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: Zion Williamson’s coach is holding a sleeping baby

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LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:

This is peak AAU basketball.

It will never be more AAU than that.

PHOTOS: Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball showdown was, of course, insane

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In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.

The crowd was insane for the game:

According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.

Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:

At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:

(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)

Puerto Rico Tip Off bracket revealed

AP Photo/Sean Rayford
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The bracket of the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip off was revealed Wednesday, setting up a showdown between a 2016 Final Four participant and the 2016 Big 12 tournament champion.

South Carolina and Iowa State headline the event, which will be played Nov. 16-19, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, opening against Illinois State while the Cyclones are on the bottom half, squaring off against Appalachian State.

Boise State vs. UTEP is the other top-half quarterfinal while Tulsa vs. Western Michigan is the other.

The championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Sunday, Nov. 19.

VIDEO: Michigan State’s Miles Bridges is dunking again

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Just what you wanted to see, a video of former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine throwing an alley-oop off the glass to current Michigan State star Miles Bridges in a Pro-Am in Michigan:

VIDEO: Kentucky’s entry into the #DriveByDunkChallenge

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A day after Grayson Allen threw an alley-oop to Trevon Duval for Duke’s entry into the #DriveByDunkChallenge, Kentucky’s team of freshmen decided to do one of their own:

https://twitter.com/i/web/status/889947577734574085

That would be, in order, Johnny David, Jarrod Vanderbilt, Nick Richards, PJ Washington and Kevin Knox abusing some poor sap’s rim somewhere in Lexington.

But was that better than John Calipari’s attempt?