No. 2 Jayhawks dress for success, hold off upset-minded Mountaineers

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MORGANTOWN, W.V. — New look, same old Jayhawks.

Kansas unveiled their new Adidas-designed “invisible” uniforms in their first visit to WVU Coliseum, but the result was the same we’ve seen again and again. Kansas won, 61 to 56. The only difference was the new look, and the new surroundings. It was their first trip to Morgantown to face new Big 12 member West Virginia.

The West Virginia pep band broke out a solid rendition of “The Time Warp” during  one timeout, and no doubt some in the crowd wished they could time-travel back to the days when the Mountaineers were in the Big East, where ranked teams fall like overripe fruit these days. But alas, they are in the Big 12 now, where Kansas has made winning the league title into an annual rite of spring.

There are plenty of games left, but the Jayhawks picked up a nice road win against a Bob Huggins-coached team tonight. The blueprint was easy to see – get the ball inside to Jeff Withey as often as possible – and it worked pretty well in the first half. Withey was 5-6 for 13 points in the first half, but his production dropped a bit in the second, when soft entry passes began to end up in the hands of streaking Mountaineers. Juwan Staten made four straight buckets for the Mountaineers during a seven-minute stretch, and ended up with 14 points on the night, but his efforts were ultimately in vain, as the Jayhawks buckled down and held on. Aaric Murray led West Virginia with 17 points on the night, including 3-4 from deep.

Asked about the 6’10” Murray’s deep shooting prowess, Travis Releford chuckeld and said “That’s not something we game-planned for.”

Kansas extended their winning streak to 19 games, and remained undefeated in Big 12 play thanks in part to 15 points apiece from seniors Jeff Withey and Travis Releford. Freshman Ben McLemore chipped in 13.

Kansas hosts Oklahoma State on February 2, while West Virginia and Texas Tech – currently both 2-5 in league play – will rumble in Lubbock the same day.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

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.