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Mitchell leads No. 8 Louisville past sharp Virginia Tech

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville’s 1,800th victory was one for the books.

On a day when both teams were so hot from the field that Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams changed shirts at halftime, Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points to lead the eighth-ranked Cardinals past the Hokies 94-90 on Saturday.

Both Mitchell, a sophomore guard, and the Cardinals’ inside game stood out.

Mitchell connected on his first six shots, including three 3-pointers en route to going 8 for 13 from the field and 5 of 7 from the beyond the arc. He led an effort that saw Louisville (22-5, 10-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) shoot 51.5 percent from the field and even better, 12 of 22, from beyond the 3-point arc.

The Cardinals needed that as Virginia Tech (18-8, 7-7) managed to shoot 59.2 percent from the field, including 65.4 percent (17 of 26) from beyond the arc. The Hokies, who set a KFC Yum! Center visitor’s record with their 90 points, also made the most 3-pointers against the Cardinals since they beat West Virginia in the 2005 Elite Eight.

“Every team is going to fight, even the teams who are at the bottom of the ACC are going to fight,” Mitchell said. “Everybody is fighting to make the tournament. We’re going to get every team’s best shot being a ranked team because if they beat a (ranked team) there is a good chance that will get them into the tournament.”

The difference ended up being the 19 extra shots the Cardinals got as they used the glass to their advantage. They outrebounded the Hokies 33-25, with 16 coming on the offensive end. That allowed Louisville to enjoy a 26-3 edge in second-chance scoring.

“I think if we don’t have a hot shooting night, they beat us by 40,” said Williams, wearing the orange Virginia Tech T-shirt he switched to in the second half after he sweated through his dress shirt. “I think the hot shooting night allowed it to be a game.”

Louisville coach Rick Pitino said he hated to win solely on offense, but he also knew the Hokies, who played four guards, would present a challenge to the Cardinals. Nonetheless, he expects his team to learn from this win.

“If we don’t start playing better defense we’re all going (on) vacation early,” he said. “You guys are going to be covering someone else. If you’re impressed with that, you’re not watching the game I’m watching. But, that being said, it was a great win.”

Seth Allen led the Hokies with 25 points and Ty Outlaw had 19.

Quentin Snider finished with 19 points and Jaylen Johnson added 16 for Louisville.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: By playing the Cardinals close on the road, the Hokies did little damage to their NCAA Tournament resume, but beating tough teams away from Cassell Coliseum remains a challenge for the Hokies. The last win against a ranked team on the road came against Clemson on Feb. 25, 2009.

Louisville: It wasn’t a pretty effort for the Cardinals, at least not defensively. However, Louisville gutted through another contest with a team many expect to go dancing next month and avoided a potential trap before playing North Carolina next week.

HISTORIC WIN

With the victory on Saturday, the Cardinals became the 10th program in history to reach 1,800 wins. In its 103rd season, Louisville’s record stands at 1,800-897.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

While the performance might do a number on the Cardinals’ top-ranking in Ken Pomeroy’s defensive efficiency ratings, it should not do anything to their standing when the next AP poll comes out on Monday. Especially since the Hokies already have wins against both Duke and Virginia this season.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech returns home, where it will face Clemson on Tuesday night.

Louisville travels to North Carolina for Wednesday night in the teams’ only regular season matchup.

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.