Michael Reaves/Getty Images

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

Leave a comment

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.

WINNERS

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.

LOSERS

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.

Ivy League calls off fall sports due to outbreak

Getty Images
2 Comments

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

Coaches 4 Change
Leave a comment

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

pat chambers rasir bolton noose
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

Mock Draft | Preseason Top 25

“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.”