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Wichita State won’t take part in Tip-Off Showcase event in Dallas

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It’s official: Wichita State will not be taking part in the Tip-Off Showcase in Dallas on November 8th, the first day of games this season.

The event was originally supposed to be a quadruple-header at the American Airlines Center, a way to tie the start of the year to the city where the season will come to a close; the Final Four will be played at Cowboys Stadium this year.

But Texas and LSU dropped out, leaving us with a triple-header that features a couple of pretty good matchups — Baylor-Colorado and Oklahoma-Alabama will do well to whet the college hoops appetite — with a local battle between SMU and TCU crammed in as well.

Wichita State was one of the teams that was targeted to replace Texas and LSU, which would have been fantastic for everyone involved. The Shockers are coming off of a run to the 2013 Final Four, they have a passionate following and are one of the strongest mid-major programs in the country, entering this season as a top 25 team. As Matt Norlander wrote here, finding a big name to square them off against would have been an ideal way to kick off the college hoops season.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. From Nordy:

There was a scramble to get Wichita State into the event for a quadruple-header, but those plans fell through. Sources told CBSSports.com that LSU, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State passed. Had Florida State landed Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2013 (now at Kansas), there were tentative plans to get them into the event.

Sources also said Texas was initially involved in the Tip-Off Showcase but pulled out in the spring, causing organizers to hustle for a makeup game that eventually never came to fruition. Getting local teams to the arena was a primary initiative (thus why Oklahoma, TCU, SMU and Baylor are in play), and Wichita State qualified, but a worthy draw of opponent wouldn’t step in.

This is what happens when mid-majors get good.

No one wants to play them. That’s why the Shockers will be forced to kick off their season against something called Emporia State.

Gregg Marshall better get used to this is he plans to keep on winning games in March.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: