Rob Dauster

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Bubble Banter: It’s a quiet night on the bubble

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You can find the latest NBC Sports Bracket Projection here. This is where the seeds listed below come from. 

LOSERS

UNC Wilmington (RPI: 36, KenPom: 55, No. 11 seed): The Seahawks lost at home on Thursday night, falling to Charleston, a good CAA program but a loss that is not going to be flattering on a tournament profile that already borders on being at-large worthy. At this point, I would strongly recommend to Kevin Keatts that his team win the CAA automatic bid, because I have a feeling they will not like the outcome of Selection Sunday otherwise. Their computer numbers are going to go down playing in the CAA. The rest of the bubble is going to see their numbers increase playing in stronger conferences.

Utah (RPI: 69, KenPom: 40, bubble): The Utes are in big trouble now. Why? Because it’s February 3rd and they have just a single top 100 win. That came against USC. Now, to be fair, the Utes took the majority of their losses without David Collette and Sedrick Barefield available. But they also lost to Santa Clara, their worst loss of the season, with those two available. I’d strongly recommend winning at Oregon later this month.

WINNERS

Valparaiso (RPI: 61, KenPom: 92, No. 12 seed): Like UNCW, Valpo is in a position where they are currently on the bubble but can only hurt their profile the rest of the way. I’m not sure they can get an at-large bid if they don’t win out during the regular season, but they do have wins over Rhode Island, Alabama and BYU, all of whom are pretty good teams.

Cal (RPI: 46, KenPom: 58, last four in): Cal added another top 100 win to their résumé on Thursday as they knocked off Utah in double-overtime. This was big, because the Golden Bears have a fairly weak schedule down the stretch. They play just two more top 50 teams – at Arizona and Oregon at home. They probably need to win at least one of those two games to have a chance.

 

CBT Podcast: Dan Dakich on the Big Ten, Towson’s Pat Skerry on Autism Speaks

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I had a chance to catch up with Dan Dakich, one of ESPN’s Big Ten experts, on Maryland, the state of Indiana and what it’s like calling games that his son, a player at Michigan, is playing in. I also spent some time with Pat Skerry, the head coach at Towson and the driving force behind an Coaches Powering Forward for Autism, the campaign to raise awareness for Autism that will put a blue puzzle piece pin on the lapel of every coach in the country this weekend.

For more information on Skerry’s campaign, you can go to autismspeaks.org or the Coaches Powering Forward website

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom

Charleston women lose 2 wins for wrong size basketballs

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) The College of Charleston’s women’s team is being forced to give up two wins after using the wrong size basketballs in games against William & Mary and UNC-Wilmington.

The Colonial Athletic Association wanted to make the Cougars forfeit the games, but the NCAA told the conference the statistics would count, but Charleston would lose the victories for seeding purposes in the conference tournament.

Charleston athletic director Matt Roberts says it was a mistake and the school agrees with losing the wins.

The Cougars are now 1-8 in the CAA. They beat William & Mary 70-60 on Jan. 6 and UNC-Wilmington 76-37 on Jan. 8 before having to give up the victories.

UNC-Wilmington coach Adell Harris told The StarNews of Wilmington that her players noticed the basketballs were too large and complained to officials, who insisted they were the right size.

Women’s basketball teams use slightly smaller basketballs than men’s teams.

VIDEO: Lonzo Ball breaks UCLA freshman assist record

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Lonzo Ball set the record for assists by a freshman at UCLA on Wednesday night, and it did so in the most Lonzo Ball fashion possible.

After the Bruins came up with a loose ball and Ball had a look at a wide open layup, he dumped the ball off to T.J. Leaf – whose hustle had earned the Bruins possession – for the dunk:

Ball now has 183 assists on the season, breaking Pooh Richardson’s record of 179 assists by a freshman. He’s on pace to have a shot at the UCLA record of 256 assists in a single season which is held by Larry Drew II.

Bill Self’s statement on LaGerald Vick was a long-winded ‘No Comment’

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Bill Self’s Kansas team is coming off of a pair of massive wins, knocking off No. 2 Baylor at Phog Allen Fieldhouse last night, just four days after the Jayhawks went into Rupp Arena and beat then-No. 4 Kentucky.

But the wins, and a season where Kansas looks to be a, if not the favorite to win the national title, has been clouded by the fact that the program is dealing with a myriad of off-the-court issues.

The latest?

A report from the Kansas City Star that LaGerald Vick, a sophomore guard, was investigated by the university for allegedly striking a female Kansas student. According to the paper, Vick was found likely to have committed an act of domestic violence – punching the student in the arm and kicking her in the face – by preponderance of evidence. It was suggested that he be given two years probation, but the police never investigated a crime and it’s unclear if Vick was ever punished in any way. He did miss two games around the same time last year, reportedly due to an illness.

This news broke on Monday night. Vick played 14 minutes in Wednesday’s win. Self, speaking to the media for the first time since the allegations were made public, read from a prepared statement last night. The video of that statement can be seen below:

If you couldn’t listen, don’t worry. You didn’t miss much. Self, in an uncharacteristically awkward manner, basically said, and I’m paraphrasing, “I cannot comment on any investigation, and I cannot confirm whether an investigation even took place.” Student privacy laws and all.

So we’re basically in the same place we were before. There’s an ugly report from the local paper highlighting an issue involving a player being found more likely than not to have kicked a female student in the face, and Kansas is going radio silent.

What’s even more unflattering for the program is that it’s not the only ugly headline involving their program. Currently, there is a University of Kansas police investigation into an alleged rape of a 16-year old girl at the dorm where the Kansas players live, and in the process of that investigation, Carlton Bragg Jr. was discovered to be in possession of drug paraphernalia; he had a pair of glass smoking devices. Bragg reached an agreement that will clear the charge from his record so long as he meets the terms of a diversion agreement.

It’s worth noting here: Bragg was arrested and charged with domestic battery in December, but those charges were dropped when video emerged that showed the woman who accused Bragg of assault was the aggressor. She has since been charged with battery.

Leaf scores 32, No. 11 UCLA beats Washington State 95-79

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PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) Freshman forward T.J. Leaf scored a season-high 32 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as No. 11 UCLA beat Washington State 95-79 on Wednesday night to stop a two-game slide.

Thomas Welsh added 17 points for UCLA (20-3, 7-3 Pac-12), and Lonzo Ball had 14.

Ike Iroegbu scored 20 points for Washington State (11-11, 4-6), which was coming off a win at Arizona State. Conor Clifford added 16 points and Josh Hawkinson had 15.

The game was close for the first 30 minutes before a rash of turnovers by Washington State allowed the Bruins to pull away.

In the first half, Washington State led 19-17 when the Bruins went on a 16-4 run to take a 10-point lead. That held up as UCLA led 44-34 at halftime behind 16 points and nine rebounds from Leaf.

Washington State sank three quick 3-pointers to open the second half, cutting UCLA’s lead to 46-43.

The teams traded baskets, with Leaf making four key buckets that kept the Bruins ahead when the Cougars threatened to tie the game.

Welsh sank two baskets during an 8-2 run that gave UCLA a 66-57 lead midway through the second half, and the Bruins pulled away after that.

UCLA holds a 105-17 lead in the all-time series.

BIG PICTURE

UCLA: The Bruins have six players scoring in double figures, and average 92 points per game. But they were coming off losses to No. 5 Arizona and at Southern California. They reached the 20-win mark for the 42nd time in the past 51 seasons.

Washington State: The Cougars won their previous three home games against UCLA after losing 19 straight at home to the Bruins. Washington State has already surpassed last season’s totals of nine wins and one in league play.

UP NEXT

UCLA plays at Washington on Saturday.

Washington State hosts Southern California on Saturday.