Bubble Banter: Minnesota’s loss to Illinois sets them back

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There are 24 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.

Minnesota (RPI: 43, KenPom: 50) really hurt themselves on Wednesday night, as they lost to Illinois at home by 13 points. The Illini entered the night having lost 10 of their last 11 games.

More than anything, that hurts because the Gophers have a tough three-game stretch coming up: at Ohio State, Iowa, at Michigan. They’ve now lost five of their last seven games, six of their last nine and seven of their last 11. They haven’t won back-to-back games since early January and currently sit at 6-8 in the Big Ten.

They have a strong RPI, however, which is largely boosted by a top five strength of schedule. The win at Richmond is nice, and they have wins over top 15 teams Ohio State and Wisconsin, but if they struggle during these next three games, Richard Pitino’s first season may wind out in the NIT.

THE REST OF WEDNESDAY’S BUBBLE ACTION:

Winners:

  • Xavier (RPI: 49, KenPom: 39) got past DePaul on Wednesday. A win over Cincinnati probably has them above the rest of the Big East’s bubble teams. They’re at Georgetown and St. John’s next, and still get Creighton and Villanova at home.
  • Saint Joseph’s (RPI: 39, KenPom: 68) is still on the cut-line after hanging on to beat Rhode Island on the road. They have two top 25 wins, but just one top 100 win out of conference. After Fordham this weekend, the Hawks get Dayton, at St. Bonaventure, at GW and La Salle. They’ll have a chance.
  • SMU (RPI: 46, KenPom: 28) has three really good wins — UConn, Memphis, Cincinnati — but they all came at home. Their schedule is fairly weak, and they lost at South Florida and Temple.
  • LSU (RPI: 67, KenPom: 75) avoided disaster by beating Mississippi State at home on Wednesday. They’re 3-2 against the top 50 and 5-6 against the top 100, but they’ve lost to three sub-100 teams. Their best road win? At Texas Tech. They probably need to get Florida or Kentucky on the road to feel safe.
  • Missouri (RPI: 36, KenPom: 47) has one top 25 win (UCLA), but they’re 8-7 against the top 100 and they don’t have any sub-100 losses. They’re probably in as of today, although they might need to win out to feel comfortable.
  • Colorado (RPI: 23, KenPom: 55) picked up a huge win on Wednesday, knocking off Arizona State. Their profile is strong, but this is their first really good win since Spencer Dinwiddie got injured.
  • Oregon (RPI: 38, KenPom: 35) is now 5-8 in the Pac-12 after beating Washington. They’re 8-8 against the top 100, but 1-6 against the top 50 with BYU being the only win. They have no bad losses. A win at UCLA or at home against Arizona would be massive.

Losers:

  • Marquette (RPI: 77, KenPom: 51) is in a tough spot. They’re now 15-11 on the season and 2-9 against the top 50 with just four top 100 wins. They had a chance to get Creighton at home on Wednesday, but they were blown out by the Bluejays. Winning out — which includes at Villanova — may be the only option.
  • Arizona State (RPI: 31, KenPom: 33) is still in a good position after their win over Arizona on Friday, but getting beaten by Colorado certainly didn’t help. Road losses to top 25 teams are anything but a crushing blow, however.
  • Cal (RPI: 50, KenPom: 52) lost to UCLA on Wednesday, putting themselves in a dangerous spot. They have USC at home this weekend and head to the Arizona schools next week. They beat Arizona and won at Stanford and Oregon, but their resume is not strong enough to make them a lock for the tourney.
  • Utah (RPI: 99, KenPom: 42) had a chance to play their way into the bubble conversation, but they lost in overtime to Arizona. That one will hurt.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.