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ACC trio headlines list of top seniors across country

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Notre Dame forward Bonzie Colson’s deliberation over whether to turn pro or return for his senior year was never much of a debate.

“It was like a five-minute discussion,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “He knew he was a four-year guy. His family knew he was a four-year guy. I thought maybe he would at least want to go up to Chicago and test the waters. (He said), ‘Coach, (I’m) not into it.’ ”

Even in an era when freshmen have an increasingly large role in college basketball, there still are plenty of four-year guys making an impact.

Kansas’ Frank Mason Jr. was named the AP player of the year as a senior last season. Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield won the 2015-16 Naismith Trophy as the nation’s top player his senior season.

Colson says he knew it was the right decision for him to return for his senior year as well.

“I knew I had a lot of development on both sides of the floor that I needed to work on,” Colson said. “But obviously getting the degree from Notre Dame is what I went to Notre Dame for, and I knew I was a four-year guy.”

This list of top seniors heading into the 2017-18 season shows there are plenty of notable “four-year guys” in the Atlantic Coast Conference this year.



Position: Guard

Height: 6-foot-5

Notes: As the only returning Duke player who averaged more than eight minutes last season, Allen provides some needed experience to the top-ranked Blue Devils’ freshman-laden roster. Allen averaged 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists two years ago to earn AP All-America third-team honors . He had 14.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and a team-high 3.5 assists per game during a turbulent junior season in which he was stripped of his captaincy after getting caught tripping an opponent three times in a calendar year . Allen has regained that captain status this year .



Position: Guard

Height: 6 feet

Notes: Berry was named the most outstanding player of the Final Four after scoring 22 points and dishing out six assists with only one turnover in the Tar Heels’ NCAA championship game victory over Gonzaga . He did all that despite playing the NCAA Tournament with a pair of sprained ankles. He has another injury that could cause him to miss the start of this season for the ninth-ranked Tar Heels. North Carolina coach Roy Williams said Berry broke a bone in his right hand punching a door after losing a video game . Berry is one of only seven players ever to score at least 20 points in two straight national championship games and one of only six North Carolina players ever to start in two national championship games.



Position: Guard

Height: 6-6

Notes: Big East coaches have given Bluiett first-team all-conference honors each of the last two seasons. Bluiett ranked second in the Big East in scoring (18.5) and 10th in rebounding (5.7) last season while also making 2.5 3-pointers per game. He averaged 21.3 points in four NCAA Tournament games to help Xavier advance to a regional final. Bluiett’s big tournament performance included a 29-point outburst in a victory over Florida State and a 25-point effort in a Sweet 16 upset of Arizona . He averaged 15.1 points and 6.1 rebounds two seasons ago. He’s back for his senior year to help No. 17 Xavier seek an elusive Final Four berth .



Position: Forward

Height: 6-6

Notes: Colson is the ACC preseason player of the year and the lone senior to make the AP All-America preseason team . Colson can score in a variety of different ways and has found a way to thrive in the paint for the 14th-ranked Fighting Irish despite his relative lack of height. Colson averaged a double-double last season while earning AP All-America third-team honors. He led the ACC in rebounding (10.1) and ranked ninth in the conference in scoring (17.8). He averaged 22.7 points in the ACC tournament and scored 27 points while shooting 10 of 15 in an NCAA Tournament loss to West Virginia .



Position: Guard

Height: 6-2

Notes: Graham heads into his final college season as the Big 12 preseason player of the year. The fourth-ranked Jayhawks will be relying on Graham to emerge as the leader of the backcourt as they replace Mason. Graham ranked 13th in the Big 12 in scoring (13.4), sixth in assists (4.1), second in 3-pointers (2.6) and ninth in steals (1.5) last season. He averaged 11.3 points and 3.7 assists two seasons ago and was named the most outstanding player of that year’s Big 12 tournament.



Position: Forward

Height: 6-8

Notes: Maten ranked fourth in the SEC in scoring (18.2), ninth in rebounding (6.8), ninth in blocks (1.5) and second in field-goal percentage (.519) last season. That followed a sophomore year in which he ranked ninth in the SEC in scoring (16.5) and sixth in rebounding (8.0). Maten heads into his senior year trying to earn the NCAA Tournament berth that has eluded Georgia the last two seasons. He was named the Southeastern Conference’s preseason co-player of the year along with Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. and Texas A&M sophomore Robert Williams.

No Haas, no problem: No. 2 Purdue sneaks past No. 10 Butler, into Sweet 16

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No Haas, no harm.

Playing without Isaac Haas, their senior 7-footer who fractured his elbow in an opening round win over Cal St.-Fullerton, the Boilermakers shot 11-for-24 from three and got a valiant effort from their other 7-footer, freshman Matt Haarms, in a 76-73 win over No. 10-seed Butler.

The second-seeded Boilermakers advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second straight season. They’ll take on No. 3-seed Texas Tech in the East Region semifinals on Friday evening in Boston.

Purdue was led by 20 points from Vincent Edwards, Purdue’s senior leader, who scored 20 points on 6-for-8 shooting as his partner in crime, sophomore Carsen Edwards, shot just 4-for-17 from the floor and finished with 13 points. The biggest shot of the night came from another senior, Dakota Mathias, who buried a three with 14 seconds left that put Purdue up five.

But the real story here was Haarms.

The freshman will be thrust into a critical role for the Boilermakers throughout the rest of this tournament, and I don’t think that it’s crazy to say that the Boilermakers will go as far as he allows them to go. Haarms is the only big man currently on the Purdue roster that played any kind of meaningful minutes this season. Purdue played roughly 100 possessions during the regular season without Haas or Haarms on the floor, and it’s probably safe to assume that the majority of those possessions were played during garbage time, when the walk-ons were on the floor.

Haarms finished with seven boards, six boards and a pair of blocks in 27 minutes, doing a good enough job in the role that he was asked to play to keep Butler from lighting up the Boilermakers in pick-and-roll actions and in protecting the rim. He is certainly a better defender than Haas, particularly in space, but he is no where near the threat that Haas is on the offensive end of the floor. It limits what Purdue can do offensively, and with a game coming up against one of college basketball’s best defensive teams, a group that prides themselves on their ability to run teams off the three point line, we could be looking at a situation where Purdue really needs that interior presence.

What Haarms can provide will be a difference-maker.

I hope he’s ready for it.

VIDEO: Jordan Poole got a hero’s welcome in Michigan’s locker room

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Jordan Poole hit the game-winning, buzzer-beating three to send Michigan into the Sweet 16.

And as you might expect, when he made his way back into the Wolverine, he was greeted with a wall of water:

Let’s see that from another angle:

I can never see enough of these videos, but perhaps this is the best part: Two weeks ago, after Michigan won the Big Ten tournament, John Beilein was absolutely drenched in the locker room, having to go to his press conference sopping wet, cold and wearing a towel around his shoulders.

So on Saturday night, he did the smart thing. He wore a poncho and goggles and went on the offensive:

Sunday’s betting lines, point spreads, over-unders

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

Detroit: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce

  • 12:10 p.m.: No. 2 Purdue (-3.5) vs. No. 10 Butler, CBS (143.5)
  • 2:40 p.m.: No. 3 Michigan State (-9) vs. No. 11 Syracuse, CBS (129.5)

Charlotte: Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson

  • 5:15 p.m.: No. 2 North Carolina (-6.5) vs. No. 7 Texas A&M, CBS (151.5)
  • 7:45 p.m.: No. 9 Kansas State -10) vs. No. 16 UMBC, CBS (135.5)

Nashville: Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Erdahl

  • 6:10 p.m.: No. 2 Cincinnati (-8) vs. No. 7 Nevada, TNT (136.5)
  • 8:40: No. 1 Xavier (-5.5) vs. No. 9 Florida State, TNT (159)

San Diego: Carter Blackburn, Debbie Antonelli, John Schriffen

  • 7:10 p.m.: No. 4 Auburn (-1.5) vs. No. 5 Clemson, TBS (146.5)
  • 9:40 p.m.: No. 5 West Virginia (-12.5) vs. No. 13 Marshall, TBS (159.5)


Saturday’s NCAA Tournament Recap: An evening full of buzzer-beaters and monster performances

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No. 5-seed Kentucky advanced to the Sweet 16 with a win over No. 13-seed Buffalo, and the star of the show was the guy that’s been Kentucky’s best player for three months: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He finished with 27 points, six boards, six assists and a pair of steals on 10-for-12 shooting while making both of his threes and 5-of-7 free throws.

That’s a ridiculous line, one that makes me wonder whether or not we were premature in saying that this Kentucky team does not have a superstar that can take a game over.


  • ZACH NORVELL, Gonzaga: Two days after hitting a game-winning shot against No. 13-seed UNC Greensboro, Norvell went for 28 points, 12 boards, four assists and two steals — sidenote: !!!!! — as the Zags beat No. 5-seed Ohio State.
  • ANGEL DELGADO, Seton Hall: 24 points, 23 boards, five assists, career over. Salute, sir. It’s been a pleasure.
  • KEENAN EVANS, Texas Tech: Evans finished with 22 points on 8-for-14 shooting to lead the Red Raiders to the Sweet 16 with a win over Florida.


You make the call here.

Was it Jordan Poole’s buzzer-beating three for No. 3-seed Michigan:

Or Clayton Custer hitting Loyola-Chicago’s second game-winner in the span of three days?:


The buzzer-beater that didn’t matter … did.

Myles Powell, with Seton Hall down 83-76, hit this running three at the buzzer. It meant that the final score was 83-79, meaning that Seton Hall covered the 4.5 points that Kansas was favored by. It also meant that the Pirates covered the second half line (Kansas -1.5) and Seton Hall’s wild last minute rally meant that this game also hit the over:

Bad beats everywhere.


No. 1-seed Kansas was +21 in the 22 minutes that Udoka Azubuike played on Saturday. They were -17 in the 18 minutes he didn’t play.

No. 1-seed Villanova shot 17-for-41 from three in an 81-58 win over Alabama to get to the Sweet 16.

Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter overwhelmed No. 7-seed Rhode Island as No. 2-seed Duke is now a Sweet 16 team.

VIDEO: Jordan Poole’s last-second three sends No. 3-seed Michigan into the Sweet 16

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For the first time in this NCAA tournament, we have a buzzer-beater.

After Devin Davis missed a pair of free throws with 3.6 seconds left, No. 3-seed Michigan went the length of the court and Jordan Poole, a freshman who was scoreless on the night, buried a three as time expired to send the Wolverines into the Sweet 16 with a 64-63 win:

When asked after the game how a freshman was able to make that shot, Michigan head coach John Beilein said he has “an overdose of swag.”

Poole’s three bailed out Michigan in what was an otherwise ugly performance.

John Beilein’s club shot 35.6 percent from the floor, 8-for-30 from three and looked stagnant and bogged down offensively for 39 minutes and 56.4 seconds before Poole saved their season.

No. 6-seed Houston got 23 points from Rob Gray, who was again sensational and certainly deserved a chance to extend his career for another game. He had 39 points in a win over No. 11 San Diego State in the opener and was the best player in the West Region for the first weekend of the tournament.