Thursday’s Morning Shootaround: Someone has to starting winning games on the bubble eventually, right?


Bubble Games (WARNING: Some of the results you see here are ugly and may disturb those with a sense of good basketball. Parental discretion is advised.)

For a recap of the conference tournament results, click here.

Cincinnati 67, Marquette 60: For anyone that still had any doubts about the Bearcats, trade them in now. Cincy is dancing. As for Marquette, they can feel pretty good — not great — about where they currently stand. The biggest issue? 12 losses are a lot of losses. And if the Golden Eagles don’t win the automatic bid from the Big East, they will be sitting on the bubble with 13 losses and nine or ten Big East losses. I don’t care if there aren’t any bad losses in that group, that is a huge number.

Michigan State 85, Iowa 66: This isn’t exactly a huge win for Michigan State. Its Iowa. But you know what it isn’t? A loss. And with the number inexplicable, inexcusable losses around the country last night, this win only reaffirms the Spartans standing on the right side of the bubble.

UAB 67, Southern Miss 66: This was a huge game because both the Blazers and the Golden Eagles, who were both sitting on or around the cut line. UAB pulled out a tough win on the road, dropping Larry Eustachy’s team into a fourth place tie in the league. The Blazers, however, are making as strong a case as you can for a team that looks like it will be on the wrong side of the bubble come Selection Sunday.

East Carolina 68, Memphis 57: Its amazing to think that a Memphis team that has lost three of their last four, that is now 21-9 on the season and 9-6 in a thoroughly mediocre Conference USA, and whose best non-conference win came against Gonzaga is still on the bubble. What will be interesting is if a bid comes down to conference rivals Memphis and UAB. The Blazers have the better computer numbers, but the Tigers have the better wins.

Miami FL 80, Maryland 66: The Terps have struggled all season against good competition, and it looks like those problems are starting to permeate against mediocre competition. The Terps were never really in this game, as Jordan Williams finished 3-17 from the floor for just 11 points.

No. 4 Duke 70, Clemson 59: This was the Tiger’s chance to make a statement. They missed. And now, with a 19-10 record and an 8-7 mark in the ACC without a marquee win to their name, the Tigers are going to need to do some work in the ACC Tournament if they want to get a bid. If they lose to another thoroughly mediocre ACC team, Virginia Tech, at home on Saturday, its just about over and the Tigers would need an ACC Tournament title.

No. 21 Utah State 58, New Mexico State 54: The USU Aggies handled the NMSU Aggies to improve to 26-3 on the season. Its a gaudy record, I know, but with just one top 50 win and only one more top 100 win, USU has zero room for error, even in a season with an ugly bubbly. If they lose to NMSU and also lose in the WAC Tournament, that adds two more sub-100 losses on their resume. Generally speaking, teams don’t team at-large bids when they have more sub-100 losses than top 100 wins.

Iowa State 95, Colorado 90: Nebraska beat Texas and then lost to Iowa State in overtime. On Saturday, Colorado beat Texas. Last night they lost to the Cyclones, essentially ending their bubble hopes. On Monday, Kansas State beat Texas. They play Iowa State on Saturday.

Richmond 69, St. Joe’s 54: Richmond is another one of those teams with a pretty mediocre resume that simply did not lose at the of the season. When you beat the teams you are supposed to beat in your league and own a win over No. 8 Purdue, you can apparently feel safe in the Atlantic 10.

St. Louis 69, Dayton 51: You would think that a loss like this — an 18 point loss to a bad Bilikens team — would doom a bubble team. This season, that just isn’t the case. Dayton hurt their cause with this loss, but they didn’t throw it all out the window. Remember, everyone is losing.

Colorado State 85, Utah 76: The Rams did what they needed to do — they kept themselves on the edge of the conversation with a trip left to San Diego State. Its a long shot, but hey, everyone else is losing, right?


New Mexico 82, No. 3 BYU 64: Yes, BYU played without Davies, but hold off on the doomsday scenarios for now.

No. 13 North Carolina 72, Florida State 70: This win was ideal for all parties involved, including the fans.

No. 2 Kansas 64, No. 22 Texas A&M 51: It wasn’t pretty, but the Jayhawks beat back the Aggies en route to clinching at least a share of their seventh straight Big 12 regular season title. Tyshawn Taylor returned from a two-game suspension with nine points, the Morrii both added 13, and Elijah Johnson sparked the game-changing 14-2 run in the second half.

West Virginia 65, No. 16 UConn 56: The Mountaineers got 18 points from Joe Mazzulla as they pulled away from the Huskies late on Wednesday night. Kevin Jones scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half, but it was the lack of offense that killed the Huskies. they were just 2 for their last 17 from the field and managed all of seven assists on 22 field goals. Shabazz Napier and Kemba Walker are both clearly good one-on-one players, but UConn is not going to win going one-on-one late in games when defenses clamp down.

Other Notable Scores:

  • No. 5 Pitt 66, USF 50
  • No. 11 Louisville 87, Providence 60
  • Temple 73, UMass 67 OT
  • Xavier 68, Charlotte 48
  • Georgia 73, LSU 53

UCLA guard Jaylen Clark declares for NBA draft

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES – UCLA guard Jaylen Clark has declared for the NBA draft, weeks after a leg injury forced him out of the season’s final six games.

The junior from Riverside, California, announced his plans on his Instagram account Wednesday.

“Thank you to UCLA and coach (Mick) Cronin for believing in me,” Clark’s post read. “I’d like to announce that I am declaring for the 2023 draft.”

Clark didn’t indicate whether he would hire an agent ahead of the June 22 draft or retain his remaining eligibility. He has until May 31 to withdraw and be able to return to Westwood.

He suffered a lower right leg injury in the regular-season finale against Arizona on March 4. Clark averaged 13 points and six rebounds while starting 29 of 30 games. He led the Pac-12 in total steals with 78, tying for third all-time in single-season steals for the Bruins.

He was a second team All-Pac-12 selection, was named the league’s defensive player of the year and made its five-man All-Defensive Team.

AP college basketball: and and

Penn State hires VCU’s Rhoades as men’s basketball coach

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State hired VCU’s Mike Rhoades on Wednesday as its men’s basketball coach, bringing in the Pennsylvania native to take over a program coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance in more than a decade.

The Penn State board of trustees approved a seven-year deal worth $25.9 million for Rhoades, who is from Mahanoy City in eastern Pennsylvania.

Just a few hours after Rhoades was named at Penn State, VCU hired Utah State coach Ryan Odom to replace Rhoades.

Rhoades replaces Micah Shrewsberry, who was hired away by Notre Dame last week.

Shrewsberry, an Indiana native, was at Penn State for two seasons. The Nittany Lions went 23-14 this season, reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011 and won an NCAA game for the first time since 2001.

Rhoades, 50, was 129-61 in six seasons at VCU, including three NCAA Tournament bids. He also spent three seasons at Rice, going 23-12 in the final year with the Owls before returning to VCU.

He was an assistant at the Richmond, Virginia, school from 2009-14 under then-head coach Shaka Smart.

Odom was 44-25 at Utah State in two seasons, with an NCAA Tournament appearance this season.

He previously spent five seasons at Maryland-Baltimore County, going 97-60. In 2018, Odom’s UMBC team became the first No. 16 seed to upset a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament when it beat Virginia.

Temple hires Penn State assistant Fisher to replace McKie

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA – Temple named Penn State assistant Adam Fisher just its fifth coach since 1973 on Wednesday.

Fisher’s goal will be to turn around a program that hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2019.

Fisher replaces Aaron McKie, who was transferred out of the coaching job earlier this month after four seasons and a 52-56 overall record with no tournament berths. McKie is now a special advisor to the athletic department.

Fisher takes over a team in flux with six players in the transfer portal. Temple has yet to find any steady success in the American Athletic Conference.

Fisher spent eight years as an assistant with Miami before he joined Micah Shrewsberry’s staff last season at Penn State. Shrewsberry has since moved on to Notre Dame.

“I am confident we have found the right person to lead Temple men’s basketball,” athletic director Arthur Johnson said. “We look forward to welcoming coach Fisher to the Temple community and returning to the NCAA Tournament under his leadership.”

Fisher also worked as a graduate manager at Villanova under Hall of Fame coach Jay Wright from 2007-09.

The Owls have traditionally given their coaches significant time on the bench, though McKie’s tenure was the shortest since Ernest Messikomer from 1939-42. The next five coaches all lasted at least 10 seasons, notably Hall of Fame coach John Chaney’s tenure from 1982-2006.

Cal hires Mark Madsen as basketball coach

Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

BERKELEY, Calif. – California is hiring a former Stanford star to revive its struggling basketball program.

The Golden Bears announced Wednesday that Mark Madsen was signed to replace the fired Mark Fox following the worst season in school history.

“We conducted an exhaustive search, and one name kept rising to the top – and that’s Mark Madsen,” athletic director Jim Knowlton said. “Mark is a person of high character, high energy, high intensity, and he’s done it the right way. He’s intense. He’s passionate. He loves his student-athletes, and he loves competing. We want an ambassador for this program who is going to make us proud and develop our young men – both on and off the court. I am absolutely thrilled that Mark will lead our program into the future.”

Madsen played at Stanford under Mike Montgomery, who later coached at Cal, from 1996 to 2000 and helped the Cardinal reach the Final Four in 1998.

After a nine-year playing career in the NBA that featured two titles as a backup on the Lakers in 2001-02, Madsen went into coaching.

He spent time in the NBA’s developmental league and a year at Stanford before spending five seasons on the Lakers staff.

Madsen then was hired in 2019 to take over Utah Valley. He posted a 70-51 record in four years with a 28-9 mark this season before losing on Tuesday night in the NIT semifinals to UAB.

“Having grown up in the area, I have always admired Cal as an institution and as an athletic program, with so many of my teachers, coaches and friends impressive Cal graduates,” Madsen said. “We will win with young men who have elite academic and athletic talent and who will represent Cal with pride.”

Madsen is the third prominent coach to flip sides in recent years in the Bay Area rivalry between Cal and Stanford. The Cardinal hired former Cal quarterback Troy Taylor to take over the football program last season and Bears women’s basketball coach Charmin Smith played and coached as an assistant at Stanford.

Madsen is faced with a tough task, taking over a program that went 3-29 under Fox and set a school record for most losses and worst winning percentage in a season.

Cal went 38-87 during Fox’s tenure, ending his final season on a 16-game losing streak. Fox’s .304 winning percentage ranking second worst in school history to predecessor Wyking Jones’ 16-47 mark (.254) in the two seasons before Fox arrived.

The Bears haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2016 and haven’t won a game in the tournament since 2013 under Montgomery.

Adding to the issues for Fox was the complete lack of interest in the program. Cal’s home attendance averaged just 2,155 this season for the lowest mark among any team in the Power 5 or Big East. That’s down from an average of 9,307 per game in Cuonzo Martin’s last season in 2016-17 and from 5,627 the year before Fox arrived.

Cal had the worst winning percentage among any school in the six major conferences during Fox’s tenure. The Bears also were the lowest-scoring team (62.4 points per game) in all Division I under Fox and had the worst scoring margin of any major conference team under Fox.

Brea Beal’s defense lifts South Carolina to Final Four


COLUMBIA, S.C. – Brea Beal is not just South Carolina’s X factor in one of the country’s best defenses but also a four-year lesson in sacrifice and reinvention that may add a second straight NCAA title to her resume.

Beal is generally third when most think of the landmark recruiting class from 2019 led by heralded All-American Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke. But she could have the most critical role at the Final Four, most likely checking Iowa’s All-American Caitlin Clark in the national semifinals.

The Gamecocks (36-0) face the Hawkeyes (30-6) in the second game in Dallas on Friday night, with the winner playing LSU or Virginia Tech for the national title on Sunday.

Beal, who has started 136 of 137 games in her four seasons, and her senior teammates have racked up championships in their time. They have won three Southeastern Conference Tournament titles, have been to three straight Final Fours and are chasing their second NCAA crown.

Beal takes on the opponent’s best player and, more times than not, limits her effectiveness – a role that took Beal time to embrace.

“It definitely came with some hardship, but throughout time I just walked into it,” she said at the Greenville 1 Regional last weekend.

It wasn’t a path Beal envisioned after a celebrated prep career. She was a three-time Illinois Ms. Basketball from Rock Island High School, averaging 20 or more points a game her final three seasons. Beal joined Candace Parker and Tamika Catchings as the only players in the state to earn that award as a sophomore.

Beal expected to make the offensive impact that Boston and Cooke have had with the Gamecocks.

“It’s not necessarily something I was like, ‘I’m this defender, I’m the best defender,’” Beal said. “It came naturally, just as well as offensively, it’s just something you’ve got to be patient and just accept as time goes.”

Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley sees Beal’s value as more than what she does on the court. Beal, overlooked sometimes behind Boston and Cooke, didn’t look to transfer in the portal era or complain about her scoring. She has kept her head down, Staley said, and made herself an indispensable part of the undefeated defending national champions.

“It took her time to just really relax and see where she can find spots to be effective,” Staley said. “Now that she’s a senior, she sees it.”

Clark, the Iowa star, would have to be one of Beal’s most difficult assignments. Clark had a triple-double – 41 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds – in the Hawkeyes’ 97-83 victory over Louisville to reach their first Final Four in 30 years.

Clark is not one-dimensional – “I pride myself in doing a lot of different things for this team,” she said – and Beal understands it will take a team effort to slow her down.

South Carolina has relied on its defense throughout Beal’s time and this year’s run is no different. The Gamecocks lead the country in blocks and rebound margin, are second in field-goal percentage defense and are third in points allowed.

Cooke believes it’s Beal’s defensive focus that has all the Gamecocks looking to raise their intensity on that side of their game. “She’s the one that taught us how to play defense,” Cooke said. “Especially me. Just watching her and the things she does definitely wore off on me.”

Cooke’s offense may be elevating Beal’s game as of late. Beal has scored in double digits in eight games this season, seven of those since the start of February. She had 10 points in a 59-43 win over UCLA in the Sweet 16 and 16 in an 86-75 victory over Maryland in the Elite Eight.

Once considered the most likely of the 2019 freshmen class to play an extra season, the dual threat has been rising in WNBA mock drafts. has projected her getting called seventh in next month’s draft, going to the Indiana Fever in the first round.

Beal isn’t worried about her pro prospects or savoring all she’s accomplished. She only wants to finish her college career with another championship moment – and that means dialing up the defense.

“We’re a defensively minded team,” she said. “When we come to this part of the season, we definitely need our defense from every single individual.”