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Bubble Banter: Is Butler in trouble after losing to Georgetown?

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As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Tuesday.

It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:

  • Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus

The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.

WINNERS

ARKANSAS (RPI: 34, KenPom: 45, NBC seed: 9): The Razorbacks landed another Quadrant 2 win on Tuesday, picking off Ole Miss on the road and solidifying a resume that already looks like it will be enough to get them into the tournament. They’ve won three in a row and six of their last eight, including a 3-6 marks against Quadrant 1 and three more Quadrant 2 wins. Their stretch run is brutal: Texas A&M, Kentucky, at Alabama, Auburn, at Missouri. Those are all Quadrant 1 games, so going 2-3 should get it done.

NEBRASKA (RPI: 54, KenPom: 52, NBC seed: Out): The Huskers are now 20-8 on the season and 11-4 in the Big Ten after beating Maryland at home on Tuesday. Here’s the problem: Maryland (61) is just Nebraska’s fourth Quadrant 2 win of the season. They don’t have a Quadrant 1 win on the year. The rest of their schedule: at Illinois (184), Indiana (109), Penn State (86). None of those are even Quadrant 2 games. The Huskers need to win out and get some work done in the Big Ten tournament.

ST. BONAVENTURE (RPI: 42, KenPom: 68, NBC seed: First four out): The Bonnies beat La Salle tonight, which they absolutely needed to do because, at this point, they cannot afford another bad loss. St. Bonaventure has now won seven in a row, but the lack of strength at the top of the Atlantic 10 means that the Bonnies have just three Quadrant 1 wins and a 6-4 mark against the top two quadrants. They’ve also lost a Quadrant 3 and Quadrant 4 game. If they win out — which includes Friday against Rhode Island (5) they’ll be dancing.

LOSERS

BUTLER (RPI: 41, KenPom: 20, NBC seed: 10): The Bulldogs took a bad loss on Tuesday night, their first bad loss of the season, when Georgetown picked them off in Hinkle Fieldhouse. Now if we’re being fair, Georgetown is a better team right now than their RPI would indicate, but the numbers don’t care about that. Butler is just 3-8 against Quadrant 1 teams and now has a Quadrant 3 loss to their name. They are still in pretty good shape, and a 2-2 finish to the season — Providence, Creighton, at St. John’s, at Seton Hall — will probably be enough to get it done. But they have to turn this around. They’ve now lost three in a row.

LSU (RPI: 85, KenPom: 66, NBC seed: Last four in): The committee proved to us that they value quality wins. The Tigers have quality wins. They are 5-5 against Quadrant 1 opponents. They’re also 14-11 on the season after losing at Alabama on Tuesday. At some point, they have to stop losing games.

Elite Class of 2020 point guard to reclassify

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Nico Mannion, a five-star point guard from Arizona, announced on Friday that he will be reclassifying into the Class of 2019.

Mannion was a top 20 player in 2020 but, according to 247 Sports, he will be ranked No. 11 in 2019. The athletic, 6-foot-3 Mannion was long-rumored to be considering a move up a class because of his age. He’ll turn 18 in March of next year, meaning that he’ll arrive on campus the same age as a typical college freshman.

Mannion cut his list to ten schools in June — Duke, Arizona, Villanova, Kansas, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Vanderbilt, Marquette and Utah — but Duke and Arizona appear to be the favorites at this point.

Mannion plays his high school ball for Pinnacle High School in Phoenix and with West Coast Elite on the Under Armour Association circuit. He played for Team USA’s youth ranks, but his mother is Italian and, in June, he was called up to the Italian men’s senior national team, scoring nine points in 29 minutes of a FIBA World Cup Qualifier.

Nebraska to lose junior big man to transfer

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Nebraska’s frontcourt depth took a blow on Thursday as junior big man Jordy Tshimanga informed the program that he will be transferring.

“Jordy called me tonight and asked for his release,” head coach Tim Miles said in a statement that was given to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “The University of Nebraska and our program wish Jordy and his family the best.”

Tshimanga averaged 4.0 points and 4.6 boards in 13 minutes this past season, and a source close to the program told NBC Sports he wasn’t expected to play much more than that this season.

Miles’ has spent the better part of the last two seasons on the hot seat, and this certainly doesn’t make his job easier, but with the talent the Cornhuskers have on their roster, they look like an NCAA tournament team already. They bring back their top four scorers, including former five-star prospect Isaac Copeland and potential first-team all-Big Ten wing James Palmer. With or without Tshimanga, Nebraska has a shot to finish top four in the Big Ten.

North Carolina, UCLA, Michigan State part of Las Vegas event

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — North Carolina, UCLA, Michigan State and Texas will play in an early season basketball tournament in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Invitational will include games at campus sites, then the final two rounds on Nov. 22-23 in Las Vegas. North Carolina takes on Texas in one semifinal, and Michigan State faces UCLA in the other.

UNC, UCLA and Michigan State are all top 20 teams in the NBC Sports preseason top 25.

The championship is Nov. 23, and the semifinal losers also play each other that day.

NCAA to study possible effects of widespread legal wagering

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA plans to study how the expansion of legalized betting could affect college athletics and member schools.

The NCAA announced Thursday it will create a working group of “subject matter experts” to assess areas such as officiating, NCAA rules, federal and state laws, and the use of integrity services. NCAA leadership has already called for federal regulation on sports betting. NCAA rules prohibit sports wagering by athletes and athletic department employees.

The Supreme Court opened the door for states to have legal wagering on sporting events when it struck down a federal ban in May. Schools in some states such as West Virginia, Mississippi and New Jersey are already exploring the possibility of collecting integrity fees in anticipation of legal sports books opening in their states.

“While we certainly respect the Supreme Court’s decision, our position on sports wagering remains,” said Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer. “With this new landscape, we must evolve and expand our long-standing efforts to protect both the integrity of competitions and the well-being of student-athletes.”

The NCAA Board of Governors has already suspended the association’s ban on holding championships in states with legalized sports betting, a policy that only affected Nevada.

“Legalized sports gambling across the country is rather new, but the NCAA and its members have committed significant resources over the years to policy, research and education around sports wagering,” said Joni Comstock, senior vice president of championships and alliances. “With student-athlete well-being as the centerpiece, we will continue to build upon these efforts to assist members as they adapt to legalized sports wagering in their states and regions.”

Arizona releases non-conference schedule

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A trip to Maui, a home date against Baylor and trips to UConn and Alabama highlight Arizona’s non-conference schedule, which the school released Thursday, this season.

Despite losing nearly the entirety of last year’s talented-but-troubled group, Sean Miller still scheduled aggressively. The first test will come the week of Thanksgiving in Hawaii at the Maui Invitational. It’s an extremely competitive field with Duke, Auburn, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Illinois, San Diego State and Xavier. The bracket for the event has yet to be released.

The Wildcats travel to Storrs to face UConn in Dan Hurley’s first season on Dec. 2, and then a week later visit Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

The marquee home game will be Saturday, Dec. 16, when Scott Drew and Baylor come to Tucson.

Here’s the full schedule:

Day Date Opponent Location

Sunday Nov. 11 Cal Poly Tucson, Ariz.

Wednesday Nov. 14 UTEP Tucson, Ariz.

Monday Nov. 19 vs. TBA Lahaina, Hawai’i

Tuesday Nov. 20 vs. TBA Lahaina, Hawai’i

Wednesday Nov. 21 vs. TBA Lahaina, Hawai’i

Wednesday Nov. 28 Texas Southern Tucson, Ariz.

Sunday Dec. 2 at UConn Hartford, Conn.

Thursday Dec. 6 Utah Valley Tucson, Ariz.

Sunday Dec. 9 at Alabama Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Saturday Dec. 15 Baylor Tucson, Ariz.

Wednesday Dec. 19 Montana Tucson, Ariz.

Saturday Dec. 22 UC Davis Tucson, Ariz.