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Bracketology: Kansas shows its mettle

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As the race for top seeds continue, Kansas showed its mettle in recent days – backing up road win at Kentucky with a home victory last night against Big 12 rival Baylor.  That’s a strong two-game parlay, and keeps KU firmly entrenched as the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region in today’s bracket update.  By a slim margin, Villanova holds the overall No. 1 seed position.  Baylor and unbeaten Gonzaga also reside on the top line.

The Bubble

This year’s large collection of bubble teams remains quite fluid.  It’s also about 30-teams deep as we begin the February push.  How long will teams be able to circumvent poor road records and sub-.500 league records?  It’s a valid and good question.  The answer is truly the great unknown.  Teams do not play in vacuum.  We’ll see how the landscape looks next week and next month.

UPDATED: February 2, 2017

Regarding bracketing principles, 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.

RELATED: The latest Bubble Banter

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Tennessee vs. TCU | Midwest Region
  • California vs. Kansas State South Region
  • WEBER STATE vs. UC-DAVIS | Midwest Region
  • MT. ST. MARY’S vs. NC CENTRAL | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST New York            MIDWEST – Kansas City             
Buffalo Tulsa
1) VILLANOVA 1) KANSAS
16) NC-CENTRAL / M.S. MARY’S 16) WEBER ST / UC-DAVIS
8) Dayton 8) Virginia Tech
9) ILLINOIS STATE 9) VCU
Milwaukee Sacramento
5) CINCINNATI 5) Purdue
12) AKRON 12) TCU / Tennessee
4) MARYLAND 4) Oregon
13) MONMOUTH 13) NEVADA
Buffalo Orlando
6) Notre Dame 6) Florida
11) NC-WILMINGTON 11) Minnesota
3) West Virginia 3) Florida State
14) E. TENNESSEE ST 14) BELMONT
Greenville Indianapolis
7) Northwestern 7) USC
10) Marquette 10) Georgia Tech
2) NORTH CAROLINA 2) KENTUCKY
15) BUCKNELL 15) PRINCETON
WEST – San Jose SOUTH – Memphis
Salt Lake City Tulsa
1) GONZAGA 1) Baylor
16) TX-SOUTHERN 16) SAM HOUSTON ST
8) Michigan State 8) MID TENNESSEE ST
9) Iowa State 9) Arkansas
Orlando Milwaukee
5) Butler 5) Duke
12) VALPARAISO 12) California / Kansas St
4) Wisconsin 4) Creighton
13) NEW MEXICO ST 13) VERMONT
Greenville Sacramento
6) South Carolina 6) Saint Mary’s
11) Oklahoma State 11) Clemson
3) Virginia 3) UCLA
14) FLA GULF COAST 14) ARKANSAS ST
Salt Lake City Indianapolis
7) Xavier 7) SMU
10) Indiana 10) Michigan
2) ARIZONA 2) Louisville
15) NORTH DAKOTA ST 15) WINTHROP

NOTES on the BRACKET: Villanova is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Kansas, Baylor, and Gonzaga.

Last Four Byes (at large): Marquette, Minnesota, Clemson, Oklahoma State

Last Four IN (at large): California, Tennessee, TCU, Kansas State

First Four OUT (at large): Seton Hall, Miami-FL, Wichita State, Georgetown

Next four teams OUT (at large): Wake Forest, Texas Tech, Rhode Island, NC State

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): NORTH CAROLINA, Louisville, Florida State, Virginia, Duke, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Clemson

Big 10 (8): MARYLAND, Wisconsin, Purdue, Northwestern, Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota

Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, TCU, Kansas State, Oklahoma State

Big East (5): VILLANOVA, Creighton, Butler, Xavier, Marquette

SEC (5): KENTUCKY, Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee

Pac 12 (5): ARIZONA, UCLA, Oregon, USC, California

Atlantic 10 (2): VCU, Dayton

American (2): CINCINNATI, SMU

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (1): ILLINOIS STATE

Mountain West (1): NEVADA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Monmouth (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), Arkansas State (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), Weber State (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), Sam Houston State (SLND), East Tennessee State (STHN), UC-Davis (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), Winthrop (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), North Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Mt. St. Mary’s (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

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.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

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The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.