The NBC Sports 2018 College Basketball All-American Teams

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This was a weird year for college basketball.

For much of the first three months of the season, Trae Young looked like a shoe-in to be college basketball’s National Player of the Year.

Then, in the final six weeks of the season, Young found himself second in the running for Big 12 Player of the Year.

For a while thereafter, Jalen Brunson looked like he would be the favorite to win the award, but he also had a rough end of the season. The end result is that there really isn’t a favorite to win the award at this point.

But there does, however, appear to be a pretty clear-cut group for First-Team All-America, all of whom have a real case to be the National Player of the Year.

Here is that team, and the 15 players that we will mark down as college basketball’s best in 2017-18.

Who did we miss?


Jalen Brunson (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICA

JALEN BRUNSON, Villanova: 19.0 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.0 rpg, 40.5% 3PT

Brunson is the NBC Sports National Player of the Year, so it only makes sense that the leads our crop of first-team all-americans. Brunson is the most important player on a national title contender, the most valuable piece on any team with a real shot of cutting down the nets on that final Monday of the season. His efficiency numbers are simply incredible as opposed to historically-unprecedented thanks to a late-season swoon, but he is still the one guy in the country that I want with the ball in his hands and the game on the line.

TRAE YOUNG, Oklahoma: 27.5 ppg, 8.9 apg, 3.9 rpg

Young led the nation in scoring and assists, becoming the first player in college basketball history to do so. At one point this season, Oklahoma was a top ten team. But that success was somewhat short-lived. By the middle of conference play, the secret was out on how to slow Young and the Sooners down, and Lon Kruger just didn’t have any answers. As far as I’m concerned, you cannot be considered for National Player of the Year if you are not on a title contender. You can, however, be a first-team all-american.

DEVONTE’ GRAHAM, Kansas: 17.6 ppg, 7.2 apg, 4.0 rpg, 42.3% 3PT

Graham, not Young, won the Big 12 Player of the Year award in 2018, and it was well-deserved. He was the anchor for a Kansas team that won their 14th straight Big 12 title despite having so many question marks. He made big shots, he was their best perimeter defender and he carried the Jayhawks for long stretches as a senior. Maybe we under-appreciated just how good a backcourt of Graham and Frank Mason III was a year ago.

MARVIN BAGLEY III, Duke: 20.7 ppg, 11.2 rpg

Bagley is a freak of nature. He’s one of college basketball’s best rebounders. He’s nearly unstoppable when he gets the ball in the paint. He has the kind of explosive athleticism most mere mortals only dream about, and he’s doing all of that for the team that I think is the best in college basketball. He might be the favorite to be National Player of the Year if Duke didn’t have long stretches where they seemed to function better without him.

DEANDRE AYTON, Arizona: 19.9 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 1.6 apg

Ayton or Bagley? That’s something that is going to be discussed by far too many people in basketball circles over the course of the next three months, whether we’re talking about college basketball postseason awards or where he is going to get picked in the NBA Draft. Ayton is the more physically-imposing of the two and probably the better defender, but his Arizona team has not had the same level of success as Duke.


Deandre Ayton (Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

SECOND TEAM ALL-AMERICA

KEENAN EVANS, Texas Tech: 17.4 ppg, 3.3 apg, 3.1 rpg

Evans saw his numbers take a hit in the final five games of the regular season as he tried to battle through turf toe to win the Red Raiders a Big 12 title. It did not go as planned. If he gets back to 100 percent for the NCAA tournament, he would be my pick to go on a run the way that Shabazz Napier or Kemba Walker did before him.

TREVON BLUIETT, Xavier: 19.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 43.4% 3PT

Bluiett is the big-shot maker, the leading scorer and the face of the program that became the first team not named Villanova to win a Big East title since the new league was created. There aren’t three players in the country — if any — that I would want taking the final shot of a game.

GARY CLARK, Cincinnati: 12.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.5 spg, 1.3 bpg

His numbers are middling, but the impact he has on Cincinnati defensively is not. And for a team who wins because they are having an all-time great season stopping the ball, that is hard to overlook.

KEITA BATES-DIOP, Ohio State: 19.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg

Bates-Diop has been a revelation for the Buckeyes this season, as he’s finally developed into what the recruiting pundits thought he would be when he was rated as a five-star recruit coming out of high school. You have to think that if he was healthy all of last season, Chris Holtmann would still be at Butler because Thad Matta would still be employed.

JOCK LANDALE, Saint Mary’s: 21.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 2.1 apg

Landale is the best low-post scorer in the country. He’s a throw-back, with the kind of low-post moves that would make Kevin McHale jealous. Here’s to hoping that the Selection Committee makes the decision to put the Gaels in the NCAA tournament on Sunday.


Keenan Evans (John Weast/Getty Images)

THIRD TEAM ALL-AMERICA

JEVON CARTER, West Virginia: 17.0 ppg, 6.5 apg, 4.8 rpg, 2.9 spg

He is college basketball’s best on-ball defender and the engine that allow Press Virginia to run the way that Bob Huggins wants it to run. He’s had a sensational, underrated career in Morgantown.

AARON HOLIDAY, UCLA: 20.1 ppg, 5.8 apg, 43.9% 3PT

Holiday really hasn’t gotten all that much attention this season because the Bruins have not been relevant since LaVar Ball stopped feuding with Donald Trump, but you’ll have a hard time convincing me that there has been a better point guard in college basketball outside of the Big 12 this season.

CARSEN EDWARDS, Purdue: 18.5 ppg, 3.0 apg, 41.2% 3PT

Edwards has been absolutely fantastic this season, Generously listed at 6-foot-1, he’s turned into one of the most dangerous scorers in the Big Ten and a huge piece of what Matt Painter wants to do offensively.

MILES BRIDGES, Michigan State: 16.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.8 apg, 36.9% 3PT

Bridges has not lived up to the hype that he had coming into the season. That does not, however, mean that he has had a bad season. We all just typecast him as a player that he wasn’t. Bridges is at his best when tasked with playing a role, not when he needs to be a go-to guy. It’s what will make him last in the NBA for 12 years.

LUKE MAYE, North Carolina: 17.7 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.4 apg, 46.3% 3PT

College basketball’s most improved player. Who had Luke Maye, not Joel Berry II, being the obvious pick as UNC’s all-american this season?

College basketball broadcaster Billy Packer dies at 82

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Billy Packer, an Emmy award-winning college basketball broadcaster who covered 34 Final Fours for NBC and CBS, died Thursday. He was 82.

Packer’s son, Mark, told The Associated Press that his father had been hospitalized in Charlotte for the past three weeks and had several medical issues, and ultimately succumbed to kidney failure.

Packer’s broadcasting career coincided with the growth of college basketball. He worked as analyst or color commentator on every Final Four from 1975 to 2008. He received a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio and Sports Analyst in 1993.

“He really enjoyed doing the Final Fours,” Mark Packer said. “He timed it right. Everything in life is about timing. The ability to get involved in something that, frankly, he was going to watch anyway, was a joy to him. And then college basketball just sort of took off with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and that became, I think, the catalyst for college basketball fans to just go crazy with March Madness.”

Packer played three seasons at Wake Forest, and helped lead the Demon Deacons to the Final Four in 1962, but it was his work as an analyst that brought him the most acclaim.

He joined NBC in 1974 and called his first Final Four in 1975. UCLA beat Kentucky in the title game that year in what was John Wooden’s final game as coach.

Packer was also part of the broadcast in 1979 with Dick Enberg and Al McGuire when Magic Johnson’s Michigan State team beat Larry Bird’s Indiana State squad in the title game. That remains highest-rated game in basketball history with a 24.1 Nielsen rating, which is an estimated 35.1 million viewers.

Packer went to CBS in the fall of 1981, when the network acquired the rights to the NCAA Tournament. He remained the network’s main analyst until the 2008 Final Four.

In 1996 at CBS, Packer was involved in controversy when he used the term “tough monkey? to describe then-Georgetown star Allen Iverson during a game. Packer later said he “was not apologizing for what I said, because what I said has no implications in my mind whatsoever to do with Allen Iverson’s race.?

Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports, said Packer was “synonymous with college basketball for more than three decades and set the standard of excellence as the voice of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.”

“He had a tremendous impact on the growth and popularity of the sport.” McManus said. “In true Billy fashion, he analyzed the game with his own unique style, perspective and opinions, yet always kept the focus on the game. As passionate as he was about basketball, at his heart Billy was a family man. He leaves part of his legacy at CBS Sports, across college basketball and, most importantly, as a beloved husband, father and grandfather. He will be deeply missed by all.”

Packer was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale took to Twitter as word of Packer’s death spread. “So sad to learn of the passing of Billy Packer who had such a passion for college basketball,” Vitale tweeted. “My (prayers) go out to Billy’s son Mark & the entire Packer family. Always had great RESPECT for Billy & his partners Dick Enberg & Al McGuire-they were super. May Billy RIP.”

College basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla tweeted: “We fell in love (with) college basketball because of you. Your voice will remain in my head forever.”

Packer was viewed as a controversial figure during his broadcasting days, often drawing the ire of college basketball fans, particularly on North Carolina’s “Tobacco Road.”

“As a kid, I was a big NC State fan growing up, and I would watch a game and the next day I’d be like, `Boy you sure have it out for NC State, don’t you?’ And he would just laugh,” Mark Packer said.

The younger Packer, who is the host of ACC PM on the ACC Network, said it didn’t matter what school – most fans felt the same way about his father.

“He would cover North Carolina game and Tar Heels fans would be like, `you hate North Carolina,”‘ Mark Packer said. “Wake (Forest) fans would be like, `you hate us.’ And Billy just sort of got a kick out of that.”

Mark Packer said that while most fans will remember his father as a broadcaster, he’ll remember him even more for his business acumen. He said his father was a big real estate investor, and also owned a vape company, among other ventures.

“Billy was always a bit of a hustler – he was always looking for that next business deal,” Packer said.

Clemson starter Galloway will miss time after surgery

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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson starter Brevin Galloway is expected to miss games for the 24th-ranked Tigers after having surgery on his groin area Thursday.

The 6-foot-3 Galloway has started 20 of 21 games after transferring from Boston College this past offseason.

Galloway posted on social media that he’d had the surgery. Clemson coach Brad Brownell confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that Galloway had the operation.

Galloway said in his post he will be in uniform soon. He is not expected to play at Florida State on Saturday.

A fifth-year player, Galloway has averaged 10.6 points a game this season. He’s second on the Tigers with 55 assists and 18 steals.

The Tigers (17-4) lead the Atlantic Coast Conference at 9-1 in league play.

Clemson is already down two experienced players due to injury.

Point guard Chase Hunter, who started the team’s first 18 games, has missed the past three with a foot injury.

Guard Alex Hemenway, in his fourth season, has missed the past nine games with a foot injury. Hemenway was the team’s leading 3-point shooter (27 of 54) before getting hurt.

Zach Edey has 19 points, No. 1 Purdue beats Michigan 75-70

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Zach Edey had 15 of his 19 points in the first half and Fletcher Loyer finished with 17 points to help No. 1 Purdue hold off Michigan 75-70 on Thursday night.

The Boilermakers (20-1, 9-1 Big Ten) had a 15-0 run to go ahead 41-28 lead in the first half after there were 10 lead changes and four ties, but they couldn’t pull away.

The Wolverines (11-9, 5-4) were without standout freshman Jett Howard, who missed the game with an ankle injury, and still hung around until the final seconds.

Joey Baker made a 3-pointer – off the glass – with 5.9 seconds left to pull Michigan within three points, but Purdue’s Brandon Newman sealed the victory with two free throws.

Purdue coach Matt Painter said Michigan slowed down Edey in the second half by pushing him away from the basket.

“They got him out a little more, and got him bottled up,” Painter said.

The 7-foot-4 Edey, though, was too tough to stop early in the game.

“He’s one of the best in the country for a reason,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “He’s very effective, especially if he’s 8 feet and in.”

With size and skills such as a hook shot, the junior center from Toronto scored Purdue’s first seven points and finished the first half 7 of 12 from the field and 1 of 2 at the line.

“He did a great job in the first half, going to his right shoulder and using his left hand,” Painter said. “He made four baskets with his left hand which is huge.”

Freshman Braden Smith had 10 points for the Boilermakers.

Purdue’s defense ultimately denied Michigan’s comeback hopes, holding a 22nd straight opponent to 70 or fewer points.

Hunter Dickinson scored 21, Kobe Bufkin had 16 points and Baker added 11 points for the Wolverines, who have lost four of their last six games.

Dickinson, a 7-1 center, matched up with Edey defensively and pulled him out of the lane offensively by making 3 of 7 3-pointers.

“Half his shots were from the 3, and that’s a little different,” Painter said. “His meat and potatoes are on that block. He’s the real deal.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Boilermakers got the top spot in the AP Top 25 this week after winning six games, a stretch that followed a loss to Rutgers on Jan. 3 that dropped them from No. 1 in the poll. Purdue improved to 7-2 as the top-ranked team.

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: Edey can’t beat teams by himself and he’s surrounded by a lot of role players and a potential standout in Loyer. The 6-4 guard was the Big Ten player of the week earlier this month, become the first Boilermaker freshman to win the award since Robbie Hummel in 2008.

“Fletcher is somebody who has played better in the second half, and on the road,” Painter said.

Michigan: Jett Howard’s health is a critical factor for the Wolverines, who will have some work to do over the second half of the Big Ten season to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. Howard averages 14.6 points and is the most dynamic player on his father’s team.

ROAD WARRIORS

The Boilermakers were away from home for 12 of 23 days, winning all five of their road games. They won at Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan for the first time since the 1997-98 season and beat the Spartans and Wolverines on their home court in the same season for the first time in 12 years.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Hosts Michigan State on Sunday, nearly two weeks after the Boilermakers beat the Spartans by a point on Edey’s shot with 2.2 seconds left.

Michigan: Plays at Penn State on Sunday.

Miller scores 23, No. 10 Maryland tops No. 13 Michigan 72-64

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Diamond Miller scored 23 points, and No. 10 Maryland closed the first quarter with a 13-2 run and led the rest of the way in a 72-64 victory over No. 13 Michigan on Thursday night.

Abby Meyers contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Terrapins (17-4, 8-2), who won for the 10th time in 11 games. Lavender Briggs scored 14 points and Shyanne Sellers added 13.

Maryland gained a measure of revenge after losing twice to Michigan last season – including a 20-point rout in College Park.

Leigha Brown led the Wolverines with 16 points.

Michigan (16-5, 6-4) led 13-9 in the first quarter before a three-point play by Miller started Maryland’s big run. Briggs and Faith Masonius made 3-pointers during that stretch.

The Terps pushed the lead to 16 in the third quarter before the Wolverines were able to chip away. Miller sat for a bit with four fouls, and Michigan cut the lead to seven in the fourth quarter, but the Wolverines still wasted too many possessions with turnovers to mount much of a comeback.

Michigan ended up with 24 turnovers, and Maryland had a 25-5 advantage in points off turnovers.

Miller fouled out with 2:19 remaining, but even after those two free throws, the Terps led 65-57 and had little trouble holding on.

Michigan lost for the second time in four days against a top-10 opponent. No. 6 Indiana beat the Wolverines 92-83 on Monday.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan: Whether it was against Maryland’s press or in their half-court offense, the Wolverines turned the ball over too much to score consistently. This was a lower-scoring game than the loss to Indiana, but the margin ended up being similar.

Maryland: While Miller clearly led the way, the Terps had plenty of offensive contributors. They also held Michigan to 13 points below its season average entering the game.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Wolverines have appeared in 48 straight AP polls, and although a two-loss week could certainly drop them, the quality of their opponents could save them from a substantial plunge.

Maryland is tied for 10th with an Iowa team that beat No. 2 Ohio State on Monday night. Now the Terps can boast an impressive victory of their own.

UP NEXT

Michigan: The Wolverines play their third game of the week when they visit Minnesota on Sunday.

Maryland: The Terps host Penn State on Monday night.

 

Boum, Jones lead No. 13 Xavier over No. 19 UConn, 82-79

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STORRS, Conn. – Souley Boum scored 21 points, Colby Jones added 20 and No. 13 Xavier went on the road and held off No. 19 Connecticut 82-79 Wednesday night.

The win was the 13th in 14 games for the Musketeers (17-4, 9-1 Big East) and it gave them a season sweep over the struggling Huskies (16-6, 5-6).

Jack Nunge had 12 points and Jerome Hunter added 11 for Xavier, which led by 17 in the first half and 39-24 at halftime.

Jordan Hawkins scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half for UConn, leading a comeback that fell just short.

Tristen Newton added 23 points for the Huskies, who won their first 14 games this season but have dropped six of eight since.

The Musketeers never trailed but had to withstand UConn runs that cut the lead to a single point four times in the second half.

A three-point play from Hawkins made it 78-77 with 2:40 left. But a second-chance layup from Nunge put the lead at 80-77 just over a minute later.

Newton was fouled with two seconds left by Desmond Claude, but his apparent attempt to miss his second free throw went into the basket.

Boum then hit two free throws at the other end, and Newton’s final attempt from just beyond halfcourt was well short.

Xavier jumped out to a 9-0 lead as UConn missed its first nine shots.

A 3-pointer from Zach Freemantle gave the Musketeers their first double-digit lead at 20-9, and another from Jones pushed it to 35-18.

BIG PICTURE

Xavier: The Musketeers lead the Big East, and the win over UConn was their ninth conference victory this season, eclipsing their total from last season.

UConn: The Huskies came in with a 17-game winning streak at Gampel Pavilion dating to February 2021. They fell to 1-4 against the four teams in front of them in the Big East standings. The lone win came at Gampel against Creighton.

UP NEXT

Xavier: The Musketeers continue their road trip with a visit to Creighton on Saturday.

UConn: Doesn’t play again until next Tuesday, when the Huskies visit DePaul.