12/6 – College Hoops Week in Review: A new challenger in the Big East?


Game of the Week: Kansas 77, UCLA 76

In all reality, the game of the week was Georgetown’s thrilling overtime win against Missouri. But we are going to be talking plenty about the Hoyas in this recap, so I went to Lawrence, KS, for the game of the week. UCLA, a team that struggled against Tennessee and VCU at the Preseason NIT finals in NYC, actually hung around with Kansas for 40 minutes. Tyler Honeycutt was unguardable, finishing with 33 points on 11-15 shooting, while the Jayhawks relatively small front line could not handle the 6’10”, 305 lb Joshua Smith in the paint, as the freshman finished with 17 points and 13 boards, 8 on the offensive end.

The two blue bloods threw haymakers throughout the second half, both making runs to seemingly grab control of the game. With three minutes left, Kansas took a 75-70 lead, but could not close out the Bruins as turnovers and missed free throws kept the Bruins alive. After Tyshawn Taylor missed one of two and Marcus Morris missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Lazeric Jones missed a free throw of his own and Kansas ended up with the ball out of bounds with 18 seconds left. Tyrell Reed was trapped on the inbounds pass and threw the ball away, and Honeycutt made the Jayhawks pay with a 25 foot three to tie the game. That’s when it got interesting.


We can argue with the NCAA about whether the foul that was called was the correct call, but it was called. Mario Little it one of the two free throws as UCLA was out of timeouts, and Honeycutt missed a prayer at the buzzer.

The other good games:

  • UNC 75, Kentucky 73: Tyler Zeller and John Henson dominated a weak Kentucky front line, fouling out all three of Kentucky’s big men and holding Terrence Jones to 9 points and 6 boards on 3-17 shooting. But Kentucky got 24 points from Doron Lamb and 13 from Darius Miller to keep things close. The game was as ugly as it was intense, and it was UNC hitting nine of their last ten free throws that kept the Tar Heels ahead. Dexter Strickland missed the last one on purpose, forcing Kentucky to take a half court prayer to try and win the game. Lamb missed, and the Heels picked up a much needed win.
  • Oklahoma State 92, La Salle 87 2OT: The Cowboys and the Explorers needed 50 minutes to decide things in Philly. After La Salle led for much of the second half, it was a short jumper from Marshall Moses that tied the game with six seconds left in regulation. Oklahoma State took the early lead in the first overtime, but Aaric Murray tied things up with eight seconds left in the first overtime. In the second overtime, the Cowboys opened up an 89-84 lead. Ruben Guillandeaux cut that lead to 89-87 with a three, but another jumper from Moses, who had 30 points and 18 boards, with 14 seconds left sealed the game.

Buzzer Beaters: Who doesn’t love a good buzzer beater. We had plenty this week:

  • Cal Poly 54, Hawaii 53: Chris O’Brien followed up a miss with a lay-in at the buzzer to beat the Rainbows. The question everyone asked, however, was whether he got the shot off in time. You decide. The game wasn’t televised, so there was no monitor available to check the replay:


  • Georgia State 64, James Madison 63: Jihad Ali followed up a missed shot with a lay-in as GSU picked up their first CAA win over the season over the Dukes.
  • Quinnipiac: The Bobcats were on both sides of a buzzer beater this week. On Saturday, James Johnson scored on a layup as time expired to give QU a win in their NEC opener against Mt. St. Mary’s 77-75. But on Thursday, it was UMass winning at the buzzer, as Justin Rutty committed a goal tend with no time left on the clock.


  • Wake Forest 76, Iowa 73: It wasn’t exactly a buzzer beater, but freshman JT Terrell hit a three with 2.7 seconds left to give Wake a 76-73 win over Iowa and cap an 18 point comeback.
  • USC Upstate 93, UNC-Asheville 91 2OT: We had two buzzer beaters in this one. Tony Dukes of USC-Upstate hit a three to tie the game at 69 and force the first overtime before JP Primm forced a second overtime with a three at the buzzer that tied it up at 84. Carter Cook’s two free throws with 6.9 seconds left won the game.

Player of the Week: Kyrie Irving, Duke

It hasn’t been difficult to select the players of the week this season, and Irving’s selection was no different. The Blue Devil’s freshman point guard showed why people were predicting he would be the best point guard in the country this season by averaging 26.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, and 3.0 apg while collecting three steals and two blocks in Duke’s wins over Michigan State and Butler. Should I mention that he shot 14-22 from the field on the week (including 5-9 from three) and 19-22 from the line? Against Michigan State, Irving had as dominant of a performance as we have seen this year, going for 31 points and dissecting the Spartan defense. In Saturday’s win over Butler, Irving started off the game slowly before exploding for 17 of his 21 points in the second half. He also hit arguably the two biggest shots of the game, as his back-to-back three pointers finally put Butler away for good.

The All-they-were-good-too team

  • G: Chris Wright, Georgetown: Wright was the best player for the best team this week, averaging 21.0 ppg and 6.0 apg in the Hoyas two wins.
  • G: Brandon Young, DePaul: Young averaged 24.0 ppg as the Blue Demons won two games this week, beating Northern Illinois and Central Michigan.
  • G: Jawan Carter, Delaware: Carter had 29 points in the Blue Hen’s CAA opening win over Old Dominion.
  • F: Mike Scott, Virginia: Scott averaged 19.0 ppg and 12.5 rpg as the Cavs beat both Minnesota and Virginia Tech on the road.
  • C: Tyler Zeller, UNC: Zeller wasn’t very impressive in the Heel’s loss to Illinois, but it was his 27 points, 11 boards, and 5 assists that won the game against Kentucky.
  • Bench: Reggie Jackson, Boston College; Kemba Walker, UConn; Noah Dahlman, Wofford; Jon Leuer, Wisconsin; Marshall Moses, Oklahoma State; James Nunnally, UC Santa Barbara

Team of the Week: Georgetown Hoyas

Its about time that we start to consider Georgetown as one of the favorites to win the Big East and to reach the Final Four. That’s what happens when you start the season 8-0 with wins against teams like Old Dominion, Missouri, NC State, and Utah State. Only the Utah State game was at home. This week, the Hoyas beat two completely different teams. On Tuesday, they went into Kansas City to take on the Tigers in what was the single most entertaining game of the young season. The Hoyas opened up a 35-17 lead in the first half, but Mizzou slowly chipped away at the lead. Midway through the second half, a Marcus Denmon three put the Tigers ahead, and they would eventually get up 85-80, but the poise of Austin Freeman helped lead Georgetown back, as the Big East’s preseason player of the year scored back-to-back buckets, one of which was an and-one, to tie the game. Mizzou took the lead back, but a Chris Wright three with 0.3 seconds left forced OT. In OT, Jason Clark buried three straight threes to seal the deal for Georgetown, as they won 111-102.

On Saturday, the Aggies came to town. After playing a methodical first half which saw USU’s offense execute to precision, John Thompson III threw on a press in the second half which the Aggies could not handle. Turnovers and easy baskets led to a 68-51 win over the WAC favorites despite Wright being the only player that reached double figures for the Hoyas.

Georgetown beat two very good teams this week. Those two teams played styles that are at opposite ends of the basketball spectrum. Both teams were able to execute their game plans to a degree — Missouri get the game into an uptempo shootout, forcing turnovers and scoring in transition while Utah State was able to keep Georgetown from shooting threes (the Hoyas were 2-9 from deep) and kept the pace methodical. Georgetown won both games.

Teams deserving of a shout out:

  • Boston College: The Eagles got off to a horrendous start, headlined by a loss to Yale. But after beating Texas A&M and Cal in the Old Spice, BC kept their momentum headed in the right direction by knocking off previously undefeated Indiana at home and previously undefeated UMass on the road. Reggie Jackson, the Eagle’s point guard, may be the best player in the country you’ve never seen play.
  • Miami FL: Their loss to Rutgers by 16 is ugly, but the ‘Canes may have turned a corner. This week, they beat both Mississippi and West Virginia. Against the Rebels, it was 27 points, 6 boards, and 6 assists from Durand Scott that won the game. In the win over West Virginia, it was 26 points from Malcolm Grant that led the way.
  • Virginia: I’m ACC heavy here, but just go with it. The Cavs were all but written off after they were drubbed by Washington and Wichita State out in Maui, but maybe we acted too soon. UVa won on the road at both Minnesota and Virginia Tech this week. Mike Scott wants people to start talking about him, apparently, so we will. He averaged 19.0 ppg and 12.5 rpg in the two wins.
  • Florida Atlantic: Mississippi State and South Florida are far from being considered elite teams, but for a team like FAU to sweep is, in a word, impressive. Making it all the more impressive is that the Owl’s leading scorer, Greg Gantt, averaged just 9.5 ppg on the week.
  • Drexel: Don’t look now, but the Dragons are now 5-1 on the season after opening CAA play with a win over Northeastern. Granted, Drexel still hasn’t beaten anyone, but this is a Dragons team that lost their leading scorer and a key sub in the offseason when they tried to rob a fellow Drexel student at gun point. Keep an eye on Chris Fouch. He’s averaging 21.7 ppg on the season.
  • South Carolina: USC knocked off Clemson 64-60 in their intrastate rivalry. The Gamecocks are now 6-1 on the season, with their lone blemish a nine point loss at Michigan State. Freshman Bruce Ellingotn is averaging 12.7 ppg and 4.4 apg.

Other notes from the week that was: So when does the “MWC is a top five conference” talk start to happen? Because it should be going on right now. Let’s start with the MWC-MVC Challenge, which the MWC on 8-1. The only win for the Valley? Northern Iowa knocking off TCU, the same TCU that knocked off USC this week. San Diego State, BYU, and UNLV are all undefeated and all three look like Sweet 16 teams. New Mexico is 6-1 (with a loss to Cal but wins over Arizona State and at New Mexico State) and still waiting on Drew Gordon to become eligible after transferring from UCLA. And the bottom of the league isn’t as bad as we expected. Air Force bounced back from a loss to D-III Colorado College to beat Wofford and Evansville (who knocked off Butler). Utah beat Weber State. TCU has that win over USC. Its a shame this league is breaking up.

So, uhh, what’s going on with UCLA? The Bruins nearly knocked off Kansas in Lawrence on Wednesday, then proceeded to get smacked by Montana on Sunday night? In Pauley Pavilion? That kind of loss in unacceptable. I know Ben Howland took the Bruins to three straight Final Fours, but how long is that program going to put up with this level of ineptitude?

That wasn’t the only strange thing to happen in the Pac-10 this week. USC, who had lost to Rider, Nebraska, TCU, and Bradley, beat Texas by 17? Should I mention that Oregon State lost to Colorado by 26 points?

As we always have said, anything can happen in conference play. Take, for example, Old Dominion. The Monarchs were 5-1 on the season. They had beaten Xavier, Clemson, and Richmond. They were on the verge of being ranked in the top 25. Then they hosted Delaware, a team that was expected to finish somewhere near the bottom of the CAA. What happened? Jawan Carter exploded for 29 points and the Blue Hens led for almost all of the second half in an upset win. Regardless of the league you play in, you cannot overlook a single conference opponent, not when everyone knows what your game plan. There are no secrets in conference play. ODU learned that the hard way.

We’ve hit on this point a number of times already this season, but outside of Duke, the ACC favorites have really struggled. Virginia Tech appears to be a bust after losing an ugly game to Purdue and then dropping their ACC opener to UVa. Maryland’s loss to Temple means that the Terps have dropped every meaningful game they’ve played this season. Ditto for Florida State after the ‘Noles lost to Ohio State this week. That said, there was some success. In addition to what was mentioned above, UNC’s win over Kentucky gives the Tar Heels some much needed breathing room and confidence. This is a team loaded with talent. They just needed the pieces to come together. And while there are still some underlying issues for UNC, the fact that they were able to get a dominating performance from their big men is a positive.

Matchups of the Week

  • 12/7 – 7:00 pm: Memphis vs. Kansas in NYC
  • 12/7 – 9:30 pm: Syracuse vs. Michigan State
  • 12/8 – 9:00 pm: Vanderbilt @ Missouri
  • 12/8 – 9:30 pm: Notre Dame @ Kentucky
  • 12/8 – 10:30 pm: San Diego State @ Cal
  • 12/8 – 11:00 pm: Gonzaga @ Washington State
  • 12/9 – 9:00 pm: Georgetown @ Temple
  • 12/9 – 9:00 pm: Butler @ Xavier
  • 12/11 – 12:00 pm: UNLV @ Louisville
  • 12/11 – 2:00 pm: Wisconsin @ Marquette
  • 12/11 – 3:15 pm: Tennessee vs. Pitt
  • 12/11 – 4:30 pm: Washington @ Texas A&M
  • 12/11 – 6:00 pm: Arizona @ BYU
  • 12/11 – 7:00 pm: VCU @ Richmond
  • 12/11 – 7:00 pm: Dayton @ Old Dominion
  • 12/11 – 8:30 pm: Gonzaga @ Notre Dame

San Diego State muscles past Creighton, makes 1st Final Four

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Darrion Trammell converted a go-ahead free throw after he was fouled on a floater with 1.2 seconds left, and San Diego State muscled its way into its first Final Four, grinding out a 57-56 victory over Creighton on Sunday in the NCAA Tournament’s South Region final.

Lamont Butler scored 18 points and Trammell had 12 for the fifth-seeded Aztecs (31-6), who slowed down the high-scoring, sixth-seeded Bluejays (24-13) and became the first Mountain West Conference team to reach the national semifinals.

The experienced Aztecs, in their sixth season under coach Brian Dutcher, will play the surprising East Region champion, ninth-seeded Florida Atlantic, on Saturday in Houston for a spot in the national title game.

With the game tied at 56-all on San Diego State’s final possession, Trammell drove toward the free-throw line, elevated for the shot and was fouled by Creighton’s Ryan Nembhard. Trammell missed the first free throw but converted the second.

Creighton’s Baylor Scheierman threw the ensuing inbound pass the length of the floor. San Diego State’s Aguek Arop and Creighton’s Arthur Kaluma both jumped for it and the ball deflected out of bounds. Officials reviewed the play and determined that time had expired, and the celebration was on for the Aztecs.

Scheierman had tied the game at 56-all when he stole an inbounds pass and converted a layup with 34 seconds remaining.

Ryan Kalkbrenner scored 17 points and Scheierman and Arthur Kaluma had 12 apiece for the Bluejays, who went 2 of 17 from 3-point range.

The Aztecs, who got this far thanks to defense and physical play, held the Bluejays to 23 second-half points on 28% shooting. Creighton shot 40% overall.

San Diego State shot 38% but got clutch baskets from Nathan Mensah, whose jumper gave the Aztecs a 56-54 lead with 1:37 left, and Arop, who made two straight shots to put San Diego State ahead 54-50 with 3:03 remaining.

Creighton, which beat San Diego State in overtime in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament, fell just short of joining Big East rival UConn in the Final Four.

Kaluma played against his brother, San Diego State’s Adam Seiko. Their parents sat a few rows up at midcourt, sitting quietly before joining Seiko to celebrate.

UConn routs Gonzaga 82-54 for first Final Four in 9 years

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LAS VEGAS — Jordan Hawkins scored 20 points and UConn overwhelmed its fourth straight NCAA Tournament opponent, earning its first trip to the Final Four in nine years with an 82-54 blowout of Gonzaga on Saturday night.

The Huskies (29-8) have felt right at home in their first extended March Madness run since winning the 2014 national championship, playing their best basketball of what had been an up-and-down season.

“The Big East Conference is the best conference in the country, so we went through some struggles,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “But once we got out of that league and started playing nonconference teams again, we’ve been back to that team that looked like the best team in the country.”

UConn controlled the usually efficient Bulldogs at both ends in the West Region final, building a 23-point lead early in the second half to waltz right into the final section of the bracket.

The Huskies’ two NCAA Tournament first-round exits under Hurley are now well in the rearview mirror.

“If you’re playing for him, you’ve got to play up to that standard or else you’re not going to be out there,” UConn guard Andre Jackson Jr. said.

These elite Huskies did what the UConn women couldn’t for once and are headed to Houston, where they will play either Texas or Miami.

The Bulldogs (31-6) didn’t have the same second-half magic they had in a last-second win over UCLA in the Elite Eight.

Gonzaga allowed UConn to go on a late run to lead by seven at halftime and fell completely apart after All-American Drew Timme went to the bench with his fourth foul early in the second half.

The Zags shot 33% from the field – 7 of 29 in the second half – and went 2 for 20 from 3 to stumble in their bid for a third Final Four since 2017.

Timme had 12 points and 10 rebounds, receiving a warm ovation after being taken out of his final collegiate game with 1:50 left.

Alex Karaban scored 12 points and Adama Sanogo had 10 points and 10 rebounds for UConn.

The Zags started off like they had a Vegas hangover, firing off two air-balled 3-pointers and a wild runner by Timme. Once Gonzaga shook out the cobwebs, the Bulldogs kept the Huskies bridled with defense, with hard hedges on screens and Timme sagging off Jackson to protect the lane.

UConn countered by getting the ball into the strong hands of Sanogo, the facilitator. The UConn big man picked apart Gonzaga’s double-teams for five first-half assists, including two for layups. Karaban hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the Huskies up 39-32 at halftime.

It got worse for Gonzaga to start the second half.

UConn pushed the lead to 12 and Timme picked up his third and fourth fouls in the opening 2 1/2 minutes – one on a charge, another on a box-out under the rim.

The Huskies really got rolling when Timme took a seat, using their defense to get out in transition and set up 3-pointers. A 14-3 run put UConn up 60-37 and Gonzaga coach Mark Few took the calculated gamble of bringing Timme back in.

It made little difference.

UConn kept up the pressure and kept making shots, blowing out yet another opponent and looking an awful lot like the favorite to win it all.

UConn’s Final Four streak ends with 73-61 loss to Ohio State

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SEATTLE — UConn’s record Final Four run is over, thanks to a monumental performance by Ohio State.

The Buckeyes ended UConn’s unprecedented streak of reaching 14 consecutive Final Fours, beating the Huskies 73-61 on Saturday in the Sweet 16 of the women’s NCAA Tournament.

“The problem with streaks is the longer they go, you’re closer to it ending than you are to the beginning of it,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “It’s just a matter of time. I mean, it’s not if it’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of time when it’s going to happen. And it was going to happen sooner rather than later.”

Cotie McMahon scored 23 points for the Buckeyes, who snapped their three-decade Elite Eight drought. The Buckeyes hadn’t made a regional final since 1993, when they eventually lost in the title game to Texas Tech.

“When I had the opportunity to come to Ohio State, this was certainly the goal and the vision to go farther than they have been going,” said coach Kevin McGuff, who had never beaten UConn. “It’s not easy to get here, obviously. But I’m really proud of our team and our program of how we’ve evolved to be able to get to this point.

“Like I said, I mean, I have so much respect for Geno and his staff and all that they have accomplished. So for us to be able to win this game in the Sweet 16 is obviously extremely significant. They’re just hard to beat. They’re so well-coached. So this is a great win for us.”

The third-seeded Buckeyes (28-7) forced No. 2 seed UConn (31-6) into 25 turnovers, ending the Huskies’ season before the national semifinals for the first time in 14 seasons. UConn hadn’t been eliminated this early since 2006.

“It’s an impossibility to do what we have done already,” Auriemma said. “What’s the next highest streak? … And you take that in stride and you say, yeah, it was great while it lasted and it’s a credit to all the players that we had and all the times that you have to perform really, really well at this level.”

Ohio State will play Virginia Tech on Monday night in the Seattle 3 Region final with a trip to Dallas at stake. The Hokies beat Tennessee 73-64.

Ohio State, which had to rally from a double-digit deficit in the first round against James Madison, used full-court pressure to disrupt the Huskies’ offense.

“Our press is what we rely on, and sticking together and talking through it,” said Ohio State’s Jacy Sheldon, who had 17 points and went 10-for-10 from the foul line. “We knew UConn was going to be ready for us, so we knew we were going to have to stay consistent throughout the game.”

This has been the most trying year of Auriemma’s Hall of Fame career. UConn was beset by injuries and illnesses to both players and coaches, including a torn ACL that sidelined star Paige Bueckers all season. It got so bad the Huskies had to postpone a game when they didn’t have enough scholarship players. They also saw their unbelievable run of 30 years without consecutive losses come to an end.

“We picked the worst day to actually be doing the things that we’ve been struggling with all year long,” Auriemma said in a sideline interview during the game.

Lou Lopez Senechal scored 25 points for the Huskies, Azzi Fudd had 14, and Ohio State transfer Dorka Juhasz finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Huskies led 17-9 before Ohio State started scoring and turning UConn over with its full-court press. The Buckeyes scored the next 17 points, forcing 11 turnovers during that stretch, which spanned the first and second quarters. UConn had eight turnovers to start the second quarter, leaving Auriemma exasperated on the sideline.

McMahon was converting those turnovers into points for the Buckeyes as the freshman finished the half with 18 points – equaling the number of turnovers the Huskies had in the opening 20 minutes. Ohio State led 36-26 at the break.

This was only the sixth time UConn had trailed by double digits at the half in an NCAA Tournament game, according to ESPN. The Huskies lost all of those.

UConn did a better job of taking care of the ball in the second half and cut the deficit to 44-39 on Senechal’s layup with 3:53 left in the third quarter. Ohio State responded and still led by 10 after three quarters.

The Buckeyes didn’t let the Huskies make any sort of run in the fourth quarter. UConn got within nine with 4:30 left, but McMahon had a three-point play to restore the double-digit lead. The Huskies never threatened after that.

Now the Huskies will start their offseason sooner than any time in the past 17 years.


This was the first win for Ohio State over UConn in seven tries. The teams’ last meeting was in the 2019-20 regular season. … UConn was a paltry 7-for-15 from the foul line while Ohio State went 22-for-30. … UConn’s season high for turnovers was 27 against Princeton.


The Seattle Regionals are being played in Climate Pledge Arena – home of the Seattle Storm. UConn and Storm great Sue Bird was in the stands, sitting a few rows behind the scorers’ table. She received a loud ovation from the crowd when she was shown midway through the first quarter on the videoboards.


Juhasz graduated from Ohio State two years ago and flourished there, earning all-Big Ten honors twice. She came to UConn last year looking for a new challenge and wanting to play for a team that could compete for national championships. She’ll leave without one.

There is a mutual respect between Juhasz and the Buckeyes’ coaching staff.

FAU holds off Nowell and K-State to reach 1st Final Four

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NEW YORK — Alijah Martin, Vlad Goldin and ninth-seeded Florida Atlantic became the first and lowest-seeded team to reach this year’s Final Four as the Owls withstood another huge game by Kansas State’s Markquis Nowell to beat the Wildcats 79-76 on Saturday night.

FAU (35-3), making just its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament, won the East Region at Madison Square Garden and will head to Houston to play the winner of Sunday’s South Region final between Creighton and San Diego State.

In one of the most unpredictable NCAA Tournaments ever – all four No. 1 seeds were out by the Elite Eight – the Owls from Conference USA typified the madness.

“I expect the prognosticators to pick us fifth in the Final Four,” fifth-year FAU coach Dusty May said.

The winningest team in Division I this season had never won an NCAA Tournament game before ripping off four straight, all by single digits, to become the first No. 9 seed to reach the Final Four since Wichita State in 2013 and the third to get that far since seeding began in 1979.

Nowell, the 5-foot-8 native New Yorker, was incredible again at Madison Square Garden, with 30 points, 12 assists and five steals, coming off a Sweet 16 game in which he set the NCAA Tournament record with 19 assists. He didn’t get enough help this time.

Nae’Qwan Tomlin was the only other player in double figures for Kansas State (26-10) with 14 points. Keyontae Johnson, the Wildcats’ leading scorer, fouled out with nine points.

Martin scored 17 points, including a huge 3 down the stretch, the 7-foot-1 Goldin had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Michael Forrest made four clutch free throws in the final 20 seconds for the Owls, who held steady as the Wildcats made a late push.

Cam Carter made a 3 from the wing with 22.8 seconds left to cut FAU’s lead to 75-74 and Kansas State fouled and sent Forrest to the line with 17.9 seconds left. The senior made both to make it a three-point game.

Nowell found Tomlin inside for a layup with 8.6 seconds left to cut the lead to one again, and again K-State sent Forrest to the line. With 6.9 remaining, he made them both.

With no timeouts left, Nowell rushed down the court, gave up the ball to Ismael Massoud outside the 3-point line, and never got it back. FAU’s Johnell Davis swiped it away and time ran out.

“It was trying to get Ish a shot,” Nowell said. “Coach wanted to Ish to set the screen, and I waved it off because I felt like on the right side of the court, that’s where Ish hits most of his shots. And they closed out hard to him, and he didn’t get his shot off.”

Nowell was named the most outstanding player of the region, but FAU turned out to be the best team. As the Owls built their lead in the final minutes, Kansas State fans who had packed the building became anxiously quiet and the “F-A-U!” chants started to rise.

The Owls rushed the floor to celebrate a historic moment for the school. FAU didn’t even have a basketball program until the late 1980s and has only been in Division I for the last 30 years.

“I’m living the dream right now,” Forrest said.

FAU held up to Tennessee’s bully ball in the Sweet 16 and dropped a 40-point second half on the best defense in the nation to eliminate the Southeastern Conference team.

Against one of the Big 12’s best, FAU dominated the boards, 44-22, and became the first team from C-USA to reach the Final Four since Memphis in 2008.

The Owls aren’t hanging around much longer. They’re moving to the American Athletic Conference next season. But first: a trip to Texas.

Miami coach Jim Larrañaga asks for transparency on NIL deals

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Miami coach Jim Larrañaga wants to know how much money athletes at other schools are making through name, image and likeness deals.

It’s only fair, he said, since no school has had the values of its athletes’ deals publicized more than Miami.

“I think everybody should be transparent,” he said at a news conference Saturday ahead of his team’s NCAA Tournament Midwest Region final aganst Texas. “Why is it hidden behind the curtain? Why? You can go on a website and check out anybody’s salary in the NBA.

“There are a lot of schools that do the same thing we do. We just don’t know about it because it’s not public knowledge. Why not? Why are we afraid of sharing that information?”

Larrañaga said full disclosure is important for competitive reasons and also so the NCAA or Congress can have more information at their disposal when, and if, they bring clarity and uniformity to NIL rules.

Nijel Pack’s two-year, $800,000 contract with Miami booster John Ruiz is the most publicized NIL deal since the NCAA began allowing college athletes to make money off their popularity. ACC player of the year Isaiah Wong’s $100,000 deal with Ruiz also became public knowledge.

Though the terms of twins Haley and Hanna Cavinder’s deals have not been publicized, the two reportedly have made millions of dollars during their time playing women’s basketball at Fresno State and now Miami.

Larrañaga said television networks, shoe companies, universities, athletic directors and coaches make lots of money off college sports and that the athletes deserve a cut.

“I hope they get as many great deals as they can because I think eventually they have to learn how to handle money,” he said. “So at their young age, if they learn it, maybe they’ll find out. I don’t know how many of these guys are spending every cent they get, but I know a lot of NBA guys did that and ended up bankrupt. I think that’s a learning experience. That’s why you’re in college anyway.”

There have been concerns raised that publicizing the amount of money athletes make could cause jealousy and splinter locker rooms.

Larrañaga said NIL hasn’t changed the dynamic, as far as he’s concerned.

“These guys have to get along on the court and off the court,” he said. “If you can’t handle that as a coach, you probably couldn’t handle it when a guy was complaining about playing time or ‘I didn’t get enough shots.’”

Wong disputed a report last year that, upon learning of Pack’s deal, he threatened through his agent to transfer if his NIL deal wasn’t beefed up.

Larrañaga said he’s seen no problems between the two.

“They hit it off day one,” he said. “Why? Because they love playing basketball.”

Jordan Miller vouched for his coach, especially when it comes to Pack’s deal.

“At the end of the day, he’s our teammate, and everybody’s happy for him,” Miller said.

Larrañaga said he couldn’t speculate on whether athletes would be paid as employees of universities some day.

For now, the most important thing is to set firm guidelines for NIL and to make sure athletes are educated about how to manage their money.

“Guys like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson and LeBron (James), they make life-changing money, life-altering money,” Larrañaga said. “These young kids, they might not get that chance beyond this. So they need an education about it.”