Late Night Snacks: Shabazz on his way to the NBA?

2 Comments

Game of the Night

No. 3 Duke 79, N0. 5 Miami 76: It’s not often the No. 3 team in the country needs a statement win, but the Blue Devils wanted to bounce back from their loss at Virginia, and Miami had the bad luck to be the next scheduled opponent to come to Cameron Indoor. Ryan Kelly came back from his foot injury and proved his worth. Miami, on the other hand, suffered a loss, but didn’t really much change their standing in the world.

Meaningful Results

UCLA 74, No. 11 Arizona 69: Ben Howland thinks this upset was Shabazz Muhammad’s last game in Pauley Pavilion. Muhammad grabbed the key rebound, got fouled, and hit his free throws to close out the win. Muhammad had 18 points, and his fellow freshman chipped in 17. Defense was the difference, led by (freshman) Jordan Adams’ five steals. This win puts UCLA in a tie with Oregon for the Pac-12 lead.

No. 13 Kansas State 64, Baylor 61: This one seemed headed to overtime, but Baylor’s long pass attempt with one second left sailed the length of the court and out of bounds without being touched by either team, so the second went to K-State instead. Rodney McGruder was left alone on the wing and nailed the game-winner in dramatic fashion, allowing the Wildcats to keep pace with Kansas atop the Big 12.

No. 7 Georgetown 64, Rutgers 51: It’s always important to win the ones you’re supposed to win, especially if you’re in line for a No. 1 seed.

No. 25 Louisiana Tech 88, San Jose State 61: The Bulldogs got to empty the benches in this one, which led them to a 16-0 record with two games to go in the WAC season. The WAC is not a good conference, but unbeaten is unbeaten.

Mississippi State 73, Ole Miss 67: Ole Miss is trying to get into the NCAA tournament, and this is not the way to do it. In fact, it probably won’t happen. A 20-win team should handle a 20-loss team, no matter where the game is played.

Starred

Doug McDermott, Creighton: The Blue Jays have struggled this year, but they rode their main man to a regular-season championship in the Mountain West. McDermott scored 41 points to go with six rebounds and three assists.

Jeff Withey, Kansas: Yes, Ben McLemore had 36 points, and that was huge, but Withey came one block away from his second triple-double of the season, with 14 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocked shots.

Derrick Marks, Boise State: Marks scored 38 points on 72 percent shooting. His Broncos took down the Colorado State Rams, leaving New Mexico alone with the league title.

Struggled

Reggie Johnson, Miami: It’s a measure of how good Miami is as a team that they nearly beat Duke at Cameron on a day when Johnson played just 17 minutes, scored zero points and had four fouls.

Butler: Just Butler. Twenty team turnovers, many of them on the wrong side of the timeline. Just… ouch.

Colorado’s Shooters: The Buffs shot 23 percent from the floor in a loss to Cal, ending up with just 46 points in a big league game.

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

Leave a comment

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’

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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)
4 Comments

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

Rob Carr/Getty Images
1 Comment

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: