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)

Lonzo Ball says “I’m better than” Markelle Fultz

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Usually, it’s LaVar Ball that makes news for what he says.

His eldest son is now getting in on the business of generating headlines with something other than his play.

The UCLA star, who said he’ll enter the draft after just one season with the Bruins, claimed he’s the better prospect than Washington freshman Markelle Fultz, who many have pegged as the No. 1 pick in June’s draft.

“Markelle’s a great player,” Ball said, according to ESPN, “but I feel I’m better than him,” “I think I can lead a team better than him. Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him.”

Not exactly inflammatory stuff – like saying you could have beaten Michael Jordan, that you want a $1 billion apparel deal or a number of things his father has said – bu Ball is certainly projecting confidence. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. There’s quite a bit of money – and pride – at stake with the draft, and Ball put up a season worthy of comparison to Fultz, who had great numbers but played for an abysmal Washington team. Ball, on the other had, had strong numbers while leading UCLA to the Sweet 16.

Both are going to go at the top of a draft that’s stocked full of promising point guards. Which player goes before the other remains to be seen, but it’s likely public pronouncements aren’t going to affect the draft order.

 

UMass hires McCall away from Chattanooga

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UMass has found, once more, the man to take over its basketball program.

The Minutemen have reached an agreement with Chattanooga coach Matt McCall, the school announce Wednesday

“The tradition and resources that are in place not only make this one of the best basketball jobs in the Atlantic 10 Conference,” McCall said in a statement released by the school, “but one of the best jobs in the country. We couldn’t be more excited about becoming part of the UMass family and look forward to building upon the rich tradition that has been established here in the past.”

In McCall’s two years at Chattanooga, the Mocs to the NCAA tournament in 2016 and a 19-12 record this year that featured five-straight losses to end the season.

The move will take McCall out of the southeast for the first time in his career as he previously served as at Florida and Florida Atlantic before getting his first head coaching job at Chattanooga.

McCall wasn’t the Minutemen’s first choice to replace Derek Kellogg after three-straight lackluster seasons. Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey had agreed to take the job before a last-minute about-face that saw him return to the Eagles program just before his introductory press conference was scheduled to begin.

“Matt is a rising star in college basketball coaching who has been a key piece of three successful programs in his career,” UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said in a statement. “He has earned a reputation as a relentless worker, a great teammate and colleague and a confident leader of young men.

“Matt has worked with some of the most respected coaches and administrators in the country, who loudly sing his praises. Coach McCall’s appointment begins an exciting new chapter for our tradition-rich men’s basketball program at UMass.”

Despite being the second choice, McCall’s reputation in the coaching industry makes him a strong hire, having worked under Mike Jarvis and Billy Donovan. He took over at Chattanooga for Will Wade, and brought the Mocs to a 29-6 record and a  12-seed in the NCAA tournament in 2016.

UMass went to just one NCAA tournament under Kellogg (in 2014) during his nine seasons leading the Minutemen.

VIDEO: Frank Martin’s sideline demeanor as a high school coach

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South Carolina coach Frank Martin has the reputation of being rather, shall we say, intense on the sidelines during games.

The coach has a stare that seemingly could bore a hole through his players when they do something that doesn’t reach his level of expectation. Martin’s demeanor, though, didn’t just come into form once he hit the college ranks.

He was plenty intense on high school sidelines as well.

Martin won three titles while at Miami Senior in the mid-1990s, coaching the likes of future pros Steve Blake and Udonis Haslem. Now having reached his first career Final Four, that sideline persona has put him on the precipice of winning yet another championship, this time at the collegiate level.

South Carolina fans raise money to send “Gamecock Jesus” to Final Four

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South Carolina fans are sending one of their most recognizable compatriots to represent them this weekend.

Gamecock Jesus is heading to the Final Four.

South Carolina super fan Carlton Thompson is following the Gamecocks to Glendale as his fellow fans have raised over $7,500 to send the man known as “Gamecock Jesus” to Arizona for the team’s Final Four meeting with Gonzaga on Saturday night.

Thompson’s long hair, beard and presence at South Carolina games, even in lean times, earned him his nickname and apparently a following fervent enough to foot the bill for quite the trip.

“I’ve always dreamed it would be like this,” Thompson said last week about fan support at Gamecock games to the Post and Courier. “For years and years, it was so sparse with the crowds at the games. But once they started winning, the crowds started coming.”

Thompson is a 63-year-old VA hospital nurse, and has been attending South Carolina games for nearly 50 years.

Maryland’s Melo Trimble declares for the NBA Draft

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Melo Trimble’s career as a Maryland Terrapin is coming to an end. The junior guard is declaring for the NBA Draft and will sign with an agent.

“I am confident and excited to pursue an opportunity to play in the NBA,” Trimble said in a release. “I am proud of what my teammates and I were able to accomplish these past three seasons at Maryland. I developed many great relationships and friendships and together we able to create some very special moments for Maryland basketball. I want to thank Coach Turgeon for all of his support. He always believed in me. He challenged me and really helped in the development of my overall game. I am a more complete basketball player because of Coach Turgeon and the coaching staff. To stay at home and attend the University of Maryland is the best decision that I ever made and it was truly special to play in front of my family, friends and our amazing fans. Maryland will always be home.”

There was no better winner in college basketball the last three years than Melo. He changed the trajectory of Mark Turgeon’s program, winning 79 games in three years and ending his career 30-8 in games decided by six points or less. As a junior, Trimble and the Terps earned a No. 6 seed to the NCAA tournament, but they lost in the first round to Xavier. It was the only time in Trimble’s career that he didn’t reach the Sweet 16.

“Melo Trimble is a winner,” Mark Turgeon said on twitter. “Humble, hard-working, dedicated. Words can’t express what he’s done for our program. Always #StayMelo!”