SATURDAY’S SNACKS: Seton Hall, Kansas, North Carolina, Oregon win conference titles

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GAME OF THE DAY: Seton Hall 69, No. 3 Villanova 67

Seton Hall punched its ticket to the Big Dance for the first time since 1993 with a huge win in Madison Square Garden. The Pirates got 26 points from Isaiah Whitehead and Seton Hall is playing with a lot of confidence entering the tournament.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 7 North Carolina 61, No. 57 Virginia: North Carolina played tremendous defense as they were able to hold on for the ACC title. Joel Berry finished with 19 points and was named the tournament’s MVP.

No. 1 Kansas 81, No. 9 West Virginia 71: Devonte Graham had 27 points and played great defense on Jaysean Paige as the Jayhawks took down the Mountaineers. The win likely assures Kansas of a No. 1 seed and potentially gives them the No. 1 overall seed.

No. 8 Oregon 88, No. 12 Utah 57: The Ducks earned a blowout win and made their case to be a No. 1 seed for the committee with this impressive win. Freshman guard Tyler Dorsey had 23 points and nine rebounds.

No. 2 Michigan State 64, No. 18 Maryland 61: The Spartans are moving on to the Big Ten tournament title game as Denzel Valentine had a big game and Michigan State’s defense stepped up in the final portion of the second half.

No. 13 Purdue 76, Michigan 59: Purdue ended the run of Michigan, who now has to sweat out Selection Sunday. The Boilers had 27 points and 11 rebounds from senior center A.J. Hammons while Vince Edwards finished with 13 points.

No. 17 Texas A&M 71, LSU 38: In a game that LSU desperately needed to win to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive, they came out completely disinterested and barely bothered to show up. Tonny Trocha-Morelos led a balanced Aggie effort with 13 points. Ben Simmons finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 1 assist.

No. 16 Kentucky 93, Georgia 80: The Wildcats are going to the SEC tournament title game to face regular season co-champion Texas A&M as Tyler Ulis (25 points) and Jamal Murray (26 points) both had huge games.

STARRED

Jameel Warney, Stony Brook: In the opening game of the day, the senior forward put the Seawolves on his back and led them to the America East tournament title and NCAA bid. Warney finished with 43 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks as he was 18-for-22 from the field.

Devonte Graham, Kansas: The Jayhawks need a different player to close seemingly every game and on this night it was Graham. The guard finished with 27 points, five assists and four steals and also did a great job of guard Jaysean Paige.

STRUGGLED

Melo Trimble, Maryland: The sophomore guard made Maryland’s only two field goals in the last 10 1/2 minutes, but they were his only field goals of the game as Trimble was 2-for-15 from the field to finish with 11 points.

Antonio Blakeney and Tim Quarterman, LSU: Blowout loss for LSU today as the freshman guard and junior guard combined to finish 3-for-27 from the field and 3-for-15 from 3-point range to finish with 12 points on the day.

AUTOMATIC BIDS

OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS

  • Saint Joseph’s earned an important bubble win over Dayton in the Atlantic 10 semifinals as Isaiah Miles had 26 points.
  • In the other A-10 semifinal, VCU ran past Davidson as Korey Billbury paced the Rams with 17 points.
  • UConn also did a nice job stating its NCAA tournament case with an American semifinal win over Temple. Daniel Hamilton led with 19 points.
  • Joining UConn in the American title game is Memphis, who knocked off Tulane in the other conference semifinal. Freshman Dedric Lawson led with 17 points.
  • Arkansas-Little Rock moved on to the title game in the Sun Belt with a win over Louisiana Lafayette. Jalen Jackson led with 16 points.
  • Louisiana Monroe will face Arkansas-Little Rock in the title game in the Sun Belt as they beat UT Arlington. DeMondre Harvey had 21 points.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

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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

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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.

Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald is returning to Arizona to work under coach Adia Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald will serve as director of recruiting operations while continuing to fulfill her WNBA commitments. She will oversee all recruiting logistics, assist with on-campus visits, manage recruit information and social media content at Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after transferring from Washington as a sophomore. She was an All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020-21, leading the Wildcats to the national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career scoring average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick of the 2021 WNBA draft.

South Carolina, Staley cancel BYU games over racial incident

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina and women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley have canceled a home-and-home series with BYU over a recent racial incident where a Cougars fan yelled slurs at a Duke volleyball player.

The Gamecocks were scheduled to start the season at home against BYU on Nov. 7, then play at the Utah campus during the 2023-24 season.

But Staley cited BYU’s home volleyball match last month as reason for calling off the series.

“As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff,” Staley said in a statement released by South Carolina on Friday. “The incident at BYU has led me to reevaluate our home-and-home, and I don’t feel that this is the right time for us to engage in this series.”

Duke sophomore Rachel Richardson, a Black member of the school’s volleyball team, said she heard racial slurs from the stands during the match.

BYU apologized for the incident and Richardson said the school’s volleyball players reached out to her in support.

South Carolina said it was searching for another home opponent to start the season.

Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner spoke with Staley about the series and supported the decision to call off the games.