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The Little Dances: Championship Week Day 4 Preview

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The NCAA Tournament doesn’t get going until March 19, but for the real college hoops fans, the days leading up to Selection Sunday is when the madness really begins. Over the next two weeks teams will fight for the postseason lives. Bubbles will burst and tickets will be punched, and Cinderellas will be born. This is the real March Madness.

(CLICK HERE to browse through all of our conference tournament previews)

Here’s what to watch for on Friday.

Game of the Night: Eastern Kentucky vs. Murray State
The two best OVC teams not named Belmont square off in the nightcap of the OVC tournament on Friday night in Nashville. The Colonels won the only meeting between the two schools during league play. Last time out, Isaiah Canaan dropped 24 points, but two EKU players scored twenty as well. It’s likely that Murray State gets invited to one of the smaller postseason tournaments, but nonetheless, it’s also possible that this could be Isaiah Canaan’s final game as a collegiate player.

Player to Watch: Colt Ryan, Evansville
The last time Evansville was on the hardwood, Colt Ryan dropped 31 points on the very same Indiana State team he faces today. Ryan is the best scorer in the MVC not named Doug McDermott. The senior guard has only failed to score at least 20 points in just one of his last ten games, and is averaging 28ppg in his last four.

Miscellaneous Madness:
Three teams with at least 20 losses won games in their conference tournament, and two of those teams still remain alive. Liberty (13-20) defeated No.1-seed High Point in the Big South Quarterfinals and will now face No.2-seed Gardner-Webb in the semifinals on Saturday. Loyola Marymount (10-22) defeated both Portland and San Francisco in the WCC Tournament and face Santa Clara tonight. Prior to beating Portland, the Lions had not won in 55 days. They’ve now won on back-to-back nights.

Friday Schedule:

Atlantic Sun Conference Semifinals
2:30 p.m. – USC-Upstate (5) vs. Mercer (1)
8:30 p.m. – Stetson (3) vs. Florida Gulf Coast (2)

Horizon League Quarterfinals
6 p.m. – Youngstown State (6) vs. Wright State (3)
8:30 p.m. – Illinois-Chicago (5) vs. Green Bay (4)

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference First Round
7:30 p.m. – Siena (9) vs. Marist (8)
9:30 p.m. – St. Peter’s (10) vs. Fairfield (7)

Missouri Valley Conference Quarterfinals
1:05 p.m. – Drake (9) vs. Creighton (1)
3:30 p.m. – Indiana State (5) vs. Evansville (4)
7 p.m. – Missouri State (7) vs. Wichita State (2)
9:30 p.m. – Illinois State (6) vs. Northern Iowa (3)

Ohio Valley Conference Semifinals
7 p.m. – Tennessee State (4) vs. Belmont (1)
9 p.m. – Eastern Kentucky (3) vs. Murray State (2)

Southern Conference First Round
11:30 a.m – Georgia Southern (9) vs. Wofford (8)
1:30 p.m. – Furman (12) vs. Samford (5)
6 p.m. – UNC-Greensboro (10) vs. Chattanooga (7)
8 p.m. – The Citadel (11) vs. Western Carolina (6)

Sun Belt Conference First Round
7 p.m. – Louisiana-Monroe (11) vs. Western Kentucky (6)
7:30 p.m. – North Texas (9) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8)
9:30 p.m. – Troy (10) vs. Florida Atlantic (7)

West Coast Conference Quarterfinals
9 p.m. – Loyola Marymount (9) vs. Santa Clara (4)
11:30 p.m. – San Diego (6) vs. BYU (3)

You can find Troy Machir on Twitter at @TroyMachir

VIDEO: Arizona commit Terrance Ferguson throws down under-the-legs dunk after making 3-pointer

"CHARLOTTE, NC - JULY 9: Terrance Ferguson during the 2015 Under Armour All-America Basketball Camp on July 9, 2015 at Queens College in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Under Armour)"
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Arizona commit Terrance Ferguson has been known as one of the best dunkers in the country for the last few years. So you knew the 6-foot-6 wing was going to attempt the latest internet dunk craze that’s been going around.

Some call it the, “5-point play” in which the dunker makes a 3-pointer and immediately sprints following the shot release to catch the make for an under-the-legs dunk.

It’s as tough as it sounds and Ferguson makes it look easy.

VIDEO: Manute Bol’s 6’11” son Bol Bol throws down in-game under-the-legs dunk

McPherson's Jacob Loecker attempts to steal the ball form Shawnee Mission-Bishop Miege's Bol Bol during the first quarter of the boys' Class 4A Division I state championship basketball game Saturday, March 12, 2016, in Salina, Kan. (Travis Morrise/The Hutchinson News via AP)
(Travis Morrise/The Hutchinson News via AP)
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Bol Bol is the son of former NBA center Manute Bol, and the younger Bol is earning quite a bit of attention himself as a five-star prospect in the Class of 2018.

The 6-foot-11 Bol showed off some of his freakish coordination and athleticism on Friday night, by ripping a steal and taking it coast-to-coast for an under-the-legs dunk in the middle of a game at the Jayhawk Invitational.

Bol will be one of the players to watch this spring as he plays with KC Run GMC.

Iowa State guard Naz Mitrou-Long gets hardship waiver to play additional year

Iowa State guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long defends Buffalo guard Jarryn Skeete during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 84-63. (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
(AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
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Iowa State got a boost to its roster for next season as senior guard Naz Mitrou-Long has been granted a hardship waiver by the Big 12 conference.

“Everything happens for a reason and although it hurt to not be able to play for a group of guys I loved last year, my body needed time to recover and that time off allowed me to feel the best I’ve felt since my freshman year,” Mitrou-Long said in the release. “I’m glad I’ll be able to play for the best fans in the country and represent the name on the front of my jersey, Iowa State, one more year. Words can’t describe this feeling. Cyclone Nation, be ready for a special year.”

The 6-foot-4 Long played in eight games last season for Iowa State as he averaged 12 points per game. He missed the rest of the season to deal with pain in his surgically repaired hips. Mitrou-Long has been a very effective three-point shooter during his career at Iowa State and he should be a nice option to have for next season if he’s healthy.

CIAA will stay in North Carolina despite state’s LGBT law

Protesters rally against House Bill 2 in Raleigh, N.C.,  Monday, April 25, 2016. While demonstrations circled North Carolina's statehouse on Monday, for and against a Republican-backed law curtailing protections for LGBT people and limiting public bathroom access for transgender people, House Democrats filed a repeal bill that stands little chance of passing. (Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
(Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP)
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association says it won’t move its headquarters, its basketball tournament or other conference championships from North Carolina, despite the state’s controversial new LGBT law.

The CIAA said in a statement Thursday that it will instead partner with the NCAA to educate its members on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues as it does on other issues, like graduation rates and concussion management.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the CIAA, the oldest African-American sports conference in the U.S., has hosted its annual basketball tournament in Charlotte since 2006 and announced it was moving its headquarters to Charlotte from Virginia in 2015.

The CIAA said Thursday that it will continue to “monitor the issues,” as it has since House Bill 2 passed.

 

VIDEOS: Stephen Curry personally invites athletes to his select camp

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, left, holds the championship trophy and Andre Iguodala holds the series MVP trophy as they celebrate winning the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 105-97 to win the best-of-seven game series 4-2. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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As he did last year, the NBA’s MVP is sending out personal invites to Under Armour’s SC30 Select Camp for some of the best high school and college point guards in the country.

It’s a pretty cool thing for the kids. Can you imagine how you would feel as a high school junior getting a personalized invitation to a camp from Stephen Curry himself?