Sophomore forward Josh Scott continues to make strides for No. 20 Colorado

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. — When it was announced that Andre Roberson would forgo his senior season and enter the 2013 NBA Draft, it was known immediately that No. 20 Colorado’s returning front court contributors would need to raise their production. Xavier Johnson and Josh Scott were both quality players as freshmen, and in redshirt freshman Wesley Gordon the Buffaloes were adding a player who many expect to blossom into a key figure as he gains both experience and maturity.

The process of accounting for the departure of a player as valuable as Roberson can be a difficult one, but through 12 games it appears evident that Scott has taken the steps needed to be one of the Pac-12’s better interior players. In the Buffaloes’ 78-73 loss to No. 7 Oklahoma State on Saturday night Scott accounted for 20 points and 12 rebounds, tallying his fifth double-double of the season.

“[Oklahoma State] didn’t double him tonight, and when teams don’t double Josh we have to go to him because he’s an effective scorer on the low block,” Colorado head coach Tad Boyle said after the game, but he also lamented the lack of interior touches in the game’s first 20 minutes.

“We had 17 paint touches in the first half, and we want 50 for the game,” continued Boyle. “We weren’t getting the ball inside enough. We need to and we want to, and it was something we talked about at halftime. We did a better job of that in the second half, and we were more effective.”

It’s been said many times in basketball that the best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores, but in this current period in which the best freshmen are being fitted for suits once their debut season ends that can be forgotten. Scott’s benefitted from an offseason to work on his game and strength, and the effects have been positive for him individually and for the Buffaloes as a team.

Last season Colorado ranked fifth in the Pac-12 in offensive rebounding percentage (33.6%) and seventh in defensive rebounding percentage (69.6%), with the youth of Scott and Johnson being one reason why. Through 12 games this season the Buffaloes are third in the conference in offensive rebounding percentage (36.3%) and first in defensive rebounding percentage (78.0), with the latter percentage ranking second nationally.

Against Oklahoma State both Johnson (three points, five rebounds) and Gordon (two points, six rebounds) struggled, leaving Scott to do much of the work against the Cowboys’ big men. And if not for his performance as both a scorer and rebounder (five of his 12 rebounds came on the offensive end), it’s difficult to see a way in which Colorado would have gotten to the latter stages of the game with a chance to win.

Maybe the fact that Scott isn’t the most outwardly demonstrative player has impacted the way in which he’s been viewed this season. But if people were paying attention on Saturday night, they saw even more evidence that the sophomore big man has made significant progress in his second season in Boulder.

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.