Louisville Cardinals NCAA Basketball Celebration

Luke Hancock’s father passes away

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Sad news out of Virginia this evening, as Luke Hancock’s father has passed away at the age of 70.

Hancock’s father, Bill, had been sick for some time and the relationship between the two was well-documented in stories during the Final Four. Luke, a 6-6 fifth year senior-to-be, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four in helping Louisville to their first national championship since 1986.

“We caught him in Dallas and he went on to Colorado as we had talked about and as his father wanted him to do,” she said to The Associated Press, calling her son’s opportunity to compete for a spot on the national team a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

After a slow start to the season, the Roanoke, Va. native came on for coach Rick Pitino’s team late, scoring in double-figures in six of the Cardinals’ final eight regular season and conference tournament games. He then went for 10 points in Louisville’s Elite Eight win over Duke, and combined for 42 points (20 against Wichita State, 22 against Michigan) in the Final Four.

It was originally unclear what Bill Hancock suffered from (the family wanted to keep that private, understandably) but reports are saying he succumbed to cancer.

There wasn’t much doubt about the dedication he had to his son, as evident by the fact that, despite being gravely ill, he made it with the family to Atlanta for the Final Four.

Hancock is expected to be one of the leaders for the Cardinals in 2013-14 after averaging 8.1 points and 2.6 rebounds while shooting 39.9 percent from three-point range. He flew out Monday to participate in tryouts for Team USA in the World University Games, beginning in Russia on July 7.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: