UIC gives head coach Howard Moore three-year contract extension

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After winning a grand total of 15 games in Howard Moore’s first two seasons as head coach UIC made an impressive leap in the right direction, improving their win total from last season by ten games in 2012-13.

On the heels of the Flames’ 18-16 campaign (7-9 Horizon League) the school rewarded Moore with a three-year contract extension, extending his deal through the 2017-18 seasons.

“In a very short period of time, Howard and his staff have led our men’s basketball program back to being a contender in the Horizon League,” said UIC athletic director Jim Schmidt in a statement released by the school. “We’re very proud of the strides that have been made. Our recruiting has significantly improved, his players are performing well in the classroom, and the program now has an identity built on playing great team defense.

“We believe that Howard and his staff have an effective plan to consistently win in our league, and we’re excited about him leading our program into the future.”

UIC’s 2012-13 campaign featured a 9-1 start to the season and wins over eventual NCAA tournament participants Colorado State and Iona.

UIC has to replace three of its top four scorers, including guards Daniel Barnes and Gary Talton and forward Josh Crittle, but Hayden Humes returns for his senior campaign and the Flames add Purdue transfer Kelsey Barlow to the rotation.

The roster turnover will make things difficult entering 2013-14, but Moore remains confident that they Flames can continue to take steps towards being a perennial contender in the Horizon League.

“As a staff, we are very proud of the things we accomplished last season – we had great senior leadership, and our young guys really bought into the vision of our program,” said Moore. “But we’re not satisfied. Our goals are to compete for championships year-in and year-out.

“Everything is about our approach – in recruiting, in practice, in the classroom and in competition. We’re very excited about this offseason, and are looking forward to our continual climb to the top of the Horizon League.”

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Virginia, Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Vandy in NIT Tip-Off

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NEW YORK (AP) — Virginia and Vanderbilt will meet in one semifinal of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off on Thanksgiving Day at Barclays Center.

Rhode Island and Seton Hall face off in the other semifinal with the winners meeting on Friday, Nov. 24.

This is the third straight year the Tip-Off has been held at Barclays Center. Eventual NCAA champion Villanova won the event in 2015. All games will be televised on ESPNU.

Non-bracketed teams in the NIT Season Tip-Off who will play games at campus sites are: Austin Peay, Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, Oakland City and UNC Asheville.

Miles Bridges explain why he returned to Michigan State

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Miles Bridges changed the landscape of the 2017-18 college basketball season on April 13.

The Michigan State forward spurned the NBA for another year in East Lansing. The decision not only meant that Bridges was a frontrunner for national player of the year, but solidified the Spartans as a national title contender.

But Bridges’ choice to return was still puzzling to many. The 6-foot-7 forward was projected as a lottery pick. Bridges explained his decision to Mike Decourcy of Sporting News in a story published on Thursday.

“He says, ‘You know what, Coach? I want to get better. I don’t want to be in the D-League. I’ve got buddies that are, and I just want to make sure when I go, I’m ready,’ ” Izzo recalled to Sporting News. “I looked at him and I said, ‘Done deal.’ For me, that was a done deal. It was a reasonable, sensible argument.”

Agents, friends, reporters, scouts, acquaintances, fans, strangers and family members — oh and, as we said, coaches — all had one opinion about how Bridges should spend the next year of his life. Miles had another, opposing, viewpoint.

Bridges told Decourcy that support came from his teammates, many of whom were returning to the team as well. Assuming the backcourt of Cassius Winston and Josh Langford make a leap forward, as well as incoming freshman Jaren Jackson providing an immediate impact, the Spartans’ title hopes could become a reality.

Bridges averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.5 blocks as a freshman at Michigan State. He’s rated as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.

Four conferences sign on to basketball officiating alliance

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Four more Division I conferences will join a men’s basketball officiating alliance formed last year by the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Atlantic 10 and Colonial Athletic Association.

The Big South, the Ivy League, the Northeast and the Patriot League are joining ahead of the 2017-18 season, according to announcements from the leagues Thursday. The alliance launched last summer for conferences to work together on officiating matters and enhance training, development, recruitment, retention and feedback for officials.

John Cahill, the Big East’s supervisor of officials, and Bryan Kersey, the ACC’s coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, will continue to lead the alliance operations.

ACC commissioner John Swofford says the new additions to the alliance “provide an even greater opportunity to build chemistry and quality” across the officiating ranks.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

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The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.