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Kevin Huerter's fast rise continues into draft night

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USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Huerter's fast rise continues into draft night

After two short years in College Park, Kevin Huerter is hopeful his name will be called during tonight's first round of the 2018 NBA Draft. 

The Clifton Park, N.Y. native has a chance to become the first Maryland player to be selected in the first round since Alex Len went No. 5 overall to the Phoenix Suns following his sophomore year in 2013. 

Huerter has long been consistent in his pursuit of excelling in the sport he loves. 

It began in high school, where he led Shen to its first state championship while setting the state scoring record. 

Then, as a senior, Huerter was named Mr. Basketball in the state of New York. 

From smalltown upstate N.Y. to receiving over 20 offers and ultimately signing with Maryland, Huerter never looked back. 

The 19-year-old earned a starting spot right out of the gate his freshman season averaging 9.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. 

In between his freshman and sophomore seasons, Huerter was selected to the United States team for the 2017 FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup coached by Jeff Van Gundy. 

Using that experience combined with an elevated offseason workout plan, he saw his production go up during his sophomore season scoring 14.8 points per game while en route to being named honorable mention All-Big Ten. 

After toying with whether or not he should leave Maryland, his father tweeted this out: 

Playing basketball with his talented younger sisters while trying to make the most difficult decision of his young life. That is Kevin Huerter in a nutshell. 

Fast forward to last month's NBA Combine in Chicago. Huerter chose to attend, seeing it as another opportunity to showcase his skills.

As a result, he saw his stock rise after showcasing his athleticism and sharp shooting, including a drill where he went 15 of 15 from 3-point range. 

According to Drew Zlogar, former teammate of Huerter's at Shenendehowa High School and current Digital and Social Content Publisher for the NBA, Huerter turned down a Barclays Center invite from the league to instead host a watch party of his own at a local country club in Clifton Park, N.Y., where he will be surrounded by family, friends and former high school teammates. 

As far as when Huerter is expected to come off the board, different scenarios continue to arise. 

If there's one thing for sure, it's that the former 3-star recruit is now an-almost guaranteed first round draft pick. 

Huerter has been known for his mild-mannered personality and cool-under-pressure aura about him in big moments. 

But the big man with a chip on his shoulder? That could be a scary thing for future opponents of the sharpshooter. 

Watch where Huerter goes in tonight's NBA Draft tonight at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. 

March Madness 2018: Latest National Championship betting odds

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USA Today Sports

March Madness 2018: Latest National Championship betting odds

There are not many tasks in life more difficult than setting the perfect March Madness bracket. 

The odds of picking the perfect bracket is less than one in 9.2 quintilian, so good luck with that. 

In fact, you have a better chance of becoming an astronaut for NASA, picking a four-leaf clover or making an albatross then you do predicting the NCAA tournament outcome. 

So with that optimism in mind, let's take a look at the odds the top-ranked teams have to win the big dance, that may help you beat the bracket odds.

RELATED: MARCH MADNESS BRACKET CHALLENGE

By rank to win National Championship: Indicates Vegas odds

1. Virginia Cavaliers  (10-1) +500

2. Villanova Wildcats (7-1) +450

3. Kansas Jayhawks (18-1) +1200

4. Xavier Musketeers (14-1) +2200

5. North Carolina Tar Heels (13-1) +1800

6. Duke Blue Devils (8-1) +650

7. Purdue Boilermakers (28-1) +1500

8. Cincinnati Bearcats (45-1) +2200

9. Michigan State Spartans (9-1) +750

10. Tennessee Volunteers (48-1) +6000

11. Michigan Wolverines (25-1) +1000

12. Texas Tech Red Raiders (32-1) +4500

13. Auburn Tigers (99-1) +6500

14. Wichita State Shockers (80-1) +4500

15. Gonzaga Bulldogs (15-1) +2500

16. Arizona Wildcats (20-1) +1200

17. Kentucky (30-1) +2800

18. West Virginia Mountaineers (60-1) +4000

19. Clemson Tigers (100-1) +20000

20. Ohio State Buckeyes (125-1) +8000

RELATED: COMPLETE FIRST-ROUND SCHEDULE

The Locals: 

31. Virginia Tech Hokies (15,000-1) +50000

63. UMBC Retrievers (6,500,000-1) +30000

65. Radford Highlanders (8,000,000-1) +100000

RELATED: NINE POTENTIAL FIRST ROUND UPSETS

 

Click here to join NBC Sports Washington’s NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge and compete against Tony Massenburg and Walt Williams for a chance to win big.

Grand Prize: If you have the highest-scoring bracket in the NBC Sports Washington Bracket Challenge, you will win four (4) lower Wizards tickets to the 4/10 Celtics @ Wizards game, an autographed Bradley Beal jersey and a 60” 4K TV!

Secondary Prize: If your bracket scores higher than both Tony Massenburg and Walt Williams, you'll get a coupon code for a free regular Jersey Mike's sub!

WANT MORE COLLEGE HOOPS? Join @TroyMachir for the March Only podcast, a month-long podcast with some of the best and brightest minds in college basketball. Subscribe on iTunes and listen below.

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Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

LINCOLN, Neb. -- James Palmer Jr. scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half, Isaiah Roby had all 11 of his after half, and Nebraska held off Maryland 70-66 on Tuesday night.

Palmer and Roby combined for 35 of the Cornhuskers' 40 second-half points, and they secured their first 20-win season since 2008. They won a sixth straight conference game for the first time in 20 years.

Palmer scored 15 straight points for the Huskers (20-8, 11-4 Big Ten) over a 10-minute span that ended when Roby hit one of two free throws with 2:57 left for a 64-59 lead. Roby had a double-double, with 10 rebounds, and he also blocked three shots.

The Terps (17-11, 6-9) had a chance to take the lead with a minute to play, but Glynn Watson Jr. blocked Anthony Cowan Jr.'s 3-point try, Evan Taylor came up with the loose ball and got it to Watson.

Watson missed a 3-pointer coming out of a timeout, and Roby got the rebound and was immediately fouled. He made both free throws for a 66-63 lead. Kevin Huerter's layin cut it to one point before Watson made two free throws.

Huerter went to the line with 2.8 seconds left, and after making the first free throw he intentionally missed the second. Palmer got the rebound, was fouled and put the game away with two free throws.

Bruno Fernando led the Terps with 21 points and nine rebounds. Huerter added 12 points and Darryl Morsell had 11.

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: The Terps' fading NCAA Tournament hopes might have been dashed with their seventh straight road loss.

Nebraska: The Huskers are resting firmly on the NCAA bubble and absolutely needed this win. They got it, thanks to Palmer and Roby's efforts in the second half.

UP NEXT

Maryland hosts Rutgers on Saturday. It's the teams' only meeting this season.

Nebraska visits Illinois. The Huskers beat the Illini 64-63 in Lincoln on Jan. 15.

RELATED: DMV College Basketball Power Rankings: Missed opportunities