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Top Five stories from a busy NCAA summer …

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Ready again for college hoops?  In anticipation of the Midnight Madness bracket projection here at Bracketville, time for a quick peek at the Top Five stories from the NCAA off-season. Let’s go …

No. 5 – Kyle Singler returns to Duke: Matched with Nolan Smith and super-recruit Kyrie Irving, Duke will try to match Florida’s back-to-back titles in 2006-2007.  Prior to the Gators’ run, the Blue Devils pulled off the repeat in 1991-1992.  Not sure it’s going to happen, but the crazies from Durham have been a front-runner since May.

No. 4 – Tom Izzo stays at Michigan State: After a lengthy back-and-forth with the Cleveland Cavaliers, one of college hoop’s finest decides to stay in East Lansing.  Forget that LeBron James bolted for Miami, Izzo made the right choice.  He’s a college guy and has an amazing track record at Michigan State.  Think about this … which is hard to remember, when MSU made the Final Four or missed it?  By the way, the Spartans could easily make a third straight trip. 

No. 3 – Recruiting issues at UConn and Tennessee: What a mess for two noteworthy programs.  How much the allegations, potential penalties, and turmoil affect on-court performance remains to be seen.  But it’s not looking good for the Huskies or Volunteers.  Teams have been known to unite in difficult times; they’ve also been known to fall apart.  Given the uncertainty ahead, the latter seems more likely. Update: The NCAA is also now sniffing around at Baylor

No. 2 – Player eligibility: While Dee Bost is back at Mississippi State (albeit with a nine-game suspension), Kentucky and Kansas await major decisions regarding two high-profile recruits … Enes Kanter (UK) and Josh Selby (KU).  The NCAA outcome could certainly change the fortunes of either squad.  Guess here is that both play this season.  How much remains to be seen.  Update: There’s also the case of LaceDarius Dunn at Baylor.  Suspended, somewhat reinstated, but unknown.  The Bears could be a middle-of-the-pack team without him.

No. 1 – Tournament expands to 68 teams:  Better than a once-debated 96-team field, the NCAA added three more at-large bids to create its newest format. Dubbed the First Four, Dayton will host a series of four “play in” games to finalize the traditional 64-team field. The First Four will match the four lowest rated S-curve teams and the last four at-large teams. For the first time, the NCAA Selection Committee will have to reveal its final at-large teams.

As always, rebounds are welcome.  Follow along on Twitter, or send an e-mail to bracketville.hoops@gmail.com.  Here’s to another great season of college hoops.  Tell your friends.  Thanks for visiting Bracketville.

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