Introducing Cinderella: Kent State Golden Flashes are going dancing

Leave a comment

Conference: Mid-American Conference

Coach: Rob Senderoff (Kent State)

Record: 22-14 (10-8 MAC)

Ratings and Rankings:

Kenpom: 146
RPI: 155
AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding: Kent State went 22-14 on the year. Twelve of those losses came against teams with a RPI of 100 or lower. The Golden Flashes did themselves no favors, and with an RPI of 155 — compared to the RPIs of other one-bid league champions — they might be the lowest-seeded mid-major. NBC Sports latest bracket projection, which had Akron winning the automatic bid, had the Zips slotted as a No. 14 seed. The best they can hope for is that.

Names you need to know: Jimmy Hall, the 6-foot-8 senior forward, is an all-conference first-teamer after averaging a double-double of 18.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. He’s really good away from home too. In all but four road games this season, Hall has registered a double-double. Jaylin Walker has had a stellar sophomore season as well, and he’s coming off a 30-point performance in the MAC Tournament title game.

Stats you need to know: Only North Carolina collects more offensive rebounds per game. The Golden Flashes averaged 15 offensive boards per game. Against Akron in the MAC Tournament championship game, Kent State only had five offensive boards, although, no need for second-chance points when you shoot 53 percent from the field.

Big wins, bad losses: The Golden Flashes best win would have to be Texas back in December. But at that point, the Longhorns were 5-6. Kent State has 12 losses against teams with an RPI south of 100.

How’d they get here?: Kent State had to win four games in four days to earn the automatic bid. It started with an overtime win over Central Michigan in a 116-106 shootout with Marcus Keene, the nation’s top scorer. On the following three nights, the Golden Flashes took down Buffalo, Ohio and Akron. All three of those victories were decided by a combined 10 points.

Outlook: The Golden Flashes don’t have the most impressive resume entering the field, but that might have something to do with losing three starters and incorporating a number of transfers this season. While they may be peaking at the right time, is there enough time between know and the start of the first round, whether it be Thursday and Friday, to recover from this physical and emotional run?

How do I know you?: The Elite Eight team from 2002, led by future San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates.

Police: Thief steals electronics from UNC basketball program

Al Bello/Getty Images
Leave a comment

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Police say someone stole thousands of dollars in electronics from the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team locker room and office while they were away for the ACC tournament.

UNC-Chapel Hill campus police said on Twitter that the break-in happened at the Dean Smith Center on March 9, and they released images of a man they believe may have been involved.

A police report says the thief managed to get into the team locker room and basketball office without forced entry, according to The Herald-Sun.

The report says the thief stole a PlayStation 4, Xbox One and clothing worth $2,900 that belonged to the athletic department. Police say the thief also stole a laptop worth $1,200 and a financial document worth about $3,000 belonging to one of the players.

No upsets over here: No. 1 seed UConn women set scoring records in first round game

Ron Jenkins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The No. 1 overall seed on the men’s side of the NCAA tournament made history on Friday night.

They because the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed in the first round of the tournament, as Virginia lost to UMBC, if you were still unaware.

Over on the women’s side, the bracket is nowhere near as broken, because UConn’s women made history, too. They set NCAA tournament records for … well, almost everything it seems like.

The Huskies were up 55-19 at the end of the first quarter of their first round game against St. Francis (PA). Those 55 points are an NCAA tournament record. They held a 94-31 lead at the half, another NCAA tournament record, and held on to win 140-52.

The 140 points that Geno Auriemma’s team scored was an NCAA tournament record. The 88 points that they won by was one point short of an NCAA tournament record 89 points that was set by Baylor in a win over Texas Southern last season.

Oh, and the Huskies set the record for more assists in an NCAA tournament game — 38 — for good measure.

All in all, I think it’s safe to say that the fans in Storrs had a better weekend than the fans in Charlottesville. Hopefully, that will allow them to forget the fact that the men’s basketball program has become a laughing stock.

2018 NCAA Tournament: Maryland Governor calls UMBC upset, so does NBC Sports’ writer son

Chris Coduto/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Never before in the history of the NCAA tournament as a No. 16 seed upset a No. 1 seed.

That was until Friday night, when UMBC sent the No. 1 overall seed Virginia packing.

And if you thought no one had picked that upset, you were wrong.

Let’s start with the Maryland Governor, who was clearly a homer in picking UMBC to not only beat Virginia, but to win a national title:

Never say never, but … that’s never going to happen bud.

But how about this: My son, who is two years old and based his picks on his hard and fast rule of “all the doggies”, called this upset!

He also called Penn over Kansas, Fullerton over Purdue and Butler winning a national title, but whatever.

That bracket is actually pretty good!

VIDEO: Virginia’s Ty Jerome does not appreciate dumb question after UMBC loss

Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images
Leave a comment

You have to give Virginia some credit.

After losing to No. 16 seed UMBC in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the players on that roster faced the music. They went up to the dais and answered question from reporters on national television.

There is no way they enjoyed that.

And you can tell because Ty Jerome had absolutely no interest in answering dumb questions from reporters:

He was not amused.

2018 NCAA Tournament: Saturday’s betting lines, point spreads, over-unders

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Here is the full TV schedule, with spreads, over-unders and betting lines, for every game for the first four days of the NCAA tournament.

(Lines are updated for Saturday morning.)

Pittsburgh: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner and Dana Jacobson

  • 12:10 p.m.: No. 1 Villanova (-11.5) vs. No. 9 Alabama, CBS (149.5)
  • 2:40 p.m.: No. 2 Duke (-9.5) vs. No. 7 Rhode Island, CBS (149)

Boise: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber and Lisa Byington

  • 5:15 p.m.: No. 5 Kentucky (-5.5) vs. No. 13 Buffalo, CBS (155)
  • 7:45 p.m.: No. 4 Gonzaga (-4) vs. No. 5 Ohio State, CBS (141.5)

Dallas: Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Len Elmore and Ros Gold-Onwude

  • 6:10 p.m.: No. 3 Tennessee (-5) vs. No. 11 Loyola (Chicago), TNT (131.5)
  • 8:40: No. 3 Texas Tech (-1.5) vs. No. 6 Florida, TNT (133.5)

Wichita: Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin and Evan Washburn

  • 7:10 p.m.: No. 1 Kansas (-4.5) vs. No. 8 Seton Hall, TBS (154.5)
  • 9:40 p.m.: No. 3 Michigan (-3) vs. No. 6 Houston, TBS (135)