Meet the teams still competing for the fourth No. 1 seed

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With Arizona, Florida and Wichita State all but locking up three out of the four No. 1 seeds, we decided to take a look at some of the remaining contenders for the fourth No. 1. Here’s a look at some key information for those contending for a No. 1 seed as we move closer to Selection Sunday.

Creighton

RPI: 8, SOS: 34, KenPom: 6

Key wins: Villanova (2), Xavier (2), Nebraska, at Saint Joseph’s, Arizona State

Key losses: at St. John’s, at Georgetown, San Diego State, George Washington

While Creighton lacks the strength of schedule of some of the other No. 1 seed contenders, Doug McDermott and the Bluejays do own two key wins over Villanova — another contender for a No. 1 seed — and Creighton is also the one still playing for the Big East title against Providence on Saturday. If the Bluejays knock off Providence and have some other teams fall early, could they sneak into a No. 1 seed?

Duke

RPI: 7, SOS: 8, KenPom: 8

Key wins: Michigan, Syracuse, North Carolina, Virginia, UCLA, at Pittsburgh

Key losses: at Clemson, at Notre Dame, at Wake Forest, Kansas, Arizona

The Blue Devils are still vying for the final No. 1 seed as they face N.C. State in the ACC Tournament semifinals on Saturday with another potential game against fellow No. 1 seed contender Virginia in the title game. If the Blue Devils can win out, they have a chance at a No. 1 seed.

Michigan

RPI: 10, SOS: 11, KenPom: 11

Key wins: Nebraska (2), Michigan State (2), Minnesota (2), at Wisconsin

Key losses: Charlotte, at Indiana, at Iowa

Michigan would help itself out quite a bit if they could beat No. 24 Ohio State for the second time this season in the Big Ten semifinals on Saturday and a potential shot at Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game could act as a play-in game for a No. 1  seed, depending on how some of these other teams fare the rest of the way.

Villanova

RPI: 6, SOS: 50, KenPom: 7

Key wins: Kansas, Providence (2), Xavier, at Saint Joseph’s

Key losses: Seton Hall, Creighton (2), at Syracuse

The Wildcats are holding their breath after falling to Seton Hall in their opening game of the Big East Tournament earlier in the week and they’ll have to hope that the favorites in the Big Ten and the ACC keep losing.

Virginia

RPI: 11, SOS: 43, KenPom: 5

Key wins: North Carolina, at Pittsburgh, Syracuse

Key losses: at Green Bay, at Maryland, at Duke, VCU

The Cavaliers are still fighting for an ACC title and if they win out against Pitt and a potential game for the championship against Duke, Tony Bennett’s ballclub could find itself in position for a potential No. 1 seed. Virginia’s resume is damaged by only three wins against top-50 opponents — two of them at home — and the bad losses on the road at Green Bay and Maryland are an eye-sore on the resume.

Wisconsin

RPI: 5, SOS: 3, KenPom: 10

Key wins: Florida, Saint Louis, at Virginia, at Michigan, Michigan State

Key losses: at Indiana, Northwestern

The Badgers have certainly played a tough non-conference schedule with wins over No. 1 seed Florida and potential No. 1 seeds — on the road — in Virginia and Michigan. Can Wisconsin win another against No. 22 Michigan State on Saturday in the Big Ten semifinals and win the Big Ten Tournament title on Sunday to secure the final No. 1 seed? It’s certainly possible.

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

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Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.