Wiggins? Wiggins!! Wiggins...

Wiggins? Wiggins!! Wiggins...

Wiggins.

Enthusiasts of Philadelphia sport may have never before spent so much time debating, speculating upon and worrying about the status of a player who may very well never spend a second on a Philly team roster as they already have with Kansas small forward Andrew Wiggins. We've done it all regular season, we did it in the weeks leading up to the lottery, and now that the lottery has come and gone, we're doing it more than ever.

That fateful Tuesday night, you might have thought the Wiggmania had finally been put to bed for Sixer fans. The lottery awarded us the #3 draft pick--not too shabby in absolute, but certainly not high enough to land the player long tabbed as the likely top overall selection. Instead, for a short while, the debate turned to whether the Sixers should hope that Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid would be the player to drop to them at #3, or whether the Sixers should perhaps reach for Dante Exum or Julius Randle instead.

But Wiggins was never really totally out of the picture, and based on recent reports, he's as viable for the Sixers as ever. Speculation has long been about the possibility of the Sixers trading up from #3 to #1--possibly using the #10 pick as the deal's primary grease, as suggested by both us here at the Level and our Comcast compatriot John Gonzalez.

Now, the speculation has been confirmed: ESPN's Chad Ford mentions in his latest mock draft that the Sixers have indeed discussed the possibility of trading up to #1 with Cleveland. However, likely to the relief of many Sixer fans, Ford says that giving up #10 in the deal is out for them. More appealing to the Sixers would be including Thaddeus Young as the primary get, though with Cleveland already the proud owners of one wiry, athletic power forward with limited shooting range in Tristan Thompson, it's a little unclear what they'd do with another one.

However, based on Ford's recent projections, such a trade might not even be necessary. Ford follows the recent suit of Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! by predicting Wiggins to fall to the Sixers at #3. (He has Embiid going #1 to Cleveland and Parker #2 to Milwaukee). What's more, the Kansas product may be aiming to land in Philly. Sez Ford:

This is a dream scenario for the 76ers. They would take Wiggins at No. 1 if they could, and having him fall to No. 3 would be a godsend...it's a great scenario for Wiggins, as well. Of the three top teams, his camp prefers the Sixers as the best possible fit. This could be a win-win for both.

Could be. Of course, the chances of it being that simple for the Sixers are slim. At the very least, the Cavs will likely have an extended flirtation with Wiggins to see if they can get Sam Hinkie itchy to make a deal before draft night, though good luck to Cleveland GM David Griffin trying to out-maneuver Hinkie during the Hour of Our Dark Lord. And really, as much as we think we know for sure that Hink and company want Wiggins in the worst way, we shouldn't presume for a second we know what thoughts are actually running through that most labyrinthine of brains.

Still, for the Wiggins or Bust Sixer contingent out there, this is all fairly encouraging news. As much as we may debate Embiid vs. Parker vs. Exum vs. whoever, there'd be a lot less of a need for emotional hedging and self-convincing if we can just land Wiggins at the #3 pick, draft whoever we want at #10 (Ford has us taking the Croatian point forward Dario Saric) and call it a pretty damn successful day.

And if not, we'll probably still be cool. No bad outcomes this June, just varying degrees of awesomeness. Continue getting excited.

Penn State blasted at home by red-hot George Mason

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Penn State blasted at home by red-hot George Mason

BOX SCORE

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The cheers reverberating from George Mason's locker room came from players experiencing their hottest streak in years. The quiet from Penn State's mirrored the whimper of the Nittany Lions in the second half as their run was snapped.

Marquise Moore scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, Otis Livingston added 18 points and the Patriots beat Penn State 85-66 for their sixth straight win and best stretch since 2011-12 on Wednesday.

"It was a great win for our team, really proud of our guys," George Mason coach Dave Paulsen said. "We really, really competed with toughness in the second half, especially I think our second-half defense was really good."

Jalen Jenkins added 15 points for the Patriots (7-3) who snapped Penn State's four-game winning streak.

Penn State led 38-37 after a wild first half that featured 12 lead changes. But the Raiders took control starting with Livingston's 3-pointer that made it 42-40 early in the second. They dominated from there, leading for the remaining 18:58 and outrebounded the Nittany Lions 44-29, outscored them 44-16 in the paint and held a speedy Penn State team to just two fastbreak points.

"We looked young tonight for whatever reason," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "We have to figure that out. We have to play much harder."

Payton Banks led Penn State (6-4) with 21 points. Shep Garner and Lamar Stevens chipped in 13 apiece for the Nittany Lions.

The big picture
George Mason: The Patriots are on a roll and keeping pace in a competitive Atlantic 10 conference that had five teams with six wins entering the night. They seem to have flipped a switch following a 93-65 loss to Houston on Nov. 21 and haven't lost since.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions had been winning despite deficiencies in a few areas while making up for them in others over the last four games. They weren't able to make up for their lack of production in the paint, however.

Guards on the glass
Paulsen was wary of the size advantage Penn State's forwards had heading in. The Patriots didn't start anyone over 6-foot-7 while Penn State boasted a trio of forwards at or taller than that. Paulsen was particularly concerned about 6-foot-9 Mike Watkins who was fresh off his best game where he blocked 12 shots against Wright State.

But the George Mason coach had faith in his guards' ability to attack the net and win those rebounds. Moore entered the game as the country's top rebounding guard with 10 per game and posted his sixth double-double of the season.

"We have some pretty good rebounding guards," Paulsen said. "So you can't do it unless you have really active, rebounding guards."

Veteran responsibility
Penn State's gotten big time contributions from a handful of freshmen and started three as usual. But it was one of the veterans who shouldered blame afterward.

Banks was dejected after the game and pointed the finger at himself. Despite leading the team in points, he wasn't able to help on the glass.

"A lot of it just starts with me right here," Banks said. "I had zero rebounds. We can't rely on Lamar (Miller) and Mike for the scoring load and Julian (Moore). Our guards have to rebound and that's what we lacked this game and it definitely showed on the scoreboard."

Up next
George Mason plays at Penn on Saturday and has three of their final five games in 2016 at home.

Penn State plays Pittsburgh in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday and has another on the road before closing out 2016 with a pair of games at home, including the Big Ten opener on Dec. 27.

Instant Replay: George Washington 66, Temple 63

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Instant Replay: George Washington 66, Temple 63

BOX SCORE

With one second on the shot clock, George Washington forward Tyler Cavanaugh let a three-point shot fly from the corner right in front of his bench.

Cavanaugh’s shot hit the bottom of the net to give the Colonials a three-point lead with 8.2 seconds left. Moments later, Temple redshirt senior swingman Daniel Dingle’s open look at a game-tying shot hit off the back of the rim, and George Washington handed the Owls a 66-63 loss on Wednesday at the Liacouras Center.

Temple (6-3) came into the game on a five-game winning streak but looked sluggish from the start. The Owls scored just five points in the game’s first six minutes, 34 seconds.

Temple went into halftime down, 31-25, and trailed George Washington (6-4) by as many as 15 points in the second half. Senior guard Josh Brown hit two threes late in the second half to bring Temple within six. Dingle hit two more to tie the game at 61-61 with 2:44 left. 

Two Cavanaugh free throws followed by a jumper from Temple sophomore guard Shizz Alston Jr. then tied the game at 63-63 with 39.1 seconds left.

The Owls played the game’s final moments without junior forward Obi Enechionyia, who fouled out with 3:41 left.

Enechionyia cooling off
Enechionyia was held in check for the second game in a row. He scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds but made only one basket in the second half.

The junior went 5 of 17 for 12 points against Penn on Saturday. He scored 20-plus points in five of Temple’s first seven games.

Inside the box score
• Colonials guard Jordan Roland came into the game averaging 4.3 points per game. Roland scored 14 points on Wednesday.

• Brown, who played his first game of the season last Wednesday against St. Joe’s, played a season-high 24 minutes. He played a combined 25 minutes in his first two contests.

• George Washington outrebounded Temple, 37-23. The Colonials had 18 turnovers compared to nine for Temple.

Up next
Temple plays DePaul in the Miami Hoophall Invitational on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.