Missouri loses at Arkansas, but don’t complain about the refs

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Barring a collapse down the stretch, Missouri isn’t going to miss the NCAA tournament. Losing 73-71 at Arkansas doesn’t change that.

They’ve beaten Illinois, VCU and Ole Miss and they have just one truly horrible loss — at LSU. Given the rest of the teams that are currently sitting on the bubble, the Tigers are in really good shape. Arkansas beats everyone at home. Losing is never a good thing, but a loss at Arkansas is far from reason to sound the alarm.

The bigger issue is how Missouri gave the game away down the stretch. (Before I start, yes, the Tigers have a legitimate gripe with the officiating down the stretch. I’ll get to that.)

With just over a minute left and a 65-63 lead, Phil Pressey turned the ball over trying to do to much on his own. That turnover led to a layup at the other end of the floor, and after Pressey hit a pull-up to give the Tigers the lead back on the ensuing possession, Missouri had a chance to extend their lead to two possessions when Keion Bell was fouled with 47 seconds, but he only hit one of the free throws.

After Missouri pushed their lead to four points, Bell was beaten off the dribble by BJ Young, who was given an and-one on a fairly ridiculous continuation call in which Young traveled before getting the shot off. He hit the free throw, cutting Missouri’s lead to 70-69. After Jabari Brown hit just one of two from the charity stripe, Young against blew by Bell, finishing another and-one that would give Arkansas a one point lead. After Missouri called a timeout, Pressey turned the ball over again — it was a bit of a questionable call, but I don’t think he was fouled — as a result of being out of control.

Arkansas hit one of two from the line and Missouri missed a three at the buzzer that would have won it.

Do the math, and Missouri ended the game by committing two turnovers, missing two free throws and allowing Young to blow by them twice in the final 1:19 as they were trying to protect a lead on the road.

Complain about the refs if you would like, but Missouri gave that game away down the stretch.

That’s what should sting.

Because as of today, Missouri’s only road win is at Mississippi State.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Virginia, Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Vandy in NIT Tip-Off

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NEW YORK (AP) — Virginia and Vanderbilt will meet in one semifinal of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off on Thanksgiving Day at Barclays Center.

Rhode Island and Seton Hall face off in the other semifinal with the winners meeting on Friday, Nov. 24.

This is the third straight year the Tip-Off has been held at Barclays Center. Eventual NCAA champion Villanova won the event in 2015. All games will be televised on ESPNU.

Non-bracketed teams in the NIT Season Tip-Off who will play games at campus sites are: Austin Peay, Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, Oakland City and UNC Asheville.

Miles Bridges explain why he returned to Michigan State

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Miles Bridges changed the landscape of the 2017-18 college basketball season on April 13.

The Michigan State forward spurned the NBA for another year in East Lansing. The decision not only meant that Bridges was a frontrunner for national player of the year, but solidified the Spartans as a national title contender.

But Bridges’ choice to return was still puzzling to many. The 6-foot-7 forward was projected as a lottery pick. Bridges explained his decision to Mike Decourcy of Sporting News in a story published on Thursday.

“He says, ‘You know what, Coach? I want to get better. I don’t want to be in the D-League. I’ve got buddies that are, and I just want to make sure when I go, I’m ready,’ ” Izzo recalled to Sporting News. “I looked at him and I said, ‘Done deal.’ For me, that was a done deal. It was a reasonable, sensible argument.”

Agents, friends, reporters, scouts, acquaintances, fans, strangers and family members — oh and, as we said, coaches — all had one opinion about how Bridges should spend the next year of his life. Miles had another, opposing, viewpoint.

Bridges told Decourcy that support came from his teammates, many of whom were returning to the team as well. Assuming the backcourt of Cassius Winston and Josh Langford make a leap forward, as well as incoming freshman Jaren Jackson providing an immediate impact, the Spartans’ title hopes could become a reality.

Bridges averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.5 blocks as a freshman at Michigan State. He’s rated as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.

Four conferences sign on to basketball officiating alliance

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Four more Division I conferences will join a men’s basketball officiating alliance formed last year by the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Atlantic 10 and Colonial Athletic Association.

The Big South, the Ivy League, the Northeast and the Patriot League are joining ahead of the 2017-18 season, according to announcements from the leagues Thursday. The alliance launched last summer for conferences to work together on officiating matters and enhance training, development, recruitment, retention and feedback for officials.

John Cahill, the Big East’s supervisor of officials, and Bryan Kersey, the ACC’s coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, will continue to lead the alliance operations.

ACC commissioner John Swofford says the new additions to the alliance “provide an even greater opportunity to build chemistry and quality” across the officiating ranks.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

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The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.