Late Night Snacks: Villanova survives Syracuse while UNC, SMU get big wins


GAME OF THE DAY: No. 7 Villanova 82, Syracuse 77 OT

The Orange had complete control of this game. Villanova never led in regulation. They did trail by 14 in the second half before using an 8-0 run sparked entirely by Darrun Hilliard to kick-start a comeback that culminated in Villanova scoring five points in ten seconds to force overtime.

This is the kind of loss that a rebuilding Syracuse team is going to feel in March. This was their marquee non-conference win slipping through their fingers.


1. No. 24 North Carolina 82, No. 12 Ohio State 74: North Carolina jumped out to a big lead before letting Ohio State back into it late. We had Scott Phillips on site for the game. Here is his story from Chicago.

2. No. 1 Kentucky 83, UCLA 42: Kentucky absolutely embarrassed the Bruins on Saturday afternoon, jumping out to a 24-0 lead and burying UCLA 41-7 at the break. UCLA is a borderline tournament team this season, but they still have some talent on that roster. And that should scare you. Kentucky has now played three games against elite programs on national television, blowing out both Kansas and UCLA and beating Texas by 12. When the Wildcats come to play, who can beat them?

3. SMU 62, Michigan 51: Michigan’s losing streak has been extended for four games, as the Wolverines lost to an SMU team that has been one of the nation’s most disappointing teams this season. Three of those four losses, including Saturday’s, came in Ann Arbor. Given the relative weakness of the Big Ten outside Wisconsin, it’s time to start considering the idea that Michigan is not a tournament team. For SMU, this was an important win, but not as important as the news they got yesterday: Markus Kennedy is now eligible. He finished with five points and three boards off the bench.


1. Terry Rozier, Louisville: Montrezl Harrell got tossed at halftime after this skirmish. He had been all of Louisville’s offense to that point, but Rozier took over in the second half, scoring 26 of his 32 points after halftime.

2. Rayvonte Rice, Illinois: Rice scored 19 points and buried this buzzer-beater to give the Illini a 62-59 win in the Braggin’ Rights game over Missouri.

3. Troy Williams, Indiana: Williams had 22 points, 11 boards, three assists, two steals and two blocks as the Hoosiers knocked off No. 23 Butler, 82-73, at the Crossroads Classic.

4. Kelly Oubre, Kansas: I know that is was against Lafayette, but that doesn’t change the fact that Oubre started and finished with 23 points and 10 boards today.


1. Caris LeVert, Michigan: LeVert was a no-show on Saturday, finishing 1-for-8 from the floor with four points and five turnovers in a loss to SMU at home. He was also torched by Nic Moore, who finished with 17 points.

2. UCLA: Presented without comment:


3. Travis Trice and Bryn Forbes, Michigan State: Trice and Forbes combined to score 12 points and shoot 4-for-22 from the floor and 1-for-12 from three as the No. 25 Spartans lost to Texas Southern in overtime in the Breslin Center. That’s a bad, bad loss.


  • No. 13 Iowa State put four players in double-figures in a blowout win over Drake. Oh, and they landed a pretty important transfer, too.
  • No. 21 Notre Dame got 22 points from Demetrius Jackson — who led six scorers in double-figures — as the Irish blew out Purdue in the Crossroads Classic, 94-63. More impressive? They did it on a night where Jerian Grant shot 3-for-13 from the floor.
  • Jernard Jarreau scored 12 points and all eight Huskies scored at least six as No. 16 Washington beat No. 15 Oklahoma 69-67 in Las Vegas.
  • Javan Felix scored 17 points in No. 9 Texas’ 78-68 win over Long Beach State, which received 23 points from Mike Caffey.
  • Juwan Staten scored 24 points as No. 22 West Virginia beat NC State 83-69 at the Gotham Classic in New York City.
  • Przemek Karnowski and Kevin Pangos scored 16 points apiece in No. 8 Gonzaga’s 63-50 win over Cal Poly in Seattle.
  • Winston Shepard scored 15 points as No. 19 San Diego State beat Ball State 70-57.
  • Delon Wright anf Brandon Taylor combined to score 33 points to lead No. 14 Utah to a 59-46 win over UNLV.


  • Nino Williams had 17 points to lead four players in double-figures as Kansas State shot 61.5 percent from the floor to beat Texas A&M.
  • Kris Dunn had 16 points, 11 assists and five steals while LaDontae Henton added 27 in a blowout win for Providence over UMass.
  • In his first game with the Gators, Alex Murphy had nine points, four boards, two steals and two blocks off the bench. Dorian Finney-Smith added 16 points, six boards, four assists and four steals as Florida knocked off Wake Forest.
  • VCU hit 15 threes and rolled, 68-47, over a Cincinnati team playing without their head coach, who has an unruptured aneurysm.
  • Georgetown avoided what would have been an ugly loss, blowing a double-figure lead at home, against Charlotte, surviving 81-78.
  • D.J. Newbill had 20 points and four assists as Penn State improved to 11-1 on the year with a win over Drexel.
  • Devon Bookert went for 24 as Florida State knocked off South Florida in Tallahassee.
  • Georgia Tech picked up a nice win against Vanderbilt thanks to 19 points and eight boards from Charles Mitchell.
  • Davidson improved to 9-1 on the season as they knocked off old SoCon rival College of Charleston, 80-68, on the road.
  • K.T. Harrell finished with 24 points as Auburn knocked off Xavier in a double-overtime thriller, 65-59.
  • Houston lost again, this time at home against South Carolina State.
  • Northern Iowa limited Iowa to 27.5% shooting from the field, winning 56-44 in Des Moines. Ben Jacobson’s Panthers are now 10-1 on the season.
  • Lehigh picked up a road win Saturday night, outlasting Arizona State 84-81 in triple overtime. Savon Goodman, playing in his second game for ASU, scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a losing effort.
  • BYU had to hang on for dear life for their 79-77 win over Stanford, a game they led by 13 with 4:20 remaining. Tyler Haws, back from an ankle injury, scored 24 points in the win.

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.

Marquette’s Prosper says he will stay in draft rather than returning to school

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MILWAUKEE — Olivier-Maxence Prosper announced he is keeping his name under NBA draft consideration rather than returning to Marquette.

The 6-foot-8 forward announced his decision.

“Thank you Marquette nation, my coaches, my teammates and support staff for embracing me from day one,” Prosper said in an Instagram post. “My time at Marquette has been incredible. With that being said, I will remain in the 2023 NBA Draft. I’m excited for what comes next. On to the next chapter…”

Prosper had announced last month he was entering the draft. He still could have returned to school and maintained his college eligibility by withdrawing from the draft by May 31. Prosper’s announcement indicates he instead is going ahead with his plans to turn pro.

Prosper averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds last season while helping Marquette go 29-7 and win the Big East’s regular-season and tournament titles. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

He played two seasons at Marquette after transferring from Clemson, where he spent one season.

Kansas’ Kevin McCullar Jr. returning for last season of eligibility

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Kevin McCullar Jr. said that he will return to Kansas for his final year of eligibility, likely rounding out a roster that could make the Jayhawks the preseason No. 1 next season.

McCullar transferred from Texas Tech to Kansas for last season, when he started 33 of 34 games and averaged 10.7 points and 7.0 rebounds. He was also among the nation’s leaders in steals, and along with being selected to the Big 12’s all-defensive team, the 6-foot-6 forward was a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.

“To be able to play in front of the best fans in the country; to play for the best coach in the nation, I truly believe we have the pieces to hang another banner in the Phog,” McCullar said in announcing his return.

Along with McCullar, the Jayhawks return starters Dajuan Harris Jr. and K.J. Adams from a team that went 28–8, won the Big 12 regular-season title and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Arkansas in the second round.

Perhaps more importantly, the Jayhawks landed Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson, widely considered the best player in the portal, to anchor a lineup that was missing a true big man. They also grabbed former five-star prospect Arterio Morris, who left Texas, and Towson’s Nick Timberlake, who emerged last season as one of the best 3-point shooters in the country.

The Jayhawks also have an elite recruiting class arriving that is headlined by five-star recruit Elmarko Jackson.

McCullar declared for the draft but, after getting feedback from scouts, decided to return. He was a redshirt senior last season, but he has another year of eligibility because part of his career was played during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a big day for Kansas basketball,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “Kevin is not only a terrific player but a terrific teammate. He fit in so well in year one and we’re excited about what he’ll do with our program from a leadership standpoint.”