Quick NCAA tourney update

The men's elite 8 games games are underway tonight - let's dive in

The 1-seed Kansas Jayhawks held strong against a late comeback by the 5-seed Clemson Tigers to secure their spot in the elite 8. Fellow 1-seed Villanova took care of business against 5-seed West Virginia. It appears that March is not completely mad.

11-seed Syracuse played tough, but finally fell in a close one to Duke (2-seed), so their "Cinderella story" comes to a close. 3-seed Texas Tech handled 2-seed Purdue in a slight upset. The stage is now set for the elite 8, which begins tonight.

Saturday (that's today, people!)

We will see some pretty low seeds that managed to survive go head-to-head this evening. The 11-seed Loyola Ramblers will be taking on 9-seed Kansas State, to see who gets to continue their surprising run all the way to the final four. That one tips of at 5:09 PM (CST).

9-seed Flordia State University is striving to execute yet another upset, this time against 3-seed Michigan, whose championship odds have steadily been increasing. That one will follow the Loyola vs. K-State game at 7:49 PM (CST).

The women's sweet 16 finishes up today, with South Carolina already knocking off 11-seed Buffalo to end their improbable run. UConn is at halftime vs. Duke on ESPN, already having doubled Duke's score.

Keep it locked to The Basketball Movement for more on the tournaments and all basketball action.

Sweet 16 success for MVC's Loyola Ramblers

The first games of the sweet 16 have ended and the rest are on deck tonight. We have some surprising teams in the mix.

Many from Southwest Missouri, or really anywhere associated with the Missouri Valley Conference likely have some bracket similarities. Over the past few years they may have had Wichita State winning a game or two more than they should. Wichita (not a state) is not in the conference anymore, however.

There is a new sheriff in town. After winning the MVC title, the Loyola Ramblers headed into the tourney as an 11-seed. Now, they just keep winning. The Ramblers are elite 8-bound, and are surely surprised to see 9-seed K-State as their opponent instead of Virginia, Arizona, or even Kentucky.

A few spots down on the bracket, 9-seed Florida State has clawed their way into the elite 8 as well, with arguably one of the tougher schedules to get there. They have gone through Missouri, one-seed Xavier, and now Gonzaga, who was coming off a trip to the final. They will meet 3-seed Michigan. The left side of the bracket has been WILD.

Tonight's matchups

Who knows what will happen, really. The tournament is crazy each year; hence the name "March madness". The East and Midwest quadrants of the bracket have been comparatively more predictable thus far.

1-seeds are still alive over here with Villanova (who will play 5-seed West Virginia) and Kansas (who plays 5-seed Clemson). That means there are likely a few brackets out there that may be ugly, but still have a chance to be decent.

Texas Tech (3-seed) will face Purdue (2-seed) tonight. Both teams have looked sharp. The biggest surprise on this side of things has been 11-seed Syracuse, owners of back-to-bck upsets after making the tourney via play-in game. They have another tall task ahead, facing 2-seed Duke.

NCAA women's tourney

The first wave of sweet 16 games starts this evening on the ladies' side of things. 1-seed Mississippi State faces off with 4-seed NC State. 1-seed Louisville is set to play 4-seed Stanford. All 1-seeds are still accounted for to this point, so the madness has not quite affected the women as it has the men.

Oregon State (6-seed) faces Baylor (2-seed), who has dominated their competition so far. The other matchup tonight should be a good one with UCLA (3-seed) and Texas (2-seed) set to play in Kansas City. Our next look at UConn will wait until tomorrow, when they face Duke.

For more NCAAM and NCAAW basketball, check back tomorrow on The Basketball Movement for more updates and previews as the tournaments move forward.

 

Madness - The insanity continues in a memorable March

The men's NCAA tournament is off to an even more wild start than could have been predicted.

March Madness is in full swing, with as mad a March as there has been in recent memory. The Missouri Valley champions - the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers just keep rambling along with another pulse-pounding upset. Two days after Dante Ingram's buzzer-beating three to drop Miami, Clayton Custer rattled home a game-winning bucket with 3.6 on the clock to drop 3-seed Tennessee.

The Ramblers, now in the sweet 16, are a fantastic "Cinderella story". There are a lot of those stories underway this year, but somehow Loyola's upsets now seem mild in comparison with the biggest in history.

Introducing UMBC, which is not a bank or a TV station

For the first time in the era of the modern bracket, a 16-seed has defeated a 1-seed. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County stunned the nation Friday night with their win over the number one team, Virginia. They will now face 9-seed Kansas Sate, which promises to be a very entertaining game.

After knocking off Arizona, 13-seed Buffalo fell to Kentucky, taking a little hope away from some of these lower-seeded teams to continue their winning ways. 13-seed Marshall upset 4-seed Wichita State, and will now face 5-seed West Virginia.

Syracuse has been a surprise, but now faces a 3-seed Michigan State team that many believe has what it takes to go all the way. The Mizzou boys and girls teams both experienced early outs. The Sunday games are already underway and will likely to continue to yield some wild results.

On the ladies' side of things, 11-seed Buffalo had a nice upset just like there men's team, defeating the 6-seed South Florida team. Another 11-seed, CMU dropped 6-seed LSU. For the most part, things are falling into place as expected, at least in comparison to the men's bracket.

UConn dropped a whopping 140 points on 16-seed St. Francis (PA) in their first game, setting records for scoring in a period (55) and half (94). Not bad for a game with no overtime. UConn is looking for its 12th title - 5 coming in the last six years.

Keep it locked to The Basketball Movement for more tournament details.

Madness - Day one is in the books

March madness is officially underway with upsets, dominant displays, and a game-winning shot.

The Missouri Valley Conference may only have one representative in the tournament, but they kicked off the March madness in epic fashion. The 11-seed Loyola-Chicago Ramblers upset 6-seed Miami with a game-winning deep three at the buzzer by Donte Ingram. They will have another tough contest ahead, facing 3-seed Tennessee tomorrow in Dallas.

The other big upset of the day did not come by way of buzzer-beater. The 13-seed Buffalo Bulls thoroughly outplayed 4-seed Arizona for their entire game. Not a good look for potential top NBA pick Deandre Ayton of Arizona. The only other upset of the day was minor, with 9-seed Alabama defeating 8-seed Virginia Tech. Everyone else took care of business.

Looking ahead

Things kick off on the women's side of thing with a chance to see 1-seed Louisville in action at 11:00AM (CT). Another familiar team in the tourney, Baylor kicks their tournament off at 6:00PM (CT).

For the men, former Missouri Valley Conference team, Wichita State kicks things off as a 4-seed against Marshall this afternoon. Mizzou (8-seed) gets another chance to see Michael Porter Jr. in action against Florida State tonight.

Tune in for what will surely be another wild night of March madness and one of the most exciting times of the year for basketball. This is a great time to watch some of the best go at it and use their examples as ways to improve your own game. Step up this offseason with some tips from The Basketball Movement here.

 

It is time - Print off a bracket and get to it

The teams are seeded and the bracket is set, the NCAA tournament is nearly upon us.

Did the NCAA tournament selection committee get it right with the 2018 bracket? Not all teams can make it, and the ones that did may not be exactly where they should. Either way, the stage is set and there is nothing to do but fill in your bracket and see how things play out.

One takeaway is that one-seed Virginia will have a tough task if they have to play Kentucky followed immediately by Arizona. Both teams have heated up heading into the tourney. Conversley, ice-cold Oklahoma makes it in as a ten-seed, while their neighboring OSU did not make it at all.

Missouri remains a big question mark with the return of Michael Porter Jr. Kansas, Virginia, Xavier, and Villanova comprise the one-seeds. Missouri Valley Conference champs, Loyola (Chi) has earned an eleven-seed and will start off facing six-seed Miami (Fla).

Below is CBS Sports' full bracket. You can right-click the bracket to print the PDF file if you would like to fill in your predictions. If that option isn't working on your computer try this link.

There will be a lot of madness to keep track of, but The Basketball Movement will be coming at you with headlines and highlights in the coming weeks. Good luck filling in your brackets and cheering on your teams!

Mizzou fans catch just a glimpse of Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr. is back in action for the Missouri Tigers to "help where he can".

Michael Porter Jr. played about two minutes in Missouri's opener before aggravating a back injury that caused him to miss most of the season. In the second round of the SEC tourney, Mizzou fans got to see him finally back in action against Georgia this past Thursday.

It was an expectedly rusty outing for Porter Jr. - shooting 5-17 with 8 boards. His 12 misses tied the most by any Mizzou player this season. His brother Jontay Porter was a bright spot for the Tigers, finishing with 20 points and 8 boards in the loss.

Porter Jr.'s shot looked a bit short all night, while he still rebounded the ball well. Flashes of his trademark athleticism were limited, with Porter Jr. saying he felt around 65% physically.

Now out of the SEC tourney, Mizzou has until Sunday to know exactly where they will be headed next. With Michael Porter Jr. back in the rotation, they have become one of the most interesting teams in the tournament, boasting a 20-11 record without their would-be star.

His decision to come back has been met with both praise and criticism. Why not wait and get fully healthy for the NBA draft? Porter Jr. just wants to play basketball and help his team. That cannot hurt his draft stock too much, right?

Still looming in or around the first round of many NBA draft boards, Michael Porter Jr. is going to draw a lot of attention at the big dance. Mizzou fans are hoping that he is the X-factor on their team that has already exceeded expectations to this point.

We will have some tournament coverage for you basketball junkies in the coming weeks. Until then, keep on the lookout for a coming article that takes an in-depth look at The Basketball Movement's founder and owner @Robert_Yanders.

 

NBA looks to eliminate the "one-and-done"

With NCAA teams under fire for rule violations related to amateurism and preferential treatment, the NBA seeks to pave a new path for elite players.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is currently looking into changes in the way the NBA interacts with top high school talent, according to a report by ESPN's Brian Windhorst. This is of course a large step, as the league is not currently allowed to do so, requiring players to be 19 or a year removed from high school before entering the league.

Nothing conclusive has come from the Commissioners office, though we will likely hear more in the coming months. These restructuring initiatives of course hinge on the recent scandals surrounding NCAA and youth basketball. 

Between the multitude of jobs around the league and the infrastructure provided by the G-League (formerly the D-League), paid positions or playing opportunities certainly abound. There are several options here besides just reducing the required age to 18 again.

We’re spending a lot of time on [youth basketball]. I think there is a big opportunity, on a global basis, focus on elite players in terms of better training, better fitness, so that they ultimately can be successful at the highest level.
— Adam Silver

The above is a quote from the Commissioner given over All-Star weekend, though talks have recently accelerated due to the FBI investigation of the NCAA.

The takeaways thus far are simply that the NBA, the top global basketball league, is taking close note of the happenings at every level of the sport. More will be coming on this, likely once the NCAA tourney has ended. Stay at The Basketball Movement for everything high school, NCAA, AND pro basketball for more.

See ESPN's full report here.

 

 

Missouri State parts ways with Coach Lusk

The MSU Bears men's team has finished what wound up being a disappointing season.

The writing was on the wall for Head Coach Paul Lusk, barring anything but a miraculous run to end the season. Recent contract negotiations had already hinted that the separation was eminent.

Lusk was the head coach for seven seasons with the Bears after coming over from Purdue. The Bears finished 3rd in the conference in his first season, which would be the highest finish of his tenure. He finishes with a 105-121 overall record as the leader for the Bears.

A Division I University invests a lot of money in a head coach and has decided to eat the salary for Lusk's final contract year and begin their search. Below is a quote from MSU President Clif Smart per ozarksportzone.com:

It is particularly important that our men’s basketball season is successful because it is our main revenue sport. I’ve had many conversations with the board of directors and have determined a new direction is necessary.
— Clif Smart, MSU President

The MSU Bears were loaded with talent this year, higlighted by star senior, Alize Johnson (1st team all Missouri Valley Conference). They were expected to be the top team in the MVC, but had a poor conference showing.

Missouri State finished 18-15 overall, but were only 7-11 in conference play. They won their play-in game against Valparaiso March 1st but fell to Southern Illinois in the first round of the MVC tourney. SIU lost the next game to Illinois State, who went on to fall to Loyola (CHI) in the championship game.

With Alize Johnson and Lusk out, the Bears will have a different look next year. Hopefully the Bears will be able to establish a winning culture and find a way to replicate the success of the Wichita States of the world (though Wichita is still not a state).

With March Madness nearly upon us, keep it locked to The Basketball Movement and follow us on Twitter @BBall_Movement to stay on top the big news in the game.

 

NCAA investigation

Yahoo! Sports has revealed their findings having sifted through hundreds of pages of federal documents from the NCAA Investigation

We have been hearing for a while about the FBI probe that had been investigating schools around NCAA men's hoops for over a year. An article today by Yahoo! Sports details some of the findings.

As expected, amateurism violations abound with schools and agencies finding ways to pay their players under the table.

There’s potential impermissible benefits and preferential treatment for players and families of players at Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan State, USC, Alabama and a host of other schools.
— Yahoo! Sports

The article also outs the names of several players that had been receiving compensation, a few of which have already made their way into the NBA. These findings, while damning, are not surprising. With only one agency highlighted and 20 or so schools, they are only scratching the surface here.

The athletes in question are almost all receiving room and board, along with scholarships to fund their education. However, they are also the largest contributors to one of the biggest money-making organizations in sports.

These kids cannot even sell their own autograph, despite their hard work. The NCAA could not truly believe they could go on without someone, somewhere compensating these athletes.

This will be interesting to watch going forward. How many more schools, players, and agencies will be called out? Will the NCAA give up and start paying their largest money-makers? Will kids start going overseas or find other ways to get paid for their services after high school before they go pro?

Stay locked to The Basketball Movement for more news and updates. Anything above that was more opinion than fact, is solely that of blogger @WilHarrington

February Madness

Last year, the NCAA decided to release an early, in-season look at the bracket for the big tournament. That time of year is here again.

For the second year in a row, teams and fans get a sneak peak at how the official tournament bracket is looking for men's college hoops. The top 16 teams to this point have been named and appropriately seeded.

Virginia was awarded the overall number one seed, beating out Villanova. Xavier and Purdue are the other top seeds in their respective quadrants.

The bracketing principles are admittedly difficult to follow, but considerations are given to geographic location and seeding of potential opponents. Number two seeds in a quadrant cannot always go to the closest site if a one seed is going to play there, and so forth.

An attempt is also made to balance brackets, ensuring that the top four teams in one bracket are not substantially better statistically than the top four of another.

Again, it is a little tough to follow, so most will be fine to let the committee handle it, unless of course your favorite team does not get fair shake.

The top 16... so far

Below are the top 16 seeds in their respective divisions to this point in the season (per NCAA.com):

South (Atlanta): (1) Virginia, (2) Cincinnati, (3) Michigan St., (4) Tennessee
East (Boston): (1) Villanova, (2) Duke, (3) Texas Tech, (4) Ohio State
Midwest (Omaha): (1) Xavier, (2) Auburn, (3) Clemson, (4) Oklahoma
West (Los Angeles): (1) Purdue, (2) Kansas, (3) North Carolina, (4) Arizona

The season is not over yet, so these determinations are not final. March 11 is the day that the final bracket will be announced.

This list does provide interesting insight into what the bracket committee is looking at. It could also serve as a wake-up call to teams that may have believed that they were among the country's elite.

With a few weeks to go, will there be big shake-ups to the teams in the top 16 or their seeding? Is there enough time for the perennial contender Kentucky Wildcats to make it in?

Stay tuned to The Basketball Movement for more NCAA news as well as NBA, prep, and local hoops stuff.

NCAA power rankings - Who is at the top?

Men's college basketball is slowly starting to wind down and thoughts are turning to the NCAA tournament.

Power rankings are becoming more and more important each week, as we are starting to get a good idea of who we will see competing in the NCAA's big dance.

As you likely know, records are not everything, as the tournament takes into account things such as conferences and strength of schedule. ESPN has updated its comprehensive top-25 list and the top three are as follows:

  1. Virginia Cavaliers (22-1)
  2. Villanova Wildcats (22-1)
  3. Purdue Boilermakers (23-2)

Virginia sits at the top of the list bolstered by its intimidating defense. They are hoping this improved defense can take them farther this year after being ousted by Florida in just the second round last year.

Villanova is certainly a team that we are used to seeing near the top year-after-year. This year is no different with them sporting a lot of offensive firepower.

Purdue has had several good seasons, but they have been surprisingly elite this year. They have had some close ones, but are currently clinging to a 19-game win streak.

The other guys

Kansas (18-5) is number four, having played one of the tougher national schedules and Xavier (21-3) is at the five. Duke (19-4) has looked out of sorts of late, slipping to number seven, while Clemson (19-4) makes a jump to number eight in the standings with some big wins.

Trae Young finally had an off night shooting last Saturday and OU (16-6) moved back a few spots to 14, right in front of North Carolina (17-7). Kentucky (17-6) recently dropped a game to Mizzou, and takes the 22 spot.

Since their Cinderella run in 2010, Butler (17-7) has done a great job of staying relevant. They are holding onto the number 25 spot, with Florida, Arizona State, and Wichita State (not a state) on the outside looking in.

For the full list, check it out on ESPN. For all things basketball, check out The Basketball Movement.

Trae Young just keeps getting buckets for OU

It has been an exciting season in NCAA Basketball, but Trae Young of the Oklahoma Sooners has been the unexpected star of the show.

To start the season, you probably did not see the name Trae Young at the top of many projected draft boards. The Oklahoma Sooner freshman has been re-writing the narrative with his silky-smooth jumper.

 In the age of the three pointer, we knew that another Steph Curry-type shooter was bound to emerge. Is that Trae Young?

The 6'2" guard is averaging 30 points and 10 assists per game this season. That is a pretty impressive line for any college player. Young also dropped 44 against Baylor on Tuesday, only 10 days after hanging 48 against their in-state rival OSU Cowboys.

He has emerged as the Sooner's top recruit since Blake Griffin. He doesn't seem surprised though.

If Trae Young can keep up this dominant display, he will almost certainly show up to the NBA draft as one of the top prospects.

He was flying below the radar coming into the year, which only seems to have fueled his fire. Young players can look to Trae as an example of where hard work and determination can take you.

For more on everything basketball, keep it locked to The Basketball Movement and follow @BBall_Movement on Twitter.

Stats per ESPN