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Newman’s career day lifts Kansas over Cowboys in Big 12s

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas had just been battered by Oklahoma State for the second time this season, a humiliating loss in Stillwater that sent the Jayhawks into the Big 12 Tournament rubbing their bruised egos.

Then the Cowboys raced out to a 10-point lead in their quarterfinal matchup.

Rather than fold, though, the ninth-ranked Jayhawks showed the kind of toughness they’ve been missing much of this season. Malik Newman scored a career-high 30 points, their backup big men made up for the absence of injured center Udoka Azubuike, and coach Bill Self’s squad pulled away in the second half for an 82-68 victory over the Cowboys on Thursday.

“This team is easy to nitpick with because when we’re good, it’s magnified in ways because we can shoot and move the ball, and when we’re bad it’s magnified because we don’t do the things in grind-it-out games that a lot of teams do,” Self said. “Sometimes I think we get a little spoiled on what our expectations are, but I’m real proud of them. I think they competed hard for the most part.”

Svi Mykhailiuk added 13 points and Devonte Graham had 10 points, four rebounds and nine assists for the No. 1 seed Jayhawks (25-7), who were swept by the Cowboys (19-14) in the regular season. But they rose to the occasion when it mattered, setting up a date with Kansas State on Friday.

The Wildcats beat TCU in an overtime thriller earlier Thursday.

“We just wanted to come out, be aggressive and play tough,” Newman said, “because we haven’t played tough against those guys. We wanted to execute, have fun and be tough.”

Jeffrey Carroll scored 17 points and Kendall Smith had 14 for the No. 8 seed Cowboys, who can only hope their opening-round win over Oklahoma solidified their spot in the NCAA Tournament.

“We’re a tournament team. We’ve proven that all season long,” Smith said. “Especially to see the kind of basketball we’re playing right now, I definitely think we should get in.”

Azubuike sprained the MCL in his left knee in practice Tuesday, causing him to miss the entire weekend. The Jayhawks hope to have him back for the NCAA Tournament next week.

Mitch Lightfoot and Silvio De Sousa combined for 14 points and 14 rebounds in his place.

“We showed we can play without Doke,” Mykhailiuk said. “We can still win.”

Oklahoma State threatened to run the Jayhawks out of the building early on, just as it did in an 82-64 rout in Stillwater on Saturday. Yakuba Sima took advantage of the inside space where Azubuike usually roams, and Carroll’s 3-point barrage gave Oklahoma State an early 10-point lead.

That’s when the Jayhawks finally caught fire, going on an 18-4 charge to turn things around. It was Newman leading the way with a trio of 3-pointers, part of his 20 first-half points.

He kept the hot hand going early in the second half, scoring seven points during another big run — this one 14-0 — that made it 66-50 and forced Cowboys coach Mike Boynton to call timeout.

Boynton said after his team’s rough-and-tumble win over the Sooners that he didn’t buy into the notion that beating a team three times was any more difficult than beating it once. But Boynton didn’t address the challenge that comes with winning two games in fewer than 24 hours.

With 15 minutes left against Kansas, the Cowboys’ legs looked shot.

The Jayhawks’ game-breaking run coincided with a scoreless drought for Oklahoma State that went on for more than 7 1/2 minutes. At one point midway through the half, the Cowboys were 4 for 17 from the floor and had made more turnovers (five) than field goals.

Oklahoma State made a couple of late runs, but he Jayhawks were never in danger of letting their lead slip, locking up at least 25 wins for an NCAA-record 13th consecutive season.

“I won’t say fatigue wasn’t a factor,” Boynton said, “but we knew that coming in. We put ourselves in that scenario and Kansas earned the right to have the extra day of rest.”


Oklahoma State had a 53-27 rebounding advantage against Oklahoma. But the Cowboys only had a 36-33 edge against Kansas, even with Azubuike out with the knee injury.

Kansas set a school record for 3-pointers in a season (319) when Lagerald Vick knocked one down with 3:49 to go. The Jayhawks have relied on the outside shot all year, but it came in handy with their biggest post presence sitting on the bench.


Oklahoma State waits anxiously to hear its name called on Selection Sunday.

Kansas tries to beat the Wildcats for the third time this season.

No. 1 Villanova makes 17 threes, routs No. 9 Alabama

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On paper, this matchup set up perfectly for No. 9-seed Alabama.

The Crimson Tide are the longest and most athletic team that No. 1 seed Villanova has faced off with in months. They entered the day as one of college basketball’s best at defending the three-point line. They have the kind of dynamic play maker at the point guard spot that can give Villanova fits in Collin Sexton.

All of the dots connected.

What I failed to mention there, however, is that Villanova has an uncanny ability to absolutely bury anyone in their path in an avalanche of threes, and that is precisely what happened to the Crimson Tide on Saturday afternoon.

Mikal Bridges, who scored just a single point in the first half, scored 16 of his 23 points in the first four minutes of the second half as Villanova took a game that was close for 20 minutes and turned it into a massacre. The Wildcats outscored Alabama 49-31 in the second half — a number that was limited as the Wildcats took their foot off the gas down the stretch — en route to an 81-58 win.

Villanova will advance to the Sweet 16 to face the winner of tomorrow’s game between No. 5 West Virginia and No. 13 Marshall.

Bridges led the way for Villanova on Saturday, but they may not have been in the position that they were in if it was not for Donte DiVincenzo. The redshirt sophomore caught fire in the first half, scored all 18 points his points and hitting five threes to put Villanova ahead by five at the break. Divincenzo also added five assists, his play-making a difference-maker with Jalen Brunson on the bench with a pair of early fouls.

And that should terrify everyone in the East Region.

Hell, that should be a statement to everyone in this tournament.

Villanova just de-pantsed one of the teams that best matched up with them, a team that has a lottery pick running the point and an NBA player and coach on the sideline. And they did it without much coming from their all-american point guard, the guy that was named the NBC Sports National Player of the Year.

Brunson finished with just 12 points and four assists, and honestly, did you even notice? This was the Bridges show in the second half when Villanova made their run. It was DiVincenzo’s show in the first half when Villanova needed someone to keep them close. We’ve seen Phil Booth take over games. (Anyone remember the 2016 national title game? He had 20.) Omari Spellman can pop off for 25 from time to time.

The Wildcats are just so dangerous.

And when they play like they did today, they are damn near unbeatable.

Police: Thief steals electronics from UNC basketball program

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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

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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

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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

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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.