Preseason NIT brackets released. Who’s getting upset?

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The brackets have finally been released for the Preseason NIT.

Michigan, Kansas State, Pitt and Virginia will host the regionals, which will be held on November 12th and 13th. If seeds hold, Kansas State will be taking on Virginia while Michigan will be paired up with Pitt in the Final Four, to be held at Madison Square Garden. You can see the full bracket here.

The beauty of the Preseason NIT, however, is that it is truly a tournament. Unlike the Gazelle Group events — the 2K Sports Classic or the Legends Classic — if one of the host teams happens to lose, they are out. They won’t be heading to NYC.

And there is a real chance that at least one of those four teams loses in the first two rounds. How?:

Michigan: The Wolverines may be one of the top teams in the country heading into next season, but Cleveland State will be a tough matchup for them in the second round. The Vikings lost some key players to graduation last season, but they bring back quite a bit of young talent — including potential star Anton Grady — and athleticism, which, when combined with their full-court pressure, could be enough to get Michigan out of a rhythm.

Pitt: Assuming the Panthers get past Fordham in the first round, they are going to have a tough matchup on their hands regardless of who they end up playing. Robert Morris is an intra-city rival with a strong program that is consistently battling for NEC titles and returns six of their eight rotation players from last season. And Lehigh? Well, they bring back a load of talent, including CJ McCollum. Just as Duke what that group is capable of.

Kansas State: The Wildcats are probably the second best team in this event, but they are also the most likely to get dropped prior to their trip to MSG. Why? Because of a potential second round date with North Texas. The Mean Green are loaded this season, especially if Jordan Williams and Chris Jones can stay eligible. Why? Because, in addition to talents like Alzee Williams, Justin Patton and Roger Franklin, UNT has Tony Mitchell on their roster. As in potential lottery pick Tony Mitchell.

Virginia: The Cavaliers probably have the toughest first round matchup out of all the hosts as they get Fairfield in the first round. If the Cavs can get by the Stags, Delaware probably stands a better chance of pulling the upset than the Zack Rosen-less Penn Quakers. Devon Saddler is the player to know on the Blue Hens, but remember the name Jarvis Threatt.

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

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

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After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

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Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

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Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

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John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.

Ohio State snags third 2018 commitment in a week with four-star guard Luther Muhammad

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Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.

Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.

Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.