Statement regarding the newest lawsuit at Michigan State

Sideline Intel is disturbed and angered by the details of the newest lawsuit regarding Michigan State University’s alleged mishandling of multiple sexual assaults.

Because of this, Sideline Intel will immediately halt coverage of Michigan State Athletics until the investigation and ensuing trials are complete.

Sideline Intel will only refer to Michigan State’s athletic teams by Spartans, and only for standings purposes.

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How to cope with your inevitable post-college basketball depression

If college basketball isn’t your No. 1 sport, you might want to stop reading.

Thanks for the click, though. 

This is a pretty tough weekend for me.

I’m a huge college hoops fan. No, junkie. No, addict. Final Four weekend should be the pinnacle of my calendar year.

In some ways, it is. It’s a weekend full of coverage devoted to the college basketball world, all leading up to the biggest games of the year. It’s great.

But man, I can never seem to kick the voice in the back of my head, reminding me that there are already 347 teams that won’t see the floor again until November 6.

Okay, 345. Penn State and Utah are still duking it out for an NIT title.

In just a few short weeks, all 351 Division I teams will be in that category. It’s a scary reality we face every year when the calendar flips to April.

Maybe your team missed the tournament and you’ve already come to terms with the next several months of emptiness. Maybe your team had an early exit, or even went deeper than expected, and you’re just now starting to come to the realization that it’s truly over.

November 6 is 225 days away. Here’s a seven-step process that’ll help you cope with the loss of your favorite pastime.

Step One: Try to enjoy baseball for a little while

Make the early-season hype you have for baseball last as long as you possibly can. If you’re like me, it’s difficult to really lock into a 162-game season from start to finish. You may love the sport and enjoy watching it, but once you’re 20 or 30 games in and the season’s not even close to ending, it can start to get a little bland.

No offense, baseball fans. Your sport rocks. But if the college basketball season is what’s most ingrained in your sports-fan heart, MLB can be a rough follow.

Give it a shot, though. Pick up a team in your city, or one you have connections to. Maybe put some effort into the first several weeks of a fantasy baseball league.

Just, please, for the love of God, don’t join a buy-in league. You’re going to lose focus, and eventually, money.

Before you know it, your new favorite team will be 15 games under .500 and it won’t even be Memorial Day.

Now what?

Step Two: Give the NBA playoffs another shot…

…because this year, they should provide more excitement — in terms of potential for surprises and quality matchups in each round, not just the conference finals and finals — than we’ve seen in a long time.

I’ll be honest. As someone who loves college hoops, I’ve struggled to truly enjoy the NBA the last several years. Sure, Warriors-Cavaliers was certainly an exciting series all three times it happened, but it was hard to follow six weeks’ worth of playoff basketball, knowing full well those two teams were going to meet in early June.

Keep an eye on the Houston Rockets. Or the Toronto Raptors. Or the Boston Celtics. Look out for names of rising stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell,  and Victor Oladipo. See how far “The Process” can carry itself in its first year of relevance. See if Lebron can get to an eighth straight finals.

Check on Steph Curry, and how his Warriors will fare without him for at least the first round. Spoiler: They’ll probably be fine. Find out if the red-hot Trail Blazers are for real.

The storylines go on. The basketball is high-quality. Maybe you’ll even see a recent alum of your favorite college team score two points and pick up three fouls in seven minutes. The memories are already flooding back!

The moral of the story? Give the NBA playoffs a shot. You’ll probably enjoy them.

Step Three: Get a summer job

I don’t know, just make some money. Pick up a few extra shifts. It passes the time.

Step Four: Attach yourself to a random World Cup team

Yes, the World Cup is awesome.

No, the United States didn’t make it this year. I know.

Yes, it’s still going to be awesome.

Find a group of friends, head to a sports bar, and go watch some soccer. There will be tons of amazing athletes — some you know, some you don’t — competing at the highest level this summer in Russia.

Or, go ahead and latch on to Iceland in its first-ever World Cup appearance. Get everyone to start this chant when they stun Argentina in their opening match:

Egypt is also making its World Cup debut in 2018. Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Tunisia and Iran will be there as well. One of them’s bound to shock us. Why not let it be the team whose bandwagon you join?

Step Five: Follow the recruiting landscape

Your team’s coaching staff is already preparing to hit the recruiting trail in hopes to find a diamond in the rough for their 2019 class. You should be, too!

There are tons of ways to keep track of basketball recruiting. Follow along with The Hoop Group’s recruiting events. Keep track of some of the country’s best AAU circuits.

Or, to make it easy on yourself, just run a quick twitter search every once in a while, either of your school’s name or the name of a player your school has its eye on.

There are some outstanding players in the 2019 class, headlined by names like James Wiseman, Vernon Carey, Cole Anthony, Scottie Lewis and Charles Bassey. You’ve probably never heard of any of them.

Understandable. That won’t last long, though. If all goes well, maybe you’ll be watching one of them light it up for your team in a year’s time. You might as well follow along and hope for the best.

Step Six: Football!

Football. College football, pro football, I don’t care. It’s fun and easy to follow. Time’s just flying by now, isn’t it?

Step Seven: Give baseball one more go

What’s that? The baseball team you absolutely fell madly in love with back in April has slipped into a Wild Card spot in the MLB postseason?

Now, you’ve got four more weeks of excitement to fill the month of October. The MLB playoffs are electric, even if baseball’s not your forté. Fill out a playoff bracket with some buddies and watch the games. You’ll be surprised how similar the division series round feels to the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

Okay, it’s only three or four games a day. But still, it’s something.

Maybe your boys will win a World Series. Maybe they’ll get walked off in the bottom of the 11th in the AL Wild Card game on a three-run home run against a division rival. Either way, you had a fun ride.

And suddenly, after less than a month, it’s all over. The New York Yankees are hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy for the 28th time.

Oh, look at that, you’re just a few days away from the return of the college basketball season. You made it. And if you followed this process, it probably didn’t feel too long.

But for now, just enjoy the Final Four. It’s the last sliver of college hoops you’ll have for a long time. The 2018-19 season is just 225 sleeps away.

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.

Gearing up for Champ Week, Part I: ACC, Big Ten, Big East

It’s February 21.

That means there’s about two weeks left of the regular season, unless you’re the Big Ten, and you thought it was a genius idea to end your season week early so you could play your conference tournament in an arena that’s in a different time zone than more than half of your league.

But for the sane power basketball conferences — you know, your ACC, Big 12, Big East, SEC and Pac-12 — there’s still two more weeks to sure up seeding and scenarios for championship week.

We’re taking a look around the country to see how our power-conference friends are preparing for early March, starting with the ACC:

Atlantic Coast Conference

The Details: Mar. 6-10 // Barclays Center // Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Frontrunners: No. 1 seed Virginia and No. 2 seed Duke. If one of these two teams doesn’t win the ACC I’ll be shocked. The Cavaliers have the defense to hold any team in this league and in the country to under 65 point, and the Blue Devils have the talent to score more than 75 on just about any team. I mean, it was pretty good game last time they played.

If you’re a casual basketball fan, you’re hoping and praying these two teams meet again on Saturday night in Brooklyn. And they probably will. But then again…

The Dark Horse: …It’s March, and this is the ACC. It’s a deep league, with teams with the talent and coaching to conceivably catch fire in a four-day span. Take Clemson, which somehow survived a season-ending injury to Devonte Grantham and still sits in the AP Top 15. Or North Carolina, with upperclassman leadership in Luke Maye and Joel Berry III, guys who have experience playing at a high level deep into March — oh, yeah, they won it all last year. These two are right behind UVA and Duke in terms of their chances to win the league.

The Bubble teams who need thisThere’s quite a few of them. There’s NC State, Virginia Tech, Syracuse and Louisville, all of which are either 19-8 or 18-9 and hovering right around .500 in conference play. There a some good athlertes in that bunch, too, like Louisville forward Deng Adel, ‘Cuse shooting guard Tyus Battle, Virginia Tech sharpshooters Justin Robinson and Justin Bibbs and NC State big man Omer Yurtseven. All these teams could make a run, and they all probably need at least one win to feel completely comfortable with their standing on Selection Sunday.

Spongebob-i-need-it-gif-20.gif

The seeding storylines: Syracuse, Miami and Florida State are all within a half-game of one another in the 8-9-10 positioning, which means one of these three will likely be forced to play on the first day of tournament play, Tuesday, against likely No. 15 seed Pittsburgh. That probably means any easy win, which all three could use. The top four — the “double-byes,” Virginia, Duke, UNC and Clemson — all seem to be a step above the pack, but NC State is nipping at the heels of a bye into Thursday, just half a game behind Clemson. Keep an eye on the Wolf Pack.

Intrigue Score: 9.5 out of 10. Great basketball, talented teams, interesting storylines. This will be the kind of tournament you’ll want to have open on your laptop when you get bored at your day job in the early afternoon.

Big Ten

The Details: Feb. 28-Mar. 4 // Madison Square Garden // New York, N.Y.

Side Note: The 2018 Big Ten Tournament will be played a week early so the league can access the Garden, which is locked down by the Big East for the typical large-conference championship weekend. 

The Frontrunners: Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State. That’s really it. This league is shallow, but the top of it is outstanding. At least two of these three teams will be in the semifinals, and those two — yes, I’m talking about Purdue and MSU, sorry Buckeyes — will be playing for the league title. And it will be must-see television.

Again.

The Dark Horse: Okay, Michigan’s pretty good, too. The Wolverines have a handful of talented players like junior forward Moritz Wagner and senior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman; these guys helped Michigan win the Big Ten as a No. 8 seed last year, not to mention reach the Sweet Sixteen as a No. 7 seed a week later. I don’t like how they match up with the two true elites of this league, but don’t be surprised if they slip back into Sunday afternoon’s title game.

The Bubble teams who need this (see Spongebob-I-Need-It.gif)Penn State is kind of intriguing. Tony Carr is one of the best young point guards in the country and has led the Nittany Lions into the bubble conversation in his sophomore season.

You remember this, right?

https://twitter.com/TitanicHoops/status/956730298934484992

Penn State’s probably going to need about two wins in NYC to get on the right side of the bubble. As for fellow bubble teams like Maryland and Nebraska, the Terps and ‘Huskers probably need to reach Sunday if they want to see the Big Dance. Either that, or they’re going to need some serious help from the rest of the bubble.

The seeding storylines: After the clear top three, Nebraska and Michigan are separated by half a game for the fourth double-bye. The Wolverines has a pair of road games against hungry bubble teams (PSU and Maryland), and the CornHuskers have one more game, at home against the Nittany Lions. Advantage Nebraska, I guess? Even still, I think Michigan gets by Nebraska in a potential No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup. Other than those two, all other bye situations are set in stone with two wins separating No. 8 Maryland and No. 9 Northwestern.

Intrigue Score: 6 out of 10. There won’t be a lot going on for the first three days of this tournament, but the last day or two will be thrilling. You’ll probably want to watch the Big Ten semifinals on Saturday, and you’ll definitely want to watch the title game on Sunday, especially because there will be nothing else on TV. But yeah, that’s about it.

Big East

The Details: Mar. 7-10 // Madison Square Garden // New York, N.Y.

The Frontrunners: To the fan who loves elite teams, here’s your reason to watch the Big East Tourney: Villanova and Xavier. Two potential No. 1 seeds, two bonafide Final Four contenders, a handful of NBA prospects, two player-of-the-year candidates… that’s about all you need to know. One of these teams should cut down the MSG nets, and could very well do the same in San Antonio. If they meet for Nova-Xavier Part III Saturday night, it’s going to be a fun one.

The Dark Horse: To the fan who loves college basketball as a whole, here’s your reason to watch the Big East Tourney. Butler, Creighton, Marquette, Providence and Seton Hall all have the talent to make a run. Butler has beaten ‘Nova in three of its last four tries. Providence beat ‘Nova and Xavier. Creighton has Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas. Seton Hall has Angel Delgado. Marquette has Markus Howard. Watch your back, Wildcats and Musketeers.

The Bubble teams who need this: Marquette and Providence still have work to do, and will probably still have work to do when they hit the Garden. Looking at the Big East standings, there’s a decent possibility the two could meet in the quarterfinals, and I think both teams will probably need to advance from said round to feel safe on Selection Sunday. There’s also the anomaly case of St. John’s, which has proven it can knock off giants like Villanova and Duke, and could do the same in March if it didn’t already have 13 losses on its record. The Red Storm need a Big East title and nothing less.

The seeding storylines: After the top two, there’s a whole lot of jockeying for position. Seeds three through seven are separated by two games with about four games left. In the Big East, though, with ten teams, six get byes into the quarterfinals with the other four forced into opening round games. With this in mind, one of those five bubble teams in the middle of the league standings will be pushed into Wednesday evening action, and as of right now, it looks like that’ll be Marquette.

Intrigue Score: 8 out of 10. It’s the Big East Tournament, it’s the Garden, it’s how things should be during Champ Week. Villanova and Xavier are phenomenal, the excitement of the bubble situation in this league is second to none, except maybe the Big 12, and even some of the bottom-dwellers have a flair for the dramatic. Classic Big East.

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.

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. 9

Great, more chaos.

Ohio State beats Purdue. Texas A&M beats Auburn. Bubble teams drop like flies — and some step up to take their spots, for now. St. John’s beats Duke and Villanova.

No, St. John’s is not in the field of 68. I mean, not yet at least. When they beat Xavier, Creighton, Seton Hall and Marquette I’m sure we’ll have a spot for them.

But with all that said, this week’s field is extremely shaken up from even just a week ago. The biggest drop? Louisville down from a No. 5 seed to a No. 8 seed. The biggest jump? Texas A&M up from a No. 8 seed to a No. 6 seed.

Even the bubble looks a whole lot different, as you can see:

Last Four Byes
Houston
Providence
Alabama
NC State

Last Four In
Missouri
Syracuse
Virginia Tech
UCLA

First Four Out
Kansas State
Washington
Marquette
SMU

Next Four Out
Western Kentucky
Nebraska
St. Bonaventure
Temple

Four More
Wyoming
Maryland
Baylor
Penn State

Looking at the bubble, there are a few teams who’ve made some noise and a few who’d rather kill the noise they made this week. Syracuse and UCLA caught the right side of the bubble with key wins. While the Orange won at Louisville, the Bruins defeated both USC and Arizona to jump from completely off the bubble to in the tournament field.

Fellow Pac-12 school Washington played its way out of the field with a 65-40 loss at Oregon. With its win over Texas, Kansas State was a tough team to keep out, but a 38-point loss to West Virginia and an RPI outside the Top 50 were tough to forgive.

But enough about the bubble, here’s how the full tournament field shakes out:

Ed. Note: all-caps denote current conference leaders

~~~

SOUTH REGIONAL | Atlanta, Ga.

(Charlotte, N.C.)
No. 1 VIRGINIA (23-1, 12-0 ACC)
No. 16 NICHOLLS ST. (15-9, 9-2 Southland) / No. 16 WAGNER (18-6, 11-2 NEC)

No. 8 
Texas Christian (16-8, 4-7 Big 12)
No. 9 Arizona State (18-6, 6-6 Pac-12)

(Boise, Idaho)
No. 5 Oklahoma (16-7, 6-5 Big 12)
No. 12 VERMONT  (20-5, 10-0 America East)

No. 4 Miami (18-5, 7-4 ACC)
No. 13 LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE (20-4, 10-1 Sun Belt)

(Nashville, Tenn.)
No. 6 RHODE ISLAND (19-3, 11-0 Atlantic 10)
No. 11 Houston (18-5, 8-3 American)

No. 3 Tennessee (18-5, 8-3 SEC)
No. 14 UC SANTA BARBARA (19-5, 8-2 Big West)

(Charlotte, N.C.)
No. 7 Seton Hall (17-7, 6-5 Big East)
No. 10 Alabama (15-9, 6-5 SEC)

No. 2 North Carolina (18-7, 7-5 ACC)
No. 15 BUCKNELL (17-9, 11-2 Patriot)


MIDWEST REGIONAL | Omaha, Neb.

(Detroit, Mich.)
No. 1 Michigan State (23-3, 11-2 Big Ten)
No. 16 NC A&T (15-9, 8-1 MEAC)

No. 8 
Gonzaga (22-4, 12-1 West Coast)
No. 9 Butler (17-8, 7-5 Big East)

(Boise, Idaho)
No. 5 ARIZONA (19-6, 9-3 Pac-12)
No. 12 NEW MEXICO STATE (21-3, 8-0 WAC)

No. 4 West Virginia (18-6, 7-4 Big 12)
No. 13 EAST TENNESSEE STATE (21-4, 12-0 Southern)

(Dallas, Tex.) 
No. 6 Kentucky (17-7, 6-5 SEC)
No. 11 Syracuse (16-8, 5-6 ACC) / No. 11 UCLA (17-7, 8-4 Pac-12)

No. 3 Texas Tech (20-4, 8-3 Big 12)
No. 14 BELMONT (19-7, 11-2 Ohio Valley)

(Nashville, Tenn.)
No. 7 Florida State (17-7, 6-6 ACC)
No. 10 Providence (16-8, 7-4 Big East)

No. 2 CINCINNATI (22-2, 11-0 American)
No. 15 CHARLESTON (19-6, 10-3 Colonial)


EAST REGIONAL | Boston, Mass.

(Pittsburgh, Pa.)
No. 1 XAVIER (22-3, 10-2 Big East)
No. 16 FGCU (19-8, 10-0 Atlantic Sun)

No. 8 
MIDDLE TENNESSEE (19-5, 11-1 Conference USA)
No. 9 Michigan (19-7, 8-5 Big Ten)

(San Diego, Calif.)
No. 5 Florida (16-8, 7-4 SEC)
No. 12 BUFFALO (18-6, 10-1 MAC)

No. 4 Clemson (20-4, 9-3 ACC)
No. 13 LOYOLA-CHICAGO (20-5, 10-3 Missouri Valley)

(Wichita, Kan.)
No. 6 Texas A&M (16-8, 5-6 SEC)
No. 11 BOISE STATE (20-4, 10-2 Mountain West)

No. 3 Duke (19-5, 7-4 ACC)
No. 14 RIDER (18-7, 11-2 Metro Atlantic)

(Detroit, Mich.)
No. 7 Nevada (20-5, 9-2 Mountain West)
No. 10 Texas (15-9, 5-6 Big 12)

No. 2 Purdue (23-3, 12-1 Big Ten)
No. 15 MONTANA (19-5, 12-0 Big Sky)


WEST REGIONAL | Los Angeles, Calif.

(Pittsburgh, Pa.)
No. 1 Villanova (22-2, 9-2 Big East)
No. 16 UNC ASHEVILLE (17-9, 10-3 Big South)

No. 8 
Louisville (17-8, 7-5 ACC)
No. 9 Arkansas  (16-8, 5-6 SEC)

(San Diego, Calif.)
No. 5 Wichita State (18-5, 8-3 American)
No. 12 Missouri (16-8, 6-5 SEC) / No. 12 Virginia Tech (17-7, 6-5 ACC)

No. 4 OHIO STATE (21-5, 12-1 Big Ten)
No. 13 SOUTH DAKOTA STATE (21-6, 9-1 Summit)

(Dallas, Tex.)
No. 6 SAINT MARY’S (24-2, 13-0 West Coast)
No. 11 NC State (16-8, 6-5 ACC)

No. 3 AUBURN (21-3, 9-2 SEC)
No. 14 WRIGHT STATE (19-7, 11-2 Horizon)

(Wichita, Kan.)
No. 7 Creighton (18-6, 8-4 Big East)
No. 10 Southern California (17-8, 8-4 Pac-12)

No. 2 KANSAS (19-5, 8-3 Big 12)
No. 15 PENNSYLVANIA (16-6, 6-0 Ivy)

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.

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MIDWEST REGIONAL | Omaha, Neb.

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WEST REGIONAL | Los Angeles, Calif.

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