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It’s March 1st. “Madness Season” is officially here.

And it makes sense that on the first day of “Madness Season” we bring news of hideous uniforms, new basketball conferences and Duke moving to 0-4 in games where the opposing fans storm the court.

Let’s hit the links.

Friday’s Top games:
7:00 p.m. – Harvard @ Princeton
7:00 p.m. – Loyola (Md.) @ Iona
9:00 p.m. – Fairfield @ Manhattan

Read of the Day:
What if Jay Bilas ran the NCAA? If there’s a guy who could fix the problems with college athletics, it’s Jay Bilas. Ever wonder how Bilas would solve the hot mess involving University of Miami and Nevin Shapiro? Click here. (Deadspin via Bloomberg View)

Top Stories:
Late Night Snacks: Joe Harris leads Virginia past No. 3 Duke: Morehead State and and Tennessee State put on a thriller in the OVC, and Gonzaga survived BYU and Virginia stormed the court again Duke.

Virginia bolsters NCAA tournament resume with win over No. 3 Duke: With as many bad losses as Virginia had, they desperately needed to secure a win over a top-5 team. Joe Harris led the Wahoos over the Blue Devils, scoring a season-high 36 points.

Duke lost, but don’t go getting all panicked just yet: This is almost exactly the same as what I wrote when Duke lost at Maryland two weeks ago. Sure they lost on the road, but trust us. Don’t panic.

Report: ‘Catholic 7′ to split following current academic year, keep Big East name: Thursday afternoon it was reported that the Catholic-7 members will break away from the current conference at the end of this academic year, and will keep the Big East name. This is big news.

Bubble update: Tennessee making a push for NCAA consideration: CBT’s resident bracketologist Dave Ommen provides the latest updates on the tournament bubble.

Bubble Banter: Who helped and who hurt their tourney chances? North Carolina continues to play their way back into the field of 68, and Temple’s win over Detroit keeps the Owls in discussion for an at-large bid.

NCAA grants St. John’s forward Orlando Sanchez one year of eligibility: Sanchez’s eligibility had been under questioned all season because of three minutes of playing time for the Dominican National team in 2010.

Hoops Housekeeping:
– NCAA will release their decision on the Saint Mary’s basketball investigation. The Gaels have been subject of an NCAA inquiry since last summer, looking into the recruitment of some of their previous Australian players. (San Jose Mercury News)

– Notre Dame’s Scott Martin has decided to call it a career after six years. The forward will undergo career-ending knee surgery. (Sporting News)

– Wisconsin forward Ryan Evans, he of the “jump shot free throw” fame, injured his knee in practice yesterday. The severity of his status is still undetermined. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
Observations & Insight:
– Ugliest. Uniforms. Ever. (Bruins Nation)

– There was an ugly scene during Virginia’s court-storming against No. 3 Duke. Duke has been involved in four court-stormings this season. Coach-K is spot on with his concerns. (Wilmington Star News)

– Expansionocalypse struck again yesterday, with the Catholic-7 taking the Big East name and adding Butler and Xavier. The “Big East v.2.0” is going to screw up things for a lot of other leagues. (USA Today)

– Creighton officials remain mum about inclusion in the new Catholic-7. (Omaha World Herald)

– Andy Katz on the brand victory earned by the departing Big East schools. (ESPN)

– Connecticut has had a rough nine months or so. Things got worse yesterday with the news that the Catholic-7 would be breaking away from the Big East at the end of the year. No school has lost as much from conference realignment as UConn has. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Think about it. In just under a decade Butler has gone from 6th place in the Horizon League the new era of Big East basketball. (Indianapolis Star)

– Bill Self was not thrilled with the Big-XII’s decision to release a statement of officiating in regards to the controversial ending to Monday night’s thriller against Iowa State. (Wichita Eagle)

– Is a good win better than a bad loss? No team better typifies this ongoing debate than the Virginia Cavaliers. (The Backboard Chronicles)

– By defeating Hartford last night, Stony Brook captured the America East regular season championship. (Mid-Major Madness)

– Although UConn is not eligible for postseason play, Big East games against the Huskies will count towards determining Big East Tournament tie-breakers. (Syracuse Post-Standard)

– Just how far ahead is Otto Porter from the rest of the Big East PoY competition? (Big East Basketblog)

– This is crunch time for a handful of tournament hopefuls. Mike DeCourcy details the three-week long trek through the pressure cooker. (Sporting News)
Odds & Ends:
– The new Adidas March Madness uniforms are so ugly, a petition has been sent to the White House. Normally, I’m not big on petitions. But I’d sign this one twice. (The Pitch)

– Kansas head coach Bill Self received a letter of apology from the Iowa State student government for the incidents that took place following the Jayhawk’s stunning comeback win at Iowa State. (Fox Sports)

In honor of Chane Behanan’s monstrous dunk over Worrel Clahar, here are the ten best dunks in Louisville history. (Card Chronicle)

– Kenny Kadji replicated LeBron James’ between-the-legs warm-up dunk during the pregame shootaround against Virginia Tech. (The U Hoops)

– James Fraschilla is easily my favorite walk-on in the country. (Fox Sports Southwest)
Picture of the Day:
No caption necessary. (H/T @ThomasBeisner)


Dunk of the Day:

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Rick Pitino: Louisville ‘just ignored’ in top 25 due of scandal

Rick Pitino
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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Louisville beatdown Saint Louis at the Barclays Center on Sunday night, a 77-57 win that was much closer at halftime than the final score might indicate.

The win moved the Cardinals to 5-0 on the season, and that, in turn, got Louisville into the back end of both top 25 polls.

They’re 24th in the AP Poll and 22nd in the Coaches Poll, but that happened on Monday morning. On Sunday night, Pitino made sure to get a rant in about how this team is viewed and why pundits and voters should overlook the scandal currently plaguing his program.

“I think people are looking at that and they’re not really studying the team,” he said, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, adding that he thinks the team is “just ignored” because of the accusations leveled by self-described madam Katina Powell in the book she published back in October.

And here’s the thing: he is 100 percent correct. Louisville was overlooked in the preseason because the scandal, when combined with the fact that the Cardinals are integrating so many new pieces into their rotation, made it tough to see how they would be able to compete at a level that we’ve come to expect out of Louisville teams.

I know that because it’s why my colleagues at, against my wishes, refused to allow me to rank Louisville in the preseason top 25. In other words, I’ve had first-hand interactions with the haters. But if we’re going to be honest here, scandal or no scandal, Louisville probably wasn’t going to find their way into the preseason top 25, not when they had to replace Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell.

And scandal or no scandal, no team from outside the top 25 is going to play their way into the top 25 by beating the likes of North Florida and St. Francis (NY) without some shenanigans — like Fred VanVleet getting hurt, like Indiana collapsing, like Arizona and Cal and Notre Dame playing their way out of the top 20 — happening around the country.

So Pitino is right: the scandal probably did have an impact on how his team was viewed in the preseason.

But Pitino the scandal isn’t what kept them out of the top 25 until Monday.

That weak non-conference schedule and roster turnover was why.

And if we’re going to be honest here, it probably should have kept them out for another week.

Brooks’ big game leads No. 15 Oregon over Fresno State 78-73

Dillon Brooks, Torren Jones
AP Photo/Chris Pietsch
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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Dillon Brooks had 21 points and 10 rebounds and No. 15 Oregon staved off a late rally by Fresno State for a 78-73 victory Monday night.

Chris Boucher and Elgin Cook added 14 points each for the Ducks (6-0), who led 70-52 with 6:35 to play before Marvelle Harris scored 13 points in a 16-2 run by the Bulldogs (5-1) that cut the deficit to four.

A driving layup by Brooks put Oregon up 74-68 with 1:20 left, and the Ducks held on by making four of six free throws in the final 45 seconds.

Harris, who didn’t score until the 12:04 mark of the second half, led Fresno State with 18 points, while Paul Watson added 11 and Torren Jones had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The Bulldogs won the rebounding battle 41-32 behind Jones and Karachi Edo, who had nine rebounds and 10 points.

Freshman Tyler Dorsey, Oregon’s leading scorer at 15.2 points per game, finished with 12.

The Ducks scored the game’s first 11 points, went up by as many as 14 and took a 37-25 halftime lead. The Ducks did most of the damage from inside the 3-point arc (9 of 10) and at the free throw line, outscoring the Bulldogs 13-5.

Fresno State, meanwhile, missed its first six shots from the field, shot 29.0 percent (9 of 31) and saw its top two scorers, Harris and Cezar Guerrero, held scoreless for the first 20 minutes.

The senior guards came in averaging 20.2 and 13.2 points per game, respectively.


Fresno State: Harris, the preseason choice for Mountain West Conference player of the year, needed one point to crack the Bulldog’s all-time top 10 in scoring. After going scoreless in the first half, he finished with 18 to rank 10th with 1,425, one behind Tod Bernard in ninth place, in 107 career games. . The Bulldogs fell to 2-10 all-time against Oregon. They last time they beat the Ducks, who have won the last five meetings, was in 1995. . Fresno State hasn’t beaten a Top 25 team on the road since 2000.

Oregon: The double-double was the second of the season Brooks and fourth of his career. . The Ducks are 40-2 against nonconference opponents since moving into Matthew Knight Arena five years ago. . The 6-0 start is Oregon’s second in the last nine years. The Ducks started 13-0 two seasons ago.