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Bubble Banter: Three teams can lock up a bid, and then there’s N.C. State

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There is one day 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.

Our latest bracket projection can be found here.

(This post will update throughout the day)


St. Joseph’s: The Hawks picked up a win over St. Bonaventure, avoiding another bad loss on their resume and advancing them to the Atlantic 10 tournament title game against the winner of VCU and George Washington. Regardless of what happens on Sunday, the Hawks are probably safe at this point. They are now 9-8 against the top 100 with a RPI in the high-30s and just one sub-100 loss.

RELATED: Is your team in the field of 68? Check our latest Bracketology

Providence: The Friars played their way off the bubble … by winning the Big East tournament.


Tennessee: The Vols had a chance to lock up a bid to the NCAA tournament with a win over Florida, but the Gators erased a 35-25 halftime deficit and pulled away late, knocking off Tennessee 56-49 in the SEC semifinals. Cuonzo Martin’s club will now be forced to play the waiting game, and I think that they’ve done enough that they will hear their name called on Selection Sunday. Their RPI is in the low-40s, they have three top 50 wins (including the 35-point win over Virginia in December) and a 7-9 record against the top 100 with four of those losses coming to top four teams. The three sub-100 losses are ugly, but remember: two of them came as a result of last-second three pointers from Antwan Space of Texas A&M, who hit 11 threes all season long.

This doesn’t factor into the conversation officially, but Tennessee is playing as well as anyone in the country of late and they are one of just seven teams to be ranked in the top 30 in adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.

N.C. State: The Wolfpack were barely in the bubble conversation until they beat Syracuse on Friday afternoon. After that win, the conversation was “beat Duke, and they’ll have a shot”. Well, N.C. State lost to Duke, which means that T.J. Warren will be lighting up scoreboards in the NIT.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.