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Creighton/St. Mary’s highlights ‘BracketBusters’ line-up

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It’s here folks, the creamy, mid-major goodness we all love, the line-up for ESPN’s BracketBusters was released on Monday night, with a few games highlighting an, ahem, otherwise lack-luster slate.

First, the schedule:

Friday, Feb. 22

7 p.m.

North Dakota State at Akron, ESPN2

9 p.m.

Stephen F. Austin at Long Beach State, ESPNU

Saturday, Feb. 23

11 a.m.

Iona at Indiana State, ESPNU

1 p.m.

Eastern Kentucky at Valporaiso, ESPNU

Canisius at Vermont, ESPN3

2 p.m.

Pacific at Western Washington, ESPN3

3 p.m.

Montana at Davidson, ESPNU

Northwestern State at Niagara, ESPNU

4 p.m.

Detroit at Wichita State, ESPNN/ESPN2

6 p.m.

No. 16 Creighton at St. Mary’s, ESPN/ESPN2

8 p.m.

South Dakota State at Murray State, ESPN2

Denver at Northern Iowa, ESPN3

10 p.m.

Ohio at Belmont, ESPN2

In between, the one match-up worth spending the entire game on is No. 16 Creighton at St. Mary’s. Dougie McBuckets against the likes of Matthew Dellavedova for offensive supremacy. Both those teams could benefit off a win there.

Problem is, that’s the only game with that scenario in place.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a few decent games, Iona takes on Indiana State and South Dakota State brings Nate Wolters to Murray State to guard Isaiah Canaan. Ohio takes on Belmont. But in none of those games do BOTH teams help their tournament resumes.

So, what was the reason that Creighton ISN’T playing Belmont? I need a good one. Anyone? That’s a game that would be insane for the talent level, environment and what would be on the line. A win for either would all but seal an at-large berth.

Another scary good game not getting a ton of play? Long Beach State taking on Stephen F. Austin at home. Both teams could do some damage in the Big Dance. However, a win for either team, national television or not, won’t do much for their resumes come March.

Being someone who covered a game that defined what the series is about (St. Mary’s/Murray State last year), I think this year’s schedule was lacking. Creighton needs to be making a trip to Nashville to take on a Rick Byrd team that has jumped right into the Ohio Valley Conference and played like it’s still dominating the Atlantic Sun.

Some of these issues have been inconsistent for BracketBusters. Every few years they get it right, but in years like this, when the talent pool is down, it’s hard to get a lot of marquee mid-major teams together to play. You have to spread the wealth. I think that is what BracketBusters is trying to do this year.

David Harten is the founder of The Backboard Chronicles. Follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

VIDEO: Asheville player hits trick shot

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 18:  Kevin Vannatta #10 of the UNC Asheville Bulldogs drives against Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats in the first half during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 18, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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UNC-Asheville has gotten into the trick shot game.

The basketball program’s official Twitter account posted this video of guard Kevin Vannatta nailing a shot from the balcony of Kimmel Arena.

Nice shot, huh?

Vannatta, a junior from Upper Arlington, Ohio, started all 34 games for the Bulldogs last year, averaging 11.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from 3-point range. It looks, though , like he might be working on extending his range.

Northwestern finds new home for 2017-18

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Northwestern has found a temporary home while its arena undergoes a nine-figure renovation.

The Wildcats will play the 2017-18 season at Allstate Arena, about 15 miles west of Evanston, Ill. in Rosemont, the school announced Tuesday.

“We are excited to partner with Allstate Arena to host Northwestern men’s basketball games during the 2017-18 season while Welsh-Ryan Arena is undergoing its renovation,” Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips said in a statement. “The venue has a rich college basketball tradition in the Chicagoland area. I know that our fans will enjoy cheering on our team at Allstate Arena during what will be an exciting season.”

Allstate Arena previously had been home to DePaul, which is moving into its own new building this year. Capacity is around 18,000 for basketball.

Northwestern had its best season under coach Chris Collins last year, going 20-12 overall and 8-10 in the Big Ten.

The renovation to Welsh-Ryan Arena will bring the building – which opened in 1952 and last renovated in 1983 – into the 21st century by replacing wood bleachers, widening concourses, adding concessions, improving arena technology and adding new locker rooms at the cost of at least $110 million.

Construction is slated to begin in spring of 2017 and be completed in the fall of 2018.

George Washington tabs Maurice Joseph interim head coach

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George Washington announced on Tuesday that Maurice Joseph has been named interim head coach for the 2016-17 season.

“I am eager and well prepared to begin this journey with the 13 student-athletes in our locker room and the tight-knit group of coaches that I will rely upon heavily,” said Joseph. “It is a distinct honor to have the opportunity to be a mentor to our team in this new role. I have the utmost confidence that I will validate the trust that Provost Maltzman and Patrick Nero have placed in me, and that we will deliver a product that makes our students, alumni and fans across the globe proud of GW Basketball and the university.”

Joseph has been a part of the GW coaching staff for the last five years, a full-time assistant for the last three.

He takes over for Mike Lonergan, who coached Joseph for three years at Vermont. Lonergan was fired two weeks ago stemming from an investigation into allegations of abuse.

Lonergan’s other two assistants, Hajj Turner and Carmen Marciariello, both were interviewed for the position as well, according to sources. Turner had been Lonergan’s associate head coach for the past five years, since Lonergan took over at GW.

“In his five years at GW, Maurice has shown himself to be selflessly dedicated to the success of our student-athletes and fully committed to our department and university,” said Nero, GW’s athletic director. “His leadership ability and basketball acumen will bring focus and stability to the talented team we have this year. Our team, basketball staff and athletic department are looking forward to working together for a successful season.”

2016-17 CBT Expert Picks

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10:  Head coach Mike Krzyzewski hugs Grayson Allen #3 of the Duke Blue Devils after he fouled out against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during their 84-79 overtime loss during the quarterfinals of the 2016 ACC Basketball Tournament Verizon Center on March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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We are now less than six weeks away from the start of the college basketball season, which means that it is time for us to officially get our picks on the record.

Here, our four writers pick who we think will win each league, the national title and the major awards:

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CBT Podcast: Listen as we put together the NBC Sports Preseason All-American Team

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 26:  Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats reacts in the second half against the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at KFC YUM! Center on March 26, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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We figured that it wasn’t enough just to simply list out who was on our All-America teams and who was our National Player of the Year, not when the decision is so wide open. Not when there are so many worthwhile candidates.

So while you can go and see the NBCSports.com Preseason All-American team here and you can read our feature story on Duke’s Grayson Allen, the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year, here, you can also listen along as we try to hash out just who we wanted slotted in which spot.

Because we recorded it all on a podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Audioboom or anywhere else that podcasts are given away for free.

If you enjoy what you hear on this podcast, please rate and review the podcast, as it will help us reach more listeners.

Thanks for listening!

MORE: 2016-17 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule