Generally speaking, games between eight and nine-seeds tend to be close. This would not be the case in Thursday’s South Region matchup between No. 8 seed Colorado and No. 9 seed Pittsburgh, with the Panthers controlling the action from start to finish in the 77-48 victory.
Jamie Dixon’s Panthers (26-9) scored the first 13 points of the game and led 21-5 with 10:59 remaining in the first half, effectively removing any drama from the proceedings in Orlando. The margin of victory is the largest in Pittsburgh’s NCAA tournament history, and it’s also the largest margin in an 8/9 game since Michigan beat Tennessee 75-42 in 2011.
Pitt grabbed control with its play on the defensive end, most notably their big-on-big doubles of Colorado’s Josh Scott. Scott tends to struggle passing out of double-teams and the Panthers took advantage of this, forcing him well out of the post. And Colorado didn’t cut as sharply as needed to make a team pay for such decisions, leaving Scott without the passing options needed to beat the doubles.
Pitt has now won six of its last eight games, making strides on both ends of the floor. Against Colorado, Pitt shot 50.8% from the field and assisted on 18 of their 30 made field goals. Talib Zanna scored 18 points to lead a balanced scoring effort, with guard James Robinson dishing out eight assists. And in Zanna, the Panthers have a front court player capable of giving Florida’s big men a tough time inside should the Gators take care of Albany.
Colorado shot just 35.7% from the field, with guard Askia Booker making just two of his nine shots from the field. Colorado ends its season with a record of 23-12.
Arizona commit Terrance Ferguson has been known as one of the best dunkers in the country for the last few years. So you knew the 6-foot-6 wing was going to attempt the latest internet dunk craze that’s been going around.
Some call it the, “5-point play” in which the dunker makes a 3-pointer and immediately sprints following the shot release to catch the make for an under-the-legs dunk.
It’s as tough as it sounds and Ferguson makes it look easy.
Bol Bol is the son of former NBA center Manute Bol, and the younger Bol is earning quite a bit of attention himself as a five-star prospect in the Class of 2018.
The 6-foot-11 Bol showed off some of his freakish coordination and athleticism on Friday night, by ripping a steal and taking it coast-to-coast for an under-the-legs dunk in the middle of a game at the Jayhawk Invitational.
Bol will be one of the players to watch this spring as he plays with KC Run GMC.
Iowa State guard Naz Mitrou-Long gets hardship waiver to play additional year
“Everything happens for a reason and although it hurt to not be able to play for a group of guys I loved last year, my body needed time to recover and that time off allowed me to feel the best I’ve felt since my freshman year,” Mitrou-Long said in the release. “I’m glad I’ll be able to play for the best fans in the country and represent the name on the front of my jersey, Iowa State, one more year. Words can’t describe this feeling. Cyclone Nation, be ready for a special year.”
The 6-foot-4 Long played in eight games last season for Iowa State as he averaged 12 points per game. He missed the rest of the season to deal with pain in his surgically repaired hips. Mitrou-Long has been a very effective three-point shooter during his career at Iowa State and he should be a nice option to have for next season if he’s healthy.
CIAA will stay in North Carolina despite state’s LGBT law
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association says it won’t move its headquarters, its basketball tournament or other conference championships from North Carolina, despite the state’s controversial new LGBT law.
The CIAA said in a statement Thursday that it will instead partner with the NCAA to educate its members on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues as it does on other issues, like graduation rates and concussion management.
The Charlotte Observer reports that the CIAA, the oldest African-American sports conference in the U.S., has hosted its annual basketball tournament in Charlotte since 2006 and announced it was moving its headquarters to Charlotte from Virginia in 2015.
The CIAA said Thursday that it will continue to “monitor the issues,” as it has since House Bill 2 passed.
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