Michigan’s wild Big Ten ride continues with win over Purdue

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WASHINGTON (AP) Michigan’s basketball players woke up Friday in the same city they’d be playing in that afternoon. What a refreshing change during what’s been quite a week.

They ate breakfast at a regular hour. Watched game film as usual, too. Heck, the Wolverines even got to wear their proper blue road jerseys – with their last names printed on the back and everything – to face 13th-ranked Purdue in the Big Ten quarterfinals.

Two days after its airplane’s scary abandoned takeoff, Michigan moved into the league tournament semifinals with a 74-70 overtime upset of Purdue behind D.J. Wilson’s 26 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

“It’s not going away just yet,” Michigan coach John Beilein said about his team’s rattling trip. “Those 40 minutes out there” – well, 45 when you include OT, Coach – “I wasn’t thinking about that at all. And the kids weren’t, either.”

It was an engaging, back-and-forth affair. The teams combined for 14 ties and 17 lead changes in regulation alone, and they headed to overtime tied at 66 after Zak Irvin pulled Michigan even on a layup with 4.2 seconds left, before Wilson blocked a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The eighth-seeded Wolverines (22-11) got 13 points from Irvin, including both of their overtime field goals, against the No. 1 seed Boilermakers (25-7) and held Purdue to 1-of-8 shooting in the extra period.

Michigan next faces No. 4 seed Minnesota or No. 5 seed Michigan State.

“Sometimes when things happen, whether it’s an injury or an incident like this, sometimes it can kind of refresh. You focus a little bit more,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said about what Michigan’s been through. “I know that doesn’t sound like it makes a lot of sense.”

More than 100 members of Michigan’s traveling party – players, coaches, cheerleaders, others – were evacuated from their plane after it failed to take flight and slid through a fence Wednesday.

“Now I just think about it: If that airplane had ever just lifted, there was no way … it was going to have power to get up in the air. What could have happened? So that keeps going through my mind,” Beilein said.

“I don’t think they want to lose sight … as they go forward in their lives,” he said about his players, “of how different that could have turned out.”

They made it to Washington on the Detroit Pistons’ jet on Thursday morning, arriving at the arena a couple of hours before facing Illinois.

Michigan won that one by 20 while wearing yellow practice jerseys because its luggage was stuck on the abandoned airplane back home. The bags were retrieved from the plane Thursday evening and shipped to the team later that night, spokesman Kurt Svoboda said.

After the opening win against Illinois, Wilson said, “things kind of just went back to normal … we got back on schedule.”

His play was key against Purdue, in part by heeding point guard Derrick Walton’s pleas.

“He just kept telling me to shoot it, shoot it, shoot it,” Wilson said, munching on pretzels in the locker room.

And on defense, the 6-foot-10 Wilson helped limit the production in the paint of Purdue’s big men, 7-2 Isaac Haas and 6-9 Caleb Swanigan, the second-leading scorer in the Big Ten, who fouled out in OT with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

“We don’t take any of this,” Wilson said, “really, for granted.”

BIG PICTURE

Michigan: Can advance to the Big Ten final with a third win in three days.

Purdue: Will find out Sunday where it’ll be sent for the NCAAs after failing boost its seeding resume. “It’s terrible to earn the right to call yourself the best team in the league,” guard Vince Edwards said, “and to come here and leave on the first night. It’s horrible.”

UP NEXT

Michigan: Plays Minnesota or Michigan State on Saturday.

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

More college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org/ and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

VIDEO: LaVar Ball gets female ref replaced after threatening to pull team from court

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A female referee was removed from a Big Ballers game after LaVar Ball threatened to pull his team from the court for the second time in a week.

The referee called Ball for a technical foul, which sparked the confrontation, but both Ball and an adidas rep told ESPN’s Jeff Borzello that the reason the ref was pulled was because she and Ball had a previous issue:

Before the game was over, Ball would receive a second technical foul and the game was eventually called with two minutes left and Big Ballers losing by 10.

Western Kentucky’s five-star recruit Mitchell Robinson has left campus

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The soap opera that has been Mitchell Robinson’s tenure at Western Kentucky took another on Friday, as the five-star center and top ten prospect in the Class of 2017 has reportedly left campus.

Robinson was a massive coup for Rick Stansbury when he committed to and signed for the Hilltoppers, but it has been non-stop drama since then. Less than two weeks after his commitment, Robinson tweeted that he would be decommitting from WKU before immediately deleting the tweet and claiming that his account was hacked. Robinson did not attend the first session of summer school on campus, and he was in class in the second summer school session and reportedly practicing with the team this month for a trip to Costa Rica, but he cleaned out his dorm room and left the campus last night.

Part of the reason that Robinson opted to go to Western Kentucky was that his godfather, former UNC star Shammond Williams, was an assistant coach on the staff. Williams left the program on July 3rd, and ever since then there have been questions surrounding where Robinson will play this season. There have been rumors that he will be heading overseas for a year before entering the 2018 NBA Draft, and there is also the potential that Robinson could end up transferring to a different college.

The question, however, is whether or not Robinson will be able to transfer and play immediately without sitting out a year since he enrolled in summer school.

Robinson is a 7-foot center and a terrific defensive prospect that is projected as a first round pick next year. If he does get a waiver to transfer, he immediately becomes the best available talent on the market, along with Marvin Bagley III, who is considering reclassifying.

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.