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Tennessee survives scare from No. 15-seed Colgate

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Tennessee survived a scare from No. 15 seed Colgate as the Volunteers claimed a 77-70 win on Friday afternoon in a South Region NCAA tournament first-round game in Columbus.

The Volunteers led by 12 at the half and by as many as 14 points in the second half before Colgate responded with a furious push to take a 52-50 lead with under 12 minutes left. But Tennessee responded with scoring from a variety of sources to regain the advantage and close out the game.

Admiral Schofield (19 points) buried back-to-back three-pointers when it was a one-possession game to put this game out of reach for Tennessee. Jordan Bone (16 points), Jordan Bowden (14 points) and Lamonte Turner (13 points) also finished in double-figures while All-American Grant Williams (nine points, eight rebounds) had a quiet game.

Playing most of Friday without leading scorer and Patriot League Player of the Year Rapolas Ivanauskas (vision issues; 0 points, 0-for-4 shooting), Colgate (24-11) gave Tennessee a legitimate scare during its first NCAA tournament appearance in 23 years. Conference tournament title-game hero Jordan Burns had another great day shooting from the perimeter as he finished with 32 points on 8-for-13 three-point shooting.

Colgate was 15-for-29 from distance as a team on Friday as treys kept them in the game. Junior forward Will Rayman (10 points) and freshman guard Tucker Richardson (10 points) also finished in double-figures for the Raiders.

Tennessee advances to face No. 10 seed Iowa on Sunday in a second-round matchup in Columbus. The Vols will need to play much better in order to get past Iowa as the Hawkeyes used hot second-half shooting to get past No. 7 seed Cincinnati.

Williams had an off-day and wasn’t putting up his normal production, but it’s a positive sign for Tennessee that its guards all stepped up to contribute double-figures.

NCAA Tournament 2019: Instant Analysis South Region

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The South Region is led by some top seeds who were bounced early in the NCAA tournament last season as Virginia and Tennessee look to redeem themselves after strong seasons.

The South Region is led by No. 1 seed Virginia. Following last season’s stunning loss to No. 16 seed UMBC in the first round, the Cavaliers will get a chance to redeem themselves against No. 16 seed Gardner-Webb, the champions of the Big South.

The No. 8/9 matchup is a matchup between SEC and Big 12 as Ole Miss and Oklahoma battle. The Rebels were one of the most pleasant surprises of any team in the field this season while Oklahoma has won some games down the stretch to earn another bid.

Wisconsin draws the No. 5 seed as the Ethan Happ-led Badgers get a major test in No. 12 seed and Pac-12 Tournament champion Oregon. Although the Ducks struggled during the regular season — particularly after the loss of star freshman Bol Bol — they’re a dangerous team with two recent wins over Washington.

ANALYSIS: East | South | West | Midwest

The No. 4 seed is Kansas State as they are still hoping to get senior forward Dean Wade (foot) healthy enough to play in the NCAA tournament after he missed all of last season’s Elite Eight run for the Wildcats. They’ll face No. 13 seed UC Irvine, the champions of the Big West.

Defending champion Villanova drew no favors from the committee with the No. 6 seed. There hasn’t been a No. 6 seed in the Final Four since 1992 as the Wildcats will have an uphill battle to make the Final Four for the third time in four years. They draw No. 11 seed Saint Mary’s as the Gaels gained a lot of momentum in winning the WCC title over No. 1 seed Gonzaga.

Earning a surprising share of the Big Ten regular-season title this season, Purdue draws the No. 3 seed as they get a tough first-round opponent in No. 14 seed Old Dominion.

The committee also didn’t help No. 7 seed Cincinnati as the Bearcats had an impressive showing in an AAC title-game win over Houston on Sunday. The Bearcats will face No. 10 seed Iowa in a clash of styles and tempo.

After falling short in the SEC tournament title game, No. 2 seed Tennessee gets a matchup with No. 15 seed Colgate — a program making its first NCAA tournament appearance in 23 years. Although the Raiders feature the Patriot League Player of the Year in forward Rapolas Ivanauskas, they’ll face one of the best frontcourts in the tournament with the Vols’ veteran combo of Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield.

Wednesday’s Things to Know: N.C. State ends Clemson’s NCAA hopes; Colgate makes NCAAs for first time in 23 years

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Wednesday was a slower night for Championship Week as only one autobid was decided and a lot of conference tournaments getting into key matchups beginning on Thursday. But the bubble still had some important movement while the night’s only autobid has a fun story to follow for the next week. 

N.C. State stuns Clemson with wild ACC tournament comeback

Two bubble teams collided in the ACC tournament second round on Wednesday afternoon as N.C. State rallied to knock out Clemson. Trailing by 16 at the half, the Wolfpack stormed back to win as the Tigers went over 10 minutes without a field goal in the second half. Markell Johnson hit two free throws with 2.6 seconds left to give N.C. State the win on what some considered a controversial late foul call.

But N.C. State’s comeback is secondary to the impact this game has on the bubble.

With both of these teams clinging for their at-large lives, the Wolfpack extended their season while Clemson is likely going to be left out of the Field of 68. The win for N.C. State is also nice, but they might still have work to do when they get a crack at No. 1 Virginia on Thursday.

CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on both of these teams in the latest edition of Bubble Banter.

Colgate makes first NCAA tournament appearance in 23 years

Wednesday night’s only autobid went to the Patriot League as Colgate outlasted Bucknell to earn its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1996.

Sophomore guard Jordan Burns erupted for a career-high 35 points during a night in which the Raiders’ best player, Rapolas Ivanauskas, was battling foul trouble. Ivanauskas, the Patriot League Player of the Year, finished with 14 points and eight rebounds while junior Will Rayman finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.

While Colgate isn’t projected to be any sort of major threat as a likely No. 15 seed, they have a fun story as a program with minimal success since the mid-’90s. Learn more about the Raiders with our in-depth look here.

TCU, St. John’s survive the bubble (for at least another day)

The only other bubble teams to play outside of the Clemson/N.C. State matchup on Wednesday was TCU in the Big 12 tournament and St. John’s in the Big East tournament.

Holding off Oklahoma State to advance, the Horned Frogs avoided a potentially disastrous loss as Kouat Noi tallied a team-high 20 points in the victory. TCU advances to face No. 1 seed Kansas State in the Big 12 quarterfinals on Thursday, as the Wildcats will likely be without senior forward Dean Wade (foot).

St. John’s finally got the best of DePaul with a win in Madison Square Garden after the Blue Demons swept the regular-season series. Shamorie Ponds, Mustapha Heron and Justin Simon all had 18 points each to pace the Red Storm as Simon also deserves credit for slowing down DePaul star Max Strus (14 points, 4-for-12 shooting). St. John’s could gain more at-large credibility tomorrow with a matchup against Marquette in the Big East quarterfinals.

CBT’s Rob Dauster examines more on St. John’s and TCU’s bubble cases in Bubble Banter.

Introducing Cinderella: Colgate makes NCAA tournament for first time in 23 years

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Colgate is heading to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 23 years after defeating Bucknell for a 94-80 home win. The program’s first NCAA trip since back-to-back appearances in 1995 and 1996, the Raiders will enter the NCAA tournament riding an impressive 11-game winning streak.

On Wednesday night, sophomore Jordan Burns was the hero for Colgate as he finished with a career-high 35 points on a blistering 6-for-9 performance from three-point range. With Patriot League Player of the Year Rapolas Ivanauskas (14 points, eight rebounds) battling foul trouble, Burns and junior forward Will Rayman (18 points, seven rebounds) stepped up to put the game away after Bucknell made an early second-half run.

CONFERENCE: Patriot League

COACH: Matt Langel

RECORD: 24-10, 13-5 in the Patriot League

RATINGS:

  • KENPOM: 133
  • NET: 135

PROJECTED SEED: Colgate projects as a No. 15 seed in our latest NBC Sports bracket. Although the Raiders are riding a recent winning streak, they don’t have great metrics nor any notable wins.

NAMES YOU NEED TO KNOW: Patriot League Player of the Year Rapolas Ivanauskas (16.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg) is a double-double threat who can also extend the floor with 43 percent three-point shooting. The former Northwestern transfer has been a revelation at Colgate as the junior is finally healthy after two years of shoulder issues. Sophomore Jordan Burns (15.1 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.2 rpg) is another notable threat at lead guard while junior forward Will Rayman (13.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.5 apg) is the team’s third double-figure scorer.

BIG WINS, BAD LOSSES: Going 0-4 against Q1 and Q2 teams this season, Colgate’s two best wins of the season are home wins over Bucknell. The Raiders lost to Syracuse, Penn State, USF and Pitt — all by double-digits. With three Q4 losses to Boston (228), Loyola-Maryland (280) and Navy (281) the Raiders are also susceptible to some duds against bad teams.

STATS YOU NEED TO KNOW: One of the hotter teams entering the 2019 NCAA tournament, Colgate has won 11 straight games. Three-point shooting will be the key for the Raiders to stay with a top seed as they’re a very good 38.6 percent as a team on the season (19th in the nation). Defensively, Colgate is No. 203 in KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency, so the Raiders will almost assuredly need a hot-shooting night to win in the tournament.

HOW DO I KNOW YOU?: Colgate doesn’t have a lot of men’s basketball notoriety but the program did produce NBA veteran big man Adonal Foyle — as he helped the Raiders to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in 1995 and ’96. U.S. Congressman Antonio Delgado (New York’s 19th congressional district) is also a men’s basketball alum of Colgate who played from 1995 through 1999.

FINAL THOUGHT: This is what Championship Week and March Madness is all about. Even though Colgate is likely to get bounced in the opening round, seeing the Raiders make their first NCAA tournament appearance in 23 years is a really fun storyline. And with Ivanauskas, Burns and Rayman all retaining eligibility after this season, this could be a nice building-block for Colgate heading into what could be another great year next season.

VIDEO: Colgate’s Austin Tillotson hits half-court game-winner

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With just one ranked team playing, Sunday’s schedule paled in comparison to what we were treated to Saturday. However, Loyola (MD) and Colgate combined to put forth one of the more thrilling finishes in college basketball this season.

Needing an extra five minutes to determine a winner, Colgate guard Austin Tillotson capped his “Senior Day” with a half-court shot as time expired to give the Raiders a 93-90 overtime win. Tillotson’s shot came just 2.9 seconds after Loyola’s Andre Walker tied the game at 90 with a three-pointer of his own.

Walker initially dribbled past the three-point line before circling back to release the shot that could have forced a second overtime. Tillotson had other ideas however, and his shot keeps Colgate (9-7 Patriot League; tied for 4th) in the running to host a game in next month’s Patriot League tournament.

Video courtesy of Campus Insiders

Patriot League Preview: Can anyone catch Lehigh?

Lehigh forward Tim Kempton, AP Photo
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Beginning in October and running up through November 13th, the first day of the regular season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2015-2016 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

Today, we are previewing the Patriot League.

The Patriot League is a conference with many familiar faces in 2015-16, which should make for a competitive race, one that could involve a handful of teams.

Lehigh should be pegged as the preseason favorite. The Mountain Hawks bring back four starters, none bigger than Tim Kempton, the 6-foot-10 junior who took home Patriot League Player of the Year honors last season. Kempton is joined by Kahron Ross, a playmaking point guard who led the league in assists, and Austin Price, the team’s second leading scorer from a season ago. Justin Goldsborough adds some support on the frontline, but the Lehigh back court took a hit this fall with Brandon Alston tore his ACL.

After seven seasons and a pair of NCAA tournament appearances, Dave Paulsen left Bucknell for George Mason. Nathan Davis, a former Bucknell assistant, steps into a good situation with four starters back from a team that won the regular season title in 2014-15. Chris Hass is one of the more gifted scorers in the league and anchors the perimeter, which includes Ryan Frazier and Stephen Brown. Nana Foulland, a 6-foot-9 forward who started every game last season, could be in for a monster sophomore campaign.

Boston University and Army both have their entire starting fives back from a season ago. The Black Knights didn’t have the season in envisioned, but the duo of Kyle Wilson, who has led the league in scoring at 17.5 points per game, and forward Tanner Plomb, who scored in double figures in all but three league games, can skyrocket them up the Patriot League standings. The Terriers have two double-digit scorers of their own in Cedric Hankerson and Eric Fanning. BU’s supporting cast should be more comfortable in their roles this season. Hankerson, who is recovering from an ACL tear, could be back in December, Joe Jones told ESPN.

Jesse Reed will attempt to lead American to another Patriot League Tournament title game (winning in 2014, losing in 2015), but he’ll have to do so without Pee-Wee Gardner. The Eagles could benefit from transfers Paris Maragkos and Leon Tolksdorf. Lafayette, the reigning champion, will likely take a step back, but guards Nick Lindner and Bryce Scott could keep things interesting in league play.

MORE: 2015-16 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

COACH’S TAKE

  • Favorite: “I would say Lehigh. Anytime you bring back the player of the year, it’ll obviously give you an advantage. Having him (Tim Kempton) along with the rookie of the year, Kahron Ross, I think those two are one of the best tandems in the league.”
  • Sleeper: “Colgate. With some of the guys they had sitting out, I’d probably say them. They’re going to be so different compared to what they had last season. With so many new faces those guys will come in and provide meaningful stuff for them right away.”
  • Star to watch: “To me, it’ll be Kyle Wilson. In our league, he’s one of the most talented scorers. He can score in so many different ways.”

PRESEASON PATRIOT LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Tim Kempton, Lehigh

The reigning Patriot League Player of the Year returns following a sophomore campaign averaging 15.3 points and a league-high 8.7 boards per game. Not many can handle the 6-foot-10 big man on the block. Adding to the mismatch, Kempton can also do damage with his mid-range game. Kempton and point guard Kahron Ross make for a lethal one-two punch in the Patriot League.

THE REST OF THE PRESEASON PATRIOT LEAGUE TEAM:

  • Chris Hass, Bucknell: Ten times Hass went for 20 or more. Six happened in league play. Two more happened in back-to-back games: 21 against Michigan and 32 vs. Villanova.
  • Nick Lindner, Lafayette: The Patriot League Tournament MVP averaged 12.5 points, 5.2 assists per game.
  • Jesse Reed, American: The Eagles may be relying on new pieces this season, but they will expect the same offensive production from Reed, who averaged double figures in each of the last two seasons. The 6-foot-5 guard was a marathon man for American in 2014-15, never coming off the floor in 16 games.
  • Kyle Wilson, Army: The 6-foot-4 senior led the league in scoring the past two seasons.

ONE TWITTER FEED TO FOLLOW: @PL_MBB

PREDICTED FINISH

1. Lehigh
2. Bucknell
3. Boston University
4. Army
5. American
6. Lafayette
7. Colgate
8. Holy Cross
9. Loyola (Md.)
10. Navy