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Bracketology: Wichita State pushing toward No. 1 seed

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Alongside Syracuse, Wichita State is one of two unbeaten teams in NCAA Division I men’s basketball.  The Shockers’ resume speaks for itself – a Top 10 RPI, Top 50 non-conference strength of schedule, and an 11-0 record away from home.  Given WSU’s remaining Missouri Valley Conference schedule, it’s likely the Shockers will enter the MVC tournament with a perfect record.  Regardless of the league, that’s impressive.

So what’s keeping Wichita State off the top line?

Not much at this point.  When it comes to separating teams at the very top (or at the cut-line) the margins are often small.  And there are only four No. 1 seed slots available, which means someone has to be No. 5 on the s-curve.  As of today, that’s Wichita State.  By comparison, here are the records of the current No. 1 seeds vs. Top 100 RPI opponents:  Syracuse (12-0), Arizona (12-1), Kansas (15-5), Florida (8-2).  Wichita State is 5-0.  Again, these are small differences sometimes – particularly with respect to Florida – but something the Selection Committee has to evaluate.

(MORE: Take a loot at NBCSports.com’s latest Top 25)

The other two-seeds today stack up like this against the Top 100: Michigan State (10-4), Villanova (10-2), San Diego State (6-1).  If there’s a reason why Wichita State and San Diego State remain two-seeds on Selection Sunday (even if they keep winning), it won’t be because they are not worthy.  It’ll be because the other teams, in the opinion of the Selection Committee, are more worthy.  And keep in mind, only one No. 1 seed (Louisville) made the Final Four last April, so while earning at No. 1 seed is noteworthy, it doesn’t necessarily equate to March success.  It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Shockers or Aztecs in an Elite 8 or Final Four showdown.

Enjoy another week of college hoops.

UPDATED: February 10, 2014

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid based on current standings with RPI as a tiebreaker for teams with the same number of losses. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UCLA, BYU, etc).

Several new bracketing principles were introduced after last year’s tournament.  You can read them for yourself at http://www.ncaa.com.   For example: teams from the same conference may now meet before a Regional final, even if fewer than eight teams are selected.  The goal is to keep as many teams as possible on their actual seed line.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • BYU vs. MissouriWest Region
  • LSU vs. Georgetown South Region
  • SOUTHERN vs. HIGH POINT East Region
  • ROBERT MORRIS vs. DAVIDSON Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST – New York WEST – Anaheim                        
Buffalo San Diego
1) SYRACUSE 1) ARIZONA
16) SOUTHERN / HIGH POINT 16) UTAH VALLEY
8) Memphis 8) Oklahoma State
9) Geo Washington 9) Xavier
Spokane Spokane
5) Oklahoma 5) Wisconsin
12) GREEN BAY 12) BYU / Missouri
4) Kentucky 4) Creighton
13) IONA 13) MERCER
Milwaukee San Antonio
6) Louisville 6) Connecticut
11) Tennessee 11) Arizona State
3) MICHIGAN 3) Iowa State
14) NORTH DAKOTA ST 14) UC-SANTA BARBARA
Buffalo San Antonio
7) New Mexico 7) North Carolina
10) California 10) Minnesota
2) VILLANOVA 2) SAN DIEGO STATE
15) VERMONT 15) NC-CENTRAL
SOUTH – Memphis MIDWEST – Indianapolis
Orlando St. Louis
1) FLORIDA 1) KANSAS
16) WEBER STATE 16) DAVIDSON / ROB MORRIS
8) Kansas State 8) GONZAGA
9) Stanford 9) VCU
San Diego Orlando
5) Iowa 5) Ohio State
12) Georgetown / LSU 12) TOLEDO
4) SAINT LOUIS 4) Virginia
13) DELAWARE 13) BELMONT
Raleigh Raleigh
6) Texas 6) Massachusetts
11) Providence 11) SOUTHERN MISS
3) Duke 3) CINCINNATI
14) S.F. AUSTIN 14) GEORGIA STATE
St. Louis Milwaukee
7) UCLA 7) Pittsburgh
10) SMU 10) Colorado
2) WICHITA STATE 2) Michigan State
15) AMERICAN 15) YALE

NOTES on the BRACKET: Syracuse is the overall No. 1 seed followed by Arizona, Kansas, and Florida.

Last Five teams in (at large): Providence, Georgetown, BYU, Missouri, LSU

First Five teams out (at large): Florida State, Ole Miss, St. Joseph’s, St. John’s, Dayton

Next five teams out (at large): Richmond, Indiana, Clemson, Arkansas, Louisiana Tech

Breakdown by Conference …

Big 12 (6): Kansas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas

Pac 12 (6): Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, California, Stanford, Arizona State

Big Ten (6): Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota

ACC (5): Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia

American (5): Louisville, Memphis, Connecticut, Cincinnati, SMU

Big East (5): Creighton, Villanova, Xavier, Providence, Georgetown

SEC (5): Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, LSU

Atlantic 10 (4): Massachusetts, VCU, Saint Louis, Geo Washington

Mountain West (2): New Mexico, San Diego State

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, BYU

Missouri Valley (1): Wichita State

Conference Automatic Qualifiers … Southern Miss (C-USA), Belmont (Ohio Valley), Georgia State (Sun Belt), American (Patriot), North Dakota State (Summit), Green Bay (Horizon), Davidson (Southern), Utah Valley (WAC), Iona (MAAC), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Toledo (MAC), Mercer (A-Sun), Yale (IVY), UC-Santa Barbara (Big West), Delaware (Colonial), Vermont (American East), Weber State (Big Sky), NC-Central (MEAC), High Point (Big South), Robert Morris (NEC), Southern (SWAC)

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

Ernie Kent
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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.

UNLV transfer to finish career at Michigan State

UNLV forward Ben Carter, right, celebrates after his team defeated Oregon in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Las Vegas. UNLV won 80-69. (AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher)
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Former UNLV center Ben Carter announced on Wednesday that he will be transferring to Michigan State to finish his collegiate career.

Carter, who began his career at Oregon, averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 boards in his one season with UNLV before tearing his ACL in late January. He spent two seasons with the Ducks before transferring to Vegas, which is why he’s eligible immediately for the Spartans.

And that’s the biggest reason that Tom Izzo and company targeted him.

The Spartans lost Deyonta Davis to the NBA Draft after one season, a fact that became an inevitability midway through the year but one that the Spartans didn’t necessarily plan for heading into last season. Carter isn’t going to be an instant impact kind of player, particularly not when he’s coming off of an ACL injury, but he is a big body and a veteran presence on a front line that wasn’t going have much of either.