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Recruiting roundup: The race for De'Ron Davis and Mario Kegler heats up

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The battle for the 4-star big men seems to unofficially be down to two.

If you've been following college basketball recruiting news in the past few weeks, you might have noticed a recurring theme: Mississippi State is EVERYWHERE. They are seemingly in on everyone, getting commits from heralded prospects (three 4-star commits, including former IU target Schnider Herard), and are not even close to being done.

Their remaining 2016 targets, though, are where the story begins to be problematic for Indiana. Of their 3 most sought-after uncommitted prospects (Adbul Ado, Mario Kegler, and De'Ron Davis), 2 are also atop the wish list for Tom Crean and his staff. Mario Kegler (#32 overall) was in Bloomington for Hoosier Hysteria, and by all accounts had a great time, yet 82% of analysts are predicting him to follow Ben Howland to Starkville, Mississippi.

The most interesting race appears to be for De'Ron Davis, though. After already having visited Bloomington multiple times, including an official earlier this fall, Davis seemed to be in prime standing with the Hoosiers to make a pledge, and his crystal ball page continues to be overwhelmingly in favor of IU. However, Ben Howland's devil magic has caused the tide to shift a bit, and Tom Crean has taken notice.

With Davis scheduled to take a final official visit this weekend to, you guessed it, Mississippi State, Crean flew across the country to Colorado to let Davis know how important he is to IU's 2016 class. Not only that, Chuck Martin showed up to watch Davis in Overland, CO last night, because apparently heart-eyes emoji texts can only go so far. And, like a breath of fresh air, the intensified pitch seems to be working.

It doesn't end there, though. Mario Kegler has an extremely active twitter account in which he does the normal teenager thing where he retweets alot of compliments and well-wishers from fans of schools trying to influence his decision (Note: don't be that guy), but one specific tweet caught my eye.

Could a possible package deal be in the works? Which way are they leaning? The idea is a tantalizing prospect for both schools, but for now, no one truly knows and all we can do is wait and see.

Other 2016 targets

- If all that Mississippi State talk has got you all riled up, don't worry, because there finally is some basketball-related Thon Maker news to soothe your soul. In his season opener, Maker went OFF for 37 points (13/22 FG) and 11 rebounds as his Athlete Institute Academy downed Hill Academy by a score of 97-87 in their season opener. There are no clips of the game to be found online, so here's a compilation video to help you picture what the game might have looked like.

- After taking an official to Miami this past weekend, Bruce Brown will make his final official visit this weekend to Purdue. The 4-star PG has previously visited both IU and UMass.

- Fellow 5-star and top 2016 target Rawle Alkins looks to repeat his stellar junior season at his new prep school, Word of God, in North Carolina. For all that has changed in Alkins' life recently, his love for barely-above-average photoshops has stayed the same, as he proves with this almost unsettling video of his face superimposed on Thomas Bryant's body.