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Saturday Recap: Deandre Ayton leads Arizona to Pac-12 title; Villanova, Virginia, Kansas win titles

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PLAYER OF THE DAY

The talk of college basketball on Saturday night centered around the play of Arizona freshman center Deandre Ayton. The big man dominated the Pac-12 Tournament for the second consecutive night as Ayton finished with 32 points and 18 rebounds in a championship game win over USC.

A night after putting 32 and 14 on UCLA in a win, Ayton was just as ridiculous on Saturday as he went 14-for-20 from the field and scored on a number of high-level shots. Putting up his 23rd double-double of the season — tying him with Kevin Love for the Pac-12 freshman record — Ayton appears to be peaking at the right time as Arizona looks like a really dangerous team entering the 2018 NCAA tournament.

RELATED: All of Saturday’s Bubble Banter in one place

THE REST OF SATURDAY’S STARS

  • JALEN BRUNSON, Villanova: The NBCSports.com Player of the Year poured in 31 points as the Wildcats claimed an overtime victory over Providence for the Big East Tournament title. Brunson also finished with six rebounds and four assists.
  • ROB GRAY, Houston: Earning its biggest win of the season, Houston is headed to the AAC Tournament finals behind Gray’s 33 points in a win over Wichita State. Gray had a key steal and assist down the stretch as he was also 13-for-15 from the free-throw line.
  • TREY KELL, San Diego StatePumping in a game-high 28 points, the senior made numerous clutch shots down the stretch to help San Diego State secure another NCAA tournament bid in the Mountain West with a win over New Mexico. Battling injuries throughout the season, Kell picked a great time to have his best game of the year.
  • JON ELMORE, Marshall: The Thundering Herd are headed to the Big Dance for the first time in 31 years thanks to Elmore’s monster second half. The junior guard had 20 of his 27 points in the second half to lead Marshall to victory over Western Kentucky.

TEAM OF THE DAY

By claiming the ACC Tournament title over North Carolina, Virginia staked a firm claim as the No. 1 team in college basketball entering the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

In a year full of parity in the sport, the Cavaliers dominated the ACC throughout this season as they claimed the regular-season title and the conference tournament title. But can Virginia carry the momentum of that No. 1 status into a Final Four appearance?

CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on Virginia here.

GAME OF THE DAY

The America East Tournament title game has become an underrated treasure in college hoops thanks to its early Saturday start time the day before Selection Sunday.

Saturday’s contest didn’t disappoint.

Jairus Lyles knocked in the game-winning three-pointer to lift UMBC to a road win over Vermont for the America East autobid. A tight back-and-forth game throughout, this game only adds to the legend of the America East title game as this will be a hard act to follow for next season.

WTF???? OF THE DAY

Providence head coach Ed Cooley got so animated on the sidelines during the Big East Tournament title game that he split his suit pants.

This resulted in Cooley having to wear towels around his waist to coach the rest of the game in an overtime loss to Villanova.

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

Without starting big man Udoka Azubuike, Kansas was still able to outlast the field and claim the Big 12 Tournament title. The Jayhawks took down West Virginia in the finale as Malik Newman paced Kansas with 20 points.

Tennessee and Kentucky will meet for the SEC title on Sunday after the two teams earned blowout wins over Arkansas and Alabama.

Cincinnati will face Houston for the AAC title on Sunday after the Bearcats rallied to take down Memphis.

The Atlantic 10 title game will feature Rhode Island battling Davidson for the autobid. The Rams were able to outlast Saint Joseph’s for a three-point win while the Wildcats kept their NCAA tournament hopes alive with a win against St. Bonaventure.

Autobids were decided in a number of leagues on Saturday. North Carolina Central claimed the MEAC, Texas Southern won the SWAC, Montana won the Big Sky, Stephen F. Austin reclaimed the Southland, New Mexico State is back representing the WAC and Marshall is back in the field for the first time in 31 years by winning Conference USA.

Former Mizzou tutor plans to reveal ‘full list’ of participants in academic fraud case

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A former Missouri tutor that admitted in 2016 to providing improper academic benefits to multiple Tiger athletes on Monday said that she has been named in a new Notice of Allegations and intends to expose more people attached to the investigation.

Yolanda Kumar tweeted that she is planning on releasing “the full list of students, classes and coordinators on twitter” at 6:39 p.m. on Wednesday, adding that she was dropped from the original NOA but was added back into the latest version after she refused to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Missouri responded on Monday by acknowledging they had met with the Committee on Infractions and that the result of the investigation will prove that they acted with “integrity.”

“On June 13, 2018, the University appeared before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions to review its investigative findings, and the Committee has since added a previously unnamed involved party and given notice of the Committee’s allegation to that individual,” a statement Missouri released to ESPN said. “While the University may not disclose the names of any involved student due to FERPA, we remain confident that this review will reveal that the University, as well as its student-athletes and staff, have shown great integrity in responding to the allegations raised. In order to protect the investigation’s integrity and in accordance with NCAA rules relative to ongoing investigations, we are unable to comment further any part of the process until it is completed.”

In 2016, Kumar told the Kansas City Star that she had been asked to offer special assistance to football and men’s basketball players, and confirmed to compliance officials that she had acquiesced, helping a dozen athletes. That led to the NCAA’s investigation, and as a result, a defensive tackle named A.J. Logan was suspended for six games.

Kumar also tweeted in 2017 that she was willing to sell the information she had involving the case for the $3,000 fee she needed to pay Missouri to get her transcripts from the school. On Monday, she tweeted that her debt was cleared by a couple from Kansas City.

All of this allegedly occurred during the tenure of former Missouri head coach Kim Anderson.

Michigan, John Beilien ink five-year extension

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Michigan announced on Wednesday that head coach John Beilein has signed a five-year contract extension with the school that will keep him in Ann Arbor through the 2023 season, at least.

“I am grateful for the opportunity the University of Michigan has given to me over the past 11 years,” said Beilein. “Kathleen and I love Ann Arbor, our University, our fans and the state of Michigan. We will continue to work very hard in the future to have our basketball team reflect the greatness of this University. I thank Mark Schlissel and Warde Manuel for their faith and commitment to our coaching staff and basketball program. The future of men’s basketball is bright and I am excited to be a part of it.”

The deal that Beilein signed is a rollover deal, which means that the contract will renew every year. In other words, as long as Beilein and Michigan want the option picked up each April, he will have a five-year contract with Michigan regardless of how long he coaches at the school.

This is Beilein’s 12th year with the Wolverines. Last season, they won a program-record 33 games and reached the Final Four, losing in the national title game for the second time in six seasons.

He is already Michigan’s all-time leader in wins with 248, and, through 41 seasons as a college coach, has amassed a career record of 799-461. In 11 seasons in Ann Arbor, Michigan has made eight NCAA Tournament appearances with four Sweet 16s and three Elite Eights in addition to the two trips to the Final Four. He was named the he 2013 Big Ten Coach of the Year and has won two Big Ten regular-season titles as well as the last two Big Ten Tournament titles.

There was some speculation earlier this month that Beilein would be leaving Michigan after he had an interview with the Detroit Pistons, but he withdrew from that search after the news became public and it seemed likely that Dwayne Casey would be hired.

Former Michigan athletes Austin Hatch, Abby Cole tie the knot

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The life of former Michigan basketball player Austin Hatch has not been without its challenges, as during his pre-college years he survived two separate plane crashes that took the lives of his parents, a stepmother and two siblings.

Hatch’s scholarship offer to Michigan was honored by head coach John Beilein despite the impact that the crashes had on Hatch physically, and Hatch would go on to earn his degree and land a job at the corporate office for Domino’s. This past spring, Hatch was honored during the team’s Senior Day festivities.

By that point Hatch was already engaged to Abby Cole, who played volleyball at Michigan from 2013 to 2016. And over the weekend, the two tied the knot in what was a highly emotional day for all involved. Below is a video of their wedding day, which was chronicled by Derek Postma.

Congratulations and best wishes to Abby and Austin on their marriage.

Arizona lands Cornell forward Stone Gettings for 2019-20 season

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Arizona landed its first addition for the 2019-20 season on Monday, as an Ivy League power forward revealed his intention to join Sean Miller’s program as a graduate student.

6-foot-9 forward Stone Gettings, who averaged 16.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game at Cornell last season, picked Arizona over Stanford and Vanderbilt according to Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com. A second team All-Ivy selection, Gettings is on course to graduate from Cornell in December. Instead of using his final season of eligibility at Cornell, Gettings will sit out this season before playing at Arizona.

Gettings does have a connection to the Arizona program, as one of his high school teammates was former point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright. The addition of Gettings will give Arizona a front court player who can score around the basket and from the perimeter, as he shot nearly 37 percent from beyond the arc last season.

Gettings isn’t the first Ivy League player to make his decision regarding a new school well in advance of his being able to move as a grad transfer, as former Yale point guard Makai Mason took a similar approach. Mason, who missed the entire 2016-17 season with a torn ACL, announced prior to last season that he be joining the Baylor program as a grad transfer for the 2018-19 campaign.

Not counting Gettings, Arizona has four scholarship front court players on its current roster who will have eligibility remaining in 2019-20, in current junior Chase Jeter, sophomores Emmanuel Akot and Ira Lee and freshman Omar Thielemans.

Bill Self: Silvio De Sousa’s eligibility not in jeopardy ‘at this stage’

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One of the biggest question marks heading into the 2018-19 season for the Kansas Jayhawks is the eligibility status of Silvio De Sousa.

If you’ve forgotten, a player that is believed to be De Sousa was referenced in a second round of indictments handed by the FBI. In those documents, De Sousa’s guardian is alleged to have asked an Adidas rep for at least $20,000 to repay a rival apparel company for a payment that was made to secure De Sousa’s commitment to another school. Prior to a surprise commitment to Kansas, De Sousa was long considered a Maryland lean. His AAU program and high school team were both sponsored by Under Armour, whose flagship program is Maryland.

According to Kansas head coach Bill Self, at this point De Sousa is still eligible.

“Nobody at this stage has given us any information that he could be in jeopardy at this stage,” Self said.

This is not surprising.

The way that I would expect this to play out is similar to the way it played out for players that were referenced in the indictments that came down last fall. Kansas is going to string this thing along until we get to a point in time close to the start of the season, when they will announce that De Sousa is being held out of competition. It is better for Kansas to bite the bullet and play without De Sousa than it would be for them to risk knowingly suiting up a player that can be retroactively ruled ineligible.

That sucks for De Sousa.

The good news for Kansas, however, is that Udoka Azubuike is back, as is Mitch Lightfoot, while both Dedric and K.J. Lawson will be eligible as they add freshman David McCormack. There is more than enough frontcourt depth to withstand the loss of De Sousa.