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Bubble Banter: Vanderbilt is heading to the NCAA tournament

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

This post will be updated throughout the day.

WINNERS

Vanderbilt (RPI: 43, KenPom: 36, ): Mike White deserves credit for getting two teams to the NCAA tournament this year: Florida, who he coaches, and Vanderbilt, who picked off the Gators for the third time this season on Friday night. Vanderbilt should be in the tournament at this point, even if they are going to have 15 losses to their names if they lose in the SEC tournament. Three wins over Florida speaks for itself, and those losses came was a result of one of the toughest schedules in college basketball this season. I don’t know how dangerous the Commodores will be in the Big Dance, but I do think that, after today, they will be there.

Middle Tennessee State (RPI: 36, KenPom: 51, No. 11 seed): The Blue Raiders took care of business in the Conference USA semifinals, getting themselves to the league title game, where they will play for the right to have a stress-free Selection Sunday. A loss would be very, very interesting, as MTSU doesn’t have a great profile but they have some quality wins and would be 29-5 on the season. They beat UNC Wilmington on a neutral. They beat Vanderbilt by 23. They won at Ole Miss and at Belmont. That’s pretty good. The problem is that a loss in the CUSA title game would mean they have four sub-100 losses, which is the exact number of top 100 wins they have. That’s not a good combination.

Rhode Island (RPI: 45, KenPom: 52, first four out): Rhode Island knocked off St. Bonaventure on Thursday afternoon, putting the Rams in a weird spot. On the one hand, Davidson knocked off top-seeded Dayton in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals, which opened up that side of the Atlantic 10 bracket for the Rams. Their path to the title game is unquestionably easier now. The problem? Dayton would have been a significantly better win for their résumé, which currently is only strong enough to put them right on the cut line. They have a better chance of winning the league’s automatic bid now, but they very well may have to if they want to get in at this point.

VCU (RPI: 23, KenPom: 50, No. 10 seed): VCU advanced to the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament with a win over George Mason, which probably gets them into the tournament. The only reason the Rams are on this list at this point is that they may not have a strong enough profile to survive a bad loss.

LOSERS

Kansas State (RPI: 55, KenPom: 31, play-in game): The Wildcats blew a 12-point deficit in the second half against West Virginia, which leaves Kansas State in a precarious situation. They have the two wins over Baylor and a handful of other quality wins to their name, but they probably needed to beat West Virginia to really feel comfortable about their chances on Selection Sunday. It’s going to be a sweat, but as of today, I think they’re going to be on the right side of the bubble.

Xavier (RPI: 30, KenPom: 42, No. 11 seed): Xavier lost to Creighton in a nail-biter on Friday night, but the Musketeers should still be OK. Their win over Butler was good and they played well even in a loss to the Bluejays. Xavier’s issue is less their résumé and more whether or not they are the same team that got those wins earlier this year. I think they are.

Cal (RPI: 53, KenPom: 57, first four out): Cal is probably going to miss the tournament after losing to Oregon on Friday night. The Golden Bears have decent numbers and don’t lose to bad teams, but their only quality win came at USC. That’s just not going to be enough to cut it this year, even with this disaster of a bubble.

Georgia (RPI: 48, KenPom: 55, first four out): The Bulldogs are probably going to miss the NCAA tournament. They had a shot to get themselves onto the right side of the bubble with a game against Kentucky today, but the Bulldogs dug themselves an 18-point hole and couldn’t work their way out of it. The NIT beckons.

Indiana (RPI: 70, KenPom: 39, next four out): Indiana had a chance to play their way into consideration with a win over Wisconsin. They lost. For my money, the Hoosiers are out.

Houston (RPI: 49, KenPom: 44, next four out): Houston needed to get to the AAC tournament finals to have any shot at an at-large bid. They lost to UConn in the quarters.

 

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.