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No. 8 Louisville holds off No. 19 Notre Dame

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Louisville avenged a loss from earlier this season on Saturday afternoon as they were able to hold off No. 19 Notre Dame for a 71-64 ACC home win.

The No. 8 Cardinals (24-7, 12-6) lost to Notre Dame earlier this season on the road but Louisville had much stronger overall play from its big men the second time around. Senior Mangok Mathiang stepped up and finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds–including six offensive boards–as the big man provided an interior presence that the Cardinals didn’t have in the first matchup between these two teams.

Louisville’s improved interior play helped them corral 16 offensive rebounds on Saturday afternoon as they outrebounded the Irish 44-27.

Donovan Mitchell paced Louisville with 20 points as the sophomore guard bounced back from a subpar outing in a loss to Wake Forest earlier this week. Junior guard Quentin Snider also had a solid game for the Cardinals as he finished with 17 points and six assists.

Although sophomore forward Deng Adel struggled to a 2-for-8 night from the floor, he did knock down a key three-pointer to help make it a two-possession game as Notre Dame started to make a late rally.

This is a nice win for Louisville to end the regular season but this is still a tough team to get a read on as we inch closer to the NCAA tournament. The Cardinals have a number of talented perimeter options, and a solid stable of interior big men, but it is hard to say what their true ceiling is since so many of their players can have inconsistent day-to-day showings.

If Louisville makes a solid run in the ACC tournament they are going to be in position to be a potential No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. But even with that potentially great seed, it just feels like there hasn’t been very much national championship buzz for Louisville from a national standpoint, even though they sit so highly in the polls at this point in the season and college basketball doesn’t have a consensus national-title favorite.

Maybe Louisville should be happy to fly under-the-radar for this sort of thing. One thing is for certain: I wouldn’t want to face that defense in March.

As for Notre Dame, this loss snapped a six-game winning streak for the Irish (23-8, 12-6) as they did everything they could to make a late push in this one. Bonzie Colson paced Notre Dame with 20 points while V.J. Beachem (17 points) and Matt Farrell (11 points) also finished in double-figures.

Notre Dame’s struggles to find scoring outside of its core four (Colson, Beachem, Farrell and Steve Vasturia) has been well-documented and that issue again came to light on Saturday when Vasturia only finished with eight points. Since the Irish didn’t have much help from others to make up for Vasturia’s off-day they ended up playing from behind to close out the game.

This loss shouldn’t be seen as too big of a deal for Notre Dame either way. The Irish are a veteran team that knows what they need to do in order to win. It’ll simply come down to execution for Notre Dame as they ideally need those four guys playing at a high level to make another second-weekend run.

VIDEO: Jay-Z’s nephew posterizes nation’s No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley III

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Nahziah Carter is an unsigned 6-foot-6 wing in the Class of 2017.

He’s also Jay-Z’s nephew, and he just so happened to posterize Marvin Bagley III — the clearcut No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 — while Hova was in the stands watching him.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.