Broken hand to sideline Michigan State’s Branden Dawson 4-5 weeks

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The hits just keep on coming for No. 3 Michigan State, which can’t seem to stay healthy.

On Thursday it was revealed that forward Branden Dawson will miss four to five weeks after breaking a bone in his right (shooting) hand. And the injury didn’t occur during game action either, as according to the report Dawson slammed his hand down in frustration while watching film with the team this morning.

With Dawson now out the Spartans could be without two starters on Saturday night when they host in-state rival Michigan, who is also undefeated in Big Ten play. Adreian Payne has missed the last four games due to an injured foot and could miss a fifth if his foot isn’t deemed to be 100%.

With this being the situation that head coach Tom Izzo and his players have to deal with, another issue to consider is the team’s on-court chemistry as we move closer to March.

With senior forward Adreian Payne in danger of missing his fifth straight game with a sprained right foot, MSU is as shorthanded as it has been this season, for its biggest game to date.

And considering the uncertainty about the return of both starting players, the Spartans might be hard-pressed to jell as hoped for a March run to the national title. It’s possible Dawson won’t be back until close to the postseason.

Five Spartans have missed at least one game due to injury this season and a sixth, Kenny Kaminsky, has missed time due to suspension. And while Michigan State has managed to win 18 of its 19 games to date, there’s still that chemistry issue to consider with an eye towards tournament time.

But in the immediate future how will Michigan State account for the loss of Dawson? They’ll likely have to go small with there being more available perimeter players than big men at this point in time. And in regards to the remaining front court players, Kaminsky, Matt Costello and even freshman Gavin Schilling will be asked to do more while Dawson and Payne work to return to full strength.

Michigan State’s managed to navigate many of the issues they’ve faced this season, and they’ll need to continue to do so with Dawson sidelined.

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.