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Bracketology: Kentucky, Florida State pushing for No. 1 seeds

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Although this week’s No. 1 seeds remain intact, Kentucky and Florida State are pushing for slots on the top line of the bracket.  One could make the case for dropping Baylor after the Bears’ loss at West Virginia, but the seed list doesn’t always work the same as a poll.  Baylor’s resume is still quite strong, and a lone loss in Morgantown doesn’t change that – much the same as Villanova’s loss at Butler last week didn’t drop the Wildcats from the overall No. 1 seed position.  That said, resumes are still very much a recurring work in progress.

It’s no surprise that the cutline is quite fluid.  With another full slate of games tonight, the bottom of the bracket might look different if we updated it again tomorrow.  The process slows in mid-February and resumes become more complete.

As a reminder, conference champions are determined by league standings until Championship Week.  In the event of a tie in the loss column, the automatic bid for the bracket is awarded to the team with the best RPI at the time of publication.  To an extent, this helps simulate some variances that occur in the process.  For example, Illinois State and Wichita State are both unbeaten (5-0) in the Missouri Valley.  Largely due to non-conference schedule strength, Illinois State’s RPI is distinctly better than Wichita State’s this morning.  Thus, ISU earns the auto bid from the Valley (similar to what might happen in a league tournament, per se).  As a result, Wichita State joins the at-large pool for consideration.  It’s also why Florida is listed as the auto bid instead of Kentucky.

Enjoy another busy weekend of college hoops.

UPDATED: January 12, 2017

Regarding bracketing principles, 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)

  • Marquette vs. Kansas State | East Region
  • Rhode Island vs. Texas Tech South Region
  • UC-IRVINE vs. WEBER STATE | Midwest Region
  • FDU vs. DELAWARE STATE | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

EAST New York                     MIDWEST – Kansas City
Buffalo Tulsa
1) VILLANOVA 1) KANSAS
16) FDU / DELAWARE ST 16) UC-IRVINE / WEBER ST
8) USC 8) Northwestern
9) South Carolina 9) Pittsburgh
Orlando Sacramento
5) Purdue 5) Wisconsin
12) Marquette / Kansas St 12) BOISE STATE
4) Virginia 4) OREGON
13) VERMONT 13) NEW MEXICO ST
Buffalo Indianapolis
6) FLORIDA 6) CINCINNATI
11) NC-WILMINGTON 11) TCU
3) West Virginia 3) Louisville
14) GA-SOUTHERN 14) E. TENNESSEE ST
Orlando Salt Lake City
7) Maryland 7) Virginia Tech
10) Seton Hall 10) VCU
2) FLORIDA STATE 2) Creighton
15) PRINCETON 15) RIDER
WEST – San Jose SOUTH – Memphis
Sacramento Tulsa
1) UCLA 1) Baylor
16) TEXAS-SOUTHERN 16) NEW ORLEANS
8) Iowa State 8) MICHIGAN STATE
9) Indiana 9) Dayton
Milwaukee Milwaukee
5) Notre Dame 5) Arizona
12) OAKLAND 12) ILLINOIS STATE
4) Butler 4) Minnesota
13) FLA GULF CST 13) AKRON
Greenville Greenville
6) Saint Mary’s 6) Xavier
11) MID TENNESSEE ST 11) Rhode Island / Texas Tech
3) North Carolina 3) Duke
14) BELMONT 14) NC-ASHEVILLE
Salt Lake City Indianapolis
7) SMU 7) Clemson
10) Arkansas 10) Illinois
2) GONZAGA 2) KENTUCKY
15) NORTH DAKOTA ST 15) BOSTON UNIV

NOTES on the BRACKET: Villanova is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Kansas, Baylor, and UCLA

Last Four Byes (at large): Seton Hall, Arkansas, Illinois, TCU

Last Four IN (at large): Rhode Island, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Marquette

First Four OUT (at large): Miami-FL, Michigan, Wichita State, Houston

Next four teams OUT (at large): NC State, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, California

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): FLORIDA STATE, Louisville, North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh

Big 10 (8): MICHIGAN STATE, Minnesota, Purdue, Wisconsin, Maryland, Northwestern, Indiana, Illinois

Big 12 (7): KANSAS, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, TCU, Texas Tech, Kansas State

Big East (6): VILLANOVA, Creighton, Butler, Xavier, Seton Hall, Marquette

SEC (4): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas

Pac 12 (4): OREGON, UCLA, Arizona, USC

Atlantic 10 (3): VCU, Dayton, Rhode Island

American (2): CINCINNATI, SMU

West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s

Missouri Valley (1): ILLINOIS STATE

Mountain West (1): BOISE STATE

ONE BID LEAGUES: Rider (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), UT-Arlington (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), Weber State (BSKY), Oakland (HORIZON), New Orleans (SLND), East Tennessee State (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), UNC-Asheville (BSO), Delaware State (MEAC), North Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Boston University (PAT), Fairleigh-Dickinson (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

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INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.