Florida grabs No. 1 seed in East in latest bracket

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Florida grabs a No. 1 seed in the East Region in our latest bracket projection. The other number one seeds are Kansas, Michigan, and Arizona.  It’s shaping up to be quite a race for the top line.  Indiana, Syracuse, and Duke are close behind.  It would take some help, but it’s not impossible for Gonzaga or even Butler to be considered a top-line team if those two keep piling up wins.  Several other teams are in the mix, too.  An outright winner of the Big Ten will almost certainly garner consideration.

As for the bubble, wait a day, it’s bound to change.  Consider Kentucky.  The Wildcats numbers are pretty blah.  By holding off LSU, UK stays in the field as one of our last five “in” today.  With visits to Ole Miss and Texas AM up next, it’s a huge week for Big Blue Nation.  Villanova and La Salle both join the field thanks to good weeks. Villanova beat Syracuse and Louisville back-to-back.  La Salle beat Butler and VCU.  While slotted only one spot different on the s-curve, Villanova drops to the 12-line to avoid conference conflicts.

Following the Super Bowl, the countdown to Selection Sunday will take center stage.  Here’s to a great week of hoops.

UPDATED: January 29, 2013

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid based on current standings. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UTEP, BYU, etc). Records are for games against Division I teams only.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Saint Louis vs. Indiana State | East Region
  • Iowa State vs. Arizona State | West Region
  • NORFOLK STATE vs. CHARLESTON-SOUTHERN | East Region
  • BRYANT vs. FLORIDA GULF COAST | South Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EASTWashington, DC SOUTHDallas                                       
Lexington Kansas City
1) FLORIDA 1) KANSAS
16) NORFOLK ST / CHARL-SOUTHERN 16) BRYANT / FLA GULF COAST
8) Notre Dame 8) Wisconsin
9) Oklahoma State 9) Colorado
Austin Austin
5) NC State 5) Missouri
12) Saint Louis / Indiana State 12) Villanova
4) Ohio State 4) NEW MEXICO
13) LEHIGH 13) OHIO
Auburn Hills San Jose
6) Kansas State 6) Marquette
11) North Carolina 11) Kentucky
3) Michigan State 3) OREGON
14) DAVIDSON 14) HARVARD
Philadelphia Dayton
7) UNLV 7) Minnesota
10) MEMPHIS 10) Oklahoma
2) SYRACUSE 2) BUTLER
15) NORTHEASTERN 15) SOUTHERN
MIDWEST – Indianapolis WEST – Los Angeles
Auburn Hills Salt Lake City
1) MICHIGAN 1) ARIZONA
16) STONY BROOK 16) LONG BEACH
8) Mississippi 8) VCU
9) Colorado State 9) Baylor
Kansas City San Jose
5) WICHITA STATE 5) Cincinnati
12) MID TENNESSEE ST 12) BELMONT
4) Louisville 4) Creighton
13) SO DAKOTA STATE 13) S.F. AUSTIN
Salt Lake Lexington
6) UCLA 6) San Diego State
11) Temple 11) Iowa State / Arizona State
3) GONZAGA 3) MIAMI-FL
14) LOUISIANA TECH 14) VALPARAISO
Philadelphia Dayton
7) Georgetown 7) Pittsburgh
10) Illinois 10) La Salle
2) Duke 2) Indiana
15) NIAGARA 15) MONTANA

NOTES on the BRACKET: Kansas is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Michigan, Florida, and Arizona.

Last Five teams in (at large): Kentucky, Saint Louis, Iowa State, Indiana State, Arizona State

First Five teams out (at large): St. John’s, Boise State, Maryland, St. Mary’s, Wyoming

Next Five teams out (at large): Alabama, Charlotte, Virginia, Iowa, Southern Miss

Breakdown by Conference …

Big East (8): Louisville, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Villanova

Big Ten (7): Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin

Big 12 (6): Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Oklahoma, Iowa State

Pac 12 (5): Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, Oregon, Arizona State

Atlantic 10 (5): Butler, VCU, Temple, La Salle, Saint Louis

Mountain West (4): San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico, Colorado State

ACC (4): Duke, NC State, North Carolina, Miami-FL

SEC (4): Missouri, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi

Missouri Valley (3): Creighton, Wichita State, Indiana State

West Coast (1): Gonzaga

Conference USA (1): Memphis

Conference Automatic Qualifiers … BELMONT (Ohio Valley), LEHIGH (Patriot), MIDDLE TENNESSE ST (Sunbelt), SOUTH DAKOTA ST (Summit), VALPARAISO (Horizon), DAVIDSON (Southern), LOUISIANA TECH (WAC), NIAGARA (MAAC), STEPHEN F. AUSTIN (Southland), OHIO (MAC), FLORIDA GULF COAST (A-Sun), HARVARD (IVY), LONG BEACH (Big West), NORTHEASTERN (Colonial), STONY BROOK (American East), MONTANA (Big Sky), NORFOLK STATE (MEAC), CHARLESTON-SOUTHERN (Big South), BRYANT (NEC), SOUTHERN (SWAC)

LaVar Ball selling “Stay In Yo Lane” shirts

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Create controversy. Profit from controversy.

It’s not an especially new or original strategy, but it’s one that LaVar Ball continues to try to exploit.

The infamous basketball dad is at it again, looking to capitalize on the uproar/kerfuffle/news cycle/debate/ickiness he created when he belittled FS1’s Kristine Leahy, telling her to “stay in your lane” on multiple occasions when claiming the Big Baller Brand didn’t need to market to women.

Well, they are now, with a nod to Ball’s proclamation, selling “STAY IN YO LANE” tees, for both men and women.

Marketing misogyny. Isn’t that nice.

It’s clear that LaVar Ball isn’t going to shy away from the public spotlight anytime soon, especially with eldest son Lonzo looking destined for the Lakers and middle son LiAngelo set to join UCLA, and he’s going to do his best to use that light to push the BBB franchise that scared away the world’s biggest apparel companies.

This plan has no mystery, subtlety or taste. Which might as well be the Big Baller Brand slogan.

Mykhailiuk returning to Kansas for senior season

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Kansas’ attempt for a 14th consecutive Big 12 title, and run for Bill Self’s second national title, got a shot in the arm Wednesday.

Svi Mykhailiuk announced that he will return to Lawrence for his final season of eligibility. “Senior year going to be fun,” he wrote on his Instagram page.

Senior year gonna be fun😈👌🏼🤘🏼 #KUCMB

A post shared by Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (@sviat_10) on

The Jayhawks were already going to be loaded this season with Devonte Graham, a potential All-American, returning for his senior season and Udoka Azubuike healthy after missing last year due to injury along with Malik Newman becoming eligible after a transfer from Mississippi State and recruits Billy Preston and Marcus Garrett bolstering the ranks. The return of Mykhailiuk, though, only solidifies Kansas’ place not only atop the Big 12, but in the country.

Mykhailiuk, a 6-foot-8 forward, had something of a breakthrough season as a junior, posting career highs nearly across the board, including shooting 39.8 percent on nearly five 3-point shot attempts per game. With his size and shooting ability, Mykhailiuk was sure to garner professional interest, even though it would have been more likely than not he would been drafted in the second round of next month’s draft.

Mykhailiuk’s situation is certainly a unique one for college basketball as the Ukraine native enrolled at Kansas in 2014 just after his 17th birthday. He won’t turn 20 until next month, making him the same age as many sophomores and more likely to be viewed by NBA teams in the future as having upside, rather than a typical 22- or 23-year-old senior who scouts look at as having come close to reaching their ceiling.

Mykhailiuk wasn’t going to be the linchpin of Kansas’ success next season, but his decision to return shouldn’t be underestimated. His size, experience, skill and versatility provide the Jayhawks with a real weapon that will help alleviate pressure and expectations from other players up and down the roster. He’s very much a difference-maker for a team that will be contending for a spot in the Final Four.

Caleb Swanigan to stay in NBA draft

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Caleb Swanigan is leaving Purdue and staying in the NBA draft.

The Boilermaker big man held as much sway on the college basketball landscape with his decision as nearly any player who declared for the draft without an agent. After a season in which he became a double-double machine and averaged 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, Swanigan would have been one of – if not the – favorites for National Player of the Year while also making Purdue right at the top of the Big Ten with Michigan State.

Instead, he’ll end his collegiate career after a pair of seasons and one Sweet 16 appearance in West Lafayette. As a professional prospect, Swanigan is an interesting case. He was as productive of player as college basketball has seen in recent years as a sophomore, putting up 20-20 games with ridiculous consistency. He’s got some range, but limited quickness and athleticism. The question will be how his game – and frame – will translate into the new NBA that prioritizes versatility, shooting and athleticism. Right now, not many have him pegged as a sure-fire first-round pick.

The loss for Purdue is hard to overstate given just how good “Biggie” was. There’s just no replacing that type of production in the lineup. Still, Matt Painter and the Boilermakers still have an intriguing group, with Isaac Haas and Vince Edwards both electing to return to school after dipping their toes in the NBA waters. There’s some other intriguing young pieces there that will keep Purdue interesting in the Big Ten race.

Florida State picks up late commit from McDonald’s All-American

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The losses sustained by Florida State have been numerous and significant. Three players declared early for the NBA Draft. Another two contributors were lost to graduation. All in all, the Seminoles haven’t had the greatest of springs.

Wednesday, though, they got some good news.

McDonald’s All-American wing M.J. Walker committed Leonard Hamilton’s program to give Florida State a late, and important, addition to its 2017 recruiting class, beating the likes of Ohio State, Georgia Tech and UCLA.

Walker, a 6-foot-5 guard, gives the Seminoles yet another five-star prospect after landing Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac in the last two recruiting classes. Walker will help Hamilton and Co. reboot after both Bacon and Isaac, along with Xavier Rathan-Mayes, all left school to pursue professional careers after the Seminoles’ 26-9 season that saw them advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Walker becomes the sixth member of Hamilton’s 2017 recruiting class that was previously headlined by four-star 7-footer Ikechukwu Obiagu. That group will be tasked to retool a team losing not only major NBA-level talent, but also major production. The Seminoles won’t return a single player who averaged double-digit points per-game last year and just one who played at least 20 minutes per night.

Michigan returns Mo Wagner, loses D.J. Wilson

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The best-case scenario did not take place for Michigan this week.

The Wolverines waited for four weeks to hear back from their pair of mobile big men, and the news on Mo Wagner was positive. The 6-foot-10 junior from Germany announced on Wednesday that he will return to school after testing the NBA Draft waters.

The news was not as fortunate with D.J. Wilson, who announced less than ten hours before the deadline that he will be signing with an agent and turning pro. Wilson is projected as a late first round or early second round pick.

Without Wilson in the fold, Michigan lacks some front court depth, which will probably be enough to keep them out of the preseason top 25.