Monday’s Pregame Shootaround: Can Grambling finally break their 32 game losing streak?

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Central Baptist at Grambling, 8:30 p.m.

This isn’t really the game of the night.

In fact, it’s probably quite the opposite.

Grambling has lost 32 straight games. They are 0-4 this season. They were 0-28 last season. They have dropped 41 of their last 42 games and are winless since beating Alabama A&M on March 3rd, 2012. The one year, nine months and two days. A little more than 93 weeks, or 653 days to be exact.

But tonight, the Grambling State Tigers will finally — mercifully — have a chance to end that streak as they host Central Baptist, an NAIA program that has started off the season 1-7.

“We’re at home for the first time non-conference in front of our fans and we want to come out and play great basketball and get the win,” head coach Joseph Price said. I’m sure he does. Lose to Central Baptist, and Grambling will have three chances — at TCU, at Evansville and at Arkansas-Little Rock — to try and avoid going an entire calendar year without winning a basketball game.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE NIGHT: Delaware at North Dakota State, 8:00 p.m.

NDSU is one week removed from a win at Notre Dame. Marshall Bjorklund is a beast in the post, good enough that people are forgetting to mention the fact that this team has Taylor Braun on their roster. The Bison are good, but Delaware has got a team as well. Throw in the fact that Devon Saddler will be returning to the lineup for the Blue Hens tonight, and we should see a pretty good basketball game in the frozen tundra of Fargo, ND.

FIVE THING TO WATCH FOR

1) No. 8 Duke returns to the court after 13 days off for finals by taking on Gardner-Webb at Cameron Indoor.

2) In another interesting game between strong mid-major programs, Oral Roberts heads to Ohio to take on Akron.

3) Georgia Tech, who has been a bit of a disappointment this season, will host Kennesaw State.

4) Chris Collins will lead Northwestern into battle with Mississippi Valley State.

5) Illinois State is coming off of a win over Dayton. Can the Redbirds string together two wins and take out Oakland and Travis Bader tonight?

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

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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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.