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SATURDAY’S SNACKS: Kentucky claims the SEC title; bubble comes more into focus

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SATURDAY’S THINGS TO KNOW

Wake Forest, Vanderbilt and Seton Hall and damn near the entirety of the Big East seemed to punch their ticket to the NCAA tournament on Saturday. It was a wild day on the bubble over all.

No. 5 North Carolina locked up their outright ACC regular season title, winning the conference by two full games after Saturday night’s win over No. 17 Duke.

Kentucky claimed the outright SEC regular-season title with a comeback win over Texas A&M. We’ve seen Wildcat comebacks fueled by freshman guards before, but this time it wasn’t Malik Monk. More on this one here.

The ACC saw two ranked teams go at it as No. 8 Louisville outlasted No. 19 Notre Dame to avenge a loss to the Irish earlier this season. Nobody seems to be talking about the Cardinals with regards to the national title picture — even though they might be a No. 2 seed — as I examine that a bit more here.

The bubble picture also became a bit clearer on Saturday as teams like IllinoisCalifornia and Georgia all suffered losses in must-win scenarios.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Vanderbilt scored a huge win over No. 12 Florida as the Commodores now own an impressive season sweep of the Gators. CBT’s Rob Dauster goes into more detail about Vandy’s fascinating bubble profile.

Seton Hall also did plenty to enhance its NCAA tournament cause with a road win at Butler in Big East play. Desi Rodriguez had 21 points to pace the Pirates while double-double machine Angel Delgado had 20 points and 16 rebounds. Dauster has more on Seton Hall punching their ticket here.

You can get all of the details about how the bubble currently looks in Saturday’s Bubble Banter.

STARRED

Melo Trimble, Maryland: This wasn’t the best outing we’ll see from the junior this season, as he only finished with 16 points and six rebounds. But Trimble nailed the game-winning three-pointer to lift Maryland over Michigan State as it was the fifth time this season that Trimble has scored Maryland’s game-winning points in the final 30 seconds. He remains one of the nation’s premier clutch players.

Jawun Evans vs. Frank Mason III: No. 1 Kansas won at Oklahoma State in a battle of the PGs. Evans had 22 points and 15 assists, but Mason finished with 27 points, nine boards and nine assists in the win.

Keith Braxton, St. Francis (PA): The freshman scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds, but more importantly, Braxton kept St. Francis’ NCAA tournament hopes alive by hitting the buzzer-beater for the win in the NEC tournament semifinals. Braxton’s heavily-contested prayer was answered as the Red Flash beat Wagner on the road and advanced to the NEC tournament title game.

Cameron Morse, Youngstown State: Morse had 34 points, seven boards and five assists, which included setting up the game-winning bucket as the No. 9 seeded Penguins upset top seed Oakland in the Horizon League tournament.

Andrew White III, Syracuse: When you celebrate Senior Day with 40 points in a win, then you’re doing it right. That’s exactly what White did on Saturday as the Orange blew out Georgia Tech. White was 8-for-9 from three-point range and 12-for-16 from the field overall.

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

REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Villanova closed out the regular season with an easy Big East road win at Georgetown. The No. 2 Wildcats had 21 points from Josh Hart and 19 points from Kris Jenkins in the win.
  • No. 6 Oregon won a share of the Pac-12 title on Saturday, as they beat the brakes off of Oregon State on the same day that …
  • … No. 7 Arizona won on the road against Arizona State. Allonzo Trier led the Wildcats with 19 points.
  • Picking up a Big 12 road win was No. 11 Baylor as the Bears outlasted Texas. Johnathan Motley added to his All-American case with 17 points and 17 rebounds.
  • Huge win for No. 14 SMU as the destroyed Memphis for an AAC home win. On Senior Day, Sterling Brown led the Mustangs with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Good home win in the ACC for No. 15 Florida State as they won despite a late push from No. 25 Miami. Dwayne Bacon led the Seminoles with 23 points.
  • Easy win for No. 23 Virginia as the Cavaliers cruised an ACC home win over Pitt. London Perrantes finished with 22 points while Ty Jerome added 13 points.

NOTABLE

  • Keeping its bubble hopes alive was Kansas State as they picked up a Big 12 home win over Texas Tech. D.J. Johnson scored 19 points to pace the Wildcats.
  • Providence is also keeping its bubble hopes alive as the Friars took down St. John’s for a Big East road win. Isaiah Jackson led Providence with 18 points.
  • Surviving on the road with a Big East win was Xavier as the Musketeers held off DePaul. Trevon Bluiett paced Xavier with 24 points. This was also the final home game for DePaul at Allstate Arena after 37 years of playing there.
  • Staying in the Big East, Marquette added another good win to its cause with a home win over Creighton as JaJuan Johnson had 20 points. Big man Luke Fischer also proposed to his girlfriend as part of Senior Day.
  • Syracuse should feel decent about its NCAA tournament prospects after taking care of Georgia Tech at home. The Orange had 40 points from senior Andrew White in the win.
  • Another win for Clemson as they took care of Boston College for an ACC home win. Jaron Blossomgame and Avry Holmes each had 17 points to pace the Tigers.
  • A solid week continues for Wake Forest as they bested Virginia Tech for an ACC road win. The Demon Deacons had 26 points and five assists from Bryant Crawford in the win.
  • Decent win for Arkansas as the Razorbacks trounced Georgia for an SEC home win. Moses Kingsley, Dusty Hannahs and Jaylon Barford all had 15 points each for Arkansas.
  • Indiana put up 54 points in the first half and held on to beat Ohio State for a Big Ten road win. The Hooisers had five players in double-figures led by Robert Johnson’s 26 points.

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

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After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

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Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

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Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

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John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.

Ohio State snags third 2018 commitment in a week with four-star guard Luther Muhammad

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Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.

Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.

Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.