Friday’s Shootaround: Vandy, St. Mary’s, Washington win in routs


Rutgers 85, No. 10 Florida 83 2OT: See here

Vanderbilt 74, No. 13 Marquette 57: This is what Vanderbilt needed. This is the kind of performance that we had been calling for. The talent on their roster in undeniable. How that talent manifests itself on the court is a different story, and the only evidence that we had this season was that Vanderbilt a) couldn’t win close games and b) Vanderbilt struggled against teams that were more physical.

Against Marquette on Thursday night, Vanderbilt used a 35-8 run to open the game while simultaneously putting the game out of reach. It was complete and utter domination from the tip. Vanderbilt’s defense was stifling — Marquette made just two of their first 21 shots — and their offensive attack was balanced and potent. They hit threes, they scored in transition, they had second chance points, they got post touches. Like I said, it was total domination.

The question that I guess we have to ask is what this means for both teams. For Vanderbilt, its a justification for all the people that had this team ranked in the top five coming into the season. Yes, they really are this good when they show up to play. But this isn’t exactly new information to us. While its nice to see them play like this against a very good team on the road, the issues or whether or not Vanderbilt is going to be able to win a postseason game or close out a close game hasn’t been answered.

For Marquette, I am a bit concerned. I’ll chalk up the viciousness of the beating Vanderbilt put on the Golden Eagles to a bit of a fluke event — Marquette played as bad as they ever will while Vanderbilt was clicking on all cyclinders — but there is reason to start getting concerned about Marquette. They were coming off of a fairly ugly loss at LSU and have had their big win over Washington get brought back down to earth by the Huskies’ struggles. Maybe this Marquette team has a lower ceiling that we all thought.

St. Mary’s 98, BYU 82: Welcome to the WCC, bitch.

That’s more or less what the Gaels said to BYU, right? St. Mary’s used a quicker lineup to torch BYU, who looked completely lost defensively. Rob Jones led the way with 24 points and 15 boards boards, but Matthew Dellavedova chipped in with 18 and 12 assists. More importantly, however, Stephen Holt and Jorden Page finally look like they got on the right track. Holt had 21 points and hit 4-6 from three while Page had 13 points and five assists.

The Gael’s weakness in the paint was exposed, however, as Brandon Davies went crazy, finishing with 28 points and seven boards.

Washington 95, Oregon State 80: If Washington is going to make a run in the Pac-12, its going to be Tony Wroten that has to lead the way. Over the last few weeks he has easily been the best Husky. Against Oregon State, he finished with 26 points, nine boards and four assists, including the biggest play of the game: a driving, and-one layup with two minutes left that pushed Washington’s lead to eight after Oregon State had cut the lead to three.

Cincinnati 56, Oklahoma 55: The Bearcats struggled throughout much of this game, finding themselves down 47-35 with just six minutes left. But Mick Cronin turned on the press, and Cincy made their run. Cashmere Wright, who had struggled through much of the game, had two driving layups — one of which was an and-one — in the final minute to give Cincy their fifth straight win.

Belmont 79, Marshall 74: Marshall wasn’t able to complete their sweep of Belmont, meaning that the Thundering Herd are probably going to want to avoid any bad losses in Conference USA play if they want to ensure themselves of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Scott Saunders had 23 points and nine boards in the win.

Memphis 64, Robert Morris 47: The Tigers finally came out and beat up an overmatched opponent from the tip. Memphis played stifling defense, got on the glass and went ahead by as much as 28 early in the second half.

VCU 76, Akron 75 OT: The Rams trailed for much of the game in this one, but two free throws from Treveon Graham with 32 seconds left forced the extra period. After Zeke Marshall hit two free throws for Akron to give the Zips a 75-74 lead, Brad Burgess found a cutting Darius Theus for the game-winning layup.

Illinois State 65, Northern Iowa 61: Three of the top four teams in the Valley lost their opener. If Creighton beats Wichita State on Saturday, all four of the favorites in the conference will have a loss.

Stanford 60, UCLA 59: In the second half, the Bruins went 0-13 from the floor when they had a chance to take the lead. That’s not good. On the final possession, Laz Jones had a runner blocked out to half court. Jones did finish with 26 points, however.

The rest of the top 25:

No. 6 UNC 100, Elon 62: The Heels look like they are starting to hit their stride. Tyler Zeller led the way with 19 points and 13 boards, nine of which came on the offensive end of the floor.

No. 16 Michigan 71, Penn State 53: Tim Hardaway went 1-7 from three but still managed to score 26 points as the Wolverines opened up a 36-22 lead at the half before cruising to an 18 point win.

No. 18 Kansas 89, Howard 34: The score was 42-13 at the half. What else do you need to know?

No. 23 Harvard 67, Boston College 46: Six minutes into the game, Boston College was up 14-3. Harvard outscored them 64-32 the rest of the way.

Other notable scores:

– Davidson 75, Penn 70
– Butler 53, Green Bay 49
– Tennessee 86, Citadel 55
– Fordham 72, Georgia Tech 66
– Milwaukee 57, Valpo 55
– Cal 53, USC 49
– Alabama 72, Jacksonville 55
– Hofstra 83, Iona 75
– NC State 87, Campbell 81

Top performers:

Eli Carter, Rutgers: The freshman has 31 points, seven boards and seven assists as the Scarlet Knights knocked off No. 10 Florida. He hit many big shots, including a three at the end of the first overtime to tie the game and a fall away jumper in the second overtime that ended up being the difference maker.

Matthew Dellavedova and Rob Jones, St. Mary’s: I have a feeling we are going to be seeing a lot of stat lines like this out of the Gaels this season. Jones finished with 24 points, 15 boards and four assists while Dellavedova went for 18 points, 12 assists, six boards and four steals.

Will Barton, Memphis: Barton makes some poor decisions with his shot selection and he doesn’t always seem like the best leader on the floor, but I don’t think there are 10 guys in the country that play the game harder than him. He had another monster double-double on Thursday, finishing with 27 points and 13 boards in a 64-47 win over Robert Morris.

Tony Wroten, Washington: Wroten finished with 26 points, nine boards and four assists against Oregon State as the Huskies won by 15.

Keegan Bell, Chattanooga: The point guard came within one rebound of a triple-double, finishing the game with 10 points, nine boards and 16 assists in a win over Longwood.

Lance Goulbourne, Vanderbilt: Goulbourne had the most impressive line of anyone on the ‘Dores in their win over Marquette, finishing with 13 points, 16 boards, three steals and three blocks.

Lorenzo Brown and Richard Howell, NC State: Brown went for 24 points, eight assists and eight boards while Howell finished with 17 points and 17 rebounds.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Charlotte head coach Ron Sanchez resigns after winning CBI title

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ron Sanchez resigned as head coach of the Charlotte 49ers.

Sanchez took over the 49ers on March 19, 2018, inheriting a team coming off a 6-23 campaign. In five years Charlotte went 72-78 under Sanchez, highlighted by winning the College Basketball Invitational championship this past season, the Niners’ first post-season tournament title in school history.

The 22 wins this past season are the most for Charlotte since 2001.

“Ron took over a proud but struggling program and carefully rebuilt it into a 22-game winner. He has led with class, dignity and devotion to our young men,” Charlotte director of athletics Mike Hill said. “His decision to step down from Charlotte was a difficult one for him and everyone associated with our program. We wish him and his family every happiness.”

Hill said the team has already begun a national search for a replacement.

“This is a bittersweet day for me and my family as I step down to pursue other opportunities,” said Sanchez, who came the 49ers after working as an assistant coach at Virginia under Tony Bennett. “It has been a tremendous privilege to lead the 49ers basketball program over the past five years and I want to thank Niner Nation for its support. I will be forever grateful to my staff, players and the university.”

Marquette extends Shaka Smart’s contract through 2029-30 season

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MILWAUKEE — Marquette coach Shaka Smart has received a contract extension after leading the Golden Eagles to their first outright regular-season championship and tournament title in the Big East.

Smart’s contract now runs through the 2029-30 season. This is the first extension Smart has received since signing a six-year deal when he took over as Marquette’s coach in 2021.

Marquette didn’t release financial terms of Smart’s deal.

“In a very short period of time, Shaka and his staff have done a tremendous job of establishing a winning culture, both on and off the court,” athletic director Bill Scholl said in a statement. “Shaka’s vision for the program is focused on extended, sustainable success. The individuals who interact with the team on a daily basis are able to observe frequent examples of growth and the excitement around the program is contagious.”

Marquette has gone 48-20 in Smart’s two seasons and reached the NCAA Tournament each of those years.

The Golden Eagles went 29-7 and won the Big East’s regular-season and tournament championships last season after the league’s coaches had picked them to finish ninth out of 11 teams. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

Purdue’s Edey returning to school at NBA draft deadline; Kentucky’s Tshiebwe stays in

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Purdue’s Zach Edey decided it was the right call to go back to school instead of staying in the NBA draft. His predecessor as national player of the year, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, is sticking with his pro pursuit.

And Connecticut’s reign as NCAA champion will begin with multiple starters having left for the NBA draft and one returning after flirting with doing the same.

The 7-foot-4 Edey and UConn guard Tristen Newton were among the notable names to announce that they were withdrawing from the draft, the NCAA’s deadline for players who declared as early entrants to pull out and retain their college eligibility.

Edey’s decision came in social media posts from both the center and the Boilermakers program that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament behind Edey, The Associated Press men’s national player of the year.

But Tshiebwe announced late in the afternoon that he would remain in the draft after a college career that included being named the AP national player of the year in 2022.

For the current champions, Newton (10.1 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds) is returning after being one of four Huskies to declare for the draft after a run to UConn’s fifth national championship in early April. He scored a game-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds in the victory over San Diego State in the title game.

The others were Final Four Most Outstanding Player Adama Sanogo, wing Jordan Hawkins and versatile guard Andre Jackson Jr. Sanogo (17.8 points) and Hawkins (16.3) have made it clear they have closed the door on their college careers, while team spokesman Phil Chardis said that Jackson (6.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists) would remain in the draft.

The Huskies have 247sports’ No. 3-ranked recruiting class for next year to restock the roster, led by McDonald’s All-American point guard Stephon Castle.

The NBA’s withdrawal deadline is June 12, but is moot when it comes to college players returning to school due to the NCAA’s earlier timeline to retain playing eligibility.


TREY ALEXANDER: Creighton gets back a 6-4 guard who averaged 13.6 points and shot 41% from 3-point range in his first full season as a starter.

ADEM BONA: The 6-foot-10 forward and Pac-12 freshman of the year is returning to UCLA after starting 32 games as a rookie and averaging 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks – with coach Mick Cronin praising his toughness for “competing through multiple injuries for as long as he could” in a statement Wednesday.

EDEY: He averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 assists while shooting 60.7% from the field. His presence alone helps Purdue be a factor in the Big Ten race.

JOSIAH-JORDAN JAMES: The 6-6 guard went through the NBA G League Combine and had workouts with multiple teams before opting to return to Tennessee for a fifth season alongside teammate Santiago Vescovi.

JUDAH MINTZ: The 6-3 freshman averaged 16.3 points and 4.6 assists for Syracuse, ranking third among Division I freshmen in scoring behind only Alabama’s Brandon Miller and Lamar’s Nate Calmese.

OWLS’ RETURNEES: Florida Atlantic got good news after its surprise Final Four run with the return leading scorers Johnell Davis (13.8) and Alijah Martin (13.4). ESPN first reported their decisions, while Martin later posted a social media statement.

TERRENCE SHANNON JR.: Illinois got a big boost with Shannon announcing his night in a social media post. The 6-6 guard is returning for a fifth college season after averaging 17.2 points.

SPARTANS’ RETURNEES: Michigan State announced that guards Jaden Akins and A.J. Hoggard have withdrawn from the NBA draft. Standout guard Tyson Walker had previously withdrawn in April, setting up Tom Izzo to have five of his top scorers back.


KOBE BROWN: Missouri’s 6-8 swingman opted against returning for a fifth college season after being an AP first-team all-Southeastern Conference pick averaging 15.8 points last season.

JAYLEN CLARK: The third-year UCLA guard averaged 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while leading the Pac-12 with 2.6 steals en route to being named Naismith national defensive player of the year. Cronin called him a winner with strong intangibles who made UCLA “a better program because he chose to be a Bruin.”

BRICE SENSABAUGH: The Ohio State freshman averaged 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 31 games before missing his final two in the Big Ten Tournament due to a knee injury. He’s a potential first-round prospect.

TSHIEBWE: The 6-9, 260-pound forward is a tough interior presence who led the country in rebounds for two straight seasons (15.1 in 2022, 13.7 in 2023) while racking up 48 double-doubles. But he faces an uncertain next stop and is projected at best as a second-round prospect.

North Carolina transfer Caleb Love commits to Arizona

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Caleb Love is now headed to Arizona.

The North Carolina transfer tweeted, less than a month after decommitting from Michigan, that he will play next season with the Wildcats.

“Caleb is a tremendously talented guard who has significant experience playing college basketball at a high level,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said in a statement. “We look forward to helping Caleb grow his game at Arizona. And as we near the completion of the roster for the upcoming season, we feel great about how everything has come together. Now it’s time for the real work to start.”

A 6-foot-4 guard, Love averaged 14.6 points and 3.3 assists in three seasons at North Carolina. He averaged 17.6 points in seven NCAA Tournament games, helping lead the Tar Heels to the 2022 national championship game.

Love entered the transfer portal after leading North Carolina with 73 3-pointers as a junior and initially committed to Michigan. He decommitted from the Wolverines earlier this month, reportedly due to an admissions issue involving academic credits.

Love narrowed his transfer targets to three schools before choosing to play at Arizona over Gonzaga and Texas.

Love will likely start on a team that will have dynamic perimeter players, including Pelle Larsson, Kylan Boswell and Alabama transfer Jaden Bradley.

Biden celebrates LSU women’s and UConn men’s basketball teams at separate White House events


WASHINGTON – All of the past drama and sore feelings associated with Louisiana State’s invitation to the White House were seemingly forgotten or set aside Friday as President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed the championship women’s basketball team to the mansion with smiles, hugs and lavish praise all around.

The visit had once appeared in jeopardy after Jill Biden suggested that the losing Iowa team be invited, too. But none of that was mentioned as both Bidens heralded the players for their performance and the way they have helped advance women’s sports.

“Folks, we witnessed history,” the president said. “In this team, we saw hope, we saw pride and we saw purpose. It matters.”

The ceremony was halted for about 10 minutes after forward Sa’Myah Smith appeared to collapse as she and her teammates stood behind Biden. A wheelchair was brought in and coach Kim Mulkey assured the audience that Smith was fine.

LSU said in a statement that Smith felt overheated, nauseous and thought she might faint. She was evaluated by LSU and White House medical staff and was later able to rejoin the team. “She is feeling well, in good spirits, and will undergo further evaluation once back in Baton Rouge,” the LSU statement said.

Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, Biden said, more than half of all college students are women, and there are now 10 times more female athletes in college and high school. He said most sports stories are still about men, and that that needs to change.

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs and activities.

“Folks, we need to support women sports, not just during the championship run but during the entire year,” President Biden said.

After the Tigers beat Iowa for the NCAA title in April in a game the first lady attended, she caused an uproar by suggesting that the Hawkeyes also come to the White House.

LSU star Angel Reese called the idea “A JOKE” and said she would prefer to visit with former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, instead. The LSU team largely is Black, while Iowa’s top player, Caitlin Clark, is white, as are most of her teammates.

Nothing came of Jill Biden’s idea and the White House only invited the Tigers. Reese ultimately said she would not skip the White House visit. She and co-captain Emily Ward presented team jerseys bearing the number “46” to Biden and the first lady. Hugs were exchanged.

Jill Biden also lavished praise on the team, saying the players showed “what it means to be a champion.”

“In this room, I see the absolute best of the best,” she said, adding that watching them play was “pure magic.”

“Every basket was pure joy and I kept thinking about how far women’s sports have come,” the first lady added, noting that she grew up before Title IX was passed. “We’ve made so much progress and we still have so much more work to do.”

The president added that “the way in which women’s sports has come along is just incredible. It’s really neat to see, since I’ve got four granddaughters.”

After Smith was helped to a wheelchair, Mulkey told the audience the player was OK.

“As you can see, we leave our mark where we go,” Mulkey joked. “Sa’Myah is fine. She’s kind of, right now, embarrassed.”

A few members of Congress and Biden aides past and present with Louisiana roots dropped what they were doing to attend the East Room event, including White House budget director Shalanda Young. Young is in the thick of negotiations with House Republicans to reach a deal by the middle of next week to stave off what would be a globally calamitous U.S. financial default if the U.S. can no longer borrow the money it needs to pay its bills.

The president, who wore a necktie in the shade of LSU’s purple, said Young, who grew up in Baton Rouge, told him, “I’m leaving the talks to be here.” Rep. Garret Graves, one of the House GOP negotiators, also attended.

Biden closed sports Friday by changing to a blue tie and welcoming the UConn’s men’s championship team for its own celebration. The Huskies won their fifth national title by defeating San Diego State, 76-59, in April.

“Congratulations to the whole UConn nation,” he said.