Introducing Cinderella: Will Middle Tennessee pull off another upset in 2017?

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Conference: Conference USA

Coach: Kermit Davis Jr.

Record: 30-4 (17-1 C-USA)

Ratings and Rankings:

– Kenpom: 49
– RPI: 36
– AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding: The Blue Raiders have 30 wins on the year, a pair of which came against the RPI top 50. NBC Sports current bracket projection tabs them as a No. 11 seed. A scary No. 11 seed.

Names you need to know: The big three you need to know for Middle Tennessee State is JaCorey Williams, Reggie Upshaw and Giddy Potts. Upshaw and Potts introduced themselves to the nation last year, combining for 40 points in No. 15 over No. 2 upset of Michigan State. Williams, the transfer from Arkansas, was a first team all-Conference USA performer this year, averaging 17.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.

Stats you need to know: 11. That’s how many 3-pointers they sunk in an upset win over No. 2 seed Michigan State in the first round of 2016 NCAA Tournament. While they don’t have some of the big men who helped space the floor, they still have the potential light it up from deep.

Big wins, bad losses: Middle Tennessee has a bunch of good wins: a neutral floor win over UNC Wilmington — another trendy upset pick next week — at home against Vanderbilt and on the road against Ohio Valley regular season champion Belmont. Middle Tennessee’s worst loss came against Tennessee State back in November, allowing 46 second half points in a 74-63 defeat.

How’d they get here?: The Blue Raiders dominated C-USA. They set a record for 17 conference wins, 14 of which were decided by 10 or more points. After getting a fight from Marshall in the second half, Middle Tennessee stretched the lead to double figures, picking up a 83-72 tournament title win.

Outlook: Middle Tennessee will be the trendy upset pick. Although it won’t be surprising giving its upset win over Michigan State from a season ago. The Blue Raiders are led by a trio of reliable scorers, who all happen to be experienced upperclassmen. While this team is missing some key pieces from a season ago, they’ve become a more efficient team on both ends of the floor.

How do I know you?: From last year when they ruined your bracket.

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.