Friday’s Shootaround: Wacky night in CBB


Apparently, somewhere along the way we got lost and missed the exit for Nashville along I-40.

Because based on the Thursday night action in college hoops, we didn’t end up in the Music City, we ended up trapped on the island from LOST. Here’s a quick recap of the wackiness from around the country:

No. 12 Indiana 73, No. 13 Michigan 71: I think its safe to say that if Indiana somehow managed to convince the NCAA Tournament committee to let them play every game in Bloomington, they would be the hands-down favorite to win the national title. The Wolverines became yet the latest victim to fall in a nail-biter at Assembly Hall. Christian Watford (25 points, seven boards, four assists) and Cody Zeller (18 points on 8-10 shooting) carried the Hoosiers to a lead that got as big as 15, but Indiana could never put away a scrappy Michigan team despite never trailing in the game. After Michigan was able to tie the game at 46 early in the second half, Zeller and Verdell Jones sparked a 19-9 surge that gave the Hoosiers another commanding lead. Michigan’s zone was frustrating enough to get them tied once again at 66, but six straight point from Verdell Jones put the game away.

A key for Michigan right now: help Tim Hardaway Jr. regain his perimeter stroke. The talented sophomore is shooting 4-33 from three over his last five games.

Louisiana-Lafayette 72, Western Kentucky 70 OT: Feel free to try and figure this one out: the game-winning basket was scored with six men on the floor.

DePaul 84, Pitt 81: The Panthers had every opportunity to put this game away. They led by as much as 12 points in the first half, and while Oliver Purnell’s uptempo system and the 26 points (and six assists, five steals and four boards) the Blue Demons got from Brandon Young kept DePaul in the game and even got them the lead in the second half, Jamie Dixon’s team was able to manage a four point lead with 17.2 seconds left. That’s when it all went to hell. Young scored on a driving layup, and after Isaiah Epps missed two free throws, Young scored on another driving layup, this time drawing a foul and hitting the free throw with 1.3 seconds left. Pitt threw away the ensuing inbounds and Young followed that up with two more freebies for the final margin.

I think we can safely say Pitt’s season has completely imploded. They are still playing without Travon Woodall, which does make a difference as the Panthers are left with the unenviable option of using Ashton Gibbs or an inexperienced freshmen or sophomore at the point. Without Woodall, Pitt doesn’t have that late-clock creator that we have come to associate with Pitt — Levance Fields, Carl Krauser, etc. — and his return will help. But Woodall alone will not make this team better than atrocious defensively and it certainly won’t bring back the swagger and the toughness, both mental and physical, this group is lacking.

South Florida 74, Villanova 57: Pitt isn’t the only powerhouse Big East program currently sitting at 0-3 in league play. They are joined by the Wildcats, who inexplicably lost by 17 at home to the Bulls. Granted, USF is better than they have been in the past, especially with Jawanza Poland healthy (he had 20 points on Thursday night). But Villanova should not be losing by 17 at home to this team.

Jay Wright is trying to fix what plagues this team. He benched both Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek for an incident in practice, opting to start four freshmen alongside Mouphtaou Yarou, and it worked initially, as Villanova led early. But the Wildcats simply don’t have the offensive talent to win this season. Chew on this stat — the Wildcats lost this badly at home and only committed six turnovers. They just can’t score or stop their opponents from scoring. That’s a bad combination. Villanova needs leadership, and they aren’t getting it out of Wayns, Cheek or Yarou.

Penn State 65, Purdue 45: I understand that winning on the road is difficult in conference play, regardless of opponent, but in no way, shape or form should Purdue ever lose in this manner to Penn State. The Boilermakers were never in this one, as the Nittany Lions jumped out to a big lead early and never looked back. Frankly, your opponent doesn’t matter when you are only scoring 45 points and shooting 31% from the floor.

Pac-12: Take a look at the scores from the Pac-12 games tonight and see if you can comprehend them. Because I surely cannot:

– Colorado 87, Washington 69
– Oregon State 92, Cal 85
– Oregon 78, Stanford 67
– UCLA 65, Arizona 58
– Utah 62, Washington State 60 OT
– Arizona State 62, USC 53

I … I just … I don’t know.

It is incredibly difficult for me to imagine a scenario where the Pac-12 doesn’t send at least two, and possibly three, teams to the NCAA Tournament, but the way that things are progressing, the possibility of the left coast’s power conference turning into a one-bid league is looking more and more realistic.

On Thursday night, all four of the teams with a shot at getting an at-large bid lost. I’m in a generous mood, so I can give Arizona the benefit of the doubt for losing to UCLA. The Bruins have been better defensively since Reeves Nelson was dismissed, UCLA is starting to get some consistent production out of their perimeter attack and Joshua Smith looks like he is trying to get into shape; Howland said after the game Smith is in the best shape he has been since coming to UCLA. I can also forgive Cal for losing at Oregon State. The Beavers are a good team and even better at home.

But Washington should never lose to Colorado by 18. And Stanford, if they really are interested in something more than the NIT, needs to beat team like Stanford, regardless of where the game is play.

The two weirdest scores, however, came from teams that aren’t relevant. Utah, who was coming off of a 73-33 loss to Colorado, beat Washington State in overtime. The Arizona State, who was missing three players due to a suspension, won at USC.

I think we know which regular season race will be the wildest.

Grambling 60, Alabama A&M 55: Grambling won a game!

The rest of the top 25:

No. 20 UNLV 89, UCB 57; No. 25 San Diego State 83, San Diego Christian 52: Anyone else ready for these two MWC schools to stop playing cupcakes and start playing each other? The first matchup is January 14th.

Other notable scores:

– George Mason 63, Old Dominion 54
– Wofford 75, Charleston 58
– St. Mary’s 78, San Diego 72
– Gonzaga 73, Pepperdine 45
– BYU 73, LMU 65
– LBSU 55, Cal Poly 50

Top performers:

Tony Mitchell, North Texas: The other Tony Mitchell can ball too. He had 34 points and 16 boards in a win over South Alabama.

Brandon Young, DePaul: Young had 26 points, six assists, five steals and four boards.

Christian Watford, Indiana: 25 points, seven boards and four assists on 8-11 shooting against Michigan.

Jud Dillard, Zack Swansey and Kevin Murphy, Tennessee Tech: Those three combined for 78 of TTU’s 92 points in a win over Tennessee State.

Rob Jones, St. Mary’s: Jones had 31 points and 12 boards in a win over San Diego.

Devoe Joseph, Oregon: Joseph had 30 points and seven boards after going 1-13 his last time out as he helped the Ducks knock off Stanford.

Chaz Williams, UMass: 20 points, eight boards and seven assists in a win over Fordham.

Keegan Bell, Chattanooga: Bell had eight points and 12 assists as the Mocs knocked off Western Carolina. He only turned the ball over twice.

Tobin Anderson leaving FDU to replace Rick Pitino at Iona

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NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — Tobin Anderson is leaving NCAA Cinderella Fairleigh Dickinson after one fairy-tale season and replacing Rick Pitino at Iona.

Iona athletic director Matt Glovaski announced the hiring a day after Pitino left to take the job at St. John’s of the Big East Conference.

Anderson led the No. 16 seed Knights to a win over No. 1 Purdue in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament last week, only the second time a No. 16 seed has knocked off a top-seeded team. UMBC beat No. 1 Virginia in 2018.

“Iona University represents everything my family and I were looking for in a school, a basketball program and a campus atmosphere,” Anderson said in a statement. “Our goal is to build upon the tremendous tradition of Iona basketball and elevate the program to greater heights.”

Iona of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference was knocked out of this year’s tournament by UConn on Friday.

“We have long known him to be a fantastic coach and an even better person,” Glovaski said. “Now, with his team’s impressive run in the NCAA Tournament, everyone paying attention to March Madness also knows this. We’re delighted that he will be at the helm of our men’s basketball program.”

Anderson led FDU to a 21-16 overall record and 10-6 in Northeast Conference play. The Knights lost to Merrimack in the conference title game but got the NCAA berth because Merrimack was ineligible to compete as a transitioning school from Division II.

FDU, one of the shorter teams in the 68-team field, beat Texas Southern in a First Four game and followed that with the upset over Purdue. Florida Atlantic knocked the Knights out of the tournament on Sunday.

FDU had a 4-22 record in 2021-22. Anderson was hired after running the program at St. Thomas Aquinas, located less than 25 miles (40 km) from Iona’s campus. In nine seasons, he turned the team into a perennial Top 25 program in Division II after inheriting a team that won just five games prior to his hire.

Anderson got his first taste of Division I coaching, serving as an assistant at Siena for two seasons from 2011–2013. Before his time at Siena, Anderson was a head coach at the Division III level at Hamilton College and Clarkson University in upstate New York. He worked as an assistant at Clarkson and Le Moyne College.

Anderson graduated from Wesleyan University in 1995.

Siegrist leads Villanova into Sweet 16 for second time ever

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VILLANOVA, Pa. – As Maddy Siegrist hugged and high-fived every Villanova fan down the front row of seats in a wild celebration following the biggest win of her career, it was hard for the All-American not to think about far the Wildcats have come in just four seasons.

Siegrist’s journey saw her dominate as the program’s career leading scorer, lead Villanova into the kind of elite team that can pack a postseason game in their own house and now this milestone, a Sweet 16 berth for the first time in 20 years.

“Everyone wants to leave their mark,” Siegrist said.

Siegrist sure left hers on the Main Line.

Siegrist scored 31 points, had four blocks, four steals and sent the winningest team in Villanova history into the Sweet 16 for the second time in program history with a 76-57 win over 12th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast on Monday night.

“What Maddy has done and continues to do is off the charts,” coach Denise Dillon said.

The fourth-seeded Wildcats (30-6) won their record 30th game and celebrated the March Madness milestone in front of another packed house at the Pavilion. Siegrist, the first-team AP All-American, made 13 of 24 shots in what was likely her final home game. The four-year star has left some wiggle room that she could return for a fifth season, but all signs point toward her playing in the WNBA this summer.

One thing is sure, Siegrist is headed to the Sweet 16.

The Wildcats are going for the first time since the 2003 team reached the Elite Eight — the coach of that team, Harry Perretta, watched this one from behind the basket — and they will No. 9 Miami, which upset No. 1 seed Indiana.

“To me, Villanova is a Final Four-level team,” FGCU coach Karl Smesko said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they get there.”

He’s not the only one. President Joe Biden picked the Wildcats to win it all in his March Madness bracket.

One sign from the student section said it all, “It’s On! March Maddyness.” Another fan shouted during halftime warmups, “No one can guard you, Maddy!”

Siegrist checked out to a rousing standing ovation with 1:57 left in the game and the star forward hugged every teammate down the bench. Her teammates mobbed her after the final horn as the Wildcats danced on the court and flashed the “V” sign for their fans.

“If this is my last game at home, this is a great way to go out,” Siegrist said.

Siegrist sank two free throws with 5:18 left in the third quarter to give her 21 points, which made it 36 straight games this season for the two-time Big East Player of the Year with at least 20 points.

The Wildcats actually scored the first eight points of the game before Siegrist got on the board. Siegrist may be the star who topped 1,000 points this season alone but she’s had plenty of help along the way.

Against the Eagles (33-4), it was Lucy Olsen’s shot to turn this one into another March victory. The 5-foot-9 guard who averaged 12.9 points scored nine in the first quarter. The Wildcats seemed poised to run away with this one, blocking FGCU’s first two shots, grabbing every rebound and loose ball raced to a 26-11 lead.

But a 3:28 scoreless drought trimmed Villanova’s halftime lead 39-33.

Here’s the thing, Siegrist wasn’t going to let Villanova lose on its home court and become the latest men’s or women’s tournament single-digit seed to suffer an upset. Ole Miss stunned top-seeded Stanford a night earlier to somewhat open up the women’s bracket.

With Hall of Fame coach Jay Wright watching from behind the team bench, the Wildcats showed again what makes them a dangerous matchup in March.

The nation’s leading scorer, Siegrist converted a three-point play and then picked the ball clean on a steal and layup that stretched Villanova’s lead to 46-33.

“She’s the best player,” Smesko said. “To game plan for her in one day is extraordinarily difficult.”

Each time FGCU tried to make a run, Siegrist and Olsen pushed back. Olsen buried a 3 late in the third for a 61-41 lead and the road to the Sweet 16 was completely clear. She finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

“I wouldn’t want to win it with anyone else,” Olsen said.


Florida Gulf Coast: Sha Carter led them with 11 points. The Eagles are looking for their first Sweet 16 in team history. They still have the record for overall wins in the tournament by a 12 seed with three.

“We were a little rattled,” Carter said.

Villanova: Dillon won her 400th career game and 71st at Villanova. She went 329-211 in 17 years at Drexel. The Wildcats won 24 of their final 26 home games. That helped them win 30 games, topping the 1981-82 team that went 29-4 and advanced to the AIAW Final Four.


The Wildcats are headed to Greenville, South Carolina for the Sweet 16.

Miami holds off Indiana rally to advance in March Madness

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Destiny Harden made a shot in the lane with 3.5 seconds left to send ninth-seeded Miami past top-seeded Indiana 70-68 on Monday night, lifting the Hurricanes to their first Sweet 16 since 1992.

The Hoosiers (28-4) became the second No. 1 seed to be eliminated in two nights. Stanford was upset Sunday on its home court.

Harden finished with 18 points and Lola Pendade had 19 points for the Hurricanes (21-12), who never trailed.

Indiana tied the score at 68 on Yarden Garzon’s 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds left but couldn’t get the defensive stop it needed and turned the ball over on the final possession to seal their only home loss of the season.


While the Hoosiers head home earlier than expected, the Hurricanes head to Greenville, South Carolina, for a showdown with fourth-seeded Villanova, which was ranked No. 10 in the final Associated Press Top 25.

March Madness: Van Lith and Louisville pummel Texas

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AUSTIN, Texas – Hailey Van Lith scored 21 points and No. 5 Louisville rolled over No. 4 Texas 73-51 on the Longhorns’ home court Monday night to send the the Cardinals to the Sweet 16 for the sixth NCAA Tournament in row.

In a matchup of two teams that began the season in the Top 10 only to all out of the rankings before regrouping late, the Cardinals smothered the Longhorns and standout point guard Rori Harmon all night, stretching a 14-point halftime lead to 21 by end of the third quarter.

Louisville (25-11) led by as much as 27 early in the fourth. The win sends the Cardinals to the Seattle 4 Region to play No. 8-seed Mississippi, which upset No. 1 Stanford on Sunday.

“Coach (Jeff Walz) told us, ‘How many times can you quiet down the crowd,’” Van Lith said.

The Cardinals simply pushed around the Big 12 regular season co-champions and seemed to relish the chance to do it on the road. Louisville didn’t host the first two rounds of the tournament for the first time since 2015, excluding the 2021 pandemic tournament played entirely in Texas.

“We wanted to go out and prove we’re the same Louisville tough that this program has been for a long time now,” Van Lith said.

Harmon, who missed the matchup between the teams when Louisville beat the Longhorns in November, was rarely a factor in the rematch.

Van Lith, Mykasa Robinson and Chrislyn Carr allowed Harmon three assists in the first quarter, but no more. She also had five turnovers before limping off the court late in the fourth quarter with an apparent ankle injury.

“We just really tried to wear her out,” Robinson said.

DeYona Gaston scored 12 points to lead Texas (26-10) after sitting for nearly the entire first quarter because of an early foul.

Louisville took control of the game with a 9-0 run to start the second quarter, punctuated by 6-foot-5 center Josie Williams’3-pointer from the top of the arc, and the Cardinals led by 14 at halftime.

Texas cut the deficit under 10 early in the third before Van Lith and Louisville answered with another 9-0 run. Robinson spied Carr in the corner on a fast break for a 3-pointer that put the Cardinals up 49-31.

“I hate that we went out like we did today,” Texas coach Vic Schaefer said.

“Toughness has been kind of an issue all year long. It’s been an Achilles that showed up again today,” Schaefer said.


Louisville: The Cardinals’ frontcourt of Liz Dixon, Olivia Cochran and Morgan Jones combined for 22 points but most importantly disrupted everything Texas could do near the basket. The Longhorns were just 7 of 22 on layups. Louisville outscored Texas in the paint 38-20.

Texas: With the loss, Texas coach Vic Schaefer had his string of NCAA Elite Eight appearances snapped at five. Schaefer took Mississippi State to three straight, advancing twice to the Final Four, before accepting the job at Texas. The Longhorns have not reached the Final Four since 2003, when Hall of Famer Jody Conradt was coach.

March Madness rout as Lady Vols reach second straight Sweet 16

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee is starting to look a lot more like the dominating Lady Vols of old, especially after a second straight rout to open the NCAA Tournament.

Reserves Sara Puckett and Jillian Hollingshead led five Lady Vols in double figures with 13 points apiece as fourth-seeded Tennessee dominated No. 12 seed Toledo 94-47 Monday night to advance to their second straight Sweet 16 in the Seattle 3 Regional.

This is the first time since 2015 and 2016 that Tennessee (25-11) has reached consecutive Sweet 16s and the first in coach Kellie Harper’s fourth season. The Lady Vols now have reached the Sweet 16 for the 36th time – most for any men’s or women’s team – as the only program to play in all 41 NCAA Tournaments.

“We’re so excited to be going back to the Sweet 16, and I’m really proud of our team and how we’ve played in these first two games,” Harper said. “I think we’ve played really well from top to bottom, our starters and our bench.”

Puckett was 5-of-7, making all three of her 3s. Rickea Jackson and Jasmine Powell each added 12, and Jordan Horston had 10 points and eight rebounds. The Lady Vols were 11-of-21 from 3 (52.4%), one made 3 away from matching their season high. Seven different players made at least one 3.

Yet the Lady Vols smothered the quick Rockets, holding them to 29% shooting (18 of 62). Harper said defense set the tone.

“To me, the bigger growth is the defensive end and our attention to detail defensively, our aggressiveness, our focus and and really just the belief,” Harper said. “And that’s where we can win games.”

Toledo (29-5) snapped a program record 17-game winning streak and missed out on its first Sweet 16. The Rockets lost for the first time since Jan. 18 at Bowling Green, which was avenged in the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship for their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2017.

Rockets coach Tricia Cullop said Tennessee’s size, athleticism and length is tough to prepare for in one day. She said they also needed the Lady Vols not to shoot well from 3 because of the size disadvantage.

“That didn’t work out so well,” Cullop said. “They were very hot from 3, which made it very difficult for us to match up, because we needed the double team in order to match up on the post.”

Quinesha Lockett led Toledo with 19 points.

“We really just tried our best to pack it in the paint, and once we did that they was hitting 3s, so really nothing we could do about that,” Lockett said.

Tennessee never trailed and improved to 30-3 all-time in the second round and 24-1 on the court named for the late Pat Summitt.

The Lady Vols, who won at least 25 games for a 38th season, scored the first three points. Toledo got within 5-4 on a Lockett layup. Then Tennessee took control and led 19-8 after the first quarter.

Karoline Striplin knocked down a pair of 3s within the first 50 seconds of the second, and Tennessee hit 6-of-8 beyond the arc in the quarter. The last came from Puckett with 41.7 seconds remaining for their biggest lead yet at 50-21 before going into halftime up 50-22.

“We knew what we needed to come in here and do, and we did exactly that,” Puckett said. “We’re not going to let our foot off the gas. That’s a big confidence boost for the team, but also me personally.”

The Lady Vols led 72-40 going into the fourth. Then they outscored Toledo 22-7 to finish, not allowing the Rockets to score even a single bucket over the final 6:11.


Toledo: The Rockets head home still looking for the program’s first Sweet 16 berth. They are 4-9 all-time in NCAA Tournament play, Cullop will have her leading scorer back in Lockett along with four juniors, including starters Khera Goss, Sammi Mikonowicz and Jessica Cook. … The Rockets had hoped to use their speed to counter Tennessee’s height but were outscored 17-4 on the fast break.

Tennessee: The Lady Vols have locked down on defense in the first two games. They held Saint Louis to 50 points in the first round, the fewest they had allowed in this tournament since giving up 46 to Northwestern State on March 22, 2014. Then nearly matched that tournament low in this game as they dominated across the court.

According to ESPN, this is just the fourth time a team has won each of its first two games in the tournament by 45 points each. UConn did it in 2001, 2010 and 2016, winning the national title in 2010 and 2016.


With this win, the Lady Vols joined the men who will play in the East Regional on Thursday night in New York. It’s the seventh time in school history both the women and men have reached the regional semifinals and first since 2016.

“I will say that right now is a lot of excitement on Rocky Top obviously with our men in the Sweet 16 as well,” Harper said. “It’s just a lot of fun, great vibes.”


The Lady Vols get a rematch in the Sweet 16. They lost 59-56 on Dec. 4 to then-No. 9 Virginia Tech as part of the Jimmy V Women’s Classic in Knoxville without forward Rickea Jackson. That also was center Tamari Key’s last game before blood clots ended her season.