Still no timetable for Butler guard Rotnei Clarke’s return

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When Butler senior guard Rotnei Clarke fell into the basket stanchion in the first half of the Bulldogs’ 79-73 win at Dayton on Saturday afternoon the worst was feared for the sharpshooter.

With the team unable to give a concrete timetable in regards to when Clarke would be able to return to the floor the thought was that he could be out for much of the month of January, with head coach Brad Stevens simply offering up that the injury “is not season-ending by any means.”

Clarke is sore due to the neck sprain he was able to return to Indianapolis with the team last night, and the question of when he’ll be able to make his return remains.

Butler released the following statement on Clarke’s status on Sunday afternoon:

The Butler scoring leader underwent an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) in Indianapolis on Saturday evening after returning from Dayton.  He received treatment and did a light workout on Sunday.  No time table has been set for his return.

“The MRI confirmed the presence of a significant neck sprain. His spinal cord and cervical discs were viewed  normal,” said Butler trainer Ryan Galloy.  “Right now, he’s sore and stiff, but he’s out of the collar.  The next question is when he can resume contact.”

The Bulldogs have two home games this week, with Richmond visiting on Wednesday night and No. 9 Gonzaga on Saturday, and it remains to be seen if Clarke is able to go through a full contact practice. Based on Galloy’s quote it’s pretty clear that Clarke would need to do so in order to entertain any thoughts of returning to the lineup.

Against Dayton the Bulldogs shot 58.1% from the field and assisted on 19 of their 25 made field goals with Roosevelt Jones (16 points), Andrew Smith (13) and Khyle Marshall (12) leading the way offensively.

But just as big in the win was the production of the Butler bench. The Bulldog reserves, led by Kellen Dunham (eight points) and Erik Fromm (seven), outscored Dayton’s reserves 27-19.

With Clarke out of the lineup for the foreseeable future Stevens will need his non-starters to contribute even more offensively, especially when Gonzaga visits on Saturday night.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Virginia, Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Vandy in NIT Tip-Off

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NEW YORK (AP) — Virginia and Vanderbilt will meet in one semifinal of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off on Thanksgiving Day at Barclays Center.

Rhode Island and Seton Hall face off in the other semifinal with the winners meeting on Friday, Nov. 24.

This is the third straight year the Tip-Off has been held at Barclays Center. Eventual NCAA champion Villanova won the event in 2015. All games will be televised on ESPNU.

Non-bracketed teams in the NIT Season Tip-Off who will play games at campus sites are: Austin Peay, Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, Oakland City and UNC Asheville.

Miles Bridges explain why he returned to Michigan State

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Miles Bridges changed the landscape of the 2017-18 college basketball season on April 13.

The Michigan State forward spurned the NBA for another year in East Lansing. The decision not only meant that Bridges was a frontrunner for national player of the year, but solidified the Spartans as a national title contender.

But Bridges’ choice to return was still puzzling to many. The 6-foot-7 forward was projected as a lottery pick. Bridges explained his decision to Mike Decourcy of Sporting News in a story published on Thursday.

“He says, ‘You know what, Coach? I want to get better. I don’t want to be in the D-League. I’ve got buddies that are, and I just want to make sure when I go, I’m ready,’ ” Izzo recalled to Sporting News. “I looked at him and I said, ‘Done deal.’ For me, that was a done deal. It was a reasonable, sensible argument.”

Agents, friends, reporters, scouts, acquaintances, fans, strangers and family members — oh and, as we said, coaches — all had one opinion about how Bridges should spend the next year of his life. Miles had another, opposing, viewpoint.

Bridges told Decourcy that support came from his teammates, many of whom were returning to the team as well. Assuming the backcourt of Cassius Winston and Josh Langford make a leap forward, as well as incoming freshman Jaren Jackson providing an immediate impact, the Spartans’ title hopes could become a reality.

Bridges averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.5 blocks as a freshman at Michigan State. He’s rated as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.

Four conferences sign on to basketball officiating alliance

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Four more Division I conferences will join a men’s basketball officiating alliance formed last year by the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Atlantic 10 and Colonial Athletic Association.

The Big South, the Ivy League, the Northeast and the Patriot League are joining ahead of the 2017-18 season, according to announcements from the leagues Thursday. The alliance launched last summer for conferences to work together on officiating matters and enhance training, development, recruitment, retention and feedback for officials.

John Cahill, the Big East’s supervisor of officials, and Bryan Kersey, the ACC’s coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, will continue to lead the alliance operations.

ACC commissioner John Swofford says the new additions to the alliance “provide an even greater opportunity to build chemistry and quality” across the officiating ranks.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

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The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

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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.