Jim Nantz to be honored by NABC Foundation

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On this coming Thursday evening in New York City, CBS Sports lead commentator Jim Nantz will be honored by the NABC Foundation (National Association of Basketball Coaches).

In 2013, Nantz called the play-by-play for his 28th consecutive NCAA Men’s Final Four.

According to the NABC website:

The NABC Foundation Court of Honor Gala was developed to bring recognition to an individual and the game of basketball while raising foundation awareness and important financial support to the NABC Foundation, including TTRR (Ticket To Reading Rewards), a middle school reading program…The Court of Honor Gala Award is presented to an individual, businessman, educator, etc., who has roots in college basketball, values those roots in the game and has gone on to distinguish himself in his profession, exhibiting the highest standards for leadership.

Nantz is synonymous with March Madness. Although some have been critical of him and his partner Clark Kellogg during their calls of NCAA Tournament games, there is little doubt that Nantz is one of the best and the business, and has a legacy second to none. Nantz is more than just college basketball, though:

Since joining the CBS Television Network in 1985, Nantz has covered virtually every sport. After serving as host of CBS’s coverage of the NCAA Tournament and Final Four from 1986 to 1990, he assumed the role of lead play-by-play announcer. Nantz has been the lead play-by-play voice for THE NFL ON CBS since 2004 and has anchored the network’s golf coverage since April 1994. In 2007, he had the rare opportunity over a span of just 63 days to broadcast Super Bowl XLI between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears, the NCAA Final Four and the Masters®. Nantz repeated that feat in 2010 and won his second consecutive Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-By-Play.

Past recipients have been Jerry Colangelo, chairman of USA Basketball, in 2009; Former Senator Bill Bradley in 2010; and Nike, Inc., Chairman Phil Knight in 2011.

To support the NABC Foundation, there is also an online auction taking place. Notable items up for grabs are meet-and-greets with some of college basketball’s most high-profile coaches–Bill Self, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, John Beilein, Mike Brey, and Brad Stevens–tours of the school’s basketball facilities, and tickets to games.

You can find Kevin on twitter @KLDoyle11

No. 7 South Carolina upends No. 3 Baylor to advance to the Elite 8

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NEW YORK — It was with a whipping and a whimper that Baylor’s season can to an end on Friday night.

The final two minutes of the game wasn’t actually a game. No. 7 seed South Carolina dished out a 70-50 beatdown that wasn’t in doubt after the Gamecocks used an 18-0 run at the end of the first half to turn a rock fight into statement, and for the final two minutes of the game, the Gamecocks and, eventually, Baylor dribbled out the remaining seconds before joining arms at center court for a postgame prater.

It’s the third straight year that Baylor has been bounced from the NCAA tournament by a team seeded lower than them. In 2015, it was R.J. Hunter’s heroics that knocked his dad off of a stool and sent No. 14 seed Georgia State into the second round of the tournament. In 2016, the Bears fell in the first round to No. 12 seed Yale, prompting one of the most memorable press conference moments in NCAA tournament history.

And on Friday night, it was South Carolina that sent the Bears into offseason hibernation.

It was a disheartening end to a season, a loss that will surely provide fodder for the people that traffic in ‘Scott Drew can’t coach’ jokes, the irony being that the 2016-17 season was definitive proof that Scott Drew is almost certainly better at his job than you are at yours.

“When you coach for a while and you make Elite Eights and Sweet 16, you kind of start taking it for granted that you will always be successful in March,” Drew said. “But it’s a good reminder to be here and know how hard it is.”

No. 1 North Carolina handles No. 4 Butler en route to Elite Eight

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North Carolina, the top seed in the South Region, led by as many as 20 en route to a 92-80 win over No. 4 Butler in the Sweet 16 matchup on Friday night at the FedEx Forum in Memphis.

The Tar Heels were led by 26 points, off 8-of-13 shooting, from junior point guard Joel Berry II. The 6-foot floor general had been hampered by an ankle injury through the first weekend. While he still seemed to favor that same ankle at times, his play was a big improvement on his 3-of-21 shooting through the NCAA Tournament’s first two rounds. Justin Jackson nearly matched Berry’s game-high with 24 points.

Andrew Chrabascz, in the final game of his four-year career at Butler, finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

North Carolina, the last of the ACC’s nine tournament bids, advances to the Elite Eight to face the winner of No. 3 UCLA and No. 2 Kentucky. The Wildcats own a win over North Carolina, defeating the Tar Heels, 103-100, on Dec. 17 behind 47 points from Malik Monk.

Missouri lands No. 1 player in Class of 2017 as Michael Porter Jr. commits

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Missouri and new head coach Cuonzo Martin have landed the No. 1 player in the Class of 2017 a week after he took the job as forward Michael Porter Jr. committed to the Tigers on Friday.

Formerly a Washington commit under now-fired head coach Lorenzo Romar, the 6-foot-9 Porter was released from his Letter of Intent this week and many believed he’d end up back at Missouri.

The Porter family lived in Columbia for many years as two of Michael’s older sisters play for the Missouri women’s team while Michael Porter Sr. was an assistant coach for the women’s team.

When Porter Sr. was hired to Missouri to be an assistant coach on Martin’s staff this week — after losing his assistant coaching job at Washington when Romar was fired — it all but sealed the deal that the Porters would return to Missouri and Michael Jr. would play for the Tigers.

Missouri might not be an NCAA Tournament team next season after struggling to an 8-24 finish and 2-16 record in the SEC. But Porter might be the most productive freshman entering college basketball next season as he has a chance to be dominant in the SEC.

Oklahoma State promotes assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach

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Oklahoma State has decided to promote assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach, the school announced on Friday.

Boynton was an assistant with the Cowboys under former head coach Brad Underwood, who left Oklahoma State to take the Illinois job last weekend. Also an assistant coach at Stephen F. Austin, South Carolina, Wofford and Coastal Carolina, Boynton is a native of New York City who played his college ball for the Gamecocks.

The hire of Boynton is surprising since he doesn’t have any head-coaching experience as it follows in the footsteps of Cal promoting assistant coach Wyking Jones earlier in the day. Boynton also notably won the job over broadcaster and former Oklahoma State guard Doug Gottlieb as Gottlieb interviewed for the job but wasn’t selected.

 

Rhode Island junior E.C. Matthews will return to school

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Rhode Island junior guard E.C. Matthews will return to school for his redshirt senior season, the school announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-5 Matthews led the Rams in scoring at 14.9 points per game this past season as he returned from a torn ACL and helped Rhode Island reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.

Besides for being a talented scorer, Matthews is a good overall playmaker for the Rams as he also put up 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

With Matthews returning, it gives head coach Dan Hurley a huge weapon for next season as Rhode Island returns everyone besides the senior front court of Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson.