Creighton’s Austin Chatman (1) dives to pass the ball under pressure from Cincinnati’s Cheikh Mbodj (13) and JaQuon Parker (44) during the second half of a second-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Friday, March 22, 2013, in Philadelphia. Creighton won 67-63. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham was arrested and booked into Douglas County Jail late on Wednesday night on a failure to appear for court charge, according to jail records.
The charge was a result of an unpaid ticket for an expired tag that Graham had received. It dates back to June of last year.
Graham released a statement on the matter.
“This is my fault,” Graham said. “I was driving an ex-teammate’s car and I thought the ticket was paid so I didn’t pay attention to the notice to appear that I got. That’s on me, and I apologize to everyone. I learned a lesson the hard way.”
The arrest was a damper on what should have been a great night for Graham. He had 17 points and seven assists in a home win over TCU that clinched the 13th straight Big 12 regular season title for the Jayhawks. It was also his 22nd birthday.
He was released on $196 bond Wednesday night. Bill Self said he will not be suspended for the arrest.
The bank was open Wednesday night in Syracuse. John Gillon’s three-pointer at the buzzer lifted Syracuse over Duke at the Carrier Dome and back (again) into the bracket.
It’s been a wild month for the Orange who now need to close the deal. It was also a big night for Providence, who used a Kyron Cartwright trey to knock off Creighton in Omaha. And then Dillon Brooks nailed a long-distance dagger to beat California, leaving the Bears teetering for bracket survival as February comes to a close. Are we ready for March?
No changes on the No. 1 seed line. By a whisker, Villanova holds onto the overall No. 1 seed after its second loss to Butler, a team whose profile is far better than its AP ranking. Kansas, North Carolina, and Gonzaga round out the group. UNC moves up to No. 3 after dispatching Louisville.
If last night was any indication, it’s going to be fun ride toward Selection Sunday.
UPDATED: February 23, 2017
Regarding bracketing principles, can read them for yourself at http://www.ncaa.com. For example: teams from the same conference may now meet before a Regional final, even if fewer than eight teams are selected. The goal is to keep as many teams as possible on their actual seed line.
FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)
- Seton Hall vs. Kansas State | East Region
- Providence vs. California | Midwest Region
- MT. ST. MARY’S vs. NC-CENTRAL | East Region
- UC-IRVINE vs. NEW ORLEANS | Midwest Region
BRACKET PROJECTION …
|EAST – New York||MIDWEST – Kansas City|
|1) VILLANOVA||1) KANSAS|
|16) NC-CENTRAL / M.S. MARY’S||16) NEW ORLEANS / UC-IRVINE|
|8) South Carolina||8) Northwestern|
|9) VCU||9) Xavier|
|5) Virginia||5) Notre Dame|
|12) UNC-WILMINGTON||12) ILLINOIS STATE|
|4) PURDUE||4) Butler|
|13) PRINCETON||13) VALPARAISO|
|6) Saint Mary’s||6) SMU|
|11) Seton Hall / Kansas State||11) Providence / California|
|3) Kentucky||3) Florida State|
|14) AKRON||14) BELMONT|
|Indianapolis||Salt Lake City|
|7) Maryland||7) Iowa State|
|10) Marquette||10) Wichita State|
|2) Louisville||2) ARIZONA|
|15) BUCKNELL||15) NO. DAKOTA ST|
|WEST – San Jose||SOUTH – Memphis|
|Salt Lake City||Greenville|
|1) GONZAGA||1) NORTH CAROLINA|
|16) NORTH DAKOTA||16) TX-SOUTHERN|
|8) Miami-FL||8) Dayton|
|9) Michigan||9) Arkansas|
|5) CINCINNATI||5) Wisconsin|
|12) MONMOUTH||12) UT-ARLINGTON|
|4) West Virginia||4) UCLA|
|13) VERMONT||13) NEVADA|
|6) Creighton||6) Minnesota|
|11) MID TENNESSEE ST||11) Syracuse|
|3) Duke||3) FLORIDA|
|14) FLA GULF COAST||14) E. TENNESSEE ST|
|7) Oklahoma State||7) Virginia Tech|
|10) Michigan State||10) USC|
|2) Oregon||2) Baylor|
|15) CSU-BAKERSFIELD||15) UNC-ASHEVILLE|
NOTES on the BRACKET: Villanova is the No. 1 overall seed, followed by Kansas, North Carolina, and Gonzaga.
Last Four Byes (at large): Michigan State, Wichita State, Marquette, Syracuse
Last Four IN (at large): Seton Hall, California, Providence, Kansas State
First Four OUT (at large): Wake Forest, TCU, Georgia Tech, Rhode Island
Next four teams OUT (at large): Vanderbilt, Clemson, Alabama, Houston
Breakdown by Conference …
ACC (9): NORTH CAROLINA, Louisville, Florida State, Duke, Notre Dame, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami-FL, Syracuse
Big 10 (7): PURDUE, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Maryland, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State
Big East (7): VILLANOVA, Butler, Creighton, Xavier, Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence
Big 12 (6): KANSAS, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State
Pac 12 (5): OREGON, Arizona, UCLA, USC, California
SEC (4): FLORIDA, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas
Atlantic 10 (2): VCU, Dayton
American (2): CINCINNATI, SMU
West Coast (2): GONZAGA, Saint Mary’s
Missouri Valley (1): ILLINOIS STATE, Wichita State
Mountain West (1): NEVADA
ONE BID LEAGUES: Monmouth (MAAC), Middle Tennessee State (C-USA), UT-Arlington (SBELT), Princeton (IVY), North Dakota (BSKY), Valparaiso (HORIZON), New Orleans (SLND), East Tennessee State (STHN), UC-Irvine (BWEST), Akron (MAC), Florida Gulf Coast (ASUN), Belmont (OVC), UNC-Wilmington (CAA), Winthrop (BSO), NC-Central (MEAC), North Dakota State (SUM), CSU-Bakersfield (WAC), Vermont (AEAST), Bucknell (PAT), Mt. St. Mary’s (NEC), Texas-Southern (SWAC)
Last night, as Kansas clinched their 13th consecutive Big 12 regular season title, the Jayhawk program retired for star Brandon Rush’s jersey. Rush was a member of the 2008 national title team and is still bouncing around the NBA despite a series of knee injuries.
He’s a helluva player.
He’s also a terrible liar, as evidenced by the story that Bill Self told about him in last night’s press conference:
I guess honesty really is the best policy.
All Villanova players have known since they joined the program is winning at The Pavilion. Late into Wednesday’s game against No. 22 Butler, it looked like that would continue to be their only frame of reference for a group of seniors that were 45-0 in the building.
Then another ‘0’ turned that zero into a ‘1.’
The Bulldogs ripped off an 18-0 run in a 5-minute span to ultimately claim a 74-66 victory over second-ranked and defending national champion Villanova.
Villanova looked like it was going to cruise to another home win when Josh Hart’s 3-pointer with 10 minutes, 37 seconds remaining put the Wildcats up 49-42.
They wouldn’t score again until nearly the 4-minute mark.
During that span, Butler made 7 of 11 shots, with three being 3-pointers, while the Wildcats went 0 of 6 from the field and turned the ball over twice.
A seven-point lead for Villanova became an 11-point advantage for Butler. Villanova would try to rally, but couldn’t pull it off as it saw its home winning run stopped, its seniors’ perfect Pavilion record blemished and its seven-game winning streak come to a halt.
Beyond it probably being immensely annoying to the senior class, the loss probably doesn’t hurt Villanova too much as it looks to hold on to a No. 1 seed, preferably in the East region. The Wildcats’ resume is still as strong as nearly anyone in the country and they are, after all, the defending champs. They’ll be fine.
For Butler, it’s a signature win for a team that’s had a number of really good victories, but a few confounding losses, like St. John’s on the road and to Creighton (without Maurice Watson) and Georgetown at home. Beating Villanova – at the Pavilion, no less – could be worth a seed line.
Kelan Martin was fantastic for Butler, going for 23 points and eight boards, while Kamar Baldwin went for 15 points off the bench.
Jalen Brunson led the way for Villanova with 24 points while Josh Hart had 18 points and six rebounds. Kris Jenkins struggled, going 1 of 8 from the floor while scoring eight points.
The Wildcats get a chance to start a new streak at the Pavilion on Saturday with Creighton coming to town.
North Carolina may not have anyone on their roster that sends chills down the spine of opposing coaches, and they may not have anyone on their roster that is going to be targeted by NBA franchises as lottery pick, and they may not be dominating the headlines like undefeated Gonzaga, reigning champ Villanova, winner of 13 straight Big 12 titles Kansas or even Tobacco Road rival Duke.
They’re not a sexy pick, they’re not the favorite in Vegas and they may finally crack the No. 1 seed line in all bracket projections after beating No. 7 Louisville 74-63 on Wednesday night, but at this point, I’m not sure that the Tar Heels aren’t the best team in college basketball.
‘The Best Team In College Basketball’ is not an easy title to earn this season, not because there are too many candidates but more because everyone of those candidates have some kind of glaring flaw that makes you wonder have they’ve made it to late-February with a winning record. Think: UCLA’s defense. Or maybe: Kansas’ total lack of front court depth. How about: Kentucky can’t shoot. And then there’s: Duke doesn’t have a point guard, or: Gonzaga doesn’t play anyone.
We can play that game with every team in the country.
In fact, I did, just last week on a podcast.
North Carolina didn’t escape our wrath. There are question marks about Joel Berry II’s consistency, as he had a nasty habit of laying an egg every once in a while. Is that defense going to hold up for six games in a single-elimination tournament? Do they have enough consistent three-point shooting? Can Isaiah Hicks and Theo Pinson stay healthy?
Here’s the thing: I think the answer to all those questions is ‘yes’.
Justin Jackson has developed into a bonafide all-american and quite possibly the ACC Player of the Year. He’s a versatile scorer that is shooting the grip off the ball and has proven the ability to be the guy to take and make big shots for the Tar Heels this season. That’s taken some of the pressure off of Berry, who can spend more time as a secondary offensive weapon, facilitator and a leader than having to worry about carrying the team offensively. Theo Pinson’s return has opened some things up offensively, while UNC’s four-headed front court monster — Kennedy Meeks, Hicks, Tony Bradley and Luke Maye — have shown that they can score in the post or off of a missed shot, where they lead the nation on offensive rebounding percentage.
And as far as the defense is concerned, they’re ranked 20th in adjusted defensive efficiency by KenPom.com. Yes, a lot of that has to do with the pistol-whipping that was Gameday on Saturday night against Virginia, but Louisville, who was the third-best offensive team in ACC play, managed just 63 points in 73 possessions on Wednesday.
That defense doesn’t have to be great, it just has to be good enough, and it probably is.
But here’s the most important number to know: Two.
That’s how big North Carolina’s lead in the ACC is as of today. Louisville, Duke, Florida State and Notre Dame have all lost five times this year. As long as the Tar Heels can go into Pittsburgh and get a win over the Panthers, they are going to clinch a share of the ACC regular season, and they can lock up the outright league title before the showdown with the Dukies on the season’s final night.
The margins are thin, yes, but after Wednesday, North Carolina has as much claim to the title of ‘Nation’s Best’ as anyone in college basketball.