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COLLEGE BASKETBALL BOLD PREDICTIONS: What craziness should you expect this season?

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College basketball starts tomorrow. 

Preview season is now officially over.

And that can only mean one thing: IT’S TIME FOR SOME BOLD PREDICTIONS.

We’re not guaranteeing that these things will happen, and we certainly don’t expect all of these predictions to hit.

But with a little bit of logic, a little bit of deductive reasoning and a little bit of gambler’s luck, we think that all of these predictions have a real chance of proving true.

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A player or coach will be arrested at a team facility or game this year.

The FBI’s investigation into corruption isn’t slowing time. It’s probably safe to assume it’s sprawling as they gather more evidence and potentially get more cooperation. That means more people will come under scrutiny or be sought out for information. The federal government knows this is high-profile, and it knows it can generate headlines – and strike fear into potential targets – if it tracks down a person or people of interest in a high-profile situation. Plus, it’s a spot where the feds will know exactly where a person will be. All they have to do is look at a schedule. – Travis Hines

The SEC gets two teams in the Final Four.

I’ll roll the dice on this league and take Kentucky and Florida to carry the conference banner in San Antonio. Right now I’ll lean towards Kentucky and Florida due to their track record over the last decade or so, but Texas A&M making a run wouldn’t be a surprise either. In order to do that they need J.J. Caldwell to be ready to run the show; point guard play was a major issue for the Aggies last season. Alabama and Auburn are wild cards right now due to off-court issues (and the injury of Braxton Key for Bama), but maybe a team like Vanderbilt or Arkansas can make some noise as well. – Raphielle Johnson

Miami will win the ACC.

I’ve been all-in on Miami all offseason long. I love their trio of athletic guards – Ja’Quan Newton, Bruce Brown and Lonnie Walker – and I fully expect big man Dewan Huell to take a step forward and get himself into the all-ACC conversation. Throw in a head coach in Jim Larrañaga, who has proved that he can lead veteran teams with dynamic back court players to titles, and you’re looking at the nation’s single-most underrated team.

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Mike Daum will be an All-American despite playing at South Dakota State.

Daum’s numbers were already ridiculous last season as a redshirt sophomore. This season, Daum gets more national showcase games with road contests at Kansas, Ole Miss, Wichita State and Colorado. If Daum puts up eye-popping numbers against those teams after the year he had last season, don’t be surprised to hear his name in the All-American mix. – Scott Phillips

The Kansas Big 12 title run ends.

Kansas is the best and most talented team in the Big 12, but the Jayhawks’ roster construction is going to be difficult to manage and they’re going to be replacing an all-program player in Frank Mason. Given that West Virginia, TCU and Texas all look like potential threats for that top spot, plus the fact that the middle of the league (and to a lesser extent the bottom) will be as strong as any year, there are enough obstacles in the way – and enough teams of taking advantage of any missteps – that Bill Self’s 13-year run of owning the Big 12 comes to an end. – TH

And the Villanova Big East title run ends.

The Wildcats certainly have the talent on their roster this season to make a run at a fifth-straight Big East title, but there is quite a bit more quality in the conference than there has been in past seasons. Xavier has arguably the best player in the conference in Trevon Bluiett, and there is enough talent – and coaching – on that roster to unseat Villanova. Seton Hall has a potential first-team all-american in the middle in Angel Delgado, and the amount of veterans that they have playing this season is precisely the kind of ‘old’ college teams aspire to be. And Providence? Well, if you listened to the Big East preview podcast, you’d know that there is a real chance the Friars can make a run at winning the league as well. I don’t know who is going to get it done, but it’s going to get done. – RD

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Minnesota reaches the Elite Eight. At least.

Hey, you said be bold so I’ll get my Canelo Alvarez on and “be bolder” with this one. The loss of Eric Curry to a knee injury hurts, especially if Reggie Lynch continues to struggle with foul trouble. But if he can clean that up Richard Pitino has a team capable of making a run in the Big Ten and nationally. And the opportunity to watch a perimeter that includes Nate Mason, Amir Coffey, Dupree McBrayer and Isaiah Washington…I’m in. – RJ

Miles Bridges does not win national Player of the Year.

I wouldn’t say the preseason choices have been “group think,” but the race for that award may be more competitive than many seem to think. Michael Porter Jr., Marvin Bagley III, Jalen Brunson and Angel Delgado are four of the guys I would not be shocked to see winning POY honors. But given there are so many of those awards given out, saying that someone other than Bridges will take home at least one trophy may not be that bold after all. – RJ

The Pac-12 have less than four NCAA tournament teams.

The league will be a major disappointment this season. The league isn’t very deep and the top teams are facing FBI investigations and issues with Chinese police. With so much uncertainty on and off the court, it could be a chaotic year on the West Coast. – SP

Michigan State will make it until at least February without suffering a loss

I love this Michigan State team. They’re experienced, talented and very well-rounded. They’re going to do awesome things this year. There are two potential potholes in their non-conference slate, but one is on a neutral floor against a team with quite a few new pieces (Duke) and the other will be at the friendly confines of the Breslin Center (Notre Dame).The toughest conference games before the end of January are two against Maryland and a home tilts against Wisconsin and Michigan. Get through all that, and we’re talking about the potential of an undefeated national champion in the year’s second month. – TH

Ivy League calls off fall sports due to outbreak

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The Ivy League on Wednesday became the first Division I conference to say it will not play sports this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press. The league left open the possibility of moving some seasons to the spring if the outbreak is better controlled by then.

The decision was described to the AP by a person speaking on the condition of anonymity in advance of the official announcement.

Although the coalition of eight academically elite schools does not grant athletic scholarships or compete for an NCAA football championship, the move could have ripple effects throughout the big business of college sports. Football players in the Power Five conferences have already begun workouts for a season that starts on Aug. 29, even as their schools weigh whether to open their campuses to students or continue classes remotely.

The Ivy decision affects not just football but everything before Jan. 1, including soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cross country, as well as the nonconference portion of the basketball season.

Power Five conferences told The Associated Press on Wednesday that they were still considering their options. But it was the Ivy League’s March 10 decision to scuttle its postseason basketball tournament that preceded a cascade of cancellations that eventually enveloped all major college and professional sports.

“What’s happening in other conferences is clearly a reflection of what’s happening nationally and any decisions are made within that context,” said Dr. Chris Kratochvil, the chair of the Big Ten’s infectious disease task force, adding that there is no “hard deadline” for a decision.

“Clearly, regardless of what happens in the fall, sports are coming back eventually,” he said. “So we want to make sure that whenever that time (is) right to return to competition, that we have the infrastructure and the recommendations in place to be able to do so safely for the student-athletes, staff, coaches, fans, students.”

Ivy League schools are spread across seven Northeastern states that, as of mid-July, have seen some success at controlling the COVID-19 outbreak. But most of those states still ban large gatherings; under the Massachusetts reopening plan, Harvard would not be allowed to have fans in the stands until a vaccine is developed.

Harvard has already announced that all classes for both semesters will be held virtually; dorms will be open only to freshmen and seniors. Yale said it would limit its dorms to 60% capacity and said most classes would be conducted remotely. Princeton will also do most of its teaching online, with dorms at half capacity.

Coaches 4 Change: Siena’s Carmen Maciariello spearheads social justice initiative

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Carmen Maciariello found himself in the same place so many of us did in the days after George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis.

Devastated by what he was seeing. Motivated to find a way to use his platform as the head coach at Siena College to enact change. Struggling with how, as he puts it, “a white head coach from privilege at a school in New York,” can have real, honest, open dialogue with his majority-Black roster.

So he picked up the phone. He called Louis Orr, his former college coach and now an assistant coach at Georgetown. He called his closest friends in the coaching business. He called his advisor, Brad Konerman, an entrepreneur who connected him with a couple of talented website designers. By early June, 25 like-minded people from all walks of life were on a zoom call.

“I’ve never been pulled over and feared for my life for not using my blinker,” Maciariello, who is white, told me. “We had those conversations. How are we talking to our teams about that? What are we doing with the police? How can we help our young people navigate through these tough times?”

That’s how Coaches 4 Change was born.

Maciariello has grand plans for the organization. On a zoom call with nearly all of the 43 coaches that have committed to the group to date, he said he wants “to try to change the world. Let’s not think small, we’ve gotta think big with this.” He is not lacking for ambition.

But Maciariello also understands that something like this has to start small and it has to start locally. It’s why he limited the first group of invitees to coaches that are “doing this for the right reasons.”

“I didn’t want to have a donate link and bring in coaches that felt like, ‘I donated money, I did my part supporting it,” he said. “It was about the time commitment and the vision. We have to focus on one thing first.”

That first thing?

Voting.

C4C developed a sleek, interactive website to help educate young people about social injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement, things as basic as the difference between systemic and systematic racism and Jackie Robinson’s impact on sports. But the site also provides users with all of the information necessary to vote in this year’s elections, information on what makes voting so important in a democracy and — most importantly — a tutorial for how a person in every state can register to vote, where their polling stations are and whether or not they are eligible for mail-in voting. Their website also has a ‘Keep Learning‘ page that links to all documentaries, podcasts, audiobooks and literary resources available on all streaming platforms, including content for children.

C4C has partnered with Vote.org with a goal of “100 percent voter registration for all college athletes” regardless of the sport they play, Maciariello said.

Currently, the only coaches involved with C4C are men’s college basketball coaches, but that will change. They are in the process of reaching out to counterparts on the women’s side, and will eventually invite staff members from other sports as well. One of the barriers to entry to become a member will be ensuring that every player on a coach’s team is registered to vote.

Eventually, Maciariello envisions C4C developing community outreach initiatives. He wants the members of C4C to connect with their campus communities and put together voter registration drives for students. He wants to eventually connect with lawmakers and work on changing legislation that helps systemic racism continue to exist.

No one ever said he wasn’t ambitious.

But he knows he has to start somewhere, and that somewhere is this platform.

“I want to engage people in issues,” he said. “Educate them, empower them to change, encourage them to grow and evolve.”

CBT Podcast: Pat Chambers, moving the season up, Running Back Buddy Hield’s 46 points at Kansas

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In the latest edition of the Run It Back podcast, Rob Dauster and Bobby Reagan recap Buddy Hield’s memorable 46-point outburst in a three-overtime loss to Kansas in Phog Allen Fieldhouse in a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 1 back in 2016. The game was unbelievable. Before they dive into the game itself, the boys talk through Pat Chambers’ noose comments to Rasir Bolton and the potential for the college basketball season to get moved up.

Michael Jordan, Roy Williams among UNC greats to condemn systemic racism

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Roy Williams and Michael Jordan joined numerous North Carolina luminaries in condemning systemic racism and voicing support for the Black Lives Matter movement in a video that was released by the school on Monday.

“Systematic racism has to stop now,” Jordan said in the video. “We must take the time to listen and educate our family, our friends, our children on social injustice and racial inequality. Black Lives Matter more now than ever before. We have to get this right, so please take time to educate yourself and improve the lives of many people, many Black people. Thank you.”

James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Tyler Hansbrough, Luke Maye and Sean May were among the former players that appeared in the video.

Williams led by discussing Charlie Scott, who was the first Black scholarship athlete in UNC’s history.

“Some of the greatest to play our game have been Black players, but here we are more than 50 years later and our country is still fighting systemic racism and police brutality against Black men and women,” Williams said. “The North Carolina basketball program, our family, our current and former players believe Black lives matter, and it’s critically important that we don’t just believe it. We must stand together and loudly and clearly demand that we as a country and the world embrace the fundamental human right that Black lives matter.”

Former Penn State guard Rasir Bolton left program after coach Pat Chambers made noose comment

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Former Penn State point guard Rasir Bolton has accused of Pat Chambers of making racially insensitive remarks, including a reference to a noose.

According to Bolton, who tweeted about the incident on Monday morning, midway through his freshman season in 2018-19 with the Nittany Lions, Chambers made a reference to a “noose” about Bolton’s neck.  Bolton described the encounter in an interview with the Undefeated, and said that the phrase was a result of Chambers talking about easing the pressure on his freshman’s shoulders. “I want to loosen the noose that’s around your neck,” Bolton recalled.

Bolton also alleged that after his parents went to the Athletic Director with their concerns about this statement, Chambers told him during an exit interview that he was impressed by how “well-spoken” and “organized” his parents are. Remarks like this are considered racially-insensitive because they are based on the underlying assumption that Black people are not expected to be either organized or articulate.

Chambers, to his credit, admitted his wrong in making the noose comment.

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“I’ve realized the pain my words and ignorance caused Rasir Bolton and his family and I apologize to Rasir and the Bolton family for what I said,” Chambers’ statement read. “I failed to comprehend the experiences of others, and the reference I make was hurtful, insensitive and unacceptable I cannot apologize enough for what I said, and I will carry that forever.”

Bolton left Penn State after his freshman season and transferred to Iowa State. He was given immediately eligibility with the Cyclones after mentioning the noose comment when applying for a waiver. He averaged 14.7 points this past season with Iowa State. He also alleged that after he came to the Penn State athletic department with this claim, they offered him a meeting with a sports psychologist who told him how to “deal with Coach Chambers’ personality type.”