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Bubble Banter: Illinois State has a long, long wait for Selection Sunday


The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here. This is where the seeds you see below come from.

This post will be updated throughout the day. 


Iowa (RPI: 71, KenPom: 68, first four out): The Hawkeyes did what they needed to do to be able to play themselves into at-large consideration. They won their last four games, which includes games at Maryland and at Wisconsin, and picked off Penn State at home in the Big Ten finale. The Hawkeyes probably sit on the wrong side of the bubble as of today, and if they sit on the right side of the bubble, it’s only barely. They have five top 50 wins and three top 30 wins, but none of those are top 20 wins. They have two road wins against top 40 opponents and a home loss to Omaha. The point that I’m trying to get at is that Iowa would do well for themselves to win a couple of games in the Big Ten tournament this week.

No. 21 Wichita State (RPI: 42, KenPom: 11, No. 11 seed): The Shockers won the Missouri Valley’s automatic bid. The biggest question now is whether or not the Shockers are going to get stuck in the No. 11 seed range. This team ranks 11th in KenPom. If they are a No. 11 seed, they could very well end up being favored in both their first round game against a No. 6 seed and a potential second round game against a No. 3 seed.


Illinois State (RPI: 31, KenPom: 42, No. 12 seed): The wait now begins for the Redbirds. Illinois State lost in the Missouri Valley title game, putting them squarely on the bubble and in very real danger of missing out on the NCAA tournament. Here’s the situation as it stands: Illinois State has just one top 80 win, which came against Wichita State. In fact, the Shockers are the only top 80 team that Illinois State has played this season, and they went 1-2 in those three games, losing by a combined 61 points in the two games outside of Normal, Il. They have a win over New Mexico, which doesn’t mean all that much, and they swept Southern Illinois in three games. That’s the third-best win in the league, but it’s barely a top 150 win.

I want the Redbirds in the dance over someone like Vanderbilt or Iowa, but I just don’t think they have a real chance at this. It’s going to be a very, very long seven days for the Redbirds, who are going to watch bubble teams across the country improve their résumés while they can do nothing but watch the highlights on TV.

VIDEO: Jay-Z’s nephew posterizes nation’s No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley III

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Nahziah Carter is an unsigned 6-foot-6 wing in the Class of 2017.

He’s also Jay-Z’s nephew, and he just so happened to posterize Marvin Bagley III — the clearcut No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 — while Hova was in the stands watching him.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.