Championship Week Total Recap


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.

NCAA steering farther and farther away from harsh penalties

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The days of postseason bans and crippling scholarship reductions to punish schools for breaking NCAA rules appear to be winding down.

Memphis was placed on three years of probation earlier this week with a public reprimand and fined for NCAA violations related to the recruitment and short college career of James Wiseman, who is about to start his third season with the Golden State Warriors. The NCAA also wrapped up an investigation of Air Force football for breaking the COVID-19 recruiting quiet period.

No postseason bans or scholarship reductions in either case. The Independent Accountability Review Panel, the NCAA’s outside arm of enforcement, said in its decision in the Memphis case that it did not want to punish current athletes.

That sentiment is widespread in college athletics these days, even with millions of dollars suddenly flowing to athletes from various sources for their celebrity endorsements amid concerns over improper inducements. In fact, it is on the way to being codified: Last month, the Division I Board of Directors adopted three proposals to change the infractions process.

The board also committed to “identifying appropriate types of penalties and modifying current penalty ranges, including identifying potential alternative penalties to postseason bans.”

Trying to predict what those alternatives will be is difficult, but if the goal is to avoid harming athletes and others who were not involved in the violations the options are limited.

“I emphatically believe it’s the wrong direction to go,” said Nebraska law professor Jo Potuto, who spent nine years on the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“If you’re going to deter, the punishment has to fit the offense, right?” Potuto added. “You’re not going to deter serious violations with penalties that are not perceived to be really serious.”

Since January 2020, there have been at least 45 major infractions cases decided by the NCAA. Of those, at least 15 involved Level I allegations, the most serious and those carrying the most severe penalties; six cases resulted in some kind of postseason ban, with four of them self-imposed.

The Memphis case went through the IARP, which was created in response to the FBI’s investigation of college basketball corruption but is now being discontinued. Sunsetting the IARP was among several recommendations put forth by the NCAA’s Division I Transformation Committee earlier this year and recently adopted by the board.

As college sports moves toward less centralized governance by the NCAA and deregulation in general, the hope is to create a more streamlined enforcement process.

If justice is swift, the thinking goes, it is more likely to be applied fairly.

“The reality is the current system is broken,” said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Jim Phillips, a member of the transformation committee. “I think everyone in the association, in the enterprise, understands it. When (an investigation) takes the amount of time that it does now and you start to penalize young men and women that were high school, if not middle school-age (when the violation occurred), it’s not an effective process.”

The IARP is still handling cases stemming from the FBI probe involving Louisville, Arizona, Kansas and LSU. Those have been in the NCAA enforcement pipeline for years. A related case against Oklahoma State did not go through IARP and the Cowboys did end up with a postseason ban.

David Ridpath, a professor at Ohio University and former compliance director for several schools, said even though the IARP failed, NCAA enforcement would be best handled by an independent organization.

“No system is perfect, but if you’re going to have an enforcement system at the end of the day you need to provide basic due-process protections and then you have to be able to consistently punish people,” he said.

In the Memphis case, Wiseman received $11,500 from Hardaway in 2017 while Hardaway was coach at a local high school. Hardaway was hired as Memphis’ coach in March 2018, and Wiseman committed to the Tigers in November 2018.

The NCAA accused Memphis of four Level I and two Level II violations, including lack of institutional control, head coach responsibility and failure to monitor. In the past, those types of allegations could strike fear into athletic directors but probation and fines seem much more likely to be the outcome now instead of the sweeping scholarship sanctions, vacated victories and postseason ban that Southern California received in 2010 for the Reggie Bush improper benefits case. Those penalties set USC football back years.

In the end, the IARP essentially reduced the charges against Memphis and cleared Hardaway of wrongdoing.

While the NCAA is losing sway in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court ruling, with more power being shifted to its member conferences, it also remains clear the schools still want the association to handle enforcement.

But what exactly is being enforced?

Athletes can now be paid for endorsement and sponsorship deals and college sports is still waiting on and hoping for help from federal lawmakers to regulate name, image and likeness compensation.

Plus, as revenue skyrockets for schools at the top of major college sports, the NCAA is trending toward fewer restrictions on what financial benefits can be provided to athletes.

“Until we have clarity and certainty on what schools and boosters and athletes can and can’t do, I think many recognize that it’s dangerous to hand down significant punishments when it’s not clear what you can and can’t do,” said Gabe Feldman, director of the sports law program at Tulane. “And I think unless you have clear rules, it’s hard to harsh punishment.”

Still, punishments directed at schools (fines) and coaches (suspensions) could become steeper and longer, Feldman said.

Potuto said with so much money flowing into the top of college athletics, it is doubtful fines could be large enough to be a true deterrent. While she understands the desire to not have current athletes pay for the sins of previous regimes, loosened transfer rules could mitigate the potential harm.

“I will make one prediction: If there is a move to impose penalties much less frequently in five years there is going to be a move to put them back in,” Potuto said.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will play its annual Blue-White men’s basketball scrimmage in Eastern Kentucky to benefit victims of the devastating summer floods.

The school announced that the Oct. 22 event at Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville will feature a pregame Fan Fest. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

Wildcat players will also participate in a community service activity with local organizations in the relief effort.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.”

The scrimmage traditionally is held at Rupp Arena. It will occur eight days after its Big Blue Madness public workout at Rupp.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies


SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.