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Report: Seton Hall, Wichita State to begin home-and-home series next season

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One of the tasks for programs during the summer is finalizing their non-conference schedule, and both Seton Hall and Wichita State took a step forward in that regard Friday.

The two programs, which haven’t met since the 2006 NCAA tournament, will play December 9 at Koch Arena on the Wichita State campus. Seton Hall will host the return meeting during the 2015-16 season at the Prudential Center in Newark. Wichita State finished the 2013-14 season with a record of 35-1, falling to eventual national runner-up Kentucky in the Round of 32.

Gregg Marshall’s Shockers will have some personnel losses to address in the front court, most notably Cleanthony Early, but guards Ron Baker and Fred Van Vleet both return to lead the way for a team looking to win its second consecutive Missouri Valley Conference title (both regular season and tournament).

As for the Pirates, there was no postseason in 2013-14 but the arrival of one of the nation’s best recruiting classes has sparked renewed optimism in South Orange. Lincoln (N.Y.) HS guard Isaiah Whitehead is the headliner of that group, and they’ll look to mesh with returnees such as guards Sterling Gibbs and Jaren Sina (forward Patrik Auda will explore pro opportunities overseas after having completed his degree, but the door remains open for a return to SHU).

That last meeting between Seton Hall and Wichita State also represents the last time the Pirates reached the NCAA tournament, a streak Seton Hall fans hope comes to an end in 2014-15. Wichita State won that game 86-66, eventually reaching the Sweet 16 where they fell to George Mason.

h/t Adam Zagoria

Big South moving 2016 conference tournament

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The Big South is moving its 2016 men’s basketball tournament out of Coastal Carolina and a new site will be figured out by November. According to a release from the conference the Big South is using a league bylaw that stipulates that members leaving with less than two years of notice are not eligible to host championships. Coastal Carolina announced this summer that it would be leaving for the Sun Belt as of July 2016, so the Big South wants to find a new location that benefits teams staying in the league.

The Big South men’s and women’s conference tournaments are now also going to be split into two unique events, with the men’s championships being held Thursday-Sunday, March 3-6. The women’s event comes the next week from March 10-13. Bids for both events will come into the league and a new location will be selected in the next few months.

It will be interesting to see if the site of the conference tournament is moved to a campus site or placed at a neutral venue. That type of thing could alter how the NCAA tournament autobid gets played out. With Coastal Carolina coming off of back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, this obviously changes their approach to the postseason now that they have to leave their city.

Virginia Tech could redshirt sophomore guard

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Virginia Tech is trying to decide what to do with injury sophomore guard Ahmed Hill, who had surgery this summer to deal with a tear in his patella tendon in his left knee.

The 6-foot-5 Hill has still not been released to work out with the team, but he is about a week to 10 days ahead of schedule in his rehab. But the injury is still nagging enough that Hill might not be healthy enough to really contritbute this season. Head coach Buzz Williams is deciding soon whether he wants to redshirt Hill or not.

Hill started a team-high 30 games for the Hokies last season, averaging 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

“I don’t have a decision on (Hill),” Williams said to reporters on Monday. “I will make the final decision. I’ll let (him) and his mom be a part of it, but I want to make a decision using the wisdom of doing this for a long period of time. If you let a kid make the decision, they always want to play.

“Right now, I don’t feel comfortable that I would want to play him. It’s just too early to be able to have much more of an answer than that.”

It’s still a rebuilding year for Virginia Tech, but they do get Maryland transfer Seth Allen, who is a talented guard who can score. The Hokies were hoping to have Hill and Allen as complimentary perimeter scorers, but now the plans might have to be altered. Williams went on to say that he would like to make a decision on Hill’s status by Halloween.