Could NCAA committee follow Playoff’s lead?

Bracket selection group discusses publicizing early look at tournament seeds.

      
 

 

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The original NCAA Tournament round names are back

Luckily, according to an NCAA announcement on Monday, these annual weeks of confusion will be over.

      
 

 

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NCAA Basketball Coaches on the Hot Seat at the Start of the 2014-15 Season

Every season, we see the fins circling various coaches around college basketball. The firing-squad sharks smell blood in the water, and several boats look very leaky.

Proud programs starved for recent success don’t like to make decisions rashly, but the eight coaches listed here have all had nearly a full roster cycle—three or more seasons—to show some progress.

Whether they’ve failed to pull a school out of its doldrums or slipped back into the muck after a brief period of success, none are considered locks to reach this year’s NCAA tournament, and therefore aren’t locks to be coaching in the same place next season.

These coaches’ teams will be interesting to watch this year—if only to watch the ax fall in slow motion.

 

Coaches are listed alphabetically.

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Preseason NCAA tourney bracket

What the field would look like if the 68 teams were selected in November.

      
 

 

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Top Storylines for 2014-15 NCAA Basketball Season

College basketball’s opening day has become a happening on par with Major League Baseball’s, if not the NFL’s. By the time you read this, games may already be tipping off. Texas Southern and Eastern Washington get us started at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, in case you’re curious.

Still, it’ll take a few weeks for the big picture to crystallize. We have countless questions, but no true answers just yet.

These 10 queries are major talking points for the 2014-15 season, but they’re merely the tip of the iceberg. Feel free to supply your own, as opening day is the perfect time to debate the future while simultaneously enjoying the present.

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The 2014-15 NCAA Basketball Season by the Numbers

Over the past several daysnay, months—leading up to the start of the 2014-15 college basketball season, we’ve given you (great) predictions on things like Top 25 teams, All-Americans and best players at each position.

But we know what you really want is a bunch of stone-cold numbers.

From the number of McDonald’s All-Americans on Kentucky’s roster to the ridiculous number of players who have transferred in the past month, here are more than 30 figures to ponder as the season gets underway. Ken Pomeroy sent out a “reminder” about the current number of unbeaten teams:

221: Days since Connecticut defeated Kentucky in the 2014 national championship game. It must be nice to cover sports with offseasons that last about 68.5 days rather than 68.5 percent of the year, but we’re back, baby!

154: Games played on the first day of the season. Good luck finding that kind of opening-day gorge in any other sport.

16: Teams that changed conferences this summer. Most notably among them are Louisville to the ACC, Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten and Tulsa, Tulane and East Carolina to the AAC. It’s a lot to keep track of, but it’s better than the 50 realignments from last summer, and there are currently no moves scheduled for summer 2015.

14: Actual number of teams in the Big Ten. This is also true for the Atlantic 10. Meanwhile, the Big 12 only has 10 teams. Conference realignment is a pain, but could we at least try to make sure numbered conferences have the proper number of teams?

47: Head coaches in their first year with their current program. The coaching carousel is sort of the same thing as conference realignment, so it makes sense to group them together.

70: Birthday that San Diego State’s Steve Fisher will celebrate between the first two weekends of the 2015 NCAA tournament. Probably a safe bet that the Aztecs will be one of those teams with a new head coach next year.

700: Approximate number of transfers since the start of the 2013-14 season. Thus concludes our figures on moving to and fro, but 700 sure are a lot of transfers. A ridiculous number of them are tied to one school. According to that list compiled by ESPN Insider Jeff Goodman, Central Arkansas had three players transfer into the program and 11 transfer away.

141.3: Points scored per game during the 2013-14 season, according to StatSheet.com. That’s a 5.2 percent increase from 2012-13 and the highest average since 2001-02. However…

38.3: Fouls called per game during the 2013-14 season. That’s also the highest average since the 2001-02 season and represents an 8.3 percent increase from the previous year. Scoring was up and pace of play increased ever so marginally to 134.3 possessions per game (up from 132.7 in 2012-13), but at what cost?

45.6: Points per game lost by Connecticut this offseason. Actually, it’s a little bit more than that, but we’re just summing up the scoring of Shabazz Napier (18.0), DeAndre Daniels (13.1), Niels Giffey (8.4) and Lasan Kromah (6.1). That’s an awful lot of production to replace, but many still believe Connecticut can repeat as champions.

43.3: Points per game lost by Syracuse this offseason. But if Connecticut is still in good standing, why is the entire world down on Syracuse? Prior to the tournament, Syracuse was undeniably a better team than Connecticut, and the Orange lost less production than the Huskies. Syracuse is also adding a better freshman class than Connecticut, per 247Sports. Curious logic.

4.7: Points per game lost by Texas this offseason. Connecticut was the No. 7 seed that won the 2014 tournament, but Texas is the No. 7 seed from this past March that looks downright terrifying. The only player the Longhorns lost was Martez Walker, and they added Myles Turner and Jordan Barnett. Look out, Kansas.

87: Minutes Florida’s Chris Walker played last season while dealing with eligibility issues. He’ll miss the first two games of this season, but we’re expecting him to be a monster for the next 30-plus games.

40 (Part one): Years since the last Ivy League school was ranked in the AP preseason poll. Harvard just barely sneaked in, tied for 25th place with Utah, but who cares about the margin? The Crimson will be looking to shake up some brackets for a third consecutive season.

40 (Part two): Wins Kentucky fans are less vocally but more realistically hoping for this year.

13: AP Voters who don’t think Kentucky is the No. 1 team in the country. One voterJohn McNamaraapparently really hates Kentucky and had the audacity to rank the Wildcats No. 7 in his poll. I trust Big Blue Nation has already flooded his mailbox, email and Twitter feed with a litany of glowing remarks.

35: Bogus enrollments allegedly given to North Carolina basketball players during 2004-05 championship season. We still haven’t found out how the NCAA plans to deal with this, but it won’t be pretty.

180: Days since Houston transfer TaShawn Thomas committed to Oklahoma. The transfer committee still has not announced whether he will be eligible to play this season. By the way, the season just started. At this rate, it’ll be 2019 before the NCAA rules on the UNC scandal.

984: Wins in Mike Krzyzewski’s career. At some point this seasonprobably in late Januaryhe will become the first men’s basketball coach to reach 1,000 Division I wins.

1,200,000: Dollars Emmanuel Mudiay will reportedly earn for spending this year in China. That doesn’t even include the undisclosed amount of money he made in his multiyear deal with Under Armour. Not a bad plan B for a freshman with fears of being ruled ineligible to play this year at SMU.

 

Time to count it down!

10: Freshmen (including Mudiay) projected as first-round draft picks this June by Draft Express. There’s no telling how many of those players will actually declare for the NBA after their first season, but there’s certainly no shortage of talented freshmen, as usual.

9: McDonald’s All-Americans on Kentucky’s current roster. I mean, come on. There are only seven schools in the country that signed more McDonald’s All-Americans from 2000-2013 than are currently playing for the Wildcats, according to StatSheet.com.

8: Combined appearances in the Elite Eight for Florida and Kentucky in the past five seasons. Both SEC powerhouses have been to four of the past five Elite Eights, while not a single other school has even appeared in three. Those two schools have been to more Elite Eights since 2010 than any other entire conference.

7: Seed of Connecticut when it won the national championship last season. It was the lowest seed to win the title since 1985, and it was just the second time in tournament history a No. 7 seed made it to the Final Fourthe other being Virginia in 1984.

6: Games against D-I opponents in which UC Santa Barbara’s Alan Williams recorded at least 20 points and 15 rebounds. While playing considerably fewer minutes per game, the man puts up the type of numbers that are making NBA fans helplessly drool over Anthony Davis right now. College Basketball Talk highlighted Williams in a recent Twitter post:

5: “Mid-major” programs ranked in the preseason AP Top 25. At some point, though, we need to convene a council to officially determine when we can stop referring to Gonzaga, Harvard, San Diego State, VCU and Wichita State as mid-majors. Maybe Harvard needs another year or two, but those other four schools have been quite good for some time.

4: ACC teams ranked in the Top Nine of the AP Top 25. The last time a conference was that well-represented up top was in 2008-09 when the Big East had Connecticut, Louisville, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh ranked up there.

Three of those four teams earned a No. 1 seed in the 2009 NCAA tournament. Notre Dame missed the tournament altogether. And not a single one of them is affiliated with the Big East anymore.

3: Teams to repeat as national champions in the past 50 years: Florida (2006-07), Duke (1991-92) and UCLA (1964-65 and 1967-1973). Florida returned all seven of its leading scorers, while Duke brought back virtually everyone except for Billy McCaffrey. Best of luck, UConn.

2: Inches that Sam Dekker grew this summer. You can argue whether he and Frank Kaminsky are the most talented pair of teammates in the country, but you can’t argue that they make up the tallest three-point shooting duo.

1: Big East teams (Villanova) who received more than five votes in the AP poll. How the mighty have fallen.

0: Players from NBCSports.com’s 2013-14 All-Americans who return this season. We would argue that they overlooked Marcus Paige and Fred VanVleet, but the fact remains that this year’s Wooden Award finalists will end up being players who weren’t even really considered for the honor last season.

 

Kerry Miller covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @kerrancejames.

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NCAA Announces Final Four Sites for 2017-21

It’s never too early to start planning for that trip to the Final Four. On Friday, the NCAA announced the list of hosts for each Final Four from 2017-2021.

In order, they are Phoenix, San Antonio, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Indianapolis, per CBS Sports:

This is big news for the city of Phoenix, which will host the Final Four for the first time ever in 2017. It’s also the furthest west the organizers have gone since a trip to the Kingdome in Seattle for the 1995 Final Four.

Minneapolis also better get ready, considering the city’s hosting a Super Bowl in 2018, per the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

The Minnesota Golden Gophers gave an artist’s rendering of what the new Vikings Stadium will look like inside when outfitted for the Final Four:

St. Louis was one of the biggest losers following the announcement:

The Edward Jones Dome has housed some regional finals over the last few years, but the last time it held a Final Four was in 2004-05, when North Carolina beat Illinois in the national championship.

Some were also surprised to see New Orleans left off the list. CBSSports.com’s Matt Norlander lamented the fact that the Final Four will not have traveled to “The Big Easy” for at least a decade:

The Superdome’s housed the Final Four on five different occasions, but the NCAA tournament organizers are broadening their horizons and focusing on newer venues.

The Final Four is one of the biggest sporting events of the year, and until the NCAA decides to hold it in multiple cities, some fans were bound to be disappointed.

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Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall under NCAA probe

The investigation stems from alleged violations during Tyndall’s tenure at Southern Miss.

      
 

 

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NCAA probe clouds start of Tyndall’s season (Yahoo Sports)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall wants to focus on building his new team.

View full post on Yahoo Sports – NCAA Men’s Hoops News

No. 22 SMU trying again under Brown for NCAA bid (Yahoo Sports)

FILE - In this file photo made Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, SMU guard Nic Moore (11) smiles as head coach Larry Brown listens to the referee during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Cincinnati in Dallas. For all the strides SMU has made in two seasons under Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown, the Mustangs' two-decades-plus NCAA tournament drought is still intact. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

DALLAS (AP) — SMU coach Larry Brown and his players were surrounded last March by fans waiting to hear the Mustangs called for a spot in the NCAA tournament.


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