)
SDSU (16:30)
Dayton (20:00)
Duke (26:15)
Michigan State (32:00)
Maryland (36:18)
Kentucky (42:20)
Louisville (48:00)
Villanova (52:05)
Auburn (56:00)
Oregon (58:40)
Penn State or Florida State? (1:02:00)
Which Big East team do we trust? (1:05:00)
Michigan or Texas Tech? (1:08:00)

Bubble Banter: Florida the lone winner on the bubble on Tuesday

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There is plenty of action happening on the bracketology bubble watch despite it being a relatively slow night for college hoops.

Dave Ommen’s latest bracketology can be found here. Rob Dauster’s Bubble Watch can be found here. The full NET rankings can be found here.

Here is everything you need to know to.

THE BUBBLE WATCH WINNERS

FLORIDA (NET: 35, NBC: 9): At this point, Florida is pretty comfortably in the NCAA tournament after beating Arkansas (48) on Tuesday night. They are 7-9 against the top two Quads with wins over Auburn (25), Xavier (39) and at South Carolina (65). Their worst loss on the season in a road loss to Missouri (88). They should be in as long as they don’t do anything dumb down the stretch.

… AND LOSERS

VCU (NET: 52, NBC: Off the bubble): VCU lost at home to Dayton (5) on Tuesday, which essentially eliminates them from being in bubble contention this season.

PURDUE (NET: 33, NBC: First four out): After the Boilermakers lost at Wisconsin (33) on Tuesday night they are sitting at 14-13 on the season. They do actually have a pretty strong resume in regards to the number of good wins that they have, but the biggest issue currently facing Purdue is the number of losses, including a pair of Quad 3 losses. The most losses and at-large team has ever had is 15. For context, Indiana last season was 17-15 with six Quad 1 wins and nine Quad 1 and 2 wins and they were left out. Purdue is 3-9 against Quad 1 opponents and 7-10 against the top two Quads with a 3-7 record on the road. Their best road win is at Indiana (58). They’re in a tough spot right now.

ARKANSAS (NET: 48, NBC: Next four out): The Razorbacks lost at Florida (35) on Tuesday night, meaning that they have now lost four straight games and are sitting with a 4-10 record against the top two Quadrants with just two Quad 1 wins — at Alabama (36) and at Indiana (63). They desperately need to get Isaiah Joe back, but it might be too little, too late by the time he returns.

OKLAHOMA (NET: 47, NBC: 9): You can’t knock Oklahoma for losing at home to Baylor (2) too much. There is a reason that the Bears have not lost since November 8th. The Sooners now get Oklahoma State (71) on the road before hosting Texas Tech (21) and paying a visit to West Virginia (10). The Sooners do have a bit of a weird profile in the sense that they are 9-10 against the two top Quads, but only two of those wins are Quad 1 wins. That does, however, include a home win over the Mountaineers. I think they should be fine if they go 3-2 down the stretch, but picking up a win over Texas Tech or WVU would certainly help quite a bit.