BUBBLE BANTER: A loaded Saturday slate could determine a few bids

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This post will be updated throughout the day. 

A week ago, No. 25 Wichita State (KenPom: 11, RPI: 43) was going to be one of the most interesting seeding discussions on Selection Sunday.

But after the second straight Saturday that the Shockers have taken a loss to a league opponent with a sub-100 RPI, Wichita State is no longer a discussion about seeding.

We now have to ask whether or not this group can actually get a bid to the NCAA tournament without earning the automatic bid in the Missouri Valley. They have just one top 90 win (Utah) and two sub-100 losses; by Sunday morning, it will likely be just one, as Northern Iowa should sneak into the top 100 after beating the Shockers in Wichita.

As we all know, Wichita State was on the receiving end of some bad injury luck, losing Fred VanVleet to a hamstring injury during the Advocare Invitational, when the Shockers lost to USC, Alabama and Iowa. But even with VanVleet, Wichita State has not done enough to unequivocally prove themselves as a tournament team.

Another loss would give them three bad losses in the eyes of the selection committee. My advice? Don’t give them a chance to leave you out of the dance.


  • Wisconsin (KenPom: 47, RPI: 54): The Badgers picked up a massive, massive, massive win on Saturday, going into Maryland and knocking off the Terps. Suddenly, the Badgers are one of the most intriguing bubble teams. They have four top 50 wins — including Michigan State and at Maryland — and a 7-6 record against the top 100. But they also have three ugly losses, including a loss to Western Illinois that is one of the worst losses a bubble team has ever suffered. The Badgers are probably on the right side of the cut line as of today, and as long as they keep winning — they’ve won seven in a row, mind you — Greg Gard will be headed to the NCAA tournament in his first year.
  • Texas Tech (KenPom: 57, RPI: 41): The Red Raiders are doing everything they can to prove that they deserve to be in the bubble conversation. After beating Iowa State during the week, Tubby Smith’s club went into Waco and beat the Bears by 18 points. Here’s the deal: Tech still has to play Oklahoma, at Kansas and at West Virginia. Win one of those three games, sweep the other three games on their schedule and get to .500 in the league and I think they have a real shot.
  • LSU (KenPom: 59, RPI: 74): The Tigers got one step closer to locking up an at-large bid on Saturday, as they kept pace with Kentucky atop the SEC with a win over No. 15 Texas A&M. The Tigers are 9-3 overall and have looked like a tournament team since they got Keith Hornsby healthy and Craig Victor eligible. Throw in the fact that their bad losses all came without those two (and, frankly, are not as bad as we thought they would be) and I think that the Tigers, at this point, have done enough to get in as long as they win the games they’re supposed to win.
  • Michigan (KenPom: 48, RPI: 60): The Wolverines picked up a huge win, knocking off Purdue on a day that they got Caris LeVert back. It was their third top 100 win of the season, but the good news for Michigan? It was also their third top 25 win of the season. Michigan also doesn’t have a loss outside the top 50. Four of their last five games come against top 100 competition. Go 3-2 down the stretch and they should be able to enter the Big Ten tournament feeling pretty comfortable.
  • Cal (KenPom: 33, RPI: 29): The Golden Bears picked up their fifth top 50 win and 10th top 100 win beating Oregon State on Saturday night. The only concern on their profile at this point is their struggles away from home given that four of Cal’s last six are on the road.
  • Alabama (KenPom: 84, RPI: 38): Is it time for us to start paying more attention to Alabama? The Crimson Tide won their fourth straight game on Saturday, knocking off Florida. It was their second top 25 win of the week — they beat Texas A&M in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday — and this won came on the road. They’re 5-5 against the top 50 and 6-8 against the top 100 with just one sub-100 loss.
  • Stanford (KenPom: 122, RPI: 82): The Cardinal somehow found a way to keep their name in the hunt for an at-large bid, snapping a four-game losing streak with a win over Oregon at home. Stanford how four top 50 wins, but they’re just 4-10 against the top 50. The good news? Their worse loss is on the road against a top 75 opponent and they have five more games against top 100 foes. Will this be the start of a winning streak or a weird blip in a disappointing season?
  • UConn (KenPom: 22, RPI: 46): UConn is trending for the cut-line, which is what made Saturday’s win over Tulsa so important. The margins are slim when you’re on the bubble, and every top 50 win is valuable.
  • Colorado (KenPom: 61, RPI: 30): The Buffaloes landed another top 100 win on Saturday, beating Washington. They’re 7-7 against the top 100 with three top 35 wins and no bad losses to their name. The Pac-12 is tough, so it’s possible that the Buffaloes could lose all five of their remaining games. Even then, I’m not sure they’d be all that far out of the bubble picture. Going 2-3 in that stretch should be enough.
  • Vanderbilt (KenPom: 34, RPI: 59): Vandy made light work of Auburn on Saturday. Their bid will be earned the last two weeks of the season, when they play at Florida, Kentucky and at Texas A&M.
  • St. Bonaventure (KenPom: 66, RPI: 34): The Bonnies are slowly but surely climbing their way into bubble contention. They have a great RPI, but their win over George Washington was just their fourth top 100 win of the year.
  • Clemson (KenPom: 58, RPI: 88): The Tigers picked up a win over Georgia Tech on Saturday, their seventh top 100 win. The Tigers still have a lot of work to do, however, as they have three bad losses on their profile and one of the 15 worst non-conference schedules in college basketball.
  • Saint Joseph’s (KenPom: 37, RPI: 28): The Hawks beat La Salle, but with GW losing against tonight, there’s a chance that St. Joe’s only top 50 win drops out of the top 50. They play Dayton this week. Winning that game could alleviate a lot of stress in Hagan Arena.
  • Creighton (KenPom: 42, RPI: 84): The Bluejays landed a nice road win at Marquette on Saturday, but with an ugly non-conference schedule and just one top 50 win, Creighton still has a lot of work to do. They close at Providence and at Xavier. They might need them both.
  • Cincinnati (KenPom: 30, RPI: 63): The Bearcats avoided a landmine loss to East Carolina. Next week will be critical for them, as they visit Tulsa and host UConn.
  • VCU (KenPom: 41, RPI: 53): Like Cincy, the Rams avoided an awful loss to Saint Louis, keeping them smack in the middle of the bubble conversation.
  • Saint Mary’s (KenPom: 39, RPI: 72): The Gaels beat Loyola Marymount today, but I still don’t think they have a chance to get a bid on Selection Sunday.


  • South Carolina (KenPom: 43, RPI: 21): The good news for South Carolina? The RPI, which is the DNA of the selection process, does not factor in margin of victory. So that 27-point loss they took to Kentucky at home on Saturday afternoon? It looks the same as a one point loss in the formula. But with a gaudy record that lacks quality wins, getting embarrassed on national television at home is not a good way to make an impression.
  • Butler (KenPom: 35, RPI: 58): In and of itself, losing to Xavier at home is not a bad loss for Butler. What hurts is the opportunity cost: That was their best chance on landing another elite win for their résumé. With just one top 50 win to their name and only one top 50 opponent left (at Villanova), the Bulldogs are going to have some issues at the top of their profile on Selection Sunday.
  • Gonzaga (KenPom: 31, RPI: 64): The Zags lost at SMU on Saturday. As I wrote here, that’s a devastating loss for their tournament hopes.
  • George Washington (KenPom: 88, RPI: 44): The Colonials lost their second straight game on Saturday, falling at St. Bonaventure in another game between Atlantic 10 bubble teams. The Colonials are in a troubling spot at this point. There are no more potential top 50 wins left on their schedule — at the moment, Davidson and VCU are both just outside the top 50 — and they are anything but a lock for the dance right now.
  • Tulsa (KenPom: 50, RPI: 48): Tulsa lost to UConn on the road on Saturday, a loss that doesn’t hurt all that much in and of itself — it was a top 50 road game, after all — but is a killer because it was the last chance for the Golden Hurricane pick up a top 50 win this season. If Frank Haith’s club was in a better position entering the day it wouldn’t be as much of an issue, but they still have work left to do.
  • Florida (KenPom: 28, RPI: 24): Florida looked like they were in a pretty good spot to earn an at-large bid after beating West Virginia two weeks ago, but they’ve gone 2-2 since then and now sit with just a 2-7 record against the top 50. Their RPI is great and their non-conference strength of schedule is second nationally. They’re not exactly in trouble yet, but landing at least one more good win (at South Carolina, Kentucky) would be quite helpful.
  • Oregon State (KenPom: 73, RPI: 31): There’s no shame in losing at Cal, especially now that Cal has Tyrone Wallace back. The Beavers have six top 50 wins and eight top 100 wins. They’re still in a good spot.
  • Washington (KenPom: 77, RPI: 61): Losing to Colorado on Saturday hurt not because a road loss to a top 30 team is a bad thing, but because they had a real shot to win that game without Colorado State Josh Scott on the floor. They’re likely headed directly for the bubble.
  • Marquette (KenPom: 104, RPI: 95): Marquette, who lost at home to Creighton, might need to win out at this point. Their non-conference schedule does them no favors.
  • Georgetown (KenPom: 60, RPI: 78): The Hoyas lost to Providence on Saturday. At this point, we can basically write off Georgetown from the bubble conversation.
  • Valparaiso (KenPom: 22, RPI: 49): I think Valpo is one of the top 40 teams in college basketball. But with three losses to sub-150 opponents, the only way they’ll have a chance to prove it in the NCAA tournament will be by winning the Horizon’s automatic bid.
  • Kansas State (KenPom: 49, RPI: 52): The Wildcats had a shot at an at-large bid simply they had some good wins left on their schedule and no bad losses on their résumé. They lost to Oklahoma State today. That’s a bad loss.


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

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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.