A Butler loss means a new Cinderella must emerge

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I can see it now: Americans who treat March Madness like the Olympics scratching their heads and banging their remotes.

“That Butler team has gotta be somewhere on my television dial.”

/fumbles around the living room

“Marge, do we get….um…truTV? I can’t find Butler. Where is Butler?”

After serving as the National Championship runners-up for the last two seasons, a number of casual fans have become enamored with The Butler Way, which, as far as casual fans go,  covers everything the David vs. Goliath to nail-biting drama.

Based on their track record under Brad Stevens, the Bulldogs have become one of the most difficult teams to count out, but reality appears to have caught up to them this season. Don’t hold me to that though.

Tonight, as a five seed, Butler will look to advance to the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament against Milwaukee. If they lose, a new March Madness Cinderella must emerge for the country to latch on to. The torch will have been passed, at least for this season, to another mid-major tasked with moving us to the edge of our seats.

At 19-13 overall, and 12-7 in conference play, the Bulldogs are an average team in an average conference. If they don’t collect a trophy in four days they won’t be going to the NCAA Tournament, just like the many of mid- to low- major schools across the country desperate to hit gold over the next week and earn a spot in the field of 68.

But while nobody expected this program to contend for a Final Four berth every season, they were still the pre-season conference favorites, and were thought of as an at-large team. At stake is a sixth consecutive trip to the Big Dance, and the only shock this team may be capable of this season is just getting to the Horizon championship game.

While offense has never quite been the reason why they pulled off two miraculous runs, it may be the reason why they have little to no chance at pulling off some sort of three peat…or even making the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs are seventh in the conference in scoring, and are near dead last in the country in three-point shooting.

You can’t fault Stevens for his team’s season. College basketball is cyclical, and these are the breaks.

Let’s just hope America understands, and is prepared to pick a new underdog.

VIDEO: UConn’s Kwintin Williams would win the NBA dunk contest

Screengrab via Instagram
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Think that’s too strong?

Look at this dunk:

Light

A post shared by Kwintin Williams (@jumpmanebig) on

He also did this over the summer:

Williams is a 6-foot-7, 215 pound JuCo transfer that should provide UConn with some minutes in the frontcourt this season.

LSU officially announces addition of Kavell Bigby-Williams

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LSU has announced the addition of Oregon transfer Kavell Bigby-Williams, a 6-foot-11 junior that was the National Junior College Player of the Year as a sophomore.

Bigby-Williams, who is a native of London, averaged 3.0 points and 2.8 boards last season as the Ducks reached the Final Four, but he played the majority of the season while under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that occurred while he was at Gillette College in Wyoming.

The local County Attorney declined to charge Bigby-Williams with a crime, and Gillette College police consider the case closed.

“The university conducted a responsible and comprehensive review before approving the transfer,” a release posted on LSU’s Athletics site read, “including close coordination with Title IX officials, multiple discussions with Gillette and Oregon officials and a thorough examination of available public records.”

LSU head coach Will Wade was quoted in that release as well: “This is an issue we all take seriously and we made absolutely sure we did our due diligence before considering moving forward. Kavell understands that and has made clear to me that he’s going to repay our confidence by representing LSU with his very best on and off the court.”

Report: Four-star Mamaou Doucoure has reclassified, enrolled at Rutgers

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Rutgers has made a potentially significant addition to their 2017 recruiting class, as four-star big man Mamadou Doucoure appears to have reclassified.

According to the Asbury Park Press, Doucoure has already enrolled in classes at Rutgers, citing a search of the university’s online database. The 6-foot-9 Doucoure was initially a member of the Class of 2017 before reclassifying to 2018, although there have been rumors that he has been trying to enroll this year.

It’s not yet clear if Doucoure will be eligible to play this season — he has not even been added to Rutgers’ roster online — but if he’s eligible, he should be able to provide rotation minutes for the Scarlet Knights.

Even if he’s not cleared to play this season, his addition matters. He’ll be able to workout with and develop in a Big Ten locker room before getting cleared to play alongside a massive 2018 recruiting class that already includes four-stars Mac McClung and Montez Mathis along with three-star prospect Ron Harper Jr.

Options drying up for top ten prospect Mitchell Robinson

McDonald's All-American Game
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It’s looking less and less likely that we’ll see Mitchell Robinson on a college campus this season.

Robinson, if you’ve forgotten, committed to and signed with Western Kentucky, enrolling at the school and practicing with the team over the summer. But he left Bowling Green after two weeks and has received a release to transfer out of the program.

And that’s where the difficultly here lies.

He’s a transfer, which means that, as a top ten prospect and a likely one-and-done player, he will be redshirting the only year that he is on campus unless the NCAA would provide him with a waiver, which is unlikely. After Robinson left WKU, three schools have emerged as potential landing spots: LSU, Kansas and New Orleans. LSU ended their recruitment two weeks ago. Over the weekend, Kansas head coach essentially confirmed that Robinson will not be a Jayhawks.

“I would think that we probably won’t sign anybody,” Self told the Kansas City Star.

That leaves New Orleans, his hometown school, or overseas, which is a rumor that has followed Robinson since the spring. The other option? Sitting out and training for a year, which FanRag Sports reported on Sunday is a possibility.

However you slice it, Robinson’s one-and-done year has turned into a mess. He’s still likely to end up as a first round pick — seven-footers that can do the things he does defensively don’t grow on trees — but I can’t imagine that teams are going to be clamoring to use a lottery pick on a player that just spent a year sitting out.

VIDEO: Texas freshman Jericho Sims catches nasty alley-oop

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Texas is in Australia for their team’s summer trip, and Jericho Sims gave Longhorn fans a glimpse of why they may not miss Jarrett Allen’s athleticism all that much this season.