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Iowa hands No. 22 Wisconsin their fifth loss in six games

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Jason Bohannon capped a game-ending, 14-3 run with a three-pointer with just 9.7 seconds left on the clock as Iowa handed No. 22 Wisconsin their fifth loss in the last six games on Thursday night.

Bohannon, who has two older brothers that both played at Wisconsin, finished with 11 points and five assists in the Kohl Center as the Hawkeyes won despite getting just eight points on 2-for-10 shooting from the Big Ten’s leading scorer, Peter Jok.

The story here, however, is Wisconsin, who has gone from being the team that everyone thought was inexplicably left out of the top 16 during the Selection Committee’s bracket reveal on Feb. 11th to a team that was a No. 6 seed in our latest bracket update on Thursday morning. They should drop even further after this, and things don’t get any easier this weekend, as Wisconsin will invite Richard Pitino and the red-hot Minnesota Golden Gophers to town on Sunday afternoon.

Wisconsin’s struggles date back to before this losing skid started. They were taken to overtime by Rutgers. They were taken to overtime by Nebraska. They struggled to put away Indiana as the Hoosiers played without O.G. Anunoby and James Blackmon Jr. Things have gone south in a hurry for a team that, at one point this season, was sitting at 21-3 overall and 10-1 in the Big Ten with a two-game cushion over everyone else in the conference.

They should have been able to coast to a regular season title.

Instead, they’ve now lost four straight games to unranked opponents. Their best win is over … Syracuse? Indiana? Maryland?

This is not the kind of run that anyone expected out of the Badgers, not when they have a roster that includes Ethan Happ, Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes, and not when this same group turned a 9-9 start to last season into a trip to the Sweet 16 as a No. 7 seed.

It looked like Greg Gard had figured this thing out.

Instead, he’s now tasked with picking up the pieces and trying to find a way, in the span of a week, to rebuild his team’s confidence before losses start eliminating them from tournaments.

Bubble Banter: Houston, California with big chances

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The latest NBC Sports bracketology can be found here. This is where the seeds listed below are from. 

This post will be updated throughout the night.

WINNERS

Middle Tennessee State (RPI: 32, KenPom: 46, No. 10 seed): Somehow the Blue Raiders dug themselves a 19-1 hole against a 6-23 FIU team at home. They also managed to find a way to win that game, meaning that MTSU is not going to have to find a way to explain a loss to a team ranked 343rd in the RPI. That would not have been something the Selection Committee wanted to hear. So this is where we stand with the team that orchestrated arguably the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history last season: They have two top 50 wins (UNC Wilmington and Vanderbilt) and four total top 100 wins. They’re 26-4 on the season and they steam-rolled their way to the outright Conference USA title. They also have three sub-100 losses to their name and, should they lose in the CUSA tournament, they will have a fourth.

To be frank, that’s very similar to the profile that Wichita State had last season, when they were given a spot in a play-in game as an at-large. The difference? The Shockers were ranked in the top 10 in KenPom. MTSU is 46th, which means the bottom-line is simple: Don’t leave this up to the Selection Committee.

LOSERS

Cal (RPI: 51, KenPom: 47, first four out): Cal lost at Utah on Thursday night, meaning that the Golden Bears have now dropped four of their last five games, with the only win in that stretch coming against an abysmal Oregon State team. Cal has just one top 50 win, no top 30 wins and four top 100 wins. They have to be Colorado over the week, and they probably need to win a game over Arizona, UCLA or Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament to truly feel comfortable.

Houston (RPI: 53, KenPom: 39, next four out): The Cougars had a chance to put themselves in the bubble conversation with a win at No. 18 Cincinnati. That didn’t happen.

 

VIDEO: Steve Alford on the DP Show

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UCLA head coach Steve Alford joined the Dan Patrick Show to talk about what makes Lonzo Ball college basketball’s top talent, as well as whether or not Bryce Alford is a better shooter than he was.

LaVar Ball: ‘Lonzo is going to be the first one drafted with his own brand’

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LaVar Ball has spent recent weeks generating as many headlines as his star-bound son, UCLA star Lonzo.

Whether it was saying Lonzo is better than Steph Curry or walking back comments that his son will only play for the Lakers, the surest bet in sports right now is that if you put a live microphone in front of LaVar Ball, he’s going to say something that people pay attention to.

Here’s the latest, from an interview he did with ESPNLA’s ‘Mornings with Keyshawn, Jorge and LZ’.

“They’re kicking in the door, but they’re shocked at what I’m telling them,” the eldest Ball said. “I said, ‘I’m not looking for no endorsement deal. I’m looking for a marketing and distribution deal.’ Branding. The only person doing that is (Michael) Jordan with Nike. That’s what we’re for. If Lonzo doesn’t sign with Adidas, Nike, or Under Armour, guess what – I’ll sign the Big Baller Brand. We already got our own brand. Triple Bs. Lonzo is going to be the first one drafted with his own brand. That don’t happen.”

The Big Baller Brand that LaVar mentions is the family’s apparel company. The logo is ‘Triple Bs,’ for the three Ball brothers. You’ll notice, not uncoincidentally, that every time LaVar appears on camera, he’s decked out in this gear.

No. 3 UCLA’s TJ Leaf sprains left ankle against Washington

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Freshman forward T.J. Leaf sprained his left ankle five minutes into No. 3 UCLA’s 98-66 win over Washington on Wednesday night.

The freshman forward stepped on the foot of a Huskies player as they battled for a rebound. Leaf stayed down until he was helped up by two staff members. He limped off with help and went straight into the locker room.

“It was just a sprained ankle so it’s not a bad one,” head coach Steve Alford told reporters after the game, adding later that there were no broken bones, “but we’ll have to see what the next 48 hours look like.”

He is averaging 16.8 points and 8.7 rebounds for the Bruins.

Dayton holds off late VCU rally to claim Atlantic 10 title

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DAYTON, Ohio — Kendall Pollard and Kyle Davis each grabbed clutch defensive rebounds and were perfect in four tries at the free-throw line in the last 16 seconds as Dayton held off a challenge from VCU for a 79-72 win in the battle for the Atlantic 10 Conference championship and top seed into the conference tournament.

Charles Cooke and Scoochie Smith scored 20 points each for Dayton, which never trailed, led by as many as 14 in the second half and ends the regular season on a nine-game win streak. Davis added 12 points and seven rebounds, Pollard 11 points and five boards for the Flyers (24-5, 15-2).

JaQuan Lewis converted a 3-point play for VCU (23-7, 13-4) that made it a two-point game with three minutes to go. After each team missed from the field, Pollard and Davis made two each at the line and Smith 1 of 2 — all fouled after grabbing defensive rebounds (27 of Dayton’s 33 boards).

Mo Alie-Cox led VCU with 20 points, Justin Tillman added 18 with 10 rebounds and Lewis scored 15.

Dayton seniors Davis, Smith, Pollard, Cooke and Jeremiah Bonsu have won a program-record 101 wins.