Resume boost: Kansas claims final No. 1 seed

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Kansas finds itself in familiar territory heading into Super Bowl weekend.  Thanks to a resume that includes 11 Top 100 RPI wins and the nation’s top-rated (overall) strength of schedule, the Jayhawks claim the final No. 1 seed in today’s bracket.  KU also leads the Big 12, arguably the deepest conference in college basketball.

Kentucky and Virginia remain firmly entrenched as the top two seeds.  And Gonzaga keeps it’s hold on the West, but will be challenged for that spot as we march toward Selection Sunday.  Those also pushing the top line: Arizona and Wisconsin.  Notre Dame continues its climb.  But it’s worth noting that a weak non-conference SOS could ultimately impact the Irish’s final landing spot.

As for teams around the cutline, it’s a muddled mess.  Resumes resemble Swiss cheese; in other words, it’s not difficult to find the holes.  It’s also a bit odd to find teams such as Syracuse, Michigan, Connecticut, and Florida on the outside looking in.  Will one of them make a February run?  The clock is ticking.

UPDATED: January 30, 2015

Teams in CAPS represent the projected AUTOMATIC bid.  In the event of a tie in the loss column, RPI is the first tiebreaker used. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UCLA, BYU, etc).

Several new bracketing principles were introduced last year. You can read them for yourself at http://www.ncaa.com. For example: teams from the same conference may now meet before a Regional final, even if fewer than eight teams are selected. The goal is to keep as many teams as possible on their actual seed line.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Texas A&M vs. Old Dominion South Region
  • George Washington vs. Wyoming | East Region
  • ALBANY vs. ROBERT MORRIS East Region
  • BUCKNELL vs. NORTH FLORIDA Midwest Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

MIDWEST – Cleveland                     EAST Syracuse                                  
Louisville Charlotte
1) KENTUCKY 1) VIRGINIA
16) BUCKNELL / NO. FLORIDA 16) ALBANY / ROB MORRIS
8) Cincinnati 8) Georgia
9) Stanford 9) Oklahoma State
Seattle Jacksonville
5) Baylor 5) Butler
12) GREEN BAY 12) Geo. Washington / Wyoming
4) VCU 4) West Virginia
13) IONA 13) WESTERN KENTUCKY
Louisville Pittsburgh
6) Providence 6) Northern Iowa
11) Colorado State 11) Kansas State
3) Iowa State 3) VILLANOVA
14) KENT STATE 14) WILLIAM & MARY
Columbus Omaha
7) Indiana 7) LSU
10) Xavier 10) Miami-FL
2) Notre Dame 2) WISCONSIN
15) GA. SOUTHERN 15) SO. DAKOTA ST
SOUTH – Houston WEST – Los Angeles                        
Omaha Seattle
1) KANSAS 1) GONZAGA
16) TEXAS SOUTHERN 16) NEW MEXICO ST
8) SMU 8) SAN DIEGO ST
9) Iowa 9) Dayton
Portland Pittsburgh
5) Utah 5) Oklahoma
12) S.F. AUSTIN 12) WOFFORD
4) WICHITA STATE 4) Maryland
13) EASTERN WASHINGTON 13) MURRAY STATE
Columbus Jacksonville
6) Georgetown 6) Arkansas
11) Texas A&M / Old Dominion 11) TULSA
3) Louisville 3) North Carolina
14) NC CENTRAL 14) YALE
Charlotte Portland
7) Ohio State 7) Texas
10) Seton Hall 10) Michigan State
2) Duke 2) ARIZONA
15) HIGH POINT 15) LONG BEACH ST

NOTES on the BRACKET: Kentucky is the overall No. 1 seed followed by Virginia, Gonzaga, and Kansas. Next in line: Arizona, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Duke

Last Five teams in (at large): Kansas State, Texas AM, Wyoming, George Washington, Old Dominion

First Five teams out (at large): NC State, Davidson, Syracuse, Ole Miss, Michigan

Next five teams out (at large): Purdue, St. John’s, Saint Mary’s, Illinois, Washington

Breakdown by Conference …

Big 12 (7): Kansas, Iowa State, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma State

ACC (6): Virginia, Duke, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Louisville, Miami-FL

Big East (6): Villanova, Georgetown, Butler, Providence, Seton Hall, Xavier

Big 10 (6): Wisconsin, Maryland, Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa

SEC (5): Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, Texas AM

Pac 12 (3): Arizona, Utah, Stanford

Atlantic 10 (3): VCU, Dayton, George Washington

American (3): Tulsa, Cincinnati, SMU

Mountain West (3): San Diego State, Colorado State, Wyoming

Missouri Valley (2): Wichita State, Northern Iowa

Conference USA (2): Western Kentucky, Old Dominion

West Coast (1): Gonzaga

ONE BID LEAGUES: Georgia Southern (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Eastern Washington (BSKY), Green Bay (HZN), S.F. Austin (SLND), Wofford (STHN), Long Beach State (BWEST), Kent State (MAC), Iona (MAAC), North Florida (ASUN), Murray State (OVC), William & Mary (CAA), High Point (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Albany (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Robert Morris (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will play its annual Blue-White men’s basketball scrimmage in Eastern Kentucky to benefit victims of the devastating summer floods.

The school announced that the Oct. 22 event at Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville will feature a pregame Fan Fest. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

Wildcat players will also participate in a community service activity with local organizations in the relief effort.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.”

The scrimmage traditionally is held at Rupp Arena. It will occur eight days after its Big Blue Madness public workout at Rupp.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies

Joe Rondone/USA TODAY NETWORK
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SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.

Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald is returning to Arizona to work under coach Adia Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald will serve as director of recruiting operations while continuing to fulfill her WNBA commitments. She will oversee all recruiting logistics, assist with on-campus visits, manage recruit information and social media content at Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after transferring from Washington as a sophomore. She was an All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020-21, leading the Wildcats to the national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career scoring average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick of the 2021 WNBA draft.