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NCAA Tournament Thursday Recap: Virginia, Notre Dame survive upset bids, Gonzaga advances

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The moment that everyone is going to be talking about tomorrow comes courtesy of No. 9 Vanderbilt‘s Matthew Fisher-Davis who, after scoring 22 points and after a go-ahead bucket from Riley LaChance with 15 seconds left, intentionally fouled No. 8 Northwestern‘s Bryant McIntosh. McIntosh made both free throws to give the Wildcats the lead, and the ‘Dores wouldn’t score against. That is just a brutal way to lose, but I’m positive that Chris Collins is not going to feel guilty about winning the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament game.

Trevon Bluiett scored 18 of his 21 points after halftime as No. 11 seed Xavier landed a win over No. 6 Maryland, which may have ended Melo Trimble’s college career. The Musketeers looked like a different team than the one that struggled down the stretch of the season.

The trendy upset pick in this year’s field, No. 12 UNC Wilmington, looked like they were going to make that upset come to fruition. Then No. 5 Virginia got hot, Marial Shayok took over and London Perrantes did London Perrantes things. For the second straight season, the Seahawks lost by single-digits to a top five seed.

No. 12 Princeton was even closer to an upset, missing a game-tying and game-winning three in the final minute against No. 5 Notre Dame. The Irish advance to take on No. 4 West Virginia, who survived a fight in the second game of the day in Buffalo. The Mountaineers jumped out to a 15 point lead early in the first half, but No. 13 Bucknell scrapped back to get within three points in the middle of the second half before WVU hung on to win by six.

We did get one 12-5 upset in the afternoon, however, as Middle Tennessee won a game in the NCAA tournament for the second straight year, knocking off No. 5 seed Minnesota in a game where the Gophers were actually the underdog despite being the higher seed. MTSU will give No. 4 seed Butler a fight for the right to get to the Sweet 16.

My upset pick went up in flames, as No. 14 FGCU dunked all over No. 3 Florida Stateand then lost. Oh well.

THURSDAY’S BEST

London Perrantes, Virginia: Perrantes scored 24 points and made two huge shots in the final five minutes as the ‘Hoos avoided a loss at the hands of UNC Wilmington.

Bronson Koenig, Wisconsin: Koenig had 28 points and hit eight threes as the Badgers advanced to the second round to square off with No. 1 overall seed Villanova.

Devin Robinson, Florida: Robinson had 24 points to help pick up for KeVaughn Allen, who struggled on Thursday afternoon, as the No. 4 seed Gators advanced past a scrappy East Tennessee State team.

Bryant McIntosh, Northwestern: McIntosh scored 25 points and made the game-winning free throws as Northwestern won their first-ever NCAA tournament game, knocking off No. 9 Vanderbilt.

Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova: DiVincenzo scored 21 points and added 13 boards as No. 1 seed Villanova got past No. 16 seed Mount St. Mary’s.

WHO GOT UPSET?

  • No No. 5 Minnesota, because technically, No. 12 Middle Tennessee was favored over the Gophers.
  • No. 6 Maryland was picked off by No. 11 Xavier.

THE REST OF THURSDAY’S ACTION

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.