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)

Report: Virginia Tech forward Blackshear still recovering from offseason foot surgery

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: Kerry Blackshear Jr. #24 of the Virginia Tech Hokies and Kamari Murphy #21 of the Miami Hurricanes go for a rebound in the second half during the quarterfinals of the 2016 ACC Basketball Tournament Verizon Center on March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Virginia Tech sophomore forward Kerry Blackshear will miss the start of training camp as he continues to recover from offseason foot surgery, according to a report from Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The 6-foot-10 Blackshear played in all 35 games for the Hokies last season as he battled through the foot injury to average 6.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. According to Barber’s report, Blackshear had surgery on his right foot five days after the 2015-16 season ended, but he’s still wearing a walking boot to help recover. There has been no timetable given for Blackshear’s return.

Blackshear will be a key piece for a Virginia Tech team that is a bit thin up front this season. Freshman Khadim Sy can provide some minutes up front, but he’s inexperienced and center Nick Fullard has to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules. Getting a healthy Blackshear will be a key storyline for a Virginia Tech team that many will have in the preseason top 25.

Indiana roster dealing with handful of injuries as practice begins

BLOOMINGTON, IN - NOVEMBER 20:  A general view of  the SMU Mustangs game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall on November 20, 2014 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Indiana has been hit with the injury buy a bit during the start of practice and it doesn’t only involved the recent announcement of knee surgery for senior Collin Hartman.

According to a report from the Indiana Daily Student the Hoosiers are also dealing with a knee injury for junior college transfer forward Freddie McSwain and sophomore Juwan Morgan hasn’t been cleared for practice yet after offseason shoulder surgery.

The 6-foot-6 McSwain had a knee injury flare up when he came to Indiana and had surgery to clean it up. Crean told the Indiana Daily Student that McSwain was still a few weeks from returning.

That means Indiana has to find early practice minutes to replace Hartman, Morgan and McSwain up front which gives more reps to players like O.G. Anunoby and freshman big man De’Ron Davis.

Since Anunoby and Davis both dealt with some offseason injuries and guard Robert Johnson was recently cleared to return, Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean is remaining cautious during the early part of practice this season. Crean also has to monitor the return of starting guard James Blackmon Jr. after he missed most of last season with a torn ACL.

“We would have already practiced this morning and they would be ready to go tonight, if this were a year ago,” Crean said in the report. “We have to tailor make this thing. We can’t be in too much of a rush with these guys.”

Obviously, the frontcourt injuries are something to keep an eye on for Indiana during the early part of the season. None of the three injuries seem severe, but Hartman’s timetable to return hasn’t been listed and McSwain and Morgan are missing valuable early time in practice.

It’ll be interesting to see if this helps younger players like Anunoby and Davis get more acquainted with the first team early on since both could have an impact this season.

Texas lands four-star Class of 2017 guard Jase Febres

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Texas and head coach Shaka Smart continue to recruit at a high level, especially in the state of Texas, as the Longhorns landed a commitment from Class of 2017 four-star guard Jase Febres on Friday night.

The 6-foot-5 Febres is considered the No. 63 overall prospect in the Rivals national Class of 2017 rankings as he burst on the national radar this summer with some strong shooting performances. Febres shot over 40 percent from three-point range during the month of July after battling through injury during the spring. Besides owning good size for a wing shooter, Febres also takes pride in defending and he can rebound a bit from the wing as well.

Febres is going to have to improve his overall offensive package if a defense plays him off the three-point line, but he has upside as a three-and-D guy with the Longhorns.

The Class of 2017 is starting to round into shape for Texas as Febres joins four-star power forward Jericho Sims and four-star forward Royce Hamm. Since taking over the Texas job, Smart has done a great job of keeping local talent home as he now has five four- and five-star prospects from the state in the last two classes.

 

VIDEO: Kentucky fans get married in the ticket line for Big Blue Madness

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Kentucky fans have unique ways of making their annual Big Blue Madness event the most chaotic tip-off event of the season. While Big Blue Nation is waiting in line for tickets to this year’s festivities in Tent City, one couple decided to go the extra mile.

After securing the first spot in line for tickets, Ray Branham and Vicki Harvey opted to get married. According to a post from Drew Franklin of Kentucky Sports Radio, the couple had already been talking about tying the knot, but decided to make the move once they had the top spot in line. As you can see by the wedding video, it was a very Kentucky-themed ceremony as the duo got married in front of friends and other Kentucky fans.

I can’t say I’m surprised two Kentucky fans decided to get married in line for something like Big Blue Madness and this (unplanned) wedding gives this year’s event something unique that we will always remember.

Penn State loses freshman on day practice starts

Patrick Chambers
AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato
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On the day that college basketball practice is to start, Penn State head coach Pat Chambers announced that his roster would be changing.

Joe Hampton, a 6-foot-8, 290 pound power forward from Maryland, will be leaving the program.

“Joe has made the decision to leave the program based on personal reasons,” Chambers said. “We wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors.”

Hampton was a three-star prospect that missed his senior season at Oak Hill Academy with torn ACL, but he reportedly enrolled at Penn State in May, before the rest of the Nittany Lion recruit class.