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No. 10 Wichita State advances past No. 7 Dayton

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Wichita State entered the tournament with the pressure of being the team that every single media member said got screwed.

And they did.

Don’t forget that.

The Shockers, who, at this very moment, are sixth in KenPom’s rankings, entered the NCAA tournament as a 30-4 No. 10 seed that was favored by six points over the No. 7 seed that had won the outright Atlantic 10 regular season title. They were wronged, and the only way that we’re going to get the Selection Committee to fix the process that wrong them is to continually shame them for it.

And the Shockers helped us out with that, as they pulled away from the Flyers in the second half of a 64-58 win, advancing to take on, in all likelihood, No. 2 seed Kentucky in the second round of the tournament.

It wasn’t pretty on Friday night, as the Shockers shot under 40 percent from the floor, Dayton barely cracked 30 percent and the two teams combine for 39 fouls, but it was as fun and as intense as you would expect from a game involving these two programs. Landry Shamet led the way with 13 points and three assists, doing his best to help slow down Scoochie Smith in the second half; Smith finished with 25 points.

But the real story coming out of this game is what happens moving forward, because the Shocker’s potential matchup with No. 2 seed Kentucky is loaded with so many story lines that I can barely handle it. It starts with The Malik Monk Show, because who doesn’t love seeing a player of that caliber go crazy in the sport’s biggest stage.

There’s more to it than that, though. Three years ago, when Wichita State was No. 1 in the country and sitting at 35-0 in the second round, the Shockers were screwed over again by the Selection Committee, getting slotted into a Region of Death and drawing No. 8 seed Kentucky in the second round. Kentucky ended that perfect season en route to the national title game.

This year, Wichita State has a chance to return the favor in a game where, as a No. 10 seed, they may only end up being a one or two point underdog.

And should we mention Gregg Marshall and the Indiana job?

We probably should mention Gregg Marshall and the Indiana job.

Marshall has been one of the most sought-after coaches in the country for years, but he has yet to bite on any high-major opening. Indiana is a job that he may actually say yes to … if it gets offered.

And that’s a story line that is going to hang over the head of this Shocker team for as long as they remain a part of this tournament.

Florida State picks up late commit from McDonald’s All-American

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The losses sustained by Florida State have been numerous and significant. Three players declared early for the NBA Draft. Another two contributors were lost to graduation. All in all, the Seminoles haven’t had the greatest of springs.

Wednesday, though, they got some good news.

McDonald’s All-American wing M.J. Walker committed Leonard Hamilton’s program to give Florida State a late, and important, addition to its 2017 recruiting class, beating the likes of Ohio State, Georgia Tech and UCLA.

Walker, a 6-foot-5 guard, gives the Seminoles yet another five-star prospect after landing Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac in the last two recruiting classes. Walker will help Hamilton and Co. reboot after both Bacon and Isaac, along with Xavier Rathan-Mayes, all left school to pursue professional careers after the Seminoles’ 26-9 season that saw them advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Walker becomes the sixth member of Hamilton’s 2017 recruiting class that was previously headlined by four-star 7-footer Ikechukwu Obiagu. That group will be tasked to retool a team losing not only major NBA-level talent, but also major production. The Seminoles won’t return a single player who averaged double-digit points per-game last year and just one who played at least 20 minutes per night.

Michigan returns Mo Wagner, loses D.J. Wilson

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The best-case scenario did not take place for Michigan this week.

The Wolverines waited for four weeks to hear back from their pair of mobile big men, and the news on Mo Wagner was positive. The 6-foot-10 junior from Germany announced on Wednesday that he will return to school after testing the NBA Draft waters.

The news was not as fortunate with D.J. Wilson, who announced less than ten hours before the deadline that he will be signing with an agent and turning pro. Wilson is projected as a late first round or early second round pick.

Without Wilson in the fold, Michigan lacks some front court depth, which will probably be enough to keep them out of the preseason top 25.

Gonzaga to return Johnathan Williams III

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Losing Nigel Williams-Goss and Zach Collins to the professional ranks probably torpedoed Gonzaga’s chance of making another run to the NCAA tournament national title game, but after Johnathan Williams III announced on Wednesday that he will be returning to school and withdrawing from the NBA Draft, Gonzaga does appear to be a favorite to win the WCC title again.

Williams is now Gonzaga’s leading returning scorer and rebounder, anchoring a front court that also loses Przemek Karnowski to graduation. He was expected to go undrafted.

With Williams back in the fold, the Zags should be right there with Saint Mary’s in the race for the WCC title. Josh Perkins, Silas Melson and Killian Tillie all return as well.

ESPN was the first to report the news.

Injured Gamecocks point guard Blanton gives up basketball

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina guard TeMarcus Blanton is giving up basketball after struggling with a serious hip injury he suffered before his freshman season.

Gamecocks coach Frank Martin says Blanton told him he could not get his body to respond to a level that would allow him to continue playing basketball. Blanton is a 6-foot-5 junior from Locust Grove, Georgia, who hurt his hip during preseason for the 2014-15 season. He needed surgery and could not return to the court until his sophomore year.

Blanton played in 29 games, averaging 1.4 points a game.

He said on social media he is grateful to his coaches, teammates and South Carolina fans, “but my journey of basketball has come to an end.”

Blanton received a medical exemption from the Southeastern Conference to remain part of the Gamecocks’ program moving forward.

North Carolina’s Tony Bradley to remain NBA Draft

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For the first time in a decade and just the third time in 14 seasons as UNC’s head coach, Roy Williams has a one-and-done player.

North Carolina’s Tony Bradley will sign with an agent and remain in the NBA Draft.

Bradley had an impressive freshman season, averaging 7.1 points and 5.1 boards in less than 15 minutes per game as the sixth-man for the national title-winning Tar Heels. He initially declared for the draft without signing with an agent, testing the waters, and the feedback was positive: He’ll likely be a late first round or early second round pick.

As the process dragged on, it became fairly evident that Bradley would keep his name in the draft, and that is a massive blow for a UNC team that is already losing Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks, not to mention Justin Jackson.

As it stands, Roy Williams will likely start the following lineup next season: Joel Berry II, Kenny Williams and Theo Pinson on the perimeter with Luke Maye and either Brandon Huffman or Garrison Brooks, both freshmen, alongside him. Williams is one of the few coaches left in the sport that still relies on playing two bigs and utilizing an overwhelming front court to win games, and that is not going to be an easy thing to do with that group of bigs.

UNC’s perimeter is strong. Berry will likely be a preseason all-american while Pinson and Williams are both above average role players on the wings.

But without that hoss in the paint — Bradley, like Berry, would have popped up on preseason all-american teams — the Tar Heels are going to have a tough time making a run at an ACC title, let alone a third straight trip to the national title game.

North Carolina is currently ranked 18th in the NBC Sports preseason top 25.