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Weekend Preview: The NCAA Tournament bracket seed reveal is the biggest story line this weekend

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1. The NCAA’s first Selection Show preview will happen this weekend: At 12:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, we will officially get the first early unveiling of the bracket in the history of the NCAA tournament.

It’s not going to be the entire bracket. The reveal is only going to be the top 16 teams in the bracket – seeds 1-4 in each of the four regions – but it will give us a glimpse of just what the committee is thinking when it comes to where the likes of Kansas, Baylor, Duke and Kentucky are currently slotted in the bracket.

This decision was somewhat controversial when it was made, but, as of now, it’s only a one-time deal; we are not going to get weekly reveals like we do in college football. It will also turn all eyes on college hoops for the day, and it’s never a bad thing to have the sport sit center stage in the American sports landscape. Overall, this is a net-positive, even if it is something that many people, including me, don’t like.

2. Is this the last chance to end Gonzaga’s undefeated regular season?: The Zags will head to Moraga on Saturday night to pay a visit to No. 20 Saint Mary’s for Gameday. The Gaels are 22-2 on the season and 12-1 in the WCC, but they took a 23-point loss earlier this year when they paid a visit to Spokane for a game. Gonzaga still will have four more games left on their schedule after Saturday, but considering that they’ve won every league game they’ve played this year by double-figures, it’s hard to see them falling to anyone, especially when three of their last four games are at home.

Which leaves Saint Mary’s to carry the burden of ending the streak.

The game comes at an interesting time as well. One of the major talking points with Gonzaga is whether or not this team is “legit”. Can a team from a league like the WCC really be considered a title contender? (Yes, they can.) And, to that point, do they deserve a No. 1 seed? (Yes, they do.) We’ll find out eight hours before their tip-off if they are a No. 1 seed as of today, and, if they lose, we’ll spend the next month wondering whether or not they can do enough to hold onto that seed.

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3. Will Kentucky’s “three-hour practice” be enough to get them out of their funk?: Kentucky has been bad for the last three weeks. They’re 2-3 during that stretch, with both of their wins coming at home, one in overtime against Georgia and one by seven points over a bad LSU team. The issue? Well, as I wrote on Wednesday, there’s a lot going on there.

But the main problem is on the defensive side of the ball. They’re not getting stops they need to be able to get to make their transition game work, and, as a result, the issues that they have running half court offense are becoming glaringly obvious. Coach Cal was not happy about this after the game on Tuesday night. He ran the Wildcats through a three-hour practice on Wednesday that was “90 percent defense”. He threatened to shorten the rotation if there are guys that cannot or will not defend.

Will it work? Alabama is 7-4 in the SEC and coming off of a win at South Carolina on Tuesday. That’s a pretty good team. Kentucky needs to show up if they want to win.

4. Louisville will get Quentin Snider back: The Cardinals have played without a point guard for the last month as they’ve dealt with Quentin Snider’s hip injury and the broken hand that Tony Hicks suffered. In their stead, Donovan Mitchell has adopted the primary guard duties, and he’s been, for the most part, awesome. There are two things to watch for with Louisville this weekend: Can Mitchell keep playing this way with Snider back, and will that allow Louisville to solve some of the perimeter scoring issues they’ve had all season long?

5. The Pac-12 race will take an interesting turn on Saturday night: After UCLA landed a come-from-behind win over Oregon on Thursday, the top of the Pac-12 looks like this: Arizona sits all alone in first place, Oregon is a game behind them and UCLA, along with Cal, sits a game out of second play. On Saturday night, Cal, who desperately needs to add an elite win to their tournament résumé, plays at Arizona while Oregon is in LA to face USC, a tournament team in their own right.

With the Wildcats still getting a chance to host UCLA later on this season, losses from the league’s top two teams would make the final month of the regular season very interesting.

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.