Kendall Williams

1 seeds still up for grabs in new NCAA tourney projections


We should be in for an exciting week.  It’s not often that so many potential at-large spots and seeding questions remain this close to Selection Sunday.  Which means several teams – many from the SEC in particular – will be paying close attention to conference tournament results.  A surprise winner or two could jolt the at-large pool.

For now, Duke reclaims the overall top seed.  Ryan Kelly has returned and is playing at a high level.  That brings the Blue Devils’ full profile back into play, and it’s pretty good.  But the race isn’t over.  Gonzaga, Kansas, Indiana, Louisville, Georgetown, New Mexico, and a second Big Ten team are all contenders for a No. 1 seed.  Conference tournaments could play a decisive role.

The bubble remains what it is.  So despite some losses this week, not a lot has changed.  Thankfully, a week remains to help sort things out.  Given the turmoil, several teams could still make a late push.  We have a long way to go and a short time to get there.  Buckle up.

Quick note: As we’ve entered conference tournament play, teams in ALL-CAPS no longer appear in the bracket.  We’ll begin using the CAPS as a indication of a team’s automatic bid.  The first of which will be handed out on Saturday.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Virginia vs. Tennessee | East Region
  • Iowa State vs. La Salle | South Region
  • Norfolk State vs. Charleston-Southern | South Region
  • Southern vs. Northeastern | Midwest Region


EASTWashington, DC MIDWESTIndianapolis              
Philadelphia Dayton
1) Duke 1) INDIANA
16) Mercer 16) Southern / Northeastern
8) Illinois 8) Missouri
9) Memphis 9) Cincinnati
San Jose Salt Lake
5) Arizona 5) Saint Louis
12) Belmont 12) Middle Tennesse State
4) Marquette 4) UNLV
13) Bucknell 13) Louisiana Tech
Kansas City Austin
6) Pittsburgh 6) VCU
11) Tennessee / Virginia 11) Boise State
3) Kansas State 3) Miami-FL
14) S.F. Austin 14) Montana
Auburn Hills Lexington
7) Butler 7) Oregon
10) California 10) Wichita State
2) Michigan State 2) Louisville
15) Niagara 15) South Dakota State
SOUTH – Dallas WEST – Los Angeles
Kansas City Salt Lake
1) Kansas 1) Gonzaga
16) Norfolk St / Charleston-So 16) Long Beach State
8) Colorado State 8) San Diego State
9) Creighton 9) Colorado
San Jose Dayton
5) Wisconsin 5) Oklahoma State
12) Saint Mary’s 12) Villanova
4) Syracuse 4) Ohio State
13) Davidson 13) Akron
Lexington Auburn Hills
6) Notre Dame 6) UCLA
11) Iowa State / La Salle 11) Temple
3) Florida 3) Michigan
14) Stony Brook 14) Valparaiso
Austin Philadelphia
7) North Carolina 7) NC State
10) Minnesota 10) Oklahoma
2) New Mexico 2) Georgetown
15) Robert Morris 15) Princeton

NOTES on the BRACKET: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed followed by Gonzaga, Indiana, and Kansas. Next in line: Louisville, New Mexico, Georgetown, Michigan State.

Last Five teams in (at large): Saint Mary’s, La Salle, Iowa State, Tennessee, Virginia

First Five teams out (at large): Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Iowa, Massachusetts

Next Five teams out (at large): Arkansas, Maryland, Baylor, Xavier, Providence

Breakdown by Conference …

Big East (8): Louisville, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Villanova

Big Ten (7): Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Illinois

Mountain West (5): San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico, Colorado State, Boise State

Pac 12 (5): Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, Oregon, California

Big 12 (5): Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Iowa State

Atlantic 10 (5): Butler, VCU, Temple, La Salle, Saint Louis

ACC (5): Duke, NC State, North Carolina, Miami-FL, Virginia

SEC (3): Missouri, Florida, Tennessee

Missouri Valley (2): Creighton, Wichita State

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s

Conference USA (1): Memphis


VIDEO: Kris Dunn wills Providence to win over No. 11 Arizona

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Kris Dunn spent the first 35 minutes of Friday night’s game against No. 11 Arizona in foul trouble, splitting his time between sitting on the bench and trying to avoid finding himself, again, on the wrong side the whistle.

With 11 minutes left in the game, and with Dunn yet to find a rhythm, the all-american point guard was whistled for his fourth foul as he battled for a rebound with Arizona’s Mark Tollefsen. Head coach Ed Cooley say his superstar beside his for six game minutes, time enough for Arizona to turn a 49-47 deficit into a 58-54 lead.

There were just over five minutes left when Dunn reentered the second semifinal of the Wooden Legacy, and he proceeded to show everyone in the country why he was named the Preseason Player of the Year. Providence had nine possessions after he reentered the game. Dunn scored 11 points and had a pair of assists on those eight possessions, and if Ben Bentil had stuck a wide-open three — that was setup by Dunn — the Friars would have scored on all nine.

In total, Dunn was responsible for all 15 Friar points in a game-changing, 15-7 run in the final 4:30. It was capped off by this Kobe-in-his-prime-esque game-winner:

The win for Providence is huge for a couple of reasons:

  • Dunn showed a killer instinct against a marquee opponent, something that we didn’t necessarily see out of him a season ago. He wasn’t going to let his team lose, and given that Providence doesn’t have anyone else that can consistently create good shots, they are going to need that from him a lot this year.
  • It makes a statement for the Friars. Arizona is overrated at No. 11 in the country, yes, but going out on national television against an elite program and getting this kind of performance from Dunn is a confidence-booster and a tone-setter. Providence hasn’t been accustomed to winning in recent years. This is a way to set a trend.
  • Ben Bentil continues to play like a star. Dunn had 19 points and eight assists on Friday, but Bentil followed up a 24-point performance in the win over Evansville with 21 critical points on Friday.

This win sets up a matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence on Sunday night, which means that Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn — the two best players in the country, sorry Ben Simmons — will be going head-to-head.

Oh. Hell. Yes.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.