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)

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.

Swanigan to stay in 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.

Gonzaga to return Johnathan Williams III

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Losing Nigel Williams-Goss and Zach Collins to the professional ranks probably torpedoed Gonzaga’s chance of making another run to the NCAA tournament national title game, but after Johnathan Williams III announced on Wednesday that he will be returning to school and withdrawing from the NBA Draft, Gonzaga does appear to be a favorite to win the WCC title again.

Williams is now Gonzaga’s leading returning scorer and rebounder, anchoring a front court that also loses Przemek Karnowski to graduation. He was expected to go undrafted.

With Williams back in the fold, the Zags should be right there with Saint Mary’s in the race for the WCC title. Josh Perkins, Silas Melson and Killian Tillie all return as well.

ESPN was the first to report the news.