Bubble Banter: Pitt, St. John’s, Texas A&M win, Texas trending towards the NIT?

Texas lost at home to Iowa State today (AP Photo)

It’s incredible when you think about it, but Texas has reached the point this season where a trip to the NIT seems almost as likely as a trip to the NCAA tournament.

On Saturday afternoon, the Longhorns lost at home to No. 14 Iowa State in a game the Cyclones seemed to have control of for most of the second half. That’s the second straight loss for Texas and the sixth in their last nine games. They’re 17-10 overall and 6-8 in the Big 12. All 10 of those losses came against top 50 competition, but they’re just 1-10 overall against the top 50 with 12 of their 17 wins coming against sub-100 competition — and it’s worth noting here that they beat Kansas State, who is No. 100 in the RPI as of today.

That’s bad.

But it gets worse.

Five of those six Big 12 wins came against TCU, Texas Tech and Kansas State, the only three teams in the league that are not in the NCAA tournament picture. Next week, the Longhorns play at West Virginia — who is streaking and will be looking for revenge for the 27-point loss they took at Texas in January — and at Kansas, which means that it’s very possible that we could enter the last week of the regular season with the Longhorns sitting at 17-12.

The good news for Texas is that three of their four remaining games — next week’s roadies and a home game against Baylor — would all go on their resume as elite wins, but at this point, what have the Longhorns done to make us believe they can win a game like that? They haven’t beaten a tournament team since January 17th.

The next question: If Barnes does miss out on the NCAA tournament, at what point do the hot seat rumors kick up again?

source: Getty Images
Getty Images


  • Pitt: The Panthers were in a must-win situation on Saturday in Syracuse, and they pulled out the win, meaning the Panthers inch just that much closer to truly being a contender for an at-large bid. Pitt still has a lot of work left to do, however, to the point that they may not be able to afford another loss in the regular season. The Panthers own a pair of top 25ish wins over Notre Dame and North Carolina, but they have just three other top 100 wins: a sweep of Syracuse and a win over No. 100 Kansas State, who may or may not be in the top 100 come Selection Sunday. Combined that with a pair of sub-150 losses and a non-conference strength of schedule that ranks in the 150s, and the Panthers didn’t even crack the next five teams out in our latest bracket. With just one top 100 opponent left on their resume, the Panthers A) cannot afford another bad loss, and B) still need to add to their profile.
  • St. John’s: If the Johnnies are going to end up being an at-large team, it’s going to be earned this week. On Saturday, they added a much-needed win over Seton Hall at home, and in the next seven day, they’ll get both Xavier (No. 33) and Georgetown (No. 20) in NYC. With a 3-6 record against the top 50, just six top 100 wins and a pair of sub-100 losses, St. John’s probably needs all three to get themselves out of the muck that makes up the cut-line. Entering the weekend, they were still in the play-in game in our latest bracket.
  • LSU: The Tigers picked up a win at home over Florida on Saturday, giving them an even ten top 100 wins. Their three sub-140 losses are a blight on an otherwise very solid profile, which is why they will be in a good spot if they can get past a road trip to Auburn, their last non-top 100 opponent, next week.
  • Texas A&M: There are three pieces of good news to report on the Aggies. LSU, who they’ve swept, is still ranked in the top 50 (No. 48) and Kansas State, who they lost to, climbed back up to No. 100, which means that the Aggies still have two top 50 wins and now don’t have a sub-100 loss. They also added a top 100 road win on Saturday (at South Carolina), keeping them on the right side of the bubble for now. Wednesday’s game at Arkansas can be something of a clincher for the Aggies.
  • Xavier: The Musketeers add another quality win to their resume, knocking off Butler at home in impressive fashion. They’re now 17-10 overall with the kind of schizophrenic profile that makes the bubble so much fun. They have four top 25 wins and are 9-6 against the top 100 … and they’ve lost to four different sub-100 teams. As long as they beat Creighton in the season finale, Xavier should be in.
  • Stanford: The Cardinal had lost four out of five entering Saturday’s rivalry battle with Cal, and while Johnny Dawkins’ club snapped their skid, those losses put them in a bad spot. Thanks to the recent struggles of UConn and Texas, the Cardinal now have just three top 80 wins, which is the same number of sub-100 losses they have. With four games left against top 100 opponents — a visit from the Oregon schools and a trip to the Arizona schools — Stanford has work left to do to get off of the cut-line.
  • Boise State: The Rams avoided a slip-up at Nevada, but they’re still in a bad spot. They have as many top 100 wins (three) as sub-100 losses. They really need to win at SDSU next weekend to have a shot at being on the right side of the bubble heading into March.
  • Ole Miss: The Rebels did what they had to do on a quick turnaround, landing a win over Tennessee at home to keep themselves on the right side of the bubble for now. I’m not sure they’re quite as comfortable as some think, however. They have just two top 50 wins against three sub-100 losses, although their 8-5 record against the top 100 is solid enough. Their final four games: Georgia, at LSU, at Alabama, Vanderbilt.
  • Georgia: The Bulldogs certainly didn’t need losses to Auburn and South Carolina considering the strength of their profile was their computer numbers and a lack bad losses. The Bulldogs bounced back with a win at Alabama on Saturday, but there is still some work to be done. They still have to go to Ole Miss and get a visit from Kentucky, so there are opportunities to improve their resume.
  • Rhode Island: URI avoided a loss at George Mason, giving them a chance to play their way into the tournament. Their next three games: Davidson, at La Salle, at Dayton. Win two of those, and don’t lose to St. Joe’s at home, and the Rams will have a shot at climbing the ladder and getting on the right side of the cut-line.
  • Davidson: All the Wildcats did in beating Fordham was avoid a devastating loss. They’re on the outside looking in right now, meaning that their next three games — at Rhode Island and home for George Washington and VCU — will end up being what makes the difference for them.
  • Cincinnati: The Bearcats snapped a three-game losing streak by winning at Houston, which is the kind of win that is only good in that it’s not a loss. Cincy was a No. 10 seed entering the weekend.
  • N.C. State: The Wolfpack avoided a crushing loss to Virginia Tech, meaning that next week’s trip to the Dean Dome could end up being what gets them off of the cut-line.
  • Colorado State: The Rams are probably in the tournament right now, but with a schedule that has nothing but potentially awful losses remaining, they’re not safe yet. Beating Air Force gets them a step closer.


  • Dayton: The one thing that was keeping the Flyers sitting comfortably in the 8-9 game on most brackets was that they did not have any ugly losses on their profile. That changed Saturday, dropping a game at Duquesne, who checks in at No. 254 in the RPI. They’re still probably OK as of today, but losing to George Mason (No. 222) next week would put a lot of pressure on them in their final three games: at VCU, Rhode Island, at La Salle.
  • Miami: The Hurricanes whiffed on a great shot to land a marquee win at Louisville on Saturday, blowing a double-digit halftime lead and missing a would-be game-winner at the buzzer. Miami is still in the mix, meaning they’ll still end up being one of the last four or first four out of just about every bracket you see today, and that should tell you why missing on this opportunity hurts so much.
  • UCLA: You have to think that UCLA is in some trouble after failing to secure a win at Arizona on Saturday night. They’re 16-11 on the season with a win over Utah and a top 25 strength of schedule — and, arguably, a sweep of Stanford — really being the only two noteworthy pieces of their profile. They’re 6-10 against the top 100, and they only have one top 100 opponent left on the schedule. A loss in their final three games would be disastrous, and even then, they’re going to want to make a run in the Pac-12 tournament to feel at all comfortable.
  • Oklahoma State: Even after losing to West Virginia at home, the Pokes are not in trouble just yet. But they’re 17-10 overall and 7-8 in the Big 12 right now, which means that losing to either TCU or Texas Tech — their next two opponents — could put them in a tough spot.
  • St. Mary’s: The Gaels had a chance if they had beaten Gonzaga. They lost, and now they need to win the automatic bid.
  • UMass: The Minutemen had two chances this week to land the kind of quality road win that they needed to make themselves a real candidate to sneak onto the right side of the bubble. They lost both, including Saturday’s visit to No. 25 VCU.
  • Seton Hall: The Pirates lost their sixth straight on Saturday, falling at St. John’s. This is the last time that you will see Seton Hall mentioned on the bubble unless something drastic happens.

Biden celebrates LSU women’s and UConn men’s basketball teams at separate White House events


WASHINGTON – All of the past drama and sore feelings associated with Louisiana State’s invitation to the White House were seemingly forgotten or set aside Friday as President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed the championship women’s basketball team to the mansion with smiles, hugs and lavish praise all around.

The visit had once appeared in jeopardy after Jill Biden suggested that the losing Iowa team be invited, too. But none of that was mentioned as both Bidens heralded the players for their performance and the way they have helped advance women’s sports.

“Folks, we witnessed history,” the president said. “In this team, we saw hope, we saw pride and we saw purpose. It matters.”

The ceremony was halted for about 10 minutes after forward Sa’Myah Smith appeared to collapse as she and her teammates stood behind Biden. A wheelchair was brought in and coach Kim Mulkey assured the audience that Smith was fine.

LSU said in a statement that Smith felt overheated, nauseous and thought she might faint. She was evaluated by LSU and White House medical staff and was later able to rejoin the team. “She is feeling well, in good spirits, and will undergo further evaluation once back in Baton Rouge,” the LSU statement said.

Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, Biden said, more than half of all college students are women, and there are now 10 times more female athletes in college and high school. He said most sports stories are still about men, and that that needs to change.

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs and activities.

“Folks, we need to support women sports, not just during the championship run but during the entire year,” President Biden said.

After the Tigers beat Iowa for the NCAA title in April in a game the first lady attended, she caused an uproar by suggesting that the Hawkeyes also come to the White House.

LSU star Angel Reese called the idea “A JOKE” and said she would prefer to visit with former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, instead. The LSU team largely is Black, while Iowa’s top player, Caitlin Clark, is white, as are most of her teammates.

Nothing came of Jill Biden’s idea and the White House only invited the Tigers. Reese ultimately said she would not skip the White House visit. She and co-captain Emily Ward presented team jerseys bearing the number “46” to Biden and the first lady. Hugs were exchanged.

Jill Biden also lavished praise on the team, saying the players showed “what it means to be a champion.”

“In this room, I see the absolute best of the best,” she said, adding that watching them play was “pure magic.”

“Every basket was pure joy and I kept thinking about how far women’s sports have come,” the first lady added, noting that she grew up before Title IX was passed. “We’ve made so much progress and we still have so much more work to do.”

The president added that “the way in which women’s sports has come along is just incredible. It’s really neat to see, since I’ve got four granddaughters.”

After Smith was helped to a wheelchair, Mulkey told the audience the player was OK.

“As you can see, we leave our mark where we go,” Mulkey joked. “Sa’Myah is fine. She’s kind of, right now, embarrassed.”

A few members of Congress and Biden aides past and present with Louisiana roots dropped what they were doing to attend the East Room event, including White House budget director Shalanda Young. Young is in the thick of negotiations with House Republicans to reach a deal by the middle of next week to stave off what would be a globally calamitous U.S. financial default if the U.S. can no longer borrow the money it needs to pay its bills.

The president, who wore a necktie in the shade of LSU’s purple, said Young, who grew up in Baton Rouge, told him, “I’m leaving the talks to be here.” Rep. Garret Graves, one of the House GOP negotiators, also attended.

Biden closed sports Friday by changing to a blue tie and welcoming the UConn’s men’s championship team for its own celebration. The Huskies won their fifth national title by defeating San Diego State, 76-59, in April.

“Congratulations to the whole UConn nation,” he said.

Marquette’s Prosper says he will stay in draft rather than returning to school

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

MILWAUKEE — Olivier-Maxence Prosper announced he is keeping his name under NBA draft consideration rather than returning to Marquette.

The 6-foot-8 forward announced his decision.

“Thank you Marquette nation, my coaches, my teammates and support staff for embracing me from day one,” Prosper said in an Instagram post. “My time at Marquette has been incredible. With that being said, I will remain in the 2023 NBA Draft. I’m excited for what comes next. On to the next chapter…”

Prosper had announced last month he was entering the draft. He still could have returned to school and maintained his college eligibility by withdrawing from the draft by May 31. Prosper’s announcement indicates he instead is going ahead with his plans to turn pro.

Prosper averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds last season while helping Marquette go 29-7 and win the Big East’s regular-season and tournament titles. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

He played two seasons at Marquette after transferring from Clemson, where he spent one season.

Kansas’ Kevin McCullar Jr. returning for last season of eligibility

kansas mccullar
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Kevin McCullar Jr. said that he will return to Kansas for his final year of eligibility, likely rounding out a roster that could make the Jayhawks the preseason No. 1 next season.

McCullar transferred from Texas Tech to Kansas for last season, when he started 33 of 34 games and averaged 10.7 points and 7.0 rebounds. He was also among the nation’s leaders in steals, and along with being selected to the Big 12’s all-defensive team, the 6-foot-6 forward was a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.

“To be able to play in front of the best fans in the country; to play for the best coach in the nation, I truly believe we have the pieces to hang another banner in the Phog,” McCullar said in announcing his return.

Along with McCullar, the Jayhawks return starters Dajuan Harris Jr. and K.J. Adams from a team that went 28–8, won the Big 12 regular-season title and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Arkansas in the second round.

Perhaps more importantly, the Jayhawks landed Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson, widely considered the best player in the portal, to anchor a lineup that was missing a true big man. They also grabbed former five-star prospect Arterio Morris, who left Texas, and Towson’s Nick Timberlake, who emerged last season as one of the best 3-point shooters in the country.

The Jayhawks also have an elite recruiting class arriving that is headlined by five-star recruit Elmarko Jackson.

McCullar declared for the draft but, after getting feedback from scouts, decided to return. He was a redshirt senior last season, but he has another year of eligibility because part of his career was played during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a big day for Kansas basketball,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “Kevin is not only a terrific player but a terrific teammate. He fit in so well in year one and we’re excited about what he’ll do with our program from a leadership standpoint.”

Clemson leading scorer Hall withdraws from NBA draft, returns to Tigers

clemson pj hall
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson leading scorer PJ Hall is returning to college after withdrawing from the NBA draft on Thursday.

The 6-foot-10 forward took part in the NBA combine and posted his decision to put off the pros on social media.

Hall led the Tigers with 15.3 points per game this past season. He also led the Tigers with 37 blocks, along with 5.7 rebounds. Hall helped Clemson finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference while posting a program-record 14 league wins.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell said Hall gained experience from going through the NBA’s combine that will help the team next season. “I’m counting on him and others to help lead a very talented group,” he said.

Hall was named to the all-ACC third team last season as the Tigers went 23-10.

George Washington adopts new name ‘Revolutionaries’ to replace ‘Colonials’

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WASHINGTON — George Washington University’s sports teams will now be known as the Revolutionaries, the school announced.

Revolutionaries replaces Colonials, which had been GW’s name since 1926. Officials made the decision last year to drop the old name after determining it no longer unified the community.

GW said 8,000 different names were suggested and 47,000 points of feedback made during the 12-month process. Revolutionaries won out over the other final choices of Ambassadors, Blue Fog and Sentinels.

“I am very grateful for the active engagement of our community throughout the development of the new moniker,” president Mark S. Wrighton said. “This process was truly driven by our students, faculty, staff and alumni, and the result is a moniker that broadly reflects our community – and our distinguished and distinguishable GW spirit.”

George the mascot will stay and a new logo developed soon for the Revolutionaries name that takes effect for the 2023-24 school year. The university is part of the Atlantic 10 Conference.