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Bubble Banter: St. John’s lands critical win at No. 10 Marquette

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February is here!

And now that we are nearly halfway through conference play, it is time for us to get fully invested in the “who’s-in-who’s-out” discussion. Bubble Banter has never been more important!

Some quick housekeeping before we dive into it:

  • This page will be updated throughout the night. 
  • We’ll update them best that we can, but the NET rankings will be accurate through Tuesday morning. 
  • If you see something we missed, if you have an issue with a team we left out or if you want to congratulate us on a job well done, drop a comment below or hit us up here: @RobDauster.
  • On Monday, our Dave Ommen released an updated bracket. It is the only bracket you need to be up to date on. 

Onto Tuesday’s action.


ST. JOHN’S (NET: 45, SOS: 65): The Johnnies won at No. 10 Marquette on Tuesday night in an absolute thriller as Shamorie Ponds outdueled Markus Howard (again) in what was the best possible win St. John’s could land the rest of the season.

Marquette is a top 20 team in NET. St. John’s entered the week as one of the teams that right on the cutline. Our Dave Ommen had St. John’s as the last team in the field to avoid a play-in game. That’s not a comfortable place to be, not when your non-conference SOS is 193 and when you have a pair of Q3 home losses on your resume. This win, however, is massive. The Johnnies are now 4-4 in Q1 games with a sweep of Marquette. They have now won four true road games against Q1 and Q2 competition, and their neutral court win over fellow bubble-dweller VCU looks good right now.

But the most important part of this win is that the Big East is not the Big 12, or the ACC, or the SEC. The Johnnies have just one more shot at another Q1 win during the regular season, and that comes against Villanova in Madison Square Garden. Lose that, and they are likely heading into the Big East tournament with those four wins — and that’s assuming that VCU stays in the top 50 of NET.

This gives them some breathing room, and that’s something they desperately needed.

AUBURN (NET: 21, SOS: 34): The Tigers are in pretty good position right now despite the fact that they don’t have a ton of great wins. They are just 1-5 against Q1 opponents but their worst loss is a Q2 road loss against South Carolina and they do have six Q2 wins. The best news is probably that they have five more chances to land Q1 wins.

ARKANSAS (NET: 57, SOS: 36): The Razorbacks have won three in a row and, after their win at LSU on Saturday, they have put themselves in a position to have a shot at the tournament. The win at LSU is their only Q1 win in six tries and they only have a pair of Q2 wins to go along with two Q3 losses, but with the way the bubble is shaping up, the Razorbacks are in first eight out territory.


N.C. STATE (NET: 34, SOS: 261): The good news for N.C. State is that they cracked 25 points on Tuesday night. The bad news is that they gave up 113 to North Carolina. The Wolfpack are in a bad spot right now. They have now lost three straight games and four of their last five. The only win during that stretch came in a game where Clemson gave the game away in the final 20 seconds by missing four straight free throws. Their four ACC wins came against Miami, Pitt, Notre Dame and Clemson. They are 16-7 on the season, but they are just 1-6 against Q1 opponents, and the one win came against an Auburn team that only has a single Q1 win.

The Wolfpack are still in a pretty good spot, but with a non-conference SOS that is currently sitting at 352nd out of 353 teams and a Q3 loss at Wake Forest, I would not feel comfortable if I was Kevin Keatts. They need to snap out of this funk, and fast.

SYRACUSE (NET: 42, SOS: 33): The Orange are such a weird team. They get whipped up a lot more than good basketball teams should. Tuesday, it was an 18 point beatdown at home against Florida State. There was the 22 point loss to Virginia Tech. Oregon and UConn worked them over. Old Dominion and Georgia Tech did the same. They’ve played just two Q1 league games and have just a 2-2 record in Q1 games overall and a 5-5 mark against Q1 and Q2.

Yet, they also have what might end up being the single best win in college basketball this season, when they went into Cameron Indoor Stadium and beat Duke. That will cover up a lot of warts.

FLORIDA (NET: 40, SOS: 57): Entering the week, Florida was our first team out, and losing at Auburn certainly isn’t going to help them out. The Gators are now sitting at 12-10 on the season, and while they look pretty good in the metrics, there isn’t a lot here. They have just one Q1 win (at Arkansas) and they have a Q3 home loss to South Carolina. If there is a saving grace, eight of their ten losses are Q1 losses, but they have to find a way to start winning some games.

It doesn’t get any easier, either. Florida playing at Tennessee on Saturday and still has to play at Alabama, LSU twice and at Kentucky.

Nike ‘working to identify issue’ that caused Zion Williamson’s shoe to blow out

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Nike released a statement on Thursday saying that they are “working to identify the issue” that caused the left shoe of Duke star Zion Williamson to burst open, leading to the 285 pound freshman to slip and injure his right knee.

“We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery,” Nike said in a statement obtained by ESPN. “The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.”

The injury was termed a “mild knee sprain” by Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski after the game.

“The knee is stable,” he added. “We don’t know how long he’ll be out.”

Nike stock dropped 1% the morning after the incident.

No. 1 Duke lost 88-72 to No. 8 North Carolina at home on Wednesday evening after the injury, which occurred just 30 seconds into the game.

Dan Patrick Show: Should Zion Williamson end Duke career after knee injury?

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Duke’s Zion Williamson faces a tough decision following a scary knee injury against North Carolina: try and return for March Madness or rest up for the NBA.

DAUSTER | Zion should do whatever makes him happy

Dan Patrick Show: Nike stock drops after Zion shoe incident

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After Zion Williamson blew out his shoe, Nike stock dropped a full one percent the morning after.

Bracketology: The Zion Williamson factor for Duke

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The pertinent question this morning is the health of Zion Williamson.  Foremost, because he’s an exceptional talent and life is bigger than basketball.

The secondary component is how his injury impacts Duke – both on the court and, subsequently, the Blue Devils’ standing on the Seed List.

If last night were the eve of Selection Sunday, the Committee would be forced to make a tough decision: evaluating Duke while Zion’s future availability is unknown.

Since a decision related to today’s bracket had to be made quickly in the wee hours of the morning with little information, Duke stays put, largely because the Blue Devils own a season sweep of Virginia, and two of its losses occurred with less than a full roster.

Once we know more about Zion’s status, further review will ensue.

BRACKET UPDATE: February 21, 2019

SOUTH REGION Temple vs. Alabama

EAST Washington, DC   SOUTH – Louisville                   
Columbia Columbus
1) DUKE 1) Virginia
8) Ole Miss 8) Auburn
9) Ohio State 9) WOFFORD
Jacksonville Salt Lake City
5) Iowa State 5) Maryland
12) BELMONT 12) Temple / Alabama
4) LSU 4) Texas Tech
Hartford Hartford
6) Louisville 6) Villanova
11) Florida 11) VCU
3) MARQUETTE 3) Purdue
Des Moines Columbus
7) BUFFALO 7) Cincinnati
10) Texas 10) TCU
2) Michigan 2) Kentucky
WEST – Anaheim MIDWEST – Kansas City
Salt Lake City Columbia
8) Baylor 8) St. John’s
9) Minnesota 9) Syracuse
San Jose San Jose
5) Florida State 5) KANSAS STATE
12) NEW MEXICO ST 12) UCF / Utah State
4) NEVADA 4) Wisconsin
Tulsa Tulsa
6) Virginia Tech 6) Iowa
11) Seton Hall 11) Arizona State
3) Kansas 3) HOUSTON
Des Moines Jacksonville
7) WASHINGTON 7) Mississippi State
10) NC State 10) Oklahoma
2) MICHIGAN STATE 2) North Carolina

Last 4 Byes Last 4 IN      First 4 OUT Next 4 OUT
TCU Temple Clemson Nebraska
Seton Hall UCF Georgetown UNC-Greensboro
Arizona State Utah State Butler Lipscomb
Florida Alabama Furman Dayton

TOP SEED LINE: Duke is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Virginia, Tennessee, and Gonzaga

Breakdown by Conference …

ACC (8): DUKE, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida State, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, NC State

Big 10 (8): MICHIGAN STATE, Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin, Maryland, Iowa, Ohio State, Minnesota

BIG 12 (8): KANSAS STATE, Kansas, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, TCU

SEC (8): TENNESSEE, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn, Florida, Alabama

Big East (4): VILLANOVA, Marquette, St. John’s, Seton Hall

American (4): HOUSTON, Cincinnati, Temple, UCF

Pac 12 (2): WASHINGTON, Arizona State

Mountain West (2): NEVADA, Utah State

Southern (1): WOFFORD

Atlantic 10 (1): VCU

Mid American (1): BUFFALO

West Coast (1): GONZAGA

ONE BID LEAGUES: Loyola-Chicago (MVC), Canisius (MAAC), Old Dominion (C-USA), Texas State (SBELT), Yale (IVY), Montana (BSKY), Northern Kentucky (HORIZON), Sam Houston (SLND), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Liberty (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), Hofstra (CAA), Radford (BSO), Norfolk State (MEAC), South Dakota State (SUM), New Mexico State (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Lehigh (PAT), St. Francis (PA) (NEC), Prairie View (SWAC)

Report: Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim hits, kills pedestrian on highway


Jim Boeheim struck and killed a pedestrian walking outside of his car on I-690 on Wednesday night, just hours after his Syracuse Orange beat No. 18 Louisville at the Carrier Dome.

The man — identified as 51-year old Jorge Jimenez of Syracuse — was in a car with four other people that lost control on the highway, struck a guard rail and came to rest in the middle of the road, according to police. At some point, he got out of the car and was walking along the highway, which is when Boeheim hit him as he tried to avoid the disabled vehicle, which was in the road.

“I am heartbroked that a member of our community died as a result of last night’s accident,” Boeheim said in a statement released on Thursday afternoon. “Juli and I extend our deepest sympathies to the Jimenez family. Out of respect for those involved, I will not be providing further comment at this time.”

The incident occurred at 11:22 p.m. ET.

Boeheim remained at the scene and is cooperating with the investigation. He was given a field sobriety test at the scene and police determined that he was not impaired at the time. Speeds could not be determined, according to police, but Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick told WSYR that Boeheim was driving at the proper speed for a highway.

“We are saddened by the death of a member of our Central New York community,” Syracuse AD Jim Wildhack said. “On behalf of Chancellor Kent Syverud and the entire Syracuse University community, we extend our deepest condolences to all impacted by this tragic accident. Coach Boeheim is in contact with local authorities and cooperating fully. Out of respect for those grieving, there will be no further comment at this time.”