Kenny Boynton, Ernest Ross

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)

Brandone Francis-Ramirez transferring out of Florida

Florida State center Jean Marc Christ Koumadje (21) fouls Florida guard Brandone Francis-Ramirez (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. (Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
(Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
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Brandone Francis-Ramirez is transferring out of the Florida program, the school announced on Wednesday.

A former top 40 recruit, Francis-Ramirez had his two seasons in Gainesville ruined by an academic issues and a loss of confidence. He was academically ineligible in 2014-15, practicing with the team during the second semester. He was granted a redshirt for the year, but he struggled to find any kind of a rhythm this past season. There was a two-month stretch in the middle of the year where he shot 6-for-58 from the floor and 2-for-31 from three.

On the season, he shot 20.2 percent from the floor and 16.9 percent from three.

“I want it to work out for him,” Gators coach Mike White said in a release. “We really appreciate what Brandone did here and wish him the best.”

One of Villanova’s title game stars undergoes knee surgery

Phil Booth, Jack McVeigh
(AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
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The forgotten star of the national title game underwent an arthroscopic on his left knee on Wednesday.

Phil Booth, who scored a season-high 20 points in the 2016 National Title game, will be a junior next season and one of the guys called upon to help replace Ryan Arcidiacono, who graduated. He should be ready to go by the middle of the summer; according to a statement put out by the program, Booth will need 6-to-8 weeks to heal.

“Phil is as mentally tough a young man as we have had at Villanova,” head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “He continually impresses our coaching staff with his outstanding attitude. Phil will attack this recovery challenge with great determination, as he does everything in life.”

Booth averaged 7.0 points and 2.2 assists this past season.

Jennings becomes seventh player to transfer from Kentucky

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell watches his team during the team's regional semifinal in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament against Washington in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 25, 2016. Washington won 85-72. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that sophomore forward Alexis Jennings will transfer, the seventh Wildcat to leave the program since last fall.

Jennings’ departure comes a week after Mitchell publicly addressed the mass exodus of players and assistant coaches and stressed the need for building stability. Jennings figured to be part of that process and the coach said in a release Wednesday night that “it saddens us that Alexis did not see a path for her at Kentucky. … She felt it was in her best interest to finish her career elsewhere and we owe her that opportunity.”

The 6-foot-2 Jennings started 18 of 33 games last season and averaged 10 points and 7.1 rebounds.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.