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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)

source:

 
 
Dunk of the Day:

 
 
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No. 5 Xavier stumbles at Creighton, lose 70-54

Creighton's Cole Huff (13) and Toby Hegner, left, guard Xavier's Jalen Reynolds (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Mo Watson went for a career-high 32 points, seven boards and five assists as Creighton jumped out to an early 21-4 lead and never looked back, beating No. 5 Xavier, 70-54, in Omaha on Tuesday night.

 

It was a massive win for the Bluejays, who still have an outside shot at earning an at-large bid this season. (We wrote all about that here.)

As well as Creighton played, the bigger story here may actually be Xavier, who lost for just the third time this season; they had been the only top ten team with just two losses to their name.

The issue for the Musketeers tonight was two-fold, but they both are a symptom of what could be an issue down the road for this team: Xavier doesn’t really have a true point guard.

They certainly didn’t have anyone to stop Watson. By the second half, they had essentially asked Reynolds, who was playing the middle of their 1-3-1 zone to matchup with Watson. It was weird but was actually somewhat effective.

The Musketeers also started out ice cold from the floor, missing 11 of their first 13 shots, and those misses led to leak outs from Bluejays, who got layups and open threes in transition to build that 17 point lead. Once Xavier got behind, it turned into scramble mode for Xavier. They forced shots early in the clock and didn’t start pounding the ball into the paint until it was too late. What they needed was someone to be able to settle things, to ensure that offensive would get initiated and sets would get executed when they were able to get the lead down to single digits.

That 1-for-19 shooting performance from beyond the arc certainly didn’t help matters, and neither did the fact that they got just nine field goals all game from players not named James Farr or Jalen Reynolds. The most frustrating part for head coach Chris Mack? They had good shots. It wasn’t like Creighton took away everything that Xavier wanted to do.

The kids just had one of those nights where nothing went down.

Those happen.

And when you combine them with a total inability to contain the opposing team’s point guard, what you get is a 16 point loss on the road against a team that was desperate to get a good win.

Gill’s 16, ‘D’ lead No. 7 Virginia past Virginia Tech, 67-49

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AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Anthony Gill scored 16 points and No. 7 Virginia turned the tables on state rival Virginia Tech with a 67-49 victory Tuesday night, the Cavaliers’ seventh straight.

Isaiah Wilkins added a career-best 14 points and Malcolm Brogdon had 12 for the Cavaliers (20-4, 9-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Virginia avenged a 70-68 loss to the Hokies in Blacksburg on Jan. 4 in what rates as their worst performance of the season, and extended their winning streak at John Paul Jones Arena to 17 games.

Freshman Justin Robinson scored 16 points and classmate Chris Clarke had 11 in his first action for the Hokies (13-12, 5-7) since breaking his right foot in late December. Virginia Tech’s top two scorers, Zach LeDay (16.0 ppg) and Seth Allen (14.5), were limited to seven and six points, respectively, in part because of foul trouble.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett said his team wasn’t ready to play when it lost to the Hokies earlier, but they have been surging of late and were focused from the outset. They were credited with assists and 14 of their first 15 baskets and forced 10 turnovers in the first half; they forced just eight in the last meeting of the teams.

For most of the game, the Hokies had more turnovers than field goals.

The Cavaliers led 32-20 at halftime and extended their advantage to 47-29 on a three-point play by Mike Tobey with 12:11 remaining. It capped an 11-4 run for Virginia, during which LeDay was whistled for his fourth foul. On Virginia’s next trip down court, it got the ball to Gill inside and LeDay basically backed off and let him score, quickly earning a spot on the bench.

The Cavaliers’ lead never dipped into single digits again.

The Hokies had just eight turnovers and outscored Virginia 26-6 off turnovers in their first meeting. This time, Virginia Tech had 10 turnovers by halftime and the Cavaliers had already turned them into 15 points. Virginia Tech finished with 16 field goals and 15 turnovers.

Already leading 9-6, Virginia got scoring from eight players in a 23-8 run that spanned about 8 1/2 minutes.

Gill started it with a dunk, Brogdon hit a 3-pointer, London Perrantes had a four-point play and Wilkins finished it with two free throws, giving the Cavaliers a 32-14 lead with 2:06 left in the half. They didn’t score again, and the Hokies closed within 32-20 by halftime.

TIP-INS

Virginia Tech: The Hokies shot 57.1 percent (15 of 26) from the field in the second half of their 70-68 victory against Virginia on Jan. 4. … Virginia Tech’s starting five totaled four points in the first half.

Virginia: The Cavaliers have held four consecutive opponents to 50 points or fewer.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech plays at No. 12 Miami next Wednesday.

Virginia plays at Duke on Saturday.

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The AP’s college basketball page: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org