Bubble Banter: Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Ole Miss all lose key games

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There are 32 days left until Selection Sunday. Every morning from now until the bracket comes out, we’ll help you get caught up on the happenings with impact on the bubble from the night before. 

You can see NBCSports.com’s latest bracket here.

Oklahoma State (RPI: 36, KenPom: 29) is going to be an interesting bubble case come Selection Sunday. In the first game of Marcus Smart’s suspension, they were beaten down by a Texas team missing one of their starting forwards. That means that the Pokes have now lost five straight and six of their last seven, and they still have to play Oklahoma at home and at Baylor before Smart returns to the lineup.

What that means is that when their star point guard returns to the fold, this could be a team that sitting on a seven-game losing streak with a 4-9 record in the Big 12. That doesn’t exactly look like a bubble team.

But remember, the committee looks at suspensions the same way that they do injuries. They’ll look past the three games he missed which, ironically enough, means that it may be better to lose all three games without Smart than it would be to win one.

Now, Travis Ford’s club is going to have work to do once Smart returns to action. They play Kansas, Kansas State and at Iowa State in their last three games, and at the very least they’ll need to win two of those. Just don’t be surprised if Oklahoma State is able to sneak into the dance with a losing record in league play.

THE REST OF TUESDAY’S BUBBLE ACTION

  • N.C. State (RPI: 51, KenPom: 76) is still alive after beating Wake Forest, but if Tennessee keeps losing, they’ll be without a top 50 RPI win. They’ll get chances against Syracuse and Pitt.
  • Clemson (RPI: 68, KenPom: 54) has a win over Duke, which is keeping them in the conversation here. But that won’t be enough if they keep losing to the likes of Notre Dame, as they did Tuesday.
  • Tennessee (RPI: 49, KenPom: 24) blew their last chance to pick up a marquee win before the SEC tournament when they lost to Florida. We wrote about it more extensively here.
  • Ole Miss (RPI: 61, KenPom: 72) did exactly what they couldn’t afford to do last night, losing to Alabama on the road. It’s their second loss in the SEC to a team with an RPI in the triple digits. They have home games against Florida and Kentucky coming up. They have to get at least one of those.
  • Marquette (RPI: 70, KenPom: 52) only has one really bad loss — at Butler — but with just one top 50 win now that Providence and Georgetown are both outside the top 50, the Golden Eagles, at 14-9, have a lot of work to do. They probably need to beat either Creighton or Villanova to have a real chance.

VIDEO: Mixtape for Duke commit R.J. Barrett, potential 2019 No. 1 pick

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Last week, after the NBA draft officially concluded, we posted a mock draft for the lottery in 2019.

At the top of that list was R.J. Barrett, a Duke-commit and Canadian-native that has NBA scouts wowed and intrigued. This mixtape should give you a good feel for why.

Trae Jefferson to transfer out of Texas Southern

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Texas Southern guard and NCAA tournament darling Trae Jefferson announced on Saturday that he’s leaving the school.

The 5-foot-7 Jefferson was sensational at times during his sophomore season with the Tigers as he put up 23.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, helping lead Texas Southern to a victory in the 2018 NCAA Tournament’s First Four in Dayton over North Carolina Central. One of the most entertaining talents in college basketball, Jefferson is leaving Texas Southern in-part because former head coach Mike Davis took the job at Detroit this offseason.

While Detroit is going to be the favorite to land Jefferson, because of his connection to Davis, it’ll be interesting to see what his transfer market looks like. Jefferson also made it clear on his Twitter page that he would like to be closer to his hometown of Milwaukee so that he can be closer to his ailing grandfather.

Given NCAA transfer rules, Jefferson would likely have to sit out next season before getting two more years of eligibility. But he could be applying for a waiver if he’s trying to be closer to home to deal with his family situation.

Nevada’s Josh Hall transfers to Missouri State

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Nevada lost a talented player from last season’s team as rising junior Josh Hall opted to transfer to Missouri State on Friday night.

The 6-foot-7 Hall is a former top-150 recruit who played a key part in the Wolf Pack’s postseason run as he elevated his play to average 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Hall also made the game-winning bucket to lift Nevada past No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second round.

Although Hall picked up his play late in the year, he was coming off the bench most of his sophomore campaign as he averaged 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season.

Since Nevada took in some talented transfers, while players like Jordan Caroline and the Martin twins opted not to turn pro, it left head coach Eric Musselman with too many scholarship players for the 2018-19 season. It looks like some of those issues are now going away as Hall is leaving for Missouri State and graduate transfer guard Ehab Amin opted to decommit from the school.

Nevada is expected to be a preseason top-10 team next season with all of the talent they have returning to the roster, along with the addition of some new pieces like McDonald’s All-American big man Jordan Brown.

Hall will likely have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules as he still has two years of eligibility remaining.

Chris Webber accepts Jim Harbaugh’s invitation to be honorary Michigan football captain

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The frosty relationship between Chris Webber and the University of Michigan could be thawing — thanks to an invitation from football head coach Jim Harbaugh.

On Friday, Harbaugh called in to WTKA’s “The M Zone” as show host Jamie Morris had Webber on the show. Harbaugh offered Webber the opportunity to be an honorary captain for the Michigan football team next season, to which Webber replied that he would love the opportunity.

Webber, a former member of the “Fab Five” who helped the Wolverines to two consecutive NCAA tournament title-game appearances in 1992 and 1993, has not associated directly with the school, or with other members of the Fab Five, for many years.

The NCAA mandated that Webber and Michigan not associate with one another for 10 years after the Ed Martin booster scandal. Webber has always been reluctant to participate in anything Michigan or Fab Five related. When the famous Fab Five documentary was made a few years ago, Webber was the only member of the quintet not to participate in the making of the film. Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson all have a solid relationship with the University of Michigan at this point.

Webber later criticized the film during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, as King and Rose fired back with responses to reignite the feud. In the past, Rose has also been vocal in his belief that Webber should apologize for what happened at Michigan, as the group is hoping to move forward.

Although Webber still isn’t mending fences with the other Fab Five members, or the basketball program, returning to Michigan in some kind of official capacity is a big deal considering his past with the school.

Harbaugh and Webber haven’t decided on a game for next season yet as that will be something to watch for over the next several months.

Akoy Agau returning to Louisville as graduate transfer

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Louisville received a boost to its frontcourt rotation on Friday as former big man Akoy Agau will return to the Cardinals as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau originally committed and enrolled at Louisville for a season and a half to begin his college hoops career before transferring to Georgetown. After leaving the Hoyas to play at SMU last season, Agau received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA after battling injury for much of his career.

Agau gives Louisville an experienced forward who should earn some solid minutes next season. With the Mustangs during the 2017-18 season, Agau averaged 5.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 16.1 minutes per contest.

While this isn’t the biggest splash for the Cardinals, they have plenty of scholarships to use for next season as new head coach Chris Mack tries to find a stable rotation. Getting a graduate transfer like Agau, who should be familiar with the school and the conference at the very least, is a nice step for a one-year placeholder.