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Bracketology: So many bubble questions

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So many bubble questions.  Where do we start?

Long waits are underway for teams like Louisville, Syracuse, Marquette, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Baylor, and Notre Dame.  So too, now, for Middle Tennessee which exited the Conference USA tournament after an overtime loss to Southern Miss in the quarterfinals.  Thus, the Blue Raiders add themselves to what was already an intriguing group of quality at-large candidates.

Depending on what happens today in the SEC and Pac-12 tourneys, in particular, we have about 12 teams in play for four spots.  That it’s the first year for the NCAA’s new Quadrant system only adds seasoning to the pot.  Will the Committee reward the overall excellence of Middle Tennessee who has multiple Quadrant 1 and Quadrant 2 wins – even if those wins aren’t power conference names?  How will the Committee handle the RPI situation of a team like Oklahoma State?  And will that same RPI effect benefit a team like Louisville?  Depending on your take, you can make legitimate cases for and/or against any of the 12.

As with the Committee, it’ll be time to dig beneath the surface of the bubble contenders during the next 48 hours. Come Sunday, our vantage point may change.  But after another short (and long) night, here’s the latest …

UPDATED: March 9, 2018

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • USC vs. Alabama | South Region
  • Louisville vs. Middle Tennessee West Region
  • SE Louisiana vs. LIU-BROOKLYN | East Region
  • Hampton vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff | South Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

SOUTH Atlanta    EAST – Boston           
Charlotte Pittsburgh
1) Virginia 1) Villanova
16) Hampton / Ark-PB 16) SE La / LIU-BROOKLYN
8) Rhode Island 8) Missouri
9) Butler 9) Florida State
San Diego San Diego
5) Florida 5) Ohio State
12) SOUTH DAKOTA ST 12) MURRAY STATE
4) West Virginia 4) Texas Tech
13) Louisiana 13) Old Dominion
Nashville Wichita
6) Miami-FL 6) Kentucky
11) USC / Alabama 11) Oklahoma
3) Cincinnati 3) Michigan State
14) UNC-GREENSBORO 14) CHARLESTON
Nashville Nashville
7) Nevada 7) Seton Hall
10) Saint Mary’s 10) Texas
2) Auburn 2) North Carolina
15) WRIGHT STATE 15) IONA
WEST – Los Angeles MIDWEST – Omaha
Wichita Pittsburgh
1) Kansas 1) Xavier
16) RADFORD 16) Harvard
8) Virginia Tech 8) Kansas State
9) Creighton 9) St. Bonaventure
Boise Boise
5) Arizona 5) Clemson
12) Louisville / Mid Tennessee 12) New Mexico State
4) GONZAGA 4) Wichita State
13) Buffalo 13) Vermont
Dallas Dallas
6) Arkansas 6) Houston
11) LOYOLA-CHICAGO 11) UCLA
3) MICHIGAN 3) Tennessee
14) Montana 14) BUCKNELL
Charlotte Detroit
7) Texas AM 7) TCU
10) Providence 10) NC State
2) Duke 2) Purdue
15) LIPSCOMB 15) UC-Davis

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

Last Four Byes (at large): Saint Mary’s, Texas, UCLA, Oklahoma

Last Four IN (at large): USC, Alabama, Louisville, Middle Tennessee

First Four OUT (at large): Syracuse, Marquette, Oklahoma State, Arizona State

Next four teams OUT (at large): Baylor, Notre Dame, Oregon, Georgia

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (9): Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, NC State, Miami-FL, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Louisville

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

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

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

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

Pac 12 (4): Arizona, UCLA, USC

American (3): Cincinnati, Wichita State, Houston

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

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s

Conference USA (2): Old Dominion, Middle Tennessee

Mountain West (1): Nevada

ONE BID LEAGUES: LOYOLA-CHI (MVC), Iona (MAAC), Louisiana (SBELT), Harvard (IVY), Montana (BSKY), WRIGHT STATE (HORIZON), SE Louisiana (SLND), UNC-GREENSBORO (STHN), UC-Davis (BWEST), Buffalo (MAC), LIPSCOMB(ASUN), MURRAY STATE (OVC), CHARLESTON (CAA), RADFORD (BSO), Hampton (MEAC), South Dakota STATE (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), BUCKNELL (PAT), LIU-BROOKLYN (NEC), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (SWAC)

Ohio State grabs five-star 2019 point guard D.J. Carton

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Ohio State landed one of the biggest commitments so far this summer on Saturday as five-star Class of 2019 point guard D.J. Carton pledged to the Buckeyes.

The 5-foot-11 Carton burst onto the national recruiting scene this spring as he went from a relative unknown into a five-star prospect. Although Carton doesn’t play on a major shoe-company circuit he impressed national scouts and college coaches with his play during the April live evaluation period with Quad Cities Elite — the same program that produced quality college players like Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ and Montana State’s Tyler Hall.

An explosive athlete who can play above the rim, Carton showed a high amount of upside during the USA Basketball U18 tryouts in June as he competed against many of the top players in his class.

Ohio State is landing a key piece at an opportune time as they now have a lead guard of the future to help build around. Carton is only the third five-star prospect to commit from the Class of 2019 so far, as he’s the No. 17 overall prospect in the Rivals national rankings. Carton joins in-state four-star wing Alonzo Gaffney in the Buckeyes’ 2019 recruiting class as Ohio State has the makings of a potential top 10 recruiting class.

With where Ohio State was last summer, with head coach Chris Holtmann taking the job in June and the roster lacking scholarship players, the Buckeyes have had a monster turnaround in the last 14 months. Ohio State now, once again, looks like a scary team when it comes to recruiting as they should be a major factor for some elite prospects.

Alabama lands four-star wing Juwan Gary

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Alabama added a quality wing to its Class of 2019 recruiting haul on Friday as four-star Juwan Gary pledged to the Crimson Tide.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Gary has been a known national prospect since his freshman season as the South Carolina native is an athletic two-way wing who thrives in the open court. Although Gary still needs to polish up his jumper, he has the potential to be an impact player in the SEC, especially if Alabama gets him going in transition.

Gary joins four-star forward Diante Smith in the Crimson Tide recruiting class in 2019 as now head coach Avery Johnson and his staff can focus more of their efforts on adding to a potentially strong class. Pulling Gary out of South Carolina — especially in light of recent NCAA tournament success from in-state programs like South Carolina and Clemson — is an impressive recruiting win for Alabama.

Former UCLA guard Billy Knight was facing child molestation charges before suicide

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Former UCLA guard Billy Knight, who took his own life earlier this week, was arrested in June for sexually abusing a nine-year old girl, according to court documents that were obtained by The Mercury News.

The alleged assaults occurred in April of 2017 and Knight was reportedly arrested in Arizona in June. He was being charged with two counts of sexual conduct with a minor, two counts of sexual abuse, and two counts of molestation of a child.

Knight posted a video to YouTube prior to his death saying that he had lived a life of “sin”.

Jalek Felton signs pro contract in Europe

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Jalek Felton’s college basketball career is over.

The former North Carolina point guard has signed a pro contract with Olimpija Lubiana, a club team in Slovenia, they announced.

“I’m happy to join a club like Petrol Olimpija,” Felton said in a statement. “This is a club with a rich tradition, where many NBA players have begun their careers. For me, this is a big step. I know that this will be a great challenge for me and I am ready to go there and work. My agent told me that Olimpija will play in various competitions and that makes me all the more pleased. Playing in such competitions with Olympia in Europe will prepare me for playing in the NBA. The city looks nice and I heard that basketball there is a religion, so this will be an interesting experience.”

Felton, the nephew of former UNC guard Ray Felton, was a five-star prospect that played in 22 games as a freshman with the Tar Heels. But he was suspended from the program in January and, in March, withdrew from school.

He averaged just 2.9 points in his one season in Chapel Hill.

Creighton lands local 2019 commit

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Omaha isn’t exactly thought of as a high school basketball hot bed, but Creighton has had success mining its hometown for talent in recent years, most notably in recent NBA draft picks Justin Patton and Khyri Thomas.

The Bluejays went back to the well Thursday by securing the commitment of Shereef Mitchell, a 6-foot guard from local Burke High School, he announced via social media.

“Being a kid from Omaha you dream of playing for Creighton and in front of the hotown fans,” Mitchell wrote. “That is something I want to do  and I don’t want to turn that opportunity down.

“I can’t wait to play in front of my family, friends and the best fans in the world!”

Burke was offered by Greg McDermott’s staff just earlier this week, adding to a list of offers that included Bradley, Loyola Chicago and South Dakota State.

Burke recently graduated from his Omaha high school, but will reclassify to 2019 after spending a season with Sunrise Christian in Wichita, Kan.

“I really feel like I will be a way better player than what I am right now after my year at Sunrise,” Mitchell told the Omaha World-Herald. “I think I could have a shot at being an impact player right away and possibly starting after a year there.”

Burke averaged 24.6 points and 3.8 assists per game as a high school senior, earning state player of the year honors in the process. He’s hoping to extend the line of Omaha products to thrive at Creighton.

“I’m a kid from Omaha, and getting an offer from Creighton is something kids dream of and it would be hard for me to pass up,” Mitchell told the World-Herald. “Seeing players like Khyri Thomas and Justin Patton, two kids from (Omaha public schools) that are in the NBA, it gives you hope that you can do the same thing.”