Indiana v Purdue

Indiana grabs Big Ten lead, No. 1 seed in newest bracket

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The Super Bowl is behind us.  Selection Sunday is rapidly approaching.  Which means college basketball takes center stage for the next two months.  By beating Michigan on Saturday, the Indiana Hoosiers took center stage, too.  IU vaulted into first place in the Big Ten, grabbed a No. 1 ranking in the polls, and landed atop the Midwest Region as a No. 1 seed in our newest bracket.

Indiana is joined on the top line by Florida, Kansas, and Michigan.  The aforementioned Wolverines have quite a resume, too, and have the No. 1 seed in the West Region.  The IU-UM rematch in Ann Arbor is March 10.  As for Kansas, the Jayhawks still have more Top 50 RPI wins (7) than anyone else, and they also have nine (9) victories over teams which currently project into the Field of 68.  Thus, KU stays as the No. 1 seed in the South.  Florida is steamrolling through the SEC and has been dominant in winning 10 straight games.   For those interested in the top of the s-curve it looks like this: Florida, Kansas, Indiana, and Michigan.  Arizona and Duke are close behind.

While the race for No. 1 seeds is intriguing, the bubble continues to be quite fluid.  La Salle, Temple, Indiana State, St. John’s and Arizona State are among the last few teams in today’s update.  Villanova, St. Mary’s, Charlotte, Illinois, and Boise State are among those just missing.   We also have teams like Virginia – which boasts a resume filled with some quality wins and mind-numbing losses.   It should be quite a race to the finish line.

Enjoy another great week of hoops.

UPDATED: February 5, 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)

  • St. John’s vs. Indiana State | West Region
  • Arizona State vs. Temple | South Region
  • NORFOLK STATE vs. CHARLESTON-SOUTHERN | Midwest Region
  • BRYANT vs. FLORIDA GULF COAST | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

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

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

Last Five teams in (at large): La Salle, Temple, Indiana State, St. John’s, Arizona State

First Five teams out (at large): Villanova, St. Mary’s, Charlotte, Illinois, Boise State

Next Five teams out (at large): Virginia, Maryland, Southern Miss, Massachusetts, Florida State

Breakdown by Conference …

Big East (8): Louisville, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh, St. John’s

Big Ten (6): Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, 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

SEC (5): Missouri, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama

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

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

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), AKRON (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)

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.