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Muffet McGraw retires from Notre Dame

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Muffet McGraw retired suddenly from the Notre Dame women’s basketball program on Wednesday.

The legendary head coach collected two national championships and 936 wins during her storied career.

Spending the past 33 seasons on the sidelines at Notre Dame, McGraw compiled one of the most impressive NCAA basketball coaching profiles in modern history. McGraw and Notre Dame became pillars of success during her tenure. The program reached nine Final Fours and played in the national title game seven times. The Irish claimed national titles in 2001 and 2018.

“It has been my great honor to represent the University of Notre Dame these past 33 years, but the time has come for me to step down as your head basketball coach,” McGraw said in a statement. “I want to thank Monk Malloy and Father Jenkins for giving me the opportunity to coach the game I love at a university I love. I have learned much about leadership from the many athletic directors with whom I have served, and in particular, I want to thank Jack Swarbrick for his unwavering support.”

Finishing with a career record of 936-251, McGraw started her head coaching career with five seasons at Lehigh. Although McGraw didn’t make a postseason appearance at Lehigh, she slowly turned Notre Dame into a postseason juggernaut. Beginning with her eighth season in South Bend, McGraw took Notre Dame to 22 consecutive women’s NCAA tournaments.

The Irish were particularly dominant over the last decade. McGraw and Notre Dame made the women’s Final Four an incredible eight times in nine seasons from 2011 through 2019. The program also made it to at least the Sweet Sixteen every season of the 2010 decade.

McGraw also made a big impact by coaching plenty of future WNBA stars and All-Americans. Ruth Riley was McGraw’s first big star in the late ’90s. The torch was passed through the years as new stars like Skylar Diggins-Smith, Jewell Loyd, Brianna Turner and Arike Ogunbowale all thrived under McGraw.

Notre Dame will replace Muffet McGraw with former assistant coach Niele Ivey. Ivey played for Notre Dame and coached under McGraw from 2007 until 2019.

College basketball’s best available transfers

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College basketball’s best available transfers have plenty to offer.

Among the group left there is scoring, size and proven production. Some players are going to higher levels after thriving at mid-major schools. There’s also a chance for a fresh start for talented players who couldn’t figure things out at their first stop.

Here’s a look at the college basketball’s best transfers.

Landers Nolley II, Virginia Tech

Bursting on the ACC scene this season, Nolley provided instant scoring pop for the Hokies. Nolley dropped 30 in his first college game against Clemson. From there, the wing proved himself to be a reliable high-major scorer. The redshirt freshman tapered off at the end of the season. He ended up at 15.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists a game. But he’s a weapon as a scorer that any team would love to add. Nolley recently named his top 11 schools. Alabama, Georgetown, Maryland, Memphis, N.C. State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Seton Hall, TCU, Texas Tech, UConn all made the cut.

D.J. Carton, Ohio State

This promising former high-end four-star prospect left the Buckeyes mid-season. The explosive left-hander was off to a strong start. Carton put up 10.4 points, 3.0 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. Then the freshman left the team for mental health reasons. Removing himself from the team late January, Carton never returned to basketball. Now, he’s one of the best available transfers. Shooting 40 percent from three-point range, Carton can get to the rack or knock down shots. High-major programs from all over have checked in on Carton. The Iowa native has plenty of options.

Johnny Juzang, Kentucky

After reclassifying to join the Wildcats a year early last May, Juzang is already exiting for another program. The freshman is a former high-end four-star prospect. The 6-foot-6 Juzang brings size and shooting to his next destination. Although he never properly cracked Kentucky’s lineup, Juzang worked his way into a respectable role. The freshman averaged 12.3 minutes per contest and 2.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. Arizona, Notre Dame, Oregon, Texas Tech, UCLA and Villanova are among Juzang’s top six. It’s not often that a Kentucky player is one of college basketball’s best transfers.

Jamarius Burton, Wichita State

The sophomore put together a strong all-around season for the Shockers. Burton put up 10.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while shooting a respectable 38 percent from three-point range. The versatile perimeter threat can play multiple spots and often bullies his opponents with physicality. Burton became one of Wichita State’s go-to players by the end of the season. Burton is down to Marquette, Seton Hall, Texas Tech and Xavier.

Trey Wertz, Santa Clara

Wertz doesn’t have a lot of notoriety. But 58 coaches contacted Wertz’s family the first seven hours he was in the transfer portal. The sophomore is one of the hottest names in recruiting. According to a report from the Charlotte Observer, Wertz is down to Arizona, Butler, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Virginia. For two seasons, Wertz consistently put up strong numbers for the Broncos. A tall guard at 6-foot-4, Wertz put up numbers across the board. He’s a double-figure scorer (11.9 ppg) who also distributes (3.9 apg) and helps on the glass (3.5 rpg). This season saw Wertz improve to a 40 percent three-point shooter.

Luther Muhammad, Ohio State

Starting 56 games for the Buckeyes the past two seasons, Muhammad is one of the more experienced transfers. The two-way guard is a tough perimeter defender capable of locking down opposing guards. Muhammad can also go on scoring flurries if he gets hot from the perimeter. Consistency has been the issue. Take Ohio State’s games against Maryland this season as an example. In a win, Muhammad poured in 22 points and hit four three-pointers. In a loss, the sophomore went scoreless in 24 minutes. Sometimes, it’s hard to guess which version of Muhammad will show up. Muhammad is down eight schools. Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Georgia, New Mexico, Seton Hall, UCLA and West Virginia are involved.

Holland Woods, Portland State

This first-team all-Big Sky performer is highly productive. The 6-foot-1 point guard averaged 30-plus minutes in all three seasons with the Vikings. Woods did plenty when he was on the floor. Averaging 17.7 points and 5.2 assists per game as a junior, Woods is a dynamic threat with the ball in his hands. Perimeter shooting is the big problem. Woods has never been over 30 percent in his career. But with over 1,300 points and 500 assists in his college career, Woods should be able to come in and help right away. Woods could return to Portland State but he’s also considering Arizona State, Gonzaga, Oregon State and New Mexico State.

Cam Mack, Nebraska

In his only season at Nebraska, the 6-foot-2 guard showed his all-around ability. Mack put up 12.0 points, 6.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. He has the only triple-double in Cornhuskers history — which came in a win over Purdue. Off-the-court issues are why Mack finds himself lower on this list. Nebraska suspended the sophomore multiple times during the season. Mack also put his name in the 2020 NBA draft process — but he’s maintaining his college eligibility. If Mack ends up staying in college, he’s talented enough to be a major force.

David DeJulius, Michigan

DeJulius entered the transfer portal just days ago after a promising sophomore campaign. The Wolverines relied on DeJulius as a key reserve guard who averaged 7.0 points and 1.5 assists per game in 20 minutes a contest. It was expected DeJulius would compete for a starting spot with the departure of Zavier Simpson. That won’t be the case now. It could be that DeJulius wants a chance to be a starter elsewhere. He’s a capable shooter who can put up points at the highest level. Even if DeJulius doesn’t improve at running an offense, he should help someone looking for perimeter pop and experience.

Joshua Morgan, Long Beach State

Morgan is the ultimate upside play among the best available transfers. The 6-foot-11 center was the Big West’s Defensive Player of the Year as a freshman. After putting up modest numbers in high school, Morgan added 18 pounds and showed he could compete with the big boys. Morgan averaged 8.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. Ranking 13th in the nation in blocks, Morgan’s defensive presence at the rim is unique among available transfers. And with three years of eligibility left, there’s a lot of time to tap in Morgan’s upside. Morgan scored in double-figures against Arizona, UCLA, USC last season. Now, all three of those schools are among the many high-majors in pursuit.

Creighton lands Duke transfer Alex O’Connell

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Creighton got a commitment from Duke transfer Alex O’Connell on Wednesday.

The junior guard announced his decision on Twitter. O’Connell spent the past three seasons as a role player with the Blue Devils. The former top-75 consensus recruit might finally have a chance to earn consistent minutes. This will be a fresh start for O’Connell in the Big East.

O’Connell received, at most, 14 minutes per game at Duke. That came as a sophomore. O’Connell never cracked the main Duke lineup because talented freshmen often took opening spots. This past season, O’Connell lost confidence as a perimeter shooter. The 6-foot-6 wing put up 5.5 points and 2.2 rebounds per contest in 13.3 minutes of action per game. But O’Connell’s shooting numbers dipped. He was only at 40 percent from the floor and 27 percent from three-point range. That’s a huge drop from the 48 percent he shot from three as a freshman.

With Creighton, O’Connell gets a new opportunity. And his addition to the Bluejays could be an interesting fit. In head coach Greg McDermott’s offense, O’Connell could see a lot of open perimeter looks. Creighton often has a number of floor-spacing options on the floor. That should enable O’Connell to step in and play his part right away. If O’Connell can find his confidence again, he’s another dangerous weapon to space the floor with.

Although O’Connell never got going with Duke, he has a chance to finish his college career on a high note. And with Creighton coming off a Big East title, Alex O’Connell could be a strong fit as they try to stay among the league’s top teams.

Duke’s Justin Robinson discusses lost season, becoming a leader

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Justin Robinson was starting to figure things out.

The Duke senior forward saw his role increase as the postseason approached. Against rival North Carolina, Robinson made key plays on both ends of the floor. Robinson finished with 13 points, six rebounds, four blocks and three assists in 25 minutes. The ACC tournament was next on the schedule for Duke.

Then, the college basketball season was cut short. Robinson and his Duke teammates were among a large group of teams with seasons that would never get completed.

Robinson sat down with his brother Corey to discuss how he and his teammates handled season being canceled, his favorite tournament memories and how he grew into his role with the Blue Devils.

No. 22 Virginia knocks off No. 10 Louisville

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Kihei Clark scored 18 points, including a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left, and No. 22 Virginia recovered after blowing a 14-point second half lead to beat No. 10 Louisville 57-54 on Saturday.

The Cavaliers (23-7, 15-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) won for the 10th time in 11 games and moved into a tie with the Cardinals for second place in the league standings, leaving the door open for No. 7 Florida State to claim the title with a victory over Boston College.

Mamadi Diakite added 17 points and eight rebounds for Virginia in his final game at John Paul Jones Arena. Jay Huff scored 11 points and blocked a shot from in close by Steven Enoch with 51 seconds and grabbed the rebound.

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Jordan Nwora had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Enoch scored 11 points for the Cardinals (24-7, 15-5). They lost for the second time in three games, but not before making it very interesting.

The Cavaliers used a 27-8 run spanning halftime to open a 40-28 lead with just under 15 minutes to play, but the Nwora scored the first 10 points in a 16-6 burst that pulled them even at 51 with 5:11 left. Ryan McMahon and Darius Perry hit 3-pointers to end the burst, the latter Perry’s only field goal of the game.

Diakite’s free throw broke the tie, and after Louisville Missed, Clark made a 3-pointer, setting off a celebration. The Cardinals only points the rest of the way came on a 3-point by Samuell Williamson with 0.03 seconds left.

BIG PICTURE

Louisville: The Cardinals made four 3-pointers in a span of 3:24, fueling a 14-2 run that gave them a 16-8 lead with 11 minutes left. They didn’t make another 3 until there was 9:56 left in the second half on their 17th attempt overall.

Virginia: The only blemish for the Cavaliers in their final dozen regular season games came in an 80-73 loss at Louisville on Feb. 8. At the time, it represented both their highest scoring total of the season and the highest total they had allowed. … Louisville’s scoring low before Saturday was 57 points against Texas Tech, the team Virginia beat in last year’s national championship game, on Dec. 10.

UP NEXT

Both teams will open play in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina, in the quarterfinals Thursday.

Wake Forest stuns No. 7 Duke in 2OT

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Brandon Childress shook off an awful shooting start, hit a tying 3-pointer late in regulation and helped Wake Forest stun seventh-ranked Duke 113-101 in double overtime Tuesday night.

Childress missed his first 10 shots before hitting the tying 3 with 15.5 seconds left in regulation. And once the game went into a second extra period, Childress buried another on the first possession to put the Demon Deacons (12-15, 5-12 Atlantic Coast Conference) ahead to stay, sending them to their first win against the Blue Devils in nearly six years.

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He finished with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists. Childress made six of his last 10 shots and scored 13 points in the two overtimes. Isaiah Mucius came up with a dunk with 14.7 seconds left to finally punctuate a huge victory for Danny Manning’s club.

“I don’t care about percentages,” Childress said of his 0-for-10 start. “I’m satisfied with the shots I take. I practice those. It might not have went as much as I’d like to. But I just wanted to find the right moment to take over the game, and I did that.”

When it was over, Wake Forest fans stormed the court to celebrate their first win against Duke since March 2014. Childress got carried around the court on shoulders.

“The second overtime, they just took over,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Obviously the total game, they were the team that was deserving of winning, and they did.”

It marked the second time in a week the Blue Devils (23-5, 13-4) lost on the road to an unranked, instate opponent. They lost by 22 points at North Carolina State last week, a game that ended with another court-storming celebration.

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Freshman Wendell Moore Jr. had a season-high 25 points to lead the Blue Devils, and Tre Jones added 24 points, seven rebounds and nine assists at the point. But star big man Vernon Carey Jr. had 10 points before becoming one of three Blue Devils to foul out in a game they appeared to have under control, leading 78-69 with 1:21 left in regulation.

A few turnovers opened the door, just enough for Childress and the Demon Deacons to jump through.

Olivier Sarr scored a career-high 25 points before fouling out to lead Wake Forest, which shot 52% from the game and helped itself by getting to the line repeatedly. The Demon Deacons made 37 of 50 free throws, including 13 of 15 in the overtimes to finally wrestle control.

BIG PICTURE

Duke: It’s a costly loss for the Blue Devils, who fell a game behind league-leading and sixth-ranked Florida State in the ACC standings with three games to play.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons had lost four of five coming in, sitting a game ahead of last-place North Carolina in the ACC. Now they have a huge win, ending an 11-game skid against the Blue Devils.

UP NEXT

Duke: The Blue Devils visit reigning national champion Virginia, which has won four straight and seven of eight, on Saturday.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons host Notre Dame on Saturday.