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Introducing Cinderella: College of Charleston Cougars

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Conference: Colonial Athletic Association

Coach: Earl Grant

Record: 26-7 (14-4 CAA)

Rankings and Ratings:

Kenpom: 120
RPI: 66
AP/USA TODAY: Not ranked

Seeding: As of right now, the College of Charleston appears headed for a 14-seed. With there being no major wins outside of conference play on their profile, that may be what keeps the Cougars from moving up to a 13 on Selection Sunday.

Names you need to know: The Cougars have three of the Colonial’s best players in guards Joe Chealey and Grant Riller, and forward Jarrell Brantley. Riller led the team in scoring with an average of 18.6 per night, with Chealey not too far off at 18.0 ppg while also dishing out a team-high 3.7 assists per game. As for Brantley, he averaged 16.9 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game. Earl Grant trusts this trio to lead the way, and more often than not they’ve gotten the job done for the CAA champs.

Stats you need to know: The Cougars’ turnover percentage of 14.6 ranks tenth nationally, which isn’t a surprise when you’ve got guards as good as Riller and Chealey leading the way. They don’t beat themselves, and the rotation as a whole has a good grasp what they need to do (and they accept their roles, as well). Also they rank 327th in the country in adjusted tempo, so while they can take advantage of open floor opportunities this is a half-court team.

Big wins, bad losses: Three of the College of Charleston’s biggest wins came against Northeastern, the last coming in Tuesday’s CAA title game. All five of the Cougars’ Quadrant 1/2 wins came against CAA competition, with the other results being their semifinal win over William & Mary and a win at Hofstra February 3. The Cougars had just two chances for marquee non-conference wins, losing at Wichita State and Rhode Island with the then-injured Brantley missing both of those games.

How’d they get here?: The top seed in the CAA tournament, the College of Charleston beat Drexel, William & Mary and Northeastern to earn the program’s first NCAA tournament berth since 1999. The final did not lack for drama, as the Cougars trailed Northeastern by as much as 17 early in the second half before rallying to force overtime. In the 83-76 win the trio of Chealey, Riller and Brantley combined to score 70 points, with Chealey dropping 32.

Outlook: Their pace, guard play and lack of turnovers could make the College of Charleston a dangerous team next week. It all depend on the matchup of course, but if they draw a team that struggles defending the perimeter and is also a bit impatient offensively look out.

How do I know you?: For fans who have watched the sport for a while, the name John Kresse should ring a bell. Kresse led the program up to Division I, and during a six-year stretch from 1993 to 1999 his Cougars made four NCAA tournament appearances. And head coach Earl Grant spent time as an assistant working with both Brad Brownell (Clemson) and Gregg Marshall (Wichita State).

Wake Forest guard Keyshawn Woods to transfer or go pro after graduation

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Wake Forest will be down a key player next season as the school announced that guard Keyshawn Woods will either transfer or go pro after graduation.

The 6-foot-3 Woods was the team’s second-leading scorer this season as he put up 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Woods shot 43 percent from the floor and 37 percent from three-point range for the 2017-18 campaign.

Also a key member of last season’s NCAA tournament team for the Demon Deacons, Woods transferred to Wake Forest after spending his first season at Charlotte.

“I appreciate the opportunity that Coach Manning gave me to be a part of this program and to graduate from this great university,” said Woods in the release. “I am proud that I was able to help the coaches change the culture of the program and build a foundation for the future.”

The loss of Woods won’t be easy for Wake Forest, but the team is scheduled to return some talented guards like Bryant Crawford and Brandon Childress next season. Incoming freshmen like Jaime Lewis and Sharone Wright Jr. are also signed to add to the perimeter depth.

David Padgett not retained as Louisville coach

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Louisville announced on Wednesday afternoon that interim head coach David Padgett would not be retained.

Padgett, who is 32 years old, stepped in and took the program over in the wake of a scandal that cost Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino his job.

“We all owe a great debt of gratitude to David for his leadership and poise this season,” said U of L Interim Director of Athletics Vince Tyra. “He took over during incredible circumstances, has handled himself respectfully throughout the season and I believe he has a bright future in coaching. We expect to determine a new head coach in a short period to build upon the great basketball tradition of this university.”

Pitino was fired because an FBI complaint contained an allegation that he and his staff had arranged for a $100,000 payment to be funneled to Brian Bowen from Adidas.

In his one season with the Cardinals, Padgett went 22-14 and reached the quarterfinals of the NIT.

Louisville will now conduct a search for their next head coach, and current Xavier coach Chris Mack has long been considered the favorite to take that job.

Kansas State’s injured star hoping to play Thursday

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One of the most surprising parts about Kansas State’s run to the Sweet 16 is that they have done it without the services of their leading scorer, Dean Wade.

Wade injured his foot prior to the Big 12 tournament loss to Kansas. He did not play in that game or in either of Kansas State’s first two tournament games, but it is looking more and more like he’ll be on the floor on Thursday night when they play Kentucky.

“I don’t play percentages very well, but I’m feeling good,” Wade said, via SEC Country. “I’m very positive about it. It’s getting better every day and today I felt great out there, doing a little more than usual. It felt good.”

Wade averaged 16.5 points per game, but the big question is going to be whether or not he is actually healthy when he takes the court. Just because he’s on the floor doesn’t mean he’s at 100 percent.

“Really just trying to get it out of my mind that it’s not hurt,” Wade said. “Just more of a mental thing, just getting out there and running around. I think I got moved past that and it’s feeling better.”

Arizona’s Sean Miller: ‘I am not a candidate’ at Pitt

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With speculation mounting about who Pitt will hire to replace Kevin Stallings as their new head coach, current Arizona head coach Sean Miller released a statement saying that he is not in the running to fill the opening.

“I am not a candidate for the University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball head coaching vacancy. I wish them well in their search for a new coach,” the statement read.

Miller is a native of Pittsburgh and an alumni of the school — he’s the guy that had the assist on Jerome Lane’s famous dunk — and with the issues that are currently swirling around him and the Arizona program, there was speculation that he was looking for an escape plan.

Maybe he wasn’t.

Maybe he was and the Pitt administration decided they couldn’t risk hiring someone who had an assistant coach arrested in the FBI’s sweep of college basketball and who himself may be on wiretaps talking about who knows what. Releasing this statement would then be a way for him to save face and say he was never interested.

And then maybe there’s option No. 3: Pitt has won the Dan Hurley sweepstakes.

As it stands, both the Panthers and UConn are in the process of chasing after the Rhode Island head coach, and it’s not uncommon in coaching searches for a coach to announce that he is not a candidate for the job after the job decides they want someone else. Call it a professional courtesy.

But that’s neither here nor there.

What we do know now is that Sean Miller will not be the next head coach at Pitt.

Report: Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson suffers another fracture in foot

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Bonzie Colson rushed back from a broken foot to try and help his Notre Dame team get into the NCAA tournament this season.

They were bumped out of the field when Davidson upset Rhode Island and earned the Atlantic 10’s third bid to the league tournament. The Fighting Irish were NIT bound, and in their second round loss to Penn State late last week, Colson reinjured the left foot that held him out of action for eight weeks.

On Wednesday, Yahoo reported that Colson suffered another fracture in the foot.

“I’m sitting there and he’s limping off and I’m going, ‘You gotta be kidding me,’” coach Mike Brey said after the game. “Everything we’ve been through? I thought we were out of the woods with him.”

There was a poignant moment at the end of the game.

Colson’s injury came during the third quarter. He returned to the bench at Purcell Pavilion with ice on his foot after going into the locker room. With 30 seconds left and a loss imminent, Colson walked right past Mike Brey, said “I’m going in”, and finished his college career on the court.

Colson is a potential second round pick. He was an all-american last year and a preseason selection this year. He was averaging 19.7 points, 10.2 boards and 2.2 blocks when he was injured.