Introducing Cinderella: New Orleans snaps two-decade old tournament drought

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Conference: Southland

Coach: Mark Slessinger

Record: 20-11 (13-5 Southland)

Ratings and Rankings:

– Kenpom: 178
– RPI: 171
– AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding: Only the Big West champion UC Davis and MEAC winner NC Central will have a lower RPI than the Privateers. That likely means they are heading to Dayton. That’s precisely where NBC Sports bracketology has them going.

Names you need to know: Erik Thomas was the Southland Conference Player of the Year after averaging 19.7 points, shooting 60 percent from the field, and 7.9 rebounds per game. The undersized four had 14 points and 11 boards in the conference title game.

Stats you need to know: 17: New Orleans averages slightly less than 17 turnovers per game. Only two teams in the nation turned the ball over more often than the Privateers.

Big wins, bad losses: The only top 200 win New Orleans had was a 16-point win at Washington State. Against NCAA Tournament competition, Oklahoma State hung 117 on them and Northwestern beat them by 34. The Privateers suffered a one-point loss on the road against Northwestern State on Feb. 25. That’s a sub-300 RPI loss.

How’d they get here?: If you want to go back several years, it’s worth noting that the university nearly dropped the men’s basketball program from Division I to Division III due to financial hardships following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

With Brad Underwood done dominating the league, New Orleans won the regular season crown and earned a double-bye with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. After defeating Sam Houston State in the semifinals, the Privateers had an instant classic with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the finals. Tevin Broyles scored the last five points in overtime for New Orleans in a stressful final five minutes.

Outlook: Given its backstory, you have to feel happy for this New Orleans program. However, turnovers should be an issue, whether it be in Dayton or against one of the No. 1 seeds.

How do I know you?: New Orleans has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in three different decades. In five appearances, the Privateers are 1-4, picking up a win over BYU as a No. 7 seed in the 1987 NCAA Tournament.

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

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Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

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Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

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John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.

Ohio State snags third 2018 commitment in a week with four-star guard Luther Muhammad

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Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.

Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.

Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.