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Kevin Willard will remain at Seton Hall after turning down Virginia Tech

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Kevin Willard will stay the head coach at Seton Hall after listening to an offer from Virginia Tech.

After being linked to the Hokies after former head coach Buzz Williams took the job at Texas A&M, Willard will instead stay with the Pirates as Seton Hall is expected to give Willard a new contract with a raise. With Seton Hall potentially bringing back most of its roster from an NCAA tournament season, hopes are high for the Pirates in 2019-20 — particularly if guard Myles Powell returns after testing the NBA Draft waters.

“Didn’t want to leave my team,” Willard said to Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press. “I really enjoy this group. That was the reason.”

While Virginia Tech attempted to lure Willard away with more money and the draw of playing in the loaded ACC, the Hokies also haven’t had a lot of sustained basketball success until Williams turned the program around. Leaving the comfort of a good thing at Seton Hall would have been a risk for Willard as he’s guided the Pirates to four straight NCAA tournament appearances.

Now that Virginia Tech’s top target has said no, it’ll be interesting to see where they turn to next as they remain one of the better jobs still available in the 2019 coaching carousel.

Virginia Tech’s Ty Outlaw charged with marijuana possession

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Virginia Tech starter Ty Outlaw was charged with marijuana possession on Tuesday as his status for this weekend’s Sweet 16 contest against Duke remains uncertain.

Charged with one misdemeanor count of marijuana possession, Outlaw’s charges occur from a search warrant conducted at his apartment while he was away with the Hokies in California at the NCAA tournament.

According to the search warrant, on March 20, Blacksburg police officers arrived at Outlaw’s apartment for a narcotics violation. The officers attempted to make contact with the occupants of the apartment and received no response but the officer claimed “a strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from the residence.” A search warrant was obtained, and on March 21, police seized one white pill, two yellow capsules, an electronic vape cartridge and green plant material from the residence.

The case was filed on Wednesday after a summons for Outlaw was issued Monday and delivered on Tuesday. He’s scheduled to appear in court on April 11.

No. 12 FSU beats No. 16 Virginia Tech 65-63 in OT at ACC tournament

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — With the clock winding down in a tie game, Florida State’s Terance Mann pushed upcourt and launched a twisting off-balance shot that ended with him flat on his back, his feet up in the air and the ball rattling around the rim.

Never a doubt, right?

“I knew,” Mann said. “I knew it was going in.”

Mann’s shot with 1.8 seconds left helped the No. 12 Seminoles edge No. 16 Virginia Tech 65-63 on Thursday in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinals, keeping the Seminoles’ hot hand with the wildest-looking — yet nonetheless effective — of shots.

Mann’s shot broke a 63-all tie for the fourth-seeded Seminoles (26-6), who secured the win when Nickeil Alexander-Walker missed a long 3-pointer at the horn on a desperation inbounds play from the far end.

Mann had the biggest shot of the game, but the Seminoles had two other big ones to secure this one in a testament to their balance. That included freshman Devin Vassell hitting a contested 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.

“That’s just how our team is,” said Mann, who had 10 points and nine rebounds. “Whoever feels comfortable with the position they’re in, they’re going to do it. And we all have full faith in here in everybody to do so.”

Vassell scored 14 points to lead the Seminoles, who started the game with a 17-4 lead yet ended up in that tense finish.

It finally came down to Alexander-Walker missing a contested shot in the paint with about 10 seconds left in overtime. The Seminoles didn’t call timeout, opting instead to push the ball back the other way.

“I was going to live and die with whatever happened as a result of that,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said.

Alexander-Walker finished with 21 points for the Hokies, including a 3 that bounced up off the front rim and dropped through the net for a 63-60 lead with 1:40 left in OT.

The lead didn’t hold up in the second overtime matchup between the teams in the past 10 days — both won by FSU.

“He made a great drive, I just tried not to foul,” Virginia Tech’s Ahmed Hill said of Mann’s shot. “He made a beautiful floater and it happened to go in.”

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: The Hokies have been grinding through games without injured point guard Justin Robinson (foot) since late January. The Hokies fought their way to win six wins in their final 10 regular-season games, then beat Miami in Wednesday’s second round to advance. They just couldn’t protect that final lead, with FSU’s Phil Cofer hitting the tying 3 at the 1:15 mark of OT to set the stage for Mann’s winner.

Florida State: The Seminoles arrived in Charlotte as one of the hottest teams in the country, winning 12 of 13 games to secure a double-round bye into the quarterfinals. They found a wild way to add to that streak.

QUICK THINKER

Mann said he was looking to drive to the rim when he took a pass near halfcourt on that final transition chance. He pushed to the right against Hill and felt a bump, so he lifted off for a shot that ultimately bounced around the rim, touched the backboard and dropped through the net.

“I knew it wasn’t a hard-enough bump to get the whistle,” Mann said. “So once I was in the air, I knew I had to shoot it. I’m used to doing it.”

Mann paused.

“It’s like a 0.5-second thinking process right there,” he said with a laugh.

ROBINSON’S STATUS

Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams had ruled out Robinson for the ACC Tournament last week but said Thursday he’s “making progress.”

Williams said team medical staff will take new pictures of foot injury Sunday to see how he has progressed. He said Robinson had also been able to participate in at least some practice work Monday and Tuesday.

“He was able to do a little bit more than Monday,” Williams said. “So God’s the ultimate healer and we’re praying that it works.”

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech: The Hokies will wait for Selection Sunday to find out their NCAA Tournament destination.

Florida State: The Seminoles advanced to Friday’s semifinals to face second-ranked and top-seeded Virginia, which beat eighth-seeded North Carolina State earlier Thursday.

Blackshear, No. 16 Virginia Tech beat Miami 71-56 in ACCs

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ty Outlaw and No. 16 Virginia Tech got a quick offensive start. The Hokies didn’t need a whole lot more to advance in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

Outlaw hit three 3-pointers during the Hokies’ game-opening 11-point run and they never trailed in beating Miami 71-56 on Wednesday in the second round.

Kerry Blackshear had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the fifth-seeded Hokies (24-7). They ran out to a 20-point lead before halftime, then turned away Miami’s last serious push early in the second half with a 20-5 run that drove the margin past 20 again.

“When you have teammates like ours, it makes the game a lot easier from the start, whether we’re hitting or not, because everybody is a threat,” Blackshear said. “We know that when somebody is hot, that’s the person we’re going to find.

“We know that each person is going to make the right basketball play for our team, whether that be taking their own shot, finding somebody else, setting a screen, anything like that.”

The numbers sure looked good for Virginia Tech, which shot 50 percent and made 11 of 27 3-pointers to beat the 12th-seeded Hurricanes for a third time this season — all by double-figure margins.

Virginia Tech twice made at least five straight shots during the game.

“They move the ball extremely fast to basically four guards on the perimeter and a big guy who can really handle,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “All five guys shoot the 3. They spread you out.

“Their touches — where it’s in your hand and out of your hand without dribbling — gives them a chance to get open shots. The defense can’t move as fast as the ball can.”

Chris Lykes scored 19 points for Miami (14-18) which never gave itself much of a chance by falling behind big from the jump and shooting just 34 percent.

BIG PICTURE

Miami: The Hurricanes’ first-round win against Wake Forest on Tuesday ensured they would win at least one game in the ACC Tournament in seven of Larranaga’s eight seasons as coach. That turned out to be the only highlight in a two-day stay in Charlotte at the end of a frustrating season, which included never having 6-foot-11 forward Dewan Hernandez — who was ruled ineligible by the NCAA because of his dealings with an agent and ultimately left school to pursue a professional career. Larranaga has his first losing season since going 9-18 in his first year at George Mason in 1997-98, and he had won at least 20 games in six of his first seven seasons with the Hurricanes.

“It was very, very challenging to have only seven scholarship players available to us,” Larranaga said. “It was very hard to prepare and practice properly. Because, amongst those seven players, they were dealing with injuries.”

Virginia Tech: The Hokies won’t have point guard Justin Robinson for the ACC Tournament as he continues to deal with a foot injury that has sidelined him since late January. That wasn’t a problem in their tournament debut.

LYKES’ INJURY

The 5-7 Lykes, Miami’s leading scorer at 16.2 points, was helped off after he suffered a right-ankle injury when landing on a layup with 3:24 left. Larranaga said afterward that Lykes was getting an X-ray.

Larranaga said he was “hoping it’s not bad, but I’m not optimistic.”

OUTLAW’S START

Outlaw scored all 14 of his points in the first half, including the three 3s in the first 4 1/2 minutes in a sign of how Outlaw says he’s “ready to shoot whenever (teammates kick it out.”

“If he has space and he has 10 toes to the rim, I think he’s an elite level shooter,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said.

RUN IT BACK

Virginia Tech closed the regular season with a loss at Florida State followed by a home win against Miami. Now, after beating the Hurricanes, they’re playing the Seminoles again.

“It’s strange, right?” Williams said. “We’re living last week in reverse this week.”

UP NEXT

The Hokies will face 12th-ranked and fourth-seeded Florida State in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

Report: Billy Kennedy out at Texas A&M after SEC tourney

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Billy Kennedy’s tenure at Texas A&M is reportedly drawing to a close.

The eighth-year head coach will not be retained by the school beyond the SEC tournament, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Kennedy’s ouster has been rumored for weeks as the Aggies mired in a 13-17 season. Texas A&M made the Sweet 16 in 2016 and 2018 but are 150-115 overall during Kennedy’s tenure, which began in 2011 after he went to one NCAA tournament in five seasons at Murray State.

He was asked Tuesday if he anticipated being back in College Station for a ninth season.

“I do,” he said, per the Houston Chronicle. “I think we’ve done a lot of good things in this program when you look at winning a (league) championship, our guys academically are doing well and our program is in good shape.
We’ve got a good (recruiting) class coming in, and we’ve got some solid guys returning who’ve proven they can win in this league. I feel very confident about where we’re at as a program.”

Virginia Tech’s Buzz Williams and Houston’s Kelvin Sampson are expected to be the frontrunners to replace Kennedy, sources told NBC Sports.

Williams is a former Texas A&M assistant while Sampson helped build Houston into an AAC powerhouse that has spent much of the year ranked in the top-15.

Texas A&M begins SEC tournament play Wednesday against Vanderbilt.

NBC Sports Top 25: The final power rankings of the college basketball season

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Yes, I’m the guy that still has Duke at No. 1. I explained why in detail last week, and I’m not going to do it again, especially now that it appears Zion Williamson will be back for the ACC tournament.

And just to make it clear: This does not mean that I believe Duke should be a No. 1 seed. I don’t. Losses, even if they come when a team is not at full strength, need to matter for things like NCAA tournament seeding. They don’t matter when it comes to how the industry — and me, specifically — rank which of those teams are the best.

Beyond that, there isn’t all that much to talk about in what will be the final top 25 of the 2018-19 season.

I bumped Texas Tech up to fifth after they won a share of the Big 12 regular season title. Outside of a three-week stretch in January when Jarrett Culver forgot how to shoot, the Red Raiders were the best team in that conference. With the way they are shooting and scoring the ball in the last month combined with that defense, they are very much a threat to win a national title.

One other thing that I’ll note here: I think there are three tiers at the top of college hoops. At the top is a healthy Duke, Gonzaga and Virginia. Right behind that trio sits North Carolina, Texas Tech, Tennessee and Kentucky. I think those seven are pretty clearly the top seven teams in the country, and one you get past them, it starts to get wild. Purdue, Kansas State, Michigan State, Houston, Michigan, Florida State, Nevada. I think there is an argument for all of these teams to be ranked in the back end of the top ten.

Anyway, here is my final Top 25 of the season:

1. Duke (26-5, Last Week: 1)
2. Gonzaga (29-2, 2)
3. Virginia (28-2, 3)
4. North Carolina (26-5, 4)
5. Texas Tech (26-5, 6)
6. Tennessee (27-4, 5)
7. Kentucky (26-5, 7)
8. Michigan State (25-6, 12)
9. Purdue (23-8, 9)
10. Kansas State (24-7, 10)
11. LSU (26-5, 11)
12. Houston (29-2, 12)
13. Michigan (26-5, 8)
14. Nevada (28-3, 15)
15. Florida State (25-6, 18)
16. Virginia Tech (23-7, 17)
17. Buffalo (28-3, 20)
18. Wofford (27-4, 22)
19. Wisconsin (22-9, 19)
20. Kansas (23-8, 16)
21. Marquette (23-8, 14)
22. Auburn (22-9, NR)
23. VCU (25-6, NR)
24. Mississippi State (22-9, NR)
25. UCF (23-7, 25)

Dropped Out: 21. Iowa State, 23. Villanova, 24. Cincinnati
New Additions: 22. Auburn, 23. VCU, 24. Mississippi State