Saturday’s Snacks: Louisville, Iowa State both earn important wins; Arizona, Gonzaga earn tough victories

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GAME OF THE DAY: VMI 113, Western Carolina 111 (2OT)

This was a wild one, with the two teams combining to score 224 points on the day. Duggar Baucom’s Keydets attempted 46 three-pointers, making 20, and guard Julian Eleby scored 43 points to lead five players in double figures. As for WCU, James Sinclair countered with 40 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals in a losing effort. Eleby scored 17 of his 43 points in the two overtime periods for VMI, which moved to within a game of Western (and East Tennessee State) in the SoCon standings.


1. Xavier 73, No. 19 Butler

Important Big East win for Xavier as they continue to be tough at home while also staying above .500 with the win. Myles Davis had 18 points, 4 steals and 3 rebounds. Butler still hasn’t found its way yet since the loss of Andrew Chrabascz as they shot 36 percent from the field and only Roosevelt Jones (14 points) finished above 10 points.

2. No. 12 Louisville 55, Miami 53

It wasn’t pretty — and both teams shot poorly — but Louisville gained control late in the second half to earn an ACC win. The Cardinals trailed much of the game at home and snapped a two-game losing streak by holding Miami point guard Angel Rodriguez to a 1-for-12 outing. Despite only shooting 33 percent from the field, Montrezl Harrell had 21 points and 14 rebounds.

3. No. 14 Iowa State 85, Texas 77

Nice road Big 12 win for the Cyclones, who have won two consecutive road wins in the conference for the first time since 2006. Georges Niang and Matt Thomas each had 17 points to lead Iowa State, who did a great job of containing the Texas interior attack. The Cyclones shot 46 percent (26-for-56) from the field and 57 percent (12-for-21) from 3-point range.


1. LSU’s Jarrell Martin

Besides pulling off one of the best in-game dunks of the year — no defender category — Martin had 28 points and 13 rebounds in an important win for the Tigers against Florida.

2. Niagara’s Emile Blackmon

Minor upset in the MAAC as the Purple Eagles ousted heavily-favored Rider on the road. Blackmon had 30 points on 10-for-16 shooting and 6-for-9 3-point shooting.

3. VMI’s Julian Eleby and Western Carolina’s James Sinclair

Both players managed to score at least 40 points, with Eleby going for 43 and Sinclair 40 in VMI’s 113-111 double overtime win over the Catamounts.


1. Miami’s Angel Rodriguez

The point guard had a solid floor game, but couldn’t hit a shot of any kind as he went 1-for-12 from the field in a loss to Louisville.

2. Texas’ Javan Felix

A 1-for-9 shooting performance is not what Felix had in mind as the Longhorns fell to Iowa State at home. Felix not being able to hit from distance (0-for-5) also hurt the Texas spacing quite a bit.

3. UCLA’s Tony Parker

While Arizona had some key players struggle in their 57-47 win over the Bruins, UCLA needed from from Parker than the two points and one rebound he provided before fouling out. Combine this effort with the two points he scored in a loss at Arizona State, and this was a rough road trip for the junior big man.


  • Player of the Year candidate Frank Kaminsky had 21 points, five rebounds and three assists in a win for No. 5 Wisconsin over Minnesota.
  • North Carolina had six players in double figures, led by Kennedy Meeks’ 18 points, in a win over Georgia Tech. The No. 15 Tar Heels scored on its first offensive possession by using the Four Corners offense.
  • Oklahoma was able to outlast Texas Tech on the road as Isaiah Cousins had 22 points in the overtime win. The No. 17 Sooners also had 17 points from Frank Booker.
  • In the Atlantic 10, Treveon Graham had 24 points and 10 rebounds to help lead No. 25 VCU past UMass.
  • No. 23 West Virginia followed up its win over Kansas with a good performance on the road, beating No. 22 Oklahoma State 73-63 in Stillwater.
  • No. 6 Villanova maintained its grip on first place in the Big East, winning 87-76 at Marquette.
  • No. 11 Northern Iowa once again showed off its stifling defense, limiting Bradley to 39 points in a 56-39 home victory.
  • No. 10 Notre Dame pulled away from Boston College in the second half in Chestnut Hill, winning 87-70 with New Bedford, Massachusetts native Bonzie Colson scoring 16 points to lead the way. Six players scored in double figures for Notre Dame, and Jerian Grant dished out 12 assists.
  • No. 4 Duke did not miss a beat despite the fact that Jahlil Okafor sat out with a sprained ankle, beating Clemson 78-56 in Durham. Quinn Cook scored 27 points and Justise Winslow added 20 and 13 rebounds.
  • No. 1 Kentucky, as expected, steamrolled Auburn 110-75 in Lexington. Karl-Anthony Towns led six Wildcats in double figures with 19 points, and he also tallied 11 rebounds and four blocks.
  • No. 8 Kansas beat TCU 81-72, with Perry Ellis posting 23 points and seven rebounds and freshman guard Devonte’ Graham adding 20 points and three assists.
  • No. 18 Arkansas picked up an SEC road win at Mississippi State as Rashad Madden led four double-figure scorers with 16 points.
  • It wasn’t pretty offensively, and they played sluggish basketball at the start of both halves, but No. 7 Arizona managed to take care of UCLA 57-47. The Wildcats dominated the glass and held the Bruins 27 points below their season average.
  • No. 3 Gonzaga struggled early, trailing by as much as 16, but they turned things around in the second half to win 70-60 at Saint Mary’s. The game was closer than the final margin would indicate, and the Bulldogs scored the game’s final 12 points as they won the outright WCC title.


  • Pitt had a close effort against Syracuse and game up with a huge ACC road win. The Panthers had 19 from Chris Jones.
  • St. John’s pushed past Seton Hall in a fun Big East contest as Sir’Dominic Pointer had 22 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Red Storm.
  • Texas A&M got past South Carolina as Danuel House had 25 points and six rebounds.
  • Baylor cruised past a free-falling Kansas State as Taurean Prince had 14 points, 5 steals and 5 assists.
  • Caleb White and B.J. Tyson both had 19 points to lead East Carolina past South Florida.
  • Murray State remained unbeaten in the Ohio Valley Conference with a win over Austin Peay. Cameron Payne had 22 points and 8 assists in the win.
  • The MAC remains as wild as ever as Buffalo earned a road win at Bowling Green. Shannon Evans had 19 points while Jarryn Skeete and Justin Moss each had 15 points.
  • In an Atlantic 10 upset, Duquesne held off Dayton as Derrick Colter had 25 points and Micah Mason had 19 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds and 4 steals to lead the Dukes.
  • The Big Sky race got even more interesting Saturday afternoon, as Northern Arizona beat Eastern Washington 73-69 in Flagstaff. The Eagles now have three conference losses, as do Sacramento State and Montana.
  • Two more teams have clinched an automatic Postseason NIT berth should they need it: St. Francis-Brooklyn (NEC) and North Carolina Central (MEAC). Both clinched their respective conference regular season titles Saturday, joining Murray State (OVC). Of course, all three prefer to play in the NCAA tournament.
  • In a matchup of rivals hoping to play their way into the NCAA tournament, Stanford beat California 72-61 in Palo Alto.
  • Harvard took over sole possession of first place in the Ivy League, erasing a 14-point first half deficit to beat Princeton 63-55. While that was happening, Yale lost at home to Columbia. The Crimson and Bulldogs meet March 6 in Cambridge.
  • New Mexico State managed to lock up a postseason berth, as their 72-55 win at Grand Canyon gives them the outright WAC regular season title.

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.