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The Maui Invitational brackets released

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Earlier this afternoon, the matchups for the 2012 Maui Invitational were announced.

And I have to admit, I am not a fan of the outcome.

First things first: the bracket. North Carolina takes on Mississippi State with the winner advancing to play the winner of Butler and Marquette. In the other games, Illinois will play USC while Texas takes on Chaminade.

I have no problems with North Carolina and Texas finding themselves on opposite sides of the bracket. They are the two largest — if not the two most well-known — programs in the event. They also are probably the two teams with the most NBA potential on their rosters. I also have no issue with Texas drawing the Division II host Silverswords, either.

My issue is with the first round game between Butler and Marquette.

I don’t think it is crazy to say that, come March, the Bulldogs and the Golden Eagles will be the two best teams that took part in this event. Butler shouldn’t be a secret at this point. They return everyone except Ronald Nored from last season’s youthful, but talented, roster while adding sharpshooters Rotnei Clark (the Arkansas transfer) and Kellen Dunham to a team whose biggest flaw was their struggles from the perimeter. They have high-major size, shooting and athleticism. If Chrishawn Hopkins and/or Jackson Aldridge can solidify the point guard spot, Brad Stevens’ team has a chance to win the Atlantic 10.

Marquette probably won’t win the Big East this season — the favorite is undoubtedly Louisville — but they certainly are a darkhorse Final Four contender. Their back court will be made up of Trent Lockett, Junior Cadougan and Vander Blue even if Todd Mayo never makes it back from suspension. Their front court of Davante Gardner, Chris Otule, Steve Taylor, Jamil Wilson and Juan Anderson certainly isn’t slacking, either.

This game has the potential to be one of the best games of the regular season.

And these two teams play in the first game of the first round.

 

At 10:30 am on a Monday time.

What a waste.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Iowa State’s starting center Jameel McKay remains suspended

Iowa State forward Jameel McKay celebrates on the court at the end of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 82-77. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Steve Prohm announced on Monday that starting center Jameel McKay will not be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Cyclones take on Texas Tech.

“He’ll practice today because I want him in practice,” Prohm said, “but game-wise, he’s suspended.”

McKay did not make the trip to Stillwater with the team on Saturday, where Iowa State beat Oklahoma State, 64-59. Prohm has not gotten into specifics regarding the cause of McKay’s suspension, but it’s reportedly an issue with the way he has been practicing. McKay is dealing with a nagging knee injury, which may play a role in the situation as well.

“My hope is he’ll be with us on Saturday,” Prohm said.

AP POLL: Villanova climbs to No. 1 in the country.

Jay Wright
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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Like the Coaches Poll, Villanova found themselves No. 1 in the AP Poll during the regular season for the first time in the history of the program.

And like the Coaches Poll, there isn’t much in the way of a consensus when it comes to who is the No. 1 team, as there are six teams that received No. 1 votes in the poll this week.

[NEW PODCAST]

[LATEST BRACKETOLOGY]

The biggest shock to me?

The No. 1 team in the NBC Sports Top 25, Iowa, received just 11 first place votes and is ranked fourth in the AP Poll.

They were ranked fifth in the Coaches Poll.

Can we get Fran McCaffery the love they deserve?

Here is the rest of the AP Poll:

1. Villanova (20-3, 32 first-place votes)
2. Maryland (21-3, 13)
3. Oklahoma (19-3, 7)
4. Iowa (19-4, 11)
5. Xavier (21-2)
6. Kansas (19-4, 1)
7. Virginia (19-4, 1)
8. Michigan State (20-4)
9. North Carolina (19-4)
10. West Virginia (19-4)
11. Oregon (18-4)
12. Miami (FL) (18-4)
13. Louisville (19-4)
14. Iowa State (17-6)
15. Texas A&M (18-5)
16. SMU (20-2)
17. Arizona (19-5)
18. Purdue (19-5)
19. Dayton (19-3)
20. Providence (18-6)
21. Baylor (17-6)
22. Kentucky (17-6)
23. USC (18-5)
24. Texas (16-7)
25. Wichita State (17-6)

DROPPED OUT: No. 22 Indiana, No. 25 South Carolina
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 23 USC, No. 24 Texas