2017 NCAA Tournament: Did the committee put the right bubble teams into the bracket?

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In the past, it’s been easy to criticize the committee for the decisions they made with bubble teams.

This year?

Not so much.

In fact, I’ll go as far as today that the committee nailed this. It’s flawless, as far as I’m concerned, not just with the teams they put in and the teams they kept out, but with who got slotted into the First Four.

Let’s start with who was left out. The way I see it, there were just two teams on the wrong side of the bubble that actually, honestly, truly had an argument to be in the NCAA tournament. That would be Syracuse and Illinois State, and I find it hard to make the argument that either of them should have been in the tournament.

RELATED: Printable NCAA Tournament Bracket

Illinois State simply didn’t have enough quality wins. That’s the bottom line. Their only top 80 win came against Wichita State at home. That’s it. They also lost to TCU, San Francisco, Tulsa and Murray State. I do think Illinois State is a damn good team and I would have loved to see them in the Big Dance, but they just don’t have the body of work to justify it. Them’s the breaks.

As far as Syracuse is concerned, we’re talking about a team that had an RPI of 84, and had they gotten an at-large bid, it would have set a record. The Orange do have some good wins — six top 50 wins, including Duke, Florida State and Virginia — but every one of those wins came at home, and they went just 2-11 away from the Carrier Dome. Throw in an unimpressive non-conference schedule and a quarter of ugly losses — Georgia Tech, UConn, Boston College and St. John’s at home by 33 points — and what you get is a team that is going to the NIT.

I also think that the committee got it right with who is in the First Four. The way the seed list broke down, Kansas State and USC were the last two teams in the field, followed by Providence and Wake Forest. (Rhode Island skipped out on the First Four because they won their automatic bid.) To me, there was a pretty clear difference between Xavier, VCU and Marquette — the last teams to avoid the play-in game — and the teams that are getting sent to Dayton this week.

REGIONAL BREAKDOWNS: East | Midwest | South | West

That doesn’t, however, mean that I think the committee got the bracket perfect.

They did some things with seeding that I flat out don’t agree with.

Wichita State should not be a No. 10 seed. KenPom is widely regarded as the best metric for measuring how good teams are, and Wichita State is ranked eighth nationally there. It’s not fair for Dayton to draw the Shockers in the first round, and it’s not fair that, should Wichita State advance, Kentucky has to play them in the second round.

But I will say this: Seeing Wichita State and Kentucky square off again is going to be fun. If you don’t remember, the Shockers were 35-0 in 2014 when Kentucky, a No. 8 seed, beat them en route to the national title game.

I guarantee that Gregg Marshall hasn’t forgotten about that.

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.