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College Basketball Talk Top 25: Why you should have Kansas at No. 1, not Gonzaga


In a week where nine of the top 12 teams in the AP Poll took a loss – and two of those nine lost a pair of games – putting together something that in anyway represents a coherent top 25 is a nightmare.

That said, there once again appears to be a pretty clear-cut top four, although the members of that top four differs slightly this week than it did last week. This week, Kansas, Gonzaga, Villanova and Baylor and the four teams that probably should be at the top of everyone’s poll regardless of whether you rank teams based off of résumé, tournament profile, the eye test or a combination of all three.

If you want to rank undefeated Gonzaga No. 1, you go right ahead. They’re undefeated on the season and those wins over Arizona, Florida, Tennessee and Saint Mary’s just keep looking better and better. If you want to rank Villanova No. 1, I think thats still justified. A two-point loss on the road to a tournament-caliber Marquette team on a night where they shot 6-for-34 from three and missed two game-tying shots at the rim at the end of the game is not exactly a death-knell for their season. Baylor? They still probably have the strongest résumé of anyone in the country.

Kansas, however, is the team that is sitting at No. 1 in my top 25 for one, simple reason: I find it really difficult to judge a team negatively when they go 1-1 in a week where they play two road games against KenPom top five teams.

That’s precisely what the Jayhawks did.

On Tuesday night, they went into Morgantown as six-point underdogs and lost, which is pretty much what everyone expected them to do in the building where Baylor lost by 21 points. Then on Saturday, they went into Rupp Arena as eight-point underdogs and beat Kentucky. There isn’t a soul in the world worth paying attention to that would consider that anything other than a good week.

I had Kansas ranked third last week, above Gonzaga but behind Villanova and Kentucky. Kentucky, deservedly, dropped after they lost a pair of games. I had Villanova in third now, not because their loss was horrid but because their shaky three-point shooting combined with less-than-stellar defense is a concern.

If you want to rank Gonzaga No. 1, I really have no issue with that. It’s justified and deserved. But if you are going to have the Zags jump Kansas in your poll because the Jayhawks lost at West Virginia and won at Kentucky in a week where Gonzaga went 3-0 against teams in the WCC not named Saint Mary’s, you’re crazy.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22: Bryant McIntosh #30 of the Northwestern Wildcats celebrates after hitting a three pointer against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the second half during the championship game of the Legends Classic at Barclays Center on November 22, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Northwestern’s ranked? (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Anyway, here’s the rest of the top 25. For what it’s worth, this was the hardest poll to put together this season. Once you get past the top four, anything goes:

1. Kansas (19-2, Last Week: No. 3)
2. Gonzaga (22-0, 4)
3. Villanova (20-2, 1)
4. Baylor (20-1, 6)
5. Louisville (18-4, 11)
6. Arizona (20-2, 8)
7. North Carolina (19-4, 5)
8. West Virginia (17-4, 17)
9. Kentucky (17-4, 2)
10. Wisconsin (18-3, 12)
11. UCLA (19-3, 9)
12. Oregon (19-3, 10)
13. Virginia (17-4, 21)
14. Florida State (18-4, 7)
15. Cincinnati (19-2, 15)
16. Purdue (17-5, 13)
17. Duke (16-5, 16)
18. Notre Dame (17-5, 14)
19. Saint Mary’s (19-2, 20)
20. South Carolina (17-4, 22)
21. Maryland (19-2, 23)
22. Butler (18-4, 18)
23. Florida (16-5, NR)
24. Northwestern (18-4, NR)
25. SMU (18-4, NR)

DROPPED OUT: No. 19 Creighton, No. 24 Kansas State, No. 25 Iowa State
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 23 Florida, No. 24 Northwestern, No. 25 SMU

VIDEO: LaVar Ball gets female ref replaced after threatening to pull team from court

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A female referee was removed from a Big Ballers game after LaVar Ball threatened to pull his team from the court for the second time in a week.

The referee called Ball for a technical foul, which sparked the confrontation, but both Ball and an adidas rep told ESPN’s Jeff Borzello that the reason the ref was pulled was because she and Ball had a previous issue:

Before the game was over, Ball would receive a second technical foul and the game was eventually called with two minutes left and Big Ballers losing by 10.

Western Kentucky’s five-star recruit Mitchell Robinson has left campus

McDonalds All-American game
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The soap opera that has been Mitchell Robinson’s tenure at Western Kentucky took another on Friday, as the five-star center and top ten prospect in the Class of 2017 has reportedly left campus.

Robinson was a massive coup for Rick Stansbury when he committed to and signed for the Hilltoppers, but it has been non-stop drama since then. Less than two weeks after his commitment, Robinson tweeted that he would be decommitting from WKU before immediately deleting the tweet and claiming that his account was hacked. Robinson did not attend the first session of summer school on campus, and he was in class in the second summer school session and reportedly practicing with the team this month for a trip to Costa Rica, but he cleaned out his dorm room and left the campus last night.

Part of the reason that Robinson opted to go to Western Kentucky was that his godfather, former UNC star Shammond Williams, was an assistant coach on the staff. Williams left the program on July 3rd, and ever since then there have been questions surrounding where Robinson will play this season. There have been rumors that he will be heading overseas for a year before entering the 2018 NBA Draft, and there is also the potential that Robinson could end up transferring to a different college.

The question, however, is whether or not Robinson will be able to transfer and play immediately without sitting out a year since he enrolled in summer school.

Robinson is a 7-foot center and a terrific defensive prospect that is projected as a first round pick next year. If he does get a waiver to transfer, he immediately becomes the best available talent on the market, along with Marvin Bagley III, who is considering reclassifying.

Virginia, Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Vandy in NIT Tip-Off

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NEW YORK (AP) — Virginia and Vanderbilt will meet in one semifinal of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off on Thanksgiving Day at Barclays Center.

Rhode Island and Seton Hall face off in the other semifinal with the winners meeting on Friday, Nov. 24.

This is the third straight year the Tip-Off has been held at Barclays Center. Eventual NCAA champion Villanova won the event in 2015. All games will be televised on ESPNU.

Non-bracketed teams in the NIT Season Tip-Off who will play games at campus sites are: Austin Peay, Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, Oakland City and UNC Asheville.

Miles Bridges explain why he returned to Michigan State

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Miles Bridges changed the landscape of the 2017-18 college basketball season on April 13.

The Michigan State forward spurned the NBA for another year in East Lansing. The decision not only meant that Bridges was a frontrunner for national player of the year, but solidified the Spartans as a national title contender.

But Bridges’ choice to return was still puzzling to many. The 6-foot-7 forward was projected as a lottery pick. Bridges explained his decision to Mike Decourcy of Sporting News in a story published on Thursday.

“He says, ‘You know what, Coach? I want to get better. I don’t want to be in the D-League. I’ve got buddies that are, and I just want to make sure when I go, I’m ready,’ ” Izzo recalled to Sporting News. “I looked at him and I said, ‘Done deal.’ For me, that was a done deal. It was a reasonable, sensible argument.”

Agents, friends, reporters, scouts, acquaintances, fans, strangers and family members — oh and, as we said, coaches — all had one opinion about how Bridges should spend the next year of his life. Miles had another, opposing, viewpoint.

Bridges told Decourcy that support came from his teammates, many of whom were returning to the team as well. Assuming the backcourt of Cassius Winston and Josh Langford make a leap forward, as well as incoming freshman Jaren Jackson providing an immediate impact, the Spartans’ title hopes could become a reality.

Bridges averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.5 blocks as a freshman at Michigan State. He’s rated as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.

Four conferences sign on to basketball officiating alliance

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Four more Division I conferences will join a men’s basketball officiating alliance formed last year by the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Atlantic 10 and Colonial Athletic Association.

The Big South, the Ivy League, the Northeast and the Patriot League are joining ahead of the 2017-18 season, according to announcements from the leagues Thursday. The alliance launched last summer for conferences to work together on officiating matters and enhance training, development, recruitment, retention and feedback for officials.

John Cahill, the Big East’s supervisor of officials, and Bryan Kersey, the ACC’s coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, will continue to lead the alliance operations.

ACC commissioner John Swofford says the new additions to the alliance “provide an even greater opportunity to build chemistry and quality” across the officiating ranks.