2017 NCAA Tournament: All the previews, picks and bracket breakdowns

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Bracket Breakdowns

East Region: Villanova, the reigning champions, earned the top overall seed. Sitting at the bottom of the region is the Duke Blue Devils, fresh off four wins in four nights to claim the ACC Tournament championship on Saturday night. Several other ranked opponents are in this region, as well as two potential Cinderellas. Rob Dauster broke down the East Region here.

Midwest Region: Kansas likely would have been the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament had it not been for an upset loss in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals. However, the Jayhawks find themselves in a region potentially filled with fun matchups. The Midwest also features a dangerous double-digit seeds in No. 11 Rhode Island, fresh off an Atlantic 10 Tournament title win which kept the Rams from the First Four. Scott Phillips breaks down how the Midwest will be won here.

RELATED: Printable NCAA Tournament Bracket

South Region: Despite not winning its conference tournament, North Carolina is the top team in the South. Its a region of bluebloods as the Tar Heels, Kentucky and UCLA make up the top three seeds. A potential second round matchup everyone would like to see: No. 10 Wichita State vs. No. 2 Kentucky, a rematch of the epic clash from 2014 Rob Dauster fills you in on the rest of this bracket here.

West Region: Gonzaga, which flirted with perfection up until February, is the final No. 1 overall seed. If everything goes to plan, Gonzaga will be in line for a rematch with No. 2 seed Arizona. The Zags beat the Wildcats in a neutral floor meeting earlier this season.

This region also features Northwestern, which will be playing in its first-ever NCAA Tournament. Scott Phillips has the rest of the insight on this region.

Bubble Teams

All season long, Rob Dauster has been tracking bubble teams with his Bubble Banter series. While Rhode Island won its wayin, USC earned one of the final at-large bids along with Kansas State and Wake Forest. This sent Syracuse, Cal and Illinois State to the NIT. But did the committee make the right call on bubble teams? Rob answers that question here.

The No. 1 seeds

Duke entered the season as the overwhelming favorite to cut down the nets in April. The Blue Devils’ season is well documented, but this past week in Brooklyn, they started to look like the team we thought they could be. With the most RPI top-50 wins and an ACC Tournament title, did Duke belong on the top line? Scott Phillips tells you whether or not the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee got it right with the No. 1 seeds.

What teams can win it all?

Like last year, this field has an abundance of Final Four caliber teams. Will this be nothing more than a bunch of No. 1 seeds vs. No. 2 seeds in the Elite 8? Or is there are darkhorse you need to know about before filling out that bracket? Rob Dauster has all the answers for you here.

Which conference reigned supreme?

Even with Syracuse as one of the notable snubs, the Atlantic Coast Conference led all other leagues with nine bids. Check here for the conference breakdown.

Official Seed List

In 2016, Villanova was the No. 7 overall seed entering the NCAA Tournament. This time around the selection committee saw the Wildcats as the top team in the field .The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee official seed list — Nos. 1-68 — is all right here.

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.