Ticket Punched: North Carolina wins MEAC tournament to advance to clinch school's first NCAA tournament berthSam Cooper at The Dagger19 mins ago
Senior guard Jeremy Ingram, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference player of the year, scored 29 points to lead North Carolina Central to its first NCAA tournament berth in school history in a 71-62 win over Morgan State.
Junior forward Karamo Jawara, a native of Norway, registered 10 points, six rebounds and three assists for the Eagles. Senior guard Alfonzo Houston hit 7-of-8 free throw attempts and added nine points in the win, the team’s 20th in a row.
The 6-foot-3 Ingram averaged 20.3 points per game for the 28-5 Eagles, good for 19th best in the country coming into Saturday’s conference title game. N.C. Central was the No. 1 seed in the MEAC tournament and had knocked off Howard by 46 in the quarterfinals and Norfolk State by 23 in the semifinals on Friday.
Ian Chiles (26 points) did all he could to keep the third-seeded Bears close, but N.C. Central hit 25 of 30 second half free throws to hold the Bears off.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger1 hr ago
Louisville is playing its best basketball of the season at the right time and its best basketball is scary good.
The defending national champion Cardinals finished off a remarkable four-game run of blowouts Saturday by winning the inaugural American Athletic Conference championship 71-61 over Connecticut in a game that wasn't as close as the final margin indicates. The Huskies were victimized twice in those four games by the Cardinals, who will likely go into the NCAA tournament as a No. 3 or 4 seed because of a weak nonconference schedule.
With Louisville playing like a No. 1 seed late in the season, it is unquestionably the team no opponent is going to want to be paired against when the NCAA bracket is released Sunday.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger2 hrs ago
Former Indiana and Alabama-Birmingham coach Mike Davis is back in the NCAA tournament, this time with one of the best big men in the country at his disposal.
Davis, who has now led all three teams he has coached to the NCAA tournament, watched center Aaric Murray score 27 points with 10 rebounds while blocking four shots in 78-73 victory over surprising Prairie View A&M in the SWAC championship game.
Prairie View advanced to the title game despite winning just eight regular season games. The Panthers actually led at halftime and would have been the worst team record-wise ever to earn and NCAA berth had they won.
Texas Southern last earned a spot in the NCAA tournament in 2003. This will be its fifth trip and the Tigers are looking for the first win in the program's history. Davis is in his second season coaching the Tigers.
- - - - - - -
- Sam Cooper at The Dagger3 hrs ago
Washington and Texas will square off in the first ever American regular season game, professional or collegiate, played in China, the Pac-12 conference announced Saturday. The game will be played on Nov. 13, 2015 (Nov. 13 in the U.S.) and will be televised live on ESPN.
According to a press release from the conference, the game in China is part of the Pac-12’s effort to showcase itself on a global level. The Pac-12’s “Globalization Initiative” launched in 2011 and has featured trips to China for exhibitions and clinics by several Pac-12 basketball teams and an all-star women’s volleyball team.
“The Pac-12 and our universities are proud to be pioneers in China” said commissioner Larry Scott. “The event is a great step forward for our initiative designed to use sport and cultural exchange to support the international strategies that many of our universities have embarked on to extend their reach into China and promote good will between our two countries.”
- Sam Cooper at The Dagger5 hrs ago
Florida found itself in an unfamiliar position after one half of play against Tennessee.
The Volunteers were shooting the lights out (14-of-26, 53.8 percent) and jumped out to a surprising 35-28 halftime lead over the nation’s No. 1 team. Much like Friday’s quarterfinal win over Missouri, the Gators turned things around in the second half to win the game 56-49.
The Vols provided quite a bit more resistance than the Tigers though. It only took 5:11 of second half play for Florida to overcome the seven-point halftime deficit to take its first lead since it was 9-7.
The rest of the game was a grind.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger6 hrs ago
At the height of Tulsa's success in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Golden Hurricane were a mid-major to be feared.
They made the NCAA tournament eight times in 10 years, won at least one tournament game all but one of those seasons and reached the Elite Eight under Bill Self in 2000.
It may be a little while before Tulsa inspires the fear and respect from opponents that it did back then, but Danny Manning has the Golden Hurricane back on the upswing again. They culminated a breakthrough season Saturday afternoon by outlasting Louisiana Tech 69-60 in the Conference USA title game to earn their first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2003.
Tulsa's win caps a late-season surge that elevated the Golden Hurricane from a mid-tier Conference USA team to the top of the league. They won nine straight to secure a share of the league title before dispatching of Tulane, Middle Tennessee and Louisiana Tech to secure the automatic bid.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger6 hrs ago
Albany will make a surprise return trip to the NCAA tournament after upsetting the top two seeds in the America East Conference tournament to steal an automatic berth.
The Great Danes, who lost in the NCAA tournament last year to Duke, defeated No. 2 seed Stony Brook 69-60 on Saturday to earn the program's fourth NCAA tournament bid. They will be looking to pull off an unlikely upset, probably as a No. 16 seed, to earn their first NCAA tournament win next week.
Forward Sam Rowley led the Great Danes with 18 points before fouling out with more than 7 minutes remaining. Teammate Peter Hooley scored 15, including a big 3-pointer in the final 70 seconds to give the Great Danes a five-point cushion. Albany was the fourth seed in the tournament.
At one point during the game, the mascots from the two schools appeared to get into a minor scuffle on the baseline and needed to be separated. Check it out.
- - - - - - -
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger7 hrs ago
When CBS unveils the NCAA tournament bracket on Sunday, every coach will respond by describing his team's opening-round opponent as though they were 1996 Kentucky or 1976 Indiana.
Don't believe them if they draw one of the teams below.
A look at four struggling or injury-riddled teams that are limping into the NCAA tournament and should be favorable draws for whoever gets them.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger18 hrs ago
LAS VEGAS --- Hugh Greenwood had just finished explaining why New Mexico had been hoping to get a third crack at San Diego State all week when his coach interjected.
“Hugh that was really good,” Craig Neal told his junior guard. “You’ve just got to be careful about being real honest about things.”
Yes, now that New Mexico has defeated Boise State 73-70 in the Mountain West semifinals, it’s OK for the Lobos to admit the obvious. As much as they tried to keep their focus on Fresno State and Boise State this week, they’re thrilled to get the chance to redeem themselves for blowing a 16-point lead with 11 minutes to go last Saturday at Viejas Arena with the regular season league title at stake.
“It’s been in the back of our minds since that game,” Greenwood said. “We’ve always taken it one step at a time, one game at a time. We took care of Fresno, took care of Boise. Now we want a rematch. The city of Albuquerque wants a rematch. We’re definitely looking forward to the challenge.”
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger19 hrs ago
Creighton fans in Omaha were able to watch most of the Bluejays' Big East tournament semifinal win over Xavier on Friday until Cox Cable and Fox Sports 1 switched over to coverage of UCLA-Stanford semifinal in the Pac-12 Conference.
Obviously this didn't go over well among Bluejays fans with the Creighton game still in doubt when the change was made and they shared their frustrations on Twitter. Here are a few examples.
@bubbaprog Did Fox Sports 1 just switch everyone to the Pac 12 semifinal? We just had it happen in Omaha, where Creighton is.
@CoxHelp hey you probably already know this, but you need to wake someone up in Omaha and put the Big East tourney game back on FS1!!!
Omaha market FS1 feed switched over from Creighton game to Pac-12 game? Say what?