Rob Dauster

Chattanooga head coach Matt McCall directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa State, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Chattanooga's Matt McCall (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Southern Conference Tournament Preview and Postseason Awards

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This year’s version of the SoCon looks quite a bit different than last year’s version. Wofford, who won the league last season, saw their roster almost completely turned over. The team they beat in the SoCon title game last year, Furman, finished last place in the league a year ago. They’re the three seed this season. Will Wade left Chattanooga for VCU and Matt McCall, a first time head coach, out-dueled Steve Forbes, another first time Division I head coach, for the league title.

The Bracket 

16BKBrackets

When: March 4-7

Where: U.S. Cellular Center, Asheville, N.C.

Final: March 7th, 9:00 p.m. (ESPN2)

Favorite: Chattanooga

Matt McCall has done a phenomenal job with the Mocs this season. In his first season in Chattanooga, he lost his best player (Casey Jones) and not only won an outright SoCon regular season title, but he did it while beating Georgia, Illinois and Dayton in the process. If the Mocs can get through the SoCon tourney unscathed, they’re going to be a trendy upset pick when the brackets are released.

And if they lose?: East Tennessee State

Another head coach in his first season with a new program, former Wichita State assistant Steve Forbes brought in a boat load of transfers to build the Buccaneers into a contender. ETSU is the most talented team in the league, and while they did get swept by Chattanooga, the Bucs have won eight of their last nine games.

Other Contenders

  • Furman: Niko Medved has done a great job building on last year’s fluky run to the league title game, finishing tied for third in the league while getting carried by Stephen Croone to the league title game.
  • Wofford: The Terriers had a ton of turnover in the offseason, but they’ve been the most consistent program in the league for years.

SoCon Player of the Year: Ge’Lawn Guyn, ETSU

In his first season in the league, the Cincinnati transfer played like a high major prospect, averaging better than 18 points for the Buccaneers. Guyn played a major role in ETSU finishing second in the conference this season.

SoCon Coach of the Year: Matt McCall, Chattanooga

We touched on it earlier, but in his first season as a head coach, McCall won the conference outright and picked off three high-major teams — including Dayton at Dayton! — more or less without the Preseason SoCon Player of the Year. That’s damn impressive.

First-Team All-SoCon

  • Ge’Lawn Guyn, ETSU
  • Stephen Croone, Furman
  • Justin Tuoyo, Chattanooga
  • Tre’ McLean, Chattanooga
  • Spencer Collins, Wofford

CBT Prediction: Furman makes another run to the finals, picking off Chattanooga this season.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: UNC-Duke, the SEC and Pac-12 titles, and thoughts on Wichita State

Duke's Luke Kennard, left, and Grayson Allen, right, hug an injured Matt Jones following an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016. Duke won 74-73. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 8 North Carolina at No. 17 Duke, Sat. 6:30 p.m.

Do I really need to explain this one?

I shouldn’t have to. But I will. Because I’m a nice guy and all.

For starters, it’s Duke-Carolina, which is never not must-see TV. It’s the best rivalry in college basketball. When it’s on, you watch it. Especially when there is an ACC title on the line, which is the case for UNC on Saturday. The Heels are currently tied for first in the conference with Miami, who also happens to be playing on the road on Saturday.

But all that is before you consider what happened last month in Chapel Hill. Duke, playing without Amile Jefferson and, for the most part, Matt Jones, went into the Dean Dome and beat the Tar Heels, erasing a late deficit as the defense-deficient Blue Devils held UNC’s guards to 1-for-14 shooting in the final 11 minutes. They also managed to keep Brice Johnson, who had 27 points and 17 boards in the first 29 minutes, to just two points and two rebounds down the stretch.

It was those 11 minutes that made the media at-large hop off of the North Carolina bandwagon. Words like “physically soft” and “no mental toughness” were mentioned and questions were being asked about whether or not this was truly a team that could be considered the most talented in the country. So in addition to the incentive of trying to win a title, the Tar Heels will be looking to get revenge by making a statement on Duke’s home court.

And doing that to a team with Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram in Cameron Indoor is not going to be an easy thing to do.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 11 Louisville at No. 4 Virginia, Sat. 8:30 p.m.

The two best teams in the ACC squaring off isn’t normally must-see TV, but considering that A) Louisville was utterly humiliated by Virginia earlier this season, B) it’s the last game of Louisville’s season thanks to that postseason ban and C) that the winner of this game can win a share of the ACC regular season title if Miami and UNC lose on the road, and what you’re going to see is a battle between two veteran, well-coached teams.

THE OTHER, OTHER GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 21 Iowa State at No. 1 Kansas, Sat. 4:00 p.m.

In October, we circled this game on the calendar as one that could potentially have decided whether or not the Jayhawks would win their 12th straight regular season title. Obviously, that is no longer the case, but it will be the last time that we see this Cyclone team play a Big 12 regular season game. It’s something of the end of an era, as Georges Niang will be facing off with Perry Ellis for the last time in their illustrious, 17-year careers.

FOUR MORE THINGS TO WATCH

  1. The SEC regular season title is going to come down to the final day of the regular season, and depending on how it shakes out, there could very easily be a four-way tie atop the conference. No. 22 Kentucky and No. 20 Texas A&M are tied for first place in the league with Vandy and LSU sitting one game behind them. Vanderbilt plays at Texas A&M at noon on Saturday while LSU plays at Kentucky at 2:00 p.m.
  2. The Pac-12 regular season title is going to come down to the final day of the regular season as well. No. 9 Oregon, who is currently sitting all alone in first place, plays at USC on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. while Colorado will pay a visit to No. 13 Utah, who is one game out of first place, at 9:30 p.m. Oh, and should I mention Josh Scott vs. Jakob Poeltl will be awesome for anyone that loves a good throwback battle of the big men?
  3. Indiana has already clinched the outright Big Ten regular season title, but what will be interesting on Sunday is whether or not No. 12 Indiana will cut down the nets if they lost to No. 14 Maryland. That tip is at 4:30 p.m., while Wisconsin will play at No. 15 Purdue at 7:30 p.m. with the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament on the line.
  4. No. 10 West Virginia will pay a visit to No. 19 Baylor on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. which should be an entertaining game to watch as the Mountaineers look to maintain their grip on the No. 2 spot in the Big 12.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 7 Miami at Virginia Tech, Sat. 4:00 p.m.

I know I’ve said a lot about how good Miami has been and how good Larrañaga is and how special it would be for the Hurricanes, twice in the span of four seasons, to win an outright ACC regular season title. But that doesn’t change the fact that Miami will be playing on the road tonight, and they’ll be playing against a Virginia Tech team that Buzz Williams has turned into a real threat in Blacksburg. The Hokies haven’t finished above .500 in the ACC since 2011, and they can do that with a win on Saturday. In fact, Va. Tech has already won more games in ACC play this season (nine) than they did in the previous three seasons combined (eight). The ‘Canes better come ready to play.

WHAT WE’LL BE TALKING ABOUT ON MONDAY: Wichita State.

The Shockers will have their chance to lock up their NCAA tournament bid this weekend as the No. 1 seed in Arch Madness. The event kicks off on Friday night, and by Sunday, we’ll know whether or not Gregg Marshall’s club is going to be sweating out Selection Sunday.

If they do win the tournament — Which they should. Are you betting against Fred VanVleet when he’s backed into a corner? I’m not. — they’re going to be a trendy pick to make it out of the first weekend, and perhaps further. This is a team with a back court that has been through some wars, has a veteran front line and a talented group of youngsters on the perimeter. This team has been to a Final Four, went 35-0 and then beat Kansas the last three years. Wichita State wins big games, flat out.

But what happens if they don’t?

Meaning, what happens if they have to wait out Selection Sunday, hoping to land an at-large bid like every other mediocre team in the country?

Simply put, they’re probably going to be on the outside looking in. They do not have a tournament résumé. They have one top 85 win — over Utah, but still, one — and, after losing to someone in the MVC, four losses to teams between 63 and 105 in the RPI. If this was any team other than Wichita State, we wouldn’t even be discussing them as an at-large candidate.

But this is Wichita State.

And they were without Fred VanVleet for three of their seven losses, but that fact matters less than this: The Shockers are currently eighth in KenPom. Eighth. EIGHTH!!!!

So while the Shockers unequivocally have a résumé worthy of a trip to the NIT, the data says that this team is about as good as any Wichita State team that Gregg Marshall has had. The committee has slowly begun to use other metrics beyond just the RPI, but that doesn’t change the fact that their seeding system relies on what you’ve accomplished during the season, not what a predictive metric says about how good you are.

But I can’t help but wonder if this team in this situation with that high of a rank on KenPom will be the first.

VIDEO: Holy Cross upsets top seed Bucknell in Patriot quarters

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For the first time in the 26-year history of the Patriot League tournament, the No. 1 seed did not reach the semifinals, and No. 9 seed Holy Cross is to blame.

The Crusaders won 77-72 in double-overtime, and while the game was sealed with 25 seconds left in the second OT when Holy Cross buried a three to put them up 75-69, the biggest shot of the night came from the aptly-named Robert Champion, who hit this ridiculous three to force the second OT:

BUBBLE BANTER: Is South Carolina trying to play their way out of the dance?

South Carolina head coach Frank Martin questions an official's call during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Georgia Thursday, March 3, 2016, in Columbia, S.C. Georgia defeated South Carolina 74-72. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
(AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
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Is South Carolina (KP: 55, RPI: 37, CBT: 8) trying to play themselves out of the tournament?

Because the Gamecocks lost at home to Georgia on Thursday, meaning they’ve now lost two in a row and four of their last six, a stretch where they’ve suffered three of their five sub-75 losses this season.

That’s not good. Neither is the fact that South Carolina has as many sub-100 losses (three) as they do top 50 wins. The only one of those top 50 wins that can be considered “elite” is their win at Texas A&M, who has been sputtering down the stretch of the season as well. The Gamecocks do have a record of 22-7, but that number is not quite as impressive when you look at their schedule strength: it’s 168 over an right around 300 in the non-conference.

Frank Martin’s club is probably still in the tournament at this point, but I would really recommend avoiding a loss at Arkansas this weekend.

WINNERS

  • Temple (KP: 93, RPI: 58, CBT: 12): Temple beat Memphis, which means that they have not yet eliminated themselves from the at-large discussion. The Owls have a weird profile. They didn’t pick up any big wins out of conference and they lost to Houston, Memphis and East Carolina in league, but they also swept UConn and swept Cincinnati while splitting with Tulsa and beating SMU. Is that going to be enough for them to get in?

LOSERS

  • Cincinnati (KP: 29, RPI: 51, CBT: Play-in Game): The Bearcats dropped another road game on Thursday, falling to Houston, who may actually be the hottest team in the conference. The best win on the Bearcat résumé right now is at VCU, who is currently sitting at 43rd in the RPI. They have to win against SMU this weekend.
  • UConn (KP: 28, RPI: 53, CBT: 11): The Huskies were absolutely demolished at SMU on Thursday night, their second straight loss and third in the last four games. Kevin Ollie’s crew is probably OK as of today, thanks in large part to a win over SMU and a win at Texas.

Yale campus embroiled in controversy over controversial T-shirts, posters

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https://twitter.com/jezebel
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Yale University erupted in scandal this week as posters alleging that the men’s basketball team is “supporting a rapist” have been posted in various buildings on the New Haven campus.

The posters, some of which also said “I stand with Yale women, end rape culture,” have since been pulled down. They were posted as a response to a statement that was made by the men’s basketball team in a game against Dartmouth last Friday.

Last week, Yale announced that starting point guard and captain Jack Montague had withdrawn from the program, although the reasons behind his decision were not made public. According to the Yale Daily News, the student paper on campus, Montague actually withdrew from classes two weeks prior to the announcement. On Friday, the Elis wore t-shirts that had Montague’s nickname (Gucci) and number (4) on the back with ELAY (Yale backwards) printed on the front:

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twitter.com/YDNSports

Yale star Justin Sears told the Yale Daily News that the T-shirts weren’t meant to start a controversy and that the spelling of Yale was not a statement they were trying to make.

“No one in the team is aware of what happened [to Montague], and the shirts are not a comment on what the administration has done or anything happening with Jack’s situation,” Sears told the paper. “It was just to say he is part of the team and we miss him, and because he’s been deleted off the roster and is not mentioned anymore.”

BUBBLE BANTER: Big East, Atlantic 10 bids will be earned tonight

St. Bonaventure's Denzel Gregg celebrates after they defeated St. Joseph's after an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Philadelphia.  (Charles Fox/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP) PHIX OUT; TV OUT; MAGS OUT; NEWARK OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
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This post will be updated throughout the night.

WINNERS

  • St. Bonaventure (KenPom: 82, RPI: 35, CBT Bracketology Seed: First Four Out): The Bonnies may have done enough to clinch an at-large bid tonight with their win over Saint Joe’s. They now have three top 30 wins — two of which came on the road — and an RPI that will be in the low-30s, which may be enough to make up for the two bad losses on their profile. I would strongly suggest, however, winning at Saint Louis this weekend and avoiding a loss in the opening round of the A-10 tournament.
  • VCU (KP: 39, RPI: 47, CBT: First Four Out): The Rams picked up a win over Davidson which, when combined with the loss Saint Joe’s took at St. Bonaventure, gave Will Wade at least a share of the Atlantic 10 regular season title. That said, VCU needs a win at Dayton this weekend to really feel comfortable about their tournament standing.
  • Butler (KP: 38, RPI: 56, CBT: Play-in Game): The Bulldogs gave themselves a bit of breathing room with a win over Seton Hall at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday. They now have just three top 50 wins to their name, but of their nine losses this season, five came against top ten teams and three more were road losses in league play. If they can win their next two, beating Marquette and getting to the semifinals of the Big East tournament, I think they’re in.
  • Providence (KP: 59, RPI: 46, CBT: 10): The Friars picked up a massive win over Creighton at home on Wednesday, a win that mattered not because beating the Bluejays was critical for their résumé, but because they’ve been slumping of late. Providence has now won two in a row after losing six out of eight. Can they right the ship in time for the tournaments?
  • Wisconsin (KP: 27, RPI: 32, CBT: 8): The Badgers beat Minnesota, which, for me, is enough to get them into the dance.

LOSERS

  • Pitt (KP: 40, RPI: 37, CBT: 8): After all that hard work whipping up on Duke, Pitt obviously went and lost at Virginia Tech on Wednesday night. And this is why the Panthers weren’t a lock with the Duke win. They now have fewer top 50 wins than they do sub-100 losses, and while that isn’t necessarily a barrier to getting into the tournament, it’s not usually a good sign. I don’t think they want the pressure that will come if they lose at Georgia Tech this weekend.
  • Alabama (KP: 81, RPI: 49, CBT: 11): The Crimson Tide lost to Arkansas at home on Wednesday, a brutal loss that might drop them onto the wrong side of the cut line. Alabama has now lost three of their last four games, and currently have three sub-100 losses. Their saving grace? Four top 50 wins, including Wichita State and Notre Dame in non-conference action.
  • Oregon State (KP: 60, RPI: 27, CBT: 9): The Beavers missed out on a chance to land a road win they needed when they fell at USC on Wednesday. OSU is trending directly for the bubble’s cut line.