NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament - Final Four - Championship

On Tuesday night, Auriemma, UConn prove they’re on another level

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The world has never seen a more dominant performance in an NCAA Women’s National Championship Game than it saw Tuesday night.

On a night that could’ve been a coronation for Louisville, sweeping both the men’s and women’s national titles in the same season — allowing them the same feeling that Geno Auriemma and the Lady Huskies experienced in 2004 — the coach that was a perfect 7-0 in national title games coming into the night reminded us all why that is, delivering a 33-point rout that made anyone watching it think, “we’ve seen this before.”

Different teams, different players, different styles of play. It doesn’t matter. Auriemma has won with all types of rosters. This one was just the most dominant of them all.

Trailing by five early in the game, UConn went on another patented run, a trademark that has carried them through this entire tournament, and made sure very early on that Louisville fans would have only the men’s title to celebrate.

The whole time, it was classic Auriemma. He wrapped up a 93-60 win with a senior-led team. Caroline Doty and Kelly Faris closed their UConn careers with a  title, with Faris pouring in 16 points. A sophomore, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, contributing 18 and a freshman Breanna Stewart won Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four with 23 points. 

Balance. Auriemma seems to always have it on his. But it’s one of the reasons he’s just on a different plane than any other active coach in women’s college basketball. And he’s definitely up there in the discussion of greatest in the college game, on either side.

UConn out-rebounded Louisville by 18, 42-24, holding the Lady Cardinals 13 boards below their season average. From three-point range, the Lady Huskies hit 13-of-25 and held the Lady Cardinals to 21.7-percent from deep. Anything Louisville wanted to do, UConn took it away, then they did it themselves. Only better.

With all the hype around Baylor and their wunderkind Brittney Griner this season, a few people may have overlooked the Lady Huskies. Then, when Louisville upset the Lady Bears, it kept the spotlight away from UConn and on the Cinderella story in the Lady Cardinals.

On Tuesday night, Auriemma and his team reminded us why they’re undefeated when on women’s basketball’s biggest stage and why it’s wrong to overlook them, even for a second.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten 

Illinois dismisses Kendrick Nunn

Illinois guard Kendrick Nunn (25) tries to go up for a basket against Indiana center Thomas Bryant (31) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at in Champaign, Ill., on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Heather Coit)
(AP Photo/Heather Coit)
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Illinois announced on Tuesday that they have dismissed Kendrick Nunn from the basketball program.

Nunn was sentenced to community service after pleading guilty to a battery charge that stemmed from a domestic violence incident. He was alleged to have hit a woman in the head and pushed her to the ground before pouring water on her.

“We have made the decision to dismiss Kendrick Nunn from the men’s basketball team, effective immediately,” a statement put out by head coach John Groce and athletic director Josh Whitman read. “After extensive deliberation, we think it best for our program to reaffirm our core values of trust and respect, to send a strong message about what is acceptable behavior.”

Nunn averaged 15.5 points as a junior last season.

Delaware hires Martin Inglesby as head coach

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Joe Raymond, AP
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Delaware has finally hired a head coach, a little more than two months after Monte’ Ross was fired.

The man that earned the right of taking over a program with just four returning scholarship players is Martin Inglesby, a Notre Dame assistant that has been under Mike Brey’s tutelage for more than a decade. A source confirmed the news with NBCSports.com. Brey spent his first six seasons as a Division I head coach in Newark.

The reason that the search for a new basketball coach took so long is that the university was in the midst of looking for a new athletic director. Chrissi Rawak was hired as AD on May 13th, and one of her first orders of business was finding a replacement for Ross.

CBS Sports was the first to report Inglesby’s hiring.

Report: UCLA signs record apparel deal with Under Armour

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(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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The latest arms race in the collegiate ranks centers around apparel deals, and UCLA has reportedly signed the largest in the history of amateur athletics.

Under Armour will pay the university $280 million over the next 15 years, according to ESPN.com, in exchange for their athletes to work as unpaid models, turning Pauley Pavilion and the Rose Bowl into a runway for the athletic apparel company to hawk their wares.

Here are the details from ESPN:

At those numbers, the deal would be the largest in college football history. In January, Ohio State said its 15-year deal with Nike was worth $252 million. Texas signed a 15-year deal with Nike worth $250 million in October, and Michigan signed an 11-year deal, with a four-year option, that could be worth up to $173.8 million.

Landing UCLA only furthers Under Armour’s presence on the west coast. Their most famous client is Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors.

Kentucky-Kansas headlines the 2017 SEC/Big 12 Challenge

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The Big 12 and the SEC announced the matchups for the 2017 SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Tuesday, and the highlight is, of course, Kansas and Kentucky.

The two schools, who played an instant classic in Phog Allen Fieldhouse last season, will square off in Lexington this season. If that wasn’t enough, Kentucky and Kansas are currently sitting second and third, respectively, in the NBCSports.com Preseason Top 25.

So that should be fun.

The game will be played on January 28th along with the rest of the matchups in the series. Those matchups are:

Texas at Georgia
Texas A&M at West Virginia
Florida at Oklahoma
Baylor at Ole Miss
Iowa State at Vanderbilt
Kansas State at Tennessee
Arkansas at Oklahoma State
Auburn at TCU
LSU at Texas Tech

To be frank, the rest of that schedule is not all that enticing. West Virginia should be a top 25 team, and they host a Texas A&M team that is talented but young. Florida and Georgia are arguably the two best non-Kentucky teams in the league, but they face off with a rebuilding Oklahoma and a young Texas squad, neither of whom are guaranteed to make the tournament.

The problem here?

Both the SEC and the Big 12 are likely going to be down this season, which puts a damper on just how excited we can get about this challenge.

Purdue forward to return to school, withdraw from NBA Draft

Purdue center A.J. Hammons (20) celebrates with forward Vince Edwards (12) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan State in West Lafayette, Ind., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Purdue defeated Michigan State 82-81 in overtime. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Purdue announced on Tuesday that forward Vince Edwards will be returning to school for his junior season.

Edwards declared for the NBA Draft without signing with an agent and went through the process to gauge his value at the next level.

“After getting the NBA experience and going through the evaluation process, I have talked with my family and Coach Painter and decided it is best for me to return for my junior year,” Edwards said in a statement. “Although the NBA is still a dream for me one day, I am coming back to Purdue to make next year a special one. Thank you to all the organizations who gave me the chance to not only showcase my talents, but also the chance to know me as a young man and not just an athlete.”

Edwards averaged 11.3 points and 5.4 boards last season.

Purdue now has to wait to hear from Caleb Swanigan, a rising sophomore that was a top 20 recruit in the Class of 2015. The deadline to withdraw from the draft is Wednesday.