No surprise: Creighton picked to win Missouri Valley

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In the least surprising news of the day, Creighton was picked to win the Missouri Valley Conference at the league’s media day on Monday.

The Bluejays picked up 38 of a possible 40 votes, the other two going to Illinois State, who were picked to finish second. In order, Northern Iowa, Wichita State, Evansville, Drake, Indiana State, Missouri State, Bradley and Southern Illinois round out the voting.

Seems like a pretty close match to what we at CBT on NBC had in our Valley preview. The only huge difference being the discrepancy being the placement of Bradley. Sounds like the guy who wrote that preview for NBC might be an idiot. Or not. Who knows. Though I firmly believe the Braves have way too much coming back compared to the talent of the bottom-tier teams in the league, to finish in the basement.

Doug McDermott was another non-shocker, being tabbed as the preseason player of the year by the media. Along with McDermott, Colt Ryan of Evansville, Jackie Carmichael of Illinois State, Jake Odum of Indiana State and Ben Simons of Drake were selected to the preseason all-conference team. Four players were named honorable mention, Greg Echenique of Creighton, Anthony James and Seth Tuttle of Northern Iowa and Carl Hall of Wichita State.

Tuttle is a puzzling non-pick for the all-conference. The MVC Freshman of the Year from last season fills up stat sheets and should be a focal point in Ben Jacobson’s offense. Though it’d be incredibly tough to pick which of the five players on the all-conference team to take off. Guess that’s the whole point of the honorable mention list.

Illinois State has a lot with which new coach Dan Muller can work with, including only one true freshman, which means everyone knows the system. Though someone will have to step in and fill the void left by transfer Nic Moore. Also, look out for Southern Illinois to be a better-than-average team. There was a lot of talent that was being relegated to role-player-type action behind Mamadou Seck, but now guys like Dantiel Daniels and Jeff Early can expand their games with Seck gone.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images
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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.

 

VIDEO: Zion Williamson’s coach is holding a sleeping baby

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LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:

This is peak AAU basketball.

It will never be more AAU than that.

PHOTOS: Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball showdown was, of course, insane

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In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.

The crowd was insane for the game:

According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.

Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:

At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:

(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)

Puerto Rico Tip Off bracket revealed

AP Photo/Sean Rayford
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The bracket of the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip off was revealed Wednesday, setting up a showdown between a 2016 Final Four participant and the 2016 Big 12 tournament champion.

South Carolina and Iowa State headline the event, which will be played Nov. 16-19, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, opening against Illinois State while the Cyclones are on the bottom half, squaring off against Appalachian State.

Boise State vs. UTEP is the other top-half quarterfinal while Tulsa vs. Western Michigan is the other.

The championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Sunday, Nov. 19.

VIDEO: Michigan State’s Miles Bridges is dunking again

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Just what you wanted to see, a video of former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine throwing an alley-oop off the glass to current Michigan State star Miles Bridges in a Pro-Am in Michigan: