Bubble Banter: Washington, Alabama both in same spot — who woulda guessed?

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Welcome to Bubble Banter.  In our latest update (Feb. 9), four teams have left and three have joined the bubble.  Two of the joiners are Washington and Minnesota, who we can no longer consider as Should Be In.  We’re now at 37 bubble teams with 15 spots available.  The next two weeks should help pare down the field; then we’ll have a more accurate look at the overall picture.  More at Bracketville.

Bubble Banter highlights the teams we believe are on the NCAA Bubble. If a team isn’t listed, they aren’t a bubble team at the time of the update. RPI and SOS data is credited to CollegeRPI.com.

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 9

Automatic Bids (31): None decided | Total Spots (68): Number of total teams in the Field.

  • Projected Locks (10): Teams who project to have secured a spot in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Some of these projected locks may become automatic qualifiers should they win their conference tournament.
  • Should Be In (16): While not yet locks, these are teams in good position to receive an at-large bid.
  • Bubble: (37): Teams projected to be at or near the cutline for being selected as at-large candidates, or those whose profiles are not yet complete enough to be considered as Should Be In as of the this update.
  • Spots available (15): Number of available openings for the bracket based on spots reserved for automatic qualifiers, projected locks, and teams projected as Should Be In at this update.
  • Leaving the Bubble: Butler, Rhode Island, California, Northern Iowa
  • Joining the Bubble: Minnesota, Washington, Alabama

Below is a conference breakdown of the bubble picture

Atlantic 10
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: Temple, Xavier | Bubble: Duquesne, Richmond
  • Duquesne (15-6 | 8-1) | RPI: 76 | SOS: 133 | – Loss at St. Bonventure Saturday stopped some of the Dukes’ momentum, but it’s not panic time. A home date with Xavier is up next, followed by two more on the road. Nothing to report in the non-conference season, and the Dukes’ overall SOS is a concern. Right now, the Dukes’ best win is over Temple at home. Duquesne has to stay at or near the top of the A-10.
  • Richmond (18-6 | 7-2) | RPI: 74 | SOS: 138 | – The Spiders beat St. Joe’s and Fordham to hold serve. Neither win helps, but losses would have hurt. Richmond will keep hoping its non-conference win over Purdue holds a lot of weight; along with beating Seton Hall and VCU. The lopsided home loss to Xavier was troubling, and Richmond also lost to fellow-bubbler Old Dominion. Spiders need to pick up two more wins this week ahead of a big trip to Temple.
ACC
Locks: Duke | Should Be In: North Carolina | Bubble: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, Virginia Tech
  • Boston College (15-9 | 5-5) | RPI: 43 | SOS: 20 | – Beating Virginia Tech at home Saturday ended a three-game slide, but Tuesday’s loss at Clemson continues to cloud the Eagles’ outlook. Losing big at home to Carolina didn’t look good, either. BC now hosts Maryland – another ACC bubble team. A loss would knock BC below .500 in ACC play – a rough spot in a down year. BC’s win over Texas Am is notable, although the Aggies are reeling. BC has lost (at home) to two Ivy League schools and has dropped 5 of its past 7 games.
  • Clemson (17-7 | 6-4) | RPI: 64 | SOS: 97 | Tigers saved their spot in Bubble Banter by winning at Georgia Tech Saturday, then backed it up by taking out fellow bubbler Boston College at home on Tuesday. North Carolina is up next and a victory over the Heels would jump the Tigers up a bit in the ACC pecking order. Other than home wins over Florida State and Miami, the resume is light, however. Clemson has non-league losses to Old Dominion, Michigan, and South Carolina. It will still take a strong month for the Tigers to be a serious at-large contender.
  • Florida State (16-7 | 6-3) | RPI: 54 | SOS: 73 | – The Seminoles took a lopsided loss at North Carolina on Saturday to tread water. Baylor is their best non-ACC win, and the Bears have struggled. While the loss at Auburn was probably a fluke, it’s an example of inconsistent play. FSU also lost to a struggling Butler team in Hawaii. A weak non-conferense SOS (no. 230), could ultimately spell trouble if FSU simply glides to the finish. The win over Duke is big, but not enough by itself. An important trip to Ga. Tech is next, followed by a home date with Virginia.
  • Maryland (15-8 | 5-4) | RPI: 79 | SOS: 66 | – Getting run over at home by Duke puts Maryland in a difficult spot as the Terps’ last chance for a marquis win is at North Carolina (Feb. 27). Between now and then, Maryland needs to pile up wins. At this point, going 50-50 won’t be good enough. Playing Longwood this week will be an RPI killer, too.
  • Virginia Tech (15-7 | 5-4) | RPI: 68 | SOS: 82 | – Hokies treaded water this week, winning at NC State and losing by two at Boston College. That type of scenario may not be enough down the stretch. Credit VT with playing a better non-conference schedule, the Hokies just failed to win many of the games – the best is over fellow bubble-dweller Oklahoma State. VT really needs to win its next four ahead of Duke’s arrival on February 26.
BIG EAST
Locks: Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Villanova | Should Be In: Syracuse, Georgetown, Louisville,West Virginia | Bubble: Cincinnati, Marquette, St. John’s
  • Cincinnati (19-5 | 6-5) | RPI: 35 | SOS: 105 | – As we’ve mentioned before, the Bearcats’ dreadful non-conference SOS leaves UC with little margin for error in the Big East. Cincinnati was rolled at Pittsburgh Saturday – not a surprise, but it does leave UC with only one notable road win (@St. John’s). The Bearcats escaped DePaul Tuesday ahead of a rematch with St. John’s. A sweep of the Red Storm would be helpful. Hard to say if UC can withstand a brutal closing stretch.
  • Marquette (14-9 | 5-5) | RPI: 65 | SOS: 30 | – Marquette is 3-8 vs. teams ranked in the Top 25 of the RPI. That’s an amazing number of games against strong competition. That said, the Golden Eagles can’t continue to rely on “good losses” to keep them in the Field. At some point, they have to win more games. A 2-7 mark away from home isn’t helping. And this week the Eagles road trip to South Florida and Georgetown.
  • St. John’s (12-8 | 5-5) | RPI: 22 | SOS: 1 | – The Red Storm have some very good wins – none better than a dominating win over Duke. After losing at UCLA Saturday, however, the Johnnies embark on a critcal three-game stretch. Losses are mounting. St. John’s hosts Connecticut and then travels to Cincinnati and Marquette – the other two teams on this list. We also can’t forget early losses to St. Bonaventure and Fordham.
BIG 10
Locks: Ohio State | Should Be In: Purdue, Wisconsin | Bubble: Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, Penn State
  • Illinois (15-8 | 5-5) | RPI: 38 | SOS: 25 | – It’s panic time in Champaign after another lackluster performance Saturday at Northwestern. The Illini have lost 5 of 7 games and would be in real trouble had they not handled Penn State at home last week. Next up is a trip to struggling Minnesota, followed by home dates with Purdue and Michigan. At some point, Illinois is going to need another road win. Good wins include N. Carolina and Wisconsin, along with Michigan State (perhaps). The losses at Indiana and UIC are sore points.
  • Michigan State (12-10 | 5-6) | RPI: 48 | SOS: 6 | The Spartans are now in real danger of missing the NCAAs after the lopsided loss at Wisconsin. It’s not a loss at the Kohl Center, it’s that MSU was non-competitive. Overall, the Spartans have lost 5 of 6 games, with the only win an OT game at home against Indiana. With Korie Lucious dismissed, the Spartans have yet to prove they are an NCAA team without him. It’s hard to count an Izzo team out in early February, but it’ll take a major comeback for the Spartans to Dance.
  • Minnesota (16-7 | 5-6) | RPI: 28 | SOS: 24 | As injuries and departures have mounted, the Gophers have put themselves in somewhat of a tough spot. They have lost three straight to fall under. 500 in league play and face an equally troubling Illinois team next at The Barn. Then it’s off for two on the road where Minnesota is just 2-5 this season. Early neutral-court wins over North Carolina and West Virginia are helping, but this isn’t the same Minnesota team – especially without point guard Al Nolan. The Gophers are 5-5 vs. the Top 100, and also have losses at Indiana and to Virginia. Much like Michigan State, Minnesota needs to re-prove itself as an NCAA team.
  • Penn State (12-10 | 5-6) | RPI: 69 | SOS: 5 | – The home loss to Michigan is troubling because the Nittany Lions are 1-4 in Big 10 road games (win at Indiana) and sub-.500 in league play. It also means Penn State will have to win at least one more road game to enter the Big 10 tournament with an even conference record. Next up is a trip to Michigan State, followed by home dates with Northwestern and Minnesota. Win all three and the Lions will have some momentum before a tough closing stretch. With non-conference losses to Maryland and Virginia Tech, there’s not much to fall back on.
BIG 12
Locks: Kansas, Texas | Should Be In: Missouri, Texas AM | Bubble: Kansas State, Baylor, Colorado, Oklahoma State
  • Baylor (15-7 | 5-4) | RPI: 75 | SOS: 79 | – The Bears finally earned a notable win Saturday at Texas AM. Otherwise, its been a very average season. Other best wins are Oklahoma State and Colorado at home. Out of conference, the Bears failed to win a Top 100 RPI game and their non-league SOS ranks No. 236. Now it’s time to see if the Bears can build momentum with Nebraska arriving ahead of a trip to Texas. Has the real Baylor shown up in time?
  • Colorado (14-9 | 4-5) | RPI: 90 | SOS: 103 | – With 5 losses in 6 games, the Buffaloes are in real danger of slipping off the bubble. A non-league win over Colorado State is notable, but overall the Buffs non-conference SOS ranks No. 307. That spells trouble. CU was routed Saturday at Missouri, and has must-win home dates with Texas AM and Kansas State this week.
  • Kansas State (15-8 | 4-5) | RPI: 31 | SOS: 16 | – Late hoop by Jacob Pullen saved the day at Iowa State Saturday, pushing the Wildcats’ Big 12 record to 4-5. Up next is a trip to desperate Colorado followed by a visit from Kansas. K-State still needs to beat a Top 50 opponent – KSU is currently 0-7 vs. such teams. Best win is Virginia Tech. Other than that, the power numbers are workable.
  • Oklahoma State (16-7 | 4-5) | RPI: 42 | SOS: 62 | – The Cowboys saved a spot on Bubble Banter by holding off Oklahoma at home Saturday. Now, it’s make-or-break time – with three of four on the road – including trips to Nebraska and Texas this week. Against the Top 100, OSU is 5-6. Oklahoma State has head-to-head losses against several other bubble teams (Gonzaga, Colorado, Baylor).
MOUNTAIN WEST
Locks: BYU, San Diego State | Should Be In: UNLV | Bubble: Colorado State, New Mexico
  • Colorado State (15-7 | 6-3) | RPI: 41 | SOS: 44 | – Holding off Wyoming Saturday was a great save, as a loss would have been a blemish the Rams didn’t need. A solid win at UNLV is a high point, but there are also losses to Hampton and Sam Houston. Overall, good wins are still lacking as CSU is 2-3 vs. Top 50 teams (only UNLV would project as an NCAA-level win at this point). CSU will probably need to beat San Diego State and/or BYU to feel good about its chances. Up next is a home date with New Mexico followed by a trip to TCU. After losing at The Pit, it would help CSU to avoid being swept by the Lobos.
  • New Mexico (15-7 | 4-4) | RPI: 61 | SOS: 88 | – While the season hasn’t gone as planned, beating BYU at The Pit is a marquis win that will help the Lobos. They’ve also beaten Colorado State and Colorado at home. Troubling road losses are to Utah and Wyoming. UNM gets a must-win rematch with Wyoming at home before road trips to San Diego State and Colorado State. A win at CSU would give the Lobos a season sweep, something that could come in handy if the teams are being compared. The power number are okay, but leave UNM in dangerous territory.
PAC 10
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: NONE | Bubble: Arizona, Washington, Washington State, UCLA
  • Arizona (20-4 | 9-2) | RPI: 16 | SOS: 45 | – If nothing else, the computers love Arizona. How that translates into seeding remains to be seen. Get through a trip to Arizona State and home dates with the Washington schools, and Arizona will move off the bubble. With a 1-3 mark vs. Top 50 teams (UCLA is the only win), the Wildcats resume is light on quality. There’s nothing from the non-conference as the ‘Cats best win is Oklahoma. UA also has an ugly loss at Oregon State. A 9-2 mark in the Pac-10 looks good, and a regular-season title would put Arizona in a very strong position.
  • Washington (15-7 | 7-4) | RPI: 40 | SOS: 58 | – After a strong start in conference play, the Huskies have lost three straight – including a winless trip through Oregon and Oregon State last week. Any team can have a bad week, but it becomes more noteable when the Huskies best non-league win is over Portland. UW’s top wins are Arizona and at UCLA. Overall, Washington is 2-3 vs. Top 50 RPI teams. Big week with Cal and Stanford visiting. Two wins would change momentum before a trip through Arizona. At this point, Washington still looks okay, but it would help to stay within contact of the league-leading Wildcats.
  • Washington State (16-7 | 6-5) | RPI: 70 | SOS: 100 | – Losing at Oregon takes a little luster off the home win over Washington last week. Overall, WSU is just 1-4 vs. Top 50 teams and 4-6 vs. Top 100 teams. An early win over Gonzaga is not helping as much as expected, although the Baylor win could hold more weight if the Bears rebound. The Pac-10 isn’t deep, so it’s important that the Cougars improve a 6-5 league record and stay among the leaders.
  • UCLA (16-7 | 7-3) | RPI: 39 | SOS: 33 | – The home win Saturday over St. John’s gives the Bruins two notable non-conference wins (BYU was the other). At 7-3 in the league, UCLA currently stands alone in second place – a nice position. RPI and SOS numbers are good, but UCLA is still just 2-4 vs. Top 50 RPI teams, and an early loss to Montana is a blemish. What the Bruins may need is a win over one of the other title contenders. Being swept by Arizona and Washington could spell trouble if UCLA struggles down the stretch. The Oregon schools visit this weekend, so any loss would be a bad one.
SEC
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt | Bubble: Georgia, Alabama
  • Georgia (16-7 | 5-4) | RPI: 46 | SOS: 41 | – Losing to Xavier at home Tuesday isn’t a killer, but it doesn’t help a profile that’s still light on quality wins. Georgia is now 2-7 vs. Top 50 teams – a mark that suggests the need for a strong finish. The Bulldogs are talented enough to make the NCAAs, but can they win enough SEC games? An early victory over Kentucky helps, as does a win over UAB – another bubble team. All of the Bulldogs losses have been to teams ranked in the Top 40 of the RPI, so that’s a plus. The next three games could make or break Georgia’s at-large hopes.
  • Alabama (15-7 | 7-1) | RPI: 96 | SOS: 145 | – If you look strictly at the power numbers, the obvious question is … how does Alabama make the bubble? A 7-1 mark that leads the SEC is the quick explanation, with two of those wins being over Kentucky and at Tennessee. A win at Vanderbilt would make Alabama’s case even stronger. If you take away disappointing losses in early November, ‘Bama’s resume looks much better. Whether the Committee will overlook a poor start (losses to St. Peter’s, Iowa, Seton Hall) largely depends on how the Tide finish. If they post a strong SEC record and win the SEC west by multiple games, it could be enough to earn at-large consideration unless the Tide have an untimely flameout at the SEC tournament.
BEST OF THE REST
Locks: NONE | Should Be In: NONE | Bubble: Cleveland State, Missouri State, Wichita State, Old Dominion, George Mason, VCU, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, UAB, UTEP, Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, Utah State
  • Cleveland State (19-5 | 10-4) | RPI: 37 | SOS: 125 | – Being swept by Butler and then losing at Detroit will make an at-large bid very difficult for CSU. Assuming the Vikings avoids any further upsets, the BracketBuster game at Old Dominion is huge. A loss would likely eliminate CSU from at-large consideration; a win could keep hopes alive. Right now, CSU needs to overtake Valparaiso and win the outright Horizon League title.
  • Missouri State (18-6 | 10-3) | RPI: 47 | SOS: 117 | – The good news is the Bears have league wins at Wichita State and Northern Iowa. The bad news is those are also the Bears’ best wins. A non-conference SOS of No. 225 hurts as does a 2-4 mark vs. Top 100 RPI teams. Winning the Missouri Valley regular-season title might be necessary. Sweeping Wichita State would also help.
  • Wichita State (19-5 | 11-3) | RPI: 52 | SOS: 113 | – A home loss to Southern Illinois Tuesday adds a “bad” loss to a resume light on good wins. The Shockers are just 1-4 vs. Top 100 teams, so an outright Missouri Valley title might be necessary at this point for serious at-large consideration. Missed chances in Maui will haunt WSU all the way to Selection Sunday. A 6-1 record in road games is a plus, but losing to Missouri State at home could hurt if the Shockers are swept in the season series. The BracketBuster matchup with VCU is now critical.
  • Memphis (17-6 | 5-3) | RPI: 45 | SOS: 61 | – The win at Gonzaga Saturday could come in very handy for the Tigers. The main prize, however, remains winning the C-USA title. Winning at UAB and Southern Miss will help that effort and they get rematches at home over the next two weeks. Sweeping both could be enough if the Tigers can also win at UTEP. It doesn’t help that Memphis was largely non-competitive in losses to Kansas, Tennessee, and Georgetown. An ugly loss at SMU still lingers, but the Tigers’ outlook is stronger than last week.
  • UAB (16-6 | 6-3) | RPI: 36 | SOS: 69 | – The Blazers are a solid team that lacks a marquee win. A home loss to Southern Miss last week won’t help UAB’s chances in C-USA, either. They are 0-4 vs. Top 50 teams (Duke, Memphis, Georgia, So. Miss). UAB’s best win is VCU at home. There’s also losses at Tulsa and Arizona State. Tough trips to Marshall and Memphis are on the horizon.
  • Southern Mississippi (16-5 | 7-3) | RPI: 44 | SOS: 112 | – Step one was winning a big game at UAB last week. Still, the Eagles are just 1-2 vs. Top 50 teams, so the resume is light. Losses to Colorado State and Mississippi won’t help; neither will a non-conference SOS ranked No. 256. Huge trip to Memphis up next, followed by UTEP at home.
  • UTEP (17-5 | 6-2) | RPI: 58 | SOS: 134 | – Of UTEP’s 17 D-I wins, 14 are to teams ranked outside the Top 100 of the RPI. The best is an early victory over Michigan. Add in three sub-100 losses and the Miners are here as a fringe candidate with a 6-2 C-USA mark. Probably have to win the C-USA title for serious consideration.
  • Old Dominion (18-6 | 9-4) | RPI: 29 | SOS: 52 | – A lopsided loss at George Mason last Saturday doesn’t help the Monarchs, but at least the teams split their two meetings. Solid non-conference wins include Xavier, Richmond and Clemson. ODU also played Georgetown to within three points. A 7-5 mark vs. Top 100 teams will help as will a non-league SOS ranked No. 25. A trip to VCU is the next big challenge.
  • VCU (19-6 | 11-2) | RPI: 56 | SOS: 154 | – The Rams’ loss at Northeastern removed a little luster from a strong streak, but VCU has still won 10 of 12 games. The Rams have a good neutral court win over UCLA, but also miscues at Georgia State and Northeastern, plus a loss at UAB. VCU is 5-3 vs. Top 100 teams. Rematches with ODU and Geo Mason at home are huge, as is a BracketBuster with Wichita State.
  • George Mason (20-5 | 12-2) | RPI: 23 | SOS: 72 | – Beating Old Dominion at home gave George Mason its first Top 50 RPI win and vaulted GMU into first place in the Colonial. The Patriots are also 7-4 vs. Top 100 teams. A lone miscue is Wofford in November. The closing CAA schedule is favorable, and an outright league title would look good. The BracketBuster game at Northern Iowa would help, too.
  • Gonzaga (14-9 | 5-3) | RPI: 73 | SOS: 42 | – The Zags’ home loss to Memphis adds further doubts about the Bulldogs’ at-large chances. There are some good wins – Baylor, Xavier, Marquette – that could get better. A good SOS always helps. At the same time, Gonzaga is now 2-6 vs. Top 50 RPI teams and 7-9 vs. the Top 200 – generally a big no-no for at-large consideration. The losses at Santa Clara and San Francisco are major issues. Any more “bad” losses probably eliminate Gonzaga from the bubble.
  • St. Mary’s (18-4 | 8-1) | RPI: 34 | SOS: 130 | – Winning an outright WCC title could be enough as long as St. Mary’s doesn’t lose many more games – especially to teams other than Gonzaga or maybe Portland. An early win over St. John’s helps, but the Gaels were blown out at Vanderbilt and have only the one Top 50 win. At 2-4 vs. Top 100 teams, St. Mary’s is far from a lock. A three-game road swing is up next.
  • Utah State (22-2 | 11-0) | RPI: 25 | SOS: 160 | – The Aggies have a lot of wins but none to teams ranked in the Top 100 of the RPI. That could be a major hurdle. USU missed against BYU and Georgetown and has only one Top 100 team left on its schedule – the BracketBuster at St. Mary’s. Lose that and USU may still have to win its conference tournament.

Three Things To Know: Memphis embarrassed; Luka Garza shows out again

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The story of the night in hoops was Zion Williamson’s return to the basketball court.

But there was plenty of action in the college ranks that is worthy of talking about.

Here are the three things that you need to know:

1. No. 20 MEMPHIS LOST BY 40 TO TULSA

That is not a typo.

The 20th-ranked team in the country went into Tulsa, Okla., and lost to the Golden Hurricane, 80-40. Tulsa was up 40-17 at halftime. This was a butt-whooping that was so bad that all Tulsa needed to do was score a single point in the second half and they would have been able to get the win.

Memphis shot 28 percent from the floor. They were 2-for-21 from three. They finished the night with more turnovers (20) and fouls (22) than field goals (16). This was the worst loss that a top 25 team has suffered against a ranked team in 27 years, since UConn beat then-No. 12 Virginia by 41 points.

For Tulsa, this is a massive, massive win. They are currently sitting all alone in first place in the American standings, a half-game up on Houston.

So good for Frank Haith.

But the story here is Memphis, because the Tigers, considered title contenders before the season began, look anything-but right now.

“We let our defense dictate our offense,” head coach Penny Hardaway told reporters after the game. “We didn’t play any defense today. I think today was the first day we’ve done that ll year. I don’t know if guys overlooked Tulsa because of the name. We did our due diligence as a coaching staff to let them know what was going to happen with the matchup zone and how hard they play.

“It’s pretty embarrassing.”

2. LUKA GARZA WENT NUTS AGAIN

If it seems like Garza is putting up monster numbers every games, it’s because he is.

On Wednesday night, the Hawkeyes welcomed newly-ranked Rutgers to campus and sent them home with an entertaining, hard-fought, 85-80 win. And Garza was the star of the show. He finished with 28 points, 13 boards, four blocks and two steals in the win, anchoring the paint as Iowa out-scored Rutgers 47-37 in the second half.

The big fella is now averaging 23 points and 10.5 boards.

Iowa has now won four straight games to move into a tie for third in the Big Ten standings — with Rutgers, among others — and they have won eight straight games in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. They are a third of the way through a three-game homestand as well.

3. VIRGINIA TECH TAKES DOWN NORTH CAROLINA

Virginia Tech kept up their push to finish as the fourth-best team in the ACC with a 79-77 double-overtime win over North Carolina.

The Hokies are now 14-5 overall and 5-3 in the ACC, but the more interesting story might actually be the Tar Heels.

They are 8-10 on the season and 1-6 in the ACC. They have been a disaster for the last month, but there may be some reinforcements on the way in the shape of Cole Anthony. If he returns and the Tar Heels, who are 2-7 in his absence but have wins over Alabama and Oregon with him, get things back on the right track, they are likely going to find themselves in an incredibly awkward situation on Selection Sunday.

Big 12 hands down Kansas-Kansas State fight suspensions

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The Big 12 handed down suspensions to four Kansas and Kansas State players for their role in the fight that occurred in Phog Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday night.

Silvio De Sousa, who tried to fight three different Kansas State players and picked up a stool during the melee, received a 12 game suspension from the conference. David McCormack, who went into the stands to confront James Love III, received a two game suspension. Love was given eight games for part in the fight, while Antonio Gordon, the freshman that turned a messy situation into a fight, was hit with a three game suspension.

“This kind of behavior cannot be tolerated and these suspensions reflect the severity of last evening’s events,” said Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.  “I am appreciative of the cooperation of both institutions in resolving this matter.”

In the final seconds on Tuesday night, after DaJuan Gordon stole the ball from him at halfcourt, De Sousa blocked Gordon’s shot and towered over him. That sparked an incident that turned into a full-fledged brawl, as De Sousa threw punches at three different players on Kansas State before picking up a stool as the fight spilled into the handicapped section of Kansas seating.

Self called the fight “an embarrassment” after the game, adding on Wednesday that “we are disappointed in [De Sousa’s] actions and there is no place in the game for that behavior.”

McCormack will be eligible to return for Kansas on Feb. 1st when they play Texas Tech at home. De Sousa will be available to play in the final game of the regular season at Texas Tech. Gordon can return on Feb. 3rd, when the Wildcats host Baylor, while Love will be out until late February. But he has played just one game and two minutes on the season, so there is no clear indication of when he will actually put on a Kansas State jersey again.

The four most important questions after Kansas-Kansas State fight

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Very other sport can treat brawls like comedy, and I think it’s about time that we did the same for basketball.

So let’s take a look at the four funniest moments from last night’s Kansas-Kansas State fight. Shouts to Jomboy:

1. IS THE KANSAS MASCOT OK?

Throughout the entire fight, the mascot is just in utter disbelief. He cannot believe what he just saw, and he certainly cannot be consoled:

2. CAN JEREMY CASE START AT LINEBACKER FOR KU’S FOOTBALL TEAM?

Case is the video coordinator for Kansas. He’s also a former Kansas point guard. He knows what this rivalry is all about, and he also is not going to be afraid to get in the middle of it.

Case starts out on the wrong side of the melee:

But when he sees De Sousa and Love squaring up and throwing punches, he intervenes by throwing himself into a player six inches taller than him:

3. WHAT HAPPENED TO JAMES LOVE III’S SHOE?

James Love the third has played in exactly one game this season. He has spent more time on the court fighting that he has actually playing, but he still found a way to get into the middle of this fight and, in the process, lost his shoe:

He’s not dressed for the game.

Did he bring an extra pair of shoes? Did he have to head back onto the bus without a shoe on this right foot? So many questions, so few answers.

4. WHO IS THE MAN IN THE ORANGE HAT?

He’s some kind of photographer.

He got his shot, that’s for sure:

Kansas-Kansas State fight: Nuance, context the key in Silvio De Sousa discussion

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So I wanted to elaborate on a point that I made on twitter this morning because 280 characters just is not enough to be able to parse through the nuance of this situation.

If you missed it, the thread is here.

First and foremost, everyone involved in this needs to be punished. Silvio De Sousa needs to be suspended. Antonio Gordon needs to be suspended. James Love III needs to be suspended. David McCormack, and potentially Marcus Garrett, probably need to be suspended, although I’m not sure either of them actually through a punch. Point being, anyone else that threw a punch needs to be suspended.

Full stop.

I am not saying otherwise.

But I think that it is important to add some context to the conversation, and I also think that it is important to say this: This doesn’t make any of the young men involved in this fight bad people. Silvio De Sousa is not inherently a bad person because he picked up a stool, and the faux-trage of people calling for him to get booted out of school, arrested or even deported are, at best, completely over-reacting and, at worst, showing off a bit of their racial bias.

Before I get into this, one more thing: I am not condoning any of it. Fights like this should not happen.

But the reality of hyper-competitive athletics is that in emotionally charged situations, fights are going to happen. And if you’ve ever been in a fight like this, you know that things happen incredibly quickly. You’re not thinking, you’re reacting. You can’t call a 20 second time out to come up with a way to defend yourself when someone is throwing haymakers, you just do what you can in the moment.

So let’s talk about the moment, shall we?

De Sousa is the guy that set this entire thing in motion with the way that he reacted to DaJuan Gordon’s steal and layup attempt. The reason the Kansas State bench rushes over to the scene is because De Sousa is towering over one of their freshman teammates, and the reason the Kansas sideline runs over is because the Kansas State sideline does. What turned this incident into a full-fledged brawl was Antonio Gordon flying in and shoving De Sousa over the back of the basket stanchion. De Sousa reacts by throwing punches at two different Kansas State players when a third player — James Love III, in the black polo — comes flying in and squares up with him. They both throw a few punches at each other, knocking De Sousa back over the stanchion again as Kansas staffer Jeremy Case comes flying in to break them up.

Put yourself in De Sousa’s shoes here. In the span of 10 seconds, he’s fought three different Kansas State players, sees nothing but purple in front of him and just got knocked to the ground. Is he getting jumped? Does he have to fight them 1-on-3? That’s when he grabs the stool, to defend himself, and when he sees that no one is coming after him anymore, he drops it:

Context.

He should be suspended for 8-10 games.

He set this entire thing in motion.

But maybe, just maybe, tone down the rhetoric.

Women’s Wednesday: A new column dedicated to the women of college basketball

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Welcome to CBT’s first ever weekly women’s basketball column. I’m here to help provide you with some insight into the world of women’s college hoops.

Women’s sports are reaching new heights, especially in basketball. The WNBA announced a new collective bargaining agreement starting in the 2020 season that includes a 53 percent raise, maternity benefits, a base salary and performance-based bonuses. This year’s NCAA women’s basketball tournament will be broadcasted in its entirety on ESPN, with the semifinals and championship game premiering in primetime.

Female athletes are beginning to garner the attention they deserve. Sabrina Ionescu is drawing national attention for a historic senior season, as she has 22 career triple-doubles and became Oregon’s all-time leading basketball scorer in her career-high 37-point performance against Stanford last week. In the WNBA, women such as Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, and more are shattering gender stereotypes and proving that women can play basketball at a high level, just as men can.

While women’s sports have made a push into the public eye, there is still quite a way to go. It’s important to place an emphasis on the women who excel in their sport and give them the spotlight they deserve. Too many times women are only given credit through a masculine lens, whether that’s only getting attention after receiving praise from men, being compared to a male counterpart, or being a footnote in a male athlete’s story. Female athletes deserve to be their own story.

That’s what I’m hoping to do with this column over the rest of the season — give women a place to shine. I’d like to use this space to highlight some of the amazing women that play in the NCAA and hear from them about their experiences, the records they’re setting and their basketball journey. While I won’t even begin to make a dent in the breadth of talent available in women’s college basketball, I hope to use this column each week to take a deeper dive into some incredible women, as well as give you an idea of what’s happening around the country that week.

WEDNESDAY’S NEWS AND NOTES

South Carolina sits atop the world of college hoops, earning 22 first-place votes from the AP panel to nab the No. 1 spot. The Gamecocks have an 18-1 record with wins over ranked opponents such as Maryland, Baylor, Kentucky and most recently Mississippi State.

Baylor — the reigning national champs —- sits in the No. 2 spot in the rankings after dethroning UConn and ending its dominant 98-game winning streak at home. The Lady Bears received six of the first-place votes from the AP committee.

The rest of the top five is filled out by UConn at No. 3, Oregon at No. 4 after beating then-No. 3 Stanford, and Louisville rounds it out at fifth, receiving the last two first-place votes.

In a monster performance against Stanford, Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu had a career-high 37 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. She has four triple-doubles on the season and has a chance to become the NCAA’s first player to eclipse 2,000 career points, 1,000 career rebounds and 1,000 career assists. As of Jan. 18, she has 2,265 points, 904 rebounds and 928 assists.

DePaul remains unbeaten in the Big East, with Chante Stonewall leading the team with 17.9 ppg while Kelly Campbell has 102 assists on the season, ranking No. 8 in the country.

Baylor’s 40-point victory over then-No. 17 West Virginia is their 45th consecutive Big 12 win.

Mississippi State’s JaMya Mingo-Young and Aliyah Matharu combined for 24 points and four steals off the bench in a close 79-81 loss to South Carolina on Monday.

Star freshman and No. 1 recruit Haley Jones suffered an apparent right knee injury and left Stanford’s Sunday win over Oregon State. She is scheduled to have an MRI but the team has given no further updates.

North Carolina State’s Elissa Cunane has 20+ points in four of her last six games and 10 double-doubles on the season, helping the Wolfpack to a dominant win over Florida State last week.

UCLA became the last undefeated team to fall with a double overtime loss to USC — who hadn’t yet won a Pac-12 matchup —  on Friday.

Northwestern made its debut this season in the Top-25, coming in at No. 22 — its first ranking since the 2015-2016 season.

No. 3 Oregon faces rival No. 7 Oregon State on Friday in a crucial Pac-12 matchup.

Stanford freshman Fran Belini threw down a one-handed dunk in pregame warmup before facing Oregon that you HAVE to see: