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NCAA Basketball News and Notes: The Basketball Tournament Begins

Although we are many months away from the regular season, college basketball news is still popping up around the country. Let’s dive in and look at some of the recent headlines.


Starting on Saturday, the seventh annual additional of The Basketball Tournament will commence. The tournament will take place in Columbus, Ohio, and be centralized to one location in Nationwide Arena.

A $1 million prize is up for grabs in the winner-take-all event and will feature a smaller field this season of just 24 teams. Last year the TBT featured a bracket of 64 teams.

Although the field is drastically reduced compared to years past, the field is still stacked with former NCAA talent. The talent level boasts former first-round selections as well as recent college graduates that had standout collegiate careers.

Some of the notable players include:

  • Joe Johnson, Overseas Elite. Johnson was the No. 10 overall selection in the 2001 draft out of Arkansas. Johnson saw himself garner seven NBA All-Star selections over his career, scoring 20,405 points in 18 seasons.
  • Malachi Richardson, Boeheim’s Army. Another former first-round draft pick, Richardson played just one season for Syracuse before jumping to the professional ranks. The No. 22 overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2016 draft, Richardson spent three seasons in the NBA and developmental league before transitioning overseas.
  • Chris McCullough, Boeheim’s Army. McCullough played and started 16 games as a freshman for Syracuse before a knee injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season. While rehabbing the injury, McCullough declared for the 2015 NBA draft and was selected as the No. 29 pick by the Brooklyn Nets.
  • Johnny O’Bryant III, Eberlein Drive. A former second-round pick out of LSU in the 2014 NBA draft, O’Bryant spent only a couple years in the league before heading overseas. In the 2018-19 season, his first with the Isreal team Maccabi Tel Aviv of the EuroLeague, he helped The Yellows win the Israel League Championship.
  • Josh Perkins, Playing for Jimmy V. Gonzaga’s all-time leader in assists is one of the younger players in this year’s TBT. Perkins went undrafted during the 2019 NBA draft but has played in the NBA’s G-League since graduating from Gonzaga.

Athletic Department Budget Cuts

The economic impact of the coronavirus is starting to show in many athletic departments across the country. Many schools are starting to cut programs and reduce administrative and coaching salaries.

Two of the universities that announced pay cuts recently to their athletic staffs are Iowa and Michigan. Michigan’s men’s basketball head coach Juwan Howard will take a 10% cut in pay while Iowa’s Fran McCaffery agreed to take a voluntarily 15% pay cut for one year.

Bates is a Spartan

The top overall prospect in the class of 2022, small forward Emoni Bates, verbally committed to Michigan State and coach Tom Izzo on Monday. The 6-9 talent out of Ypsilanti, Mich., is ranked the No. 1 prospect on all major recruiting websites.

Bates was the first sophomore to ever win the Gatorade National Men’s Player of the Year award last season and to many considered the best high school prospect regardless of class.

MSU should be cautious, however, as Bates’ class could be the first class since 2004 to be allowed to go directly to the NBA since the one-and-done rule was enacted the following year. If that happens, it’s hard to imagine Bates ever wearing a Spartans uniform.

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