Bombshell development in NCAA basketball investigation

Federal documents obtained by Yahoo Sports show violations of NCAA rules by at least 20 Division I Basketball teams, according to a Friday morning report.

The documents show players from big-name programs such as Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and Villanova received illegal benefits from ASM Sports agency, ranging from small amounts of money to thousands of dollars.

Markelle Fultz, the first player selected in the 2017 NBA Draft received $10,000 according to the documents. Other current NBA players listed include Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dennis Smith Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks.

Current college stars Miles Bridges and Collin Sexton were also linked to the documents.

NCAA President Mark Emmert released a statement following the release of the documents.

“These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules. Following the Southern District of New York’s indictments last year, the NCAA Board of Governors and I formed the independent Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, to provide recommendations on how to clean up the sport. With these latest allegations, it’s clear this work is more important now than ever. The Board and I are completely committed to making transformational changes to the game and ensuring all involved in college basketball do so with integrity. We also will continue to cooperate with the efforts of federal prosecutors to identify and punish the unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system through criminal acts.”

-via NCAA.org

Once the investigation is complete, the NCAA will have a lot of work on their hands when it comes to sanctions and penalties.

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Louisville stripped of 2013 title

Louisville’s impressive run through the 2013 NCAA Tournament — one in which the Cardinals overcoming an unforgettably gruesome injury to guard Kevin Ware — has been removed from NCAA record books after the University’s appeal fell through.

The Cardinals have also been forced to vacate 123 wins between 2012 and 2015, all as a result of the recent scandal involving former head coach Rick Pitino and illegal benefits for under-aged recruits.

In the 2012-13 season, Louisville earned the No. 1 overall seed after finishing the regular season 26-5 and winning the Big East championship over Syracuse.

The Cardinals rolled through the midwest regional, losing Ware in a dominant elite-eight win over Duke, before picking off Wichita State in the Final Four.

In the national championship game in Atlanta, Louisville defeated Michigan, 82-76, behind 22 points from Luke Hancock and another 18 from tournament MVP Peyton Siva.

Of course, the record books say otherwise following the NCAA’s ruling, but that won’t change the tattoo on Pitino’s back commemorating the red-hot 2013 run.

Pitino was fired prior to the 2017-18 season in response an entirely different scandal, the recent FBI probe involving Adidas and players receiving financial compensation in return for college commitments.

Since Pitino’s firing, head coach David Padgett has led Louisville to an 18-9 record and will likely have the Cardinals playing in the NCAA Tournament.

Sideline Intel Bracketology: Feb. 16

There I was, Thursday afternoon, thinking to myself, “Man, there’s not a ton of change on this bracket I’m going to be releasing tomorrow.”

And then college basketball decided to be college basketball.

On Thursday night alone, Villanova fell at Providence, Saint Mary’s lost to San Francisco, Penn State obliterated Ohio State, Purdue lost to Wisconsin, and a wild night-cap saw Arizona take down rival Arizona State on the road.

Okay, now things are looking a bit different. And the bubble certainly isn’t immune to such movement.

Let’s take a look:

Last Four Byes
NC State
USC
Providence
Virginia Tech

Last Four In
Texas
UCLA
St. Bonaventure (NEW)
Kansas State

First Four Out
Syracuse
Baylor
Boise State
Temple

Next Four Out
Nebraska
Penn State
Washington
Maryland

Four More
Marquette
SMU
Utah
Western Kentucky

As for the rest of the field…

Ed. Note: all-caps denote current conference leaders.

~~~

SOUTH REGIONAL | Atlanta, Ga.

(Charlotte, N.C.)
No. 1 VIRGINIA (24-2, 13-1 ACC)
No. 16 WINTHROP (17-9, 11-4 Big South)

No. 8 
Butler (17-10, 7-7 Big East)
No. 9 MIDDLE TENNESSEE (21-5, 13-1 Conference USA)

(San Diego, Calif.)
No. 5 Wichita State (20-5, 10-3 American)
No. 12 BUFFALO (19-7, 11-2 MAC)

No. 4 Tennessee (19-6, 9-4 SEC)
No. 13 NEW MEXICO STATE (22-4, 9-1 WAC)

(Detroit, Mich.)
No. 6 Florida (17-9, 8-5 SEC)
No. 11 Virginia Tech (18-8, 7-6 ACC)

No. 3 CINCINNATI (23-3, 12-1 American)
No. 14 NORTHERN KENTUCKY (19-7, 12-2 Horizon)

(Charlotte, N.C.)
No. 7 Kentucky (17-9, 6-7 SEC)
No. 10 Seton Hall (17-9, 6-7 Big East)

No. 2 Duke (21-5, 9-4 ACC)
No. 15 BUCKNELL (19-9, 13-2 Patriot)


MIDWEST REGIONAL | Omaha, Neb.

(Pittsburgh, Pa.)
No. 1 XAVIER (24-3, 12-2 Big East)
No. 16 PENNSYLVANIA (17-7, 7-1 Ivy) / No. 16 GRAMBLING (14-12, 10-3 SWAC)

No. 8 
Michigan (21-7, 10-5 Big Ten)
No. 9 Florida State (18-8, 7-7 ACC)

(Boise, Idaho)
No. 5 RHODE ISLAND (21-3, 13-0 Atlantic 10)
No. 12 LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE (22-4, 12-1 Sun Belt)

No. 4 Oklahoma (16-9, 6-7 Big 12)
No. 13 LOYOLA-CHICAGO (22-5, 12-3 Missouri Valley)

(Wichita, Kan.)
No. 6 Miami (18-7, 7-6 ACC)
No. 11 USC (18-9, 9-5 Pac-12)

No. 3 MICHIGAN STATE (25-3, 13-2 Big Ten)
No. 14 UCSB (20-5, 9-2 Big West)

(Dallas, Tex.)
No. 7 Missouri (18-8, 8-5 SEC)
No. 10 NC State (17-9, 7-6 ACC)

No. 2 TEXAS TECH (22-4, 10-3 Big 12)
No. 15 CHARLESTON (21-9, 12-3 Colonial)


EAST REGIONAL | Boston, Mass.

(Pittsburgh, Pa.)
No. 1 Villanova (23-3, 10-3 Big East)
No. 16 SAVANNAH ST. (13-13, 10-1 Mid-Eastern) / No. 16 NICHOLLS ST. (17-9, 11-2 Southland)

No. 8 
Arizona State (19-7, 7-7 Pac-12)
No. 9 TCU (17-9, 5-8 Big 12)

(Boise, Idaho)
No. 5 West Virginia (19-7, 8-5 Big 12)
No. 12 VERMONT (22-5, 12-0 America East)

No. 4 Ohio State (22-6, 13-2 Big Ten)
No. 13 SOUTH DAKOTA STATE  (22-6, 10-1 Summit)

(Nashville, Tenn.)
No. 6 Texas A&M (17-9, 6-7 SEC)
No. 11 Texas (15-11, 5-8 Big 12) / No. 11 UCLA (18-8, 9-5 Pac-12)

No. 3 North Carolina (20-7, 9-5 ACC)
No. 14 BELMONT (21-7, 13-2 Ohio Valley)

(Detroit, Mich.)
No. 7 Alabama (17-9, 8-5 SEC)
No. 10 Louisville (18-8, 8-5 ACC)

No. 2 Purdue (23-5, 12-3 Big Ten)
No. 15 WAGNER (19-7, 12-3 Northeast)


WEST REGIONAL | Los Angeles, Calif.

(Nashville, Tenn.)
No. 1 AUBURN (23-3, 11-2 SEC)
No. 16 FLORIDA GULF COAST (20-9, 11-1 Atlantic Sun)

No. 8 
Saint Mary’s (24-4, 13-2 West Coast)
No. 9 Houston (20-5, 10-3 American)

(San Diego, Calif.)
No. 5 NEVADA (22-5, 11-2 Mountain West)
No. 12 St. Bonaventure (19-6, 9-4 Atlantic 10) / No. 12 Kansas St. (18-8, 7-6 Big 12)

No. 4 ARIZONA (21-6, 11-3 Pac-12)
No. 13 EAST TENNESSEE STATE (22-5, 13-1 Southern)

(Dallas, Tex.)
No. 6 GONZAGA (24-4, 14-1 West Coast)
No. 11 Providence (17-9, 8-5 Big East)

No. 3 Clemson (20-5, 9-4 ACC)
No. 14 RIDER (20-7, 13-2 Metro Atlantic)

(Wichita, Kan.)
No. 7 Creighton (19-7, 8-5 Big East)
No. 10 Arkansas (18-8, 7-6 SEC)

No. 2 Kansas (20-6, 9-4 Big 12)
No. 15 MONTANA (20-6, 13-1 Big Sky)

Weekend Preview: Big Ten headliners, bounce-back opportunities, bubbles to be burst

We’ve only got about four more of these left in the dwindling college basketball season. You know, those weekends where you can wake up in the late morning and spend your whole day bouncing around the country as the entire hoops landscape explodes with storylines.

February 10 and 11 will be no different.

If you’re a college hoops addict like myself, here’s how you should be spending your next 48 hours:

Saturday

Butler @ No. 1 Villanova | Noon EST | FOX
Up until its loss to St. John’s at home Wednesday, Villanova seemed pretty much unbeatable this season — other than, of course, its eight-point loss at Butler. The Bulldogs have recently become a kryptonite for ‘Nova in Big East play, having now won three in a row in the series, two of which coming when the Wildcats were ranked No. 1 in the nation. Villanova’s sometimes-suspect defense will be once again put to the test, as a Butler team that ranks No. 26 in KenPom’s offensive efficiency ratings posted 101 when it hosted ‘Nova on December 30. Prediction: Villanova 92, Butler 87 // Chances of Upset: 45%

No. 10 Kansas @ Baylor | 2 p.m. EST | CBS
Baylor? Really? Yes, really. Just a week ago, the Bears sat at 12-10 with a dismal 2-7 mark in Big 12 play, and had taken single-digit losses to Kansas State, Oklahoma and Kansas. Two impressive wins over Iowa State and at Oklahoma State over the past seven days have Baylor back in the tournament conversation. On the flip side, the Jayhawks, which recently lost by five to those same Cowboys, have a brutal stretch ahead with a trip to Ames, followed by home tilts with West Virginia and Oklahoma, followed only by a trip to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech. I don’t think Kansas slips up here, but if they do, they could find themselves in a tough spot going into the final week of the season. Prediction: Kansas 74, Baylor 66 // Chances of Upset: 30%

No. 21 North Carolina @ NC State | 2 p.m. EST | ACCN
Who on earth is NC State? My best answer: A bonafide giant killer. The Wolf Pack continue to hover on the bubble despite wins over Duke, North Carolina and Arizona. The biggest reason is inconsistency. A loss to Virginia Tech and a scare against Pittsburgh have kept NC State from building real momentum, but that could change with a sweep of the Heels. The Wolf Pack, after Saturday, enter a stretch of three winnable games (@ SYR, @ WAKE, vs. BC). I’m not saying Saturday’s game will be an upset, but UNC is riding a high and could easily fall into a trap when it visits Raleigh. Prediction: North Carolina 88, NC State 84 // Chances of Upset: 42%

Texas @ TCU | 2 p.m. EST | ESPNU
The Big 12 bubble landscape is one of the most intriguing in any league and these two teams epitomize it. The difference? TCU got to this point by starting red-hot and then opening conference play 2-6, whereas the ‘Horns took a few early-season losses but gradually put together a decent résumé. Texas got the better of TCU by just a point in Austin earlier this month in 2OT and I have a feeling this matchup will be just as exciting. The Horned Frogs, though, get it done and stay on the right side of the bubble. Prediction: TCU 85, Texas 83 

No. 3 Purdue @ No. 4 Michigan State | 4 p.m. EST | ESPN
This one just speaks for itself — the Big Ten’s best, two top-five teams, two bonafide No. 1 seed candidates, a handful of NBA prospects. Miles Bridges. Isaac Haas. Vincent Edwards. The Izzone. Matt Painter. Not much more needs to be said. Just watch this one, okay? You won’t be sorry. Prediction: Purdue 68, Michigan State 67

No. 15 Tennessee @ Alabama | 6 p.m. EST | SECN
Collin Sexton. Collin Sexton. Collin Sexton. Oh, yeah, Tennessee is pretty darn good, too. The Volunteers’ recent win over Kentucky solidified them as an SEC contender and a potential top-four seed in March. Going into Tuscaloosa will be no easy task, though, as the Vols will have their hands full with Sexton —  whose 18 points recently led ‘Bama over Trae Young and Oklahoma — and the Crimson Tide. I’m going to go ahead and call upset, but certainly believe Tennessee could get through this test and ultimately go on to compete for an SEC title. Prediction: Alabama 74, Tennessee 71 // Chances of Upset: 64%

UCLA @ Arizona State | 7 p.m. EST | PAC12
Pac-12 basketball just got very interesting with the rise of the Bruins. When UCLA took three losses in a row against Colorado, Oregon State and Oregon, it was a mile away from the Tournament conversation. The Bruins covered that mile in about two weeks, lopping off California, Stanford, USC and Arizona all in a row to revive their season. Coming off a win of its own over USC, Arizona State is looking to do the same and get itself essentially within one or two wins of a locked-up March bid. UCLA’s hot, ASU’s seemingly figuring things out, both teams need it. This one should be fun. Prediction: UCLA 78, Arizona State 74 

No. 7 Texas Tech @ Kansas State | 8 p.m. EST | ESPNU
At this point, it’s pretty hard to watch a Big 12 game without there being some kind of intriguing storyline. This one pits arguably the nation’s most surprising team as it competes for a conference title and a No. 1 seed. No one saw that coming. What no one else would also see coming would be a Kansas State upset, as the Wildcats — a bubble team in the truest sense of the term — look to pick up another résumé win. They’ve already beaten Oklahoma by 18, TCU by five, and came just one point from beating Kansas. There’s also the revenge factor — Tech took down K-State by 16 on January 7. For those reasons, I’m giving the Wildcats a good chance to win, but favoring Texas Tech in a close one. Prediction: Texas Tech 76, Kansas State 70 // Chances of Upset: 38%

No. 24 Kentucky @ Texas A&M | 8:15 p.m. EST | ESPN
Speaking of the revenge factor, enter Texas A&M. The Aggies came inches from a win at Rupp Arena back on January 9, as a full-court pass went out of bounds beyond the outstretched hands of center Tyler Davis, who was arguably fouled by UK’s Wenyen Gabriel as time expired. Reed Arena will be electric in a whiteout and I don’t think Kentucky’s young team will be ready for a red-hot A&M team on the road, especially one that just topped Auburn on the road. Prediction: Texas A&M 77, Kentucky 74 // Chances of Upset: 70%

No. 12 Gonzaga @ No. 11 Saint Mary’s | 10 p.m. EST | ESPN2
Ah, yes, the one time the country pays attention to West Coast Conference basketball. It’s for good reason, especially this year. Saint Mary’s has pretty clearly been the better of the two WCC Goliaths, with losses only to Washington State (by 5) and Georgia (by 2) on neutral courts in early December. This team is a deep tournament threat and you should start getting to know them before you see them pop up as a five- or six-seed in your bracket. The Gaels toppled Gonzaga in Spokane earlier this season, 74-71. The Bulldogs have the pieces for revenge, but I’ve got Saint Mary’s taking a stranglehold on the WCC with the conference tourney just three weeks away. Prediction: Saint Mary’s 79, Gonzaga 72 // Chances of “Upset:” 35%

USC @ No. 13 Arizona | 10:15 p.m. EST | ESPN
Pac-12 after dark at its finest! Arizona, the odds on favorite to win this chaotic league, has lost two in a row for the first time since its dismal trip to the Bahamas back in November. As for USC, blowing a nine-point lead to ASU means they’re right back in the thick of the bubble, and another loss or two away from trouble. Another situation out in the Pac-12 where two of the league’s likely four or five tournament teams both need key victories. Don’t count out USC — which matches up well with the Wildcats, especially down low — but Arizona’s going to get it done on their home court before a monumental trip to Tempe Thursday. But if you’re not asleep yet, give this one a watch to close out a jam-packed day of hoops. Prediction: Arizona 82, USC 72 // Chances of Upset: 20%

Sunday

No. 6 Cincinnati @ SMU | 2 p.m. EST | ESPN
Yes, more basketball on Sunday, thanks to the American Athletic Conference! If you haven’t noticed yet, the Cincinnati Bearcats are a legitimate contender; I don’t think they’ll compete for a No. 1 seed due to their conference’s reputation, but they’ll be a dangerous No. 2 or No. 3 seed. SMU’s dangerous, too, having beaten Wichita State on the road, not to mention neutral victories over Arizona and USC. But coming off of two tough road losses, the Mustangs need this one to get back on the right side of the bubble. Cincinnati doesn’t have any particular “need” in this one, aside from keeping first place in the American to themselves, but they’ll probably get it done anyway. Check this game out if for no other reason than to get an early look at one of the most physical teams you’ll be seeing in the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Prediction: Cincinnati 68, SMU 60 // Chances of Upset: 25%

Tulane @ Houston | 4 p.m. EST | ESPNU
Okay, you’re only going to want to check this one out if you’re truly a college basketball junkie, but Houston is worth watching as a potential upset special with a No. 10 or No. 11 seed in March. Tulane’s got some unfinished business, too, with a few impressive wins over SMU and Temple under their belt. In order to make some tournament noise, though, they’ll need to erase their recent 1-4 stretch, pick up this win in Houston, and probably win five of the six contests that follow. All of that is pretty unlikely, but Tulane’s nine-point home win over Houston earlier in the season proves they’ve at least got a good shot on Sunday. Prediction: Houston 77, Tulane 68

Sideline Intel Bracketology: Feb. 2

As the calendar turns to February, a handful of teams are starting to make their mark as Final Four contenders.

Take the Villanova Wildcats, who have lost just once — at Butler. The ‘Cats are ripping through a deep and competitive Big East with ease, most recently victimizing Creighton by 20. It’s the same deal for teams like Virginia and Purdue, which are both firmly on top of their respective leagues with unblemished conference records.

Others are seeing their résumés take serious hits entering the final month of the season. Arizona StateTCU, and Texas A&M have all gone from former spots in the AP top 10 to now being dangerously close to the bubble.

Speaking of the bubble, as it stands today…

Last Four Byes
Virginia Tech
NC State
Houston
Boise State

Last Four In
Kansas State
Providence
Marquette
Syracuse

First Four Out
Washington
SMU
Missouri
UCLA

Next Four Out
Western Kentucky
Nebraska
Georgia
Utah

Without further ado, the first addition of Sideline Intel’s NCAA Tournament bracket predictions:


EAST REGIONAL | Boston, Mass.

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SOUTH REGIONAL | Atlanta, Ga.

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 4.28.48 PM.png

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MIDWEST REGIONAL | Omaha, Neb.

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 4.29.31 PM.png

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WEST REGIONAL | Los Angeles, Calif.

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 4.29.46 PM.png

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