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SATURDAY’S SNACKS: Villanova, Kansas and Baylor protect No. 1 seed with wins

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SATURDAY’S THINGS TO KNOW

The NCAA tournament men’s basketball selection committee unveiled its top 16 seeds at this current point in the season. In the televised event, defending champion Villanova was given the current No. 1 overall seed while one notable major power conference didn’t have any top-16 seeds. We have more on this here.

Speaking of Villanova, they went on the road to play Xavier and won convincingly to help head coach Jay Wright win his 500th game. I have more on how the Wildcats have been really tough to stop offensively with the emergence of new scorer.

Another one of those No. 1 seeds is Gonzaga, the No. 1 team in the country that now looks like a sure-bet to get to undefeated during the regular season. If you didn’t already think this was a team that can win the national title, a 10-point win at Saint Mary’s should convince you.

The Big East had an interesting start to the afternoon that saw Georgetown beat Marquette and St. John’s upset Seton Hall. The Golden Eagles and Pirates are fighting for a spot in the Field of 68 while the Hoyas are trying to win enough to be in bubble consideration. More on this in Bubble Banter.

Freshman Josh Jackson had one of the best games of the year to help lead No. 3 Kansas to a tight road win over Texas Tech. I have more on why Jackson’s game is important to Kansas down the stretch.

No. 9 Arizona remained in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 on Saturday thanks to a tough home win over a better-than-you-realize Cal team. No. 5 Oregon was given a fight by USC on the road, but they shook off their collapse against UCLA on Thursday to beat the Trojans.

Luke Kennard had 25 points to help lead No. 18 Duke to a two-point win over Clemson. CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on why the Blue Devils have a glaring issue that is starting to hurt them.

No. 14 Florida State went into South Bend and got worked over by Notre Dame, who seemed to take umbridge with the fact that they were dropped out of the top 25 this week.

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STARRED

J.J. Frazier, Georgia — Frazier finished with 29 points and six assists as Georgia went into Knoxville and knocked off a Tennessee team that is still fighting for their spot on the bubble.

Josh Jackson, Kansas — Frank Mason fouled out with a few minutes left and only played 26 minutes for Kansas on Saturday. So Jackson took over. The freshman played all 40 minutes and knocked in the game-winning free throw as he had a career-high 31 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Jackson was 12-for-15 from the field and very efficient. He willed the Jayhawks to victory.

Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame: The undersized four went up against one of the biggest front lines in the country for No. 14 Florida State and put up 33 points and 13 boards.

Johnathan Motley, Baylor — Keeping pace with the Jayhawks was Baylor as Motley also had himself a great afternoon. Motley finished with 25 points and seven rebounds as he was 12-for-15 from the field.

Tadric Jackson, Georgia Tech — Jackson scored 29 points for the Yellow Jackets in a come-from-behind win over Boston College that kept Josh Pastner’s club in the conversation for an NCAA tournament bid.

RELATED: Get caught up on all of today’s bubble action

REST OF THE TOP 25

  • It took a second-half rally but No. 4 Louisville held off Miami for an ACC home win. Deng Adel and Donovan Mitchell both finished with 18 points. Point guard Quentin Snider finished with 13 points after missing six games with injury.
  • Convincing home win for No. 6 Baylor over TCU as the Bears attempt to keep pace with Kansas in the Big 12 race. The Bears had a really good game from Johnathan Motley in this one as he tallied 25 points.
  • In a game that was tied at halftime, No. 13 West Virginia outscored Kansas State by 19 in the second half to pull away with a Big 12 home win. Junior guard Jevon Carter had 19 points and nine rebounds.
  • There was a late rally that put a scare into No. 15 Kentucky but they ultimately pulled away for an SEC road win at Alabama. Malik Monk had a so-so shooting game but still managed 17 points.
  • A big second-half run gave No. 17 Florida a home SEC win over Texas A&M. Justin Leon paced the Gators with 18 points while John Egbunu had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
  • No. 21 Maryland held off Ohio State at home thanks to a terrific first half. The Terps had lost back-to-back games to fall out of the Big Ten title race.
  • Just hours after being listed as a top four seed in the NCAA tournament selection show preview, No. 22 Butler went out and lost at Providence.
  • Easy win for No. 23 Creighton as they rolled past DePaul for a Big East road win. The Bluejays had five players finish in double-figures, led by Toby Hegner’s 14 points.

NOTABLE

  • Minnesota did what they were supposed to do and beat Rutgers on the road. Sophomore Jordan Murphy led the Golden Gophers with 17 points while also unleashing a poster dunk.
  • Playing the role of potential spoiler was Pitt as they beat Syracuse at home. The Orange had won five straight games but the Panthers were led by 22 points from Cameron Johnson and 21 points from Michael Young.
  • Another embarrassing loss for N.C. State as they lost by 30 on the road at Wake Forest. Since winning at Duke, the Wolfpack have dropped five consecutive games — three by 20 or more points. Center John Collins continued his stellar stretch with 23 points and seven rebounds.
  • After earning an important road win at Northwestern earlier this week Illinois lost by double-digits at home to Penn State. The Illini have lost seven of nine games and head coach John Groce’s job could be in trouble. Payton Banks led the Nittany Lions with 24 points.

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

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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.