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Player of the Week: Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson

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This was Notre Dame’s most important week of the season.

They had lost four straight games and five of their last six, falling well off of the ACC title pace and out of the top 25, and Colson was having none of it. On Tuesday, he went for 27 points, 16 boards and five blocks as the Fighting Irish knocked off Wake Forest. On Saturday, in a dominant win over No. 14 Florida State, Colson had a career-high 33 points and 13 boards as he totally dominated Florida State’s big, physical front line.

Colson is the difference-making piece for the Irish. He’s their post presence. He’s a shot-blocker despite standing just 6-foot-5. He can space the floor and he allows them to play small-ball when the timing permits. And he does all of it while being able to hold his own on the glass against players that are five, six, seven inches taller than him.

And he showed up when Notre Dame needed him the most.

His 27 points on Tuesday were a season-high. That record lasted all of four days.

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  • Josh Jackson, Kansas: The Jayhawks had a pair of road games against potential tournament teams this week and Frank Mason III, their star point guard and a favorite to win National Player of the Year, didn’t play well in either one. The Jayhawks still managed to escape the weekend with a 2-0 record thanks to Jackson, who had 18 points in the win at Kansas State and followed that up with 31 points and 11 boards at Texas Tech.
  • Derrick Walton, Michigan: Has any point guard in the country been better than Walton the last three weeks? He’s gotten the Wolverines on the brink of a tournament bid by leading them to four wins in their last six games, including five straight where he’s scored at least 20 points. This week, in wins over Michigan State and at Indiana, he averaged 22.5 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 boards. 
  • Semi Ojeleye, SMU: The Mustangs had their best week of the season, scoring 30 points in a midweek win and following that up with a team-high 18 points as SMU landed a critical win over No. 11 Cincinnati to move into first place in the AAC.
  • Luke Kennard, Duke: Kennard finished with 20 points as Duke knocked off North Carolina on Thursday night, a win that more or less signified their return to national prominence, while he had 25 points and was the only scorer in double-figures as Duke avoided disaster 39 hours later, beating Clemson. 
  • Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina: Thornwell was the only Gamecock that came to play this week. In a four-overtime loss on Wednesday, he had 44 points and 21 boards in a game where SC managed just 86 total points. On Saturday, he spurred a come-from-behind win with 28 points at Mississippi State. 

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.