Just reaching the Final Four is a big accomplishment, given the rigors, perils and cruelty of the one-and-done NCAA tourney format. It's unforgiving. One bad night ... and you're gone.
Ballots for the Naismith Player and Coach of the Year went out recently. And, per usual, there are some difficult choices. The options for Player of the Year are: Kentucky junior forward Willie Cauley-Stein Notre Dame senior guard Jerian Grant Wisconsin senior forward Frank Kaminsky Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor The Coach of the Year choices are: Virginia’s Tony Bennett Kentucky’s John Calipari Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan Villanova’s Jay Wright I gave my Player of the Year vote to Kaminsky. Yes, cases can be made for the other options, but Kaminsky is the centerpiece on one of the best teams in
Iowa did about all it could do, didn’t it? Don’t you think the Hawkeyes reached expectations? I do. And so does Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. In the NCAA tourney, Iowa lost to a better team, and it came as far in the postseason as most experts suggested. So, let’s proclaim this season was an unqualified success. “We lost two games in a row, we lost an overtime game in the Big Ten (to Northwestern), and you would have thought we lost 20 in a row,” said Iowa’s Fran McCaffery. “It takes tremendous confidence and belief in one
We've reached the Sweet 16, and three No. 1 seeds remain. According to the seeds, Wisconsin has the tougher road than fellow No. 1 seeds Duke and Kentucky.
Tom Izzo and Michigan State are off to the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive season and the seventh time in the last eight years. But, could this be Izzo's best coaching job?
D’Angelo Russell’s shot failed him at the wrong time in Ohio State’s loss to Arizona in the third-round of the NCAA tourney. Now, the world watches and wonders: Will the freshman sensation turn pro? Russell’s response: No comment. Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com says that though Russell won’t come out and admit it, it’s hard to envision a world where he would not declare for the NBA Draft considering he’s widely regarded as a top-five pick. But, maybe Russell will shock everyone and return. Maybe not. *** Indiana is out of the NCAA tourney after just one game. No big shock. Now,
Rival West Virginia eliminated Maryland, 69-59, from the NCAA tournament Sunday night. Get Tom Dienhart’s instant reaction to Maryland’s loss below. [ MORE: Get all of our NCAA tournament coverage ] The star: West Virginia’s Devin Williams was a force, notching a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. He was one of four Mountaineers in double-figures. The stat: 23, Maryland’s turnovers. Enough said. Dez Wells really struggled, committing eight turnovers in a rough senior send-off that saw him score just nine points and foul out. Wells’ lay-up at the 11:35 mark in the second half made it 47-46 WVU.
Bo Ryan and Wisconsin are getting used to these Sweet 16 berths. The Badgers held off Oregon, 72-65, in Sunday night’s West Region quarterfinals to advance to the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in the last five seasons. Get Tom Dienhart’s rapid reaction to Wisconsin’s win over Oregon below. [ MORE: Check out our NCAA tournament coverage ] The star: Joseph Young, Oregon. Sam Dekker scored 17 points to lead a balanced Wisconsin attack, but the Pac-12 Player of the Year had 30 points, four assists, three rebounds and a steal. The rest of the Ducks had 35 points.
Fran McCaffery and Iowa ran into the wrong team on the wrong night. Gonzaga shot 62 percent en route to rolling Iowa, 87-68, in the West Region quarterfinals Sunday night in Seattle, Washington. Get Tom Dienhart’s rapid reaction to Iowa’s NCAA tourney loss below. [ MORE: Get all of our NCAA tournament coverage ] The star: Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer was the man. He hit 10-of-12 shots (4-of-6 3-pointers) to finish with a game-high 24 points, nailing his first six shots. He was one of four Zags in double-figures. Kevin Pangos had 16, Gary Bell, Jr., 10 and Domantas Sabonis also
It’s not the Sweet 16 without Michigan State, right? The Spartans took down Virginia on Sunday for the second time in as many seasons to advance to their fourth consecutive Sweet 16 and the seventh in the last eight years. Get Tom Dienhart’s rapid reaction to Michigan State’s win over Virginia below. [ MORE: Check out all of our NCAA tournament coverage ] The star: Travis Trice was ultra-clutch in this one, hitting 7-of-15 shots (4-of-8 from 3-point land) for a game-high 23 points. The 6-0 senior also had three assists, as No. 7 Michigan State knocked out No. 2