Juwan Staten, Monté Morris

Bubble Banter: What does West Virginia need to do to earn their at-large bid?

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There are 36 days left until Selection Sunday. Every morning from now until the bracket comes out, we’ll help you get caught up on the happenings with impact on the bubble from the night before. 

You can see NBCSports.com’s latest bracket here.

West Virginia (RPI: 70, KenPom: 47) is shaping up to be one of the most interesting bubble teams this season.

Let’s start with the obvious: the Mountaineers already have ten losses on the season, which is not a good thing when you consider that their best non-conference win is against Williams & Mary, and that just so happens to be their only top-200 non-conference win.

But Bob Huggins has orchestrated a turnaround, as the ‘Eers are now 7-5 in the Big 12 with wins over Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor on the road and, on Monday, a 25 point beatdown of Iowa State, a top ten team in the RPI. Those are good wins. And with eight of their ten losses coming against top 50 opponents, they’re in better shape than you probably think.

The loss to Virginia Tech will hurt, but four of their last six games coming against top 25 opponents, splitting those games — at Texas, at Iowa State, at Oklahoma, Kansas — and beating Baylor and TCU will get them into a position where they have four top 25 wins, five top 50 wins and seven top 100 wins.

Look at some of the teams on the bubble right now. That should be enough.


  • Georgetown (RPI: 60, KenPom: 50) is all of a sudden playing like a tournament team, notching their fourth straight win — and their fifth top 100 win — on Monday night over Providence. Four of their last six are on the road and three of their last four are against top 50 opponents.
  • Providence (RPI: 50, KenPom: 56) lost to Georgetown on Monday, their fourth loss in the last five games. Six top 100 wins are keeping them in the conversation, but the Friars are going to need to turn this thing around quickly.
  • Florida State (RPI: 52, KenPom: 39) has just two top 50 wins, both of which took place before Christmas. They have just two more top 100 wins and lost to Miami on Monday night.
  • Maryland (RPI: 50, KenPom: 60) lost to Virginia, which cost them a chance at a top 20 win. What’s worse is that both Providence and Florida State lost as well. Those are Maryland’s two best wins, and entering the day, they were 50th and 52nd in the RPI. Not good.

Labissiere scores 16 as top-ranked Kentucky beats BU 82-62

Eric Johnson, Isaiah Briscoe
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Freshman center Skal Labissiere scored 16 points to lead top-ranked Kentucky past Boston University 82-62 on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats (5-0) used a big second half to overcome Boston U. in their season debut at No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. One day after taking over the top spot, Kentucky struggled to put away the Terriers early but outscored them 42-29 in the second half.

Labissiere finished 7 of 13 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. Tyler Ulis added 15 points, and Alex Poythress had 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for his second straight double-double.

Jamal Murray scored 12 points and Isaiah Briscoe had 11. Kentucky, which spent all of last season ranked No. 1, scored 58 points in the paint and closed with a 22-9 run.

Boston University (2-3) got 15 points from John Papale. Nathan Dieudonne and Kyle Foreman scored 11 apiece.

The Wildcats raced out to a 10-0 lead 3 minutes into the game, but Boston University settled down after making its first basket and kept the score close in the first half by hitting five shots from long range.

The Terriers led 34-33 with 2 minutes remaining in the first half, but the Wildcats scored the last six points of the period to regain the lead.

Labissiere paced the Wildcats with 11 points in the first half, followed by Murray with 10.


Kentucky: The Wildcats improved to 216-28 as the top-ranked team in the country and have won 61 of their last 64 games while holding the top spot. Under coach John Calipari, Kentucky is 63-5 as the top-ranked team in the AP poll.

Boston University: The Terriers fell to 0-5 against Kentucky. … Boston University missed its first four shots and didn’t score its first basket until the 16:55 mark of the first half. … Dieudonne, a graduate of Louisville Trinity, was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 2012.


Kentucky plays Friday against South Florida at the Hoophall Miami Invitational.

Boston University plays Saturday at Binghamton.

Division III William Paterson forfeits game to protest coach’s firing

William Paterson Athletics
William Paterson Athletics
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William Paterson, a Division III basketball program in New Jersey, forfeited a game on Tuesday night to protest the firing of their head coach, Jose Rebimbas.

Rebimbas, a player for the 1990 Seton Hall team that reached the national title game, had been with the program for 20 years, amassing nearly 400 wins, winning six league titles and reaching nine NCAA tournaments. He announced his firing earlier this week on FaceBook, and the players on his team responded by boycotting Tuesday night’s matchup with Ramapo.

Dylan Burns, a William Paterson student that does play-by-play for the school’s athletic teams, tweeted that the basketball players came out of the locker room for layups lines, took off their warmups, threw them in a pile on the court and walked off the floor.

The following screengrabs from instagram videos that have since been removed show the players leaving the floor:

Screengrab via Instagram

And the jerseys piled in the middle of the court:

Screengrab via Instagram

The crowd at the game can be heard cheering when it is announced that the game has been forfeited.

Rebimbas wrote the following on FaceBook over the weekend:

“It is with great sadness and extreme frustration that after today I will not be coaching the basketball team at William Paterson University. WP has been my home and family for more than 20 years and yet the University has taken action to remove me from the service I love. People I have trusted and served with have defied logic and are pursing my termination because of a misunderstanding over a facility rental fee for a camp that I run.”

“These actions come despite the University hearing officer determining that termination was not warranted. The University has unfairly and illegally taken my right to coach and mentor the student-athletes I love. I am prepared to fight the actions of William Paterson University and restore my good name and that of the program.”