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Bracketology: Syracuse keeps climbing

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As we ushered in 2017, Syracuse could easily have been asking, what happened? A preseason Top 25 team, the Orange were mired in a streak that produced loses to Connecticut, St. John’s, and Boston College.  Early January wasn’t much better, as the Orange’s early league road schedule took a toll. Fast forward to February. It’s amazing what a five-game winning streak in the ACC can do for a team’s resume, especially when the field around them remains quite average.  Syracuse’s last-second heroics at Clemson have the Orange at 8-4 in the league and, at least for the moment, a few slots above the cutline.  We’ll see how the final month plays out.

No changes on the No. 1 seed line today. Kansas and Baylor bounced back with road wins .  Come Saturday, we’ll all get a sneak peak at how the actual Selection Committee views the Top 16 teams (on their Seed List), noted as the top four seeds in each region.  Every Committee is a little different, so it will be interesting to see how they view things.  Some of us would prefer to see their look at the bubble, too.  Then again, deciphering and explaining those concepts would require a show that’s too long for network television.  Come Monday, the middle and lower half of the bracket could look quite different – again.

UPDATED: February 9, 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.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Michigan vs. Seton Hall | South Region
  • Wichita State vs. Marquette | East Region
  • WEBER STATE vs. UC-DAVIS | Midwest Region
  • MT. ST. MARY’S vs. NC CENTRAL | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST New York WEST San Jose                         
Buffalo Salt Lake City
1) VILLANOVA 1) GONZAGA
16) NC-CENTRAL / M.S. MARY’S 16) TX-SOUTHERN
8) VCU 8) California
9) Oklahoma State 9) Iowa State
Orlando Milwaukee
5) Butler 5) Duke
12) UNC-WILMINGTON 12) VALPARAISO
4) FLORIDA 4) WISCONSIN
13) MONMOUTH 13) NEW MEXICO ST
Buffalo Indianapolis
6) Notre Dame 6) Maryland
11) Wichita St / Marquette 11) MID TENNESSEE ST
3) West Virginia 3) Louisville
14) WINTHROP 14) BELMONT
Greenville Sacramento
7) USC 7) SMU
10) Indiana 10) Virginia Tech
2) NORTH CAROLINA 2) OREGON
15) PRINCETON 15) NO DAKOTA ST
SOUTH – Memphis MIDWEST – Kansas City
Tulsa Tulsa
1) Baylor 1) KANSAS
16) SAM HOUSTON ST 16) WEBER ST / UC-DAVIS
8) Northwestern 8) Syracuse
9) Miami-FL 9) Minnesota
Indianapolis Milwaukee
5) Creighton 5) Purdue
12) AKRON 12) ILLINOIS STATE
4) Kentucky 4) CINCINNATI
13) VERMONT 13) NEVADA
Sacramento Greenville
6) Saint Mary’s 6) South Carolina
11) Michigan / Seton Hall 11) Michigan State
3) UCLA 3) Virginia
14) ARKANSAS STATE 14) FLA GULF COAST
Orlando Salt Lake City
7) Xavier 7) Dayton
10) Kansas State 10) TCU
2) Florida State 2) Arizona
15) BUCKNELL 15) FURMAN

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

Last Four Byes (at large): Miami-FL, Virginia Tech, Indiana, Michigan State

Last Four IN (at large): Seton Hall, Wichita State, Marquette, Michigan

First Four OUT (at large): Tennessee, Rhode Island, Georgia Tech, Arkansas

Next four teams OUT (at large): Wake Forest, Clemson, Ohio State, Georgetown

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): NORTH CAROLINA, Florida State, Virginia, Louisville, Duke, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Miami-FL, Virginia Tech

Big 10 (8): WISCONSIN, Purdue, Maryland, Northwestern, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan State, Michigan

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

Big East (6): VILLANOVA, Butler, Creighton, Xavier, Seton Hall, Marquette

Pac 12 (5): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, USC, California

SEC (3): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina

Atlantic 10 (2): VCU, Dayton

American (2): CINCINNATI, SMU

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (2): ILLINOIS STATE, Wichita 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), Furman (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.