VCU closer to fulfilling role as an NCAA tourney bid thief

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Virginia Commonwealth just made every college basketball team on the NCAA tournament bubble sweat a bit. By Monday night, the Rams might even ruin someone else’s tourney chances.

That’s life on the bubble.

The Ram s (23-10) upended George Mason 79-63 in the CAA semifinals on Sunday, ensuring the league’s top seed won’t grab the automatic NCAA tournament bid.

The Patriots (26-6) had won 16 straight entering the game. They’re still a good bet for an at-large bid, though their seeding is going to take a hit. Instead of a 7 or 8, they’ll probably be a 10 or 11. (They were an 11 when they made the Final Four in 2006.)

Random aside: The teams that should be happiest about George Mason’s loss? Any potential 1 seeds. Avoiding George Mason in the second round is a gift.

More worrisome for any bubble team is if Hofstra beats ODU in the other semifinal. That would give the CAA an oustide shot at three bids because ODU and George Mason are the league’s two strongest candidates for at-large bids. Much would depend on how the other conference championship games played out, but don’t rule out the CAA getting three. 

UPDATE: It’ll be ODU vs. VCU for the title.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady improving after being hospitalized

James Woodard, Anton Grady, Ron Baker
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Wichita State senior forward Anton Grady received some positive news on Saturday as a neurosurgeon reviewed MRI results, which are negative for spinal cord trauma.

According to a release from Wichita State, doctors believed Grady suffered a spinal cord concussion during a collision on Friday after he was taken off the floor in a stretcher and taken to a hospital in an ambulance. CT and MRI scans on Friday both turned up negative, but the news of Saturday’s results are an even more encouraging sign for Grady.

The injury for Grady occurred during a Friday loss to Alabama during the AdvoCare Invitational as the senior’s condition has improved since the collision. Grady will receive physical therapy over the next few days and doctors will check his progress before he is released from the hospital.

Grady has been alert and responsive to questions and had feeling in his extremities on Friday, but the use of his arms and legs was limited. By Saturday morning, Grady had improved the use of his extremities.

The 6-foot-8 Grady has averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds per game this season in his first season with the Shockers. The Cleveland State transfer is shooting 39 percent from the field.

Colorado’s Tory Miller reprimanded by Pac-12 after biting opponent

Dusan Ristic, Tory Miller
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Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.

During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.

In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.

“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”

Miller also released his apology in the same release.

“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.

For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?