Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

No. 15 Arizona surges past Colorado 83-67 at Pac-12 tourney

Leave a comment

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Arizona was not particularly crisp on offense and big man Deandre Ayton missed shots that normally fall for him.

None of it slowed the Wildcats on their way to the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.

Scrappy and suffocating on defense, No. 15 Arizona rolled over Colorado 83-67 on Thursday in the Pac-12 quarterfinals.

“I really liked our defense, especially in the second half,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “We had plenty of transition opportunities because of our defense and that’s when we’re at our best.”

Ayton missed numerous shots near the rim, fouling out after scoring 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting and grabbing six rebounds. The Wildcats (25-7) were disjointed at times on offense, unable to find seams in Colorado’s zone defense.

But Arizona was superb on defense most of the day, though, holding Colorado to 5-of-20 shooting from 3-point range and nabbing 11 steals, including four by Rawle Alkins.

Allonzo Trier scored 22 points, and Dusan Ristic had 15 points and 11 rebounds. The Wildcats move on to face the Stanford-UCLA winner in Friday’s semifinals.

“I thought our ball screen defense was good,” Miller said. “Our team defense was good. We had a lot of players working together. I didn’t really look at them having a lot of great looks that they missed. I think our defense was intact.”

Colorado (17-15) managed to hang with the Wildcats well into the second half despite playing a tough opening-round game the day before. The Buffaloes suffered a huge blow with about 13 minutes left, when point guard McKinley Wright IV went down with a right ankle injury. Arizona reeled off 14 straight points and the Buffaloes never recovered.

George King had 19 points, and Lucas Siewart 16 for Colorado.

“McKinley goes out, it might take us a while to figure things out offensively, but we weren’t getting any stops,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. “They went on that run, and it was kind of all she wrote.”

Arizona played through a season of turmoil, winning its fifth Pac-12 regular-season title in six years despite twice being linked to a federal investigation into shady recruiting practices.

Miller’s job appeared to be in jeopardy late in the season, when an ESPN report alleged he was caught on an FBI wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to lure Ayton to the school. Miller missed one game and three practices while the school investigated, but returned for the final two games after vehemently denying the report and the university president saying he will remain as coach.

The Buffaloes and Wildcats split during the regular season, each winning at their own arena.

Colorado used a big second-half run to beat Arizona State 97-85 in its Pac-12 opener, a game that put Boyle in a walking boot after injuring his right calf trying to break up a fight.

The Buffaloes made 13 of 21 from the 3-point arc in that victory and their hot shooting continued early against Arizona, making five of their first eight shots.

The Wildcats turned up the defensive pressure and that got their offense going — not to mention the pro-Arizona crowd — for a 15-2 run that put them up 27-19.

Colorado answered with a short run of its own, cutting Arizona’s lead to 35-33 by halftime.

The Buffaloes kept Arizona close to start the second half, but suffered a huge blow with when Wright appeared to come down on someone’s foot. He had to be helped off the court and didn’t return.

The Buffaloes had a hard time getting into their offense without the freshman leader and Arizona took advantage, going on a 14-0 run to push the lead to 58-41.

“McKinley’s a warrior,” Boyle said. “I thought, if we could have gotten that thing within striking distance, I probably would have gone with him, but I certainly didn’t want to risk him or his ankle for the sake of just putting him back in the game.”


Colorado looked like it had a shot at hanging with the Wildcats until Wright’s injury.

Arizona showed it doesn’t have to fire on all cylinders or need a big game from Ayton to advance.


Despite Ayton dealing with foul trouble and not having a huge impact on the game, Arizona still controlled the glass against Colorado. The Wildcats had a 34-24 rebounding advantage and scored 10 second-chance points on 10 offensive rebounds.

“We were not good rebounding all night,” Boyle said.


Colorado could end up in a smaller postseason tournament.

Arizona plays the Stanford-UCLA winner in the semifinals Friday.

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)