Chaos rules in Norfolk as top four seeds bounced from MEAC tournament

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When the MEAC tournament began the biggest question seemed to be whether or not the league’s two best teams, defending champion Norfolk State (16-0 MEAC record) and North Carolina Central (15-1) would meet for the right to go to the NCAA tournament.

But in a conference season highlighted by the fact that the two best teams in the MEAC didn’t play during the regular season (yes, Norfolk State and NCCU really didn’t play during the regular season), of course chaos rules at the conference tournament.

Morgan State’s 64-61 overtime victory over Savannah State (19-14) on Thursday night means that the top four seeds have all been eliminated from the MEAC tournament, which likely guarantees that the winner will play its first NCAA tournament game in Dayton.

Justin Black led four Bears (16-14) in double figures with 20 points, and despite 18 turnovers and shooting 5-of-22 from beyond the arc Todd Bozeman’s team is now two wins away from the NCAA tournament. Next up for Morgan State: eight-seed Bethune-Cookman, who knocked off Norfolk State in overtime on Wednesday.

The other semifinal matches six-seed Delaware State, which beat Hampton 63-60 despite the Pirates grabbing 17 offensive rebounds, and seven-seed North Carolina A&T. The Aggies provided the lone “blowout” of the quarterfinals, as they beat North Carolina Central 55-42 on Wednesday.

The MEAC tournament, through no fault of its own, has simply provided more evidence to the argument that a 16-seed isn’t going to beat a 1-seed for the first time in NCAA tournament history this season. And frankly that was a preposterous argument to begin with, regardless of how much parity there’s been in college basketball.

But a conference tournament in which the top four seeds are all eliminated in the quarterfinals? That’s the epitome of March Madness. And given the bizarre scheduling that resulted in the top two seeds not playing during the regular season, maybe this is an appropriate finish to the 2012-13 season in the MEAC.

Photo credit: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Arizona PF Ira Lee cited for DUI

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Tuesday afternoon it was announced that Arizona sophomore power forward Ira Lee was been cited for driving under the influence on Saturday.

Lee was ultimately released, and according to the Arizona Daily Star he faces misdemeanor charges for failing to yield at an intersection, driving under the influence as a minor (Lee is 20 years old) and extreme DUI involving a blood-alcohol content above .20. Lee is set to be arraigned on September 10.

In a release the Arizona basketball program announced that the incident has been referred to the Dean of Students for review and “the Athletics Department is reviewing the incident for team consequences.”

As a freshman Lee served as a reserve behind starters Deandre Ayton and Dusan Ristic in the Arizona front court, averaging 2.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.2 minutes per game. With Ayton and Ristic both off to the professional ranks, Lee is expected to be a key contributor in an Arizona front court that includes transfers Chase Jeter (Duke; sat out last season) and Ryan Luther (Pittsburgh), sophomore Emmanuel Akot and freshman Omar Thielemans.

Loyola celebrity nun Sister Jean celebrating 99th birthday

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CHICAGO (AP) — Sister Jean is celebrating her 99th birthday months after gaining national attention as chaplain of the Loyola-Chicago basketball team that reached the NCAA Final Four.

The university held a campus party with students and school staffers Tuesday for Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt. The Catholic nun became a celebrity last March for her fandom and for praying before each game for her Ramblers — and for their opponents.

Schmidt says her health is better some days than others as she’s been recovering since last year from a broken hip. She received a number 99 basketball jersey and a birthday cake frosted in the team’s maroon and gold colors.

Players say they’re still inspired by her example.

Ramblers guard Marques Townes describes her simply as “Genuine, sincere, passionate, loving, caring, sweetheart.”

NC State PG Blake Harris granted immediate eligibility

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When former Missouri point guard Blake Harris transferred to NC State in January, the expectation was that he would not be eligible to compete until the end of the fall semester. However that will not be the case, as Tuesday afternoon NC State announced that Harris has been granted immediate eligibility.

Harris started nine of the 14 games in which he played at Missouri, averaging 3.8 points and 3.1 assists in just under 14 minutes per game. The addition of the former 4-star prospect gives NC State head coach Kevin Keatts additional depth and talent at the point, which is key given the up-tempo, pressure style the Wolfpack generally play.

In addition to Harris, NC State will also be able to call upon sophomore Braxton Beverly and junior Markel Johnson, with those two being part of a team that won 21 games and reached the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2015 last season.

In total NC State will have three transfers from Division I schools eligible to compete in 2018-19, with guards Devon Daniels (Utah) and C.J. Bryce (UNCW) ready to go after sitting out last season.

One player who will not be available for the Wolfpack this season is forward Manny Bates, with it being announced that he will redshirt after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder. Bates, a 6-foot-11 forward from Fayetteville, North Carolina, dislocated the shoulder in early August.

The NC State front court will be led by newcomers, with grad transfer Wyatt Walker (Samford) and junior college transfer Derek Funderburk among the options.

Xavier lands commitment from four-star big man

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Xavier picked up their third commitment in the Class of 2019, adding an under-the-radar prospect in Zach Freemantle, a 6-foot-9 forward out of New Jersey.

Freemantle currently ranks 129th in 247 Sports composite ranking, but will likely move up after a strong July landed him a handful of high-major offers.

He’ll join Elias King and Daniel Ramsey, two more four-star prospects, in Travis Steele’s first real recruiting class for the Musketeers.

VIDEO: You need to see this Zion Williamson mixtape

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Zion Williamson made waves across the internet over the weekend as we got our first chance to get a glimpse of college basketball’s resident Viral King in Duke’s exhibition trip up to Canada.

So with that in mind, let’s go back and look at Williamson’s mixtape from his senior season of high school. I’ve never seen someone make in-game windmills and between-the-legs dunks look so commonplace.