DAYTON, Ohio – For the last 14 years, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament has started with play-in games and the First Four at the University of Dayton Arena. The home team? Didn’t even get in the bracket most times. This year, it’s flying high.
SAN DIEGO – The NCAA apologized to New Mexico State and said it will evaluate its travel policy after the Aggies had to fly home in the middle of the night following their second-round tournament loss and were met by only one bus at the airport. Athletic director McKinley Boston said in a phone interview with the AP on Monday that he received a call during the weekend from Dan Gavitt, vice president of the men’s basketball championship.
RICHMOND, Va. – Shaka Smart isn’t amused by people taking shots at the strength of the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Virginia Commonwealth men’s basketball coach said on Monday the A-10 needs to apologize to no one for getting six teams in the NCAA tournament, including five at-large bids, because they all earned the right to be included.
Get on an interstate, drive less than an hour, play in an arena that’s been a mainstay on your schedule. Seems like Xavier has a built-in advantage for its opening NCAA game. Those slow-to-forget Dayton fans will try to negate it. The Musketeers (21-12) play a First Four game against N.C. State (21-13) today at the University of Dayton Arena, where Xavier has played many memorable games against the rival Flyers before moving into the Big East this season. –Associated Press 3:30 p.m.: Albany vs. Saint Mary’s, truTV
There will be 1,000 people lined up early Thursday morning to get a seat at the Las Vegas Hilton sports book for the start of the NCAA tournament, and most of them don’t care that Michigan State was somehow relegated to a No. 4 seed. Oddsmakers in Las Vegas are treating Tom Izzo’s (pictured) team like a No. 1 seed anyway. “We certainly can point out the committee flaws like no one else can,” said Jay Kornegay, who runs the popular LVH sports book. “Michigan State is a 4 seed yet we have them as the second favorite to win it all. That doesn’t make much sense to us.” Michigan State got more respect at the LVH than it did in the NCAA selection room, with oddsmakers making the Spartans a 9-2 pick to win it all, second only to Florida at 4-1. – Associated Press
Bryce Cotton scored 23 points to help Providence win its first Big East tournament title since 1994 with a great defensive effort against Doug McDermott and No. 14 Creighton (26-7) in a 65-56 victory Saturday night in New York. The fourth-seeded Friars (23-11) used a 2-3 zone to hold the second-seeded Bluejays to 24 points less than their season average. Creighton went 8 for 30 from behind the 3-point line.
Matt Kuchar was in a good spot Sunday at the Memorial. He had his first multiple-win season, and an audience with tournament host Jack Nicklaus. Needing two putts from 20 feet to hold off a late charge from Kevin Chappell, Kuchar punctuated a remarkably steady final round by making the birdie putt for a 4-under 68 and a two-shot victory at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. He joined Tiger Woods as the only players with more than one win this year on the PGA Tour.
PHOENIX – Once upon a time, Billy Donovan took Rick Pitino on an improbable ride to the Final Four. Twenty-five years later, Pitino is heading back after another unbelievable run – one capped with an amazing late-game rally that left his old protégé wondering what the heck happened.