Championship Week Total Recap

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After 14 hectic days, Championship Week is finally over. 31 tickets to the Big Dance were automatically punched in a two-week span which featured some monumental upsets, brilliant individual performances and classic battles. Before you fill out your brackets, take a look back at who did what over the past 14 days.

News and Notes:
– Of the 30 conference tournament champions, eleven were No.1-seeds, ten were No.2-seeds, five were No.3-seeds and two were No.7-seeds. One No.4-seed and one No.6-seed won as well.

– The two No.7-seed champions, Western Kentucky (Sun Belt) and Louisville (Big East), and the only No.6-seed champion Colorado were the only teams to win four games in four days en route to a conference tournament championship.

– Michigan State was the only No.1-seed in a BCS-conference to win the tournament championship.

– Missouri had the highest scoring average of any championship-winning team. They scored 259 points in three games, for an average of  86.3ppg.

– Four No.1-seeds did not win a single game in their conference tournaments. No.1 Temple lost to No.8 UMass, No.1 Middle Tennessee lost to No.9 Arkansas State, No.1 Savannah State lost to No.8 Bethune-Cookman and No.1 Washington lost to No.9 Oregon State.

– Four NCAA Tournament teams did not win a single conference tournament game. As mentioned, Temple lost to UMass, No.3 Iowa State lost to No.6 Texas, No.5 Kansas State lost to No.4 Baylor, and No.8 West Virginia lost to No.9 UConn.

– Three teams lost championship games on their home floor. No.1 Stony Brook lost to No.2 Vermont in the America East finals, No.1 Valaparaiso lost to No.3 Detroit in the Horizon League finals, and No.1 Bucknell lost to No.2 Lehigh in the Patriot League finals.

Player of the Week: C/F – Andrew Nicholson – St. Bonaventure’s
The 6-foot-8 native of Ontario was the primary reason the No.4-seed Bonnies won the Atlantic-10 Tournament. He scored 26 points in the championship game against Xavier, and on the week he averaged 23.3ppg, 10.0rpg, 5.3bpg and 1.3apg. The versatile big-man shot 55 percent from the field (21-of-38) including 50 percent (4-of-8) from beyond the arc. He was also shot a staggering 89 percent (24-of-27) from the foul line. Nicholson is projected as a late-first round selection in the 2012 NBA draft and will be a difficult match-up for Bernard James of Florida State, who the Bonnies play in the second round of the NCAA Tournament

All-Championship Week Team:
– G – C.J. McCollum – Lehigh:
The sharpshooting guard scored 71 points in three games to lead the No.2-seed Mountain Hawks to the Patriot League Tournament Championship. As good as McCollum was during the regular season, he was named Patriot League PoY, he was even better in the postseason. He averaged 23.6ppg, 6.0rpg, 5.0apg, 4.0spg, and 1.0bpg, and recorded a season-high seven steals against Colgate in the quarterfinals

– G – Casper Ware – Long Beach State:
The diminutive point guard scored 66 points in three games, leading the 49ers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007. The senior scored 33 points in the championship game against UC-Santa Barbara, the team that bounced the 49ers out of the past two Big West tournaments. He finished

– G – Mike James – Lamar: His 26 points in the Southland Tournament finals propelled the No.3-seed Cardinals to an unexpected birth in the NCAA Tournament. He finished the week averaging 20.3ppg, 5.3rpg, 2,7apg and 1.3spg.

– F – Doug McDermott – Creighton:
McDermott followed up his All-American caliber season with an equally impressive showing in the MVC Tournament. He scored 33 points in the championship game, which the Bluejays defeated Illinois State 83-79 in overtime. He averaged 24.3ppg during Championship Week, and shot 65 percent (24-of-37) from the field and 78 percent (18-of-23) from the foul line.

– F – Kim English – Missouri:
The senior swing-man was the driving force behind the Tigers’ dominant championship run in the Big-XII Tournament, the school’s final Big-XII tournament before jumping ship to the SEC. Coming off of a 27-point performance against Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals, English scored 23 points against Texas despite suffering a deep thigh contusion. He fought through the injury and led Tigers to a 90-75 victory over Baylor in the championship game, scoring 19 points, 15 of which came from behind the arc. English was also responsible for the photo of the week.

Team of the Week: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

The No.7-seed Hilltoppers went through a mid-season coaching change amidst a five-game losing streak. Despite this, they won four games in four days en route to the Sun Belt Tournament Championship. All four of their games were won by less than five points, and they defeated the No.2, No.3 and No.5 seeds in their tournament. Forward George Fant was the only freshman in the country to be named as a Tournament MVP. He lead the team in scoring over the four game stretch, averaging 14.9ppg.

Game of the Week: Marshall 105, Tulsa 100 3OT
Marshall’s DeAndre Kane scored a career-high 40 points as the Thundering Herd outlasted the Golden Hurricanes in the first triple-overtime game in Conference-USA tournament history. Neither team led by more than seven points, and the game featured 21 ties and 19 lead changes.

Championship Results:

America East Conference: (MVP: Brian Voelkel, Vermont)
#2 Vermont 51, #1 Stony Brook 43

Atlantic Coast Conference: (Michael Snaer, Florida State)
#3 Florida State 85, #1 North Carolina 82

Atlantic Sun Conference: (Kerron Johnson, Belmont)
#1 Belmont 83, #6 Florida Gulf Coast 69

Atlantic-10 Conference: (Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure’s)
#4 St. Bonaventure’s 67, #3 Xavier 56

Big East Conference: (Peyton Siva, Louisville)
#7 Louisville 50, #4 Cincinnati 44

Big Sky Conference: (Kareem Jamar, Montana)
#1 Montana 85, #2 Weber State 66

Big South Conference: (J.P. Primm, UNC-Asheville)
#1 UNC-Asheville 80, #7 VMI 64

Big-Ten Conference: (Draymond Green, Michigan State)
#1 Michigan State 68, #2 Ohio State 64

Big-XII Conference: (Kim English, Missouri)
#2 Missouri 90, #4 Baylor 75

Big West Conference : (Casper Ware, Long Beach State)
#1 Long Beach State 77, #3 Santa Barbara 64

Colonial Athletic Association: (Darius Theus, VCU)
#2 VCU 59, #1 Drexel 56

Conference-USA: (Joe Jackson, Memphis)
#1 Memphis 83, #5 Marshall 57

Horizon League: (Ray McCallum Jr., Detroit)
#3 Detroit 68, #1 Valparaiso 50

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference: (Erik Etherly, Loyola)
#2 Loyola (Md.) 48, #4 Fairfield 44

Mid-American Conference: (D.J. Cooper, Ohio)
#3 Ohio 64, #1 Akron 63

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference: (Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State)
#2 Norfolk State 73, #4 Bethune-Cookman 70

Missouri Valley Conference : (Doug McDermott, Creighton)
#2 Creighton 83, #4 Illinois State 79 OT

Mountain West Conference: (Drew Gordon, New Mexico)
#2 New Mexico 68, #1 San Diego State 59

Northeast Conference: (Julian Boyd, Long Island)
#1 Long Island 90, #3 Robert Morris 73

Ohio Valley Conference: (Donte Poole, Murrary State)
#1 Murray State 54, #2 Tennessee State 52

Pac-12 Conference: (Carlon Brown, Colorado)
#6 Colorado 53 #4 Arizona 51

Patriot League: (C.J. McCollum, Lehigh)
#2 Lehigh 82 #1 Bucknell 77

Southeastern Conference: (John Jenkins, Vanderbilt)
#3 Vanderbilt 71, #1 Kentucky 64

Southern Conference: (De’Mon Brooks, Davidson)
#1S Davidson 93, #3N Western Carolina 91 2OT

Southland Conference: (Mike James, Lamar)
#3 Lamar 70, #4 McNeese State 49

Southwestern Athletic Conference: (Cor-J Cox, Mississippi Valley State)
#1 Mississippi Valley State 71, #2 Texas Southern 69

Summit League: (Nate Wolters, South Dakota State)
#2 South Dakota State 52, #4 Western Illinois 50

Sun Belt Conference: (George Fant, Western Kentucky)
#7 Western Kentucky 74 #5 North Texas 70

Western Athletic Conference: (Wendell McKines, New Mexico State)
#2 New Mexico State 82, #5 Louisiana Tech 57

West Coast Conference: (Matthew Dellavedova, Saint Mary’s)
#1 Saint Mary’s 78, #2 Gonzaga 74 OT

 

Troy Machir is the managing editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @TroyMachir.

Alabama coach Nate Oats gets new 6-year, $30 million deal

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nate Oats has agreed to a new six-year, $30 million contract amid the program’s best regular season in decades.

Oats will average $5 million plus incentives over the deal running through the 2028-29 season under a deal approved Friday by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees Compensation Committee.

It makes him the fourth-highest paid basketball coach in the Southeastern Conference and among the Top 10 nationally, athletic director Greg Byrne said.

Oats, who is in his fourth season, will make $4.5 million for the first year with $200,000 annual raises. The fourth-ranked Crimson Tide (19-3, 9-0 SEC) has the team’s highest ranking this deep into a season since 1976-77.

“I am honored and humbled to receive a contract extension from the University of Alabama,” Oats said in a statement. “As I have said many times, my family and I love this community, the city of Tuscaloosa and the university.

“I am incredibly proud of what we have been able to build during our time at UA which is a direct reflection of the student-athletes, coaches and staff who have all played a big part in our success. I am excited for what’s happening in the future of our program and the direction we are heading.”

Alabama has gone 80-39 under Oats, winning the 2021 SEC regular season and tournament championships.

“Coach Oats has done an outstanding job leading our men’s basketball program, and we want him to continue doing so for many years to come,” Byrne said in a statement. “He and his staff have lifted the program back to national prominence and built a product that is exciting to be a part of for our team and for our fans.

“We were confident Nate was going to be an outstanding coach for us when we hired him, and he is not only that, but also a great leader of our young men.”

The new contract comes nearly three weeks after Alabama basketball player Darius Miles and another man were charged with capital murder following a fatal shooting near campus. Miles, a reserve forward, was removed from the team and suspended from the university following his arrest.

Duke women’s coach Kara Lawson says men’s ball used vs. FSU

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Duke coach Kara Lawson said her team played with a men’s basketball for the first half of a loss to Florida Stated.

The 16th-ranked Blue Devils lost to the Seminoles 70-57 in Tallahassee, Florida – the team’s second Atlantic Coast Conference loss of the season.

After her team beat Pittsburgh 53-44 , Lawson ended her news conference by speaking animatedly.

“This would never happen in a men’s game. This would never happen. It’s embarrassing for our sport,” she said.

The circumference of a women’s ball is about an inch smaller than a men’s ball and it is typically 2 ounces lighter. While it may not seem like a lot, that’s a big difference.

Lawson said throughout the first half, Duke players were “complaining about the ball.” The Blue Devils were 7 for 34 from the field in the opening 20 minutes of that game. They were 12 for 38 in the second half. Florida State made 10 of its 30 shots in the first two quarters and 14 of 31 in the second half.

“To have a game that, at the end of the season, could be the difference between a seed, between a title, my players don’t deserve that and neither do their players,” Lawson said. “It’s a complete failure. And you can figure out who the people I’m talking about that failed the sport and our players and both teams.”

Lawson said assistant coach Winston Gandy went to the scorer’s table at the half to check on the ball when he realized what the problem was. She said the game officials changed the ball to start the second half.

“We have concluded through our investigation that it was a men’s ball,” Lawson said. “The conference and Florida State is saying that it wasn’t.”

The ACC said it did a comprehensive review talking with game officials, administrators, the table crew and both schools.

“Following the thorough and objective review process, there was no evidence found to support the claim,” the conference said in a statement. “Per NCAA playing rules, there is no appeal or protest process.”

The ACC has instituted a procedural change that the game ball will be brought to the pregame meeting with the captains for approval.

“It’s very frustrating that (the game) … was not treated with the utmost respect that players on both teams deserve,” she said.

This wasn’t the first time this has happened in women’s basketball. In 2017, the College of Charleston played home games and practiced with men’s balls for most of its season until the error was was discovered.

“Let me be clear: Florida State beat us. They beat us playing with a men’s ball in the first half and a women’s ball in the second half. But I can’t say if we’d have played with a women’s ball in the first half and the second half that we would have won. But they can’t say that either,” Lawson said.

No. 1 South Carolina wins 28th straight 87-69 over ‘Cats

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dawn Staley’s pleased South Carolina had made its once-lopsided series with UConn more competitive the past few years.

She hopes her top-ranked team can accomplish another milestone when the teams meet for a top-five showdown on Sunday.

“It still stands true that we haven’t won up there,” Staley said.

Aliyah Boston had 14 points and 14 rebounds as South Carolina prepared for the top-five showdown with an 87-69 victory over Kentucky on Thursday night.

The Gamecocks (10-0 Southeastern Conference) improved to 22-0 and won their 28th straight, a run that included a 64-49 victory over the Huskies in Minneapolis last April to win the national championship.

Staley had lost her first seven games as South Carolina coach against UConn. The Gamecocks have won three of the past four matchups since.

“This particular class committed to each other,” Staley said. “When you have that type of commitment and you just want to win, you find yourself winning some games that you haven’t won before.”

Against Kentucky, reigning AP player of the year Boston extended her school mark with her 75th career double-double and moved within 11 of the SEC record of 86 games with a double-double held by LSU great Sylvia Fowles.

Things weren’t perfect for South Carolina, which fell behind early, then had its 15-point halftime lead cut to 54-48 midway through the third quarter.

Still, its dominant inside game – South Carolina outscored the Wildcats 62-14 in the paint – was more than enough to shut down Kentucky (10-12, 2-8), the last team to defeat the defending national champions at the SEC Tournament last March.

The Wildcats went on top 16-15 after a pair of baskets by Adebola Adeyeye.

That’s when South Carolina, fueled by its bench, took control with a 17-2 run. Ashlyn Watkins had three inside shots and Kamilla Cardoso scored four points during the surge.

The Wildcats used a 13-4 burst to start the third quarter to give South Carolina a few uncomfortable moments. But the Gamecocks got going once more with an 11-0 run to extend their margin.

Cardoso, the 6-foot-7 reserve, had 14 points and five of South Carolina’s 14 blocks. Defensive ace Brea Beal had 10 including both of the Gamecocks’ 3-pointers.

Beal thought the team held together well to blunt Kentucky’s runs and regain control. “I think it’s our mental aspect of the game and us believing in each other,” she said.

Robyn Benton had 24 points to lead Kentucky, which has lost three of its past four games.

Wildcats coach Kyra Elzy said South Carolina is difficult to match up with because of its deep bench. “They have depth after depth after depth,” she said. “They keep coming.”

BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: The Wildcats are the not the same team that featured two-time SEC player of the year Rhyne Howard the past few seasons. They have 10 newcomers – and six freshmen – who are still learning how to play against the SEC’s top teams like South Carolina.

South Carolina: Forgive the Gamecocks if their focus wasn’t fully on this one at first with a big week ahead. In an eight-game span, South Carolina will face No. 5 UConn and No. 3 LSU, a pair of high-profile games could expose any flaw – or show how powerful the Gamecocks are in chasing a second straight NCAA crown.

UCONN KARMA

South Carolina has opened 22-0 twice under coach Dawn Staley, in 2014-15 and the following year. Both runs ended against UConn. Next up for Gamecocks are the Huskies, although South Carolina has won three of the past four games over UConn including last April’s 64-49 victory to win the NCAA Tournament title.

UP NEXT

Kentucky returns home to face Alabama on Feb. 9.

South Carolina heads to No. 5 UConn on Sunday.

Miles, Citron lead No. 9 Irish past Boston College 72-59

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BOSTON — Olivia Miles and Sonia Citron had already scored 10 straight points to put away Boston College when they turned their attention to other things.

“I told Sonia I needed two more assists for the double-double. And she was like, `All right, I’ve got you,”‘ Miles said after helping No. 9 Notre Dame beat BC 72-59 on Thursday night.

“That’s just kind of our communication on the court,” said Miles, who found Citron for baskets on the next two Irish possessions to complete a 14-0 run – with all 14 points from Miles and Citron. “We just really play off each other really well.

Miles scored 22 points with 10 assists and eight rebounds, and Citron scored 23 for the Irish (18-2, 9-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Maria Gakdeng scored 16 points, T’Yana Todd had 13 and Andrea Daly scored 10 with eight rebounds for BC (14-11, 4-8). The Irish beat BC at home 85-48 on New Year’s Day but hadn’t won in Chestnut Hill since 2019.

“This is such a tough place to play,” said Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey, whose team faces No. 16 Duke next. “We’ll celebrate it until about 12:30, and then we’ve got film. Tomorrow we start focusing on Duke.”

BC came within five points, 55-50, before the Irish ran off 14 points in a row – nine by Citron, and five by Miles. That put an end to what had been a back-and-forth game in which the Irish opened big leads and then frittered them away.

“I always feel like we’re close,” BC coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said. “They’re young; I think consistency comes with experience.

“I think it’s a big improvement from the first time we played Notre Dame,” she said. “I still want to see more, and I want to see us grow up as fast as humanly possible because I think we do have a dangerous team when we going well.”

Notre Dame led by 11 in the first quarter and held a 38-30 lead with two minutes gone in the third. BC scored 13 of the next 18 points, capitalizing on back-to-back Irish turnovers to tie it 43-all with three minutes left in the quarter.

But Natalija Marshall put back the rebound of her own miss, Miles drove to the basket, Maddy Westbeld added a pair of baskets and then Miles stole the ball and found Citron on the fast break to make it 53-43.

BIG PICTURE

Notre Dame bounced back from their first league loss of the season, a 69-65 defeat at North Carolina State on Sunday. Now they face No. 16 Duke.

The Eagles, who beat Pittsburgh on Sunday to snap a five-game losing streak, were looking for their second victory over a Top 25 team this season, having also beaten then-No. 10 N.C. State on Jan. 5.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame: Hosts No. 16 Duke on Sunday.

Boston College: Visits Syracuse on Sunday.

No. 16 Xavier beats No. 17 Providence 85-83 in OT thriller

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CINCINNATI — Jack Nunge had 23 points and 14 rebounds as No. 16 Xavier held off No. 17 Providence 85-83 in an overtime thriller Wednesday night.

Colby Jones and Souley Boum each scored 20 for the Musketeers, who won a first-place showdown in the Big East without injured forward Zach Freemantle.

Noah Locke had 22 points and Ed Croswell added 21 for Providence (17-6, 9-3), which had beaten Xavier three straight times.

A layup by Boum put the Musketeers (18-5, 10-2) ahead 82-79 with 51 seconds remaining in overtime. A turnover by the Musketeers led to a layup by Devin Carter that cut Xavier’s lead to one with 24 seconds left.

Boum hit one of two free throws, and Jared Bynum’s 3-point attempt from the left corner rimmed out at the buzzer as the Musketeers held on.

Xavier played its first game without Freemantle, the team’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer. He is expected to miss four weeks with a left foot injury, the same foot that required surgery in 2021.

Jerome Hunter, who has excelled off the bench for the Musketeers, made his first start of the season and scored nine points with eight rebounds. Xavier had used the same starting lineup in each of its previous 11 Big East games.

Things started well for the Musketeers. who went on a 12-1 run to build a 25-11 lead.

With Boum on the bench with two fouls, the Musketeers didn’t have a field goal in the final 4:18 of the first half and the Friars pulled to 39-35 at halftime.

Providence outscored Xavier 8-2 to start the second half and took its first lead, 43-41, with 17:41 left.

There was a frantic finish to the second half, with Adam Kunkel’s 3-pointer putting Xavier ahead 76-73 with 55 seconds left. But then Bynum banked in a tying 3 and Boum missed two long shots to send the game to overtime.

BIG PICTURE

Providence: The Friars, who won their first Big East regular-season title last year, entered the night tied atop the conference standings with Xavier and No. 14 Marquette, which hosted Villanova later. Providence was picked fifth in the preseason.

Xavier: Hunter, who averages 14 minutes, left with three minutes remaining in OT with an apparent cramp in his right leg. With Freemantle out, Hunter played 36 minutes.

UP NEXT

Providence: Hosts last-place Georgetown on Wednesday.

Xavier: Will host St. John’s on Saturday.