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Bracketology: Will we have a bid thief?

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It’s the Saturday before Selection Sunday and teams hovering at the cutline will be watching to see what happens in the Atlantic 10, Atlantic Coast (ACC), and Southeastern (SEC) conference tournaments.  The reasons: St. Bonaventure, North Carolina State, and Georgia.  Should any of the three win two more games, a potential at-large berth disappears.

In other words, a team currently headed to Dayton for the First Four, could be headed to the NIT, instead.

RELATED: How did the teams on the bubble do on Friday?

As additional resumes complete, the Selection Committee in Indianapolis will also be dissecting and comparing resumes from teams such as Green Bay, Southern Mississippi, and perhaps Toledo or Louisiana Tech – if either of those loses in their conference tournament final.  We have one day to go, but all is not settled.

Teams most concerned about what happens today and Sunday: BYU, SMU, Nebraska, and Xavier.  They are among the Last 5 IN and all four have completed their profiles.  Providence (slotted in the First Four) and Tennessee (just above it) are still playing.

MORE: Are we overlooking Arizona right now?

Here’s what we do know … Florida, Arizona, and Wichita State should be locked-in as No. 1 seeds.  With Villanova idle, Michigan and Wisconsin are the next challengers for the final No. 1 slot.  Virginia is also in the mix, but probably has to win the ACC tournament and have Michigan and/or Wisconsin lose.    That seems about it – unless the Committee has a collective viewpoint that Louisville, ranked highly in both polls and routing teams left and right, is the fourth best team.  Assuming the Cardinals capture the American Conference tourney, we’ll see how it plays out.

UPDATED: March 15, 2014

Teams in CAPS represent the AUTOMATIC bid based on tournament results. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UCLA, BYU, etc).

MORE: At what point does Kansas’ defense become a major red flag?

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)

  • Nebraska vs. Providence | South Region
  • SMU vs. BYU | West Region
  • Texas Southern vs. CS Northridge | Midwest Region
  • MOUNT ST. MARY’S vs. COASTAL CAROLINA | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

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

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, Nebraska, SMU, BYU, Providence

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

Next five teams out (at large): NC State, Green Bay, Georgia, Southern Miss, Illinois

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

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

Big East (4): Creighton, Villanova, Xavier, Providence

SEC (3): Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee

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

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, BYU

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), New Mexico State (WAC), MANHATTAN (MAAC), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Toledo (MAC), MERCER (A-Sun), HARVARD (IVY), Cal-Northridge (Big West), DELAWARE (Colonial), Stony Brook (American East), Weber State (Big Sky), NC-Central (MEAC), COASTAL CAROLINA (Big South), MOUNT ST. MARY’S (NEC), Texas Southern (SWAC)

Lonzo Ball struggled on UCLA’s Australian tour

Lonzo Ball (UCLA Athletics)
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UCLA capped their three-game trip to Australia on Sunday night with a 94-91 win over the Brisbane Bullets, a game in which sophomore point guard Aaron Holiday finished with a team-high 17 points. Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton both added 16 points and freshman Ike Anigbogu finished with 13 points and 10 boards.

This win came just two days after the Bruins lost to Melbourne United, 89-84, when Hamilton — 18 points and five assists — and Holiday — 16 points — were both once again impressive. Alford also added 18 points in Friday’s loss.

It’s not surprising that the Bruins had some up and down performances abroad. Everyone does. It’s what happens when a team of college kids, with three freshmen playing key roles, heads to the other side of the world to square off against teams made up of professionals. Don’t go hanging the ‘Fire Steve Alford’ banners on anymore airplanes just yet.

There are, however, two interesting things to consider from this trip:

– Lonzo Ball, UCLA’s star freshman, was, at best, their fourth-best perimeter player. Seniors Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford and sophomore Aaron Holiday all played well and posted impressive numbers on the three-game trip. Ball? He didn’t shoot well. At all. In UCLA’s 47-point opening win, he was 3-for-9 from the floor and 1-for-3 from three, putting together was was by far his best shooting performance of the trip. In the three games, he shot a total of 25 percent (9-36) from the field and 19 percent (4-21) from three. He did average 5.0 assists and, in one game, notched 13 boards, but Ball’s ability to shoot will be something to keep an eye on.

– And then there’s this, from Bryce Alford:

UCLA needs to travel with more towels.

VIDEO: Mixtape for ton ten prospect Hamidou Diallo

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Hamidou Diallo is arguably the most in-demand scoring guard in the country.

He currently holds offers from Duke, Kentucky, Indiana and Louisville, among many others, and in the mixtape above, you can see why. He’s has explosive as any guard that has come through college basketball since Zach LaVine, which is why his mixtapes are so enjoyable to watch.

Plus, the beat that Ball Is Life uses here is sick.

LOS ANGELES, CA. JULY 26, 2016. The Academy. Hamidou Diallo #33 of Putnam Science Academy dunks. (Mandatory photo credit: Jon Lopez/Nike).
Jon Lopez/Nike

Former Michigan State star arrested for third time in four months

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Photo via Wayne County Prosecutor's Office
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For the third time since May, former Michigan State star Keith Appling has been arrested in an incident involving a loaded gun.

According to police, Appling was the driver of a car that was pulled over on Sunday night in Detroit. After an officer detected the scent of marijuana and requested Appling’s license, Appling rolled up his window sped off. He was stopped a short time later, but officers noticed that a Gucci bag that was in the back seat his car was missing. As they went over the route of the pursuit, they found the bag, which contained a loaded handgun and paperwork with Appling’s name on it.

In June, Appling was arrested when, during a traffic stop, he was in the back seat of a car where a handgun was found in the floorboard. That happened a month after he was arrested in the parking lot of a Dearborn, Michigan, strip club when a handgun and a loaded AK-47 were found in his car.

Tennessee football to honor Pat Summitt with helmet sticker

KNOXVILLE, TN - JULY 14:  Flower wreaths line the wall at Pat Summitt Plaza before the start of a ceremony to celebrate the life of former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt at the Thompson-Boling Arena on July 14, 2016 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Summitt died June 28 at the age of 64, five years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. (Photo by Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics - Pool/Getty Images)
Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics
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Tennessee’s football team will be wearing a commemorative sticker on their helmet this season to honor the late Pat Summitt.

Summitt coached the Lady Vols for nearly four decades, building the women’s basketball program into a goliath in the sport and simultaneously doing more than just about anyone to advance women’s athletics in this country while becoming the winningest Division I college coach of all-time.

“We’re excited about wearing a commemorative sticker on the back of our helmet to honor the late Pat Summitt,” football coach Butch Jones said. “We know everything she stands for. I think it’s very fitting that Tennessee football and Team 120 recognize her and everything she means to the University of Tennessee and state of Tennessee.”

The stickers will look like this:

Tennessee athletics
Tennessee athletics

Villanova beats Duke, Kansas, Indiana for Jermaine Samuels

Atlanta, GA - MAY 27: Nike EYBL. Session 4. Jermaine Samuels, Jr. #23 of Expressions Elite dunks. (Photo by Jon Lopez)
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Villanova landed a commitment from top 50 prospect Jermaine Samuels on Saturday.

Samuels is a tough and athletic 6-foot-5 wing that will remind many Wildcat fans of Josh Hart. He’s got the same kind of versatility and nose for the ball that will let him guard perimeter players as well as work in as a small-ball four. Players like this are a specialty of Jay Wright.

Samuels picked up an offer from Duke recently and also had Indiana, Kansas and Georgetown in his top five. Beating out blue-bloods for a prospect like this is quite the statement for Villanova, one that should tell you the reigning national champs are here to stay as a national power.