Week in Review: Mike Moser and Harvard stood out


Player of the Week: Mike Moser, UNLV

Less than three weeks into the season, its already quite apparent who the most influential transfer in the country is. After seven games, Moser is leading the Rebels in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals. He ranks third in assists. In three games last week — wins against Cal Poly, USC and No. 1 North Carolina that pushed the Rebels to 7-0 on the season — Moser averaged 13.3 ppg, 13.0 rpg and 2.7 apg while adding three blocks and four steals. In the win over UNC, he had 16 points and 18 rebounds and helped keep Tyler Zeller and John Henson in check. That should give you a glimpse into Moser’s value for this team.

But its more than that. Moser’s value is in his versatility at the four spot. What UNLV wants to do is spread the floor and create lanes for penetration from the perimeter. Moser’s ability to rebound and defend at the four spot while providing a perimeter threat offensively makes the Rebels a more dangerous and complete team. Moser is probably not the most talented player on this team, but his skill set makes him the most valuable. Now imagine what will happen when he finds a consistent stroke from the perimeter; he’s done this much damage while shooting just 2-17 from beyond the arc.

The All-They-Were-Good-Too Team

G: Evan Roquemore, Santa Clara: Everyone knows about Kevin Foster, but he’s not the only talented back court player for the Broncs. Santa Clara went 2-1 in the 76 Classic — including wins over New Mexico and Villanova — while averaging 22.7 ppg, 8.0 apg and 3.7 rpg while shooting 12-21 from three and 24-25 from the foul line.

G: Kevin Dillard, Dayton: Dillard, a transfer from Southern Illinois, led the Flyers to the Old Spice Classic title with wins over Wake Forest, Fairfield and Minnesota. In the three games, he averaged 15.3 ppg, 5.0 apg, 3.7 spg and 2.3 apg while shooting 51.6% from the floor and 4-9 from three.

F: Eric Griffin, Campbell: Griffin led the Camels to a 2-1 week, including a 16 point win over Iowa, while averaging 23.0 ppg, 12.0 rpg and 3.7 bpg. He shot 75% (24-32) from the floor, 4-5 from three and also added six steals. Griffin went for 23 points, 13 boards and six steals in the win over Iowa, and then had 29 points and 14 boards in a loss to Creighton. Oh, and he did this.

F: Thomas Robinson, Kansas: The Jayhawks lost the title game of the Maui Invitational to Duke, but Robinson made a statement on the island. He had three straight double-doubles and averaged 17.0 ppg and 12.3 rpg in the three games.

C: Henry Sims, Georgetown: Sims only averaged 13.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.3 apg and 1.7 bpg in a 2-1 week for the Hoyas. But it was the 24 points, eight boards and five assists that Sims notched in an overtime win over Memphis in the fifth-place game.

Bench: Griffin Callahan, South Dakota State (18.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 18 3’s, 3-1 week); Isaiah Canaan, Murray State (25.3 ppg, 3.3 apg, 5.7 rpg, Great Alaska Shootout champ); Jason Clark, Georgetown (23.0 ppg, 12-20 3’s); Reggie Hamilton, Oakland (34 points, five assists, five steals vs. Utah Valley State); Orlando Johnson, UC-Santa Barbara (26.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 4.0 apg); Maurice Jones, USC (28 points, 7-7 3’s vs. South Carolina); Velton Jones, Robert Morris (38 points, 10-15 shooting vs. James Madison); Jeronne Maymon, Tennessee (23.0 ppg, 16.0 rpg, including 32 points, 20 boards vs. Memphis); Anthony Miles, Lamar (24.5 ppg, 6.0 apg, 4.5 rpg); Jim Mower, Lafayette (28.0 ppg, including 37 points, 10-13 threes vs. FDU); Jake Odum, Indiana State (10 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists vs. Fairfield); Joel Smith, Northeastern (29 points, 10 boards in win vs. St. John’s); Kyle Vinales, Central Conn. (27.0 ppg, 3.5 apg, 20-36 FG, 6-12 3’s)

Team of the Week: Harvard Crimson

The Crimson moved to 6-0 on the season as they rolled through the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. Harvard didn’t get a matchup with UConn, who lost in the semifinals to Central Florida, but they did land a couple of big wins. Harvard destroyed Utah, who may actually be the worst major conference team in the country, and followed that up with an impressive win over a big, physical Florida State team. Throw in their title game victory over UCF, and the Crimson legitimized the preseason speculation that they were one of, if not the best mid-major team in the country.

There is so much to like about this Harvard team. They have a front line that went punch for punch with one of the biggest and most physical front lines in the country in Florida State, keeping the Seminoles off of the offensive glass despite holding them to 36.2% shooting. They have a solid point guard in Brandyn Curry and a slew of jump shooters on their perimeter. They have youthful experience, meaning that their young roster has been together for a couple of seasons. Perhaps most importantly, the Crimson have depth on their roster. They are bringing top 100 recruits off the bench. This team is for real.

Teams that also deserved to be Team of the Week:

Missouri Tigers: I just wrote a 700 word post on Missouri, so I’m not going to go to in depth here about the Tigers, but their start to the season has been nothing short of incredible. What’s most impressive is the way that Frank Haith has been able to embrace the principles that Mike Anderson instilled in this group during his tenure. The Tigers play terrific pressure defense on the perimeter and have excelled in transition.

San Diego State: I’ll admit it — I doubted this team. And it looks like that was a mistake. The Aztecs moved to 7-1 after a 2-0 week in which Steve Fisher’s club won two games on the road. On Wednesday, they went into the McKale Center and hung on to beat Arizona after opening up the game with a 21-4 run. Then on Saturday, the Aztecs knocked off UC-Santa Barbara in overtime. SDSU has a loaded perimeter attack, but if they can get more performances like the 13 points and nine boards that center Garrett Green had against UCSB, this team gets that much better.

St. Louis Billikens: This group was named BIAH Team of the Week last week after going 3-0 and beating Washington at home. They continued that terrific play this week as they rolled through the 76 Classic, knocked off BC, Villanova and Oklahoma in the span of four nights. What makes this group so intriguing is the way that they play defense and how well they shoot the three ball. That is going to keep them in a lot of games this season. With Temple’s Michael Eric banged up, is St. Louis now the second best team in the Atlantic 10?

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels: UNLV looked very, very impressive in their win over North Carolina on Saturday night. But the game also brought some concerns to the surface. For example, UNLV caught a break down the stretch in that the Tar Heels were unable to get a defensive rebound or force a turnover, because they made some really sloppy decisions down the stretch. There were three or four possessions in the final three minutes where UNLV shot a three with 25 or 30 seconds left on the shot clock. North Carolina will usually make their opponents pay for rushing shots like that.

Teams deserving a shout out:

DePaul: The Blue Demons are now 4-1 on the season after a 2-1 week down in Orlando for the Old Spice Classic. DePaul knocked off Texas Tech and Arizona State, and while neither of those teams are going to be competing for conference titles, they are wins none-the-less. Those haven’t been easy to come by for DePaul the past couple of seasons. Their one point loss to Minnesota might have been their most impressive performance of the week.

Duke: The Blue Devils improved to 7-0 on the season by rolling through Tennessee, Michigan and Kansas to take home the Maui Invitational title. The two best signs of the week for Duke — Austin Rivers is starting to show signs of understanding how to be a basketball player, and Mason Plumlee’s back-to-the-basket game is getting better and better.

Georgetown: Its tough to not be impressed by the performance that the Hoyas had in Maui last week. After nearly knocking off Kansas, Henry Sims and Jason Clark took over as Georgetown knocked off Memphis in overtime in the fifth-place game. With how much the Big East has struggled this year, the Hoyas look like they may be able to finish in the top six.

Indiana: The Hoosiers went 2-0 last week, but it was their 75-59 win over Butler that turned the most heads. The Bulldogs are down this season, but the Hoosiers have been down for the entirety of Tom Crean’s tenure. With this win, they, once again, look like the best team in the state. While Cody Zeller has been impressive, its been the play of Will Sheehey that has really sparked IU.

Marshall: The Thundering Herd improved to 5-0 on the season by winning a pair of road games last week. They knocked off UNC-Wilmington by five, and followed that up by going into Cincinnati and beating the Bearcats in overtime.

Michigan: The Wolverines have been one of the bigger surprises of the young season, and much of the credit has to go to Trey Burke. The freshman point guard has valiantly replaced Darius Morris, and while he’s not going to put up the same numbers, his leadership and playmaking has been there. As Burke continues to learn the game, he’s only going to get better.

Santa Clara: Santa Clara finished in third place at the 76 Classic, but they had a couple of very impressive performances. The Broncs not only knocked off New Mexico in the opening round, they beat Villanova in the third-place game, coming from down seven points in the final minute to win. Kevin Foster is the name that everyone knows of this team, but Evan Roquemore has played like a potential all-WCC player early in the season.

St. Joseph’s: The Hawks are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the A-10 this season. After losing a double overtime battle to Iona earlier in the week, St. Joe’s went into Happy Valley and scored the first 22 points of the game as they knocked off Penn State. This is a young group with a lot of promise.

Stanford: Its hard not to be impressed with the way that Stanford played in New York over the holidays. They soundly smacked Oklahoma State before giving Syracuse all they could handle in a six-point loss at the Garden, what effectively amounts to a home-game for the Orange. Josh Owens, Aaron Bright and Chasson Randle provide a sold 1-2-3 punch for Johnny Dawkins, but if Dwight Powell ever grows into his potential, this could be a dangerous team late in the year.

Tennessee: They lost both of their meaningful games in Maui, but the Vols deserve some credit. They are a much different team than last season. They play hard, they play smart and they appear to be well-coached. If Jeronne Maymon and Trae Golden can avoid letting their egos get too big for the team, this is a group that will make some noise in the SEC.

Five Thoughts:

What’s going on in the Pac-12?: There have been two impressive teams in the Pac-12 this season: Oregon State and Stanford. What’s crazier is that neither of them actually won the preseason tournament that they played in. Its gotten to the point in the Pac-12 where we are impressed when teams are able to beat mediocre competition and simply compete with some of the top teams in the country. That’s not a good sign.

I’m not ready to say that either the Beavers or the Cardinals are the favorite in this league just yet. The beatdown that Cal received at the hands of Missouri seems like more of a bad matchup where Cal happened to play poorly and Missouri happened to be on fire. If those two played 10 more times, Cal would win four of them. The same can be said for Washington’s performance at St. Louis; the Huskies aren’t as bad as they appeared playing a game that was a 9:00 am tip pacific time. Arizona will get better as the season progresses, young teams always do. At the very least, the league will be fun to follow.

The bottom of the Pac-12 is where it gets ugly. Arizona State lost to DePaul. Washington State lost to UC-Riverside. Utah was blown out by Harvard, UNC-Asheville and UMass. USC lost to Cal Poly. That’s bad.

The Big East is down, too: The Pac-12 isn’t the only conference dealing with some early-season struggles. The Big East has been anything but impressive this year. UConn lost to Central Florida. Pitt lost to Long Beach State. Villanova went 1-2 in the 76 Classic after needing overtime to beat La Salle. Cincinnati has now lost to Presbyterian and Marshall. West Virginia lost to Kent State. Notre Dame looked terrible at the CBE Classic and lost Tim Abromaitis for the season with a torn acl. St. John’s lost to Northeastern. Half of Louisville’s roster is injured.

I’d go as far as to say that the only Big East team that has been impressive this season has been Georgetown. Marquette could have been included in that conversation until they struggled to beat Norfolk State.

North Carolina’s loss: There are definite issues with the Tar Heels. They don’t defend well enough, they can get beat up in the paint and they struggle when they are forced to play a half court game. Those are major red flags. But remember this: there are not going to be many games that the Tar Heels get such poor performances out of their front line. Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes, John Henson and James Michael McAdoo combined to go 12-38 from the floor, 13-24 from the line, score just 37 points and grab only 24 rebounds. Credit UNLV’s front line for some of that, but also remember how rare that kind of stat line is going to be.

What happened to Alex Oriakhi?: UConn’s big man played such a vital role in their national title performance last season, anchoring the paint and defending the rim. This year, however, he’s struggled to find minutes, and its not because Andre Drummond has been playing great basketball. Against Florida State, Oriakhi played just 10 minutes despite going up against the biggest front line in the country. So what’s the issue? Oriakhi’s been fouling too much, rebounding too little and done nothing to force Calhoun to keep him on the floor. When he did against Central Florida — 14 points, 10 boards, 5 blocks — you saw the results. In those 10 minutes against FSU, he went without a rebound or a shot attempt. Its no wonder he’s not playing.

The Austin Rivers conundrum: Much has been made about the early season performance of Austin Rivers. And, yes, its been less than ideal. But remember, this kid is still a freshmen. He’s still learning the game. He’s still learning how to be a member of a team as good as Duke is. For his entire high school career, Rivers played a style that was, essentially, “give Austin the ball and let him do what he wants”. He’s taking fewer bad shots and playing more within the Duke offense.

It also should be noted that you don’t want to take away the ability of Rivers to throw up one or two ill-advised shots a game. That aggressiveness is what makes him so dangerous. You can’t take away his confidence, but he does need to learn about when the right situation is to attack and when he needs to pull it out and run some offense. He’ll get there. Give him time.

Game of the Week: Duke 68, Kansas 61

This really was just a sensational game. Two high-level teams trading haymakers in a raucous environment. There was defense being played, there were battles underneath the rim and there big-time shots being made. The hero? Seldom-used Tyler Thornton, who hit back-to-back threes in the final minute to clinch the win:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXJQXjhuxmI%5D

Matchups of the Week:

– Mon. 7:00 pm: No. 12 Xavier at No. 22 Vanderbilt
– Mon. 7:00 pm: Long Beach State @ No. 7 Louisville
– Tue. 7:00 pm: No. 15 Michigan @ Virginia
– Tue. 9:30 pm: No. 6 Duke @ No. 3 Ohio State
– Wed. 7:30 pm: No. 20 Florida State @ Michigan State
– Wed. 9:30 pm: No. 11 Wisconsin @ No. 1 North Carolina
– Wed. 10:30 pm: No. 25 Creighton @ San Diego State
– Thu. 9:30 pm: Georgetown @ No. 13 Alabama
– Fri. 7:00 pm: No. 9 Florida @ No. 5 Syracuse
– Fri. 9:00 pm: No. 22 Vanderbilt @ No. 7 Louisville
– Sat. 12:00 pm: No. 1 UNC @ No. 2 Kentucky
– Sat. 3:00 pm: Purdue @ No. 12 Xavier
– Sat. 3:15 pm: No. 19 Gonzaga @ Illinois
– Sun. 5:00 pm: No. 18 Cal @ San Diego State
– Sat. 4:30 pm: No. 17 Marquette @ No. 11 Wisconsin

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.”

Texas blows out Xavier 83-71 for spot in NCAA Elite Eight

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Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tyrese Hunter scored 19 points, Marcus Carr and Christian Bishop added 18 apiece, and second-seeded Texas rolled to an 83-71 victory over No. 3 seed Xavier on Friday night to reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 15 years.

Playing most of the way without ailing star Dylan Disu, the Longhorns – the highest seed left after No. 1s Alabama and Houston lost earlier in the night – built a 42-25 lead by halftime. They quickly pushed it past 20 before cruising the rest of the way into a matchup with fifth-seeded Miami on Sunday night for a spot in the Final Four in Houston.

Sir’Jabari Rice had 16 points and Timmy Allen added 11 for the Longhorns (29-8), who kept Souley Boum and the rest of Xavier’s perimeter threats in check while making life miserable for Jack Nunge down low.

Adam Kunkel hit five 3-pointers and led the Musketeers (27-10) with 21 points. Nunge scored 15 but needed 19 shots to get there, while Colby Jones also had 15 points. Boum didn’t hit a field goal until early in the second half and finished with 12 points.

The job the Longhorns did in shutting down Xavier was merely the latest example of some masterful work by interim coach Rodney Terry. The longtime assistant took over in December, when Chris Beard was suspended and later fired over a since-dropped domestic violence charge, and Terry has not only kept the season from falling apart but sent his team soaring.

Things won’t get any easier against Miami, which romped to an 89-75 win over the Cougars.

And especially without Disu, who led the Longhorns to a Big 12 tourney title and earned MVP honors on the same floor just over two weeks ago, and who’d been dominant through the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Disu tried to play through a left foot injury that the Longhorns had successfully kept secret Friday night, but he lasted only a couple of minutes before limping off the floor and straight to the locker room. When he returned to the bench, he was wearing a big walking boot, a black hoodie and a grim expression.

Relegated to a 6-foot-9 cheerleader, Disu at least had plenty to celebrate.

Carr got the Longhorns off to a fast start, spinning through the lane like a Tilt-A-Whirl for tough buckets at the rim, and even knocking down a spinning, desperation 3 as the shot clock expired. And when Musketeers coach Sean Miller traded out a man-to-man defense for a zone, the Longhorns began to pound the ball to Bishop in the paint.

With dozens of family and friends on hand, the Creighton transfer from the Kansas City suburb of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, went to work. Bishop threw down one dunk on Carr’s alley-oop lob, then slammed down another a few minutes later.

By the time Allen banked in a half-court heave, the Longhorns had established a 42-25 halftime advantage – and had to be redirected from the Xavier tunnel, where they were busy celebrating, toward their own locker room.

Xavier tried to creep back a couple of times, but the Longhorns never allowed their lead to sniff single digits. And that gave Terry, who returned to Texas after head coaching jobs at Fresno State and UTEP, a chance to breathe deeply and enjoy the moment.

The 54-year-old from the small Texas town of Angleton was on Rick Barnes’ staff the last time the Longhorns reached the Elite Eight, back in 2008. He was on the 2003 staff that guided them all the way to the Final Four, too.

Now, he’s one step away from taking Texas on another improbable trip to college basketball’s biggest stage.