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Bracketology: Mayhem strikes early in Louisville

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For all of its magical moments, March can be agonizingly brutal. Just ask the Louisville Cardinals, who suffered a devastating loss to Virginia Thursday night following what can only be described as an unimaginable turn of events in the game’s final seconds.  It was March at its most maddening.

And yet, the Cardinals season is far from over.  They still have a trip to NC State this weekend and the ACC tournament next week.  Can they recover?  That’s a question only the Cardinals can answer.

Elsewhere, it’s an equally big weekend for a handful of other bubble teams vying for those final coveted spots in the Field of 68.  Here’s a peek at where we stand this morning …

UPDATED: March 2, 2018

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Kansas State vs. Washington | South Region
  • Baylor vs. UCLA South Region
  • Savannah State vs. Tx-Southern | South Region
  • Nicholls vs. UC-Irvine | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION

SOUTH Atlanta    EAST – Boston                                 
Charlotte Pittsburgh
1) Virginia 1) Villanova
16) Savannah St / Tx-Southern 16) Nicholls / UC-Irvine
8) Seton Hall 8) TCU
9) Arizona State 9) Florida State
Boise San Diego
5) Ohio State 5) Kentucky
12) Baylor / UCLA 12) Louisiana
4) West Virginia 4) Texas Tech
13) Murray State 13) Vermont
Nashville Dallas
6) Rhode Island 6) Arkansas
11) Kansas St / Washington 11) USC
3) Auburn 3) Cincinnati
14) Charleston 14) Rider
Detroit Nashville
7) Miami-FL 7) Texas AM
10) Providence 10) Butler
2) Purdue 2) North Carolina
15) Northern Kentucky 15) UNC-Asheville
WEST – Los Angeles MIDWEST – Omaha
Wichita Pittsburgh
1) Kansas 1) Xavier
16) FL Gulf Coast 16) Pennsylvania
8) Creighton 8) Missouri
9) St. Bonaventure 9) NC State
San Diego Boise
5) Arizona 5) Michigan
12) Alabama 12) New Mexico St
4) Clemson 4) Gonzaga
13) Buffalo 13) South Dakota St
Dallas Wichita
6) Florida 6) Houston
11) Saint Mary’s 11) Loyola (CHI)
3) Wichita State 3) Tennessee
14) UNC-Greensboro 14) Bucknell
Detroit Charlotte
7) Virginia Tech 7) Nevada
10) Oklahoma 10) Middle Tennessee
2) Michigan State 2) Duke
15) Montana 15) Wagner

NOTES on the BRACKET: Virginia is the No. 1 overall seed – followed by Villanova, Xavier, and Kansas

Last Four Byes (at large): Providence, USC, Saint Mary’s, Alabama

Last Four IN (at large): Kansas State, Washington, Baylor, UCLA

First Four OUT (at large): Texas, Louisville, Syracuse, Marquette

Next four teams OUT (at large): Mississippi State, Nebraska, Utah, Boise State

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (8): Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Miami-FL, Virginia Tech, Florida State, NC State

SEC (8): Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Florida, Texas AM, Missouri, Alabama

BIG 12 (7): Kansas, West Virginia, Texas Tech, TCU, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor

Big East (6): Villanova, Xavier, Creighton, Seton Hall, Butler, Providence

Pac 12 (5): Arizona, Arizona State, USC, Washington, UCLA

Big 10 (4): Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan

American (3): Cincinnati, Wichita State, Houston

Atlantic 10 (2): Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s

Mountain West (1): Nevada

ONE BID LEAGUES: Loyola-Chicago (MVC), Rider (MAAC), Middle Tennessee (C-USA), Louisiana (SBELT), Pennsylvania (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Northern Kentucky (HORIZON), Nicholls (SLND), UNC-Greensboro (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Buffalo (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Murray State (OVC), Charleston (CAA), UNC-Asheville (BSO), Savannah State (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Wagner (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)

Bracketing principles: read them for yourself at http://www.ncaa.com.

Former LSU coach Johnny Jones hired by Texas Southern

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Johnny Jones is in charge of a college basketball program once again.

The former North Texas and LSU head coach will be the next head coach at Texas Southern, replacing Mike Davis, who left to take over at Detroit.

“I’m really excited about it,” Jones told Fox 26 in Houston. “This is a terrific opportunity with a great university in a great city.”

Jones went 90-72 in five seasons in Baton Rouge, but finished his final year, the 2016-17 season, with just a 10-21 record. He’s best-known for failing to get to the NCAA tournament with a team that featured Ben Simmons.

Coach K: ‘I have no plans to retire’

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Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, the greatest college basketball coach this side of John Wooden, said on Monday that he has given on thought to the idea of when he will call it quits.

“I have no plans to retire,” Krzyzewski said on the College Hoops Today Podcast. “I feel better than I have in a long time. I feel healthier than I have in a long time. There’s no end in sight.”

The question of whether or not Coach K will be around all that much longer has been something that has lingered over the sport given the numerous health issues that he has dealt with in recent years. He’s undergone surgery six times in the last two years and, at 71 years old, is at an age where most everyone is hoping to retire while working one of the most strenuous and time-consuming jobs imaginable.

Put another way, no one would blame Krzyzewski if he wanted to hang it up.

But instead, he is arguably at the top of his game. He’s churned out elite recruiting classes in each of the last four seasons, he’s won two National Titles in the last eight seasons and he has three of the nation’s top five prospects enrolling for the 2018-19 season.

He’s not slowing down.

So why would he thinking about leaving the game?

VIDEO: Mixtape for Duke commit R.J. Barrett, potential 2019 No. 1 pick

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Last week, after the NBA draft officially concluded, we posted a mock draft for the lottery in 2019.

At the top of that list was R.J. Barrett, a Duke-commit and Canadian-native that has NBA scouts wowed and intrigued. This mixtape should give you a good feel for why.

Trae Jefferson to transfer out of Texas Southern

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Texas Southern guard and NCAA tournament darling Trae Jefferson announced on Saturday that he’s leaving the school.

The 5-foot-7 Jefferson was sensational at times during his sophomore season with the Tigers as he put up 23.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, helping lead Texas Southern to a victory in the 2018 NCAA Tournament’s First Four in Dayton over North Carolina Central. One of the most entertaining talents in college basketball, Jefferson is leaving Texas Southern in-part because former head coach Mike Davis took the job at Detroit this offseason.

While Detroit is going to be the favorite to land Jefferson, because of his connection to Davis, it’ll be interesting to see what his transfer market looks like. Jefferson also made it clear on his Twitter page that he would like to be closer to his hometown of Milwaukee so that he can be closer to his ailing grandfather.

Given NCAA transfer rules, Jefferson would likely have to sit out next season before getting two more years of eligibility. But he could be applying for a waiver if he’s trying to be closer to home to deal with his family situation.

Nevada’s Josh Hall transfers to Missouri State

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Nevada lost a talented player from last season’s team as rising junior Josh Hall opted to transfer to Missouri State on Friday night.

The 6-foot-7 Hall is a former top-150 recruit who played a key part in the Wolf Pack’s postseason run as he elevated his play to average 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Hall also made the game-winning bucket to lift Nevada past No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second round.

Although Hall picked up his play late in the year, he was coming off the bench most of his sophomore campaign as he averaged 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season.

Since Nevada took in some talented transfers, while players like Jordan Caroline and the Martin twins opted not to turn pro, it left head coach Eric Musselman with too many scholarship players for the 2018-19 season. It looks like some of those issues are now going away as Hall is leaving for Missouri State and graduate transfer guard Ehab Amin opted to decommit from the school.

Nevada is expected to be a preseason top-10 team next season with all of the talent they have returning to the roster, along with the addition of some new pieces like McDonald’s All-American big man Jordan Brown.

Hall will likely have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules as he still has two years of eligibility remaining.