NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship

1 2 3 5

March Madness: What is Thursday’s NCAA tournament Sweet 16 schedule?

(PhatzRadio Sports / USA TODAY SPORTS)   —    It’s called March Madness for a reason.

After an upset-filled opening weekend, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament rolls on Thursday, where the first four teams will look to advance to the Elite Eight.

While we won’t be seeing a No. 1 seed play on the opening day of the Sweet 16, Thursday’s action will feature the underdogs: Sister Jean and No. 11 Loyola-Chicago, No. 9-seeds Florida State and Kansas State and No. 7-seeds Texas A&M and Nevada.

Here is everything you need to know regarding coverage, along with must-read stories as one of the wildest NCAA tournaments in recent memory continues.

No. 7 Nevada vs. No. 11 Loyola-Chicago

7:07 p.m. ET, CBS

Listen: Hear the game via TuneIn

Why Nevada will win: One of the best offensive teams in the country, the Wolf Pack’s ability to score means a game is never over — even if you put them in a 22-point hole, as Cincinnati did in the Round of 32. Four starters average at least 13 points, and they’re all 6-7, which can create matchup issues. Kendall Stephens set the Mountain West record for three-pointers in a season (126) and has made five or more in a game 13 times.

Why Loyola-Chicago will win: The power of Sister Jean is strong, but the real story of the Ramblers’ Sweet 16 run is that they’ve won 19 of their last 20 games. They rank third nationally in field goal percentage (50.6%) and have beaten three Power Five teams this season in Florida, Miami (Fla.) and Tennessee. They’re for real. Guard Clayton Custer, who hit the winner against the Vols, is shooting 46% for the season from three-point range.

No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 7 Texas A&M

7:37 p.m. ET, TBS

Listen: Hear the game via TuneIn

Why Michigan will win: The Wolverines, a popular Final Four sleeper pick, know how to play defense. They haven’t shot the ball great in the tournament but held their first two opponents, Montana and Houston, to a combined 34.5% from the field. They also only allow opposing teams to score 63.1 points a game, which makes them the eighth best scoring defense in the country. The hero of the second round, freshman Jordan Poole, averages 6.2 points and 12.8 minutes per game — was Houston merely a breakout game for him? Regardless, Michigan will need Moritz Wagner (14.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg) to play well to advance.

Why Texas A&M will win: They’re huge. Three starters —Tyler Davis, Robert Williams and D.J. Hogg — are taller than 6-9. Davis (6-9, 270 pounds) and Williams (6-10, 241 pounds) in particular take up a lot of space. It’s tough for opposing teams to score just because of A&M’s length. Not to mention five players average double figures, which means they have a balanced attack. The Aggies team everyone was predicting in the preseason to make a deep tourney run seems to have finally showed up; it helps that they’re finally healthy and suspension-free.

No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 9 Kansas State

Approx. 9:37 p.m. ET, CBS

Listen: Hear the game via TuneIn

Why Kentucky will win: No matter what you think of the Wildcats’ inconsistency or how this roster stacks up to previous teams John Calipari has had, they’re the prohibitive favorite to get out of this region because they have lots of five-star talent who are starting to play their best basketball. Freshman point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 23 points and 6.5 assists in the NCAA tournament, lifting a team whose offensive production was in question at various points this season.

Why Kansas State will win: The size, physicality and age of Kansas State’s team could make this a sneaky tough matchup, especially if big man Dean Wade (16.5 points, 6.3 rebounds) is healthy enough to play. He sat out last weekend with a stress fracture in his foot. The Wildcats aren’t pretty on offense, but they were a top-20 defensive team this season and Bruce Weber will have a good scheme to contain penetration and force Kentucky to hit outside shots.

No. 4 Gonzaga vs. No. 9 Florida State

Approx. 10:07 p.m. ET, TBS

Listen: Hear the game via TuneIn

Why Gonzaga will win: The guy who is arguably their best pro prospect, 6-8 sophomore forward Rui Hachimura (11.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg), comes off the bench. This team might have lost a lot from the Final Four but they also returned some very good — and improved — players, led by 6-10 sophomore forward Killian Tillie (12.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg). They’re balanced, they know how to score (84.2 ppg, 10th in the country) and won’t be intimidated by the stage. Mobile 6-9 forward/center Johnathan Williams (13.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg) provides matchup problems for pretty much everyone.

Why FSU will win: The Seminoles will hardly be intimidated by Gonzaga’s seed; they got to this point in part by going on a 31-14 run against Xavier in the second round to advance to the Sweet 16. They’re balanced, too, with seven players who average at least seven points, led by 6-8 senior forward Phil Cofer (12.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg); that means anyone could go off at any time. Against Missouri in the second round, it was 6-9 redshirt freshman Mfiondu Kabengele, who came off the bench to score 14. And while their 9-9 conference record is somewhat underwhelming, they are battle-tested after going through the ACC.

NCAA tournament Sweet 16: Most important players for every March Madness team

(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today Sports)   —   Basketball is undoubtedly a team game, but March Madness always has room for star players who can take over with highlight-reel, buzzer-beating heroics.

Now that we’re down to 16 teams in the NCAA tournament, there will be players who are crucial for their team’s advancement to the Elite Eight — either because of their takeover abilities or game-changing style of play.

Some might be stars, some might be unsung heroes. USA TODAY Sports tracks every Sweet 16 team’s most important player (in no particular order).

Cameron Krutwig, Loyola-Chicago. There’s no star player on the Ramblers’ roster, and that’s what makes them so dangerous. There’s a plethora of weapons at coach Porter Moser’s disposal. But for the hot-shooting guards to be successful on the perimeter, there has to be a little inside-out game. That’s where 6-9 center Krutwig (10.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg), a true freshman who plays like a senior, comes in. His passing skills are exceptional for a big man, and his defense against the athletic bigs of Miami and Tennessee paved the way for this Cinderella’s buzzer-beating wins.

Cody Martin, Nevada. Caleb Martin has been the Wolf Pack’s leading scorer and alpha dog all season, but in the team’s stunning 22-point comeback against Cincinnati, it was twin brother Cody Martin (13.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.7 apg) who sparked the resurgent Wolf Pack. Martin does a little of everything to help this team win and he’ll likely be the player to step up if his brother and elite scorer Jordan Caroline aren’t on their A-game against Loyola.

SWEET 16: Ranking teams based on title potential

Tyler Davis, Texas A&M. Davis pairs with Robert Williams to make the Aggies’ twin towers presence for this team’s formidable frontcourt. But it was Davis’ offense (18 points, nine rebounds) that fueled a dominant win over North Carolina in the second round. He’ll need another big performance against Michigan.

Mortiz Wagner, Michigan. Jordan Poole’s buzzer-beater helped the Wolverines prevail over Houston, but in order for Michigan to get to the Elite Eight it’s going to need better production from the 6-11 big man. Wagner is averaging just 8.5 points in the tournament.

Dean Wade, Kansas State. The Wildcats survived without their leading scorer in wins over Creighton and UMBC to get to the Sweet 16. But Wade, who said he’s “98% sure” he will play against Kentucky after dealing with a foot injury, could give this team enough offensive firepower to pull off a big upset over the heavily-favored Wildcats. He averages 16.5 points and 6.3 rebounds.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky. The Wildcats guard came up big with 27 points, six assists and six rebounds in Kentucky’s second-round win over Buffalo. He also was huge in UK’s SEC tournament title game against Tennessee, finishing with 29 points and seven assists. The better Gilgeous-Alexander plays, the better Kentucky plays.

Terance Mann, Florida State. The junior guard wasn’t expected to play against Xavier due to a groin injury. However, he opted to play and came up big for FSU by scoring 10 points, including some crucial baskets to help the Seminoles take down a No. 1 seed.

Zach Norvell Jr., Gonzaga. The freshman guard put the team on his back in a second-round win over Ohio State, finishing with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Norvell is really blossoming as a playmaker in March. He’ll also draw a tough defensive assignment in trying to slow Florida State’s guards in the ‘Zags’ Sweet 16 matchup against the Seminoles.

Gabe DeVoe, Clemson. The 6-3 senior guard helped pilot a 31-point blowout win vs. Auburn in the second round, finishing with 22 points. He and the rest of the Tigers’ backcourt will be tasked with slowing Big 12 player of the year Devonte’ Graham, an elite scorer who usually needs to play well for Kansas to win.

Udoka Azubuike, Kansas. Coach Bill Self put it out bluntly following the Jayhawks’ win over Seton Hall in the second round. “If Udoka wasn’t able to come back from his injury, we don’t win.” The 7-foot big man missed Kansas’ three Big 12 tournament games with a knee injury. His re-emergence was crucial in helping KU get to the Sweet 16. His presence in the paint, for an undersized team, can be a difference-maker against Clemson.

Jevon Carter, West Virginia. The All-American guard is the Mountaineers’ best offensive catalyst, averaging 17.4 points and 6.6 assists. He also is a tenacious ballhawk on the defensive end. To beat Villanova, Carter will have to frustrate national player of the year Jalen Brunson in the same fashion he did Oklahoma’s Trae Young during Big 12 play.

Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova. Brunson and NBA talent Mikal Bridges will dominate most of the attention, but DiVencenzo’s offense and three-point shooting will be key for the Wildcats to escape West Virginia. His ball handling also will be needed for WVU’s press.

Tyus Battle, Syracuse.  The Orange only has three capable scorers (and Battle is one of them) and relies heavily on its effective 2-3 zone. So, Battle will have to take on the scoring load and hit clutch shots — as he did against Michigan State in the second round, for this No. 11 seed to keep its unexpected tourney run going.

Trevon Duval, Duke. The Blue Devils’ point guard doesn’t demand the same type of attention as All-Americans Marvin Bagley III or Grayson Allen, but it’s Duval who has the ball in his hands a lot in close-game situations. His playmaking can be a difference-maker by getting into the seams of Syracuse’s 2-3 zone. Duval averages 10.2 points and 5.6 assists, and he’s given coach Mike Krzyzewski a true point guard that he was lacking last season when the Blue Devils bowed out in the second round.

Keenan Evans, Texas Tech. The senior guard hasn’t been at 100% while dealing with a turf toe injury, but he’s been a warrior and the spark plug during the Red Raiders’ advancement. In TTU’s close win over Florida, it was Evans who drained a tie-breaking three-pointer with 2½ minutes left and assisted Zhaire Smith for an alley-oop with 30 seconds remaining. If it’s close late in the game, Texas Tech will have the ball in his hands.

Matt Haarms, Purdue. With Isaac Haas sidelined with an elbow injury, backup 7-footer Haarms is the next man up and will have the most important role in Purdue’s Sweet 16 clash against Texas Tech. A 7-3 freshman, Haarms played well through 29 minutes to help the Boilermakers advance past Butler. He’s certainly not as good as Haas, but he probably can do enough to help Purdue advance.

Follow Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson

NCAA Men’s Tournament Roundup: Underdog UMBC falls to Kansas State 50-43

This gallery contains 1 photo.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — PJ Savoy made a 3-pointer with 1:08 left to give Florida State its first lead of the second half, and the Seminoles rallied from a 12-point deficit to beat top-seeded Xavier 75-70 on Sunday night in the second round of the West Region.

The Seminoles, on their way to the NCAA Tournament’s round of 16 for the first time since 2011, made Xavier the second No. 1 seed ousted in the first weekend, sending the Musketeers out along with Virginia. Now Florida State (22-11) will play fourth-seeded Gonzaga on Thursday night in Los Angeles.

Savoy also hit a pair of free throws with 21.6 seconds left putting Florida State up 73-70. Kerem Kanter shot an air ball from beyond the arc at the top of the key with 7 seconds to go for Xavier, and CJ Walker added a pair of free throws with 6.4 seconds remaining. Terance Mann picked off a long pass by Paul Scruggs off Xavier’s inbound pass before running in front of Seminoles’ fans to start the party.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Barry Brown scored 18 points, and Kansas State ended UMBC’s brief, but historic run in the NCAA Tournament.

Two nights after UMBC became the first 16 seed to beat a No. 1, the Retrievers ran out of magic against the Wildcats.

The Wildcats (24-11) move on to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2010 when they lost in the Elite Eight to Butler. They will face Kentucky on Thursday night.

UMBC (25-11) had only had two field goals in the final six minutes and shot just 29.8 percent for the game.

UMBC’s scrappy defense forced 18 turnovers, but managed just three points off those. They finished 6 of 22 from 3-point range two nights after lighting up Virginia, and 9 of 18 from the free throw line.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — T.J. Starks scored 21 points and Texas A&M overpowered North Carolina inside, upsetting the reigning national champions to mark the second straight year a title holder missed the Sweet 16.

The seventh-seeded Aggies (22-12) did everything they had to do to hand the Tar Heels a rare loss in a home-state NCAA game. They dominated the glass. They used their size to control the paint and block shots. And they pounced when UNC’s small-ball lineup couldn’t make an outside shot.

Robert Williams finished with 13 rebounds, helping the Aggies take a 50-36 edge while shooting 52 percent — including 10 of 24 from 3-point range.

Joel Berry II scored 21 points in his final game for the second-seeded Tar Heels (26-11), who were trying to reach their third straight Final Four. But they ended up falling to 34-2 in NCAA games in their home state, the only other loss coming in 1979.


DETROIT (AP) — Dakota Mathias sank a 3-pointer with 14.2 seconds left and second-seeded Purdue, minus star center Isaac Haas, held off 10th-seeded Butler to reach the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive year.

The Boilermakers (30-6) led by as many as 10 points in the second half, but Butler (21-14) cut the deficit to two and had the ball in the final minute. Kalen Martin missed a 3-pointer, and the shot by Mathias at the other end made it 76-71.

Martin scored with 2.1 seconds remaining, and P.J. Thompson missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Butler another chance. The Bulldogs called a timeout with 1.8 seconds left, and Kamar Baldwin’s shot from near midcourt hit the rim — although it may have been waved off on a review even if it had gone in.

Vincent Edwards scored 20 points despite early foul trouble for Purdue, and Matt Haarms filled in capably for the injured Haas. The Boilermakers set a school record for victories in a season and are in the regional semifinals for the fourth time under coach Matt Painter. Purdue faces third-seeded Texas Tech on Friday in Boston.


DETROIT (AP) — Tyus Battle had 17 points and Oshae Brissett scored 15, lifting 11th-seeded Syracuse into the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.

Cassius Winston missed an opportunity to win the game for the Spartans with a shot from about 45 feet just before the buzzer. The Spartans, flummoxed by Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, didn’t make a basket in the last 5:41.

The Orange (23-13) forced the Spartans (30-5) to settle for 3-pointers all afternoon and it worked brilliantly for Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim against Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo.

The Spartans took a school record 37 shots beyond the arc, making just eight of them.

Syracuse has won three straight since being sent to Dayton for the First Four as what the selection committee chairman acknowledged was the final team to receive an at-large bid.

Paschal Chukwu connected on one free throw with 2.4 seconds left and the miss gave Michigan State a chance to win in dramatic fashion, but Winston couldn’t make a long shot to be hailed in his hometown.


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Josh Hall converted an offensive rebound for the tiebreaking basket with 9.1 seconds left as Nevada erased a 22-point deficit in the final 11 minutes.

Nevada’s stirring comeback — the second-largest in tournament history — came just two days after the seventh-seeded Wolf Pack rallied from 14 points down to beat Texas 87-83 for its first NCAA victory since 2007.

The Wolf Pack (28-7) move on to an all-upstart South Region semifinal matchup with 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago (30-5) on Thursday night.

Cincinnati, the No. 2 seed, never trailed until Hall’s tiebreaking basket but watched its lead disintegrate as it failed to make a basket in the final 5:45.

With the game tied in the closing seconds, Hall got a rebound off a missed shot by Cody Martin. Hall made a move in the paint and then hit the winning basket. Cincinnati (31-5) never got off a shot before the buzzer. Cane Broome briefly lost control of the ball and then passed to the area of Gary Clark as the final seconds ticked away.


SAN DIEGO (AP) — Gabe DeVoe scored 22 points and Elijah Thomas had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Clemson, which closed the first half with a 25-4 run that helped it beat cold-shooting Auburn.

In a matchup between Southern schools better known for football, the No. 5 seed Clemson Tigers proved far more adept on the hardwood than the No. 4 seed Auburn Tigers.

The blowout win put Clemson (25-9) into the Sweet 16 for the fourth time overall and the first since 1997, earning it a spot against Kansas in the regional semifinal.

Auburn, which played this season under the cloud of a federal investigation into corruption in college basketball, finished 26-8.

The final 10½ minutes of the first half were a nightmare for Auburn, which made only 6 of 33 shots (18.2 percent) in the first half and 17 of 66 overall (25.8 percent).

March Madness – Bark Bracket: Retrievers become top dogs, boosted by UMBC

This gallery contains 1 photo.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Ramblers are moving on. Are the Retrievers ready to run with them to the Sweet 16?

Loyola-Chicago kept its feel-good story going with a one-point win over third-seeded Tennessee in the second round Saturday as the little guys kept making more noise in the NCAA Tournament. The victory allowed 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago to keep pace with the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, a commuter school in Baltimore which — before Friday night — was best known as a master of the game of chess by those who actually knew of the school.

UMBC etched its name in sports lore when it beat Virginia , the top seed in the men’s tournament, by 20 points, becoming the first No. 16 seed to accomplish the feat in 136 tries. Now, it’s time to see if the Retrievers can put all those post-victory texts and congratulatory calls in the rearview mirror when they play No. 9 seed Kansas State on Sunday with a Sweet 16 berth at stake.

“Yeah, we’re not satisfied,” UMBC guard K.J. Maura said. “We go in tomorrow with the mentality we’re going to win another game. We’re hungry for more.”

So, too, is Loyola, whose prayers again were answered in the waning seconds when Clayton Custer’s winning basket bounced up off the front of the rim, lightly touched the backboard, and dropped softly back down before slipping through the net with 3.6 seconds left . Custer’s winner came two days after Donte Ingram’s buzzer-beating 3 from the March Madness logo beat Miami.

“We know that we can play with these teams,” Custer said. “We play hard, we play together, and we play defense. I don’t think a lot of these teams know how hard we’re going to play when we show up. I know they got off to a good start, but coach challenged us to respond to it.”

Call it divine providence for a team making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 33 years.

With a twist, that is.

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the team’s 98-year-old team chaplain and occasional coach , has been watching and praying from her wheelchair on a platform near the main TV cameras courtside. But her bracket doesn’t have her favorite team advancing past the Sweet 16.

“We’re going to have to prove Sister Jean wrong on this one,” Custer said.

MOUNTAIN MADNESS: These are heady days for the state of West Virginia, which really can’t lose Sunday when 13th-seeded Marshall meets Bob Huggins and his West Virginia Mountaineers for a berth in the regional semifinals. They’re the only two Division I colleges in the state that play the men’s game.

“Half of the state’s population is probably flying out here right now for the game,” Marshall guard Jon Elmore said. “The attention West Virginia is getting, shoot, half the media doesn’t even know we’re a state.”

Unfortunately, this game might have to suffice as far as the rivalry goes because the teams no longer play each other. Under Huggins, the Mountaineers have become a force in the Big 12 and no longer think scheduling the Thundering Herd is worthwhile despite pleas from fans and even the brief discussion of state legislative action to force the series to resume.

“We are on one end of the state. They are on the other end of the state. We don’t really cross,” Huggins said. “From our standpoint, it’s not what you want to make it out to be — Duke-North Carolina. It’s not that. It’s not that at all.”

CREAM RISES: Despite the upsets, top seeds Villanova and Kansas , second-seeded Duke , third-seeded Texas Tech and Michigan , fourth seed Gonzaga and fifth seed Kentucky are moving on to the Sweet 16 — the Zags for the fourth straight year — but they’re still wary considering what’s happened.

“Our biggest takeaway from just watching and being involved is that anything can happen,” Duke’s Marvin Bagley III said. “You know, every team is here for a reason and every game is — anybody could win it. We can’t assume anything … take it one day at a time because tomorrow’s never promised in this tournament.”

Top-seeded Xavier, second seeds North Carolina, Purdue and Cincinnati, and third-seeded Michigan State will try to advance Sunday.

ZONED IN: The state of New York singlehandedly took care of the Pac-12 in the NCAA Tournament, with Syracuse beating Arizona State and St. Bonaventure defeating UCLA in the First Four and Buffalo dominating Arizona in the first round.

Heading into Sunday’s matchup against Michigan State, the Orange are the only one of four New York teams still standing. Duke crushed Iona and the Bonnies fell to Florida in the first round, and Kentucky pulled away late to beat Buffalo 95-75 in the second round Saturday.

Syracuse, the tallest team in the country, has prevailed because of coach Jim Boeheim’s zone defense. It held Arizona State to 56 points and beat TCU 57-52 in the first round . Talk about being zoned in — that was 31 points below the season average for the Horned Frogs.

“If we’re playing the zone the correct way, we’re moving, active, talking, we definitely frustrate a lot of teams because we’re so long and athletic and with shot blockers down low,” guard Tyus Battle said. “And when you finally get that open shot, you start second-guessing it because you haven’t got an open shot the whole game. So it makes things tough on the opposing team.”


1. Michigan gave us the best play of March Madness. Freshman Jordan Poole’s 30-foot buzzer-beater lifted the Wolverines over Houston in a 64-63 thriller. It’s a play that coach John Beilein designed and practiced but it took the guy with utmost confidence to hit the dagger on the big stage.

“He has an overdose of swag,” Beilein said on TBS after the game.

After Houston’s Devin Davis missed two free throws with 3.9 seconds left, Michigan called timeout and set

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Ramblers are moving on. Are the Retrievers ready to run with them to the Sweet 16?

Loyola-Chicago kept its feel-good story going with a one-point win over third-seeded Tennessee in the second round Saturday as the little guys kept making more noise in the NCAA Tournament. The victory allowed 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago to keep pace with the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, a commuter school in Baltimore which — before Friday night — was best known as a master of the game of chess by those who actually knew of the school.

UMBC etched its name in sports lore when it beat Virginia , the top seed in the men’s tournament, by 20 points, becoming the first No. 16 seed to accomplish the feat in 136 tries. Now, it’s time to see if the Retrievers can put all those post-victory texts and congratulatory calls in the rearview mirror when they play No. 9 seed Kansas State on Sunday with a Sweet 16 berth at stake.

“Yeah, we’re not satisfied,” UMBC guard K.J. Maura said. “We go in tomorrow with the mentality we’re going to win another game. We’re hungry for more.”

So, too, is Loyola, whose prayers again were answered in the waning seconds when Clayton Custer’s winning basket bounced up off the front of the rim, lightly touched the backboard, and dropped softly back down before slipping through the net with 3.6 seconds left . Custer’s winner came two days after Donte Ingram’s buzzer-beating 3 from the March Madness logo beat Miami.

“We know that we can play with these teams,” Custer said. “We play hard, we play together, and we play defense. I don’t think a lot of these teams know how hard we’re going to play when we show up. I know they got off to a good start, but coach challenged us to respond to it.”

Call it divine providence for a team making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 33 years.

With a twist, that is.

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the team’s 98-year-old team chaplain and occasional coach , has been watching and praying from her wheelchair on a platform near the main TV cameras courtside. But her bracket doesn’t have her favorite team advancing past the Sweet 16.

“We’re going to have to prove Sister Jean wrong on this one,” Custer said.

MOUNTAIN MADNESS: These are heady days for the state of West Virginia, which really can’t lose Sunday when 13th-seeded Marshall meets Bob Huggins and his West Virginia Mountaineers for a berth in the regional semifinals. They’re the only two Division I colleges in the state that play the men’s game.

“Half of the state’s population is probably flying out here right now for the game,” Marshall guard Jon Elmore said. “The attention West Virginia is getting, shoot, half the media doesn’t even know we’re a state.”

Unfortunately, this game might have to suffice as far as the rivalry goes because the teams no longer play each other. Under Huggins, the Mountaineers have become a force in the Big 12 and no longer think scheduling the Thundering Herd is worthwhile despite pleas from fans and even the brief discussion of state legislative action to force the series to resume.

“We are on one end of the state. They are on the other end of the state. We don’t really cross,” Huggins said. “From our standpoint, it’s not what you want to make it out to be — Duke-North Carolina. It’s not that. It’s not that at all.”

CREAM RISES: Despite the upsets, top seeds Villanova and Kansas , second-seeded Duke , third-seeded Texas Tech and Michigan , fourth seed Gonzaga and fifth seed Kentucky are moving on to the Sweet 16 — the Zags for the fourth straight year — but they’re still wary considering what’s happened.

“Our biggest takeaway from just watching and being involved is that anything can happen,” Duke’s Marvin Bagley III said. “You know, every team is here for a reason and every game is — anybody could win it. We can’t assume anything … take it one day at a time because tomorrow’s never promised in this tournament.”

Top-seeded Xavier, second seeds North Carolina, Purdue and Cincinnati, and third-seeded Michigan State will try to advance Sunday.

ZONED IN: The state of New York singlehandedly took care of the Pac-12 in the NCAA Tournament, with Syracuse beating Arizona State and St. Bonaventure defeating UCLA in the First Four and Buffalo dominating Arizona in the first round.

Heading into Sunday’s matchup against Michigan State, the Orange are the only one of four New York teams still standing. Duke crushed Iona and the Bonnies fell to Florida in the first round, and Kentucky pulled away late to beat Buffalo 95-75 in the second round Saturday.

Syracuse, the tallest team in the country, has prevailed because of coach Jim Boeheim’s zone defense. It held Arizona State to 56 points and beat TCU 57-52 in the first round . Talk about being zoned in — that was 31 points below the season average for the Horned Frogs.

“If we’re playing the zone the correct way, we’re moving, active, talking, we definitely frustrate a lot of teams because we’re so long and athletic and with shot blockers down low,” guard Tyus Battle said. “And when you finally get that open shot, you start second-guessing it because you haven’t got an open shot the whole game. So it makes things tough on the opposing team.”


up the sequence — an inbounds pass from Isaiah Livers hit Muchammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman near midcourt. After two dribbles, he found Poole lined up from deep on the right wing. He let it fly. And Pandemonium ensued.

NCAA TOURNEY BRACKET: Meet the Sweet 16 teams

“We practiced (the play) a countless number of times in practice,” Poole said. “By the grace of god I made the shot. …It’s ridiculous. I’m speechless.”

And so are the Houston Cougars, who had the Sweet 16 within their grasp. These NCAAs will miss Rob Gray and his manbun, while Michigan remains a Final Four contender.

2. Kentucky is hitting its stride. The Wildcats flushed giant killer Buffalo by 20 points on Saturday and look like the favorites to come out of the South Region and get to San Antonio (with no disrespect to No. 2 Cincinnati) now that Virginia and Arizona are gone. Coach John Calipari has this group peaking in March and guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (27 points, six assists) gives this team an invaluable weapon that will matter big-time in close-game situations. His 29 points in UK’s SEC tourney title game win over Tennessee proved to be the difference-maker then.

3. Duke and Villanova look like our title favorites. Kansas looked alright in its survival win over Seton Hall on Saturday. But the second-seeded Blue Devils looked like the No. 1 seed in the cluttered Midwest Region based on the way they completely dismantled a really solid Rhode Island team. Marvin Bagley III is on his A-game and the rest of the supporting cast make game-planning for this team look impossible.

Meanwhile, Villanova took over in the second half against Collin Sexton and Alabama — to avoid the second-round upsets that have plagued the program in recent years. Jay Wright’s group has a very clear path to the Final Four and should be considered the best No. 1 seed now that UVA is at home. While national player of the year Jalen Brunson is this team’s lightning rod and Mikal Bridges provides NBA talent, the player to watch is Donte DiVincenzo, who gives this team instant offense off the bench.

4. Loyola looks like VCU and George Mason more than FGCU. The Ramblers’ last-second 63-62 victory over SEC regular-season champion Tennessee proved coach Porter Moser’s team is no one-hit wonder. And closer inspection at Loyola shows this isn’t your typical Cinderella, either — buzzer-beaters aside. Loyola’s got the makeup and moxie of a team that can do more than bottom out in the Sweet 16. The recipe includes an unselfish cast that lives for the extra pass, a balanced offense that leans on a different hot handed player each game, and a top-five defense nationally.

5. Gonzaga continues to shed its underachieving label.  On Saturday, Gonzaga showed poise and fight down the stretch in a 90-84 win over Ohio State. With the game tied 67-67 with five minutes left, the ‘Zags staged an 11-2 run to put the game out of reach and handily fend off Ohio State’s counter-punches. This team isn’t as good as last year’s Final Four team talent-wise. But the difference between good teams and good programs is that NCAA tournament success usually rewards the latter. No longer is Gonzaga a team that can’t get past the second round — as it was considered four years ago.

Men’s NCAA Tournament Roundup: Poole’s buzzer-beater sends Michigan past Houston 64-63

This gallery contains 1 photo.

(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —-    Results from the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday:



WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Michigan freshman Jordan Poole drained a long 3-pointer at the buzzer after Houston squandered a chance to lock up a spot in the Sweet 16, giving the third-seeded Wolverines a heart-stopping victory.

Devin Davis had a chance to seal the win, but the Cougars’ gritty forward missed a pair of foul shots with 3.6 seconds left. The Wolverines (30-7) called timeout to set up a final play, and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman found Poole on the wing, and the shot hit nothing but net.

The officials reviewed it to make sure, but Poole had clearly gotten the shot away.

Michigan advanced to Los Angeles for a West Regional semifinal against North Carolina or Texas A&M next week.

Rob Gray scored 23 points and Davis finished with 17 for the Cougars (27-8), who were trying to reach their first Sweet 16 since the last of the Phi Slama Jama teams went to the Final Four in 1984.


BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Zach Norvell Jr. had 28 points, Rui Hachimura added 25 and Gonzaga reached the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight season.

Norvell hit the late tiebreaking 3-pointer against UNC-Greensboro in the opening round to help the Zags (32-4) advance. The confident freshman made 6 of 11 from beyond the arc against Ohio State.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a big early lead, withstood a second-half Ohio State charge and made the big plays down the stretch to earn a spot in the West Region semifinals against the Xavier-Florida State winner in Los Angeles.

The resilient-all-season Buckeyes (25-9) rallied from an abysmal start and an 11-point halftime deficit to take a brief second-half lead before Gonzaga went on an 11-0 run to snatch it back. Keita Bates-Diop had 28 points for Ohio State, and Kam Williams finished with 19.




DALLAS (AP) — Clayton Custer made a go-ahead jumper with 3.6 seconds left, sending 11th-seeded Loyola of Chicago to the Sweet 16.

Custer’s winner, which took a friendly bounce off the rim, came two days after Donte Ingram’s buzzer-beating 3 for Loyola against Miami, surely to the delight of Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the 98-year-old nun, team chaplain and primary booster watching from her wheelchair on a platform near the main TV cameras.

The Ramblers (30-5) broke the school record for wins set by the 1963 NCAA championship team. The small Catholic college in the heart of Chicago will play the Cincinnati-Nevada winner in the regional semifinals Thursday in Atlanta.

No. 3 seed Tennessee (26-7) took its only lead of the second half on a three-point play by Grant Williams with 20 seconds remaining.

After Loyola almost lost the ball on an out-of-bounds call confirmed on replay, Custer took the inbounds pass with 10 seconds left, dribbled left and then right, pulled up and let go of the winner.


BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 27 points and Kentucky pulled away for the victory.

Gilgeous-Alexander went 10 for 12 and made both of his 3-point attempts to send fifth-seeded Kentucky (26-10) to the Sweet 16 for the second straight season.

Coming into the day, the basketball world was still reverberating from Maryland-Baltimore County’s 16 vs. 1 stunner over Virginia the night before. Villanova and Duke both rolled early; the evening slate started with Kentucky, and the Wildcats, with their all-freshman starting lineup, trailed only once: 2-0.

It wasn’t a runaway until the last 7 minutes.

Buffalo (27-9), which got here with a 21-point blowout over Arizona, twice trimmed a double-digit lead to five midway through the second half.

Gilgeous-Alexander answered both times — once with a 3-pointer to extend the lead to eight, then again a few minutes later with a three-point play that started a 12-2 run and put the game away.




PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mikal Bridges scored 23 points, helping No. 1 seed Villanova to an impressive victory.

The Wildcats (32-4) are in the Sweet 16 for the first time since they won the 2016 national championship. Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Phil Booth — and yes, The Big Ragu — look every bit the favorite to make it two in three years.

Villanova plays Friday in Boston against the Marshall-West Virginia winner.

Collin Sexton led Alabama (20-16) with 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting. The star guard has to decide if he’ll join the ranks of the one-and-done freshman.


DALLAS (AP) — Keenan Evans made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2 1/2 minutes left, sending Texas Tech to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005.

Evans finished with 22 points, and Zhaire Smith had 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. The third-seeded Red Raiders (26-9) will face Purdue or Butler next Friday night in Boston.

Jalen Hudson scored 23 points for Florida (21-13). Egor Koulechov had 12 points, and Chris Chiozza finished with 11.




WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Malik Newman scored 28 points, Udoka Azubuike stood toe-to-toe with Seton Hall’s bruising Angel Delgado, and No. 1 seed Kansas advanced to its third consecutive Sweet 16.

Svi Mykhailiuk added 16 points and Lagerald Vick had 13 for the Jayhawks (29-7), who converted on every crucial play down the stretch to advance to the semifinals of the Midwest Region.

They’ll take on the winner of Sunday’s game between Auburn and Clemson in Omaha, Nebraska.

Delgado finished with 24 points and 23 rebounds in a virtuoso effort for the No. 8 seed Pirates (22-11), who snapped a four-game NCAA Tournament skid in the opening round.

Khadeen Carrington finished with 28 points, many of them on 3-pointers in the closing minutes, and Myles Powell added 14 as the pair of guards tried in vain to keep Seton Hall alive.


PITTSBURGH (AP) — Marvin Bagley had 22 points and nine rebounds, leading Duke to its 26th trip to the Sweet 16.

It was Mike Krzyzewski’s 1,099th victory, breaking a tie with late Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summitt for the most wins by a basketball coach in NCAA history.

Duke shot 57 percent (29 of 51) from the floor and finished with 20 assists. The Blue Devils (28-7) will play either Michigan State or Syracuse in the Midwest Region semifinals in Omaha, Nebraska next Friday.

E.C. Matthews led Rhode Island (26-8) with 21 points but the Rams looked confounded at times by Duke’s much improved zone defense. A weakness during a mini-swoon in late January, the Blue Devils are no longer treating defense like a chore they’re forced to complete before getting the ball back in their hands.

Men’s NCAA Tournament Roundup: UMBC first No. 16 seed to defeat a No. 1

This gallery contains 1 photo.

(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)    —-   Results from the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday:




DETROIT (AP) — Purdue center Isaac Haas broke his right elbow during a win over Cal State Fullerton and will miss the rest of the NCAA Tournament.

The 7-foot-2, 290-pound senior went down while taking a hard foul midway through the second half. Haas, who averaged 14.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, had nine points and 10 rebounds in the first-round victory.

The second-seeded Boilermakers (29-6) will play Butler on Sunday.

Kyle Allman scored 21 for the Titans (20-12).


SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jon Elmore scored 27 points and 13th-seeded Marshall toppled fourth-seeded Wichita State for its first NCAA Tournament victory.

The Thundering Herd (25-10) had been 0-5 in the tourney, with its last appearance in 1987.

Marshall became the second No. 13 seed to win this week. Buffalo did it Thursday night, beating Arizona.

Conner Frankamp scored 27 points for Wichita State (25-8).


SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jevon Carter scored 21 points, had eight assists and six steals as No. 5 seed West Virginia overwhelmed 12th-seeded Murray State.

The Mountaineers (25-10) advanced to the round of 32 for the third time in the past four seasons. Next up for West Virginia is a Mountain State showdown with 13th-seeded Marshall far away from home.

Terrell Miller scored 27 points for Murray State (26-6).


DETROIT (AP) — Kelan Martin scored 27 points and Kamar Baldwin added 24 to lift 10th-seeded Butler over seventh-seeded Arkansas.

The Bulldogs (21-13) raced to a 21-2 lead in the opening minutes. Although Arkansas wiped out that entire deficit before halftime, Butler took control again early in the second.

The Bulldogs now play an in-state rival, second-seeded Purdue.

Jaylen Barford scored 15 points for Arkansas (23-12).




CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — It finally happened — a 16 ousting a 1 in March Madness.

Senior guard Jairus Lyles scored 28 points, and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County pulled off the most shocking upset in NCAA Tournament history, defeating Virginia 74-54 on Friday night to become the first No. 16 seed ever to beat a No. 1 seed.

Virginia entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed after going 31-2 this season, including 20-1 in ACC competition.

But the Cavaliers couldn’t get anything generated on offense and the nation’s top-ranked defense couldn’t contain American East Conference champions.

The 74 points were the most Virginia had allowed this year.

Lyles was the catalyst.

He diced up Virginia’s defense in the second half, getting the hole easily on six different occasions and making easy layups. He also knocked down a pair of 3-pointers as UMBC built a 16-point lead.

Lyles finished with 23 of his points in the second half and Joe Sherburne finished with 14 points.

The game was tied at halftime, but the Retrievers came out confident and motivated in the second half and built a double-digit lead that Virginia could never erase.

Sherburne scored on an and-one drive and then knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key after a behind-the-back pass from KJ Maura. After Virginia made a foul shot, the shifty 5-foot-8, 140-pound Maura drove the lane for uncontested layup.

A Tony Bennett timeout couldn’t stop the bleeding, as Lyles hit two more 3’s and Sherburne hit one to extend UMBC’s lead to 14 with 14:57 left in the game. Lyles was fouled on a 3-point shot and suddenly the Retrievers led by 16.

A corner 3-pointer and a layups off a fastbreak by Arkel Lamer gave UMBC its biggest lead at 67-48. From there, the party was on as chants of “UMBC” rang through the arena.

It was yet another early exit for the Cavaliers in a season that seemed to hold so much promise.

Big picture

UMBC: Despite being undersized and unknown, they shocked the world and made history with an epic game.

Virginia: This isn’t the first time Virginia has struggled as the No. 1 seed. The Cavaliers trailed by five at halftime in 2014 to Coastal Carolina but went on to win 70-59.
Up next

UMBC: Will face No. 9 seed Kansas State on Sunday in the second round.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jarron Cumberland set career highs of 27 points and 11 rebounds as Cincinnati recovered after blowing a 10-point lead in the second half.

The second-seeded Bearcats (31-4) advanced to play seventh-seeded Nevada.

After trailing 42-32 early in the second half, 15th-seeded Georgia State (24-11) rallied to take a pair of one-point leads, its last one coming on a driving bank shot from D’Marcus Simonds with 9:30 left.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Caleb Martin scored 18 points and made two huge 3-pointers in overtime as seventh-seeded Nevada rallied for its first NCAA Tournament victory since 2007.

Nevada (28-7) erased a 14-point, second-half deficit and tied it at 68 when Jordan Caroline hit one of two free throws with 3.8 seconds left in regulation. The Wolf Pack trailed by four early in an overtime period that featured 34 total points.

Kerwin Roach II had a career-high 26 points for Texas (19-15).


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Barry Brown scored 18 points and ninth-seeded Kansas State never trailed despite playing without top scorer Dean Wade.

Mike McGuirl added 17 points for the Wildcats (23-11). Wade had been expected to play after suffering a stress fracture in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament, but never got on the floor.

Marcus Foster, thrown off the Kansas State team after the 2015 season for multiple violations of team rules, finished with five points on 2-of-11 shooting for Creighton (21-12).




SAN DIEGO (AP) — Shelton Mitchell scored a season-high 23 points, Gabe DeVoe had 22 and Clemson beat New Mexico State to out a perfect first round for No. 5 seeds.

The 5-12 line is usually one of the top spots for March Madness upsets, but Clemson (24-9) shot 56 percent from the field while advancing out of the first round for the first time since 1997. It was the Tigers’ first win in the NCAA tourney since the First Four in 2011.

Clemson was nearly flawless at the offensive end against the 12th-seeded champions of the WAC. It made 9 of 11 shots during one stretch on its way to a 12-point lead at halftime.

Zach Lofton led New Mexico State (28-6) with 29 points.


DETROIT (AP) — Marek Dolezaj scored 17 points before fouling out and 11th-seeded Syracuse shut down sixth-seeded TCU.

The Orange (22-13) won for the second time in the tournament, holding off the Horned Frogs with another impressive defensive effort. Both teams shot under 40 percent from the field.

TCU (21-12) is still without an NCAA Tournament victory since 1987, when coach Jamie Dixon was a player. This was the school’s first appearance since 1998, and it was short-lived.

There was little doubt who won the much-anticipated matchup between TCU’s excellent offense and Syracuse’s zone defense. The Horned Frogs were held 31 points below their season average.


DETROIT (AP) — Miles Bridges outlasted Zach Thomas, scoring 29 points and grabbing nine rebounds to help third-seeded Michigan State beat Bucknell.

Thomas fouled out on a technical with 6:06 left and finished with 27 points. He put on a show in the first half, scoring 20 points and making all three of his shots beyond the 3-point arc.

The Spartans (30-4) made the most of playing about 75 miles from campus.

Leading by 15 points with 2 minutes left, Michigan State won by a slim margin after Bucknell (25-10) made a late flurry of long-range shots.


SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jared Harper made a clutch 3-pointer with 1:17 to go — his only basket of the game — and Auburn held off No. 13 College of Charleston.

The Tigers (26-7) avoided being the second No. 4 seed to be upset at Viejas Arena. Marshall beat fourth-seeded Wichita State earlier in the day.

Auburn, playing under the cloud of a federal investigation, survived a poor shooting performance to win in its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003.

Jarrell Brantley scored 24 for the Cougars (26-8), the CAA champs who made their first NCAA Tournament since 1999.




NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ninth-seeded Florida State has lots of guys who can score, and the Seminoles used that depth to win their fourth straight NCAA Tournament opener.

Mfiondu Kabengele scored 14 points, and Florida State beat No. 8 seed Missouri.

PJ Savoy had 12 points and Phil Cofer scored 11. A total of 10 Seminoles scored at least two points apiece — by halftime — as they wore out Missouri, which had only eight healthy players available.

This was the first trip to the tournament for every player on the roster for Missouri (20-13). Even with new players and a new coach in Cuonzo Martin, the Tigers head home from their first NCAA trip since 2013 with the program’s fourth straight loss in a first round.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Xavier looked every bit like a No. 1 seed its first time around in the role at an NCAA Tournament.

J.P. Macura scored 18 of his career-high 29 points in the first half, and Xavier routed No. 16 seed Texas Southern in its tournament opener.

Trevon Bluiett added 26 points and Kerem Kanter had 24 for the Musketeers (29-5).

Texas Southern (16-20) came in having won the first NCAA Tournament game in program history, a First Four win over North Carolina Central in Dayton on Wednesday night.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kenny Williams scored 18 points and defending national champion North Carolina took its time before opening up to beat Lipscomb.

Theo Pinson had 15 points and flirted with a triple-double for the second-seeded Tar Heels (26-10). North Carolina next plays Texas A&M.

Playing for the first time in the NCAA tourney, the 15th-seeded Bisons (23-10) held an early six-point edge. They led 33-31 with under four minutes left in the first half before North Carolina went on a 12-1 run to take control by the break.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Admon Gilder scored 18 points to help Texas A&M hold off Providence.

Robert Williams and Tyler Davis both had double-doubles for the seventh-seeded Aggies (21-12). The teams were tied at 50 with about 9 minutes left but Texas A&M responded with a 12-2.

Rodney Bullock scored 22 points for the 10th-seeded Friars (21-14).

2018 NCAA tournament: The best games to watch Thursday

(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today Sports / AP)    —   All the action on the hardwood can be overwhelming if you’re new to the March Madness experience. With as many as four NCAA tournament games going on simultaneously at some points in the day, it might be difficult to prioritize where to focus your attention. We’re here to help.

Of course, you’ll want to keep an eye on the scoreboard, and make sure you follow our @SportsPSA account on Twitter so you don’t miss any close finishes. But to get you started, here’s a chronological list of what we think will be the most compelling match-ups on the Thursday slate in the round of 64.

No. 7 Rhode Island vs. No. 10 Oklahoma, Midwest Region, 12:15 p.m. ET, CBS

The first tip of the day from Pittsburgh is a good place to begin. The Sooners and freshman sensation Trae Young struggled mightily in the latter half of the Big 12 campaign and must now try to regain their early-season form. But the Rams have a veteran lineup and should be ready for the big stage.

No. 6 Miami (Fla.) vs. No. 11 Loyola-Chicago, South Region, 3:10 p.m. ET, truTV

It’s been quite a while since the Ramblers went dancing. The last time, in fact, they got as far as the Sweet 16 before falling to Patrick Ewing and Georgetown in 1985. Now that they’re back, they have the makings of a team that could stick around. The Hurricanes, however, have been through the grind of an ACC schedule and won’t be troubled by Loyola’s solid record.

No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 12 South Dakota State, West Region, 4 p.m. ET, TNT

The Buckeyes’ finish near the top of the Big Ten was somewhat unexpected. The Jackrabbits’ dominance of the Summit League was anything but. South Dakota State has experience, talent and a whole lot of fan support. But Ohio State’s first-year coach Chris Holtmann is familiar with March success and should have his Buckeyes ready.

No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 12 Davidson, South Region, 7:10 p.m. ET, CBS

Even Kentucky coach John Calipari expects a tough battle in this all-Wildcats showdown. Davidson not only got hot at the right time of the season to claim the A-10 title, but it might just have the best player on the floor in this match-up. Kentucky has its usual collection of top recruits, but Davidson’s Peyton Aldridge can take over a game.

No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 14 Montana, West Region, 9:50 p.m. ET, TBS

This contest could keep things interesting in the late-night session. The red-hot Wolverines should be well rested after blazing through the earlier-than-usual Big Ten tourney. They must now hope rest doesn’t turn into rust, as the Big Sky champion Grizzlies are capable of springing a surprise.


The first major slate of NCAA Tournament games is set to begin as fans scramble to fill out brackets and get ready for a marathon of college hoops.

Sixteen games are scheduled for Thursday, starting with Oklahoma’s Trae Young, the nation’s leader in scoring and assists, leading the 10th-seeded Sooners against No. 7 seed Rhode Island.

The other early games match Tennessee against Wright State, Gonzaga vs. UNC-Greensboro and Penn against Kansas.

Two No. 1 seeds play Thursday: Kansas in the Midwest Region and Villanova in the East Region. Villanova opens against Radford at 6:45 p.m. Eastern.

Fans across the United States get in on March Madness like no other set of playoffs in sports, filling out brackets and joining office pools that challenge them to pick the winner of all the games.

Syracuse, St. Bonaventure, Texas Southern and Radford won their way into the round of 64 by winning First Four games in Dayton, Ohio.

Half the remaining field plays Thursday and another 16 opening round games will be played Friday.


More AP college basketball: ; and

March Madness – Men’s: Syracuse rallies for 60-56 win over ASU / Texas Southern routs NC Central

This gallery contains 1 photo.

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Freshman Oshae Brissett had his 13th double-double while leading Syracuse’s second-half comeback, and the Orange — the last team to make the NCAA Tournament — held on for a 60-56 victory over Arizona State on Wednesday night in the First Four.

The 11th-seeded Orange plays No. 6 seed TCU (21-11) on Friday in Detroit in the Midwest Region.

Syracuse (21-13) had to sweat out Selection Sunday and wound up as the last one to make the bracket, relegated to the First Four.

Arizona State (20-12) scored a season low in points — only the third time it’s been held under 70 all season. The Sun Devils’ previous low was 64 points.

Brissett overcame a hard fall in the first half, scored 23 points and had 12 rebounds. He had a three-point play and a step-back jumper as the Orange overcame a seven-point deficit with 7 minutes left.

With a chance to take the lead, Arizona State’s Shannon Evans II missed a 3-pointer with 2 seconds to go. Frank Howard got the rebound, was fouled and made both free throws to clinch it. Kodi Justice had 15 points for Arizona State, which hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 2009.



DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Damontrae Jefferson scored 25 points and pulled down eight rebounds as Texas Southern got its first ever NCAA Tournament win, a 64-46 rout of North Carolina Central in a First Four game.

Jefferson, a sophomore, along with Miami’s Chris Lykes is the shortest player in the tournament at 5-foot-7.

No. 16 seed Texas Southern (16-19) also became the first team with a losing record to win a tournament game. The Tigers started the season 0-13 — the worst start for a tournament team in NCAA history — and didn’t win a game until Jan. 1. Now they’re moving on to face No. 1 seed Xavier on Friday.

Donte Clark had 18 points and Trayvon Reed added 10 points and eight boards for Texas Southern, a historically black college in Houston that won the Southwestern Athletic College Tournament. Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament winner N.C. Central, another historically black school was making its second straight appearance in Dayton for a play-in game.

N.C. Central (19-16) was led by Raasean Davis with 19 points, part of a starting five that included a pair of true freshmen guards and a walk-on.


RELATED: Compete in an NIT bracket challenge here

2018 NIT: Scores, results


Tuesday, March 13

  • FINAL: No. 1 Baylor 80, No. 8 Wagner 59 | Box score
  • FINAL: No. 2 Louisville 66, No. 7 Northern Kentucky 58 | Box score
  • FINAL: No. 3 Middle Tennessee 91, No. 6 Vermont 64 | Box score
  • FINAL: No. 4 Western Kentucky 79, No. 5 Boston College 62 | Box score
  • FINAL: No. 2 Oklahoma State 80, No. 7 Florida Gulf Coast 68 | Box score
  • FINAL: No. 1 Notre Dame 84, No. 8 Hampton 63 | Box score
  • FINAL: No. 1 Saint Mary’s 89, No. 8 SE Louisiana 45 | Box score
  • FINAL: No. 3 Oregon 99, No. 6 Rider 86 | Box score
  • FINAL: No. 1 USC 103 No. 8 UNC Asheville 98 (2OT) | Box score

Wednesday, March 14

  • FINAL: No. 3 LSU 84, No. 6 Louisiana 76 | Box score
  • FINAL: No. 2 Marquette 67, No. 7 Harvard 60 | Box score
  • FINAL: No. 4 Penn State 63, No. 5 Temple 57 | Box score
  • FINAL: No. 4 Mississippi State 66, No. 5 Nebraska 59 | Box score
  • FINAL: No. 2 Utah 69, No. 7 UC Davis 59 | Box score
  • FINAL: No. 3 Stanford 86, No. 6 BYU 83 | Box score
  • FINAL: No. 5 Washington 77, No. 4 Boise State 74 | Box score

2018 NIT: Schedule, TV channels


  • No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 4 Penn State | 12 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 17 | ESPN
  • No. 2 Marquette vs. No. 2 Oregon | 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 18 | ESPN2
  • No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 4 Mississippi State | 12 p.m. Sunday, March 18 | ESPN
  • No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 3 Middle Tennessee | 6:30 p.m. Sunday, March 18
  • No. 1 USC vs. No. 4 Western Kentucky | 11:30 p.m. on Monday, March 19 | ESPN2
  • No. 2 Oklahoma State vs. No. 3 Stanford | 7 p.m. Monday, March 19 | ESPNU
  • No. 1 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 5 Washington | 11 p.m. Monday, March 19 | ESPNU
  • No. 2 Utah vs. No. 3 LSU | 9 p.m. Monday, March 19 | ESPNU

RELATED: Compete in an NIT bracket challenge here

The first three rounds of the NIT are played at campus sites at the higher-seeded team. The semifinals and championship will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

  • First Round: Tuesday, March 13 and Wednesday, March 14
  • Second Round: Friday, March 16 through Monday, March 19
  • Quarterfinals: Tuesday, March 20 and Wednesday, March 21
  • Semifinals: Tuesday, March 27
  • Championship: Thursday, March 29

NIT 2018: Seeds, teams

  • No. 1: Baylor, Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, USC
  • No. 2: Louisville, Marquette, Oklahoma State, Utah
  • No. 3: LSU, Middle Tennessee, Oregon, Stanford
  • No. 4: Boise State, Mississippi State, Penn State, Western Kentucky
  • No. 5: Boston College, Nebraska, Temple, Washington
  • No. 6: BYU, Louisiana, Rider, Vermont
  • No. 7: Florida Gulf Coast, Harvard, Northern Kentucky, UC Davis
  • No. 8: Hampton, SE Louisiana, UNC Asheville, Wagner

2018 NCAA tournament: Previewing Wednesday’s First Four games / Some Dark Horses

This gallery contains 1 photo.

(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today Sports)   —   Wednesday’s First Four games in Dayton:

No. 16 North Carolina Central (19-15) vs. No. 16 Texas Southern (15-19)

West Region

Time, TV: 6:40 p.m. ET, truTV

Why N.C. Central will win: Several Eagles players are familiar with this venue from a year ago and hope that experience will produce a better result this time. One of the guys who is not is freshman point guard Jordan Perkins, but he hands out more than five assists a game and gets plenty of support from the upperclassmen.

Why Texas Southern will win: After mixed success in head coaching stints at Indiana and UAB, Mike Davis has found his footing as he leads the Tigers into the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in six seasons. The catalyst is Demontrae Jefferson, a 5-7 point guard who averages 23.7 points and 4.5 assists and isn’t afraid to take on bigger defenders.

No. 11 Arizona State (20-11) vs. No. 11 Syracuse (20-13)

Midwest Region

Time, TV: 9:10 p.m. ET, truTV

Why Arizona State will win: The Sun Devils are built from the outside, which means they could be well-suited to generate open shots over the top of the Syracuse zone . Even if they aren’t hitting a majority of their shots, Syracuse probably doesn’t have the scoring depth to pull away. If it’s close at all late, ASU should like its chances.

Why Syracuse will win: With few threats on the ASU interior, the Orange might be able to extend their zone and limit the open looks from the arc. While the shooting can be spotty, Syracuse’s size advantage could translate into second-chance opportunities.


USA TODAY Sports dissected the field of 68 and selected six teams that aren’t expected to be in San Antonio but could get there — based on matchup path, late-season momentum and overall strength.

Wichita State Shockers

The Shockers’ showing in the American Athletic Conference’s regular-season finale (a loss to Cincinnati) and AAC tournament (a semifinal loss to Houston) didn’t go as planned, but a year of playing in a power conference instead of the Missouri Valley will suit Gregg Marshall’s team well in this tournament. It’s already paid off as WSU is a No. 4 seed this year, compared to a No. 10 last year as a 30-win club. In the East Region, experts described how easy Villanova’s path to the Final Four might be. Not if WSU has anything to do with it. Third-team All-American Landry Shamet came alive in last year’s Dance, and he’ll need to do the same this year for a run to San Antonio.

Syracuse Orange

Syracuse did not deserve to make the tournament. But Jim Boeheim’s team could go on a deep run reminiscent of his 2016 team with similar long odds. The difficult task in facing the Orange is limited time to prepare and simulate their zone in a few practices. It’s much different than ACC foes who see Syracuse frequently. Syracuse is limited offensively, but Tyus Battle is a go-to player who can carry the load. The Midwest is stacked with Kansas, Duke and Michigan State. But consider 11th-seeded Syracuse a dark horse in the bracket’s toughest region. First, it needs to get past Arizona State in Dayton.

BOLD PREDICTIONS: 10 dreams we have about the NCAA tournament

BRACKET TIP SHEET: Ultimate guide to March Madness

SURGING: Eight hottest teams of the Big Dance

TCU Horned Frogs

If there is such a thing as a Big 12 sleeper, look no further than Jamie Dixon’s sixth-seeded Horned Frogs, who finished .500 in the toughest conference in the country and have enough ammunition for an unexpected run in the loaded Midwest Region. The same group that won the NIT last season has virtually all of its players back, and this is an extremely balanced offense fueled by 6-foot-11 big man Vladimir Brodziansky’s 15.1 points a game. TCU lost a one-possession road game to Texas Tech late in the season and fell by two points to Kansas State in overtime at the Big 12 tourney.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Can Collin Sexton channel Shabazz Napier in 2014 — the last time a high seed won it all? (UConn was No. 7 that year when Napier steered an improbable run.) While Oklahoma freshman Trae Young has fizzled out late in the season, Sexton has come on strong, helping the Tide shoot off the bubble for a No. 9 seed. The 6-3 guard hit a buzzer-beater to lift Alabama past Texas A&M in the SEC tourney before scoring 31 in a quarterfinal win against Auburn. Sexton also scored 40 points in an early season loss to Minnesota. Can Avery Johnson’s team get all the way to the Final Four? With a player like Sexton on that side of the bracket, Villanova should be concerned.

Creighton Bluejays

Like Syracuse, Creighton maybe didn’t deserve to be in the field of 68. But unlike Syracuse, the Bluejays got a nice No. 8 seed in an interesting South Region. Now with Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter out with an injury, there’s a chance Creighton’s high-octane offense gets the best of the nation’s best defense. Yes, that means the top overall seed in the bracket would go down in the second round to an unlikely Big East team. Coach Greg McDermott’s team does a lot of things well, ranking fifth nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio and 10th in scoring offense (84.3 points a game) and field-goal percentage (50%). Marcus Foster (20.3 ppg) is the X-Factor.

St. Bonaventure Bonnies

Look, if VCU and George Mason can get to the Final Four, there’s got to be a mid-major on this list of the Bonnies’ stature. Winners of 20 of 21 games, St. Bonaventure is playing excellent basketball, evidenced by a solid win over UCLA on Tuesday in Dayton. St. Bonaventure faces tall odds, as it draws a dangerous No. 6 seed Florida in the first round and then would likely have to beat a team like Purdue to reach the Elite Eight. But for Cinderella’s sake, this team has the ingredients to shock better-seeded teams thanks to the 1-2 punch of Jaylen Adams (19.4 ppg) and Matt Mobley (18.4 ppg).



Missouri: Michael Porter Jr.’s late-season return makes the Tigers one of the most intriguing teams in the NCAA tournament, but his unimpressive outing in the SEC tourney — which resulted in an early exit to Georgia — likely will raise questions about the Tigers’ irhythm. Don’t listen to that noise. Porter was able to get some of the rust off in that first game back and coach Cuonzo Martin has  chip-on-their-shoulder players who had to prove themselves without their star freshman. Expect for Missouri to make a surprise run.

More: Cincinnati and Tennessee are two underrated teams that demand March respect

Bubble Watch: Winners and losers from championship weekend

More: Dan D’Antoni lectures on ‘damn analytics’ as Marshall earns Cinderella NCAA bid

Florida: Another SEC team, the Gators have a lot of nice ingredients to make some noise in March, starting with a dynamic backcourt that can fill it up. Jalen Hudson (15.3 ppg), Egor Koulechov (13.6 ppg), KeVaughn Allen (11.3 ppg) and Chris Chiozza (11.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg) give  coach Mike White a four-guard offense that will be tough for NCAA opponents to stop. Florida had an unexpected SEC tourney exit to Arkansas, but before that had major statement wins over Auburn and Kentucky. Look for UF to outplay its seeding line, and perhaps replicate last year’s Elite Eight finish.

Texas Tech: A Big 12 tournament loss to West Virginia in the semifinals and a late-season rough patch — dropping five of seven — might tell a misleading story about the Red Raiders and disguise the potential of a sleeping giant poised for a deep tourney run. Texas Tech is just getting fully healthy and will surely benefit from being battle-tested in the country’s toughest conference. Whichever team draws TTU will be getting a defensively sound opponent. Chris Beard’s group ranks in the top-20 nationally in points allowed (under 65 a game) and field goal percentage defense (40%). Keenan Evans serves as the key, averaging 17.5 points a game.

Seton Hall: The Pirates, a preseason top-15 team, underachieved most of 2017-18 . No matter. They’ve still got all the dimensions to go on a deep run. This is a veteran group led by great guard play (the three-headed monster of Desi Rodriguez, Myles Powell and Khadeen Carrington) and a double-double machine in Angel Delgado. Seton Hall has started to hit its stride late, and nail-biting losses to Villanova and Butler conceal how surging this squad really is.

Houston: Overshadowed by Cincinnati and Wichita State, potential Final Four teams, the Cougars maybe didn’t get the love they deserved in building a solid all-around tourney profile and finishing tied for second in the AAC,  (seventh among conferences in RPI). Houston has beaten the Bearcats and Shockers and can easily play spoiler in the tournament against a similarly tough (and better-seeded) opponent. Coach Kelvin Sampson has a veteran group, fueled by Rob Gray (18.1 points and 4.7 assists per game), that utilizes a deep bench and plays with grit — key for teams that fare well in the Dance.


March Madness – Men’s: St. Bonaventure stuns UCLA 65-58 / Radford downs LIU Brooklyn

This gallery contains 1 photo.

(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —   DAYTON, Ohio – The basketball was still high in the air – flung to start the celebration – when the buzzer sounded and the Bonnies’ long-awaited March celebration commenced. Players chest-bumped on court. Coach Mark Schmidt jumped and waved his arms.

The crowd at the University of Dayton Arena – a place where St. Bonaventure is usually booed – got caught up in the moment, too. And why not? It had been 48 years since anyone saw something like this out of St. Bonaventure.

Courtney Stockard returned from a hamstring injury and scored 26 points, and Jaylen Adams hit a jumper and three free throws in the final minute Tuesday night, rallying the Bonnies to a 65-58 victory over UCLA and their first NCAA Tournament victory since 1970.

At long last, it was time to party in March .

“It can’t get better,” Schmidt said.

They’ll have more chances. The 11th-seeded Bonnies (26-7) will play sixth-seeded Florida (20-12) in Dallas on Thursday night in the East region. They did interviews, showered and headed for a flight to their next destination.

“Florida’s got four or five days on us, so we’ll be watching tape on the plane,” Schmidt said. “We’ve got a 2 a.m. flight, but it couldn’t be a better flight. Ever.”

St. Bonaventure set a school record with its 26th win. Stockard got the Bonnies in position for the drought-busting tournament victory by leading a late 12-0 run. Adams – who missed 14 of his first 15 shots – closed it out in the final 49 seconds.

“I’m still not 100 percent,” Stockard said, “but I’m feeling way better than when I did when I left the Richmond game. So I can’t really let an opportunity like this pass.”

UCLA (21-12) was surprised that it got relegated to the First Four for the first time in its history – the Bruins have been to 18 Final Fours. They had trouble making shots against the Bonnies’ zone defense and matched their season high with 20 turnovers, a disappointing ending to a season that started with an international incident .

Freshmen Jalen Hill, Cody Riley and LiAngelo Ball were accused of shoplifting during a trip to China in November. All three were suspended for the season, and Ball left the school.

UCLA’s Aaron Holiday led the Pac-12 in scoring but couldn’t put his touch on the First Four game. He scored 20 points but had 10 turnovers, including three in the final 29 seconds as the game slipped away.

“I felt like we matched them pretty well,” Holiday said. “We just turned the ball over too much.”

Adams is the Bonnies’ all-time leading scorer as a guard but had a rough time as well until the final minute. He finished with eight points on 2-of-16 shooting.


DAYTON, Ohio – Carlik Jones had a substantial and loud cheering section at University of Dayton Arena, a lot of folks traveling about an hour up Interstate 75 from his Cincinnati hometown to see him play for Radford in a First Four game.

Jones didn’t disappoint them. The redshirt freshman guard was the engine that drove the Highlanders, scoring 12 points to go with career highs in rebounds with 11 and assists with seven as Radford beat LIU Brooklyn 71-61 on Tuesday night to get its first-ever NCAA Tournament win.

“It’s just big to be able to come back home and perform in front of my family and friends that haven’t been able to see me play,” Jones said. “And it’s just been a good feeling.”

Radford didn’t play its prettiest game, but the team from rural southwest Virginia will celebrate briefly before heading to Pittsburgh to play No. 1 seed Villanova on Thursday. The Big South champion Highlanders are making their third tournament appearance and first since 2009.

Ed Polite Jr. had 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Travis Fields Jr. also scored 13 for Radford.

Despite hitting just 7 of 23 shots from the floor in the second half, LIU Brooklyn managed to stay within striking distance, even taking the lead briefly early in the second half. The Northeast Conference champion Blackbirds got to within a point with five minutes left, but a 9-1 surge by the Highlanders opened up the lead.

“We remained calm,” Polite said. “Basketball is about a game of runs. So we knew they’re a good team, so they’re going to make shots. So we just had to remain focused and go with the game plan. And that’s to pressure them even though they’re a fast-paced team and don’t give them any easy baskets.”

The Blackbirds went without a field goal in the last seven minutes of the game and shot 30.4 percent in the second half. Each team committed 15 turnovers.

“I thought (Radford) did a nice job grinding it out on the offensive end of the floor and taking time off the clock to where we couldn’t get moving.” LIU Brooklyn coach Derek Kellogg said.

Jashaun Agosto scored 16 points and Raiquan Clark added 14 for LIU Brooklyn, which is winless in seven trips to the tournament.

Radford led 30-28 at the end of a sloppy first half after leading by as many as nine. The Blackbirds scored 11 of their points on nine turnovers by Radford but were just 3 for 13 from beyond the 3-point line in the half.

2018 NCAA tournament: Previewing Tuesday’s First Four games

This gallery contains 1 photo.

(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today Sports)   —   Tuesday’s First Four games in Dayton:

No. 16 LIU-Brooklyn (18-16) vs. No. 16 Radford (22-12)

East Region

Time, TV: 6:40 p.m. ET, truTV

Why LIU-Brooklyn will win: The Blackbirds are led by a pair of big-time scorers. Joel Hernandez (20.9 ppg) is more of a threat from the three-point arc, and Raiquan Clark (17.4 ppg) likes to take it to the rim. A fast tempo would help them both find a rhythm.

Why Radford will win: The Highlanders will look to keep the pace under control with strong defense and sound half-court sets with the ball. If they can get their share of rebounds, they’ll prevent LIU from building a cushion.

ANALYSIS:  East Region | South Region | Midwest Region | West Region

No. 11 St. Bonaventure (25-7) vs. No. 11 UCLA (21-11)

East Region

Time, TV: 9:10 p.m. ET, truTV

Why St. Bonaventure will win: The Bonnies’ back-court duo of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley can score in a variety of ways. The Bruins aren’t exactly a lock-down defensive club, so if a track meet breaks out, St. Bonaventure should be in a good position.

Why UCLA will win: Of course, UCLA also likes high-scoring affairs, and the Bruins have more weapons. They’ll enjoy a considerable size advantage inside with Thomas Welsh and Gyorgy Goloman. In addition, the Bonnies might be shorthanded if third-leading scorer Courtney Stockard, who missed the semifinal loss to Davidson in the A-10 tournament with a hamstring injury, remains unavailable.


USA TODAY Sports examines the field of 68 and pinpoints the teams with 1.) the best winning streak or momentum from championship week, and/or 2.) the best path — matchup-wise — to stage a deep run and go way further than their seeding line suggests.

Side note: No. 1 seeds are excluded.

Kentucky Wildcats

Coach John Calipari’s freshmen-laden teams always evolve interestingly over the course of four months. While it’s not always clockwork, that evolution of McDonald’s All-American teenagers usually looks something like this: In November, they buy in and try to toss their egos aside. In December, they come together more through growing pains. In January, they figure out how hard major conference basketball can be. In February, they weather more storms and come together — developing a team chemistry that is necessary for March. And this year’s group, adversity and all, followed suit to peak in March by winning seven of eight.

BOLD PROJECTIONS: 10 dreams we have about the NCAAs

BRACKET TIP SHEET: Ultimate guide to March Madness

Kentucky (24-10) drew a No. 5 seed in the South Region — a dangerous area for any power conference team when a really good No. 12 seed (in this case Davidson) is ready to shock the world. But don’t count the Wildcats out because the talent isn’t as jaw-dropping as it has been in the past and UK didn’t win the SEC regular season. Calipari’s mastery is creating a team and sometimes teams can do more with less. NBA-caliber freshmen Kevin Knox (15.6 ppg) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (13.9 ppg, 5.0 apg) have helped UK hit its stride late, including an impressive three-win showing to capture the SEC tournament title.

Final Four potential

Michigan Wolverines

Michigan (28-7), winners of nine consecutive games, has perfected the peaking-in-March magic over the last two seasons, winning back-to-back Big Ten Conference tournament titles. What will be interesting this year is how that momentum carries over following a week-long break since the Big Ten had its tourney a week early. That’s lots of practice time to get better for coach John Beilein’s best defensive team he’s ever had (yes the Wolverines are that good on D). It’s enough lag time to lose some momentum and swagger necessary for March success. This is a well-balanced offense this year, and Mo Wagner (14.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg) anchors the team with his motor and clutch shooting. Don’t be surprised to see Michigan come out of the West Region as a red-hot No. 3 seed.

► National champion potential 

Gonzaga Bulldogs

This isn’t a the same caliber of team that reached the Final Four last season, but it’s still a darn good one. The Bulldogs (30-4) are the No. 4 seed in the West Region and are good enough to knock off top-seeded Xavier if that matchup unfolds. Coach Mark Few has an extremely balanced and potent offense with six players averaging over nine points a game and spearheaded by 6-9 forward Johnathan Williams (13.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg), a key cog from last year’s Final Four squad. The ‘Zags have a top-10 offense, averaging 85 points a game and 50% from the field. The defense, which used to be a glaring weakness for this program, has come a long way. West Coast Conference play didn’t exactly prep this team for the tournament well, but it did help in one area: Guarding the perimeter. Gonzaga’s backcourt players are athletic and can stop lethal guards on the other end.

► Elite Eight potential 

Cincinnati Bearcats

Mick Cronin’s Bearcats are good enough to be a No. 1 seed, but the American Athletic Conference’s No. 7 RPI probably limited that from happening. Still, this is a team that shouldn’t be slept on for going to San Antonio. Cincinnati has won seven in a row, but more importantly has pulled off huge victories in close-game situations — first a one-point win in the regular-season finale over Wichita State and second a one-point win over Houston in the AAC tourney final. Streaking is one thing, but winning in a way that shows pressure and late-game anxiety can be handled well speaks volumes for deep-run capabilities. Outside of UVa, Cincy has the best defense in the country. As a No. 2 in the South, how nice it would be to see these two defensive-minded teams in an Elite Eight rock fight.

► Final Four potential 

Arizona Wildcats

Arizona (27-7) has clearly dealt with adversity (that’s what we’ll call the FBI probe and Allonzo Trier’s eligibility issues), and seems to have come out stronger because of it. The Wildcats have won eight of nine and their only loss came when coach Sean Miller wasn’t coaching in the wake of an ESPN report that implicated him in the FBI investigation into illegal recruiting. One critical major reason Arizona is hot and a team to circle on the bracket: 7-foot freshman sensation Deandre Ayton (20.3, 11.5 ppg) has been on a tear and might just be the best player in the tournament. He had back-to-back 32-point outings in Pac-12 tournament victories over USC and UCLA.

► National champion potential 

Tennessee Volunteers

The Volunteers (25-8) narrowly lost int the SEC tournament title game to Kentucky but have been rolling in late February and early March. They’ve won six of seven and are a dangerous No. 3 seed in the South Region. Coach Rick Barnes has reinvigorated the program with an SEC regular-season title, but more could be in store for this group, led by sophomore Grant Williams. The 6-7 forward averages 15.3 points a game and could be a matchup nightmare on the south side of the bracket.

► Elite Eight champion potential 

Providence Friars

The Friars (21-13) aren’t exactly hot when it comes to winning streaks, but it’s undeniable that Ed Cooley’s team is playing it’s best brand of basketball here in March. That was evidenced by two overtime victories over Creighton and No. 1 seed Xavier in the Big East tourney before succumbing to another No. 1 seed, Villanova, in the conference tournament championship. Providence might be the scariest double-digit seed (No. 10) around, and don’t be surprised if the Friars make it to the second weekend by bouncing better seeds out in the West Region.

► Sweet 16 potential 

Murray State Racers

Hello, Cinderella of the East Region. The 12th-seeded Racers have won 13 in a row and did so in convincing fashion en route to claiming the Ohio Valley’s auto bid by beating the likes of a really good Belmont team. If Murray State can manage against No. 5 West Virginia’s press and top-notch defense, there’s a deep run in store for this mid-major. Jonathan Stark (21.8 ppg, 3.9 apg) will need to show his takeover abilities against All-American defender Jevon Carter in this dynamite 5-12 first-round clash.

► Sweet 16 potential 

Honorable Mention: No. 12 seed South Dakota State, which faces No. 5 in the West Region, has won 19 of 20 while drubbing Summit League opponents behind must-watch big man Mike Daum (23.8 ppg, 10.4 rpg).

CBB – Women’s March Madness: Baylor women denied No. 1 seed despite having only one loss

This gallery contains 1 photo.

NEW YORK (AP) — UConn is back in a familiar place — the No. 1 overall seed in the women’s basketball NCAA Tournament.

(Women’s Printable Brackets – Courtesy of USA Today)

Joining the Huskies as top seeds are Notre Dame, Louisville and Mississippi State.

The Huskies enter as the lone unbeaten team and will be vying for their 12th national championship. It’s the ninth time that UConn has entered the NCAAs undefeated, including last year when the Huskies went in as the overwhelming favorite before their 111-game winning streak ended with a loss to Mississippi State in the Final Four.

This year’s Final Four is in Columbus, Ohio, and will take place on March 30. The national championship game is on Sunday, April 1.

Defending national champion South Carolina and A’ja Wilson await as a possible Elite Eight matchup for UConn in the Albany Regional. The Gamecocks are the two-seed.

“What can you do? You have to beat some pretty good teams. Is it an impossible feat? Obviously not,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. “We saw that last year. If we’re in the position where we have to play them, we’re going to play them. We’re going to give it our best shot and let the chips fall where they may.”

The Gamecocks lost by 25 at home against UConn on Feb. 1.

Florida State and Georgia are the other top seeds in the Huskies’ part of the bracket.

“Brackets are brackets. There are good teams in every bracket,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “There are great matchups in every bracket and it doesn’t really matter at this stage where you’re placed, what region, you’re going to have to beat some really good teams. The schedule we play, I knew we’d get somebody two or three that we already played. We know that.”

UConn, which has been a No. 1 seed every year since 2007, opens up against 16-seed Saint Francis (Pennsylvania) on Saturday morning. All of the top four teams in each region host the opening two rounds at home.

Like the Huskies, the Irish are a No. 1 seed again. Notre Dame has been a top seed the last seven years. This might be one of coach Muffet McGraw’s finest accomplishments as Notre Dame lost four pivotal players to injury, but only three games on the season. Two of those losses came to Louisville.

“A great reward for this team for what they’ve been through … playing the toughest schedule and getting a No. 1 seed,” McGraw said. “I’m so proud of this group and what they have accomplished. (Being a No. 1) is quite an accomplishment for what we’ve been through all year long.”

The Irish are in the Spokane Regional and open up against Cal State Northridge on Friday. If Notre Dame advances, the Irish would head out west to potentially face No. 2 seed Oregon.

“We’ve never been in the West bracket. I love playing Friday at 5. That’s awesome,” McGraw said.

The Ducks could stay out west and play in Spokane, where coach Kelly Graves spent many years as Gonzaga’s coach. Ohio State and Texas A&M are the three and four seeds in that region.

Louisville won the Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time this season. The Cardinals open up against Boise State and are one of eight ACC teams in the field. The Southeastern Conference has seven teams in the tournament, while the Pac-12 and the Big Ten have six.

“We’re really excited about the opportunity,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “We’re excited to host the first two at home against two very good basketball teams. If we’re fortunate enough to advance, we get the opportunity to play in Lexington, which would be great for our fans.”

The Lexington Regional is stacked with former NCAA Tournament winners with Baylor the two-seed, Tennessee the three and Stanford the four. While the Lady Vols have been in the NCAA Tournament every year since it began in 1982, Nicholls State, Northern Colorado, Mercer and Seattle will be making their first appearances.

Stanford potentially is headed to Lexington for the third straight year if it can advance.

Mississippi State is a No. 1 seed for the first time in school history. The Bulldogs won their first 32 games this season before losing to South Carolina in the SEC title game. With most of their players back from last season’s runner-up finish — including Morgan William, who hit the game-winner in overtime to knock off UConn — the Bulldogs hope to make another deep NCAA run.

The NCAA revealed Sunday night the final eight teams under consideration for the last four spots in the tournament. Buffalo, Creighton, Minnesota and Oklahoma got in. Purdue, Rutgers, Southern Cal and West Virginia were the first four teams out.

Oklahoma got in with a 16-14 record — the fewest wins for an at-large team since 2005 — a day after the Oklahoma men got an at-large berth with an 18-13 record and losses in 11 of their final 15 games.

“We spent almost seven hours on that decision of who those last four teams in and first four out were,” NCAA women’s basketball committee chair Rhonda Bennett said. “We went through those resumes and their body of work. We took as long as it took to get those teams into the bracket.”

Bennett said Oklahoma’s strength of schedule, which was second best in the country, was a key to its selection.

Bracket: NCAA women’s tournament

More: Printable bracket

More: USA TODAY Sports women’s basketball All-American teams

More: Laura Stockton, like her dad did, delivers drive, grit and assists for Gonzaga


STORRS, Conn. – There were five teams vying for the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament on Monday, and when the music stopped, Baylor was left without a chair.

The Lady Bears, who lost just one game all season (31-1), instead get a No. 2 seed in Lexington, a region that includes top-seeded Louisville, Tennessee and Stanford.

“We felt there was a razor-thin margin between Baylor and Notre Dame,” said NCAA women’s basketball committee chair Rhonda Bennett. “Notre Dame did have the top strength of schedule in the country and they did have the best strength of schedule in the country and they had nine more top-50 wins than Baylor and those were the reason that the committee put Notre Dame on that one line and Baylor on that two line.”

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said she doesn’t see it as that big a deal.

“We’ve won a national championship as a two seed, we’ve won it as a one seed,” she said. “And really what does it matter? Because the one has to play the two. Mississippi State was a two last year and they played for the national championship. We were a two seed in 2005 and we played and won the national championship.”

Some other things to watch for in the women’s tournament:

(Women’s Printable Brackets – Courtesy of USA Today)

The Duck of the Irish

Notre Dame (29-3) gets the top seed in Spokane, but would have to play what amounts to a road game in the regional final if No. 2 seeded Oregon makes it that far.

The Ducks (30-4) won both the Pac-12 regular season and tournament title, led by sophomore sensation Sabrina Ionescu, who averages just over 19 points a game and already owns the NCAA record for triple-doubles in her career.

Oregon coach Kelly Graves is very familiar with Spokane, having coached Gonzaga from 2000-1014, leading the Zags to a regional final in 2012.

“If we are fortunate enough to go back to Spokane where I spent so many amazing years at Gonzaga, that would be incredible,” he said. “For our Duck fans it’s close enough where they can justify a trip there. As the former Gonzaga coach, it was one of the highlights of my professional life, when we made it to Elite Eight.”

Mid majors

Dayton and Buffalo both made the tournament as at-large teams from mid-major conferences.

The Flyers (23-6) get in as a No. 9 seed, despite losing to George Washington in the Atlantic 10 semifinals and will play Marquette in the first round

Buffalo (27-5) is an 11-seed after losing to Central Michigan in the MAC championship. The Bulls face South Florida in the first round in Tallahassee.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma said the respect for those teams is a step forward in the women’s game and he believes mid-major teams will make some noise in this year’s tournament.

“I’m glad that they got rewarded and I think it should happen more often,” he said. “Who else is in, South Dakota State? Yeah, go ahead and play them and tell me they are a mid-major team. Good luck with that.”

The Jackrabbits (26-6), champions of the Summit League, are a No. 8 seed and will face Villanova from the Big East in the Spokane Regional.

“I am watching that game,” Auriemma said.

Last in

Buffalo, Creighton, Minnesota and Oklahoma were the final teams to get bids to the tournament. Purdue, Rutgers, Southern Cal and West Virginia were the others on the list the NCAA released Sunday of the final eight under consideration.

Rutgers, which finished 20-12, was left off despite having beaten Minnesota head-to-head.

Oklahoma got in with a 16-14 record – the fewest wins for an at-large team since 2005.


Where a school is located played a role in where they were sent for their first games and that may have hurt some in the tournament.

South Florida (26-7), which lost just four games to teams not named UConn, ended up with a No. 6 seed. The committee put them in Tallahassee playing Buffalo in the Albany Region, which means they could also end up playing in-state rival Florida State and perhaps UConn for a fourth time.

“Geography is one of our principals when it comes to placing teams in the bracket,” said Bennett. “We seed the teams and then we place them in the bracket using that “S” curve and geography is one of the things that we consider and one of our principals.”

That principal also means the second best women’s basketball team in Connecticut will have to go through the best if they want to make another improbably run to the Sweet 16.

Quinnipiac, (27-5) last year’s Cinderella, is the No. 9 seed in the Albany Regional and will face No. 8 Miami on Saturday in a rematch of last year’s second-round upset.

The winner likely gets UConn.

“Our fans will travel very well, because it’s right up the road,” said QU coach Tricia Fabbri. “Hopefully, some of those UConn fans who got so excited about what we were able to do last year will stay for the second part of Saturday’s doubleheader and root us on.”

The Bobcats are currently on a 22-game winning streak.


Here’s five more story lines to watch:

Muffet McGraw and Notre Dame are no strangers to success in the NCAA tournament — she’s made five trips to the NCAA title game in her career and seven to the Final Four. But this year, the 2018 USA TODAY Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year has been doing it with a rotation that’s been limited to six or seven players in tight games after four players were lost to knee injuries this season — making them perhaps the only one seed to have a strong underdog story.

“We kept losing people during the year, but we never put our heads down or felt sorry for ourselves. They just came to work every single day. This was the most rewarding championship I think we’ve had,” McGraw said last month.

Louisville, which finished third in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll, beat Notre Dame for the ACC Tournament title this month. Led by junior guard Asia Durr and senior forward Myisha Hines-Allen, they’ve outscored opponents by an average of 19.7 points this season with four players putting up more than 8 points per game.

After slaying the dragon in the Final Four, Mississippi State had a perfect season — until losing to South Carolina (again) in the SEC tournament championship. Senior guard Victoria Vivians leads the Bulldogs with 19.6 points per game.

The defending champion Gamecocks were victims of the injury bug this season — they lost guards Lindsey Spann and Bianca Cuevas-Moore to season-ending knee injuries — and dropped games against Louisville, Mississippi State, UConn, Tennessee and Missouri. A good sign for Dawn Staley’s crew: They won the SEC tournament earlier this month. A bad sign: Their corner of the bracket (they’re a two-seed) includes UConn.

Other teams to watch:

►Oregon made a Cinderella run through to the Elite Eight in 2017 before falling to the Huskies. But this year, a deep run shouldn’t be considered a big surprise for the two-seed. Sabrina Ionescu scored 36 points to lead her team to dethrone Stanford for the Pac 12 tournament title.

►Three-seed UCLA is led by Jordin Canada, the Pac-12’s all-time assist leader.

►Three-seed Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell is the all-time leader in NCAA women’s basketball in 3-pointers and six-seed Iowa’s Megan Gustafson dropped 48 points in her team’s one-point loss to Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament.

►Two-seed Baylor lost senior point guard Kristy Wallace to an ACL injury on Senior Night but freshman Alexis Morris stepped in and they beat Texas for the Big 12 tournament title.

2018 NCAA tournament: Breaking down the March Madness field of 68

(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today Sports)    —-   You might not know a lot about the March Madness field, so we’ve got you covered.

Here’s everything you need to know for all 68 teams competing for the NCAA men’s basketball title.

Regional analysis:Midwest | East | South | West

Bracket:See all the NCAA tournament matchups | Printable


1. Villanova

Nickname: Wildcats. Location: Villanova, Pa.

Record: 30-4, 14-4. Bid: Big East champ.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Wisconsin in round of 32.

Coach: Jay Wright (21-13 in 14 appearances).

Overview: It’s been feast or famine for the Wildcats recently in the tournament, either going all the way or flaming out early. The fate of this year’s group will hinge on its biggest strength. Quite simply, they can shoot the lights out, better than 50% overall and almost 40% from the arc. They also convert at a 77% clip from the free-throw line. The problem: Defense can be suspect when shots aren’t falling.

Projected starters: G Jalen Brunson, 6-3, Jr. (19.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.7 apg, 53.1 FG%, 41.3 3FG%); G Mikal Bridges, 6-6, Jr. (18.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 52.1 FG%, 43.3 FG%); G Phil Booth, 6-3, Jr. (10.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.8 apg); F Omari Spellman, 6-9, Fr. (10.7 ppg, 7.9 rpg); F Eric Paschall, 6-9, Jr. (10.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg).

2. Purdue

Nickname: Boilermakers. Location: West Lafayette, Ind.

Record: 28-6, 15-3. Bid: Big Ten at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Kansas in Sweet 16.

Coach: Matt Painter (11-10 in 10 appearances).

Overview: The Boilermakers won 19 in a row and looked like the Big Ten’s best before a three-game skid in early February. They responded by winning six in a row before falling to red-hot Michigan in the Big Ten tournament final. Sophomore Carsen Edwards has emerged as an All-American, giving Purdue the alpha dog scorer it needs for a deep March run. The Boilermakers rank second nationally in three-point field goal percentage (42%).

Projected starters: G P.J. Thompson, 5-10, Sr. (7.1 ppg, 85.2 FT%); G Dakota Mathias, 6-4, Sr. (12.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.1 apg, 46.4 3FG%); G Carsen Edwards, 6-1, So. (18.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 41.2 3FG%); F Vincent Edwards, 6-8, Sr. (14.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 83.8 FT%); C Isaac Haas, 7-2, Sr., (14.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 62.1 FG%).

3. Texas Tech

Nickname: Red Raiders. Location: Lubbock.

Record: 24-9, 11-7. Bid: Big 12 at-large.

Last appearance: 2016, lost to Butler in Round of 64.

Coach: Chris Beard (1-1 in one appearance).

Overview: For a stretch in February, Texas Tech — a defense-first, veteran bunch — looked like the team to unlock Kansas’ Big 12 supremacy. Then when senior guard Keenan Evans hurt a toe; the Red Raiders lost four in a row, falling out of the Big 12 race and dropping a couple of seed lines, too. But if Evans is healthy, Texas Tech could make a run.

Projected starters: G Keenan Evans, 6-3, Sr. (17.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.2 apg, 80.9 FT%); G Zhaire Smith, 6-5, Fr. (11.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 41.9 3FG%); G Justin Gray, 6-6, Sr. (5.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 83.7 FT%); G Jarrett Culver, 6-5, Fr. (11.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 40.8 3FG%); C Norense Odiase, 6-9, Jr. (4.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg).

4. Wichita State

Nickname: Shockers. Location: Wichita.

Record: 25-7, 14-4. Bid: American at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Kentucky in Round of 32.

Coach: Gregg Marshall (11-13 in 13 appearances).

Overview: The Shockers’ first trip through their new league wasn’t always smooth. But the more challenging slate ultimately could serve them well, which was the reason for the change. As is the signature of Marshall’s teams, the Shockers aren’t afraid to dive on the floor after loose balls. But this group actually is more successful in a more free-flowing game when it can space the court and find open shooters.

Projected starters: G Landry Shamet, 6-4, So. (15.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.1 apg); G Conner Frankamp, 6-1, Sr. (10.1 ppg, 2.3 apg); C Shaquille Morris, 6-8, Sr. (14.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg); F Rashard Kelly, 6-7, Sr. (5.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg); F Zach Brown, 6-6, Sr. (4.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg).

5. West Virginia

Nickname: Mountaineers. Location: Morgantown.

Record: 24-20, 11-7. Bid: Big 12 at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Gonzaga in Sweet 16.

Coach: Bob Huggins (31-23 in 23 appearances).

Overview: West Virginia lives and dies with defense. Led by senior guard Jevon Carter, Big 12 defensive player of the year for the second season in a row, the Mountaineers’ smothering pressure is the key — especially because their offense has been frighteningly inconsistent. It might be this simple: How is the officiating? West Virginia can swarm and overwhelm opponents but can rack up fouls in a tightly called game.

Projected starters: G Jevon Carter, 6-2, Sr. (17.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg); G Daxter Miles Jr., 6-3, Sr. (12.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg); F Sagaba Konate, 6-8, So. (10.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg); F Esa Ahmad, 6-8, Jr. (10.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg); F Wesley Harris, 6-8, So. (5.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg).

6. Florida

Nickname: Gators. Location: Gainesville.

Record: 20-12, 11-7. Bid: SEC at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to South Carolina in Elite Eight.

Coach: Mike White (3-1 in one appearance).

Overview: Florida is well-rounded and experienced. The Gators use a four-guard lineup that averages just 9.8 turnovers a game and are eighth overall in turnover margin. Rebounding is a problem: Florida is routinely beaten on the backboard. That can be costly in March.

Projected Starters: G Jalen Hudson, 6-6, Jr. (15.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 41.1 3FG%); G Egor Koulechov, 6-5, Sr. (13.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 40.3 3FG%, 87.4 FT%); G KeVaughn Allen, 6-2, Jr. (11.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 90.1 FT%); G Chris Chiozza, 6-0, Sr. (11.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 6.1 apg); F/C Kevarrius Hayes, 6-9, Jr. (4.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 57.3 FG%).

7. Arkansas

Nickname: Razorbacks. Location: Fayetteville.

Record: 23-11, 10-8. Bid: SEC at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to North Carolina in Round of 32.

Coach: Mike Anderson (9-8 in eight appearances).

Overview: Arkansas enters the tournament with one of the top offensive units in the country, including two of the SEC’s five scorers (Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon). Freshman Daniel Gafford is the only player on the team taller than 6-9, and he will be the X-factor, because the Razorbacks have struggled with rebounding.

Projected starters: G Jaylen Barford, 6-3, Sr. (18.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 43.2 3FG%); G Daryl Macon, 6-3, Sr. (16.8 ppg, 4.0 apg, 42.5 3FG%, 86.6 FT%); F Daniel Gafford, 6-11, Fr. (12.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.2 bpg); G Anton Beard, 6-0, Sr. (9.5 ppg, 3.1 apg); F Adrio Bailey, 6-7, So. (4.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 55.6 FG%).

8. Virginia Tech

Nickname: Hokies. Location: Blacksburg.

Record: 21-11, 10-8. Bid: ACC at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Wisconsin in Round of 64.

Coach: Buzz Williams (8-6 in six appearances).

Overview: The Hokies have been dangerous against some of the best teams, beating Virginia, Duke and North Carolina. Four starters average double figures, led by Justin Robinson, who tops the team in scoring and assists. There’s also strength off the bench with Ahmed Hill (10.8 ppg) and Chris Clarke (8.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg). One thing Virginia Tech lacks, however, is size besides Kerry Blackshear.

Projected starters: G Justin Robinson, 6-2, Jr. (13.8 ppg, 5.6 apg, 1.2 spg); G Justin Bibbs, 6-5, Sr. (13.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg); F Kerry Blackshear Jr., 6-10, So. (12.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 55.7 FG%); G Nickeil Alexander-Walker, 6-5, Fr. (10.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg); G Devin Wilson 6-4, Sr. (2.9 ppg, 53.8 FG%).

9. Alabama

Nickname: Crimson Tide. Location: Tuscaloosa.

Record: 19-15, 8-10. Bid: SEC at-large.

Last appearance: 2012, lost to Creighton in Round of 64.

Coach: Avery Johnson (first appearance).

Overview: Collin Sexton is one of the best guards in the country, and he has been excellent down the stretch. Alabama struggles from beyond the arc (32.5% from three) and is not a great rebounding team. For Alabama — in the tournament despite 15 losses — to advance, Sexton has to carry the Tide.

Projected starters: G Collin Sexton, 6-3, Fr. (19 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.6 apg); F Donta Hall, 6-9, Jr. (10.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.1 bpg, 72.1 FG%,); G Dazon Ingram, 6-5, So. (10.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg); G Herb Jones, 6-7, Fr. (4.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg); F Galin Smith, 6-9, Fr. (2.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg).

10. Butler

Nickname: Bulldogs. Location: Indianapolis.

Record: 20-13, 9-9. Bid: Big East at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to North Carolina in Sweet 16.

Coach: LaVall Jordan (first appearance).

Overview: The phrase “the Butler way” gets bandied about a lot. There’s clearly something to it, as the Bulldogs keep finding their way to the Dance despite a succession of coaching changes. In his first year at the helm, Jordan has relied on his veteran leaders to keep the ship moving. They’ll struggle to shut down teams with athletic front courts, but they’ll usually make good decisions with the ball.

Projected starters: F Kelan Martin, 6-7, Sr. (20.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 83.1 FT%); G Kamar Baldwin, 6-1, So. (15.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.1 apg); F Tyler Wideman, 6-8, Sr. (9.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg); G Sean McDermott, 6-6, So. (7.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg); G Aaron Thompson, 6-2, Fr. (4.3 ppg, 3.2 apg).

11. St. Bonaventure

Nickname: Bonnies. Location: Allegany, N.Y.

Record: 25-7, 14-4. Bid: Atlantic-10 at-large.

Last appearance: 2012, lost to Florida State in Round of 64.

Coach: Mark Schmidt (0-1 in one appearance).

Overview: Once the Bonnies got healthy during the conference season, they lived up to the potential. Some early losses suffered when Jaylen Adams was sidelined with an ankle injury were nearly too much to overcome, but in the end their résumé was good enough. They can shoot with just about anyone, but they’ll be at a size disadvantage against most potential opponents.

Projected starters: G Jaylen Adams, 6-2, Sr. (19.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.4 apg); G Matt Mobley, 6-3, Sr. (18.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.5 apg); C Amadi Ikbeze, 6-10, So. (4.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg); G Idris Taqqee, 6-4, Sr. (5.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg); F Courtney Stockard, 6-5, Jr. (12.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg).

11. UCLA

Nickname: Bruins. Location: Los Angeles.

Record: 21-11, 11-7. Bid: Pac-12 at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Kentucky in Sweet 16.

Coach: Steve Alford (11-10 in 10 appearances).

Overview: The Bruins tend to seesaw between spectacular (win vs. Arizona on the road) and puzzling (a loss at Oregon State). But they know how to score, 82.4 points a game, and they have a big-time playmaker in Aaron Holiday. The question is if they can contain other teams in crunch time; they allow 76.3 ppg. UCLA has a history of success in the NCAA tournament, too: Besides all those national titles won under legendary coach John Wooden, the Bruins have been to the Sweet 16 three of the last four years.

Projected starters: G Aaron Holiday, 6-1, Jr. (20.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.8 apg, 43.3 3FG%, 82.6 FT%); G Kris Wilkes, 6-8, Fr. (13.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg); C Thomas Welsh, 7-0, Sr. (13.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 40.9 3FG%, 82.8 FT%); F Gyorgy Goloman, 6-11, Sr. (7.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 54.5 FG%, 42.9 3FG%); G Prince Ali, 6-3, So. (9.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg).

12. Murray State

Nickname: Racers. Location: Murray, Ky.

Record: 26-5, 16-2. Bid: Ohio Valley champ.

Last appearance: 2012, lost to Marquette in the Round of 32.

Coach: Matt McMahon, first appearance.

Overview: The Racers have won 13 in a row and dominated a strong Belmont team in the Ohio Valley tournament title game. Senior guard Jonathan Stark is an explosive scorer with takeover abilities, and do-everything guard Ja Morant has added a key ingredient to Murray State’s winning formula.

Projected starters: G Jonathan Stark, 6-0, Sr. (21.8 ppg, 3.9 apg, 88.8 FT%); G Ja Morant, 6-3, Fr. (12.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 6.4 apg); G Shaq Buchanan, 6-3, Jr. (9.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 51.4 FG%); F Terrell Miller Jr., 6-8, Sr. (14.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg); F Brion Sanchious, 6-8, Jr. (3.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg).

13. Marshall

Nickname: Thundering Herd. Location: Huntington, W.Va.

Record: 24-10, 12-6. Bid: Conference USA champ.

Last appearance: 1987, lost to TCU in Round of 64.

Coach: Dan D’Antoni (first appearance).

Overview: The Thundering Herd played spoiler in the C-USA tourney. But this team has some bracket-busting ammunition, with a dynamic offense that ranks in the top 10 in the nation in scoring (85 points a game). Only Marshall has two players who average more than 20 points a game — Jon Elmore and C.J. Burks. Marshall also protects the paint well, with Ajdin Penava, the nation’s leading shot blocker, there to disrupt shooters.

Projected starters: G Jon Elmore, 6-3, Jr. (22.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 6.9 apg, 82.8 FT%); G C.J. Burks, 6-4, Jr. (20.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.1 apg, 89.3 FT%); G Jarrod West, 5-11, Fr. (7.9 ppg, 2.9 apg, 41.5 3FG%); F Ajdin Penava, 6-9, Jr. (15.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 4.1 bpg, 55.3 FG%); F Jannson Williams, 6-9, Fr. (5.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg).

14. Stephen F. Austin

Nickname: Lumberjacks. Location: Nacogdoches, Texas.

Record: 28-6, 14-4. Bid: Southland champ.

Last appearance: 2016, lost to Notre Dame in Round of 32.

Coach: Kyle Keller (first appearance).

Overview: Stephen F. Austin was second in the conference in points a game (81.7) and in scoring defense (68.4 ppg). The Lumberjacks, who have been known to bust a bracket or two, are led by junior guard Shannon Bogues (16.0 ppg), sophomore swingman Kevon Harris (14.6) and junior forward T.J. Holyfield (12.9).

Projected starters: G Ty Charles, 6-5, Sr. (8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.63 apg), G Ivan Canete, 6-4, Sr. (9.4 ppg, 3 apg) G/F Kevon Harris, 6-6, So. (14.8 ppg, 5.5 apg), F T.J. Holyfield, 6-8, Jr. (12.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg), F Leon Gilmore III, 6-7, Sr. (9.4 ppg, 5 rpg).

15. Cal State Fullerton

Nickname: Titans. Location: Fullerton.

Record: 20-11, 10-6. Bid: Big West champ.

Last appearance: 2008, lost to Wisconsin in Round of 64.

Coach: Dedrique Taylor (first appearance).

Overview: Cal State Fullerton is efficient on both ends, shooting 47% and holding opponents to 41.7%. But the Titans do not shoot the three a lot or well (33.8%) and they don’t take care of the ball, averaging more 14 turnovers a game.

Projected starters: G Kyle Allman, 6-3, Jr. (19.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg); G Khalil Ahmad, 6-4, Jr. (15.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg); F Jackson Rowe, 6-7, So. (12.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 58.7 FG%); G Austen Awosika, 6-3, So. (7.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg); F Arkim Robertson, 6-9, Sr. (5.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg).

16. LIU Brooklyn

Nickname: Blackbirds. Location: Brooklyn, N.Y.

Record: 18-16, 10-8. Bid: Northeast champ.

Last appearance: 2013, lost to James Madison in First Four.

Coach: Derek Kellogg (0-1 in one appearance).

Overview: The Blackbirds made an improbable run to the Northeast tournament title in Kellogg’s first season, capped by a win at No. 1 seed Wagner. Now they bring the momentum of a five-game win streak to their first appearance in five seasons. To keep things going, Joel Hernandez and Raiquan Clark will have to carry the scoring load. A lack of size could be a concern with just one regular taller than 6-6.

Projected starters: G Joel Hernandez, 6-3, Sr. (20.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.6 apg); G/F Raiquan Clark, 6-6, Jr. (17.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 55.6 FG%); G Jashaun Agosto, 5-11, So. (11.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.1 apg); G Julian Batts, 5-11, So. (10.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 40.9 3FG%); F/G Julius van Sauers, 6-8, So. (2.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg).

16. Radford

Nickname: Highlanders. Location: Radford, Va.

Record: 22-12, 12-6. Bid: Big South champ.

Last appearance: 2009, lost to North Carolina in Round of 64.

Coach: Mike Jones (first appearance).

Overview: Radford, picked to finish seventh in the Big South, overachieved. The Highlanders have won seven in a row, including the conference tournament title game against Liberty with a stunning three at the buzzer by Carlik Jones. Radford plays at a deliberate pace and thus doesn’t fill up the stats sheet or light up the scoreboard. The good news is the Highlanders don’t give up a lot of points (64.4 ppg, 16th in the nation). They will need to be efficient and shoot better than their averages (42.6%, 35% from three) to advance. Buzzer-beating threes certainly would help.

Projected starters: G Christian Bradford, 6-1, Sr. (4.2 ppg, 78.6 FT%); G Carlik Jones, 6-0, Fr. (11.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.0 apg); G Donald Hicks, 6-3, So. (7.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 40.3 3FG%); F Ed Polite Jr., 6-5, Jr. (13.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 48.5 FG%); C Randy Phillips, 6-8, Sr. (6.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 55.2 FG%).



1. Xavier

Nickname: Musketeers. Location: Cincinnati.

Record: 28-5, 15-3. Bid: Big East at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Gonzaga in Elite Eight.

Coach: Chris Mack (10-7 in seven appearances).

Overview: Instead of the plucky 11 seed making an unexpected run through the regional, Xavier will be the favorite. How well the Musketeers handle it largely depends on Trevon Bluiett, the senior catalyst. There are other scoring options, and the defensive focus usually is good, but when the star’s shots are falling Xavier’s chances for success vastly improve.

Projected starters: G Trevon Bluiett, 6-6, Sr. (19.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.5 apg, 42.1 3FG%, 96.1 FT%); G J.P. Macura, 6-5, Sr. (12.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.0 apg); F Kerem Kanter, 6-10, Sr. (10.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg); G Quentin Goodin, 6-4, So. (8.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.9 apg); F Naji Marshall, 6-7, Fr. (8.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg)

2. North Carolina

Nickname: Tar Heels. Location: Chapel Hill.

Record: 25-10, 11-7. Bid: ACC at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, national champion.

Coach: Roy Williams (76-24 in 27 appearances).

Overview: It was an up-and-down season for the Tar Heels after losing several pieces from last year’s title team. The low points were losses to Wofford at home and three consecutive defeats in late January. A strong finish has given the team hope of an extended tournament run. The experience of Joel Berry II and Luke Maye — part of five upperclassmen starters — is one big advantage. The other is on the backboard as the Heels are near the top of the country in rebound margin.

Projected starters: G Joel Berry II, 6-0, Sr. (17.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.3 apg, 88.8 FT%); G Cameron Johnson, 6-8, Sr. (12.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 86.2 FT%); G Kenny Williams, 6-4, Jr. (11.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg); G/F Theo Pinson, 6-6, Sr. (10.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 4.8 apg, 82.0 FT%); F Luke Maye, 6-8, Jr. (17.2 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 44.0 3FG%)

3. Michigan

Nickname: Wolverines. Location: Ann Arbor.

Record: 28-7, 13-5. Bid: Big Ten champ.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Oregon in Sweet 16.

Coach: John Beilein (19-11 in 11 appearances).

Overview: The Wolverines, perhaps the hottest team in the country, have won nine in a row punctuated by wins against Michigan State and Purdue to claim the Big Ten tournament title. Beilein has one of his best defensive teams ever — the Wolverines limit opponents to 63 points a game — and a more balanced offensive unit than years past led by high-motor big man Mo Wagner. Versatile wing Duncan Robinson (9.6 ppg) has flourished in his role off the bench.

Projected starters: G Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, 6-4, Sr. (12.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 40.0 3FG%); G Zavier Simpson, 6-0, So. (7.5 ppg, 3.6 apg); G Charles Matthews, 6-6, Jr. (12.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg); F Isaiah Livers, 6-7, Fr. (3.9 ppg); F Moritz Wagner, 6-11, Jr. (14.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg).

4. Gonzaga

Nickname: Bulldogs. Location: Spokane, Wash.

Record: 30-4, 17-1. Bid: West Coast Conference champ.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to North Carolina in championship game.

Coach: Mark Few (26-18 in 18 appearances).

Overview: The Zags lost a lot from last year’s Final Four team but still have veteran guards Josh Perkins and Silas Melson. As always, they have foreign flair that will present matchup problems: Forward Killian Tillie is typically good around the rim but has also connected on 15 of his last 17 three-point attempts, and Rui Hachimura can be a beast off the bench. It’s the same question each postseason for the Zags, though. Considering the weakness of the WCC — which will send only Gonzaga to the tournament — are they truly battle-tested?

Projected starters: F Johnathan Williams, 6-9, Sr. (13.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 56.5 FG%); F Killian Tillie, 6-10, So. (13.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 59.3 FG%, 50.0 3FG%) G Josh Perkins 6-3, Jr. (12.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.4 apg, 40.8 3FG%); G Zach Norvell Jr., 6-5, Fr. (12.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.4 apg, 82.4 FT%); G Silas Melson 6-4, Sr. (9.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.4 apg, 88.0 FT%)

5. Ohio State

Nickname: Buckeyes. Location: Columbus.

Record: 24-8, 15-3. Bid: Big Ten at-large.

Last appearance: 2015, lost to Arizona in Round of 32.

Coach: Chris Holtmann (4-3 in three appearances).

Overview: The Buckeyes undoubtedly exceeded expectations in Holtmann’s first year taking over for Thad Matta. There has been no rebuilding project in Columbus, and credit goes to Holtmann’s defensive fortitude and Wooden Award finalist Keita Bates-Diop, who has been an offensive juggernaut all season and helped Ohio State shoot close to 50% from the field.

Projected starters: G C.J. Jackson, 6-1, Jr. (12.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.9 apg, 81.8 FT%); G Kam Williams, 6-2, Sr. (8.2 ppg, 80.0 FT%); F Kaleb Wesson, 6-9, Fr. (10.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 56.8 FG%); F Keita Bates-Diop, 6-7, Jr. (19.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg); F Jae’Sean Tate, 6-4, Sr. (12.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 55.6 FG%).

6. Houston

Nickname: Cougars. Location: Houston.

Record: 26-7, 14-4. Bid: American at-large.

Last appearance: 2010, lost to Maryland in Round of 64.

Coach: Kelvin Sampson (12-14 in 14 appearances).

Overview: This stage will be new for most of the players, but their coach is familiar with the landscape. They prefer a fast tempo, but they defend well enough to win a more physical contest if necessary.

Projected starters: G Rob Gray, 6-1, Sr. (18.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.6 apg); G Corey Davis Jr., 6-1, Jr. (13.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.5 apg); F Devin Davis, 6-6, Sr. (10.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg); G Galen Robinson Jr., 6-1, Jr. (4.7 ppg, 3.8 apg); F Breaon Brady, 6-8, Jr. (4.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg)

7. Texas A&M

Nickname: Aggies. Location: College Station.

Record: 20-12, 9-9. Bid: SEC at-large.

Last Appearance: 2016, lost to Oklahoma in sweet 16.

Coach: Billy Kennedy (3-3 in three appearances).

Overview: Texas A&M is way down the national list in three-pointers made, three-point percentage, and thus does not rely on the deep ball. Shooting percentages are mediocre overall. But the Aggies spread their scoring out, led by center Tyler Davis. And they are big, near the top of the country in blocked shots, defensive rebounds and rebounding margin.

Projected Starters: G T.J. Starks, 6-2, Fr. (9.6 ppg, 2.0 apg); G Admon Gilder, 6-4, Jr. (12.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 40.0 3FG%, 82.1 FT%); F DJ Hogg, 6-9, Jr. (11.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg); F Robert Williams, 6-10, So. (10.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.5 bpg, 62.0 FG%); C Tyler Davis, 6-10, Jr. (14.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 57.6 FG%).

8. Missouri

Nickname: Tigers. Location: Columbia.

Record: 20-12, 10-8. Bid: SEC at-large

Last Appearance: 2013, lost to Colorado State in Round of 64.

Coach: Cuonzo Martin (3-2 in two appearances).

Overview: Missouri scores a lot of points from beyond the arc and is relatively efficient (38.5%, 40th nationally). The Tigers are solid on defense, allowing 68.1 points a game. One question: Heralded freshman Michael Porter Jr., who returned in the SEC tournament after missing all but two minutes of the season. Can he get fit and explosive enough to be a factor? Another question: No. 2 scorer Jordan Barnett has been arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. His status is in question.

Projected Starters: G Kassius Robertson, 6-3, Sr. (16.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 42.5 3FG%); F Jordan Barnett, 6-7, Sr. (f13.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 89.0 FT%); F Kevin Puryear, 6-7, Jr. (8.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 82.0 FT%); F Jeremiah Tilmon (8.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 56.9 FG%); G Jordan Geist, 6-2, Jr. (7.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.9 apg).

9. Florida State

Nickname: Seminoles. Location: Tallahassee.

Record: 20-11, 9-9. Bid: ACC at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Xavier in Round of 32.

Coach: Leonard Hamilton (7-8 in eight appearances).

Overview: The Seminoles are more of a sum-of-parts success. Only Terance Mann received enough votes to be honorable mention on the all-ACC team. Ten players are part of the rotation that plays up-tempo to take advantage of their athleticism and overcomes a lack of consistent outside shooting.

Projected starters: G Terance Mann, 6-6, Jr. (13.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 56.1 FG%); F Phil Cofer, 6-8, Sr. (13.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg); G Braian Angola, 6-6, Sr. (12.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.0 apg, 83.5 FT%); G CJ Walker, 6-1, So. (8.5 ppg, 2.7 apg); C Christ Koumadje, 7-4, Jr. (7.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.6 bpg).

10. Providence

Nickname: Friars. Location: Providence.

Record: 21-13, 10-8. Bid: Big East at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Southern California in First Four.

Coach: Ed Cooley (1-4 in four appearances).

Overview: It’s fair to wonder just how much the scrappy Friars have left in the tank after working overtime three times in the Big East tournament. But that scrappiness has been their defining trait. They’ll definitely encounter bigger lineups, but their relentless ball pressure and streaky long-range shooting makes them hard to put away.

Projected starters: G Alpha Diallo, 6-7, So. (13.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.2 apg); G Kyron Cartwright, 5-11, Sr. (11.8 ppg, 5.7 apg); G Jalen Lindsey, 6-7, Sr. (8.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg); F Rodney Bullock, 6-8, Sr. (14.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg); F Kalif Young, 6-9, So. (4.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg)

11. San Diego State

Nickname: Aztecs. Location: San Diego.

Record: 22-10, 11-7. Bid: Mountain West champ.

Last appearance: 2015, lost to Duke in Round of 32.

Coach: Brian Dutcher (first appearance).

Overview: The program didn’t miss a beat as Dutcher succeeded longtime boss Steve Fisher to maintain continuity, and enter on a nine-game winning streak. Now that they’re here, the Aztecs might be a tough out. Their scoring balance and solid bench production make them hard to defend, though their outside shooting isn’t always consistent.

Projected starters: F Malik Pope, 6-10, Sr. (12.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg); G Devin Watson, 6-1, Jr. (12.3 ppg, 3.8 apg); F Matt Mitchell, 6-6, Fr. (10.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg); G Trey Kell, 6-4, Sr. (10.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.1 apg); F Jalen McDaniels, 6-10, Fr. (10.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg)

12. South Dakota State

Nickname: Jackrabbits. Location: Brookings.

Record: 28-6, 13-1. Bid: Summit champ.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Gonzaga in Round of 64.

Coach: T.J. Otzelberger (0-1 in one appearance).

Overview: Making their fifth tournament appearance in seven seasons, the Jackrabbits are in better position to advance for the first time. Mike Daum, two-time Summit League player of year, and freshman David Jenkins provide much of the firepower for an offense that averages 85 points and ranks near the top in three-point field goals made and three-point percentage. Brandon Key, who leads the team in assists, is a key contributor off the bench.

Projected starters: F Mike Daum, 6-9, Jr. (23.8 ppg, 10. 4 rpg, 85.6 FT%); G/F Reed Tellinghuisen, 6-7, Sr. (12.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg); G David Jenkins Jr., 6-2, Fr. (16.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 79.0 FT%); G Tevin King, 6-2, Jr. (9.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.7 spg); G Skyler Flatten, 6-6, Sr. (7.0 ppg, 50.5 3FG%).

13. UNC-Greensboro

Nickname: Spartans. Location: Greensboro.

Record: 27-7, 15-3. Bid: Southern champ.

Last appearance: 2001, lost to Stanford in Round of 64.

Coach: Wes Miller (first appearance).

Overview: Known for their ability to defend (best in the conference and top-10 in the nation in scoring defense), the Spartans could be a tricky opponent. While they may lack depth, they do have some skill players. Leading scorer and conference tournament MVP Francis Alonso will need to have the game of his life to get his team past the first round.

Projected starters: G Francis Alonso, 6-3, Jr. (15.6 ppg, 3.0 apg, 40.7 3FG%, 87.4 FT%); G Demetrius Troy, 6-0, Jr. (7.5 ppg, 3.8 apg); F Marvin Smith, 6-6, Sr. (12.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 75.7 FT%); F James Dickey, 6-10, So. (8.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.2 bpg, 53.7 FG%); F Jordy Kuiper, 6-9, Sr. (7.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg).

14. Montana

Nickname: Grizzlies. Location: Missoula.

Record: 26-7, 16-2. Bid: Big Sky champ.

Last appearance: 2013, lost to Syracuse in Round of 64.

Coach: Travis DeCuire (first appearance).

Overview: As the Montana guards go, so go the Griz. Ahmaad Rorie is usually the best player on the floor, and Michael Oguine is a lockdown defender. Montana’s defense will be enough to keep it in games and give the Big Sky champ a chance at knocking off a higher seeded team. They force 15.7 turnovers per game — every starter has totaled at least 29 steals. But they have only one player who shoots above 40% from three.

Projected starters: G Ahmaad Rorie, 6-1, Jr. (17.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.7 apg, 84.8 FT%); G Michael Oguine, 6-2, Jr. (15.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 46.1 FG%); F Jamar Akoh, 6-8, Jr. (13.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 57.9 FG%); G Bobby Moorehead, 6-7, Jr. (7.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg); F Fabijan Krslovic, 6-8, Sr. (7.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 57.0 FG%)

15. Lipscomb

Nickname: Bisons. Location: Nashville.

Record: 23-9, 10-4. Bid: Atlantic Sun champ.

Last appearance: First appearance.

Coach: Casey Alexander (first appearance).

Overview: The Bisons (yes, with an s) are on a good run entering their first NCAA tournament. They have won eight in a row and 12 of 13, including the Atlantic Sun tournament final against favored Florida Gulf Coast. In that 108-96 win, they nearly surrendered a 32-point lead before recovering late. Lipscomb can put up points, 82.6 a game (23rd in the nation), led by all-conference guard Garrison Mathews, the Atlantic Sun tournament MVP. That kind of scoring will be a necessity in the tournament.

Projected starters: F Rob Marberry, 6-7, Jr. (16.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg); G Kenny Cooper, 6-0, So. (9.9 ppg, 3.7 apg); F Eli Pepper, 6-9, Jr. (7.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg); G Garrison Mathews, 6-5, Jr. (22.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg); G Michael Buckland, 6-5, So. (7.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 80.0 FT%).

16. North Carolina Central

Nickname: Eagles. Location: Durham.

Record: 19-15, 9-7. Bid: Mid-Eastern Athletic champ.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to UC Davis in First Four.

Coach: LeVelle Moton (0-2 in two appearances).

Overview: The Eagles are a strong rebounding team and possess the leadership and experience from upperclassmen who will be looking to break through after a close loss in the First Four last year.

Projected starters: G Jordan Perkins, 6-1, Fr. (8.4 ppg, 5.4 apg, 40.4 3FG%); G Reggie Gardner Jr., 6-3, Fr. (11.2 ppg, 76.0 FT%); F Pablo Rivas, 6-6, Sr. (11.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 50.2 FG%); F Zacarry Douglas, 6-8, Jr. (4.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 48.0 FG%); C Raasean Davis, 6-9, Jr. (15.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 66.7 FG%).

16. Texas Southern

Nickname: Tigers. Location: Houston.

Record: 15-19, 12-6. Bid: SWAC champ.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to North Carolina in Round of 64.

Coach: Mike Davis (7-8 in eight appearances).

Overview: Texas Southern took a bizarre road to the NCAA tournament. The Tigers started the season 0-13, and for the second year in a row they did not play a home game until January. But the Tigers emerged again as one of the top teams in the Southwestern Athletic Conference once league play began, and they secured a pair of double-digit tournament victories to head to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in six seasons.

Projected starters: G Demontrae Jefferson, 5-7, So. (23.7 ppg, 4.5 apg, 81% FT); G Donte Clark, 6-4, Sr. (18.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg); G Derrick Bruce, 6-3, Jr. (13.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 84% FT); F Marquis Salmon, 6-8, Sr. (5.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 61% FG); G Cainan McClelland, 6-4, Fr. (2.6 ppg).



1. Kansas

Nickname: Jayhawks. Location: Lawrence.

Record: 27-7, 13-5. Bid: Big 12 champ.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Oregon in Elite Eight.

Coach: Bill Self (43-18 in 19 appearances).

Overview: This isn’t a typical Kansas team — no surefire lottery pick, no special freshman, very little depth. But, led by senior guard Devonte’ Graham, Big 12 player of the year, the Jayhawks won their 14th consecutive Big 12 regular-season title and followed up by winning the conference tournment. Kansas features a four-guard lineup that makes 10 three-pointers a game, and transfer Malik Newman emerged as an explosive scorer in the Big 12 tournament, but the Jayhawks could be susceptible to opponents with size — especially if center Udoka Azubuike isn’t recovered from a sprained knee.

Projected starters: G Devonte’ Graham, 6-2 Sr. (17.3 ppg, 7.3 apg, 41.1 3FG%); G Svi Mykhailiuk, 6-8 Sr. (15.1 ppg, 45.1 3FG%); G Lagerald Vick, 6-5, Jr. (12.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg); G Malik Newman, 6-3, So. (12.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg); C Udoka Azubuike 7-0, So. (13.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 77.4 FG%).

2. Duke

Nickname: Blue Devils. Location: Durham, N.C.

Record: 26-7, 13-5. Bid: ACC at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to South Carolina in Round of 32.

Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (91-28 in 33 appearances).

Overview: The Blue Devils have the star power to win it all even if they didn’t match their preseason No. 1 ranking. Marvin Bagley III did live up to the hype as a freshman and was ACC player of the year. Grayson Allen provides shooting and a veteran presence. A switch to a zone defense late in the season has given the team a boost. The freshman backcourt of Trevon Duval and Gary Trent Jr. will determine if Mike Krzyzewski takes home his sixth national title.

Projected starters: F Marvin Bagley III, 6-11, Fr. (21.1 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 60.5 FG%); F Wendell Carter Jr., 6-10, Fr. (13.8 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 56.4 FG%); G Grayson Allen, 6-5, Sr. (15.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.5 apg, 85.3 FT%); G Gary Trent Jr., 6-6, Fr. (14.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 41.5 3FG%); G Trevon Duval, 6-3, Fr. (9.9 ppg, 5.5 apg).

3. Michigan State

Nickname: Spartans. Location: East Lansing.

Record: 29-4, 16-2. Bid: Big Ten at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Kansas in the Round of 32.

Coach: Tom Izzo (47-19 in 20 appearances).

Overview: A preseason Final Four pick based on a star-studded returning sophomore class, the Spartans haven’t disappointed in 2017-18, claiming the Big Ten regular-season title and hitting their stride on the latter half of the season. This might be coach Tom Izzo’s most talented team. The Spartans have plenty of offensive options, and Michigan State led the nation in assists, blocks, rebounding margin, and field goal percentage defense.

Projected starters: G Cassius Winston, 6-0, So. (12.6 ppg, 6.8 apg, 52.6 3FG%); G Joshua Langford, 6-5, So. (11.7 ppg, 84.6 FT%, 42.4 3FG%); G/F Miles Bridges, 6-7, So. (16.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 88.3 FT%); F Nick Ward, 6-8, So. (12.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 65.5 FG%); F Jaren Jackson Jr., 6-1, Fr. (11.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.3 bpg).

4. Auburn

Nickname: Tigers. Location: Auburn, Ala.

Record: 25-7, 13-5. Bid: SEC at-large.

Last appearance: 2003, lost to Syracuse in Sweet 16.

Coach: Bruce Pearl (10-8 in eight appearances).

Overview: Auburn — which claimed its first SEC regular-season title since 1999 — has a dynamic offense (83.4 ppg) game) that is in the top 15 in the country. The Tigers also excel at the free-throw line, where they shoot a lot (third overall in attempts) and make a lot (78.9%). Prolific scoring and free-throw shooting efficiency are excellent factors in March. They have been streaky at times, which has cost them in their losses.

Projected Starters: G Bryce Brown, 6-3, Jr. (16.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 79.4 FT%); G Mustapha Heron, 6-5, So. (16.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 80.7 FT%); G Jared Harper, 5-10, So. (13.7 ppg, 5.7 apg, 83.2 FT%); F Desean Murray, 6-3, Jr. (10.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 85.2 FT%); F Horace Spencer, 6-8, Jr. (4.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 54.6 FG%).

5. Clemson

Nickname: Tigers. Location: Clemson, S.C.

Record: 23-9, 11-7. Bid: ACC at-large.

Last appearance: 2011, lost to West Virginia in Round of 64.

Coach: Brad Brownell (1-4 in four appearances).

Overview: Picked to finish 13th in the ACC, the Tigers are in the tournament for the first time in seven years. They were 16-3 before F Donte Grantham was sidelined for the season. Clemson, 7-6 after the injury, will need guards Marcquise Reed and Gabe DeVoe to pick up the scoring slack. One thing the Tigers will be able to count on is their aggressive defense that makes scoring difficult for opponents.

Projected starters: G Marcquise Reed, 6-3, Jr. (15.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.4 apg, 84.7 FT%); G Gabe DeVoe, 6-3, Sr. (13.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg); G Shelton Mitchell, 6-3, Jr. (12.0 ppg, 3.5 apg, 85.3 FT%); F Elijah Thomas, 6-9, Jr. (10.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.2 bpg, 57.0 FG%); F Aamir Simms, 6-7, Fr. (3.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg).

6. TCU

Nickname: Horned Frogs. Location: Fort Worth.

Record: 21-11, 9-9. Bid: Big 12 at-large.

Last appearance: 1998, lost to Florida State in Round of 64.

Coach: Jamie Dixon (12-10 in 10 appearances).

Overview: TCU reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in 20 years behind an offense that ranked among the nation’s top 20 in six categories. Kenrich Williams’ 12 double-doubles led the way as the Horned Frogs overcame the loss of guard Jaylen Fisher in mid-January and won four of their last five games to finish the regular season before falling to Kansas State in overtime in the Big 12 tournament. TCU is especially dangerous from three-point range (40%).

Projected starters: G Alex Robinson, 6-1, Jr. (9.8 ppg, 6.1 apg); G Desmond Bane, 6-5, So. (12.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 47.2 3FG%); G Kenrich Williams, 6-7, Sr. (13.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 4.0 apg, 40.9 3FG%); F Kouat Noi, 6-7, Fr (10.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 42.9 3FG%); F Vladimir Brodziansky, 6-11, Sr. (15.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 82.0 FT%).

7. Rhode Island

Nickname: Rams. Location: Kingston.

Record: 25-7, 15-3. Bid: Atlantic-10 at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Oregon in Round of 32.

Coach: Dan Hurley (1-1 in one appearance).

Overview: The Rams were able to build a solid cushion in their run through the A-10. This was a good thing, as they stumbled down the stretch: 4-4 in their last eight, including a loss in the A-10 final. They have plenty of experience, though they’re not exceptionally big and can struggle to create one-on-one opportunities. If they’re passing well and hitting from the outside, they could stick around.

Projected starters: G E.C. Matthews, 6-5, Sr. (12.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg); G Jared Terrell, 6-3, Sr. (17.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg); G Stanford Robinson, 6-4, Sr. (9.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg); G Jeff Dowtin, 6-3, So. (9.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.6 apg); F Andre Berry, 6-8, Sr. (9.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg).

8. Seton Hall

Nickname: Pirates. Location: South Orange, N.J.

Record: 21-11, 10-8. Bid: Big East at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Arkansas in Round of 64.

Coach: Kevin Willard (0-2 in two appearances).

Overview: The Pirates are a curious bunch, looking dominant at times and completely clueless at others — often within the same game. The trials of senior wing Desi Rodriguez, the leading scorer (17.8 ppg) but relegated to the bench of late, can be viewed as the season in microcosm. It’s more than conceivable that it can all come together for a game or even two, but a deep run is hard to envision.

Projected starters: C Angel Delgado, 6-10, Sr. (13.3 ppg, 11.6 rpg); G Khadeen Carrington, 6-4, Sr. (14.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.5 apg); G Myles Powell, 6-2, So. (15.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.9 apg); G Myles Cale, 6-5, Fr. (4.4 ppg); F Michael Nzei, 6-8, Jr. (4.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg).

9. North Carolina State

Nickname: Wolfpack. Location: Raleigh.

Record: 21-11, 11-7. Bid: ACC at-large.

Last appearance: 2015, lost to Louisville in Sweet 16.

Coach: Kevin Keatts (0-2 in two appearances).

Overview: The Wolfpack surpassed expectations in their first season under Kevin Keatts, winning five of their last six games in the regular season to get into the field. A four-guard lineup with balanced scoring is keyed by Allerik Freeman. Omer Yurtseven provides strength inside and also is the team’s best three-point shooter (51.2%).

Projected starters: G Allerik Freeman, 6-3, Sr. (15.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg); G Torin Dorn, 6-5, Jr. (13.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 53.9 FG%); G Braxton Beverly, 6-0, Fr. (9.8 ppg, 4.0 apg, 81.6 FT%); G Markell Johnson, 6-1, So. (8.8 ppg, 7.4 apg, 41.7 3FG%); C Omer Yurtseven, 7-0, So (13.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 57.6 FG%, 1.9 bpg).

10. Oklahoma

Nickname: Sooners. Location: Norman.

Record: 18-13, 8-10. Bid: Big 12 at-large.

Last appearance: 2016, lost to Villanova in Final Four.

Coach: Lon Kruger (20-17 in 17 appearances).

Overview: With his astounding shooting range and feel for the game, freshman guard Trae Young leads the nation in scoring and assists — the first player to lead in both categories through a regular season — and he led the Sooners to a 14-2 start. But Young wasn’t as good in February, when the Sooners swooned, winning only one game and falling from a midseason Top 16 pick by the selection committee all the way the NCAA bubble. The overall résumé remains decent, but Oklahoma didn’t resemble a tournament team in the season’s second half.

Projected starters: G Trae Young, 6-2, Fr. (27.4 ppg, 8.8 apg, 3.9 apg, 86.1 FT%); G Kameron McGusty, 6-5, So. (8.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg); G Christian James, 6-4, Jr. (12.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg); F Kristian Doolittle, 6-7, So. (2.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg); F Khadeem Lattin, 6-9, Sr. (6.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg).

11. Arizona State

Nickname: Sun Devils. Location: Tempe.

Record: 20-11, 8-10. Bid: Pac-12 at-large.

Last appearance: 2014, lost to Texas in Round of 64.

Coach: Bobby Hurley (0-1 in one tournament appearance)

Overview: No one had a better non-conference than Arizona State, which notched wins at Kansas and against Xavier and Kansas State on neutral floors. The hot-shooting Sun Devils at one point were projected as a top-three seed. But they sputtered in conference play, struggling to finish close games. They’re not big inside and lost five of their last six, but the Sun Devils are still dangerous if they hit from long-distance.

Projected starters: G Tra Holder, 6-1, Sr. (18.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.4 apg, 84.1 FT%); G Shannon Evans II, 6-1, Sr. (16.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.5 apg, 85.3 FT%); G Kodi Justice, 6-5, Sr. (12.6 ppg, 45.7 FG%); F Romello White 6-8, Fr. (10.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 65.4 FG%); F Mickey Mitchell, 6-7, So. (5.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg).

11. Syracuse

Nickname: Orange. Location: Syracuse, N.Y.

Record: 20-13, 8-10. Bid: ACC at-large.

Last appearance: 2016, lost to North Carolina in Final Four.

Coach: Jim Boeheim (57-31 in 32 appearances).

Overview: The Orange squeeze into the NCAA field after narrowly missing out last season. Two years ago they made an unexpected run to the Final Four after sneaking in. However, this team will have more difficulty. While Tyus Battle brings star power, Syracuse lacks consistent offense and is a poor shooting team. Their trademark zone should keep them in games, but at some point stopping opponents won’t be enough.

Projected starters: G Tyus Battle, 6-6, So. (19.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 84.3 FT%); G Frank Howard, 6-5, Jr. (15.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 5.0 apg); F Oshae Brissett, 6-8, Fr. (14.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg); F Marek Dolezaj, 6-9, Fr. (5.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 52.1 FG%); C Paschal Chukwu, 7-2, Jr. (5.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.7 bpg).

12. New Mexico State

Nickname: Aggies. Location: Las Cruces.

Record: 28-5, 12-2. Bid: WAC champ.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Baylor in Round of 64.

Coach: Chris Jans (first appearance).

Overview: In his first season in Las Cruces, Chris Jans was named WAC coach of the year, and senior forward Jemerrio Jones was named the WAC player of the year. Jones and fellow senior Zach Lofton, the leading scorer, were the driving forces for an Aggies team that upset a then-top 10 Miami team in the Diamond Head Classic, a Power Five Illinois in Chicago and earned home and away victories vs. in-state rival New Mexico in non-conference play.

Projected starters: G Zach Lofton, 6-4, Sr. (19.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 77 FT%); F Jemerrio Jones, 6-5, Sr. (11 ppg, 13.2 rpg, 3.1 apg, 51 FG%); F Johnathon Wilkins, 6-10, Sr. (6.3 ppg, 56 FG%); G AJ Harris, 5-9, So. (9.7 ppg, 2.9 apg); G Sidy N’Dir, 6-2, Jr. (7.9 ppg, 3 rpg).

13. College of Charleston

Nickname: Cougars. Location: Charleston, S.C.

Record: 26-7, 14-4. Bid: Colonial champ.

Last appearance: 1999, lost to Tulsa in Round of 64.

Coach: Earl Grant (first appearance).

Overview: The Cougars are in the NCAA tournament after a 19-year wait that included six losses in conference tournament title games. They will go as far as their three best players can take them. Grant Riller and fifth-year senior Joe Chealey, both first-team All-Colonial selections, form a high-scoring backcourt. F Jarrell Brantley missed the first part of the season with a knee injury but returned to be an inside presence. The prolific trio all shoot well from the free throw line, which could be critical if they’re in a close game.

Projected starters: G Grant Riller, 6-3, So. (18.7 ppg, 2.1 apg, 55.0 FG%); G Joe Chealey, 6-4, Sr. (18.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.6 apg, 86.1 FT%); G Cameron Johnson, 6-4, Sr. (8.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 39.5 3FG%); F Jarrell Brantley, 6-7, Jr. (17.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 84.1 FT%); F Nick Harris, 6-10, Jr. (6.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 55.3 FG%).

14. Bucknell

Nickname: Bison. Location: Lewisburg, Pa.

Record: 25-9, 16-2. Bid: Patriot League champ.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to West Virginia in Round of 64.

Coach: Nathan Davis (0-1 in one appearance).

Overview: The Bison figure to be a trendy upset pick — with good reason. They’re experienced, deep and fundamentally sound. The frontcourt probably won’t dominate the glass like they could against most Patriot League opponents, but they’re excellent passers and they know how to score in traffic.

Projected starters: F Zach Thomas, 6-7, Sr. (20.3 ppg, 9.2 rpg); C Nana Foulland, 6-10, Sr. (15.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.8 bpg, 60.0 FG%); G Stephen Brown, 5-11, Sr. (14.9 ppg, 4.3 apg, 84.2 FT%); G Kimbal Mackenzie, 6-1, Jr. (7.9 ppg, 2.2 apg, 100.0% FT%); G Avi Toomer, 6-3, So. (4.9 ppg, 83.3 FT%).

15. Iona

Nickname: Gaels. Location: New Rochelle, N.Y.

Record: 20-13, 11-7. Bid: Metro Atlantic Athletic champ.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Oregon in Round of 64.

Coach: Tim Cluess (0-4 in four appearances).

Overview: The Gaels are in the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season, this time after finishing fourth in the league. Five players average double figures, including Roland Griffin (10.9 ppg) and Deyshonee Much (10.8 ppg) off the bench. Much (40.4%) and Shadrac Casimir (46.3%) are accurate from three, a strength for the Gaels (31st nationally in threes made a game, 9.7; 32nd in percentage, 38.8%). Size and rebounding (-3.8 rebounding margin) could be a problem.

Projected starters: G Zach Lewis, 6-3, Sr. (9.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg); G Rickey McGill, 6-1, Jr. (13.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 5.6 apg); G/F E.J. Crawford, 6-6, So. (12.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg); F TK Edogi, 6-8, Sr. (7.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 56.7 FG%); G Shadrac Casimir, 5-10, Jr. (10.4 ppg).

16. Pennsylvania

Nickname: Quakers. Location: Philadelphia.

Record: 24-8, 12-2. Bid: Ivy champ.

Last appearance: 2007, lost to Texas A&M in Round of 64.

Coach: Steve Donahue (2-3 in three appearances).

Overview: After an iffy start to the season, the Quakers hit their stride in conference play. Penn moves the ball around well and relies heavily on the three. This team could be a trendy upset pick in the first round.

Projected starters: G Antonio Woods, 6-1, Jr. (7.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg); G Darnell Foreman, 6-1, Sr. (10.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.6 apg); G Ryan Betley, 6-5, So. (14.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 39.5 3PT%); F AJ Brodeur, 6-8, So. (12.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 53.3 FG%); C Max Rothschild, 6-8, Jr. (7.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 50.8 FG%).



1. Virginia

Nickname: Cavaliers. Location: Charlottesville.

Record: 31-2, 17-1. Bid: ACC champ.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Florida in Round of 32.

Coach: Tony Bennett (10-7 in seven appearances).

Overview: This version of the Cavaliers is like many of Bennett’s previous teams. The success starts with great defense. They lead the nation in scoring defense (53.1 ppg) by a large margin and opponents scored more than 60 points just eight times. The offense isn’t spectacular, though all three guards shoot extraordinarily well from the free throw line, which could be crucial in close games that are sure to occur as they progress.

Projected starters: G Kyle Guy, 6-2, So. (14.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 83.7 FT%); G Devon Hall, 6-5, Sr. (12.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 45.2 3FG%, 89.4 FT%); G Ty Jerome, 6-5, So. (10.5 ppg, 3.9 apg, 90.2 FT%); F Isaiah Wilkins, 6-7, Sr. (5.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.5 bpg); C Jack Salt, 6-10, Jr. (3.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 65.0 FG%).

2. Cincinnati

Nickname: Bearcats. Location: Cincinnati.

Record: 30-4, 16-2. Bid: American champ.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to UCLA in Round of 32.

Coach: Mick Cronin (5-9 in nine appearances).

Overview: The Bearcats’ game isn’t always pretty, but it is effective. They play hard-nosed defense, while their scoring balance makes defending them a challenge. On the down side, they don’t shoot free throws particularly well (68.8%) and their perimeter shooting isn’t always reliable.

Projected starters: F Kyle Washington, 6-9, Sr. (11.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg); F Gary Clark, 6-8, Sr. (12.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.1 apg); G Jacob Evans, 6-6, Jr. (12.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.2 apg); G Justin Jenifer, 5-10, Jr. (4.9 ppg, 2.5 apg); G Jarron Cumberland, 6-5, So. (11.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.9 apg).

3. Tennessee

Nickname: Volunteers. Location: Knoxville.

Record: 25-8, 13-5. Bid: SEC at-large.

Last appearance: 2014, lost to Michigan in Sweet 16.

Coach: Rick Barnes (21-22 in 22 appearances).

Overview: Tennessee is strong on defense, holding opponents to about 66 points a game and 40.7% shooting from the field. The Vols also are solid on offense, make threes, shoot well enough from the floor and the free throw line, and they have terrific depth. A lot of guys contribute, including co-sixth man of the year in the SEC Lamonte Turner (10.7 ppg, 87.7 FT%). Occasional shooting slumps have been costly.

Projected starters: F Grant Williams, 6-7, So. (15.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 46.6 FG%); F Admiral Schofield, 6-5, Jr. (13.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 38.2 FG%); G Jordan Bowden, 6-5, So. (9.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg); G Jordan Bone, 6-3, So. (6.7 ppg, 3.6 apg, 83.3 FT%); F Kyle Alexander, 6-11, Jr. (5.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 68.4 FG%).

4. Arizona

Nickname: Wildcats. Location: Tucson.

Record: 27-7, 14-4. Bid: Pac-12 champ.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Xavier in Sweet 16.

Coach: Sean Miller (19-10 in 10 appearances).

Overview: A preseason Final Four favorite, no team has dealt with more off-court hoopla. There’s the FBI investigation, Miller’s alleged discussion of paying Deandre Ayton to attend Arizona, and Allonzo Trier’s brief suspension for use of a banned substance. And yet, they’re still one of the most dangerous teams in the field, mostly because no one knows how to stop Ayton, who is a monster in the paint. The Wildcats’ defense has been shaky at times, another unexpected hurdle for them to overcome this season.

Projected starters: F Deandre Ayton, 7-1, Fr. (19.9 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 61.2 FG%); G Allonzo Trier, 6-5, Jr. (18.7 ppg, 3.4 apg, 3.1 rpg, 51.0 FG%, 86.2 FT%); G Rawle Alkins, 6-5, So. (13.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg); C Dusan Ristic, 7-0, Sr. (11.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 55.8 FG%); G Parker Jackson-Cartwright, 5-11, Sr. (7.8 ppg, 4.8 apg, 42.3 3FG%).

5. Kentucky

Nickname: Wildcats. Location: Lexington.

Record: 23-10, 10-8. Bid: SEC champ.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to North Carolina in Elite Eight.

Coach: John Calipari (51-17 in 18 appearances).

Overview: Kentucky has been up and down, which often happens when the lineup is loaded with freshmen. But the Wildcats are talented and have played well down the stretch. They aren’t great from three but can dominate down low. And they defend, in the paint and on the perimeter. They will be a tough out in the tournament.

Projected starters: G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, 6-6, Fr. (13.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 5.0 assists, 47.6 FG%, 81 FT%); F P.J. Washington, 6-7, Fr. (10.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 50.9 FG%); F Kevin Knox, 6-9, Fr. (15.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg); G Hamidou Diallo, 6-5, Fr. (10.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg); F Nick Richards, 6-11, Fr. (5.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 61.1 FG%).

6. Miami (Fla.)

Nickname: Hurricanes. Location: Coral Gables, Fla.

Record: 22-9, 11-7. Bid: ACC at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Michigan State in Round of 64.

Coach: Jim Larranaga (9-8 in eight appearances).

Overview: A four-game win streak to close the regular season helped the Hurricanes secure their third consecutive tournament berth. What the team lacks in star power, it makes up for with balanced scoring and depth. A bonus would be if Bruce Brown (11.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg) is healthy enough to play. He has been out since February with a stress fracture in his foot.

Projected starters: G Lonnie Walker IV, 6-5, Fr. (11.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg); G Chris Lykes, 5-7, Fr. (9.6 ppg, 2.4 apg); G Anthony Lawrence II, 6-7, Jr. (8.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 43.2 3FG%); G Ja’Quan Newton, 6-3, Sr. (8.7 ppg, 2.7 apg); F Dewan Huell, 6-11, So. (11.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 57.3 FG%).

7. Nevada

Nickname: Wolf Pack. Location: Reno.

Record: 27-7, 15-3. Bid: Mountain West at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Iowa State in Round of 64.

Coach: Eric Musselman (0-1 in one appearance).

Overview: The Wolf Pack had to sweat a little on Selection Sunday after running into a San Diego State buzzsaw in the MWC tournament. Their overall body of work got them into the field, but their chances to make a deep run took a major hit when starting point guard Lindsey Drew went down with a torn Achilles tendon last month. As a result, they’re left with a thin bench, so any foul trouble will be hard to overcome.

Projected starters: F Caleb Martin, 6-7, Jr. (19.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg); F Jordan Caroline, 6-7, Jr. (17.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg); F Cody Martin, 6-7, Jr. (13.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.6 apg); G Kendall Stephens, 6-7, Sr. (13.2 ppg, .917 ft%, .444 3fg%); G Hallice Cook, 6-3, Sr. (4.9 ppg).

8. Creighton

Nickname: Bluejays. Location: Omaha.

Record: 21-11, 10-8. Bid: Big East at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Rhode Island in round of 64.

Coach: Greg McDermott (3-7 in seven appearances).

Overview: The Bluejays are not big. They rely on outside shooting and transition points. They’ve been much better at establishing their preferred style on their home court. They’ll struggle against an opponent that knows how to take care of the ball against full-court pressure.

Projected starters: G Marcus Foster, 6-3, Sr. (20.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.7 apg, 42.2 3FG%); G Khyri Thomas, 6-3, Jr. (15.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.8 apg); G Mitch Ballock, 6-5, Fr. (7.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.0 apg); F Toby Hegner, 6-10, Sr. (8.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg); G Davion Mintz, 6-3, So. (6.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.1 apg).

9. Kansas State

Nickname: Wildcats. Location: Manhattan.

Record: 22-11, 10-8. Bid: Big 12 at-large.

Last appearance: 2017, lost to Cincinnati in Round of 64.

Coach: Bruce Weber (12-11 in 11 appearances).

Overview: Led by junior forward Dean Wade — K-State’s first first-team all-Big 12 selection in five years — and junior guard Barry Brown (a second-team selection), the Wildcats win by taking care of the ball and playing stingy defense. Something to watch: a foot injury suffered by Wade and an eye injury suffered by Brown during the Big 12 tournament.

Projected starters: G Carter Diarra, 6-4, Fr. (7.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.1 apg); G Barry Brown, 6-3, Jr. (16.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.1 apg); G Xavier Sneed, 6-5, So. (10.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.7 apg); F Dean Wade 6-10, Jr. (16.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.8 apg); Makol Mawien, 6-9, So. (7.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg).

10. Texas

Nickname: Longhorns. Location: Austin.

Record: 19-14, 8-10. Bid: Big 12 at-large.

Last appearance: 2016, lost to Northern Iowa in Round of 64.

Coach: Shaka Smart (7-6 in six appearances).

Overview: Texas struggled to gain momentum in the rugged Big 12 and with the loss of sophomore guard Andrew Jones, who was diagnosed in January with leukemia. But behind junior guard Kerwin Roach, freshman forward Mohamed Bamba and junior transfer Dylan Osetkowski, the Longhorns found enough consistency to reach the NCAA Tournament. Texas’ hopes might hinge on freshman Mohamed Bamba’s injured toe. Bamba had 14 double-doubles and ranks second nationally in blocks, averaging 3.7 a game, but was hampered in the final weeks of the regular season after the injury. Freshman forward Jericho Sims emerged in Bamba’s absence as an interior threat.

Projected starters: G Matt Coleman, 6-2, Fr. (9.7 ppg, 4.1 apg); G Kerwin Roach II, 6-4, Jr. (11.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.6 apg); G Jase Febres, 6-5, Fr. (3.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg); F Dylan Osetkowski, 6-9, Jr. (13.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg); F Mohamed Bamba, 6-11, Fr. (12.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 3.7 bpg).

11. Loyola-Chicago

Nickname: Ramblers. Location: Chicago.

Record: 28-5, 15-3. Bid: Missouri Valley champ.

Last appearance: 1985, lost to Georgetown in Sweet 16.

Coach: Porter Mosier (first appearance).

Overview: Loyola had an NCAA tournament profile worthy of an at-large bid after convincingly winning the Missouri Valley regular season and upsetting Florida on the road in non-conference play. There’s no star on this team, but there’s tremendous balance on offense. Loyola ranks third nationally in field-goal percentage. It’s been on defense is where the Ramblers are most impressive, ranking fifth in scoring defense by allowing opponents under 63 points a game. An X-factor is 6-9 freshman Cameron Krutwig, a superb passer who gives this four-guard lineup a dynamic inside-out game.

Projected starters: G Clayton Custer, 6-1, Jr. (13.4 ppg, 4.3 apg, 44.0 3FG%); G Ben Richardson, 6-3, Sr. (6.7 ppg, 3.8 apg); G Marques Townes, 6-4, Jr. (11.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 40.3 3FG%); G Donte Ingram, 6-6, Sr. (11.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg); C Cameron Krutwig, 6-9, Fr. (10.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg).

12. Davidson

Nickname: Wildcats. Location: Davidson, N.C.

Record: 21-11, 13-5. Bid: Atlantic 10 champ.

Last appearance: 2015, lost to Iowa in Round of 64.

Coach: Bob McKillop (3-8 in eight appearances).

Overview: The Wildcats were playing their best late in the season, and they carried it to the A-10 title. As you’d expect from a McKillop-coached squad, they run their halfcourt sets well and select good shots. Peyton Aldridge is the kind of scorer who can take over a game, but he’ll likely need help against the deeper competition Davidson will see in the tournament.

Projected starters: F Peyton Aldridge, 6-8, Sr. (21.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.5 apg); G Kellan Grady, 6-5, Fr. (18.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.0 apg); G Jon Axel Gudmundsson, 6-4, So. (13.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 5.2 apg); G KiShawn Pritchett, 6-6, So. (5.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.5 apg); F Oskar Michelsen, 6-9, Sr. (5.5 ppg).

13. Buffalo

Nickname: Bulls. Location: Buffalo, N.Y.

Record: 26-8, 15-3. Bid: MAC champ.

Last appearance: 2016, lost to Miami (Fla.) in Round of 64.

Coach: Nate Oats (0-1 in one appearance).

Overview: The Bulls are one of the nation’s highest-scoring teams, but they rank near the bottom in scoring defense. Averaging almost 10 three-pointers a game, this team can shoot with the best of them, which makes Buffalo a scary opponent in the first round.

Projected starters: G CJ Massinburg, 6-3, Jr. (17.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 40.5 3FG%); G Jeremy Harris, 6-7, Jr. (15 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 41.7 3FG%); G Wes Clark, 6-0, Sr. (14.8 ppg, 5.4 apg, 46.7 FG%); G Davonta Jordan, 6-2, So. (7.4 ppg, 4.3 apg, 2.9 rpg); F Ikenna Smart, 6-10, Jr. (3.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg).

14. Wright State

Nickname: Raiders Location: Dayton, Ohio.

Record: 25-9, 14-4. Bid: Horizon champ.

Last appearance: 2007, lost to Pittsburgh in Round of 64.

Coach: Scott Nagy (0-3 in three appearances).

Overview: Nagy has gotten the Raiders to play top-notch defense, ranking in the top-50 nationally in points allowed (66.0) and field goal percentage defense (41.5%). One of the best players, Justin Mitchell, left the team in early January, but the Raiders rallied. This is a well-balanced offensive team, with youth and experience. There’s also size on the roster, which can’t be said for all mid-majors. Veteran guard Grant Benzinger is dynamic and drives this team. Freshman guard Jaylon Hall adds a boost off the bench.

Projected starters: Grant Benzinger, 6-3, Sr. (14.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 88.8 FT%); G Mark Hughes, 6-4, Jr. (9.9 ppg, 3.0 apg, 83.1 FT%); G Cole Gentry, 5-10, So. (9.2 ppg, 81.4 FT%); C Parker Ernsthausen, 6-11, Jr. (5.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg); C Louden Love, 6-9, Fr. (12.9 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 53.1 FG%).

15. Georgia State

Nickname: Panthers. Location: Atlanta.

Record: 24-10, 12-6. Bid: Sun Belt champ.

Last appearance: 2015, lost to Xavier in Round of 32.

Coach: Ron Hunter (1-2 in two appearances).

Overview: The Panthers have three things in their favor: a star guard, the ability to shoot from deep and force turnovers. Georgia State is led by conference player of the year D’Marcus Simonds, who led the Sun Belt in scoring (20.9 ppg) and was fourth in assists (4.5 apg). The Panthers shot a league-leading 38.6% from three-point range and boast a +3.09 turnover margin.

Projected Starters: G D’Marcus Simonds, 6-3, So. (20.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.5 apg); G Devin Mitchell, 6-4, Jr. (12.2 ppg, 45 3FG%); F Jeff Thomas, 6-5, Jr. (10.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg); F Malik Benlevi, 6-5, Jr. (9.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg); F Jordan Session, 6-8, Sr. (7.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg).

16. Maryland-Baltimore County

Nickname: Retrievers. Location: Baltimore.

Record: 24-10, 12-4. Bid: America East champ.

Last appearance: 2008, lost to Georgetown in Round of 64.

Coach: Ryan Odom (first appearance).

Overview: The Retrievers, who upset Vermont to win the America East tournament, are here in part because of their three-point shooting. They make more than 10 a game, top 20 in the country, and shoot it well, 38.5%. However, UMBC is not big, which will be an issue in the tournament.

Projected starters: G Jairus Lyles, 6-2, Sr. (20.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.5 apg, 80.4 FT%); G K.J. Maura, 5-8, Sr. (11.4 ppg, 5.2 apg, 42.3 3FG%, 86.8 FT%); F Joe Sherburne, 6-6, Jr. (10-9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 42.3 3FG%); F Arkel Lamar, 6-5, So. (10.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 43.2 3FG%); F Daniel Akin, 6-9, Fr. (3.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 65.7 FG%).

March Madness: NCAA reveals final 8 teams considered for women’s tourney

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Creighton coach Jim Flanery doesn’t plan on losing any sleep over being one of the final eight women’s basketball teams under consideration for the NCAA Tournament.

After all, there’s really nothing more he or his team can do now.

“The bricks have been laid. Now we have to wait regardless of where we end up,” Flanery said in a phone interview Sunday night. “It set off a group chat of my coaches. What are we supposed to think of this? I talked to my staff enough about it.”

Other teams under consideration for the last four in and first four out were Buffalo, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Purdue, Rutgers, Southern Cal and West Virginia.

Flanery thinks all eight of the teams under consideration got fortunate that there weren’t too many upsets in mid-major conferences that could push someone off the bubble.

“It was pretty much chalk in the conference tournaments this week as far as non top-five or six league regular season champions,” he said.

Women’s basketball committee chair Rhonda Bennett said on ESPN that the committee had been discussing the final eight teams all day leading up to the reveal.

“We need to get these teams right,” she said. “We spent pretty much the entire day on these teams.”

The women’s bracket will be revealed Monday night with the tournament tipping off on Friday. The top 16 seeds will host the first two rounds.

For the third consecutive year, the NCAA revealed its top 16 seeds over the course of the season. In the last reveal on Feb. 19, UConn, Mississippi State, Louisville and Notre Dame were projected as No. 1 seeds.


— The conference tournaments are finished and now the wait is almost over for the women’s basketball NCAA Tournament.

Little Rock earned the final automatic bid winning the Sun Belt Conference on Sunday night.

Now 32 teams will wait to see if they earned an at-large bid to the tournament, which begins Friday. The NCAA revealed the final eight teams under consideration for the tournament Sunday night.

There will be anxious moments for all eight of those schools over the next day until the bracket is revealed Monday night.

“We certainly worked hard, as did all the teams. We would welcome the opportunity to be an NCAA team. I’m extremely proud of the success we’ve had this year and I’m hoping that we are selected,” Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said.

The Scarlet Knights were one of the eight teams in the final group, joining Buffalo, Creighton, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Purdue, USC and West Virginia.

“I hope the committee gives us the opportunity to play,” Stringer said. “Obviously, there are a bunch of teams waiting to hear if they will get in as well, but the one thing I know is that we made tremendous strides to be in a such position. There’s a lot of anticipation and excitement that we are back in the hunt and back in a familiar place for myself and the Scarlet Knights.”

NORTHEASTERN vs a NOR’EASTER: The Northeastern women’s basketball team bus got stuck in the snow on Wednesday in Philadelphia as the squad practiced before the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament. The bus stalled just 10 minutes into the ride and when it wouldn’t move the team took matters into its own hands, pushing the bus back on track .

The Huskies ended up losing its game the next day to Delaware.

POLL WATCH: With most of the Top 25 done playing last weekend, there isn’t much movement expected in the final poll of the season. UConn won the American Athletic Conference championship on Tuesday sealing its fifth straight season finishing at No. 1 in the poll.

WHAT’S ON TAP: The NCAA Tournament begins Friday with 16 games. The rest of the field of 64 begins play on Saturday.

LACK OF HOME COOKING: Both Penn and Drexel had chances to win their conference tournaments, playing the title game at home. The two schools, less than a mile apart in Pennsylvania, had dreadful starts shooting from the field and never could recover.


Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at

NCAA tournament bracketology: Big East set to win top seeds, bubble battles on Selection Sunday

This gallery contains 1 photo.

(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today Sports)   —    It’s surprising and rare for a bubble team to go toe-to-toe with a projected No. 1 seed — forcing overtime — as Providence did on Saturday against Villanova in the Big East final.

But that captures how the Big East is poised to win in multiple ways on Selection Sunday.

The Wildcats claimed the conference tournament title and are a lock for a No. 1 seed. Their conference foe Xavier, which won the regular season but lost in overtime to upstart Providence, will grab the last No. 1 — as the closest No. 2, North Carolina, just has too many losses (10).

Providence, meanwhile, shot up to a No. 9 seed after entering the league tournament as a projected No. 12 — in a play-in game. Seton Hall, a projected No. 7 seed, and Butler, another No. 9 seed, are in the safety zone as well.

On the unsafe area of the bubble, it’s the Big East that’s benefiting from ‘Nova and Xavier’s prowess — as well as the Friars’ late surge in the conference tourney. Fringe teams Marquette and Creighton are both two of the last four teams in the projected field — as No. 11 seeds slated to play in Dayton for play-in competition. They’re set to beat out ACC bubble teams Louisville, Notre Dame and Syracuse.

As a whole, the Big East is sending seven of 10 teams — tied with the Big 12 for the best overall percentage of teams dancing and just one back from the ACC and SEC’s eight projected teams. That’s eye-raising considering the season-long story line about the strength of the Big 12 (with nine of 10 teams in the NCAA tourney equation). Yet two of the Big 12’s bubble teams, Oklahoma State and Baylor, will likely be left out of the field.


► No. 1 seeds: Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, Xavier

► Last four in: Oklahoma, Creighton, Marquette, Arizona State

► First Four out: Middle Tennessee State, Louisville, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame

  • Other bubble teams considered: Saint Mary’s, Syracuse, Baylor, Western Kentucky, Utah, Georgia, Oregon, Nebraska
  • On life support: Temple, Washington, Boise State, Penn State, LSU

With Selection Sunday on the horizon, USA TODAY Sports tracks how bubble teams fared in their ever-crucial championship weekend showings.

Outcomes are based on games from Thursday, Friday and Saturday in major conference tournament action. Teams that are sweating and lost earlier in the week  — including Saint Mary’s (first four out), Syracuse (next four out), No. 11 seed Arizona State (last four in), No. 11 seed Oklahoma (last four in) — are not included. Same goes for teams that are relatively safe but lost early in their league tourneys — including No. 11 seed Florida State and No. 10 N.C. State.

BRACKETOLOGY: A look at the full field of 68

POSTSEASON LINEUP: College basketball conference tournament schedule


► Kansas State (No. 8 seed, lock): The Wildcats defeated TCU 66-64 on Thursday in the Big 12 quarterfinals before bowing out to Kansas 83-67 on Friday in the semifinals.

► Rhode Island (No. 8 seed, lock): The Rams defeated VCU 76-67 on Friday in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals and then beat Saint Joseph’s 90-87 on Saturday in the semifinals to reach the tournament title game for the second year in a row. ⇒ [still playing]

Providence (No. 9 seed, safe): The Friars lost to Villanova 76-66 in overtime on Saturday night in the Big East tournament championship after upsetting Xavier 75-72 on Friday in the semifinals and defeating Creighton 72-68 on Thursday in the quarterfinals.

► Butler (No. 9 seed, safe): The Bulldogs beat Seton Hall 75-74 on Thursday in the Big East quarterfinals before bowing out to Villanova 87-68 on Friday in the semifinals.

► Alabama (No. 9 seed, safe): The Crimson Tide knocked off Texas A&M 71-70 on Thursday in the SEC tournament second-round, then upset Auburn 81-63 on Friday in the quarterfinals before bowing out to Kentucky 86-63 on Saturday in the semifinals.

► UCLA (No. 10 seed, safe): The Bruins defeated Stanford 88-77 on Thursday in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals before bowing out to Arizona 78-67 on Friday in the semifinals.

► USC (No. 10 seed, safe): The Trojans defeated Oregon State 61-48 on Thursday in the Pac-12 quarterfinals, then routed Oregon 74-54 on Friday in the semifinals to reach the Pac-12 tourney title game, where they fell 75-61 to Arizona.


St. Bonaventure (No. 9 seed, safe): The Bonnies lost to possible bid thief Davidson 82-70 on Saturday in the Atlantic 10 semifinals — snapping a 13-game winning streak — after beating Richmond 83-77 in the quarterfinals.

Texas (No. 10 seed, relatively safe): The Longhorns lost to Texas Tech 73-69 on Thursday in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals but escaped Iowa State 68-64 in the first round to avoid the résumé stain.

Creighton (No. 11 seed, unsafe and sweating): The Bluejays lost to Providence 72-68 on Thursday in the Big East quarterfinals.

Marquette (No. 11 play-in seed, unsafe and sweating): The Golden Eagles lost to Villanova 84-70 on Thursday in the Big East quarterfinals.

Middle Tennessee State (First four out): The Blue Raiders lost to Southern Mississippi on Thursday in the Conference USA quarterfinals.

Notre Dame (First four out): The Irish lost to Duke 88-70 on Thursday in the ACC quarterfinals after previously beating Virginia Tech 71-65 in the second round and Pittsburgh 67-64 in the first round.

► Louisville (First four out): The Cardinals lost to Virginia 75-58 on Thursday in the ACC tournament quarterfinals. They beat Florida State 82-74 in the second round.

Oklahoma State (First four out): The Cowboys lost to Kansas 82-68 on Thursday in the Big 12 quarterfinals. They beat Oklahoma 71-60 in the first round.

► Baylor (Out of the projected field): The Bears lost to West Virginia 78-65 on Thursday in the Big 12 quarterfinals.

► Georgia (Out of the projected field): The Bulldogs lost to Kentucky 62-49 on Friday in the SEC tournament quarterfinals. They defeated Missouri 62-60 on Thursday in the second round.

► Oregon (Out of the projected field): The Ducks lost to USC 74-54 on Friday in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals. They beat Utah 68-66 on Thursday in the quarterfinals.

► LSU (On life support): The Tigers lost 80-77 on Thursday in the SEC tournament second round.


CBB Men’s Top 25 Roundup: No. 1 Virginia tops UNC, finishes historic run through ACC

This gallery contains 1 photo.

(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)    —   NEW YORK – Kyle Guy, Devon Hall and No. 1 Virginia completed one of the most successful seasons in the storied history of Atlantic Coast Conference basketball, beating No. 12 North Carolina 71-63 in the tournament championship game Saturday night to finish 20-1 against league competition.

The top-seeded Cavaliers (31-2) set a school record for victories and won the ACC Tournament for the second time in five seasons under coach Tony Bennett, and third time overall. With plenty of their fans packing Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Cavaliers beat sixth-seeded North Carolina (25-10) for the second time this season and snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Tar Heels in ACC Tournament play.

Guy, the tournament MVP, scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half and Hall added 15 points, five rebounds and four assists. Ty Jerome had 12 points, six assists and six rebounds for Virginia, which will certainly enter the NCAA Tournament as the top overall seed.

Not bad for a bunch that started the season unranked and was picked to finish sixth in the ACC.

Luke Maye led North Carolina with 20 points.

(2) Villanova 76, Providence 66

NEW YORK – Mikal Bridges scored 25 points and hit two 3-pointers in overtime to lift Villanova over Providence in the Big East Tournament championship game.

The Wildcats (30-4) won their second straight Big East Tournament and third in four years (losing in the 2016 final). They put the bow on a fantastic season that should have them earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Villanova had rolled to a pair of dominant victories in the tourney and held off a pesky Providence team that played its third straight overtime game.

The fifth-seeded Friars (21-13) rallied in the second half from yet another double-digit hole and seemed set to pull off one more upset and earn the automatic NCAA berth. Providence erased a 17-point hole in the second half to beat top-seeded Xavier to reach the final. With one stunning rally on its resume, Providence nearly made it two. But the Friars ran out of gas in OT.

(8) Cincinnati 70, Memphis 60

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jarron Cumberland scored 18 points and Gary Clark had 17 points and 12 rebounds to rally Cincinnati past Memphis in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

Kyle Washington added 11 for the Bearcats (29-4), who advanced to meet No. 21 Houston in Sunday’s final.

Jamal Johnson led Memphis with 17 points but didn’t score in the second half, when the Tigers squandered a 13-point lead. Kyvon Davenport had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis (21-13), which is hoping for an invitation to the NIT.

(9) Kansas 81, (18) West Virginia 70

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Devonte Graham piled up 18 points and 13 assists, Silvio De Sousa came up big in place of Udoka Azubuike and Kansas proved its toughness down the stretch to beat West Virginia in the Big 12 Tournament title game.

De Sousa had 16 points on 8 of 8 shooting while grabbing 10 rebounds, and Malik Newman added 20 points to cap a phenomenal tournament, lifting the Jayhawks (27-7) to their 11th tournament title and a likely No. 1 seed when the NCAA Tournament bracket is revealed Sunday.

It was the second time in three years they’ve beaten West Virginia (24-10) in the title game.

Svi Mykhailiuk also had 16 points for the Jayhawks, who scrapped their way through three games in three days without their 7-foot anchor. Azubuike hurt a ligament in his left knee in practice early in the week and spent the weekend on the bench, though he’s expected to return next week.

Daxter Miles Jr. finished with 25 points, and Jevon Carter had 17 points and nine assists for the Mountaineers, who have lost three straight Big 12 Tournament championship games.

(21) Houston 77, (11) Wichita State 74

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rob Gray had a key steal and scored 33 points, including two free throws with 5 seconds remaining, as Houston held off Wichita State in an American Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal.

Corey Davis Jr. scored 19 points for the Cougars (26-6), who advanced to play No. 8 Cincinnati in the championship game.

Houston led by as many as nine points in the first half before the lead changed hands or was tied eight times in the final seven minutes.

With the Cougars trailing 74-73, Gray intercepted a pass near midcourt and drove to the basket, handing off to Galen Robinson for a layup with 1:27 remaining. Houston sealed the victory when Robinson intercepted an in-bounds pass with 5 seconds left and a foul by the Shockers sent Gray to the free-throw line.

Landry Shamet led Wichita State (25-7) with 19 points while Shaquille Morris had 12, including 10 in the final seven minutes to keep the game close.

(13) Tennessee 84, Arkansas 66

ST. LOUIS – Jordan Bone scored 19 points to help spark a hot-shooting first half for Tennessee, which beat Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals.

The win is the sixth straight and 13th in the last 15 games for the second-seeded Volunteers (25-7), who will try to win their first SEC Tournament championship in almost 40 years when they face Kentucky on Sunday.

Bone scored 17 of his points in the first half, hitting 7 of 7 from the field and all three of his 3-point attempts. Admiral Schofield added 16 points for Tennessee, while Grant Williams, Kyle Alexander and James Daniel III finished with 12 points apiece.

Daryl Macon scored 19 points to lead the sixth-seeded Razorbacks (23-11), who had won eight of their previous 10 games.

(15) Arizona 76, Southern California 61

LAS VEGAS – Deandre Ayton had 32 points and 18 rebounds in one of the most dominating performances in Pac-12 Tournament history, leading Arizona to its second straight title.

Ayton put on a show along The Strip, bouncing back from a nervous Pac-12 opener with two dominating games.

The Bahamian big man had 32 points and 14 rebounds in a semifinal win over UCLA and knocked the Trojans (23-11) around like bowling pins in the championship game. Ayton made 14 of 20 shots from the floor and all four of his free throws to lead Arizona (27-8) to its ninth Pac-12 title.

Nick Rakocevic led USC with 13 points.

Both teams fought through adversity to reach the title game.

Arizona was twice entangled in a federal investigation into shady recruiting practices. USC was named in the probe as well, leading to sophomore De’Anthony Melton to be ruled ineligible this season.

(25) Rhode Island 80, Saint Joseph’s 87

WASHINGTON – Andre Berry scored 18 points, Fatts Russell made two crucial 3-pointers in the final six minutes and Rhode Island rallied past Saint Joseph’s in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament semifinals.

The Rams (25-6) are the first No. 1 seed in the Atlantic 10 to reach the conference championship game since Saint Louis in 2013.

Jeff Dowtin added 16 points and 10 assists for Rhode Island, Russell scored 14 points and E.C. Matthews had 11 of his 14 points in the second half for the defending tournament champions.

Shavar Newkirk had 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the fourth-seeded Hawks (16-16), who drubbed Rhode Island 78-48 last week. Saint Joseph’s appeared poised to deliver another upset while trying to extend its season, building an 11-point lead early in the second half.

CBB Men’s Top 25 Roundup: Virginia tops Clemson to advance to ACC final

This gallery contains 1 photo.

(PhatzRadio Sports /AP)    —   NEW YORK – Kyle Guy scored 15 points and No. 1 Virginia advanced to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game with a 64-58 victory over No. 19 Clemson on Friday night.

The top-seeded Cavaliers (30-2) got several crucial plays from role player Jack Salt down the stretch and will face fifth-ranked and second-seeded Duke or 12th-ranked and sixth-seeded North Carolina for the tournament title Saturday night in Brooklyn.

Virginia’s only ACC Tournament crowns came in 1976 and 2014.

Shelton Mitchell had 18 points and Elijah Thomas added 15 for the fourth-seeded Tigers (23-9), who remain the lone original member of the ACC that hasn’t won the conference tournament. Clemson was trying to reach the finals for only the third time.

Tigers leading scorer Marcquise Reed, who was averaging better than 16 points, was held to six on 2-for-14 shooting by the nation’s most suffocating defense. He missed nine of 10 tries from 3-point range.

No. 2 Villanova 87, Butler 68

NEW YORK – Mikal Bridges had 18 points and Villanova scored the first 19 points and cruised toward its fourth straight trip in the Big East Tournament championship game in a win over Butler.

About 30 minutes after top-seeded Xavier was upset by Providence in overtime, the Wildcats (29-4) hit the court and showed how a favorite should play in a tournament semifinal.

The Wildcats scored five seconds into the game and used near-perfect execution on a 16-0 run before Butler coach LaVall Jordan finally called a timeout at the 15:37 mark. He could have waved a white flag to signal for the TO.

Omari Spellman buried a 3 to make it 19-0 and the Wildcats proved why the Big East tournament title always goes through the Main Line and straight to MSG. Butler finally scored and heard some mock cheers for the jumper.

Hey, at least the Bulldogs (20-13) were only down 17.

Providence 75, No. 3 Xavier 72, OT

NEW YORK – Alpha Diallo hit a go-ahead jumper with 2:22 left in overtime and fifth-seeded Providence rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit and stunned top-seeded Xavierin the semifinals of the Big East Tournament.

Kyron Cartwright hit a clutch jumper with 55 seconds to go and took an offensive foul on a layup attempt by J.P. Macura with eight seconds to play as the Friars (21-12) beat the Musketeers (28-5) for the second time in three games this season.

This one was totally unexpected after the opening 25 minutes at Madison Square Garden. The win sent Providence in the title game against the winner of the second semifinal between second-seeded and No. 2 Villanova and sixth-seeded Butler.

No. 12 North Carolina 74, No. 5 Duke 69

NEW YORK – Luke Maye scored 17 points, including North Carolina’s last field goal with 5:33 remaining, and North Carolina held off a late rally by Duke to advance to the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship game.

The sixth-seeded Tar Heels (25-9) will face top-seeded and top-ranked Virginia on Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in a rematch of the 2016 ACC championship, won by North Carolina.

North Carolina led by 15 when Maye hit a jumper with 5:33 left and it looked as if it would cruise into the title game. But the Tar Heels went cold and second-seeded Duke went on a 13-0 run, drawing within three on Gray Trent Jr.’s 3 with 50 seconds left.

The Tar Heels turned the ball over on consecutive possessions, but an offensive foul by Grayson Allen and then a missed 3 by Allen, trying to draw contact on Maye, stymied Duke (26-7).

Theo Pinson made two free throws with 3.2 seconds left to seal it and the Tar Heels snapped a six-game losing streak in the ACC Tournament to their most heated Tobacco Road rivals.

No. 8 Cincinnati 61, SMU 51

ORLANDO, Fla. – Kyle Washington scored 15 points and Gary Clark added 12 points and 11 rebounds Friday to help Cincinnati beat SMU in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

The Bearcats also got 13 points from Cane Broome and rallied from a six-point second-half deficit to move on to the semifinals against the winner of the Tulsa-Memphis game.

Jahmal McMurray led SMU with 17 points and Ben Emelogu had 11 points and seven rebounds. The Mustangs got eight points and six rebounds from their best big man, Akoy Agau. But Agau reinjured a severely sprained ankle on the first possession of the game and wasn’t much of a factor in his 24 minutes.

No. 9 Kansas 83, Kansas State 67

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Malik Newman poured in 22 points, Silvio De Sousa filled in admirably for ailing big man Udoka Azubuike and Kansas beat short-handed Kansas State to reach the Big 12 Tournament title game.

Devonte Graham added 15 points and Svi Mykhailiuk had 12 for the top-seeded Jayhawks (26-7), who will play No. 14 Texas Tech or No. 18 West Virginia for the championship on Saturday night.

The fourth-seeded Wildcats (23-10) learned Friday morning they’d be without All-Big 12 forward Dean Wade, who hurt his foot in their quarterfinal win over TCU. Then they lost starting guard Barry Brown early against the Jayhawks when he was accidentally poked in the eye.

They still put up a fight, thanks primarily to Makol Mawien, the unheralded forward who scored a career-high 29 points.

No. 11 Wichita State 89, Temple 81

ORLANDO, Fla. – Landry Shamet scored 24 points, Rashard Kelly had 16 and Wichita State beat Temple in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament.

The Shockers (25-6) also got a strong performance from their reserves, including 13 points from Austin Reaves. Next up is the winner of the Houston-Central Florida game.

Quinton Rose led Temple (17-14) with 25 points. Shizz Alston and Josh Brown each had 15 points for the Owls, who didn’t have enough depth to keep pace with Wichita State in the final minutes.

No. 13 Tennessee 62, Mississippi State 59

ST. LOUIS – Lamonte turner scored 15 points and Tennessee locked down on defense to beat Mississippi State in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

The second-seeded Volunteers (24-7) led nearly the entire game, but the Bulldogs (22-11) had an opportunity to take the lead in the final 10 seconds. Down 61-59, Xavian Stapleton missed a 3-pointer that would have put the Bulldogs ahead.

Tennessee struggled to put away Mississippi State at the end, missing a slew of free throws. The Volunteers finished 17 for 28 from the free-throw line, but outrebounded the Bulldogs 50-33 and notched 22 defensive boards.

Admiral Schofield scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Grant Williams finished with a double-double, notching 10 points and 11 boards.

Lamar Peters led the Bulldogs with 22 points and Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 17 points.

No. 18 West Virginia 66, No. 14 Texas Tech 63

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Daxter Miles Jr. had 22 points for West Virginia, and Niem Stevenson’s half-court heave at the buzzer bounced harmlessly off the iron, giving the Mountaineers a win over Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals.

Jevon Carter added 17 points and Sagaba Konate had 11 for the third-seeded Mountaineers (24-9), who advance to their third straight title game. They’ll face No. 9 Kansas on Saturday night.

Miles had a chance to clinch the game from the foul line with 6 seconds left, but he only made the first of two free throws. Texas Tech (24-9) corralled the rebound but struggled to get the ball up court, and Stevenson resorted to a half-court shot that would have tied the game.

Jarrett Culver had 16 points for the Red Raiders.

No. 15 Arizona 78, UCLA 67, OT

LAS VEGAS – Deandre Ayton scored seven of his 32 points in overtime and grabbed 14 rebounds, lifting Arizona to a victory over UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals.

Arizona (26-7) labored offensively before Ayton sparked the Wildcats in the second half. UCLA (21-11) matched Arizona nearly shot for shot, tying the game with about 5 minutes to go.

UCLA’s Jaylen Hands tied it at 67 on a drive with 8 seconds left in regulation and teammate Aaron Holiday’s runner at the buzzer was off the mark after an Arizona turnover.

Ayton dominated overtime and made 13 of 16 shots overall after struggling in the quarterfinals against Colorado.

The Wildcats get a chance to defend their Pac-12 tournament title against the Oregon-Southern California winner on Saturday.

Thomas Welsh had 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Bruins.

Alabama 81, No. 16 Auburn 63

ST. LOUIS – Collin Sexton scored 31 points and Alabama used a strong second half to defeat Auburn in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

The Crimson Tide trailed 41-31 at halftime but started the second half on a 28-3 run. The stretch was keyed by three consecutive 3s by Sexton. Alabama’s surge put the Tigers away early in the half, and the Crimson Tide (19-14) outscored Auburn 50-22 after the break.

Mustapha Heron led Auburn (25-7) with 18 points, 11 of which came in the first half. Desean Murray scored 15 points, all in the first half. The Tigers moved the ball well on offense and drilled seven 3s in the first half.

No. 21 Houston 84, UCF 56

ORLANDO, Fla. – Galen Robinson scored 18 points, Rob Gray had 17 points, six assists and five rebounds, and Houston beat UCF in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

The third-seeded Cougars will face 11th-ranked and second-seeded Wichita State on Saturday in the semifinal round.

The Cougars led almost the entire game, smothering the Knights defensively and outhustling them at the other end. The Knights never got closer than eight points in the second half.

Devin Davis had 16 points and seven rebounds for the Cougars, who held a 37-28 edge in rebounds and scored 20 points off the Knights’ 11 turnovers.

B.J. Taylor scored 20 points for UCF, and Ceasar DeJesus had 10.

San Diego State 90, No. 22 Nevada 73

LAS VEGAS – Devin Watson scored 20 points to lead San Diego State to a blowout victory over Nevada in the Mountain West Conference semifinals.

The Aztecs, who haven’t won a tournament championship since 2011, will play in the title game for the fourth time in five years, and eighth time in 10 seasons.

Jalen McDaniels had his ninth double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

San Diego State, which trailed for only 42 seconds in the game, faces the winner of Friday’s late semifinal between New Mexico and Utah State.

The Wolf Pack was led by Jordan Caroline, who scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds before fouling out. Caleb Martin added 13 for Nevada, while Elijah Cooke had 10.

Arkansas 80, No. 23 Florida 72

ST. LOUIS – Jaylen Barford scored 27 points and matched his career high with 10 rebounds to help send Arkansas to the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament with a win over Florida.

The win ends an eight-game losing streak to the Gators for the sixth-seeded Razorbacks (23-10), who are now 5-1 against ranked opponents this season and advance to face No. 13 Tennessee on Saturday.

Barford was 9 of 17 from the field, hitting four 3-pointers, for Arkansas – which led by as many as 14 points in the second half before holding on in the closing minutes. Freshman Daniel Gafford added 16 points and also matched his career-best with 12 rebounds, keying an effort that saw the Razorbacks outrebound the Gators 43-28.

No. 25 Rhode Island 76, VCU 67

WASHINGTON – Jeff Dowtin scored 18 points, Jared Terrell added 16 points and Rhode Island survived a challenge from VCU in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

Top-seeded Rhode Island (24-6) snapped a two-game slide as it began its tournament defense.

Justin Tillman had 23 points and 15 rebounds for eighth-seeded VCU (18-15), which lost to Rhode Island in the conference tournament for the second consecutive season.

It wasn’t an easy afternoon for Rhode Island, which won its first 13 Atlantic 10 games before dropping three of its last five regular-season contests. After building a 9-point lead in the first 11 minutes, Rhode Island held a 36-33 edge at the break.

NCAA tournament bracketology: Major shakeups on the bubble with Selection Sunday nearing

This gallery contains 2 photos.

(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today Sports)   —-   For some teams, all it takes is one March win to put on those dancing shoes. For others, all it takes is one loss to take them away.

In the latter category, Cinderella favorite Middle Tennessee will likely be the frowning snubbed team on Selection Sunday after bowing out of the Conference USA tourney with an overtime loss to Southern Mississippi. The Blue Raiders, first-round bracket busters in 2016 and 2017, have both a great tournament track record and a nice at-large profile (including a top-10 non-conference strength of schedule) but Southern Mississippi (16-17 on the season) is an exact example of a résumé stain a mid-major bubble team just cannot have. It drops MTSU’s RPI to 32, which is just enough for the selection committee to nitpick at — along with no eye candy wins.

On the bright side of March, Alabama snapped a disastrous five-game losing streak that put them on the bubble by clipping Texas A&M off a buzzer-beater in the SEC tournament. With two days left of action, that victory likely secures the Crimson Tide’s at-large bid and puts them on the bubble safety zone, although their projected No. 11 seed could take a slide if other bubble teams come on strong in these next two days.

Similar to Alabama, Butler likely secured its at-large bid by knocking off Seton Hall in the Big East tourney. On the Big 12 bubble line, Oklahoma State fell short against Kansas (after beating the Jayhawks twice in the regular season) and Baylor fell to West Virginia. As good as the Big 12 has been this year — with the nation’s best RPI and nine of 10 teams contending for the NCAAS — both the Cowboys and Bears might be NIT-bound now. Big wins are nice, but both of their overall credentials are significantly lacking.

Unfortunately for the likes of on-the-outside-looking-in bubble teams Louisville and Notre Dame, they bowed out of the ACC tourney a game too early and came up short in their résumé-lifting opportunities against kingpins Virginia and Duke, respectively. It’s the same story for Marquette as far as coming up short against a top-tier team (Villanova) to build the profile, but the Golden Eagles are hanging on for dear life with a projected No. 12 seed in the play-in game in this round of bracketology.

With other bubble teams still playing, there’s no telling how long Marquette or fellow No. 12 seed Saint Mary’s stay on the right side of the bubble. Both Oregon and Georgia are their worst enemies right now, as the Ducks (beat Utah in the Pac-12 tourney) and Bulldogs (beat Missouri in the SEC tourney) are still alive in conference championship play and can shoot into the field with another key victory.


► No. 1 seeds: Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, Kansas

► Last four in: Providence, Arizona State, Saint Mary’s, Marquette

► First Four out: Louisville, Middle Tennessee State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State



Others considered for at-large bids (in no particular order): Oregon, Syracuse, Georgia, Utah, Baylor, Nebraska.

On life support: Temple, Washington, Boise State, Penn State.

Multi-bid conferences: ACC (8), SEC (8), Big 12 (7), Big East (7), Big Ten (4), Pac 12 (4), AAC (3), Atlantic 10 (2), WCC (2).

Leaders or highest RPI from projected one-bid conferences — (23 total): America East (Vermont), Atlantic Sun (Lipscomb), Big Sky (Montana), Big South (Radford), Big West (UC Davis), CAA (Charleston), Conference USA Western Kentucky), Horizon League (Wright State), Ivy League (Penn), MAAC (Iona), MAC (Buffalo), MEAC (Hampton), Missouri Valley (Loyola-Chicago), Mountain West (Nevada), Northeast (Long Island), Ohio Valley (Murray State), Patriot (Bucknell), Southern (UNC-Greensboro), Southland (Southeast Louisiana), SWAC (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Summit (South Dakota State), Sun Belt (Louisiana), WAC (New Mexico State).

  • Banned from participating: Alabama A&M, Grambling, Southeast Missouri State.


Note:  All RPI and statistical data is used from

About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been projecting the field since 2005 on his website, Bracket W.A.G. He joined USA TODAY in 2014. In his fifth season as our national bracketologist, Mast has finished as one of the top three bracketologists in the past four March Madnesses. He’s also predicted for The Indianapolis Star, and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 Selection Committee. Follow him on Twitter @BracketWag.

CBB Men’s Top 25 Roundup: No. 1 Virginia looks the part in its ACC Tournament opener

This gallery contains 1 photo.

(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)    —   Kyle Guy and No. 1 Virginia looked like healthy favorites in their postseason debut, beating Louisville 75-58 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

Guy scored 19 points in his speedy return from a sprained left knee and the top-seeded Cavaliers (29-2) weathered a second-half charge. They’ll play 19th-ranked and fourth-seeded Clemson in the first semifinal Friday night in Brooklyn.

The ninth-seeded Cardinals (20-13) will sweat out Selection Sunday hoping for an at-large bid.

(2) Villanova 94, Marquette 70: Mikal Bridges hit four 3s and scored 25 points and Big East player of the year Jalen Brunson scored 21 as the Wildcats (28-4) made 15 of 29 3s in the quarterfinal victory in New York.

Jay Wright became the winningest coach in Villanova history with 414.

Markus Howard scored 23 points and Andrew Rowsey had 22 for Marquette (19-13).

(3) Xavier 88, St. John’s 60: Trevon Bluiett scored 27 points, Kaiser Gates had 16 and Xavier looked every bit the top seed in the Big East Tournament in New York.

The teams scuffled on the postgame handshake line and had to be separated as the crowd stood for the unexpected fracas.

The Musketeers (28-4) dominated in the second half on the Red Storm’s home court at Madison Square Garden. Xavier plays Providence in a semifinal Friday.

Marvin Clark II led St. John’s (16-17) with 18 points.

(5) Duke 88, Notre Dame 70: Marvin Bagley III had 33 points and 17 rebounds and Grayson Allen made his first five 3-pointers as Duke rolled in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinals in New York.

Allen finished with 23 points and the second-seeded Blue Devils (26-6) advanced to play sixth-seeded North Carolina in the second semifinal.

Duke, the defending champion after beating Notre Dame in the title game last year, earned its 100th ACC Tournament victory.

Bonzie Colson had 18 points and nine rebounds for the 10th-seeded Fighting Irish (20-14).

(9) Kansas 82, Oklahoma State 68: Malik Newman scored a career-high 30 points, Svi Mykhailiuk added 13 and Kansas reached the Big 12 semifinals in Kansas City, Missouri.

Devonte Graham added 10 points, four rebounds and nine assists for the top-seeded Jayhawks (25-7), who were swept by the Cowboys (19-14) in the regular season but broke through when it mattered.

They advanced to play Kansas State.

Jeffrey Carroll scored 17 points and Kendall Smith had 14 for the No. 8 seed Cowboys.

(12) North Carolina 82, (24) Miami 65: Theo Pinson scored a career-high 25 points and had 11 rebounds, lifting North Carolina to a second straight Atlantic Coast Conference semifinal meeting with Duke.

The fifth-seeded Tar Heels (24-9) face the fifth-ranked and second-seeded Blue Devils for the third time this season for a spot in the championship game – just as the rivals did last year. It will be the 22nd time Duke and North Carolina play in the ACC Tournament. Duke leads 13-8.

Ja’Quan Newton, who beat North Carolina nine days ago in Chapel Hill with a 40-foot buzzer beater, scored 17 points for third-seeded Miami (22-9).

(14) Texas Tech 73, Texas 69: Keenan Evans scored 25 points, including a fadeaway jumper in the closing minutes, and Texas Tech held off hot-shooting Jacob Young and Texas in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jarrett Culver added 13 points for the Red Raiders (24-8), who had lost four of their last five in the regular season.

Young had a career-high 29 points for the Longhorns (19-14), going 11 of 17 from the field and 6 of 7 from beyond the arc.

(15) Arizona 83, Colorado 67: Allonzo Trier scored 22 points, Dusan Ristic had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Arizona used a big second-half run to roll in the Pac-12 quarterfinals in Las Vegas.

Arizona (25-7) wasn’t exactly crisp on offense and Pac-12 player of the year Deandre Ayton had a rare quiet day. The Wildcats made up for it with scrappiness, earning a spot in the semifinals.

Ayton missed numerous shots he typically makes, fouling out after scoring 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting and grabbing six rebounds.

George King had 19 points for Colorado (17-15).

(18) West Virginia 78, Baylor 65: Esa Ahmad had 21 points and Daxter Miles Jr. added 19 as West Virginia advanced to the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jevon Carter also had 18 points and 11 assists for the third-seeded Mountaineers (23-9), who swept the Bears (18-14) during the regular season and have won six of the last seven in the series.

West Virginia will play No. 14 Texas Tech, the tournament’s second seed, on Friday night for a spot in the championship game. The Mountaineers have been to the last two finals, but still have not won a conference tournament since capturing the Big East crown in 2010.

Manu Lecomte led the No. 6 seed Bears with 27 points.

(19) Clemson 90, Boston College 82: Gabe DeVoe scored 25 points and Shelton Mitchell had 21 as Clemson advanced to the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2011.

The fourth-seeded Tigers (23-8) will face top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Virginia.

The Eagles’ backcourt of Jerome Robinson (20 points) and Ky Bowman (23 points) combined to shoot 10 for 32 from the field, a day after the pair scored 50 points to carry BC (19-15) to an upset of North Carolina State.

(22) Nevada 79, UNLV 74: Jordan Caroline had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead Nevada in a quarterfinal matchup between in-state rivals in the Mountain West Conference Tournament in Las Vegas.

Top-seeded Nevada (27-6) used a 22-6 run early in the second half to erase a 12-point deficit and seize momentum after a dismal offensive performance in the first half.

Kris Clyburn led No. 8 seed UNLV (20-13) with 19 points and six rebounds.

March Madness: Coaches on the hot seat entering conference tournaments

(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)    —    Mark Fox might need an improbable run through the Southeastern Conference tournament to save his coaching job.

He’s hardly alone on the college basketball hot seat.

From Georgia’s Fox to Pittsburgh’s Kevin Stallings to UConn’s Kevin Ollie, numerous coaches went into conference tournaments knowing their jobs could be in jeopardy without a few more wins.

Excluding employment decisions that might be affected by myriad off-the-court issues, such as Auburn (Bruce Pearl) and Arizona (Sean Miller), here are some schools that might soon be looking for a new coach, if they haven’t already started the process:


In a year where Kentucky and Florida ceded their dominance at the top of the Southeastern Conference standings, the Bulldogs squandered an opportunity for a breakthrough.

It could mark the end of Fox’s nine-year tenure , which has featured only two NCAA Tournament appearances (both of which were one-and-done).

While hardly a traditional powerhouse, Georgia certainly expected better from a team that featured Associated Press SEC player of the year Yante Maten. The Bulldogs are just 16-14 (7-11 SEC) heading into Wednesday’s first-round matchup against Vanderbilt in the conference tournament.

After weather issues delayed his team’s arrival in St. Louis by four hours, Fox said on a hastily assembled teleconference that there have been no discussions with athletic director Greg McGarity about his job status.

“I have not been told that we have to win a certain number of games to advance through the tournament,” Fox said. “I’d really like this tournament, like every game we’ve played the last nine years, to be about our team and these kids and trying to find them some success. It should not be about the coach.”

Ten years ago, in an SEC tournament remembered for a tornado striking the Georgia Dome, the Bulldogs pulled off a stunning SEC triumph after finishing last during the regular season. That performance saved Dennis Felton’s job for the moment, but he didn’t even make it through another full season.

Fox appears to be in a similar situation, requiring five wins in five days to even get a shot at Year 10.


The Panthers capped a historically awful season with a 67-64 loss to Notre Dame in the opening round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Tuesday night .

Now the question is: Will Stallings return for a third year?

While it would be unusual to fire a coach after such a short tenure, these are dark times in Pittsburgh. Stallings’ team lost all 19 games against ACC opponents this season and is just 24-41 overall since he arrived from Vanderbilt.

Also working against Stallings: He wasn’t a popular choice from the outset, and the current athletic director, Heather Lyke, isn’t the one who hired him.

“We knew this was going to be a little bit of a tough season,” Stallings said. “We didn’t know it was going to be this tough.”


Ollie has the 2014 national championship on his resume, as well as an American Athletic Conference title from just two seasons ago. But the Huskies have taken a significant fall since then.

After slipping to 16-17 last season, UConn is just 14-17 — and 7-11 in the league — heading into its AAC tournament opener against SMU on Thursday.

Athletic director David Benedict plans to evaluate Ollie after the season , and it’s clear the boss isn’t happy with the state of the program, which is also facing an NCAA investigation. On the other hand, Ollie’s lucrative contract would require a buyout of some $10 million.

“When you come to a place like UConn, you don’t expect to hope to get to the tournament. You expect that it’s a foregone conclusion,” Benedict told the Hartford Courant. “It’s important we get that figured out because we need to be a tournament team.”


Fran McCaffery brushed off questions about his job security , despite an unexpectedly dismal season that ended last week with an overtime loss to Michigan in the earlier-than-usual Big Ten Tournament.

While the overall body of work and a contract extension may give McCaffery some extra security, there’s no doubt the Hawkeyes faithful is on edge after a 14-19 campaign that included just five wins in 20 games against conference opponents. More troubling, Iowa wasn’t even competitive at times, losing eight Big Ten games by double-digit margins and finishing last in the league in scoring defense.

“The season did not go as we hoped,” McCaffery said. “No question.”

The Hawkeyes could be headed for another long season if sophomore star Tyler Cook decides to leave.


One of college basketball’s most prestigious jobs could be opening up unless the Cardinals decide to remove the interim from David Padgett’s title.

Padgett took over as coach after the firing of Rick Pitino, and any hope of keeping the job likely depends on at least making the NCAA Tournament.

Even then, there are other issues to consider.

All the uncertainty swirling around the NCAA coaching ranks because of an ongoing FBI probe could actually work in Padgett’s favor, since some of the top potential candidates have been linked to the scandal. But being a former Pitino assistant could be a major strike against Padgett, especially if Louisville’s new administration wants a totally clean reboot to the post-Pitino era.

The Cardinals’ NCAA hopes took a blow last week when they lost to No. 1 Virginia on a buzzer-beating shot , so they’ve got some work to do in the ACC Tournament. Louisville (19-12, 9-9) faces Florida State (20-10, 9-9) in the first of four games Wednesday, a contest that will likely determine which school remains in the NCAA mix for at least one more day.


A complete rundown of the postseason schedule for every men’s college basketball conference tournament this season.

The winners in each league receive automatic invitations to the NCAA tournament. The rest of the available spots in the 68-team field will be filled by at-large berths.

Selection Sunday will take place on March 11.

America East Conference

All games at higher-seeded schools

First round
Saturday, March 3

Maryland-Baltimore County 89, Massachusetts-Lowell 77
Hartford 71, New Hampshire 60
Vermont 75, Maine 60
Stony Brook 69, Albany 60

Tuesday, March 6
Vermont 70, Stony Brook 51
Maryland-Baltimore County 75, Hartford 60

Saturday, March 10
Maryland-Baltimore County at Vermont, 11 a.m.

Atlantic Coast Conference

At The Barclays Center, New York

First round
Tuesday, March 6

Boston College 87, Georgia Tech 77
Notre Dame 67, Pittsburgh 64
Syracuse 73, Wake Forest 64

Second round
Wednesday, March 7

Florida State vs. Louisville, noon
North Carolina vs. Boston College, 2:30 p.m.
Virginia Tech vs. Notre Dame, 7 p.m.
N.C. State vs. Syracuse, 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 8

Virginia vs. Florida State-Louisville winner, noon
Clemson vs. North Carolina–Boston College winner, 2:30 p.m.
Duke vs. Virginia Tech–Notre Dame winner, 7 p.m.
Miami vs. N.C. State–Syracuse winner, 9:30 p.m.

Friday, March 9

Virginia–Florida State-Louisville winner vs. Clemson–North Carolina–Boston College winner, 7 p.m.
Duke–Virginia Tech–Notre Dame winner vs. Miami–N.C. State–Syracuse winner, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 10

Semifinal winners, 8:30 p.m.

Atlantic Sun Conference

All games at higher-seeded schools

First round
Monday, Feb. 26

Florida Gulf Coast 96, South Carolina Upstate 76
Jacksonville 87, Kennesaw State 68
North Florida 80, NJIT 76
Lipscomb 89, Stetson 73

Thursday, March 1
Florida Gulf Coast 95, North Florida 72
Lipscomb 77, Jacksonville 62

Sunday, March 4
Lipscomb 108, Florida Gulf Coast 96

Atlantic 10 Conference

At Capitol One Arena, Washington

First round
Wednesday, March 7

La Salle vs. Massachusetts, 6 p.m.
George Washington vs. Fordham, 8:30 p.m.

Second round
Thursday, March 8

VCU vs. Dayton, noon
George Mason vs. La Salle-Massachusetts winner, 2:30 p.m.
Richmond vs. Duquesne, 6 p.m.
St. Louis vs. George Washington-Fordham winner, 8:30 p.m.

Friday, March 9

Rhode Island vs. VCU-Dayton winner, noon
Saint Joseph’s vs. George Mason–La Salle-Massachusetts winner, 2:30 p.m.
St. Bonaventure vs. Richmond-Duquesne winner, 6 p.m.
Davidson vs. Saint Louis–George Washington-Fordham winner, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 10

Rhode Island–VCU-Dayton winner vs. Saint Joseph’s-George Mason–La Salle-Massachusetts winner, 1 p.m.
St. Bonaventure–Richmond-Duquesne winner vs. Davidson–Saint Louis–George Washington-Fordham winner, 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 11

Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.

Big East Conference

At Madison Square Garden, New York

First round
Wednesday, March 7

Georgetown vs. St. John’s, 7 p.m.
Marquette vs. DePaul, 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 8

Xavier vs. Georgetown-St. John’s winner, noon
Creighton vs. Providence, 2:30 p.m.
Villanova vs. Marquette-DePaul winner, 7 p.m.
Seton Hall vs. Butler, 9:30 p.m.

Friday, March 9

Xavier–Georgetown-St. John’s winner vs. Creighton-Providence winner, 6:30 p.m.
Villanova–Marquette-DePaul winner vs. Seton Hall-Butler winner, 9 p.m.

Saturday, March 10

Semifinal winners, 6:30 p.m.

Big Sky Conference

At The Reno Events Center, Reno, Nev.

First round
Tuesday, March 6

North Dakota 76, Montana State 74
Northern Colorado 82, Northern Arizona 59
Southern Utah 76, Idaho State 68
Portland State 71, Sacramento State 67

Thursday, March 8

Montana vs. North Dakota, 3:05 p.m.
Weber State vs. Northern Colorado, 5:35 p.m.
Idaho vs. Southern Utah, 8:35 p.m.
Eastern Washington vs. Portland State, 11:05 p.m.

Friday, March 9

Montana–North Dakota winner vs. Weber State–Northern Colorado winner, 8:35 p.m.
Idaho-Southern Utah winner vs. Eastern Washington–Portland State winner, 11:05 p.m.

Saturday, March 10

Semifinal winners, 8:05 p.m.

Big South Conference

First round
Tuesday Feb. 27

Longwood 68, High Point 55
Charleston Southern 68, Presbyterian 51

At Kimmel Arena, Asheville, N.C.
Thursday, March 1

Radford 59, Longwood 53
Winthrop 72, Gardner-Webb 68
UNC Asheville 71, Charleston Southern 66
Liberty 73, Campbell 59

At Kimmel Arena, Asheville, N.C.
Friday, March 2

Radford 61, Winthrop 52
Liberty 69, UNC Asheville 64

At higher-seeded school
Sunday, March 4

Radford 55, Liberty 52

Big Ten Conference

At Madison Square Garden, New York

First round
Wednesday, Feb. 28

Iowa 96, Illinois 87
Rutgers 65, Minnesota 54

Second round
Thursday, March 1

Wisconsin 59, Maryland 54
Michigan 77, Iowa 71, OT
Penn State 67, Northwestern 57
Rutgers 76, Indiana 69

Friday, March 2

Michigan State 63, Wisconsin 60
Michigan 77, Nebraska 58
Penn State 69, Ohio State 68
Purdue 82, Rutgers 75

Saturday, March 3

Michigan 75, Michigan State 64
Purdue 78, Penn State 70

Sunday, March 4

Michigan 75, Purdue 66

Big 12 Conference

At The Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.

First round
Wednesday, March 7

Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma, 7 p.m.
Texas vs. Iowa State, 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 8

Kansas State vs. TCU, 12:30 p.m.
Kansas vs. Oklahoma State-Oklahoma winner, 3 p.m.
Texas Tech vs. Texas-Iowa State winner, 7 p.m.
West Virginia vs. Baylor, 9:30 p.m.

Friday, March 9

Kansas State-TCU winner vs. Kansas–Oklahoma State-Oklahoma winner, 7 p.m.
Texas Tech–Texas-Iowa State winner vs. West Virginia-Baylor winner, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 10

Semifinal winners, 6 p.m.

Big West Conference

At The Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.

First round
Thursday, March 8

UC Davis vs. UC Riverside, 3 p.m.
Cal State Fullerton vs. Long Beach State, 5:30 p.m.
UC Irvine vs. Hawaii, 9 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal Poly, 11:30 p.m.

Friday, March 9

Highest remaining seed vs. lowest remaining seed, 9:30 p.m.
Middle remaining seeds, Midnight

Saturday, March 10

Semifinal winners, 11:30 p.m.

Colonial Athletic Association

At North Charleston Coliseum, North Charleston, S.C.

First round
Saturday, March 3

Drexel 70, James Madison 62
Delaware 86, Elon 79

Sunday, March 4

College of Charleston 66, Drexel 59
William & Mary 80, Towson 66
Northeastern 74, Delaware 50
UNC Wilmington 93, Hofstra 88

Monday, March 5

College of Charleston 83, William & Mary 73
Northeastern 79, UNC Wilmington 52

Tuesday, March 6

College of Charleston 83, Northeastern 76

Conference USA

At The Ford Center at The Star, Frisco, Texas

First round
Wednesday, March 7

Florida International vs. Southern Miss., 7 p.m.
Texas-San Antonio vs. Texas-El Paso, 7:30 p.m.
North Texas vs. Louisiana Tech, 9:30 p.m.
Alabama-Birmingham vs. Florida Atlantic, 10 p.m.

Thursday, March 8

Middle Tennessee vs. Florida International-Southern Miss. winner, 7 p.m.
Marshall vs. Texas-San Antonio-Texas-El Paso winner, 7:30 p.m.
Old Dominion vs. North Texas-Louisiana Tech winner, 9:30 p.m.
Western Kentucky vs. Alabama-Birmingham-Florida Atlantic winner, 10 p.m.

Friday, March 9

Middle Tennessee–Florida International-Southern Miss. winner vs. Marshall–Texas-San Antonio-Texas-El Paso winner, 1:30 p.m.
Old Dominion–North Texas-Louisiana Tech winner vs. Western Kentucky–Alabama-Birmingham-Florida Atlantic winner, 4 p.m.

Saturday, March 10

Semifinal winners, 8:30 p.m.

Horizon League

At Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

First round
Friday, March 2

Green Bay 93, Detroit 81
Cleveland State 72, Youngstown State 71

Second round
Saturday, March 3

Wright State 87, Green Bay 72
Cleveland State 89, Northern Kentucky 80

Third round
Sunday, March 4

Milwaukee 80, Illinois-Chicago 75
Oakland 62, IUPUI 55

Monday, March 5

Cleveland State 44, Oakland 43
Wright State 59, Milwaukee 53

Tuesday, March 6

Wright State 74, Cleveland State 57

Ivy League

At The Palestra, Philadelphia

First round
Saturday, March 10

Harvard vs. Cornell, 12:30 p.m.
Pennsylvania vs. Yale, 3 p.m.

Sunday, March 11

Semifinal winners, noon

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

At The Times Union Center, Albany, N.Y.

First round
Thursday, March 1

Saint Peter’s 60, Monmouth 58
Quinnipiac 67, Siena 58
Fairfield 71, Marist 57

Friday, March 2

St. Peter’s 66, Rider 55
Quinnipiac 72, Canisius 69

Saturday, March 3
Fairfield 90, Niagara 71
Iona 72, Manhattan 60

Sunday, March 4

Iona 65, Saint Peter’s 62
Fairfield 74, Quinnipiac 64

Monday, March 5

Iona 83, Fairfield 71

Mid-American Conference

First round
Monday, March 5

Central Michigan 81, Bowling Green 77 (OT)
Kent State 61, Northern Illinois 59
Miami (Ohio) 68, Ohio 55
Akron 79, Western Michigan 78

At Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
Thursday, March 8

Buffalo vs. Central Michigan, noon
Ball State vs. Kent State, 2:30 p.m.
Toledo vs. Miami (Ohio), 6:30 p.m.
Eastern Michigan vs. Akron winner, 9 p.m.

At Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
Friday, March 9

Buffalo–Central Michigan winner vs. Ball State–Kent State winner, 6:30 p.m.
Toledo–Miami (Ohio) winner vs. Eastern Michigan-Akron winner, 9 p.m.

At Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
Saturday, March 10

Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

At Scope Arena, Norfolk, Va.

First round
Monday, March 5

N.C. A&T 62, Delaware State 61 (OT)
Norfolk State 78, Maryland-Eastern Shore 68

Tuesday, March 6
Florida A&M 88, Howard 78
North Carolina Central 60, Coppin State 48
Morgan State 83, South Carolina State 80

Wednesday, March 7

Hampton vs. Florida A&M, 6 p.m.
Bethune-Cookman vs. Morgan State, 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 8
Savannah State vs. North Carolina Central, 6 p.m.
North Carolina A&T vs. Norfolk State, 8:30 p.m.

Friday, March 9

Hampton–Florida A&M winner vs. N.C. A&T–Norfolk State winner, 6 p.m.
Bethune-Cookman–Morgan State winner vs. Savannah State–N.C. Central winner, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 10

Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.

Missouri Valley Conference

At Scottrade Center, St. Louis

First round
Thursday, March 1

Northern Iowa 60, Evansville 50
Missouri State 83, Valparaiso 79

Friday, March 2

Loyola (Ill.) 54, Northern Iowa 50
Bradley 63, Drake 61
Southern Illinois 67, Missouri State 63
Illinois State 77, Indiana State 70

Saturday, March 3

Loyola (Ill.) 62, Bradley 54
Illinois State 76, Southern Illinois 69, OT

Sunday, March 4

Loyola (Ill.) 65, Illinois State 49

Mountain West Conference

At The Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas

First round
Wednesday, March 7

UNLV vs. Air Force, 2 p.m.
Utah State vs. Colorado State, 4:30 p.m.
Wyoming vs. San Jose State, 7 p.m.

Thursday, March 8

Nevada vs. UNLV-Air Force winner, 3 p.m.
Fresno State vs. San Diego State, 5:30 p.m.
Boise State vs. Utah State-Colorado State winner, 9 p.m.
New Mexico vs. Wyoming-San Jose State winner, 11:30 p.m.

Friday, March 9

Nevada–UNLV-Air Force winner vs. Fresno State-San Diego State winner, 9 p.m.
Boise State–Utah State-Colorado State winner vs. New Mexico–Wyoming-San Jose State winner, 11:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 10

Semifinal winners, 6 p.m.

Northeast Conference

At higher-seeded schools

First round
Wednesday, Feb. 28

Wagner 73, Central Connecticut State 61
Robert Morris 60, Mount St. Mary’s 56
Fairleigh Dickinson 84, St. Francis (Pa.) 75
LIU Brooklyn 73, St. Francis (N.Y.) 50

Saturday, March 3

LIU Brooklyn 78, Fairleigh Dickinson 77
Wagner 75, Robert Morris 64

Tuesday, March 6

LIU Brooklyn 71, Wagner 61

Ohio Valley Conference

At The Ford Center, Evansville, Ind.

First round
Wednesday, Feb. 28

Tennessee Tech 60, SIU Edwardsville 51
Tennessee State 73, Eastern Illinois 71

Second round
Thursday, March 1

Jacksonville State 73, Tennessee Tech 70
Austin Peay 73, Tennessee State 66

Friday, March 2

Murray State 70, Jacksonville State 63
Belmont 94, Austin Peay 79

Saturday, March 3

Murray State 68, Belmont 51

Pacific-12 Conference

At T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas

First round
Wednesday, March 7

Colorado vs. Arizona State, 3 p.m.
Stanford vs. California, 5:30 p.m.
Washington vs. Oregon State, 9 p.m.
Oregon vs. Washington State, 11:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 8

Arizona vs. Colorado-Arizona State winner, 3 p.m.
UCLA vs. Stanford-California winner, 5:30 p.m.
Southern Cal vs. Washington-Oregon State winner, 9 p.m.
Utah vs. Oregon-Washington State winner, 11:30 p.m.

Friday, March 9

Arizona–Colorado-Arizona State winner vs. UCLA–Stanford-California winner, 9 p.m.
Southern Cal–Washington-Oregon State winner vs. Utah–Oregon-Washington State winner, 11:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 10

Semifinal winners, 10 p.m.

Patriot League

At higher-seeded schools

First round
Tuesday, Feb. 27

Loyola (Md.) 82, Army 79
Lafayette 93, American 86

Thursday, March 1

Bucknell 81, Loyola (Md.) 78
Colgate 76, Lafayette 54
Holy Cross 81, Navy 65
Boston University 88, Lehigh 82

Sunday, March 4

Colgate 62, Holy Cross 55
Bucknell 90, Boston University 59

Wednesday, March 7

Colgate vs. Bucknell, 7:30 p.m.

Southeastern Conference

At Scottrade Center, St. Louis

First round
Wednesday, March 7

Georgia vs. Vanderbilt, 7 p.m.
South Carolina vs. Mississippi, 9:30 p.m.

Second round
Thursday, March 8

Texas A&M vs. Alabama, 1 p.m.
Missouri vs. Georgia-Vanderbilt winner, 3:30 p.m.
Mississippi State vs. LSU, 7 p.m.
Arkansas vs. South Carolina-Mississippi winner, 9:30 p.m.

Friday, March 9

Auburn vs. Texas A&M-Alabama winner, 1 p.m.
Kentucky vs. Missouri–Georgia-Vanderbilt winner, 3:30 p.m.
Tennessee vs. Mississippi State-LSU winner, 7 p.m.
Florida vs. Arkansas–South Carolina-Mississippi winner, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 10

Auburn–Texas A&M-Alabama winner vs. Kentucky–Missouri–Georgia-Vanderbilt winner, 1 p.m.
Tennessee–Mississippi State-LSU winner vs. Florida–Arkansas–South Carolina-Mississippi winner, 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 11

Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.

Southern Conference

At U.S. Cellular Center, Asheville, N.C.

First round
Friday, March 2

The Citadel 78, VMI 70
Chattanooga 89, Samford 79

Saturday, March 3

UNC Greensboro 72, The Citadel 58
Wofford 73, Mercer 53
East Tennessee State 77, Chattanooga 59
Furman 97, Western Carolina 73

Sunday, March 4

UNC Greensboro 56, Wofford 55
East Tennessee State 63, Furman 52

Monday, March 5

UNC Greensboro 62, East Tennessee State 47

Southland Conference

At The Leonard E. Merrell Center, Katy, Texas

First round
Wednesday, March 7

New Orleans vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 6 p.m.
Lamar vs. Central Arkansas, 8:30 p.m.

Second round
Thursday, March 8

Sam Houston State vs. New Orleans-Texas A&M-Corpus Christi winner, 6 p.m.
Stephen F. Austin vs. Lamar-Central Arkansas winner, 8:30 p.m.

Friday, March 9

Southeastern Louisiana vs. Sam Houston State–New Orleans-Texas A&M-Corpus Christi winner, 6 p.m.
Nicholls vs. Stephen F. Austin–Lamar-Central Arkansas winner, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 10

Semifinal winners, 9 p.m.

Southwestern Athletic Conference

First round
Tuesday, March 6

Arkansas-Pine Bluff 77, Mississippi Valley State 73
Southern 62, Jackson State 60
Texas Southern 90, Alabama State 76
Prairie View A&M 87, Alcorn State 71

At The Delmar Center, Houston

Friday, March 9
Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. Southern, 3:30 p.m.
Prairie View A&M vs. Texas Southern, 9:30 p.m.

At The Delmar Center, Houston
Saturday, March 10

Semifinal winners, 5 p.m.

Summit League

At Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, Sioux Falls, S.D.

First round
Saturday, March 3
South Dakota State 66, Western Illinois 60
South Dakota 87, Omaha 73

Sunday, March 4
North Dakota State 86, Fort Wayne 82
Denver 90, Oral Roberts 88

Monday, March 5

South Dakota State 78, North Dakota State 57
South Dakota 76, Denver 58

Tuesday, March 6

South Dakota State 97, South Dakota 87

Sun Belt Conference

At Lakefront Arena, New Orleans

First round
Wednesday, March 7

Coastal Carolina vs. Texas State, 12:30 p.m.
Appalachian State vs. Little Rock, 3 p.m.
Troy vs. South Alabama, 6 p.m.
Louisiana-Monroe vs. Arkansas State, 8:30 p.m.

Friday, March 9

Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Coastal Carolina-Texas State winner, 12:30 p.m.
Texas-Arlington vs. Appalachian State-Little Rock winner, 3 p.m.
Georgia State vs. Troy-South Alabama winner, 6 p.m.
Georgia Southern vs. Louisiana-Monroe-Arkansas State winner, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 10

Louisiana-Lafayette–Coastal Carolina-Texas State winner vs. Texas-Arlington–Appalachian State-Little Rock winner, 12:30 p.m.
Georgia State–Troy-South Alabama winner vs. Georgia Southern–Louisiana-Monroe-Arkansas State winner, 3 p.m.

Sunday, March 11

Semifinal winners, 2 p.m.

West Coast Conference

At Orleans Arena, Las Vegas

First round
Friday, March 2

Loyola Marymount 78, Portland 72
Pepperdine 85, Santa Clara 69

Saturday, March 3

BYU 85, San Diego 79
San Francisco 71, Pacific 70 (OT)
Gonzaga 83, Loyola Marymount 69
Saint Mary’s 69, Pepperdine 66

Monday, March 5

Gonzaga 88, San Francisco 60
BYU 85, Saint Mary’s 72

Tuesday, March 6

Gonzaga 74, BYU 54

Western Athletic Conference

At Orleans Arena, Las Vegas

First round
Thursday, March 8

Grand Canyon vs. Missouri-Kansas City, 3 p.m.
Utah Valley vs. CSU Bakersfield, 5:30 p.m.
New Mexico State vs. Chicago State, 9 p.m.
Seattle vs. UT Rio Grande Valley, 11:30 p.m.

Friday, March 9

Grand Canyon-UMKC winner vs. Utah Valley-CSU Bakersfield winner, 9 p.m.
New Mexico State-Chicago State winner vs. Seattle-UT Rio Grande Valley winner, 11:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 10

Semifinal winners, 10 p.m.

NCAA tournament bracketology: Now healthy, Notre Dame is suddenly the most complex bubble team

This gallery contains 1 photo.

(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today Sports)    —    Notre Dame has become one of the most intriguing teams in the country here in championship week based on the return of preseason All-American Bonzie Colson, a national player of the year candidate last season who hasn’t missed a beat in his first few games back.

Colson’s almost theatrical late-season return (he came back Feb. 28) doesn’t wipe away the team’s pedestrian credentials — 19-13 record and 8-10 finish in ACC regular-season play to go with a 70 RPI — but the back-to-healthy-form Irish present a much different at-large candidate to the NCAA tournament selection committee, which considers injuries (under unique circumstances) as part of its selection process. Starting point guard Matt Farrell also missed some time this season with an injury.

Notre Dame lost seven games in a row at one point when Colson was out, and in February the Irish’s NCAA tourney chances seemed dire. Yet after Notre Dame’s narrow win over bottom-feeder Pittsburgh in the ACC tournament’s opening round on Tuesday, this team has tournament life all the sudden.

Now, Notre Dame meets Virginia Tech in the second round on Wednesday and that’s a must-win to stay in the conversation. Should Mike Brey’s team win that one, then it draws Duke in the ACC tourney quarterfinals on Thursday. That will make things interesting. Beating a Blue Devils squad worthy of a No. 1 seed might do the trick for an at-large bid. But even without that there’s still a case to be made.

The recency effect can fool both committee members and spectators, but it’s important to consider how Notre Dame is right now in this case. The full body of work is considered for every team, and the Irish don’t necessarily get a pass in that regard. They really do present a completely unique case, though. Clearly, a team that could win three games in the ACC tourney seems NCAA tournament ready (if that happens). But it’s the same story for bubble team Oklahoma State, which has beaten Kansas twice and still finds itself on the wrong side of the bubble. If the committee isn’t being kind to ND’s injury bug, then it might take another win — over Miami (Fla.), Syracuse or N.C. State in the quarterfinals, to truly resuscitate ND’s postseason life. Long story short: The Irish don’t have to win the ACC tourney to punch a ticket. They just have to impress the committee in 3-4 days — just enough.


► No. 1 seeds: Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, Kansas

► Last four in: Marquette, Southern California, Butler, Providence

► First Four out: Baylor, Syracuse, Utah, Oklahoma State

NCAA Bracket-March-7-bracket 2018


Others considered for at-large bids (in no particular order): Louisville, Washington, LSU, Notre Dame, Oregon, Boise State, Nebraska

On life support: Temple, Penn State.

Multi-bid conferences: ACC (8), SEC (8), Big 12 (7), Big East (7), Big Ten (4), Pac 12 (4), AAC (3), Atlantic 10 (2), WCC (2).

Leaders or highest RPI from projected one-bid conferences — (23 total): America East (Vermont), Atlantic Sun (Lipscomb), Big Sky (Montana), Big South (Radford), Big West (UC Davis), CAA (Charleston), Conference USA (Middle Tennessee State), Horizon League (Wright State), Ivy League (Penn), MAAC (Iona), MAC (Buffalo), MEAC (Hampton), Missouri Valley (Loyola-Chicago), Mountain West (Nevada), Northeast (Long Island), Ohio Valley (Murray State), Patriot (Bucknell), Southern (UNC-Greensboro), Southland (Southeast Louisiana), SWAC (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Summit (South Dakota State), Sun Belt (Louisiana), WAC (New Mexico State).

  • Banned from participating: Alabama A&M, Grambling, Southeast Missouri State.


Note:  All RPI and statistical data is used from

About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been projecting the field since 2005 on his website, Bracket W.A.G. He joined USA TODAY in 2014. In his fifth season as our national bracketologist, Mast has finished as one of the top three bracketologists in the past four March Madnesses. He’s also predicted for The Indianapolis Star, and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 Selection Committee. Follow him on Twitter @BracketWag.

CBB Men’s TOP 25 THIS WEEK: League tourneys set to impact NCAA seeding

This gallery contains 1 photo.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Selection Sunday is now days away, making this week the last chance for teams to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, stay close to home — or simply earn a bid.

The Big Ten has already wrapped up its early tournament , with seventh-ranked Michigan playing its way into similar position as last year when the Wolverines got hot late, won the league tournament and went on to the NCAA Sweet 16. And the West Coast Conference concludes with Tuesday’s final between No. 6 Gonzaga and BYU in Las Vegas.

Now college basketball’s other top conferences are heading into their tournaments. The Atlantic Coast Conference opens Tuesday. The Big East, Big 12, Pac-12, Southeastern Conference open play Wednesday, while the American Athletic Conference Tournament starts Thursday.

Here are storylines to watch:


Top-ranked Virginia, which became the unanimous No. 1 in the AP Top 25 on Monday, begins in Thursday’s quarterfinals and looks solid for a No. 1 NCAA seed regardless of what happens in Brooklyn . The Cavaliers are No. 1 in the RPI and in KenPom, won the ACC regular-season race by four games and own a 9-1 record against Quadrant 1 opponents through Sunday’s games — Quadrant 1 contests are home games vs. teams ranked 1-30 in RPI, neutral games vs. 1-50 and away games vs. 1-75.

The other question is what happens with rivals Duke and North Carolina.

The fifth-ranked Blue Devils open play in Thursday’s quarterfinals while sitting at No. 3 in KenPom and No. 4 in the RPI. A run to a second straight ACC Tournament title could help them snag a No. 1 seed.

As for the No. 12 Tar Heels, they finished tied for third in the standings but ended up as the No. 6 seed due to tiebreakers. Yet they enter Wednesday’s second-round game against the Wake Forest-Syracuse winner with 10 Quadrant 1 wins, second only to Kansas (11) — and that could have them in contention for a 2-seed despite their low ACC Tournament seeding.

The ACC has a national-best five teams in the AP Top 25.


Villanova hopped over Xavier to reach No. 2 in Monday’s poll, though the third-ranked Musketeers are the No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament. And Villanova swept the regular-season series.

Both teams open play in Thursday’s quarterfinals in New York’s Madison Square Garden, with Xavier facing the St. John’s-Georgetown winner and Villanova facing the DePaul-Marquette winner. And one — maybe both? — could end up earning No. 1 NCAA seeds.

BIG 12

Ninth-ranked Kansas enters the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri, as the top seed and in the running for a No. 1 NCAA seed. The Jayhawks face the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State winner in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

No. 14 Texas Tech, the second seed, opens play against the Iowa State-Texas winner, while No. 18 West Virginia faces bubble team Baylor to wrap up the quarterfinals.


No. 15 Arizona enters the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas as the top seed. The Wildcats will face the Arizona State-Colorado winner in Thursday’s quarterfinals as the only AP Top 25 team in the field.


The Southeastern Conference Tournament begins Wednesday in St. Louis and ends Sunday a few hours before the field of 68 is announced. No. 13 Tennessee and No. 16 Auburn shared the regular-season title, though the Tigers claimed the No. 1 seed.

Both teams open play in Friday’s quarterfinals, with Auburn facing the Alabama-Texas A&M winner and Tennessee facing the LSU-Mississippi State winner.

No. 23 Florida is the other ranked team in the SEC field.


No. 8 Cincinnati and No. 11 Wichita State met over the weekend to determine the American Athletic Conference regular-season title. Could they do it again in the AAC Tournament?

Both look like candidates to be a No. 3 seed at least depending on how things go in Orlando when the tournament begins Thursday. The top-seeded Bearcats open in Friday’s quarterfinals against the SMU-Connecticut winner, while the second-seeded Shockers face the Tulane-Temple winner.

Also lurking in Wichita State’s half of the bracket is No. 21 Houston, which is closing in on its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2010 and only its second in 26 years. The Cougars face the East Carolina-UCF winner.



LAS VEGAS (AP) — Yoeli Childs scored a career-high 33 points to lead BYU over No. 20 Saint Mary’s 85-72 in Monday night’s West Coast Conference Tournament semifinals.

Childs was 13 of 18 from the field, including hitting all three 3-point attempts. He also had six rebounds. Second-seed BYU (24-9), which shot 61 percent from the field, will play No. 7 and top-seed Gonzaga in the championship game Tuesday night.

Elijah Bryant added 25 points for the Cougars, going 8 of 13 from the field and making all eight free-throw attempts.

Jordan Ford led Saint Mary’s (28-5) with 27 points and six rebounds. The Gaels’ Jock Landale, who fouled out with 21 seconds left, had 23 points but only four rebounds. Landale committed his third foul with 1:49 left before halftime and fourth with 8:39 left in the game.


LAS VEGAS (AP) — Killian Tillie scored 26 points on 10-of-11 shooting, including connecting on all five 3-pointers, to lead No. 7 Gonzaga past San Francisco in a West Coast Conference Tournament semifinal game.

Tillie has made all 10 3-point attempts at the tournament and is 19-of-23 from the field.

Top-seeded Gonzaga will be going for their sixth consecutive WCC Tournament title on Tuesday night.

Also for the top-seeded Bulldogs (29-4), Rui Hachimura had 17 points and Zach Norvell Jr. added 14. Johnathan Williams had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Gonzaga, which won its 13th straight, and 16th at the WCC Tournament.

Nate Renfro led the fourth-seeded Dons (18-15) with 15 points. Frankie Ferrari and Souley Boum each added nine points for San Francisco, which lost its 14 straight to Gonzaga.


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Virginia is now the unquestioned No. 1 in the AP Top 25.

The Cavaliers earned all 65 first-place votes in Monday’s poll after finishing four games ahead of the field in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season race. This was Virginia’s fourth straight week at No. 1, with the Cavaliers acquiring more first-place votes each time until claiming them all this week.

Virginia joined fellow ACC team Duke as teams to be unanimous No. 1 in the AP Top 25 this season. Pretty good for a team that was picked to finish sixth in the ACC during the preseason.

The Cavaliers (28-2, 17-1 ACC) open ACC Tournament play in Thursday’s quarterfinals in Brooklyn with a chance to sweep the league regular-season and tournament titles for the second time in five seasons.

“Now you are in one-and-done tournament play — the ACC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament,” coach Tony Bennett said after Saturday’s win against Notre Dame.

“You continue on, but you understand that it is quality play,” he said. “You do not change who you are, but you know that if you drop one, you are out.”


With Michigan State’s stumble in the Big Ten Tournament, it looked like Xavier was set to move up a spot to No. 2 behind Virginia after winning the Big East regular-season race outright.

Instead, Villanova — which beat the Musketeers this season by 24 and 16 points but finished a game back in the Big East standings — hopped over Xavier from No. 4 while Xavier remained third.


Michigan State fell to fourth, followed by Duke, Gonzaga and Michigan — which jumped eight spots to No. 7 after beating the Spartans and Purdue to win a second straight Big Ten Tournament title .

The Wolverines have won nine straight games and own their highest AP Top 25 ranking since hitting No. 7 in the final poll of the 2013-14 season.


The Wolverines had the biggest climb of the week by far, with most rising teams inching up a spot or two. No. 15 Arizona — which won the Pac-12 regular-season title outright — and No. 21 Houston had the second-biggest climbs with each rising four spots.


The week’s biggest fall belonged to Rhode Island. The Rams fell eight spots to No. 25 after a 30-point home loss to St. Joseph’s followed by a loss at Davidson in which they allowed a 9-0 game-closing run.

No. 17 Ohio State fell four spots after an early loss at the Big Ten Tournament, while No. 9 Kansas and No. 12 North Carolina — which lost on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at home to Miami and then at rival Duke — each fell three spots.


The two newcomers to the poll, Florida and Miami, have been ranked multiple times this season.

The 23rd-ranked Gators were No. 8 in the preseason and hit No. 5 in early December, then fell out two weeks later, re-entered for two weeks in January and then slid back out.

It’s been a similar wild ride for the 24th-ranked Hurricanes. They started the year at No. 13 and peaked at No. 6 in December, though they slid out by January, re-entered for a week in February and then fell out again.


Kentucky and Middle Tennessee fell out of the poll, and that continued the Wildcats’ unusually volatile poll standing this season.

Kentucky, who sat at 23rd last week, was No. 5 in the preseason poll before falling out for the first time in roughly four years in January. But after Saturday’s loss at Florida , the Wildcats fell out for the third time this season.

The Blue Raiders entered the poll for the first time in their history on Feb. 19, but fell out from No. 24 after losing their regular-season finale at home to Marshall on Saturday.


(###) Number of first place votes
Record: 28-2
PV Rank




Record: 27-4
Record: 27-4
Record: 29-4
Record: 25-6
Record: 28-4
Record: 28-7
Record: 24-7
Record: 28-6
Record: 22-9
Record: 23-7
Record: 23-8
Record: 24-7
Record: 25-6
Record: 24-8
Record: 22-9
Record: 22-8
Record: 28-4
Record: 26-6
Record: 20-11
Record: 22-8
Record: 23-6

CBB Women’s Top 25 Roundup: UConn routs Cincinnati, improves to 100-0 in AAC

This gallery contains 1 photo.

(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —   UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Azura Stevens scored 21 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead top-ranked UConn to a 75-21 rout of Cincinnati in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Monday night.

Napheesa Collier added 13 points for the Huskies (31-0), who have now won 100 games against AAC opponents without a loss since the league began play in 2013.

UConn led from the start and used a 38-0 run that stretched from the first quarter into the third to put the game away.

Andeija Puckett had five points for Cincinnati, which fell to 19-12.

The Huskies played without All-American forward Gabby Williams, who tweaked a long-standing hip injury in the Huskies’ quarterfinal win over Tulane.

They didn’t need her.

(2) Baylor 77, (8) Texas 69

OKLAHOMA CITY – Kalani Brown scored 20 points to help Baylor beat Texas in the Big 12 championship game.

Brown, a 6-foot-7 center, was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after averaging 24.7 points in three games.

Freshman point guard Alexis Morris scored 19 points for Baylor. She stepped in as a starter after senior point guard Kristy Wallace, an all-conference selection, tore her right ACL in the regular-season finale. Lauren Cox had 13 points and 12 rebounds and Dekeiya Cohen added eight points and 12 rebounds for the Lady Bears (31-1), who won their 28th straight game.

Baylor had won six straight tournament titles before losing last year’s championship game to West Virginia.

Lashann Higgs scored 20 points, Brooke McCarty scored 16 and Ariel Atkins and Jatarie White each added 12 for Texas (26-6).

(19) South Florida 74, UCF 59

Kitija Laksa scored 20 points and Laura Ferreira added 17 to lead South Florida to a win over rival UCF in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

Maria Jespersen chipped in with 12 for the Bulls (26-6), who advanced to the conference final for the fourth straight season. Their three previous trips have ended in losses to UConn, which the the Bulls will face in the finals.

Zakiya Saunders had 20 points to lead UCF (21-10).

(22) Green Bay 66, Youngstown State 45

DETROIT – Jessica Lindstrom scored 17 points and set a program Division I record with 1,000 career rebounds and Green Bay reached the Horizon League championship game for the eighth-straight season with a victory over Youngstown State.

Youngstown State led by two points at the break but Karly Murphy scored six straight points to cap a second-half opening 8-0 run for Green Bay. After YSU scored its first basket of the second half at the 3:31 mark, Lindstrom opened and closed a 13-2 run with 3-pointers to make it 47-33 entering the fourth quarter. A 7-0 run to start the final frame made it a 21-point lead.

Allie Leclaire added 16 points, Jen Wellnitz, the league’s defensive player of the year, chipped in a season-high 14 points for top-seeded Green Bay (28-3).

Sarah Cash led No. 5 seed Youngstown State (16-15) with 12 points to become YSU’s 20th member of the 1,000-point club.

CBB Men’s Top 25 Roundup: No. 15 Michigan wins 2nd straight Big Ten Tournament title

This gallery contains 1 photo.

(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)    —-    NEW YORK – Zavier Simpson was a catalyst on both ends of the floor, running Michigan’s efficient offense and leading its lock-down defense, and the No. 15 Wolverines beat No. 8 Purdue 75-66 on Sunday to repeat as Big Ten Tournament champion.

Back-up big man Jon Teske scored 14 points to help fifth-seeded Michigan (28-7) become the first team to repeat since Ohio State in 2010 and ’11.

Simpson finished with 10 points, five assists and five rebounds, and Moe Wagner led Michigan with 17 points, despite playing only 17 minutes because of foul trouble.

Isaac Haas led Purdue (28-6) with 23 points.

No. 10 Cincinnati 62, No. 11 Wichita State 61

WICHITA, Kan. – Jacob Evans scored 19 points and Cincinnati beat Wichita State to wrap up the American Athletic Conference title.

Cincinnati (27-4, 16-2) survived a slugfest of a second half as the teams combined for just two baskets in the final five minutes.

Wichita State (24-6, 14-4) needed a victory to share the conference title and would have earned the top seed in the AAC Tournament after beating Cincinnati earlier this season.

Landry Shamet and Shaquille Morris each scored 16 points for Wichita State.

No. 25 Houston 81, UConn 71

HOUSTON – Rob Gray scored 30 points, Corey Davis Jr. had 17 and Houston held off UConn.

Gray was 10 of 15 from the floor for the Cougars (24-6, 14-4 American Athletic Conference).

Jalen Adams had 22 points and six assists for Uconn (14-17, 7-11).

CBB Men’s Top 25 Roundup: No. 1 Virginia holds off Notre Dame

This gallery contains 1 photo.

(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)    —-   CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Devon Hall scored 17 points in his final game at John Paul Jones Arena and No. 1 Virginia outlasted Notre Dame 62-57 on Saturday.

Ty Jerome added 13 points for the Cavaliers (28-2, 17-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won their fifth in a row.

Bonzie Colson, playing in just his second game since missing 15 with a broken foot, had 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Irish (18-13, 8-10). Martinas Geben added 14 points and 10 rebounds.

(15) Michigan 75, (2) Michigan State 64

NEW YORK – Mo Wagner scored 14 of his 15 points after a dreadful first half and fifth-seeded Michigan moved within a game of its second straight Big Ten Tournament title.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zavier Simpson also had 15 for the Wolverines (27-7), who were also the last team to beat Michigan State (29-4), when they did it on Jan. 13.

Miles Bridges had 17 points to lead Michigan State, which had a 13-game winning streak snapped.

(3) Xavier 65, DePaul 62

CHICAGO – Trevon Bluiett scored 22 points, and Xavier set a school record for regular-season wins while clinching the top seed in the Big East.

The Musketeers (27-4, 15-3) hung on for their 12th win in 13 games. That ended Villanova’s four-year run of first-place finishes.

Bluiett became the school’s all-time leader in 3-pointers, making four to give him 310 in his career.

Brandon Cyrus led DePaul (11-19, 4-14) with a career-high 20 points.

(4) Villanova 97, Georgetown 73

PHILADELPHIA – Mikal Bridges scored 24 points and Jalen Brunson had 16 points and seven assists and Jay Wright moved into a tie atop Villanova’s career wins list with 413.

Wright improved to 413-165 since he took the job in 2001 and has led the Wildcats to the 2009 Final Four and 2016 national championship. He matched Al Severance, who went 413-201 from 1936-1961.

The Wildcats (27-4, 14-4) head to Madison Square Garden as the No. 2 seed after their run of four straight regular-season conference titles was ended by Xavier.

Jesse Govan scored 30 points on 10-of-15 shooting for the Hoyas (15-14, 5-13).

(5) Duke 73, (9) North Carolina 64

DURHAM, N.C. – Marvin Bagley III had 18 of his 21 points in the second half along with 15 rebounds for Duke.

Grayson Allen added 15 points in his final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and Gary Trent Jr. had 13 points – including three 3-pointers in the final 10 minutes – to help the Blue Devils (25-6, 13-5) clinch the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

Duke was 8 of 15 from 3-point range in the second half – the Blue Devils made just 1 of 10 from that distance in the first half – and outrebounded North Carolina 24-13 after halftime.

Cameron Johnson scored 16 points for the Tar Heels (22-9, 11-7),

Oklahoma State 82, (6) Kansas 64

STILLWATER, Okla. – Kendall Smith scored a career-high 25 points and Mitchell Solomon had 16 points and seven rebounds for Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma State (18-13, 8-10 Big 12) swept the season series from Kansas, marking the first time that the Jayhawks have been swept in a home-and-home since 2003-04, a span of 103 series.

Devonte’ Graham, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Week, scored 15 points and had eight assists for the Jayhawks (24-7, 13-5), who had a five-game winning streak snapped.

(7) Gonzaga 83, Loyola Marymount 69

LAS VEGAS – Killian Tillie scored 24 points, including making all five 3-point attempts, while Johnathan Williams added 20 points for Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference quarterfinals.

Zach Norvell Jr. had 17 points as top-seeded Gonzaga (28-4) could not pull away until 5 minutes left in the game, despite shooting 61 percent from the field, including 19 of 24 (79 percent) in the second half. This was Bulldogs’ 12th straight win, and 15th at the WCC Tournament.

James Batemon led eighth-seeded LMU (11-20) with 27 points.

(8) Purdue 78, Penn State 70

NEW YORK – Carsen Edwards scored 27 points and Purdue pulled away to reach the Big Ten Tournament championship game for the second time in three seasons.

Third-seeded Purdue (28-5) faces No. 5 Michigan, which will try to repeat as tournament champs on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Purdue frustrated conference scoring leader Tony Carr, holding him to 4-of-18 shooting and 12 points. Shep Garner led the Nittany Lions (21-12) with 33 points.

(12) Texas Tech 79, TCU 75

LUBBOCK, Texas – Keenan Evans scored 23 points and Texas Tech stopped a four-game losing streak.

Evans had his first double-digit scoring game since a toe injury that sidelined him at halftime of a loss to Baylor that started the skid when the Red Raiders (23-8, 11-7) were in sole possession of the Big 12 lead.

Desmond Bane scored 21 points for the Horned Frogs (21-10, 9-9), who had their first four-game conference winning streak in 20 years stopped.

(14) Auburn 79, South Carolina 70

AUBURN, Ala. – Bryce Brown scored 29 points, making eight 3-pointers, and Auburn claimed a share of the Southeastern Conference title.

The Tigers (25-6, 13-5) earned the top seed in next week’s SEC Tournament with their first regular-season title since 1999 and third overall.

Brown led a comeback after Auburn trailed by 14 points midway through the first half, busted out of a shooting slump in a big way. He made 8 of 12 3-pointers after going 7 for 39 over the previous four games while nursing foot and shoulder injuries.

Frank Booker led South Carolina (16-15, 7-11) with 27 points and 10 rebounds.

(16) Tennessee 66, Georgia 61

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Admiral Schofield scored 23 points to lead Tennessee’s second-half comeback Saturday as the Volunteers won a share of the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship.

The Vols (23-7, 13-5) share the SEC regular-season title with Auburn.

Tennessee is getting a share of its first league crown since 2008 after being picked to finish 13th out of 14 teams by the league’s media before the season.

The Vols have won four straight and 11 of their last 13. Tennessee’s latest victory ended Georgia’s five-game winning streak in this series.

Yanta Maten had 18 points for Georgia (16-14, 7-11).

Syracuse 55, (18) Clemson 52

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Oshae Brissett and Tyus Battle each scored 17 points for Syracuse.

It was an opportunity for Syracuse (19-12, 8-10 Atlantic Coast Conference) to fill the biggest void on its resume – the lack of a marquee win – and the Orange capitalized. They were coming off a 15-point loss at Boston College, which put a big dent in their postseason hopes.

Clemson (22-8, 11-7) entered the game ranked eighth in RPI and already assured of its first NCAA Tournament berth in seven years. The Tigers finished 4-6 on the road and suffered just their second loss this season after leading at halftime.

Marcquise Reed had 21 points and Elijah Thomas 18 to lead Clemson as the pair accounted for every Clemson point in the second half.

(19) Arizona 66, California 54

TUCSON, Ariz. – Deandre Ayton had 26 points and 20 rebounds, helping Arizona clinch the Pac-12 regular-season title outright.

Arizona (24-7, 14-4) had a hard time shaking the Bears (8-23, 2-16).

Arizona closed the game with a 13-1 run, finishing off its fifth Pac-12 title in six seasons.

Allonzo Trier, Arizona’s second-leading scorer, had a rough final home game of the 2017-18 season, finishing with two points on 1-of-10 shooting, including 0 for 7 on 3-pointers.

San Diego State 79, (21) Nevada 74

SAN DIEGO – Trey Kell scored six points in the final 1:19 to finish with 17 and fellow senior Malik Pope scored 16 to lead San Diego State.

The victory, coupled with Wyoming’s loss at Boise State, means the Aztecs (19-10, 11-7) avoid a play-in game in Las Vegas on Wednesday and will instead start in the quarterfinals on Thursday. SDSU won its sixth straight game.

Jordan Caroline scored eight of Nevada’s final 10 points in the last 3 minutes and finished with 29 for the Wolf Pack (26-6, 15-3), who had already clinched their second straight regular-season title and the No. 1 seed.

(22) Saint Mary’s 69, Pepperdine 66

LAS VEGAS – Jordan Ford scored 19 points, Jock Landale added 17 points and 19 rebounds and Saint Mary’s survived a scare from Pepperdine to win a WCC quarterfinal game.

Emmett Naar chipped in 16 points and Calvin Hermanson notched 14 for the Gaels, who will face BYU on Monday.

Colbey Ross and Darnell Dunn led the Waves with 15 points each. Pepperdine led by five at the half but couldn’t hold off the Gael’s late run.

Florida 80, (23) Kentucky 67

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Jalen Hudson scored 22 points and Chris Chiozza broke the school’s all-time assist record as Florida ended Kentucky’s four-game winning streak.

The Gators (20-11, 11-7) won their third straight, swept Kentucky for the first time in four years and secured the No. 3 seed in next week’s Southeastern Conference Tournament.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Kentucky (21-10, 10-8) with 17 points.

Marshall 76, (24) Middle Tennessee State 67

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Jon Elmore scored 23 points and Marshall swept two games from Middle Tennessee.

The Thundering Herd (21-10, 12-6 Conference USA) was the only C-USA team to beat the Blue Raiders (24-6, 16-2) this season as they ended Middle’s 11-game winning streak.

Brandon Walters led the Blue Raiders with 20 points and Nick King added 18.

1 2 3 5

"PhatzRadio - A New view from the News Room"



Weekly Music / Sports Talk Schedule
NBA Unplugged 1:00PM
Audibly Offensive 2:02PM
The War Room 3:01PM
Smooth Jazz 5:11PM
PopSports Sports Radio Tues.AM
The Broad Street Line Wed.AM
After Further Review Wed.AM
HoopGirlz Radio Thur.AM
Gaffer & Hooligan Soccer Fri.AM