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Bracketology: Final No. 1 seed up for grabs

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After a somewhat crazy Thursday, the bubble continues to shift in multiple directions.  And with Villanova’s stunning loss to Seton Hall, the final No. 1 seed slot is wide open as action resumes throughout the college hoops landscape.  Kansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Virginia all take to the hardwood with their eyes on the top of the East Region.  We also can’t completely eliminate teams like Syracuse.

Quick notes about today’s (March 14) bracket update …

Florida State slides into the final at-large spot.  One could go any number of directions among the bubble contenders, but the Seminoles have a couple of small advantages: non-conference wins over two tournament teams (VCU, Massachusetts) and a road win at Pittsburgh.  As a side note, FSU lost to Michigan by two and Florida by one in its pre-conference slate.  By comparison, Providence and Minnesota have done their best work at home and neither has two NCAA-level non-league wins.  We’ll see how the Seminoles fare moving forward.  Next up: Virginia.  It’s Moving Day – Part II on the bubble.

RELATED: Thursday’s Bubble Banter

Missouri and Minnesota have statement opportunities today.  The Tigers play Florida; Minnesota plays Wisconsin.

Seton Hall joins the Bid Thief Watch.  If the Pirates upset Providence they will be one victory from an automatic bid.

Southern Methodist (SMU) remains on the right side of the bubble, but the Mustangs could be closer to the edge than many think.  A horrible non-conference schedule could be even more in play after Thursday’s loss to Houston.  SMU is just 4-6 vs. Top 100 RPI teams (albeit four good wins) and owns a victory at Connecticut.  But they’ve also lost to South Florida, Temple, and the aforementioned Cougars.  SMU ended the season losing three straight.

RECAP: All of Thursday’s relevant college hoops action here

Arkansas falls into the First Five OUT after losing to South Carolina.  Cal remains in that group as well following its loss to Colorado.  While both likely need help to re-enter the bracket.  Let’s wait until more resumes are complete before casting a final decision.

We’ll see what’s in store today.

UPDATED: March 14, 2014

MORE: Who has a bid on the line on Friday?

Teams in CAPS represent AUTOMATIC bids.  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. Tennessee | South Region
  • SMU vs. Florida State East Region
  • Alabama State vs. Weber State Midwest Region
  • MT ST. MARY’S vs. COASTAL CAROLINA East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

SOUTH – Memphis WEST Anaheim                              
Orlando San Diego
1) Florida 1) Arizona
16) WOFFORD 16) Utah Valley
8) Kansas State 8) George Washington
9) Colorado 9) GONZAGA
Orlando San Diego
5) Ohio State 5) Oklahoma
12) BYU / Tennessee 12) Toledo
4) Louisville 4) Michigan State
13) S.F. Austin 13) NORTH DAKOTA ST
Buffalo San Antonio
6) New Mexico 6) Baylor
11) Xavier 11) Nebraska
3) Syracuse 3) Creighton
14) MERCER 14) UC-Irvine
Milwaukee Raleigh
7) VCU 7) Kentucky
10) Arizona State 10) Saint Joseph’s
2) Wisconsin 2) Virginia
15) AMERICAN 15) Stony Brook
EAST – New York MIDWEST – Indianapolis
Buffalo St. Louis
1) Villanova 1) WICHITA STATE
16) CO CAROLINA / MT ST. MARY’S 16) Weber State / Alabama State
8) Oklahoma State 8) Memphis
9) Stanford 9) Oregon
Spokane Spokane
5) North Carolina 5) Texas
12) Louisiana Tech 12) HARVARD
4) San Diego State 4) Duke
13) DELAWARE 13) MANHATTAN
San Antonio Raleigh
6) Massachusetts 6) Saint Louis
11) SMU / Florida State 11) Pittsburgh
3) Iowa State 3) Cincinnati
14) EASTERN KENTUCKY 14) Georgia State
Milwaukee St. Louis
7) Connecticut 7) UCLA
10) Dayton 10) Iowa
2) Michigan 2) Kansas
15) NC-Central 15) MILWAUKEE

NOTES on the BRACKET: Florida remains the overall No. 1 seed followed by Arizona, Wichita State, and Villanova.

Last Five teams in (at large): Xavier, SMU, Tennessee, BYU, Florida State

First Five teams out (at large): Providence, Minnesota, Missouri, Arkansas, California

Next five teams out (at large): Southern Miss, Illinois, Green Bay, Georgetown, St. John’s

Breakdown by Conference …

Big 12 (7): Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma State

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

Atlantic 10 (6): Massachusetts, VCU, Saint Louis, George Washington, Saint Joseph’s, Dayton

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

ACC (6): Duke, Virginia, Syracuse, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Florida State

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

SEC (3): Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee

Big East (3): Creighton, Villanova, Xavier

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

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Brigham Young

Missouri Valley (1): Wichita State

Conference Automatic Qualifiers … Louisiana Tech (C-USA), EASTERN KENTUCKY (Ohio Valley), Georgia State (Sun Belt), AMERICAN (Patriot), NORTH DAKOTA STATE (Summit), MILWAUKEE (Horizon), WOFFORD (Southern), Utah Valley (WAC), MANHATTAN (MAAC), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Toledo (MAC), MERCER (A-Sun), HARVARD (IVY), UC-Irvine (Big West), DELAWARE (Colonial), Stony Brook (American East), Weber State (Big Sky), NC-Central (MEAC), COASTAL CAROLINA (Big South), MOUNT ST. MARY’S (NEC), Alabama State (SWAC)

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.