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Championship Week recap: Day 11’s best game, top player

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Over the next 13 days, the brackets will start to take shape. Teams with no at-large aspirations will make one final push at the post-season. Teams on the bubble will look to assert themselves as worthy members of “The Big Dance”, and contenders will start priming their engines for a national Championship run. While “March Madness” officially begins following Selection Sunday, the real madness starts now.

Until Sunday, March 11,  this will be your home for Championship Week recaps and previews. The players and teams are starting to prepare for March Madness, so you should too.

Game of the Night: Marshall 105, Tulsa 100 3OT
DeAndre Kane played 54 minutes and scored a career-high 40 points in the first triple-overtime game in the history of Conference-USA. Neither team led by more than seven points, nine players fouled out, and the two teams combined to go 68-of-101 from the charity stripe. Kane scored seven points in the final 31 seconds of the second overtime after Tulsa had taken a four point lead. The game featured 21 ties and 19 lead changes. Eric McClellan led the way for the Golden Hurricanes with 25 points and Steven Idlet chipped in with 20 as well.

– They were good too: Cincinnati 72, Georgetown 70 2OT
The Bearcats trailed by double-digits with less than ten minutes left in the game, but rallied back on the broad shoulders of Yancy Gates, who finished with a game high 23 points. The battle down low between Gates and Henry Sims was terrific, as the big-man traded baskets on several possessions. Hoya freshman Otto Porter sent the game into overtime thanks to a tough jumper with 3.6 seconds left. Gates continued to dominate in overtime, and Sims responded by sending the game into a second overtime with a nice running floater that beat the buzzer. Cashmere Wright won the game in the second session thanks to a nice drive from the top of the key. The Hoyas had a chance to win the game, but a Sims 3-point attempt caromed off the rim.

Player of the Night: Perry Jones III, Baylor
Jones’ toughness and willingness to take over a game has been questioned for the past few months. But the sophomore sensation showed his toughness and determination, scoring a career-high 31 points to lead the Bears over Kansas State 82-74 in the Big-XII quarterfinals. Jones scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the first half alone, and was the main reason the Bears were able to enact some revenge on the Wildcats, who beat Baylor 57-56 three weeks ago. in that meeting, Jones fouled out with just four points and four rebounds.

– He was good too: Jamal Franklin, San Diego State
Jamal Franklin finished with 19 points, including the game-winning buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat Boise State in the MWC quarterfinals. Nearly everybody in the arena knew Franklin would be the guy to take the final shot, yet the Broncos could do very little to stop him, as the sophomore hit a high-arching 3-pointer over a double team. This was the second buzzer-beater Franklin has made this year, has he drained a 3-pointer to defeat UNLV back in January

Team of the Night: Alcorn State Braves
The No.6-seed in the SWAC Tournament defeated No.3-seed Prairie View A&M 103-79 despite committing a season-high 26 turnovers. Four Alcorn State players scored 15 points or more, and the Braves led 50-17 at the end of the first half. The Braves only took eight 3-point attempts and connected on five of them. Ken McDonald led the way with 26 points on 11-of-12 shooting and Matrevious Sanders added 12 points, seven assists and six steals.

Thursday Results

Atlantic Coast Conference First Round
#10 Virginia Tech 68, #7 Clemson 63
#8 Maryland 82, #9 Wake Forest 60
#6 Miami 54, #11 Georgia Tech 36
#5 North Carolina State 78, #12 Boston College 57

Big East Conference Quarterfinals
#7 Louisville 84 #2 Marquette 71
#4 Cincinnati 72, #5 Georgetown 70 2OT
#3 Notre Dame 57, #6 South Florida 53 OT
#1 Syracuse 58, #9 Connecticut 55

Big-Ten Conference First Round
#10 Minnesota 75, #7 Northwestern 68 OT
#8 Iowa 64, #9 Illinois 61
#6 Purdue 79, #11 Nebraska 61
#5 Indiana 75, #12 Penn State 58

Big-XII Conference Quarterfinals
#6 Texas 71, #3 Iowa State 65
#4 Baylor 82, #5 Kansas State 74
#2 Missouri 88, #7 Oklahoma State 70
#1 Kansas 83, #9 Texas A&M 66

Big West Conference Quarterfinals
#7 UC-Irvine 65, #2 Cal State-Fullerton 59
#4 Cal Poly 66, #5 UC-Riverside 54
#3 UC-Santa Barbara 72, #6 Pacific 52
#1 Long Beach State 80, #8 UC-Davis 46

Conference-USA Quarterfinals
#6 Marshall 105, #3 Tulsa 100 3OT
#2 Southern Mississippi 81, #10 East Carolina 78 OT
#4 Central Florida 64, #5 UAB 54
#1 Memphis 65, #8 UTEP 47

Mid-Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
#4 Kent State 76, #8 Western Michigan 72
#3 Ohio 65, #7 Toledo 57

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
#11 Florida A&M 65, #3 Delaware State 55 OT
#4 Bethune-Cookman 60, #5 North Carolina Central 59

Mountain West Conference Quarterfinals
#4 Colorado State 81, #5 Texas Christian 60
#3 UNLV 56, #6 Wyoming 48
#2 New Mexico 79, #7 Air Force 64
#1 San Diego State 65, #8 Boise State 62

Pac-12 Conference Quarterfinals
#9 Oregon State 86, #1 Washington 84
#6 Colorado 63, #3 Oregon 62
#4 Arizona 66, #5 UCLA 58
#2 California 77, #7 Stanford 71

Southeastern Athletic Conference First Round
#11 Georgia 71, #6 Mississippi State 61
#8 Louisiana State 70, #9 Arkansas 54
#7 Ole Miss 68, #10 Auburn 54
#5 Alabama 63, #12 South Carolina 57

Southland Conference Semifinals
#4 McNeese State 92, #1 UT-Arlington 72
#3 Lamar 55, #2 Stephen F. Austin 44

Southwestern Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
#6 Alcorn State 103, #3 Prairie View A&M 79
#5 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 60, #4 Alabama State 56 OT

Western Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
#6 Hawaii 72 #3 Idaho 70
#5 Louisiana Tech 72, #4 Utah State 70
#2 New Mexico State 65, #7 Fresno State 49
#1 Nevada 54, #8 San Jose State 44

Troy Machir is the managing editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @TroyMachir.

Four-star PG Jaylen Fisher de-commits from UNLV

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Coaching changes can wreak havoc on a program’s recruiting class, and that’s been the case for UNLV thanks to the tumultuous nature of their search for a new head coach. Thursday evening one prospect who remained committed to the Mountain West program throughout the process that ultimately led to Marvin Menzies landing the job announced that he’s decided to reopen his recruitment.

Four-star point guard Jaylen Fisher, ranked 55th in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.com, announced via social media that he’s decided to de-commit from UNLV.

“I was very much looking forward to the opportunity to be a Rebel this year,” Fisher wrote. “But there have been a lot of changes with the program since I committed to UNLV; changes that have made me reconsider whether UNLV is still a good fit for me. So with that in mind and after much consideration with my family, I have decided it’s best that I reopen my recruitment.”

Fisher’s decision leaves wing Justin Jackson as the lone member of UNLV’s 2016 class at this point, with Jackson telling Scout.com in early April that he was undecided as to whether or not he’d reopen his recruitment. The school’s search for a coach began in January when they parted ways with Dave Rice, promoting Todd Simon in an interim role.

After deciding not to retain Simon, who’s now the head coach at Southern Utah, UNLV hired former Little Rock head coach Chris Beard…who left for Texas Tech less than two weeks later. UNLV landed Menzies, who they passed over for Beard, and he’s got a lot of work to do to field a roster that will be competitive in the Mountain West next season.

As for Fisher, the Arlington, Tennessee native should be a popular prospect with his decision to reopen things. And with Memphis losing former commit Charlie Moore, the Tigers are in need of help at the point. The question now is whether or not new head coach Tubby Smith will look to reach out to Fisher.

h/t Memphis Commercial-Appeal

NCAA rule change that impacts Memphis coaching staff now official

Memphis forward Dedric Lawson (1) goes up for a shot between Connecticut forward Shonn Miller (32) and guard Daniel Hamilton, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the finals of the American Athletic Conference men's tournament in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, March 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
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One of the more popular topics in college basketball in recent weeks was the status of Memphis assistant coach Keelon Lawson and sons Dedric and K.J. in the aftermath of the school hiring Tubby Smith. Would Smith keep the elder Lawson on staff as an assistant, thus in all likelihood ensuring that Dedric and K.J. would return as well? Would he let go or attempt to reassign Keelon, and as a result risk losing two players from an already limited roster?

Ultimately Smith decided to reassign Keelon to a non-coaching position, making him director of player development. And with the NCAA having a rule that those with a connection to a prospective student-athlete had to serve in a coaching capacity for the player’s first two seasons, the question was whether or not Memphis would need a waiver to pull off the move.

Luckily for Memphis the NCAA was looking into an alteration of the rule, and on Thursday with the NCAA not taking action on Proposal 2015-30 the change became official.

Under the new rule a coach’s two years on staff would begin immediately upon his arrival. In the case of Lawson this is key as he spent a year on former Memphis head coach Josh Pastner’s staff before Dedric and K.J. enrolled. With the two-year requirement ruled to be served under the new proposal, Smith could reassign Keelon Lawson without having to ask the NCAA for a waiver.

The next step as far as Memphis is concerned is Dedric, who ultimately entered his name into the NBA Draft pool (without an agent), withdrawing and returning to school for his sophomore season. As a freshman Dedric was the best freshman in the American Athletic Conference, averaging 15.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game for the Tigers. DraftExpress.com currently ranks him 28th amongst college freshmen, which makes him no sure thing to be drafted should he decide to stay in the draft.

At the very least the next month should result in Dedric receiving constructive feedback from NBA scouts and executives that he can use to improve next season.

K.J. played in just ten games last season due to a lingering Achilles tendon issue, averaging 8.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. The hope is that K.J. will be granted a medical redshirt for last season, thus preserving a year of eligibility.

Chattanooga men’s hoop coach McCall gets 2-year extension

Chattanooga head coach Matt McCall directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa State, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) Chattanooga men’s basketball coach Matt McCall has received a two-year contract extension after leading the Mocs to an NCAA Tournament appearance in his debut season.

The school announced the extension Thursday. McCall’s contract now runs through the 2021-22 season.

Chattanooga went 29-6 last season to set a school record for victories. The Mocs captured their first Southern Conference regular-season title since 1994 and also won the league’s postseason tournament to earn their first NCAA bid since 2009.

Indiana beat Chattanooga 99-74 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Athletic director David Blackburn said in a statement, “We had great confidence in who we hired a year ago, and that never wavered. This is in recognition of him and his staff’s great work in equipping our student-athletes for success.”

Jim Valvano’s title-winning N.C. State team to finally get White House visit

FILE - In this April 5, 1983, file photo, North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano embraces sophomore forward Lorenzo Charles moments after Charles had dunked a shot to give North Carolina State the win over Houston in the national championship game at the Final Four of the NCAA college basketball tournament in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Leonard Ignelzi, File)
(AP Photo/Leonard Ignelzi, File)
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The N.C. State men’s basketball team never got invited to the White House after they won the 1983 National Title.

It wasn’t a tradition in those days. They spoke with President Ronald Reagan, but they did so from the confines of a television studio in Raleigh. It’s commonplace now to see title winners from all sports making their way to the Oval Office to shake hands with our nation’s leader, but back then, the funding and invitation weren’t always available.

And that never say right with the guys on that team. Since Lorenzo Charles, whose memorable dunk was the title-winning bucket, passed away in 2011, that team has had a reunion every spring, and the topic of going to the White House to celebrate the win always came up. That inspired Thurl Bailey, who was the No. 7 pick of the 1983 NBA Draft, and his friend, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, to write letters to President Obama requesting that the ’83 iteration of the Wolfpack get their White House visit.

“As definitive as a National Championship sounds, as an athlete there always seems to be unfinished business,” Bailey told N.C. State’s website. “You’re always looking for the next challenge, the next opportunity. This was it for me.  If I could get this done, it would be yet another story for me and the other members of that team to be able to pass along to our kids, grandkids and generations after that.”

Bailey’s efforts proved successful.

On Thursday, N.C. State announced that President Obama had not only received the letters, but he has issued a May 9th invitation for that 1983 team to visit him in Washington, D.C., meaning that Bailey, Dereck Whittenburg and the rest of that 1983 title-winning team will finally get to meet the Commander-in-Chief.

“The joy and the euphoria of winning a national title against all odds, as well as the pain and devastation of losing members of that family, are important parts of who I am,” Bailey said. “Contacting President Obama was one piece of our incredible journey that had eluded us for far too long.”

Los Angeles to host new college basketball doubleheader

Arizona coach Sean Miller reacts to a foul call during the first half of Arizona's NCAA college basketball game against UCLA, Friday, Feb 12, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) A new men’s basketball doubleheader will be played in Los Angeles featuring Arizona, BYU, Gonzaga and Southern California.

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Wednesday announced the one-day event, to be played at Staples Center on Dec. 3.

The Wildcats will play the Zags and the Cougars will face the Trojans.

Tickets will go on sale May 4. Game times and television broadcast information will be announced later.