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.
THE REST OF WEDNESDAY’S BUBBLE ACTION
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.