Late Night Snacks: No. 3 Miami survives, No. 20 Wisconsin rolls

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Game of the Day: James Madison 72, Delaware 71 

The Blue Hens entered Sunday’s game against JMU with a chance to pull within a game of first-place Northeastern (in the loss column) in the CAA, but a lob from Devon Moore to Andre Nation with less than a second remaining gave James Madison the win in Newark. As a result of the win JMU is now tied for second with Towson (10-5), and with the Tigers banned from postseason play due to their APR score the Dukes lead the race for the two-seed in next month’s conference tournament. Delaware’s Devon Saddler led all scorers with 23 points, while Moore and Rayshawn Goins paced JMU with 19 apiece.

Important Outcomes

1. No. 3 Miami 45, Clemson 43

Sometimes teams simply have to gut out wins, especially on the road, and that was the case for the Hurricanes as they scored seven of the game’s final eight points to win at Clemson. A Kenny Kadji three-pointer in the final minute gave Miami the lead for good, and they’re now 12-0 in the ACC. Three games up on No. 2 Duke with six conference games remaining, Miami is in excellent position to win their first-ever ACC regular season title. Kadji finished with 12 points to lead the Hurricanes, and Jordan Roper led the Tigers with a game-high 19. But Clemson shot just 30.4% from the field, which left the door open for a Miami comeback.

2. No. 20 Wisconsin 71, No. 13 Ohio State 49 

This one was ugly from the start for the Buckeyes, who shot 37.5% from the field and 3-of-12 from beyond the arc. It didn’t help matters that they were unable to slow down Wisconsin on the other end, as the Badgers shot 52.7% on the afternoon. Ben Brust and Jared Berggren scored 15 apiece to lead four Badgers in double figures, and Bo Ryan’s swing offense resulted in Wisconsin shooting 22-of-36 inside the three-point arc. Deshaun Thomas scored 18 to lead all scorers but outside of Sam Thompson (ten points) the other Buckeyes struggled mightily on offense.

3. Iowa 72, Minnesota 51 

With 12:57 remaining in the first half Minnesota led 21-5 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It all went downhill from there, as Iowa stormed back and left no doubt by the end of the game. Andre Hollins scored just three points and Rodney Williams went scoreless in ten minutes of action for Minnesota, who is now tied with the Hawkeyes and Illinois for sixth in the Big Ten. The question for Iowa is whether or not they can climb back into the NCAA tournament conversation, but Fran McCaffery’s team has some work to do given their poor non-conference strength of schedule ranking (323).

Starred

1. G Trey Burke (Michigan) 

29 points (9-of-16 FG), five assists and three rebounds (without a turnover) in the Wolverines’ 79-71 win over Penn State.

2. G Allen Crabbe (California) 

Things got a bit heated between Crabbe and head coach Mike Montgomery (h/t @Stephen_Nelson) early in the second half but the junior finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and five steals in the Golden Bears’ 76-68 win over USC. For his part Crabbe offered the following in the postgame press conference:

3. F Stephen Lumpkins (American) 

Lumpkins played 42 of a possible 45 minutes in the Eagles’ 64-61 overtime win over Holy Cross, accounting for 17 points, 12 rebounds and three assists.

Struggled

1. South Florida

The Bulls haven’t fared well this season after getting to the NCAA tournament in 2012. Now 1-12 in Big East play, the Bulls shot 24.5% from the field in their 59-41 loss to No. 12 Louisville. USF finished the game with more turnovers (16) than field goals (13).

2. Minnesota 

The Golden Gophers hit six of their first nine shots and led Iowa 21-5. For the remainder of the game Minnesota shot 11-of-38, losing a game they led by 16 at one points by 21 (72-51).

3. Northwestern

The Wildcats nearly established a new record for fewest points scored in a game during Bill Carmody’s tenure but got going late in their 62-41 loss to Illinois. Northwestern shot 25% from the field and attempted 27 three-pointers, making five. And just like South Florida, Northwestern’s turnovers (14) beat out their made field goals (12).

Three Facts 

1. Wichita State picked up a big win, 68-67 at Illinois State, to take over sole possession of first place in the Missouri Valley. A Cleanthony Early three-pointer capped an 8-0 rally that began with a flagrant 1 called on Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael with 41.2 seconds remaining.

2. Niagara was once again without the services of leading scorer Antoine Mason (ankle) but point guard Juan’ya Green made up for his absence, scoring 18 points to lead the Purple Eagles to a 60-56 win at Manhattan. The win keeps Niagara alone atop the MAAC standings, and with Rider’s win over Marist later in the day Rider is almost guaranteed of not having to play in the first round of next month’s conference tournament (the bottom four teams play in the first round).

3. No. 9 Arizona was too reliant on the three-pointer, attempting 22 of their 53 shots from beyond the arc (making six), but thanks to some big plays late from seniors Mark Lyons and Solomon Hill the Wildcats held off Utah 68-64 in Salt Lake City. Jarred DuBois led Utah with 16 points, but it was another case of “close but no cigar” for a team that’s played better than their 11-14 record would indicate.

Video James Madison’s game-winner at Delaware (at the 2:05 mark)

Top 25 Scores 

No. 3 Miami 45, Clemson 43
No. 4 Michigan 79, Penn State 71
No. 9 Arizona 68, Utah 64
No. 12 Louisville 59, South Florida 41
No. 20 Wisconsin 71, No. 13 Ohio State 49

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Sunday’s NCAA Tournament Elite Eight schedule, tip times, and announcer pairings

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Regional Finals – Sunday, March 26

2:20 p.m.,CBS, New York
No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 4 Florida (Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce)

5:05 p.m., CBS, Memphis
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Kentucky (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)

Steve Alford: ‘I’m very happy at UCLA’

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UCLA head coach Steve Alford was still processing an 86-75 season-ending loss to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 on Friday night when he had to answer questions about another blueblood program.

Sine the dismal of Tom Crean at Indiana, Alford has been one of the names rumored to be in the mix for the coaching vacancy. A reporter in the press conference in Memphis didn’t even get a chance to finish his question before Alford cut him off and a publicly state that he was happy in Westwood.

“I said it last week, and I’ll reiterate it again even more so, I guess, that I love Los Angeles,” Alford said. “To begin with, it’s a beautiful place, and our family has fallen in love with it. I’ve got two sons now, Kory first and now Bryce, that have graduated. Bryce is done, so he’s graduating from UCLA, so I’ve got two sons that are graduates from there, a daughter that loves the school she’s going to in Thousand Oaks. I’m very happy. I’m at UCLA. I don’t know of a lot of people that are out there wanting to leave UCLA.

“This is a pretty special place. We’ve worked awfully hard. Our staff has worked hard. We’ve got the No. 2 recruiting class coming in next year. We’re opening a brand-new, state-of-the-art, 60-plus million practice facility, Mo Ostin Center, that is going to be spectacular that we’ve worked awfully hard to be a part of that, and I want to see that through, and we’ve got some special kids that are coming to join us.

“I’m very, very happy where I’m at, and hopefully, that’ll continue.”

Alford won a national championship with the Hoosiers in 1987, scoring more than 2,400 points in his career under head coach Bob Knight. He has been with UCLA since 2013, reaching the Sweet 16 in three of his four seasons with the Bruins.

Crean was fired on March 16 after nine season in Bloomington.

Lonzo Ball has officially declared for the 2017 NBA Draft

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Following a season-ending loss in the Sweet 16 of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, UCLA freshman point guard unsurprisingly announced that he will enter the NBA Draft.

“That was my final game for UCLA. I appreciate the fans,” Ball told reporters.

The 6-foot-6 point guard has a strong case to be the No. 1 overall pick. It could be almost too enticing for the Los Angeles Lakers to pass on a Southern Cal product if the ping pong balls fall in their favor. New Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka were in Memphis for Friday night’s Sweet 16 matchup with Kentucky.

Ball, in an All-American freshman season with the Bruins, averaged 14.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and a nation’s best 7.6 assists per game, while shooting 56 percent from the field and 42 percent from three.

He ended his college career with an 86-75 loss to the Wildcats, scoring 10 points, off 4-of-10 shooting, with eight assists.

VIDEO: Florida’s Chris Chiozza beats Wisconsin at the buzzer

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK — So you didn’t think the NCAA Tournament had enough excitement this year?

Wisconsin and Florida solved that problem for you.

The Badgers started things, as they erased a 12-point deficit in the final 4:15 to force overtime, a stretch that included an 8-0 run at the end of regulation that was capped by a Zak Showalter running three with 2.5 seconds left on the clock to tie the game at 72.

Wisconsin jumped out to a lead in overtime, but the combination of an inability to make free throws and and this epic chasedown block from Canyon Barry left the door open for the Gators, who eventually won the game on this running three from Chris Chiozza:

What.

A.

Game.

If we get a better one than this, I just hope I’m courtside for it.

KeVaughn Allen led the way for the Gators with 35 points, and no one else on the Gators scored more than eight points, but it didn’t matter. The Gators are still headed to the Elite 8, and Mike White will have a chance to play for the right to go to the Final Four in his first NCAA Tournaments.

Replacing a legend like Billy Donovan was never going to be easy, but White is doing an admirable job.

The other subplot here: With the win, Florida becomes the third member of the SEC in the Elite 8, and with a regional final against South Carolina on Sunday afternoon, it guarantees that there will be at least one SEC team in the Final Four.

While there were celebrations in the Florida locker room, Wisconsin’s was one of devastation.

The Badgers started four seniors, including tournament stalwarts Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes, who played in their 17th career NCAA Tournament games.

Hayes had 22 points, but he’s going to be haunted by the free throws he missed. He was 7-for-14 from the line on the night, including four missed freebies in overtime. The end was similarly heart-breaking for Koenig, as he was a non-factor in overtime due to an injury he suffered on the possession before Showalter’s game-tying three.

Both of them are going to spend years thinking ‘What if?’ That’s how the NCAA Tournament works.

Everyone leaves in tears, either because they’re cutting down the nets at the Final Four or because their season — their career — just came to an end.

Hayes and Koenig were no different.

VIDEO: Canyon Barry saves Florida with epic chase down block

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Florida’s Canyon Berry had the best chase down block since LeBron James in the 2016 NBA Finals.

It kept Wisconsin’s lead at two points and gave the Gators a chance to tie and, eventually, win the game.

Look at this: