INDIANA BOYS BASKETBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

1A LAFAYETTE CENTRAL CATHOLIC (20-9) VS. NORTH DAVIESS (26-3)

GAME TIME: 10:30 AM ET, GAINBRIDGE.

2A CENTRAL NOBLE (28-2) VS. PROVIDENCE (20-6)

GAME TIME: 12:45 PM ET, GAINBRIDGE.

3A MISHAWAKA MARIAN (24-3) VS. BEECH GROVE (21-6)

GAME TIME: 6 PM ET, GAINBRIDGE.

4A CHESTERTON (29-0) VS. INDIANAPOLIS CATHEDRAL (25-6)

GAME TIME: 8:15 PM ET, GAINBRIDGE.

STATE CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: https://www.ihsaa.org/Portals/0/ihsaa/documents/news%20media/2021-22/2021-22%20Boys%20Basketball%20Preview.pdf

MEN’S SWEET 16 MATCH-UPS/ODDS

THURSDAY, MARCH 24

WEST

NO. 1 GONZAGA (-8.5) VS. NO. 4 ARKANSAS (154.5)

NO. 3 TEXAS TECH (-1) VS. NO. 2 DUKE (136.5)

SOUTH

NO. 2 VILLANOVA (-5) VS. NO. 11 MICHIGAN (135)

NO. 1 ARIZONA (-2) VS. NO. NO. 5 HOUSTON (145.5)

FRIDAY, MARCH 18

MIDWEST

NO. 1 KANSAS (-7.5) VS. NO. 4 PROVIDENCE (141.5)

NO. 10 MIAMI (-1.5) VS. NO. 11 IOWA STATE (133)

EAST

NO. 4 UCLA (-2.5) VS. NO. 8 UNC (142.5)

NO. 3 PURDUE (-12.5) VS. NO. 15 ST. PETER’S (135.5)

WOMEN’S SWEET 16 MATCH-UPS

GREENSBORO, N.C. REGION: GREENSBORO COLISEUM

MARCH 25, 7 P.M. ET: NO. 1 SOUTH CAROLINA VS. NO. 5 NORTH CAROLINA

MARCH 25, 9:30 P.M. ET: NO. 3 IOWA STATE VS. NO. 10 CREIGHTON

SPOKANE, WASH. REGION: SPOKANE ARENA

MARCH 25, 7 P.M. ET: NO. 6 OHIO STATE VS. NO. 2 TEXAS

MARCH 25, 9:30 P.M.: NO. 1 STANFORD VS. NO. 4 MARYLAND

WICHITA, KAN. REGION: INTRUST BANK ARENA

MARCH 26, 4 P.M. ET: NO. 1 LOUISVILLE VS. NO. 4 TENNESSEE

MARCH 26, 6:30 P.M. ET: NO. 3 MICHIGAN VS. NO. 10 SOUTH DAKOTA

BRIDGEPORT, CONN. REGION: TOTAL MORTGAGE ARENA

MARCH 26, 11:30 A.M. ET: NO. 1 NC STATE VS. NO. 5 NOTRE DAME

MARCH 26, 2 P.M. ET: NO. 3 INDIANA VS. NO. 2 UCONN

NBA SCOREBOARD

SACRAMENTO 110 INDIANA 109

DETROIT 122 ATLANTA 101

NEW YORK 121 CHARLOTTE 106

BOSTON 125 UTAH 97

GOLDEN STATE 118 MIAMI 104

MEMPHIS 132 BROOKLYN 120

PHOENIX 125 MINNESOTA 116

OKLAHOMA CITY 118 ORLANDO 102

DALLAS 110 HOUSTON 91

PHILADELPHIA 126 LA LAKERS 121

SAN ANTONIO 133 PORTLAND 96

WEDNESDAY’S BOX SCORES: http://hosted.stats.com/nba/scoreboard.asp

NHL SCOREBOARD

TORONTO 3 NEW JERSEY 2

BUFFALO 4 PITTSBURGH 3

VANCOUVER 3 COLORADO 1

CHICAGO 4 ANAHEIM 2

WEDNESDAY’S BOX SCORES: http://hosted.stats.com/nhl/scoreboard.asp

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL – SPRING TRAINING

TEXAS 14 CHICAGO WHITE SOX 5

CHICAGO CUBS 5 OAKLAND 4

LA DODGERS 6 CLEVELAND 2

SAN DIEGO 3 LA ANGELS 0

ARIZONA 5 SAN FRANCISCO 3

KANSAS CITY 8 COLORADO 4

CINCINNATI 12 MILWAUKEE 8

MINNESOTA 10 BOSTON 4

PITTSBURGH 6 DETROIT 6

TAMPA BAY 7 ATLANTA 7

HOUSTON 10 ST. LOUIS 3

PHILADELPHIA 8 TORONTO 7

MIAMI 3 WASHINGTON 2

NY YANKEES 7 BALTIMORE 1

INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL PRE-SEASON POLLS

4A

1)FISHERS H.S. 0-0 (210)

2)ZIONSVILLE H.S. 0-0 (156)

3)WESTFIELD H.S. 0-0 (138)

3)JASPER H.S. 0-0 (138)

5)CENTER GROVE H.S. 0-0 (132)

6)JEFFERSONVILLE H.S. 0-0 (124)

7)CARMEL H.S. 0-0 (92)

8)LAKE CENTRAL H.S. 0-0 (62)

9)INDPLS CATHEDRAL H.S. 0-0 (46)

10)NEW ALBANY H.S. 0-0 (32)

Receiving Votes:

Andrean H.S., Crown Point H.S., Evans. North H.S., Floyd Central H.S., Harrison H.S. (West Lafayette), Homestead H.S., Lawrence North H.S., Mccutcheon H.S., Munster H.S., New Albany H.S., Noblesville H.S., Penn H.S, Roncalli H.S.

3A

1)ANDREAN H.S. 0-0 (184)

2)SILVER CREEK H.S. 0-0 (138)

3)LEBANON H.S. 0-0 (116)

4)BREBEUF H.S. 0-0 (108)

5)BATESVILLE H.S. 0-0 (98)

6)MADISON H.S. 0-0 (88)

7)NEW CASTLE H.S. 0-0 (80)

8)WESTERN H.S. 0-0 (74)

9)NORTHWESTERN H.S. 0-0 (68)

10)GRIFFITH H.S. 0-0 (50)

Receiving Votes:

Connersville H.S., Crawfordsville H.S., Danville H.S., Evans. Memorial H.S., F.W. Dwenger H.S., F.W. Luers H.S., Frankfort H.S., Garrett H.S., Gibson Southern H.S., Glenn H.S. (John Glenn), Hanover Central H.S., Northview H.S., Oak Hill H.S., Peru H.S., South Bend St.Joe H.S., Southridge H.S., West Vigo H.S., Yorktown H.S.

2A

1)PROVIDENCE H.S. 0-0 (182)

2)MONROE CENTRAL H.S. 0-0 (168)

3)FOREST PARK H.S. 0-0 (126)

4)WAPAHANI H.S. 0-0 (92)

5)CENTERVILLE H.S. 0-0 (90)

6)CARROLL (FLORA) H.S. 0-0 (88)

7)DELPHI H.S. 0-0 (84)

8)FAIRFIELD H.S. 0-0 (76)

9)UNIVERSITY HIGH SCHOOL 0-0 (74)

10)EASTSIDE H.S. 0-0 (58)

Receiving Votes:

Adams Central H.S., Alexandria H.S., Boone Grove H.S., Cass H.S. (Lewis – Cass), Hagerstown H.S., Heritage Christian School, Illiana Christian Hs, Indpls Scecina H.S., Lapel H.S., Linton-Stockton H.S., Park Tudor H.S., Westview H.S., Whiting H.S.,

1A

1)BORDEN H.S. 0-0 (164)

2)WASHINGTON TWP. H.S. 0-0 (136)

3)LAFAYETTE CENTRAL CATHOLIC H.S. 0-0 (128)

4)SOUTH CENTRAL H.S. (UNION MILLS) 0-0 (110)

5)LOOGOOTEE H.S. 0-0 (106)

6)COWAN H.S. 0-0 (100)

7)SHAKAMAK H.S. 0-0 (90)

8)NORTHEAST DUBOIS H.S. 0-0 (80)

9)NORTH DAVIESS H.S. 0-0 (68)

10)WES-DEL H.S. 0-0 (50)

Receiving Votes:

Barr-Reeve H.S., Bloomfield H.S., Caston H.S., F.W. Blackhawk Christian H.S., Hauser H.S., Kouts H.S., Morgan Twp. H.S., Oldenburg Academy, Oregon Davis H.S., Riverton Parke H.S., Rossville H.S., Southwood H.S., Tecumseh H.S., Washington Cath0lic H.S.,

D1 BASEBALL TOP 25

  1. OLE MISS
  2. TEXAS
  3. ARKANSAS
  4. VANDERBILT
  5. TENNESSEE
  6. OREGON STATE
  7. FLORIDA STATE
  8. FLORIDA
  9. OKLAHOMA STATE
  10. VIRGINIA
  11. ARIZONA
  12. NOTRE DAME
  13. NORTH CAROLINA
  14. GEORGIA TECH
  15. LIBERTY
  16. TEXAS TECH
  17. GEORGIA
  18. LOUISVILLE
  19. TCU
  20. TEXAS STATE
  21. LSU
  22. MARYLAND
  23. GONZAGA
  24. CLEMSON
  25. CONNECTICUT

TOP NATIONAL SPORTS HEADLINES/RELEASES

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS

*****GONZAGA VS. ARKANSAS PREVIEW******

GONZAGA GAME NOTES:

THE TIP OFF

– Top-seeded Gonzaga squares off with fourth-seeded Arkansas Thursday in the 2022 NCAA Tournament West Regional Semifinals in San Francisco, at 4 p.m. It’s the second all-time meeting, with the Zags winning the only previous matchup in 2013.

– The Zags appear in the seventh straight Sweet 16, the longest active streak in the nation, and third all-time.

– GU is making its 23rd consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearance and 24th overall. The 23 straight berths to the field are the third-longest current streak in the nation (Kansas 32 and Michigan State 24).

– The Zags are 41-23 all-time in the 24 NCAA Tournament appearances with 12 trips to the Sweet 16, five trips to the Elite Eight, two Final Fours and two appearances in the national championship game.

– Gonzaga is the number one overall seed for the second straight season, and second time in program history. The Bulldogs received a one-seed for the fifth time in program history, the third straight tournament, and fourth in the last five tournaments. GU is the first program to receive back-to-back number one overall seeds since Duke in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

– The Zags are 38-21 in the NCAA Tournament under head coach Mark Few with a berth in all 23 seasons.

– GU has the most wins in the NCAA Tournament since 2017, going 17-4, Michigan is next at 14-4. The Bulldogs’ 22 wins in the tournament since 2015 are also the most, with Villanova and North Carolina second at 18 and Duke at 16.

– GU is first in the nation in scoring offense (87.8), scoring margin (21.8), FG percentage (52.6) and defensive rebounds (32.13), second in two-point percentage (61.0), second in FG percentage defense (37.9), third in rebound margin (8.7), assists per game (18.4) and rebounds per game (41.7), fifth in assist-turnover ratio (1.6), sixth in blocked shots per game (5.9).

– Andrew Nembhard is seventh in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.18). Chet Holmgren and Drew Timme are 12th and 17th in the nation shooting 60.9 percent and 59.2 percent from the field. Holmgren is fourth with 115 blocks and fourth averaging 3.71 blocks per game. He’s eighth grabbing 8.03 defensive rebounds per game.

– Timme and Holmgren were named Second Team All-American by Sporting News and the Associated Press, and were named to the Wooden Award National Ballot. Timme was Second Team All-American by the NABC and USBWA, while Holgmren was third team by those outlets. Holmgren is a Malone Award Finalist (nation’s top power forward), Nembhard is a Cousy Finalist (nation’s top point guard), and Timme is an Abdul-Jabbar Finalist (nation’s top center).

– Timme was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year, while Chet Holmgren was the Newcomer and Defensive Player of the Year. Timme, Holmgren and Andrew Nembhard earned First Team All-WCC honors.

– GU was 12-3 versus Quad 1 and 2 teams, 10-3 vs. Quad 1, the fourth-most wins in the nation vs. Quad 1 teams.

– The Zags are first in KenPom’s rankings (first offensive efficiency and ninth efficient defense).

– The Bulldogs have won 80 of their last 85 games, and since the start of the 2019-20 season, GU has won a national-best 90 out of their last 96 games. Gonzaga is also 61-4 since the start of 2020-21.

NCAA TOURNAMENT NOTES

– Gonzaga is making its 23rd consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearance and 24th overall.

– The 23 straight berths to the field are the third-longest current streak in the nation (Kansas and Michigan State).

The Zags are 41-23 all-time in their 24 NCAA Tournament appearances with 12 trips to the Sweet 16, five trips to the Elite Eight, two Final Fours and two appearances in the national championship game.

– GU is 38-21 in the NCAA Tournament under Mark Few with a berth in all 23 seasons of Few’s head coaching career.

– The Bulldogs have the most wins in the NCAA Tournament since 2017, going 17-4, Michigan is next at 14-4. GU’s 21 wins in the tournament since 2015 is also the most, with Villanova second at 18 and North Carolina third at 17.

– Gonzaga is one of only two teams to win its opening-round NCAA Tournament game each of the last 13 tournaments, Kansas is the other at 15.

– The Bulldogs are 32-17 all-time as a single-digit seed, with a 15-2 record in first round games as a single-digit seed.

– The Bulldogs received a one-seed for the fifth time in program history, the third straight season, and the fourth time in the last five NCAA Tournaments. GU was projected as a top seed in the 2020 tournament that was cancelled as well.

– The Zags are the top-overall seed for the second straight season, and the second time ever in program history.

– GU plays in San Francisco in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.

– In 2020-21, [1] GU defeated [16] Norfolk State and [8] Oklahoma, advancing to the Sweet 16, where it beat [5] Creighton, before defeating [6] Southern California in the Elite Eight and [11] UCLA in the Final Four. The Zags fell to [1] Baylor in the national championships. The entire tournament was held in Indianapolis.

SERIES NOTES

– This is the second all-time meeting between Gonzaga and Arkansas. The Bulldogs won the only other previous meeting, defeating Arkansas, 91-81, in the fifth-place game at the 2013 Maui Invitational. Kevin Pangos scored 34 points and made seven of eight from behind-the-arc for No. 11 GU. Sam Dower Jr. had 19 points and Gary Bell Jr. 13 for the Zags.

– The Bulldogs are 16-10 all-time versus current members from the Southeastern Conference, including a 91-82 loss to Alabama in its latest matchup with the league earlier season in Seattle. Gonzaga has won seven of its last 10 against current SEC opponents.

SCOUTING THE RAZORBACKS

– Arkansas beat 12th-seeded New Mexico State in the second round, 53-48, Thursday. JD Notae scored a game-high 18 points and had eight steals for the Razorbacks. Jaylin Williams added 10 points with 15 rebounds. Arkansas made just 27.5 percent from the field, including 3-of-16 from three-point range, but forced 19 turnovers on 12 steals.

– The Razorbacks outlasted 13th-seeded Vermont in the first round last Thursday, 75-71.

– Four Razorbacks average double-digit scoring led by Notae’s 18.4 points per game. He’s dished out a team-best 124 assists and leads Arkansas with 77 steals.

– Stanley Umude (12.0), Au’Diese Toney (10.7) and Williams (10.5) also average double-digit scoring.

– Williams pulls down a team-high 9.8 rebounds per outing.

– Notae earned third team All-American honors by the Associated Press and Sporting News. He was named the USBWA District VII Player of the Year and First Team All-SEC. Williams was also tabbed First Team All-SEC.

– Arkansas rose to No. 10 in the AP Poll this season on Nov. 29, before finishing the regular season at 17.

– The Razorbacks fell to Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament semifinals after earning the four seed.

*****TEXAS TECH VS. DUKE PREVIEW******

TEXAS TECH GAME NOTES:

LUBBOCK, Texas – Only 16 teams remain in this fight, and for the third time in four NCAA Tournaments, Texas Tech is still a contender. 

The third-seeded Red Raiders (27-9) are set to take on second-seeded Duke (30-6) in a West Region semifinal at 8:30 p.m. (CT) on Thursday at the Chase Center in San Francisco. Tech is playing in its fifth Sweet 16 after wins over Montana State (97-62) and Notre Dame (59-53) to begin the 2022 NCAA Tournament in San Diego, while Duke advanced with victories over Cal State Fullerton (78-61) and Michigan State (85-76) in Greenville, South Carolina.

The Blue Devils are a five-time national champion led by head coach Mike Krzyzewski who has 1,200 career wins, 99 tournament victories and has announced he will retire after this season is completed. Duke is 1-0 all-time against Tech with a Madison Square Garden matchup on December 20, 2018 going its way in a 69-58 decision. 

“I don’t know if anybody is excited about playing Duke,” said Tech head coach Mark Adams in his postgame press conference on Sunday night when asked about the Blue Devils. “A lot of respect, obviously, for Coach K and Duke. He’s always been someone I looked up to. Not only is he a great coach, but a great person. Just done so much for basketball. And he’s built a program which we all admire and respect. It’s just one team to the next, he’s got a dynasty he’s built. So our hat’s off to him.”

The TTU-Duke winner will advance to the Elite 8 where they will play the Gonzaga-Arkansas winner for the West Region championship on Saturday at the home of the Golden State Warriors. Tech reached the 2018 Elite 8 and 2019 NCAA National Championship Final with Adams as the associate head coach of the program.

Bryson Williams leads the Red Raiders with 13.9 points per game this season after scoring 14 against Notre Dame and 20 points against Montana State. The Red Raiders have five more players averaging over 8.0 points per game with Terrence Shannon, Jr. (10.5), Kevin Obanor (10.0), Kevin McCullar (9.9), Davion Warren (9.7) and Adonis Arms (8.4). Tech had six scorers in double figures in the opening-round 97-62 win over Montana State with Williams and Shannon both scoring 20, while Obanor had recorded double-doubles in both wins including leading Tech with 15 points and 15 rebounds in the 59-53 win over the Irish. Obanor now has 34 career double-doubles, including five in the NCAA Tournament after having three last year while playing at Oral Roberts.

Tech remains at No. 1 in Kenpom.com defensive efficiency in a season where the Red Raiders are limiting opponents to only 60.2 points per game, are holding teams to 38.2 percent shooting and are forcing 15.9 turnovers per game. The top defensive unit in the nation, the 97 points by the Red Raiders against Montana State are the most points scored in any tournament game this season to this point. Warren leads the team with 53 steals, while Marcus Santos-Silva has 28 blocks for the Red Raiders who have limited 16 opponents under 60 points and five under 50 this season. Tech is an experienced team with five players having scored over 1,000 points in their careers with Williams leading the way with 2,128 followed by Warren (1,944), Arms (1,683), Obanor (1,666) and Santos-Silva (1,240). Shannon, who has played all three of his collegiate seasons at Tech, has 907 points for the most in a Red Raider uniform on this year’s team.

QUICK FACTS

West Region Semifinal: No. 3 Texas Tech (27-9) vs. No. 2 Duke (30-6)

Location: San Francisco, California

Venue: Chase Center

Tip: 8:30 p.m. (CDT), Thursday

TV: CBS

TV Talent: Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Bill Raftery and Grant Hill (analyst), Tracy Wolfson (reporter)

Westwood One National Radio: Ryan Radtke (play-by-play), Steve Lavin (analyst)

Radio (Texas Tech Sports Network): 97.3 Double T FM

Radio Talent: Geoff Haxton (play-by-play), Chris Level (analyst)

Series History: Duke leads 1-0

Last Meeting: No. 2 Duke won 69-58 over No. 12 Tech (12/20/18 – New York)

POLL/STAT REPORT

Texas Tech is in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 3 seed in the West Region and also at No. 12 in the final Associated Press Top 25 and No. 11 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll. Duke is at No. 9 in the ranking. The Red Raiders finished the season as a ranked team for 14 straight weeks after beginning as unranked team. Along the polls, Texas Tech remains at No. 1 in the Kenpom.com adjusted defensive efficiency rating and is now at No. 9 in the NCAA NET Rankings. Statistically, the Red Raiders are fourth nationally by limiting opponents to only 38.2 percent shooting and seventh with teams averaging just 60.3 points per game. TTU held Iowa State to 41 points in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals to establish a new program record against a Big 12 opponent for fewest points allowed before holding Montana State to only 38.2 percent shooting and 62 points and Notre Dame to 35.6 percent shooting and 53 points to begin the tournament. In the polls, Tech was ranked as high as No. 9 this season and has now entered the top-10 of the rankings in four of the past five seasons and has accomplished it this year by working their way up from beginning as an unranked team. Tech was not ranked for the first five weeks of the season before entering at No. 25 on December 13 following a win over Tennessee in the Jimmy V Classic. TTU spent four straight weeks at No. 25 before moving to No. 19, No. 18, No. 13, No. 14 and No. 9 in the national poll. Tech was at No. 14 before reaching the Big 12 Championship final for the second time in program history with a quarterfinal win over Iowa State and semifinal victory over Oklahoma. Tech fell to No. 6 Kansas in the championship game in Kansas City.

Tech’s highest AP ranking in program history came at No. 6 in February of 2018 (16th Week Poll) and the program spent one week at No. 7 last season before dipping back. The 2018-19 team was No. 8 in the final week of the regular season and No. 7 throughout the postseason that led to the 2019 National Championship Final.

TECH IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT

The Red Raiders are now 10-3 over the past four tournaments which is the second most wins nationally with Gonzaga and Michigan tied for the most with 12. Houston and Duke each have nine during that span after two more in this year’s tournament also. After the 2020 tournament was canceled due to COVID, the program returned last season to advance to the 2021 NCAA Second Round after a win over Utah State before falling to Arkansas. Tech has made the NCAA Tournament 19 times, coming in 1954, 1956, 1961, 1962, 1973, 1976, 1985, 1986, 1993, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022.

DUKE BLUE DEVIL REPORT

Second-seeded Duke comes into the Sweet Sixteen following wins over Cal State Fullerton and Michigan State in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The No. 9-ranked Blue Devils are led by freshman forward Paolo Banchero who is averaging a team-best 17 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while being second on the team in assists averaging 3.2 per game. A finalist for the Wooden Award, ACC Freshman of the Year and All-ACC First Team honoree, Banchero is averaging 18 points and 8.5 rebounds in NCAA Tournament play. Junior guard Wendell Moore Jr. is second on the team in scoring putting up 13.5 points per game. All-ACC Second Team and All-ACC Defensive Team honoree, Moore Jr. leads the team in assists averaging 4.6 per game and steals averaging 1.4 per game. Freshmen wings Trevor Keels and AJ Griffin are third and fifth on the team in scoring, respectively. They combine for 22 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game. The All-ACC Freshman Team honorees were a part of a Duke recruiting class that ranked sixth in the country with the likes of Keels, Griffin and Banchero who were all five-star prospects and the top-rated player in their respective states. Mark Williams is the fourth leading scorer on the team putting up 11.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. The All-ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Williams is leading the Blue Devils in blocks with 104 which ranks 10th in the country. Sophomore guard Jeremy Roach, who splits time as a starter and sixth man with Griffin and Keels, is averaging 8.4 points and 3.1 assists per game. An efficient facilitator, Roach has an assist to turnover ratio of 2.1 which ranks second on the team for a team that has the third-best assist to turnover ratio in the country. Seniors Joey Baker and Theo John round out the rest of the contributors for Duke. They combine for 23.3 minutes, 7.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

The Blue Devils have a 30-6 record on the season and won the ACC regular-season title going 16-4 in conference play. They are led by Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski who is in his 41st and final season at Duke. The all-time winningest coach in Division I history, Krzyzewski has 99 wins in the NCAA Tournament including five national titles.

DUKE GAME NOTES:

THE OPENING TIP

In the Sweet 16 for the 28th time as a program, No. 2 Duke faces No. 3 Texas Tech on Thursday night in San Francisco, Calif., in the semifinal of the NCAA Tournament West Regional.

The game tips at approximately 9:40 p.m. ET on CBS with Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery and Grant Hill on the call. On the radio locally, David Shumate and John Roth call the action on the Blue Devil Sports Network from Learfield.

Duke’s 28 Sweet 16’s are second-most in NCAA history, while the 26 trips by head coach Mike Krzyzewski extend his NCAA record.

The Blue Devils and Red Raiders have never matched up in the NCAA Tournament and are meeting for just the second time in history.

A win puts Duke in the Elite Eight for the 23rd time — the 17th time under Coach K to extend his NCAA record — and gives Coach K his 100th career NCAA Tournament victory.

The Blue Devils own the best winning percentage in NCAA Tournament history at .753 (116-38), while the program’s 116 wins rank third and five championships are fourth most.

The coach with the most wins in NCAA Tournament history (99-30), Coach K is in his NCAA-record 36th tournament and his .767 tourney win percentage is second to only John Wooden (.825).

Sophomore Jeremy Roach is the team’s third leading scorer this postseason (ACC and NCAA Tournament) at 12.8 points, while shooting .488 from the field. He scored 15 in the Michigan State win, including 13 in the second half.

A second-team consensus All-American and the ACC Freshman of the Year, Paolo Banchero is the program’s 75th All-American (52nd under Coach K). He is the 31st consensus pick under Coach K.

In the postseason, Banchero is averaging team highs in points (16.8), rebounds (8.6) and steals (1.4), to go with 20 assists and a .586 field goal percentage. He has three double-doubles in the postseason.

Sophomore Mark Williams’ .714 field goal percentage is second on Duke’s single-season list. He would lead the nation, but falls just short of the minimum five field goals per game to qualify (4.9).

Williams is the nation’s only player shooting .700+ from the field and .700+ free throws (min. 150 FG). Since at least 1992-93, only one other player in college basketball has posted a similar statline.

NCAA TOURNEY SUPREMACY

With five national titles and 116 tournament wins, Duke is among the most successful programs in NCAA Tournament history … Since winning the program’s first title in 1991, Duke’s five titles are the most in the NCAA in this span … Duke’s 24 consecutive appearances between 1996 and 2019 rank tied for the third longest streak in NCAA history … The Blue Devils have played in 36 of the past 38 NCAA Tournaments that have been contested … Duke is 116-38 (.753) all-time in the NCAA Tournament, which is No. 1 in winning percentage and third in wins … The coach with the most wins in NCAA Tournament history (99-30), Mike Krzyzewski is in his NCAA-record 36th tournament. Coach K’s .767 tourney win percentage is second to only John Wooden (.825) … Duke is in the Sweet 16 for the 28th time in program history and the 26th time under Coach K to extend his NCAA record.

DUKE VS. TEXAS TECH

Duke and Texas Tech have met just once previously, with the Blue Devils winning a defensive slugfest at Madison Square Garden, 69-58, on Dec. 20, 2018 … Senior Joey Baker is only remaining Blue Devil from that season … Duke is 40-12 overall versus teams from the Big XII Conference, including 5-2 in the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA FIRST & SECOND ROUND NOTABLES

Duke improved to 116-38 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including 99-30 under head coach Mike Krzyzewski by beating Cal State Fullerton and Michigan State last week in Greenville, S.C. … Friday’s game vs. CSF marked 1,083 days between Duke’s last NCAA Tournament appearance, which was March 31, 2019 vs. Michigan State in the East Region final in Washington, D.C. … Duke trailed Michigan State, 70-65, with five minutes remaining before closing the game on a 20-6 run … Duke blocked 16 shots in two games, including 10 against CSF — one shy of the team’s NCAA Tournament record for blocked shots (11 vs. Temple on March 26, 1988) … Sophomore Mark Williams became the first Blue Devil in the NCAA Tournament to post consecutive games with 5+ blocked shots … Williams scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting with seven rebounds, along with a career-high five assists and a game-high five blocks in the Fullerton win — just the third 15-5-5-5 game in Duke history — Mike Gminski had 23 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and eight blocks vs. Vermont (Dec. 28, 1979) and Danny Ferry had 29 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and five blocks vs. Arizona (Feb. 26, 1989) … Freshman Paolo Banchero became just the fourth Blue Devil to post consecutive NCAA Tournament games with 15+ points, 5+ rebounds and 4+ assists, joining Danny Ferry (1987, 1988), Grant Hill (1994) and Jon Scheyer (2010) … Sophomore Jeremy Roach averaged 13.5 points and made all seven free throws with eight assists. Of his 15 points against Michigan State, 13 came in the clutch second half.

*****VILLANOVA VS. MICHIGAN PREVIEW*****

MICHIGAN GAME NOTES:

» No. 11 seed Michigan will face No. 2 seed Villanova in the NCAA Sweet 16 in San Antonio’s AT&T Center.

» The Wolverines and Wildcats last met in the NCAA Tournament in the 2018 national title game in San Antonio.

» U-M is making its fifth straight trip to the NCAA Sweet 16.

» Hunter Dickinson leads U-M with 24.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, while Eli Brooks has 19.5 points per game.

NEXT GAME

Thursday, March 24 — vs. No. 2 seed Villanova – NCAA Sweet 16 – (San Antonio, Texas), 6:15 p.m. CT

• TV: TBS | Live Stats | Live Audio | Live Video

• Satellite Radio: Sirius: 136 | XM: 203 | Sirius App: 966

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team, who earned a No. 11 seed for the NCAA Tournament, continues its NCAA postseason against No. 2 seed Villanova on Thursday (March 24) at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. Tipoff for the Sweet 16 game against the Wildcats is set for 6:15 p.m. CT (7:15 p.m. ET) on TBS with Brian Anderson (play-by-play), Jim Jackson (analyst) and Allie LaForce (sideline) on the call.

The 2022 Big Dance

• Playing in Indianapolis, Ind. for the first and second rounds, U-M opened its NCAA Tournament knocking off No. 6 seed Colorado State, 75-63, and followed with an upset of No. 3 seed Tennessee, 76-68.

• The Wolverines trailed at the half in both games, but stormed back and shot 60 percent against the Rams (March 17), outscoring them, 46-27, in the second half to win by 12. In a near repeat against Tennessee (March 19), U-M rallied in the second half, shooting 50 percent and outscoring the Volunteers, 44-31, to win by eight.

• Hunter Dickinson leads U-M with 24.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He has had back-to-back 20-plus point games with 21 points against Colorado State and 27 against Tennessee.

• Dickinson added his 10th double-double of the season against Tennessee with his 27 points along with 11 rebounds. The last Wolverine to earn a double-double was Iggy Brazdeikis (17 points, 13 rebounds) against Texas Tech (March 28, 2019).

• Dickinson is shooting 69.6 percent from the field (16-for-23) and 50 percent from long range. He knocked down three triples against the Volunteers. Additionally, he is 13-for-15 (86.7 percent) from the free throw line.

• Eli Brooks is averaging 19.5 points per game and shooting 51.9 percent from the field. After opening with 16 points against Colorado State, he followed with 23 vs. Tennessee — his eighth career 20-plus point game. He adds 5.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds per night. Moussa Diabate gives U-M three in double figures with his 10.0 points per game average, and he boasts 7.5 rebounds per game.

• With DeVante’ Jones out for the Colorado State game due to concussion protocols, Frankie Collins filled in and posted a career-best 14 points and career-high six rebounds in his first career start. Jones returned for the Tennessee game, but Collins was called on for the second half as Jones was ruled out for the second half due to symptoms. Collins is averaging 8.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.

It’s Great to be a Michigan Wolverine

• Michigan has reached the Sweet 16 in five consecutive tournaments (2017, ’18, ’19, ’21, ’22), which marks a Big Ten record. U-M is one of just two programs, along with Gonzaga (seven straight), to reach the last five-straight Sweet 16s.

• Since 2013, the Maize and Blue has reached the Sweet 16 seven times, which is tied for the most in the country with the Zags.

• Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 in 1985, U-M’s streak of five-straight Sweet 16s is tied for the fourth-longest by any school. That list includes: North Carolina (9; 1985-93), Duke (9; 1998-2006), Gonzaga (7; 2015-22), Duke (7; 1986-92), Michigan (5; 2017-22), Kansas (5; 1993-97) and Kentucky (5; 1995-99).

• Since 2013, U-M has advanced to the Elite Eight four times, tied for the most in the country with Duke, Gonzaga and Kentucky. Additionally, U-M’s 23 NCAA wins during this span is the second-most of any program behind Gonzaga (24) and ahead of Duke (20), North Carolina (20) and Villanova (20).

This & That for the Maize & Blue

• With a victory on Thursday against Villanova, Michigan would advance to the Elite Eight for a second straight year — 2021 vs. No. 11 seed UCLA (L, 51-49). It would also mark the fifth time in the last nine years.

• Advancing out of the Indianapolis site, Michigan (No. 11) and St. Peter’s (No. 15) are among the four lowest seeds remaining. They are joined by No. 10 Miami and No. 11 Iowa State, who square off for an Elite Eight spot in Chicago on Friday night.

• After having nine Big Ten teams selected for a second straight year, No. 11 seed Michigan (South) and No. 3 seed Purdue (East) were the lone Big Ten schools to advance to the Sweet 16. The Boilermakers face St. Peter’s in their Sweet 16 match-up on Friday.

• Since Juwan Howard was hired three years ago, he has five NCAA Tournament wins — the most among Big Ten coaches. The list includes: Greg Gard (2), Matt Painter (2), Brad Underwood (2), Chris Holtmann (1), Tom Izzo (1), Fran McCaffery (1), Steve Pikiell (1), Mark Turgeon (1) & Mike Woodson (1).

The No. 2 Seed Villanova Wildcats

• No. 2 seed Villanova heads to San Antonio with a 28-7 overall and a 16-4 Big East record, having finished runner-up to Providence. The Wildcats advanced to the Sweet 16 with wins over No. 15 seed Delaware (80-60) and No. 7 seed Ohio State (71-61).

• Villanova is currently on a seven-game winning streak and has won 12 of its last 13 games.

• Villanova averages 72.8 points, 34.8 rebounds and 12.1 assists per game. The Wildcats add 9.4 three-pointers per game (36.2 percent) and hold the nation’s top percentage (82.6 percent) from the free throw line, which is on pace to set a national record. With six players with 20-plus steals on the season, Villanova is averaging 6.2 steals per game.

• After injuring his knee last season, graduate Collin Gillespie returned and leads the Wildcats with 16.0 points and 3.4 assists per game. He cracked the century mark with his team-best 104 three-pointers and shoots at a 41.6 percent clip. He adds a 90.2 percent average from the free throw line (101-for-112) and 3.8 rebounds per game.

• Behind Gillespie is junior Justin Moore, who is averaging 15.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. He is second on the team with 75 long range buckets and 77 assists. The Wildcat duo of Gillespie (559) and Moore (509) have both surpassed 500-plus points this season.

• Graduate Jermaine Samuels adds 10.7 points and a team-best 6.4 rebounds per game, while redshirt senior Caleb Daniels gives the Wildcats four in double figures with 10.3 points per night. Redshirt sophomore Eric Dixon is second on the squad with 6.3 rebounds per game and has evenly split his 222 rebounds — 111 offensive and 111 defensive.

VILLANOVA NOTES

SAN ANTONIO, Tex. – The Villanova Wildcats were back on a court here Wednesday for the first time since 2018 as they practiced at the AT&T Center. In 2018, the venue for the Final Four was the Alamodome located a short drive from this facility, which is the home to the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association.

No. 2 seed Villanova (28-7 overall) is set to meet No. 11 seed Michigan (19-14 overall) Thursday at 7:29 p.m. eastern time. TBS will broadcast the game with Brian Anderson, Jim Jackson and Allie La Force covering the action at court side. The Villanova IHeart Radio network will be on the air as well, a broadcast featuring Ryan Fannon and Whitey Rigsby that can be heard in the Philadelphia region on Q102 FM.

Of course, three current Wildcats, Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree were part of the 2017-18 Wildcats squad which claimed a national title with a 79-62 victory over Michigan here on April 2, 2018.

Villanova head coach Jay Wright was asked about any memories he has from the last visit here.

“The game was incredible,” recalled Wright. “As we were leaving the locker room afterward we were all exhausted. They told us ‘we are going to drive you to this spot where you are going to get on a boat and go down the river.’ At that time I was like, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me because we are shot. We can’t do another event. We are done.’

“But they were like ‘you have to do it, it’s important for the city’. It was one of the greatest experiences of our life. It was the coolest thing. You are the national champion, people are hanging from trees and buildings, music is playing, and then you stop, bring you up and they play the (Villanova) fight song. It was incredible. I always remember that.”

Wright noted that some of the people who were on hand in ’18 have been here to welcome the Wildcats back to town.

“We’ve met some of the police officers who escorted us in ’18 and some other people who helped us then,” Wright said. “I’m sure Michigan is experiencing the same thing. This is one of  the best cities in the world and they love their sports.”

The Wolverines are the second straight Big Ten foe Villanova will confront. The ‘Cats knocked off Ohio State 71-61 Sunday as Gillespie scored 20 points to advance to the program’s third Sweet 16 in the last four NCAA Tournaments.

“I think the size difference is the obvious thing people look at,” stated Wright of the Wolverines, who feature 7-0 forward Hunter Dickinson. “I think Michigan’s guards are really underrated. Eli Brooks is one of the best guards in the country. He’s a winner.”

“Michigan went through a lot this season, with injuries and Covid. But with everything they have gotten through, it’s made them better. You forget sometimes, this was a preseason Top 10 for a reason. They went through a lot of struggles, but they’ve gotten everyone back, they’re healthy and they’re playing their best basketball of the season right now. They’re way more than just Hunter Dickinson.”

Thursday night’s winner advances to the South Regional Final to meet the winner of Thursday night’s second game between No. 1 seed Arizona and No. 5 seed Houston.

*****ARIZONA VS. HOUSTON PREVIEW*****

ARIZONA GAME NOTES:

NOTABLES • Arizona advanced to the Sweet 16 for the 19th time in 34 NCAA Tournament appearances and for the first time since 2017. With a win over Houston, Arizona would advance to the Elite Eight for the 12th time and first since 2015. • Arizona is 3-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament games played on March 24, beating Duke in 2011, Oklahoma State in 2005 and Louisville in 1994 – all in the Sweet 16. • In 2001, Arizona advanced to the Sweet 16 in San Antonio and went 2-0, defeating Mississippi (66-56) and Illinois (87-81). • As a No. 1 seed, Arizona is 18-6 all-time and 3-0 vs. the No. 5 seed. • The 11 3FG made by Arizona against Wright State matched the school record for an NCAA Tournament game. • UA leads the nation in assists/gm (19.8) total assists (714) and total rebounds (1,496). • The Wildcats lead the country with 22 games of 20 or more assists this season. • The Wildcats have had at least one 10-0 run in 29 out of 36 games. • When scoring 80 or more points this year, Arizona is 28-0. • Arizona has set a new school record for blocked shots (207) and assists (714) in a season. • Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd is the ninth first-time head coach in NCAA history to win 30 games in year one. The 33 wins are tied for third-most in program history and one shy of tying Bill Guthridge (UNC) for the most by a first-time head coach in NCAA history. • As a team, Arizona has shot 50% or better in 43 of 72 halves played this season, and at or above 50% for the game on 22 occasions. • The 280 made 3-point field goals this season are the second-most in UA history (297). • Christian Koloko is the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and has posted a double double in each of the last three games. His 100 blocked shots are second-most in a season in UA history and needs 3 more to break the record. He became the first player in NCAA Tournament history to post 17p, 13r (t-career high), 6a and 5 blk against Wright State. Was 12 of 13 from the floor for career-high 28 points and 12 rebs vs. TCU. In two NCAA Tournament games, he’s averaging 22.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and shooting 82.6% from the floor. • Bennedict Mathurin is the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Player of the Pac-12 Tournament in 2022. He drilled a game-tying 3-pointer with 12 seconds left to force OT against TCU, and went on to finish with 30 points (11-13 FT). It was his third career 30-point game and he’s the sixth Arizona player to score 30 in an NCAA Tournament game. Mathurin is one of five finalists for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award. • Azuolas Tubelis was a First Team All Pac-12 honoree and is averaging 14.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and shooting 55.2% from the floor this season. He’s played just 18 minutes per game over the first two NCAA Tournament games, averaging 9p, 4.5r.

SERIES HISTORY VS. HOUSTON

Arizona is 6-5 all-time against Houston and has won the last three meetings and five of the last six

dating back to 1994. The most recent meeting was an overtime thriller in Tucson on Jan. 24, 2009, with

Arizona coming out on top, 96-90. The first meeting between the two schools came on Dec. 22, 1967,

with Houston traveling to Tucson to defeat Arizona, 81-75.

HOUSTON GAME NOTES:

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – For the third straight season, the University of Houston Men’s Basketball program will compete in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 when it tips off against #2/2 (1) Arizona around 8:40 p.m., Thursday inside AT&T Center.

Houston earned its trip to the Sweet 16 following an impressive 68-53 win over #19/16 (4) Illinois on Sunday inside PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. Against the Fighting Illini, graduate guard Taze Moore poured in a season-high 21 points and tied with graduate forward Fabian White Jr. for team-high honors.

Thursday’s game will be the Cougars’ 14th appearance in the Sweet 16 and the third consecutive under Head Coach Kelvin Sampson.

This season, graduate forward Josh Carlton leads the Cougars and rank fifth in the American Athletic Conference with 6.3 rebounds per game. The Winterville, N.C., native, who is in his first season with the Cougars after transferring from UConn, tops the league and ranks 17th nationally with 3.3 offensive rebounds per contest.

WATCH PARTY

• All fans who couldn’t make it to San Antonio are invited to join the Cougars’ Watch Party at Avenida Houston in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center, beginning at 7 p.m., Thursday

• To claim FREE tickets to Thursday’s Watch Party, fans can click here.

• Fans can see all the action on two big screens for maximum viewing opportunities with a pregame DJ, the UH Spirit team and plenty of Houston Athletics giveaways and prizes.

TUNE IN

• Fans can watch Thursday’s game on CBS with Brian Anderson (play-by-play), Jim Jackson (analyst) and Allie LaForce (reporter) calling the action.

• Fans can hear Thursday’s game on 950 AM KPRC with Jeremy Branham calling the action. Fans also can hear the game on Westwood Radio with Scott Graham (play-by-play) and P.J. Carlesimo (analyst) calling.

PILING UP the NUMBERS

• Graduate forward Fabian White Jr. continues to push his name higher in the Houston records book in multiple categories this season.

• With Sunday’s Second-Round win over #19/16 (4) Illinois, the Atascocita, Texas, native competed in the 120th victory of his Houston career, extending his school record. He now owns a 120-27 record with the Cougars.

• White also appeared in his 147th during his time in Houston, the most by any Cougar in school history.

DIMES for EVERYONE

• Sophomore point guard Jamal Shead continues to rise higher in the Houston records book during the 2021-22 season.

• With three assists in the Cougars’ Second-Round win over #19/16 (4) Illinois on Sunday, Shead now has 213 assists this season.

• His total is the second highest in Houston single-season history, trailing only Houston great Reid Getty’s school-record 309 assists during the 1983-84 season.

BOTH ENDS of the COURT

• Senior guard Kyler Edwards finds himself in elite company in the American Athletic Conference.

• Through games of March 21, Edwards is one of only two players to rank among the league’s Top-10 leaders in both scoring AND rebounding.

• Edwards stands 10th in the league with 13.9 points per game and is seventh with 6.0 rebounds per contest.

• He joins Tulsa’s Jeriah Horne (16.1 ppg, 5th; 6.9 rpg, 3rd) as the only members of the exclusive group.

ONE of a KIND

• Sophomore point guard Jamal Shead stands among the national leaders in a pair of categories in 2021-22.

• The Manor, Texas, native ranks seventh in the nation with 6.0 assists per game and is eighth with a 3.13 assist-turnover radio.

• Shead is the only student-athlete in NCAA Division I to rank among the Top-Eight leaders in both categories.

NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

• The Cougars are competing in the 23rd NCAA Tournament in school history in 2022.

• This marks only the fourth time in school history that Houston will compete in four consecutive NCAA Tournaments. The 1981-84 teams were the last group to accomplish the feat. The 1965-68 teams also played in four straight NCAA Tournaments.

• With Sunday’s win over #19/16 (4) Illinois, Houston is now 34-27 all-time at the NCAA Tournament with Final Four appearances in 1967, 1968, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 2021.

• The Cougars advanced to the NCAA National Championship Game in 1983 before bowing out to NC State (in one of the most memorable games in NCAA Tournament history) and in 1984 against Georgetown.

ABOUT ARIZONA

• Arizona enters Thursday’s NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Game with a 33-3 overall record and 18-8 mark in the Pac-12.

• The Wildcats are competing as the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament South Region.

• Arizona is No. 2 in both the Associated Press (1,470 pts) and Ferris Mowers Coaches (765 pts) polls.

• Arizona won the Pac-12 regular-season title by three games over UCLA.

• The Wildcats have won their last eight games and 17 of their last 18… Only a 79-63 loss at Colorado on Feb. 26 prevents a longer winning streak.

• Arizona has posted a 7-0 record in neutral-site games this season.

• In its most recent action, Arizona claimed an 85-80 win in overtime over (9) TCU in San Diego on Sunday night to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16,

• Against TCU, sophomore guard Bennedict Mathurin led all players with 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds with four assists and two steals. Junior center Christian Koloko scored 28 points on 12-of-13 shooting from the field with a team-high 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.

• This season, Mathurin leads the Wildcats with 17.8 points per game. Sophomore forward Azuolas Tubelis stands second on the team with 14.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest.

• Koloko stands third among the Wildcats with 12.7 points per game but leads the team with 7.4 rebounds per contest. Sophomore guard Kerr Kriisa leads the team with 4.8 assists per game.

• Head Coach Tommy Lloyd is in his first season at Arizona and as a collegiate head coach.

• Lloyd has compiled a 33-3 record at Arizona and during his career.

• Thursday’s game will be the first time Lloyd has faced Houston during his career.

• Thursday’s game will be the first time Lloyd has faced Houston Head Coach Kelvin Sampson during their careers.

• 1998 graduate of Whitman.

SERIES HISTORY vs. ARIZONA

• Arizona owns a 6-5 lead against Houston in the series, which began during the 1958-59 season.

• Thursday’s game will be the first meeting against the Wildcats since a 96-90 loss in overtime in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 24, 2009.

• Arizona has won the last three meetings and five of the last six. Only a 69-65 Houston win on Dec. 3, 2005, inside Hofheinz Pavilion in Houston prevents a longer streak.

• Series started with an 81-76 Houston win in  Houston on Dec. 8, 1958.

at NCAA Tournament: Thursday’s game will be the first time Houston has faced Arizona in the NCAA Tournament.

at Neutral Site: Thursday’s game will be the first time Houston has faced Arizona at a neutral site.

UP NEXT

• With a win over #2/2 (1) Arizona in the NCAA Tournament South Region Sweet 16, the Cougars advance to the Elite Eight to face the winner of #6/5 (2) Villanova-(11) Michigan.

• That game will be played on Saturday, March 26, inside AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.

• Game time and broadcasting network would be announced following Thursday’s Sweet 16 games.

• All Houston Men’s Basketball games can be heard on 950 AM KPRC.

2022-23 SEASON TICKETS PRIORITY WAIT LIST

Fans who were unable to secure 2021-22 season tickets may start preparing for next season by putting down a $75 deposit and placing their names on the 2022-23 Men’s Basketball Season Ticket Priority Wait List by clicking here.

JOIN the 50-50-CLUB

Fans are invited to join the 50-50 Club to support Houston Men’s Basketball. 50-50 Club members help fund program necessities and enhance the experience for our student-athletes.

Fans who join the 50-50 Club will receive embroidered Jordan Brand team apparel, invitations to exclusive events, regular updates about the program and much more.

*****KANSAS VS. PROVIDENCE PREVIEW*****

PROVIDENCE NOTES:

Friar Tid Bits:

*The Friars are making their 21st NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2018.

*The Friars have advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 1997 (25 years).

*The Friars are playing in their SIXTH Sweet 16 all-time.

*The Friars are 17-21 all time in the NCAA Tournament with two trips to the Final Four (1973 and 1987).

*Ed Cooley has led the Friars to SIX NCAA Tourneys in 11 years, which is more than any other coach at PC.

*The Friars are making their FIRST appearance as a No. 4 seed, which is the highest seed they have achieved.

*The Friars won the BIG EAST regular season title for the FIRST time ever in 2022.

*The Friars won 14 games in BIG EAST play for the FIRST time ever in 2022.

*Ed Cooley was named BIG EAST Coach of the Year in 2022 and became the FIRST Friar coach to earn the honor.

*The Friars are 11-2 in games decided by five points or less.

*Since the 2013-14 season (nine years), the Friars are 68-27 (.716) in games decided by 5 points or less.

*Friars are 4-2 vs. ranked teams – (Wins at No. 20 UConn, vs. No. 15 Seton Hall, at No. 21 Xavier, vs. No. 22 Marquette).

*The Friars are 3-0 in overtime games this season.

*As of March 15, the Friars had a Net Ranking of 32, which includes a 5-3 record versus Quad 1 teams.

*The Friars have earned 27 wins in a season for the first time since 1973-74.

*The Friars are attempting to reach 28 wins in a season for the first time since 1973-74 (28-4).

*The Friars have earned 20 wins in a season for the first time since 2017-18 and the sixth time under Ed Cooley.

*The Friars have won 20 or more games in a season for the 28th time.

*The Friars finished the season with a 16-1 mark at home, which is the best mark since 1973-74 (16-0).

*Jared Bynum is the first BIG EAST player in 25 years with 3 games of 25+ points off the bench in the same season.

*Friars’ top 7 players (Watson, Durham, Reeves, Horchler, Minaya, Bynum, Croswell) have played 835 college games.

*On March 21, Ed Cooley was named one of four finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year.

*The Friars are ranked #13/#13.  The Friars entered the polls at #22/#23 on Dec. 20.

*The highest the Friars have been ranked this season was #8/#9 on Feb. 14 and #9/#8 on Feb. 28

*Prior to entering the poll on Dec. 20, 2021, the last time the Friars had been ranked was Feb. 22, 2016.

*AJ Reeves returned vs. Marquette on Jan. 30.  He missed five games with a finger injury.

*Jared Bynum returned vs. UConn (Dec. 18) after missing four games with an ankle injury.

* Al Durham has missed two games due to an abdominal injury.

*Al Durham leads the BIG EAST in free throws made (162) and attempted (192).

*Record in unis this season: white (12-1); black (5-1); grey (4-0); retro white (3-1); retro black (3-1); pinkout (0-1).

*The Friars missed three games with a Covid pause (12 days) before defeating Georgetown on Jan. 20.

*Nate Watson and Jared Bynum were named All-BIG EAST Second Team.

*Jared Bynum earned the BIG EAST Sixth Man Award.

*Ed Cooley was named NABC District 5 Coach of the Year and USBWA District 1 Coach of the Year.

*On March. 1 at Villanova, Nate Watson (1,748 points) became the 11th player at PC to score 1,700 or more points.

*On Jan. 23 in PC’s win over Butler, Ed Cooley surpassed Dave Gavitt as he posted his 210th win.

*Ed Cooley (221-140) trails Joe Mullaney (319-164) for all-time wins as a head coach at Providence.

*The Friars posted a 6-1 mark in Nov., a 6-0 mark in Dec., a 6-1 record in Jan. and a 6-1 mark in Feb.

*On Jan. 8 versus St. John’s, Ed Cooley earned his 300th victory (313-209) as a head coach.

*The Friars are 1-0 vs. the Big 12 this season.  The Friars are 2-0 vs. the Big Ten this season.

*It marks the first time ever that the Friars have posted two wins over Big Ten teams in the same season.

*The Friars win over No. 20/22 UConn on Dec. 18 was the team’s 700th win over a New England team (700-307).

*With the win over Marquette on Jan. 30, Ed Cooley posted the 100th BIG EAST win (106-92) of his career.

*The Friars have a team record of five graduate students on the roster this season.

*The average age of the Friars’ top seven players is 23.0 years.

*Andrew and Luke Fonts are the first brothers to suit up at the same time for the Friars in 70 years.

How The Friars Got To The NCAA Tournament: The Friars earned an at-large bid as a four seed to their 21st NCAA Tournament overall and sixth in 11 years under Head Coach Ed Cooley.  Providence has posted a 27-5 mark and a 14-3 record in BIG EAST play.  The Friars  won the BIG EAST Regular-Season Title for the first time in the 43-year history of the league.  Providence entered the NCAA Tournament with a NET Ranking of 32.  The Friars defeated South Dakota State (66-57) in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament on March 17 and Richmond (79-51) in the Second Round to advance to the Sweet 16.  The Friars held the Richmond to 51 points.  It marked the fewest points allowed by the Friars in the NCAA Tournament all-time.  The Friars are making their first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 1997 and their sixth appearance overall.

Friars All-Time In The NCAA Tourney: The Friars are making their 21st appearance all-time in the NCAA Tournament in 2022.  It is the Friars’ sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament under Head Coach Ed Cooley (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2022).  The Friars have posted a 17-21 mark all-time in NCAA Tournament play.  The team has made two trips to the Final Four (1973 and 1987), four appearances in the Elite Eight (1965, 1973, 1987 and 1997) and six trips to the Sweet Sixteen (1965, 1973, 1974, 1987, 1997 and 2022).

Friars Versus The Tournament Field: The Friars have faced 11 teams in the NCAA Tournament field this season and have posted an 9-4 mark against those teams. The Friars faced Richmond (1-0), South Dakota State (1-0), Wisconsin (1-0), Saint Peter’s (1-0), Texas Tech (1-0), Vermont (1-0), Connecticut (1-0), Seton Hall (1-0), Marquette (1-1), Creighton (1-1) and Villanova (0-2). All time, the Friars have faced 52 of the 68 teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament Field. Providence has registered a 291-306 record all-time against those 51 teams, including a 7-9 mark in NCAA play.

Friars Earn Highest Seed All-Time In The NCAA Tournament: Providence’s No. 4 seed is the highest in program history since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The Friars’ highest seed prior to this year’s tournament was a No. 5 seed in 2004.

Head Coach Ed Cooley Breaks Dave Gavitt’s Mark Of Five Friar NCAA Tournament Apperances:  The Friars are making their sixth appearance in the NCAA Tournament under Head Coach Ed Cooley in 2022.  With this season’s appearance, Cooley eclipsed former Friar Head Coach Dave Gavitt’s mark of five tournament appearances – which was the most for any Friar head coach all-time.   Other former Friar head coaches who reached the NCAA Tournament are Joe Mullaney (three NCAA appearance), Rick Pitino (one NCAA appearance), Rick Barnes (three NCAA appearance), Pete Gillen (one NCAA appearance),  and Tim Welsh (two NCAA appearances).

Friars To Play Kansas For The First Time Ever:  On Friday, March 25, Providence will play Kansas in the Sweet 16 at the United Center in Chicago, Ill.  It will mark the first meeting all-time between the two teams.

Watson And Bynum Named All-BIG EAST Second Team: It was announced on March 6 that graduate student center Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) and junior guard Jared Bynum (Largo, Md.) each earned All-BIG EAST Second Team honors.  It marks the second consecutive year that the Friars have had two players earn all-league honors as Watson and David Duke received Second Team accolades last season.

Bynum Earns BIG EAST Sixth Man Award:  It was announced on March 7 that Providence junior guard Jared Bynum (Largo, Md.) earned the BIG EAST Sixth Man Award.  Bynum becomes the first Friar to earn the honor.

Cooley Named BIG EAST Coach Of The Year: It was announced on March 9 at Madison Square Garden in New York that Providence’s Ed Cooley was named BIG EAST Coach Of The Year.  Cooley, who is the first Friar coach in the 43-year history of the league to earn the honor, has guided the Friars to a 27-5 mark.  In BIG EAST league play, the Friars set a team record for wins after registering a 14-3 mark and capturing the program’s first BIG EAST Regular Season title.  The Friars, who finished in first place, were picked to finish seventh in the annual BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll which was released in October.

Friars In Overtime: The Friars recorded a 3-0 record in overtime games this season.  On February 23, the Friars defeated Xavier, 99-92, in triple overtime.  They have registered a 71-67 mark all-time in overtime games.

Ed Cooley Named A Finalist for Naismith Coach Of The Year:  It was announced March 21 that Providence’s Ed Cooley was named one of four Finalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach Of The Year Award.   Cooley joins Mark Adams (Texas Tech), Greg Gard (Wisconsin) and Tommy Lloyd (Arizona) as Finalists. The winner will be announced on April 3.  Cooley also was named USBWA District 1 Coach of the Year and NABC District 5 Coach of the Year.

Friars Ranked No. 13/13 In The Nation: The Providence College men’s basketball team was ranked No. 13 in the Associated Press Poll (March 14) and No. 13 in the Coaches Poll (March 13). The Friars, who entered the polls on December 20 at No. 22/23, were ranked for 13-consecutive weeks heading into the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.

After Nine Years, Friars Have Fourth Best Record In BIG EAST Action:  Since the formation of the new BIG EAST, the Friars have posted the fourth best mark in league play over the last nine years.  The Friars’ 93-69 mark (.574) trails only Villanova’s 130-31 record (.808), UConn’s 24-12 record (.667) and Creighton’s 95-70 record (.576).

Providence College Basketball: The 2021-22 campaign marks the 95th  season of basketball at Providence College. Since the program started in 1926-27, Providence has posted a 1,522-1,013  mark, good for a .600 winning percentage. The Friars have made the NCAA Tournament 21 times and the National Invitation Tournament on 20 occasions.

PC Hoops With Coach Cooley Show: The Providence College men’s basketball program has partnered with FOX Providence for PC Hoops with Coach Cooley.  The 30-minute show will air the following Sundays this season (Feb. 27, March 6, March 13, March 20 and March 27) on FOX Providence at 10:30 p.m.  WPRI 12 Sports Director Morey Hershgordon will host the show that will feature an exclusive interview each week with Friar Head Coach Ed Cooley, as well as features on the Friars.

Friars Earn 20 Wins For The First Time Since 2018:  With the Friars’ 71-52 win at Georgetown on February 6, the team posted its 20th victory of the season.  It marks the first time the team earned 20 wins in a season since 2017-18 and the sixth time under Ed Cooley (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2022).  It also marked, the 28th time the Friars have won 20 or more games in a season.  In 2016 and 2022, the Friars registered 24 victories, which is the most wins by the Friars under Ed Cooley.

Athletic Director Bob Driscoll Announces Retirement: Providence College Athletic Director Bob Driscoll announced on January 21 that he will retire in June after serving the College for 21 years.  Driscoll has worked in collegiate athletics for 47 years.

Steve Napolillo Named Next Athletic Director:  It was announced on January 26 that Steve Napolillo would be the 11th athletic director in the history of Providence College.  On July 1, Napolillo will replace Bob Driscoll, who announced his retirement on January 21.  Napolillo, who is the senior associate athletic director/assistant vice president for external relations, has worked at the College since 2004.

Ed Cooley Ranks Second On The PC All-Time Win List: With the Friars’ win versus Butler on January 23, 2022, Ed Cooley recorded his 210th victory as the Friar Head Coach and moved into second place on the all-time win list for PC Head Coaches.  The the top three all-time winningest Friar head coaches are: Joe Mullaney (319-164), Ed Cooley (221-140, 11 seasons) and Dave Gavitt (209-84).

Friars All-Time Versus Top-25 Teams:  The Friars have posted a 127-273 (.318) mark all-time versus top-25 teams, including a 4-2 mark this season.

Friars Play Their First Game In 12 Days After Covid Pause: On January 8, the Friars defeated St. John’s, 83-73.  The team then went on a 12-day pause due to Covid within the program.  It marked the first time in the last two seasons the Friars have had to pause due to Covid within the team.  The Friars returned from the Covid pause to defeat Georgetown, 83-75, on January 20.

Friars Ranked For First Time Since 2016:  When the Friars entered the polls on December 20 at No. 22/23, it marked the first time the Friars had been ranked since they were No. 24 in the Coaches Poll on February 22, 2016.  It also marked the first time the team has been ranked in both polls since February 15, 2016 when the Friars were 23rd in the Associated Press Poll and 20th in the Coaches Poll. Providence entered the NCAA Tournament ranked No. 13/13 (most recent polls were released on March 13 and March 14).

Friars At The Dunkin’ Donuts Center: All-time, the Friars have recorded a 603-236 (.718) mark in 49 seasons of games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.  The Dunkin’ Donuts Center, formerly the Providence Civic Center, opened on November 3, 1972. The Friars had played their home games there for 48 consecutive seasons, prior to the 2020-21 season when the team played on campus at Alumni Hall with no fans in attendance due to the pandemic.  PC posted a 16-1 mark at the Dunk’ this season, the team’s best record at home since 1973-74.

Veteran Lineup:  The Friars’ roster features five graduate students.  It marks the first time ever the Friars have had five graduate students on the roster.  The Friars’ top seven players – Nate Watson (154 games), Noah Horchler (119 games), Al Durham (153 games), AJ Reeves (106 games), Jared Bynum (78 games), Justin Minaya (110 games) and Ed Croswell (115 games) have combined to play 835 collegiate games.

Brothers In The Lineup: For the first time since 1941 when Eddie and John Lee of Attleboro, Mass. suited up for the Friars, the Providence men’s basketball team will have brothers playing together.  Graduate student Andrew Fonts (Portsmouth, R.I.) and his brother, freshman Luke Fonts, are the first sibling combo for the Friars in 81 years.

Essandoko, Berry and Pierre Sign NLIs To Attend PC:  Ed Cooley announced on Nov. 16 that student-athletes Christ Essandoko (Paris, France), Quante Berry (Cleveland, Tenn.) and Jayden Pierre (Elizabeth, N.J.) each have signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Providence College beginning in September 2022.  Essandoko, a 6-foot-11-inch, 260-pound center is in his senior year at Winston-Salem Prep (N.C.).  He is coached by Antonio Lowe at Winston-Salem Prep.  Essandoko played for Boo Williams on the EYBL Nike Circuit. He averaged 7.2 points and 5.4 rebounds, while shooting 62.5 percent from the field. He is ranked as the 20th best center in the country (134 overall) and the sixth best player in France, according to 247Sports.com. Rivals.com ranked Essandoko as the 150th best player in the country and the No. 23 center.  Berry, a 6-foot-4-inch, 175-pound guard, also attends Winston-Salem Prep.  Berry played AAU basketball for B. Maze Elite on the UAA circuit.  As a sophomore, Berry averaged 17 points, six rebounds and five assists and earned All-State honors at Bradley Central High School in Tennessee, before transferring to Winston-Salem Prep. Berry is the 33rd ranked guard in the nation, according to 247Sports.com. Pierre, a 6-foot-1-inch, 170-pound point guard, is in his senior year at Long Island Lutheran. He is coached by John Buck at Long Island Lutheran. Pierre played AAU basketball for Team Rio.  He is ranked as the 15th-best point guard in the country and the top-ranked point guard in New Jersey, according to 247Sports.com. ESPN.com has Pierre ranked as the 39th point guard in the nation and sixth best player in New Jersey.

Nate Watson Registers His 1,000th Career Point:  Nate Watson (Portsmouth, Va.) scored his 1,000th career point on December 20, 2020 in the Friars’ win at Seton Hall.  He became the 51st Friar all-time to register 1,000 career points.  In 154 career games, Watson has registered 1,748 points (11.4 ppg).  He ranks 11th all-time in scoring at Providence College.

Horchler Registers His 1,000th Career Point:  Noah Horchler (Melbourne Beach, Fla.) scored his 1,000th career point on March 10, 2021 in the Friars’ BIG EAST Tournament game versus DePaul.  In 119 career games (61 at North Florida and 58 at Providence), Horchler has registered 1,325 points (11.1 ppg).

Friars Are 79-5 In Non-Conference Home Games Under Ed Cooley: The Friars have posted a 79-5 mark in 11 seasons under Ed Cooley in non-conference home games.

“DG” Patch On Friar Uniforms: In memory of former Friar Head Coach Dave Gavitt the Friars have worn a “DG” patch on their uniforms since the 2011-12 season.  Gavitt led PC and Eastern basketball into the modern age.  In 10 seasons as the head coach of the Friars, Gavitt led PC to 209 wins, including eight consecutive 20-win seasons, five NCAA appearances, three NIT appearances and five New England Coach of the Year honors.  He led the Friars to 23 wins over Top-20 teams.  His 1973 team made it to Final Four.  In 1971, Gavitt was named Director of Athletics at PC, a position he held until 1982 when he resigned to be the director of the BIG EAST Conference.  He also was named Head Coach of the 1980 USA Olympic basketball team.  He was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

KANSAS NOTES:

LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 1 seed Kansas (30-6) will face No. 4 seed Providence (27-5), Friday, March 25, at 6:29 p.m. CST in the 2022 NCAA Championship Sweet 16. The game from the United Center in Chicago will be televised on TBS.

Kansas advanced to its 23rd Sweet 16 with a 79-72 win against No. 8 seed Creighton on March 19. The Jayhawks will meet Providence for the first time, who advanced to the Sweet 16 win a 79-51 win over Richmond on March 19.

The Sweet 16 matchup is scheduled to tip at 6:29 p.m. CST on TBS with Kevin Harlin (play-by-play), Dan Bonner (analyst), Reggie Miller (analyst) and Dana Jacobson (reporter) on the call.

KANSAS TIP INS

KU is 2-0 versus the Big EAST Conference this season and 53-20 all-time against Big EAST current membership.

Kansas is 8-2 in Sweet 16 games under head coach Bill Self, beginning in 2004. The Jayhawks have won their last three Sweet 16 contests in 2018, 2017 and 2016.

With 2,353 all-time wins, a Kansas win against Providence would move KU ahead of Kentucky (2,353) for most all-time victories at 2,354.

At 30-6, Kansas has won 30 game in a season, which ties for the most in NCAA Division I history with Kentucky. Bill Self has 10 of the 16 30-win seasons at Kansas. His 11 all-time 30-win seasons only trails Mike Krzyzewski (15) and Roy Williams (12).

Kansas is making its 50th NCAA Tournament appearance and has a 111-48 record in the event. KU has advanced to 32 rounds of 16, 23 Sweet 16 contests, 15 Final Fours and three of their five national championships have been in NCAA Championship format (1952, 1988, 2008).

Since seeding in the NCAA Tournament began in 1979, Kansas enters the 2022 event a No. 1 seed and the 15th time overall and fourth time in the last six tournaments. KU was also a No. 1 seed in 1986-92-95-97-98-2002-07-08-10-11-13-16-17-18. Kansas is 41-13 all-time as a No. 1 seed.

This year marks the 22nd-straight season that the Jayhawks have earned a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament.

This season, Kansas has faced nine different teams in the 2022 NCAA Tournament field with a combined record of 11-5.

Kansas has won 20 or more games for 33 consecutive seasons, which includes 2021-22 and is the longest active streak in the NCAA. The streak began in 1989-90.

Kansas entered the NCAA Tournament No. 6 in NET nationally and No. 6 in the in strength of schedule among the 358 teams listed. Kansas’ 12 Quadrant 1 games played in 2021-22 are the most in NCAA Division I. KU is 12-5 versus Quadrant 1 teams, 8-1 vs. Q2, 5-0 vs. Q3 and 4-0 vs. Q4.

No. 13 Providence will be the 11th ranked team Kansas will play this season. KU is 6-4 versus ranked opponents in 2021-22.

Up Next

Should Kansas win its Sweet 16 game against Providence, KU would advance to its 25th Elite Eight appearance, its first since 2018. Kansas would play the winner of the other Midwest Regional semifinal between No. 11 seed Iowa State and No. 10 seed Miami (Fla). The game would be played on Sunday, March 27, with tip time and television to be determined.

*****MIAMI VS. IOWA STATE PREVIEW*****

IOWA STATE GAME NOTES:

AMES, Iowa – In its first season under head coach T.J. Otzelberger, Iowa State is making its sixth Sweet Sixteen appearance this weekend when it faces Miami in the Midwest Regional semifinal at United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

The Matchup: 11-seed Iowa State (22-12, 7-11 Big 12) vs. 10-seed Miami (25-10, 14-5 Big 12)

Where: Chicago, Ill. – United Center

When: Sunday, March 20, 8:45 p.m. (CDT)

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/Varsity Radio App

Talent: John Walters (PxP), Eric Heft (Analyst)

TV: TBS

Talent: Kevin Harlan (PxP), Reggie Miller & Dan Bonner (Analyst); Dana Jacobson (Reporter)

Webcast: NCAA.com

Live Stats: NCAA.com

KEY STORYLINES

– Iowa State owns a 22-12 record, a +20 improvement in the win column this season compared to last, the best turnaround in school and Big 12 history and the best-ever by a team led by a first-year head coach … only Towson (+21) has a bigger improvement in NCAA history.

– The Cyclones are looking to make their second Elite Eight of the modern tournament era (2000).

– ISU has defeated LSU and Wisconsin in the tournament, which matches its win total from last season … in the two wins, ISU’s defense has been stifling, holding opponents to 51.5 points per game, 33.3 percent shooting and 14.6 percent 3-point shooting and forcing 18.0 turnovers.

– ISU leads Sweet Sixteen teams in scoring defense, FG percentage defense, 3-point FG percentage defense and turnovers forced … for the season, ISU is KenPom’s fifth-ranked team in defensive efficiency and fourth-ranked team in turnover percentage.

– Otzelberger is the eighth head coach in school history to lead the Cyclones to the tournament … he is the third coach in NCAA Tournament history to lead his program to the Sweet Sixteen in the first year after taking over a team with a losing record the previous season.

– Iowa State is 15-0 this season against non-conference opponents … ISU, Purdue (13-0) and Minnesota (9-0) are the only teams this season with undefeated records against non-con foes … ISU’s non-con opponents are averaging 55.1 points and shooting 36.8 percent from the field, 23.4 percent behind the arc while turning it over 18.5 times per game.

– Gabe Kalscheur propelled the Cyclones to the Sweet 16 with his 22-point performance against Wisconsin.

LAST TIME OUT

– Iowa State defeated Wisconsin on Sunday evening to advance to the Sweet Sixteen of the Midwest Region … the Cyclones held the Big Ten regular season champion to a season-low 29.8 percent shooting and stifled Big Ten Player of the Year Johnny Davis to just 4-for-16 shooting … the Badgers made a season-low two 3-pointers … Gabe Kalscheur scored 22 points on 10-of-19 shooting to lead the Cyclones … ISU controlled the glass (39-36) and forced UW into a season-high 17 turnovers … the Badgers entered the game first nationally in turnovers per game, committing just 8.4 per contest.

ISU VERSUS MIAMI

– The Cyclones and Hurricanes are meeting for just the second time … Iowa State won the only other meeting in the semfinals at the 2016 Advocare Invitational … Deonte Burton led the Cyclones in that game with 21 points.

– Iowa State and Miami have no common opponents this season.

– The Cyclones are 2-0 all-time against No. 10 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, defeating Florida in 1995 and Miami (Ohio) in 1986.

– ISU is second nationally in turnovers forced (18 tpg), while Miami ranks sixth nationally in turnovers committed (9.4 tpg) … ISU has already faced two of the top five nationally in turnovers per game in Wisconsin (1st, 17 TOs) and Iowa (4th, 12 TOs).

– Iowa State faced Miami’s Charlie Moore and Kameron McGusty when the pair played at Kansas and Oklahoma, respectively.

– ISU’s Izaiah Brockington (Archbishop Ryan) and Miami’s Isaiah Wong (Monsignor Bonner) are both products of the Philadelphia Catholic League … the duo played together with the We R One AAU program.

– The Cyclones are 2-5 all-time against ACC teams in the NCAA Tournament.

– ISU is 6-17 all-time against teams currently in the ACC.

ISU NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

– Iowa State is playing in its 21st NCAA Tournament in school history as the No. 11 seed as part of the Midwest Region.

– Iowa State has advanced to the Sweet Sixteen six times (1986, 1997, 2000, 2014, 2016, 2022) in the modern era … ISU is looking for its second Elite Eight appearance in the modern era (2000).

– ISU is 21-20 all-time in the NCAA Tournament … T.J. Otzelberger is the eighth coach to lead Iowa State to the NCAA Tournament and the third to lead the Cyclones in their first season leading the program (Tim Floyd, Steve Prohm).

– Otzelberger is the only coach to lead the Cyclones to the NCAA Tournament in his first season while coming off a losing season … he joins Prohm as the only Cyclone coaches to win two tournament games in his first season.

– Iowa State has made the tournament in eight of the last 11 seasons … the Cyclones are one of 14 teams with eight tournament berths since the 2011-12 season.

– ISU is a No. 11 seed for the first time in school history.

– The Cyclones are 0-4 all-time against No. 1 seeds (Michigan State, 2000; North Carolina, 2005; Kentucky, 2012; Virginia, 2016) … three of the four teams were the number one overall seeds and went on to win the national title with all three games being played in the opponent’s home state.

– Iowa State is 13-8 playing in the Midwest Region.

– The farthest the Cyclones have advanced in the NCAA Tournament is the Final Four in 1944.

– ISU, which was one of eight teams to qualify in 1944, won its first game vs. Pepperdine to advance to the semifinals.

– The farthest Iowa State has advanced in the NCAA Tournament since the current 64/65/68-team field, which began in 1985, is the Elite Eight in 2000.

– The Cyclones have won their first game in 11 of their last 14 NCAA Tournament appearances.

– ISU has had two players lead the NCAA Tournament in scoring average (minimum of three games played) during their respective careers … Dedric Willoughby averaged 24.7 ppg in 1997 (3 games) and Marcus Fizer led all players in 2000 with a 20.0 ppg average in four games played.

– Individual NCAA Tournament records: Points- 34 by Dedric Willoughby (vs. UCLA in 1997), 34 by Lafester Rhodes (vs. Georgia Tech in 1988) 34 by Dustin Hogue (vs. UCONN in 2014); Rebounds- 20 by Jared Homan (vs. North Carolina in 2005); Assists- 11 by Jamaal Tinsley (vs. UCLA in 2000); Blocks- 8 by Kelvin Cato (vs. Illinois State in 1997); Field Goals- 15 by Dustin Hogue (vs. UCONN in 2014); 3-Pointers- 8 by Dedric Willoughby (vs. UCLA in 1997).

– The first time two teams from the same conference played in the NCAA Tournament in the same year was 1944 when ISU and Missouri from the Big Six were among the 8 teams chosen.

TOURNAMENT TIDBITS

– Iowa State owns an 8-8 record vs. eight teams in the 2022 NCAA Tournament field: Baylor (0-2), Creighton (1-0), Iowa (1-0), Kansas (0-2), Memphis (1-0), Texas (1-1), TCU (1-1), Texas Tech (1-2), LSU (1-0), Wisconsin (1-0).

– Eight of ISU’s 21 regular season opponents earned tournament bids.

– ISU is playing in Chicago for the first time since the 2016 NCAA Tournament when it fell to Virginia (84-71) in the Sweet Sixteen.

– All-time, ISU is 0-2 playing at United Center: Lost to Duke (86-65, 1/6/2010) and Virginia (84-71, 3/25/16).

– The eight coaches to lead the Cyclones to the NCAA Tournament are: T.J. Otzelberger, Steve Prohm, Fred Hoiberg, Wayne Morgan, Larry Eustachy, Tim Floyd, Johnny Orr and Louis Menze.

– Otzelberger is coaching in his third NCAA Tournament (2017, 2018, 2022) and his fourth postseason overall (2019 NIT) … he is 2-2 in NCAA Tournament games.

– Hunter leads all true freshmen in the NCAA Tournament with 165 assists.

– Kunc blocked a pair of shots in both of ISU’s first two NCAA Tournament games … he’s the first Cyclone to have back-to-back NCAA Tournament games with two blocks since Jameel McKay.

*****UCLA VS. NORTH CAROLINA PREVIEW*****

UCLA NOTES:

LOS ANGELES – The No. 4-seed Bruins will face No. 8-seed North Carolina in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament this Friday evening in Philadelphia. UCLA advanced to the Sweet 16, or regional semifinal, after recording victories over No. 13-seed Akron and No. 5-seed Saint Mary’s in Portland last week (Thursday and Saturday). The Bruins have won seven of their last eight games, heading into Friday’s contest in Philadelphia.

FRIDAY’S GAME INFORMATION

Venue: Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Game Time: approximately 6:40 p.m. PT (9:40 p.m. ET)

Television: CBS

CBS Broadcasters: Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Jim Spanarkel (analyst), Jamie Erdahl (sideline)

UCLA’s Radio Broadcast (UCLA Sports Network): AM 1150

UCLA’s Radio Talent: Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)

Westwood One Radio: Tom McCarthy (play-by-play), Will Perdue (analyst)

SIRIUS/XM Channels: Ch. 135 / Ch. 202

SIRIUS Internet Channel: Ch. 965

UCLA’s TUESDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY (videos): Coach Cronin | J. Bernard

Bruins’ head coach Mick Cronin and senior guard Jules Bernard met with reporters outside of the Mo Ostin Basketball Center on Tuesday afternoon, minutes before the team headed to Los Angeles International Airport for a mid-day flight to Philadelphia.

ABOUT THE BRUINS

– UCLA’s 27 wins this season are the most by a Bruins’ team since finishing 31-5 in 2016-17.

– UCLA has advanced to the Sweet 16 in five of nine seasons (2014, 2015, 2017, 2021 and 2022).

– This will mark the Bruins’ 22nd trip to the Sweet 16 since the tournament field expanded to 32 teams in 1975.

– The Bruins are seeking their second consecutive trip to the Elite Eight with a win against North Carolina on Friday.

– UCLA has limited the opposition to 64.2 points per game this season, which ranks No. 1 in the Pac-12.

– The Bruins finished second in the Pac-12 standings for the second time in the past three seasons (also, 2019-20).

– UCLA finished as the runner-up to top-seed Arizona at the Pac-12 Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

– UCLA has advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 51st time in program history (second consecutive year).

– The Bruins will enter Friday’s contest having won seven of their last eight games (and 10 of their last 12).

– The Bruins had two six-game winning streaks during the season and lost in back-to-back games just once.

– UCLA entered the week ranking No. 2, nationally, in fewest turnovers per game (9.0, trailing Wisconsin’s 8.7).

– Eleven of UCLA’s 15 players were either born-and-raised in Southern California or attended high school in the area.

NCAA TOURNAMENT NOTES

– UCLA returns to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 after having gone 5-1 in last year’s 68-team field.

– The Bruins advanced from the First Four to the Final Four one year ago, losing in the national semifinals to Gonzaga.

– UCLA has made 51 total trips to the NCAA Tournament and has won a nation-leading 11 NCAA championships.

– Since the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 1975, UCLA has made 11 trips to the Elite Eight (regional finals).

– The Bruins have made 19 appearances in the Final Four (compiling a 13-6 record in the national semifinals).

– Prior to last season’s appearance in the Final Four, UCLA had not advanced to the Final Four since 2008.

– Entering last year’s NCAA Tournament, none of UCLA’s active players had ever competed in the NCAA Tournament.

– Head coach Mick Cronin has guided his teams to 13 NCAA Tournament appearances in 19 years as a head coach.

HEADED TO THE EAST COAST

– The Bruins last played in Philadelphia in the first and second rounds of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

– UCLA’s 2009 NCAA Tournament games included a win over VCU (first round) and a loss to Villanova in Philadelphia.

– UCLA has not played an NCAA Tournament game in the Northeast since those two games in Philadelphia in 2009.

– The Bruins’ most recent game in the Northeast took place in Brooklyn (Dec. 19, 2015) against North Carolina.

– UCLA has played eight NCAA Tournament games in Pennsylvania – six games in Philadelphia, two games in Pittsburgh.

WELCOME TO THE SWEET 16

The Bruins have advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2014 and 2015. Last season, the Bruins defeated No. 2-seed Alabama in a Sweet 16 matchup in the “bubble” in Indianapolis, 88-78, in overtime. That victory propelled UCLA into an Elite Eight showdown against No. 1-seed Michigan (UCLA won, 51-49). This Friday’s game will mark UCLA’s 22nd trip to the Sweet 16 since the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 1975. The Bruins have gone 8-3 in their past 11 trips to the Elite Eight (since the tournament began including 32 teams in 1975).

LOOKING BACK AT LAST WEEK

UCLA punched its ticket to this season’s Sweet 16 with wins against No. 13-seed Akron (57-53) last Thursday and versus No. 5-seed Saint Mary’s (72-56) last Saturday. Tyger Campbell averaged 16.0 points and 4.5 assists in the two games, and Jaime Jaquez Jr. averaged 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists. The Bruins improved to 45-4 in the NCAA Tournament in games played in the states of California (27-1), Oregon (13-3) and Washington (5-0). In addition, the Bruins improved their NCAA Tournament record over the past two seasons (2021, 2022) to 7-1.

THE LAST TIME: The Bruins made 4 of 9 attempts from 3-point range in the win over Saint Mary’s (44.4%). That marked the fewest 3-pointers attempted in an NCAA Tournament game by UCLA since going 5-for-9 from long-range on March 19, 2015, in a second round win over UAB (W, 92-75). The Bruins have attempted nine or fewer 3-point shots in 11 total NCAA Tournament games (the NCAA instituted the 3-point arc beginning with the 1986-87 season).

POSTSEASON HISTORY

While the Bruins have totaled 19 trips to the NCAA Final Four, UCLA has made eight trips to the Final Four (the national semifinals) since the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 1975. Last season, UCLA became the first Pac-12 Conference program to advance to the Final Four since Oregon in 2017. Through UCLA’s last 11 trips to the Elite Eight (including last season’s victory against Michigan), the Bruins have compiled an 8-3 record. Under then-head coach Ben Howland, the Bruins advanced to three consecutive Finals Fours in 2006, 2007 and 2008 (and the national title contest in 2006).

UCLA VS. UNC, POSTSEASON

UCLA has faced North Carolina in the 1968 and 1989 NCAA Tournaments. In the most recent tournament matchup (1989), No. 2-seed North Carolina took down No. 7-seed UCLA, 88-81, in Atlanta. The first-ever meeting between UCLA and UNC took place in the 1968 NCAA Championship contest at the Los Angeles Sports Arena (March 23, 1968). Lew Alcindor (now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) scored 34 points and totaled 16 rebounds in UCLA’s 78-55 championship victory.

THE ALL-TIME SERIES: North Carolina has gone 10-3 in the all-time series against UCLA. In the two schools’ most recent meeting, UCLA lost to North Carolina, 74-64, in the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 21, 2019, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Bruins had been scheduled to face UNC in the CBS Sports Classic this season (on Saturday, Dec. 18 in Las Vegas), but the game was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols within UCLA’s program.

WITHIN THE PAC-12

The Pac-12 Conference had three teams advance to the NCAA Tournament this season (No. 1-seed Arizona, No. 4-seed UCLA and No. 7-seed USC). Over the first weekend of play, the Pac-12 logged a 4-1 combined record, with both UCLA and Arizona advancing to the Sweet 16. The conference seeks its 17th all-time championship for a league member and has not seen any of its teams since the title since Arizona in 1997. UCLA has won 11 of those previous 16 national championships. Last season, the Pac-12 registered a 13-5 record in the NCAA Tournament, as UCLA tallied five of those wins.

THE 20-WIN PLATEAU

UCLA has won at least 20 games for the second consecutive season, logging its 27th win last Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Saint Mary’s. UCLA has won at least 20 games in 53 seasons, including 45 times in the last 56 years (1967-2022). UCLA won at least 20 games in 17 straight seasons from 1966-67 through 1982-83. The Bruins compiled a 205-5 overall record through a seven-year stretch from 1966-67 through 1972-73. Over the past 10 seasons (since 2012-13), UCLA has won at least 20 games in six seasons and 25 games or more in three seasons.

HERE’S JOHNNY

Bruins’ guard Johnny Juzang has averaged a team-best 15.7 points per game. He ranks No. 3 in the Pac-12 in scoring, through Sunday, March 20. He has scored in double figures in 24 of 29 games played. Juzang has shot 43.4 percent from the field, 35.5 percent from 3-point range and 83.1 percent at the free throw line. He secured first-team All-Pac-12 honors at the conclusion of the regular season. Juzang is among 15 players who were named to this season’s national ballot for the John R. Wooden Award (presented to the nation’s top player by the Los Angeles Athletic Club).

EYE OF THE TYGER

Tyger Campbell has secured first-team All-Pac-12 honors for the second straight season. He is UCLA’s first player to earn first-team all-league acclaim in back-to-back years since Arron Afflalo (2006, 2007). Through games played on Sunday, March 20, Campbell ranked No. 6 in the nation in assist-turnover ratio (3.3) and No. 4 in the Pac-12 in assists per game (4.2). He is UCLA’s first player since Darren Collison (2006-09) to serve as the primary point guard for at least three straight seasons. From 2011-12 through 2018-19, UCLA used seven different players as the team’s starting point guard.

THE PRIDE OF CAMARILLO

UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. hails from Camarillo, Calif., approximately 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles (city of Camarillo is pronounced kam-er-EE-oh). He has played in 96 of UCLA’s 97 games since the start of the 2019-20 season. A first-team All-Pac-12 selection, Jaquez Jr. has averaged 14.0 points and 5.7 rebounds in 33 games. Over the past five contests, he has averaged 18.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists. As of late, he tallied a career-high 30 points at Washington (Feb. 28) and followed that with a 27-point effort against USC (March 5). Jaquez Jr. has shot 48.4 percent (30-for-62) from the field in UCLA’s last five games.

COACH CRONIN’S 20-WIN CAMPAIGNS

Now in his 19th season as a college basketball head coach, Mick Cronin has led his teams to at least 20 victories in 11 of the past 12 seasons (the 19-win season at UCLA in 2019-20 was abruptly abbreviated with the outbreak of COVID-19). Since compiling a 26-9 record at Cincinnati in 2010-11, Coach Cronin’s teams have averaged 25.2 victories over the past 12 seasons (that includes 2010-11 through this season). He helped guide Cincinnati to 30 wins in 2016-17 and 31 wins in 2017-18. Coach Cronin’s teams have posted a combined 126-39 conference-only record during his last nine seasons.

POSTSEASON BREAKDOWN: Coach Cronin led his Murray State teams to two NCAA Tournament berths in three seasons (2004, 2006). As the head coach at his alma mater (Cincinnati) for 13 years, he guided the Bearcats to nine NCAA Tournaments (all consecutive, from 2011 through 2019). This marks his second NCAA Tournament berth at UCLA.

CLOSING TIME

Under third-year head coach Mick Cronin, the Bruins have gone 22-11 in games decided by five points or fewer (includes all overtime games, regardless of score margin). This season, the Bruins have posted a 3-4 record in such situations. In 2019-20, the Bruins went 7-3 in those contests. In 2020-21, UCLA had a 12-4 record. Through Coach Cronin’s final three seasons at Cincinnati (2016-17 through 2018-19), his teams went 18-7 in those situations. From 2016-17 through the 2020-21 season, Coach Cronin’s teams went 37-14 in such contests.

70 POINTS OR FEWER

Over the past two seasons (2020-21 and 2021-22), UCLA has gone 39-4 when limiting the opposition to 70 or fewer points (19-3 last season, 20-1 this year). Coach Cronin has led the Bruins to a 57-5 record when limiting the opposition to 70 or fewer points. In 2019-20, UCLA went 18-1 in such situations. Through his final three seasons as Cincinnati’s head coach (2016-17 through 2018-19), his teams posted a 79-10 record (opposition, 70 or fewer points). Since the start of the 2016-17 season, his teams have gone 133-15 when limiting the opponent to 70 or fewer points (through 199 games).

65 POINTS, OR FEWER: Through three seasons as UCLA’s head coach (2019-20 through 2021-22), Coach Cronin has guided the Bruins to a 49-2 record when UCLA has held its opposition to 65 points or fewer. UCLA has gone 19-0 this season (allowing 65 or fewer points), went 15-1 last season, and went 16-1 in 2019-20.

FEWEST POINTS ALLOWED: Since the start of the 2019-20 season, UCLA has limited the opposition a single-game low of 40 points, back on Jan. 19, 2020. The Bruins outlasted California, 50-40, in a Pac-12 contest in Pauley Pavilion. More recently, UCLA limited Stanford to just 43 points in the Bruins’ 66-43 win over the Cardinal on Jan. 29, 2022.

FORCING TURNOVERS: Midway through his third year at UCLA, Coach Cronin has guided the Bruins to a 25-4 record when UCLA has forced at least 15 turnovers by the opposition (includes a 10-2 mark in that category this season).

ONE THOUSAND POINTS

Jules Bernard (1,179 points) and Jaime Jaquez Jr. (1,133 points) have both crossed the 1,000 career-point plateau this season. Bernard, who has played in 129 career games, reached the 1,000-point milestone in a triple-overtime loss at Arizona State on Saturday, Feb. 5. Jaquez Jr. crossed the 1,000-point threshold in the Bruins’ 77-66 win at Washington on Monday, Feb. 28. He finished that game with a career-high 30 points. UCLA has three players – Johnny Juzang (969), Tyger Campbell (967) and Cody Riley (934) – who have each scored at least 900 points in their collegiate careers.

THE BRUINS WHEN …

Since the start of the 2017-18 season, the Bruins have gone 79-15 when leading at halftime (through 163 games). During that span, the UCLA has gone 24-40 when trailing at halftime (3-2 when tied at the break). UCLA’s largest halftime deficit overcome in that stretch has been 16 points – UCLA trailed at home against Oregon, 44-28, on Feb. 23, 2019, and outscored the Ducks in the second half (62-39) to win, 90-83. When the Bruins have built a 10-point lead (or larger) at any point in the game, UCLA has gone 83-11. When trailing by 10 or more points in a game, UCLA has gone 17-41.

UNDER COACH CRONIN: Since the start of the 2019-20 season, UCLA has gone 49-8 when leading at halftime and 16-19 when trailing at the break (2-2 record, tied at halftime). The Bruins have gone 49-5 when building a lead of 10 points or more. UCLA has gone 8-20 when trailing by at least 10 points at any point in the game.

STREAKING

UCLA has made at least one 3-pointer played in its last 749 games. That 3-point streak began after the Bruins went 0-for-14 from 3-point territory in a 78-63 loss at No. 2-ranked Stanford on Feb. 3, 2000 (Maples Pavilion). UCLA has made at least three 3-pointers in 296 of 304 games since the start of the 2013-14 season. The Bruins made a school single-game-record 19 three-pointers (on 31 attempts) at Colorado on Jan. 12, 2017. UCLA won that road game, 104-89.

3-POINTERS, THIS SEASON? … The Bruins made a season-high 14 shots (on 34 attempts) from 3-point distance in a 96-78 win over Long Beach State on Thursday, Jan. 6. UCLA also made 13 shots from 3-point range (on 20 attempts, 65.0%) in a 94-55 victory against Oregon State at Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, Ore.) on Saturday, Feb. 26.

NFL NEWS

AP source: Chiefs send Hill to Dolphins for draft picks

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Chiefs traded wide receiver Tyreek Hill to Miami for a package of draft picks Wednesday, and the Dolphins gave the three-time All-Pro a $120 million, four-year contract extension that makes him the highest-paid player ever at his position, a person familiar with the moves told The Associated Press.

The Chiefs will get the Dolphins’ first- and second-round picks and their fourth-rounder in this year’s draft, and fourth- and sixth-round picks next year, the person told the AP on condition of anonymity because terms were not announced.

Hill’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said the extension from Miami includes $72.2 million guaranteed. The value of the deal surpasses the five-year contract that Davante Adams signed after he was traded from Green Bay to Las Vegas last week, which averages $28.5 million and includes $67.5 million guaranteed.

The Chiefs had been in discussions with Hill on a contract extension in part because they were seeking relief from a tight salary cap situation. But talks had stalled over the past few days, and Hill’s representatives requested permission to seek a trade, which came together quickly with multiple teams expressing interest in him.

The deal clears more than $18 million in salary cap space for Kansas City.

Hill appeared to indicate that his time with the Chiefs was over more than a week ago when the six-time Pro Bowl pick tweeted: “we came a long way thank you chiefs kingdom I’m forever indebted.”

It has been a wild NFL offseason when it comes to big names, even though the new league year is just 1 week old.

Titans trade for receiver Robert Woods with Julio Jones cut

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans have traded for wide receiver Robert Woods in a deal sending a sixth-round pick in the 2023 draft to the Los Angeles Rams.

The Titans announced the deal Wednesday after first clearing some much-needed space under the salary cap. They also announced they signed back linebacker Dylan Cole to a one-year deal.

Woods, who is scheduled to talk with reporters later Wednesday, is a nine-year veteran who tore his left ACL in practice on Nov. 12, the first significant injury of his career. The 6-foot, 195-pound receiver has played 125 games with 570 catches for 7,077 yards and 35 touchdowns with Buffalo and the Rams.

The move helps replace seven-time Pro Bowl receiver Julio Jones, who was released by the Titans last week.

Woods was a two-time captain with the Rams. He had 367 catches for 4,626 yards and 23 TDs in 68 games over five seasons. He ranked fifth in the NFL since 2017 among wide receivers with 1,992 yards after the catch. Woods also is a skilled blocker in the run game, which is key for the Titans given they have Derrick Henry.

AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year Cooper Kupp made clear on social media how much he’ll miss his fellow receiver and how much Woods meant to him over the past five seasons.

“Success is found in the mud,” Kupp wrote. “And the only way to effect positive chance is by getting your hands dirty. I’ve appreciated his respect for this, and his willingness to get his hands in the dirt, so he could leave his fingerprints on this organization.”

Woods also ran for 485 yards and his five rushing touchdowns tied Curtis Samuel for second behind Deebo Samuel (11). Woods joined only Emmanuel Sanders and DeAndre Hopkins with at least 40 catches and 500 yards receiving in each of the last nine seasons. He has played 14 100-yard games.

Nicknamed Bobby Trees, Woods was the 41st pick overall in the second round in the 2013 by Buffalo out of Southern California, where he finished as the Trojan’s all-time leader with 252 catches.

2022 NFL DRAFT: TOP 5 WIDE RECEIVERS

GARRETT WILSON OHIO STATE RATING: 6.50

Wilson grew up around Columbus but his family moved to Austin, Texas, for his dad’s job in 2011. He starred at Lake Travis High School and earned the All-American Bowl Man of the Year Award as a senior (1,151 yards, 19 TDs despite missing time due to injury) for his community service, education and athletic distinction. He also received Division I college basketball scholarship offers. His father, Kenny, is among the top scorers in Davidson’s storied history. The five-star prospect enrolled at Ohio State a semester early and played in all 14 games as a key reserve true freshman in the fall (30-423-14.4, five TDs receiving: 14-86-6.1 punt returns). Wilson started all eight games for the Buckeyes in 2020, receiving first-team All-Big Ten Conference accolades (43-723-16.8, six TDs receiving; 7-51-7.3 punt returns). He was a second-team Associated Press All-American and second-team all-conference selection in 2021 after tying for eighth in the FBS with 12 receiving touchdowns in 11 starts (70-1,058-15.1) and returning punts (13-68-5.2). Wilson missed one game in concussion protocol during the 2021 season and then opted out of the team’s bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft.

Overview

Wilson’s game is lacking in polish, but some scouts believe his play strength and run-after-catch ability make him a more valuable draft commodity than Ohio State teammate Chris Olave. He’s a linear, inside/outside receiver with trouble eluding press cleanly and is very inefficient with routes over the first two levels. His long speed is good, but the acceleration burst is what makes him such an effective separator in space. He might not be smooth getting there, but he has eye-popping ball skills when it’s time to go make a play. Wilson needs to work on his ability to consistently uncover on all three levels, but he has the traits to become a very good WR2 if he tightens up areas of concern.

Strengths

  • Made 27 catches for 371 yards and 6 touchdowns over his last three games.
  • Deceptive speed seems to surprise single coverage.
  • Instant acceleration creates his “plays fast” profile.
  • Shows feel for mixing up speed inside the route.
  • Play strength to fight through route pressure and get back on track.
  • Consistent to separate on deep ins, posts and go routes.
  • Hands are instinctive, sudden and strong.
  • Good hand extension to pluck throws away from his frame.
  • Hang-time leaper and mid-air contortionist.
  • Brings in really difficult jump balls and 50-50s.
  • Slip-and-go talent after the catch.
  • Experienced as punt returner.

Weaknesses

  • Linear release will get touched up by press.
  • Takes off without a clear route plan.
  • Needs better route adjustment in traffic.
  • Route-running is raw and segmented.
  • Sloppy footwork in and out of intermediate break points.
  • Hindered by elongated stem and excessive stutter-stepping.
  • Suffered from focus drops near the sideline.
  • Average win rate in battle for positioning.

TREYLON BURKS ARKANSAS GRADE: 6.50

Burks was a four-star recruit who chose his home state Arkansas over Clemson, Florida State, Michigan and many other schools. He showed toughness during his days at Warren High School, playing with a cast on his right hand as a sophomore but still managing to catch 11 passes for 285 yards and three scores with one hand after one of the team’s other receivers was injured. That talent showed through as a true freshman with the Razorbacks in 2019, as he led the team with 475 receiving yards (29 catches, 16.4 per rec.) and returned kicks (10-226-22.6 kickoffs; 12-130-10.8 punts). SEC coaches named him second-team all-conference in 2020 as he again paced his squad in receiving (51-820-16.1, seven TDs). Burks finished his career as a first-team All-SEC selection in 2021 (66-1,104-16.7, 11 TDs in 12 starts), setting a school record with six 100-yard receiving efforts. He opted out of the team’s bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft.

Overview

Big, smooth and natural, Burks possesses the versatility to operate from wherever you want and get to wherever you need no matter the competition. He’s a mismatch receiver combining size, strength and competitiveness similar to the Titans’ A.J. Brown, but his speed testing at the NFL Scouting Combine did not meet expectations. Arkansas benefitted by putting the ball in his hands from a variety of alignments and there is no reason to believe NFL play-callers won’t benefit from doing the same. The tape is extremely exciting with real NFL skills jumping off the screen, but his potential to become a high-volume, three-level target is a little more cloudy after a relatively disappointing showing at the combine.

Strengths

  • Premium size/speed ratio.
  • Huge hands with rare weight-room power for a wideout.
  • Has size and body control to mismatch cornerbacks.
  • Made 8 catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns against Alabama.
  • Quick and urgent in slipping past press attempts.
  • Releases into route with forward lean and hard push to threaten.
  • Suddenness to turn and present to passer underneath.
  • Smooth for his size when gliding through space.
  • Runs routes with proper leverage and turn acceleration.
  • Access to a second gear when he needs it.
  • Former all-state outfielder with skill to track and snag deep ball.
  • Sells his body out to make the catch.
  • Leaps and plucks it way up the ladder with strong hands.
  • Stiff-arm and build-up speed to make a short catch a long gain.

Weaknesses

  • Will need to maintain his best playing weight.
  • Needs to become more consistent with contested catches.
  • Allows coverage too much leeway on 50-50 balls.
  • Takes time slowing and getting into intermediate breaks.
  • Occasionally makes unnecessary one-handed catch attempts.
  • Average physicality after the catch for his size.

JAMESON WILLIAMS ALABAMA GRADE 6.48

Williams is a St. Louis native who not only scored 22 touchdowns as a senior at Cardinal Ritter College Prep but also broke Ezekiel Elliott’s state record in the 300-meter hurdles. He signed with Ohio State and played in all 14 games as a reserve and on special teams (6-112-18.7, one TD) in 2019. Williams started six of eight games played in 2020, but caught just nine passes for 154 yards (17.1 per rec.) and two scores in a deep receiver rotation including Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. He decided to enter the transfer portal and signed with Alabama for 2021 -– a school he strongly considered during his high school recruitment. Williams made the correct choice this time around, grabbing 79 passes, ranking fifth in the FBS with 1,572 receiving yards and tying for third with 15 receiving touchdowns in 15 starts. He was named a first-team Associated Press All-American, first-team All-SEC receiver and Co-SEC Special Teams Player of the Year (10-352-35.2, two TDs kick returns), and a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which honors the nation’s top receiver. Williams’ season did not end on a high note, however, as he injured his knee against Georgia in the national title game.

Overview

Linear route-runner with electric long speed to impact a game as a home-run hitter or decoy drawing defenders away from other elements of the offense. Williams ruins man coverage but faces some limitations. He has issues getting off press cleanly and might require some scheming to help get off the mark cleanly against certain corners. Catch toughness can be inconsistent when contested or in heavily trafficked areas. He has all the juice to find consistent separation on vertical, over and post/corner routes and could see monstrous production if paired with a high-end talent at quarterback. The ACL tear could play a role in determining his ultimate draft destination, but it’s unlikely to change his game.

Strengths

  • Record-breaking high school hurdler.
  • Smooth route take-off with instant gas.
  • Able to eviscerate the cushion and blow by corners.
  • Extra burst before route break forces coverage to bail out.
  • Separation feels inevitable on long-form patterns.
  • Posted FBS-best 11 touchdowns of 30-plus yards in 2021.
  • Long-limbed with expansive catch radius.
  • Plays with sudden hands to stab and secure high throws.
  • Opens hip to extend and grab back-shoulder/hip ball.
  • Good YAC stack when catching on the move.
  • Returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in 2021.

Weaknesses

  • Long but lean and lanky.
  • Suffered ACL tear in the national title game.
  • Press release is narrow and indecisive.
  • Strider requiring extra time getting in and out of breaks.
  • Competitiveness diminishes near the noise.
  • Instances where he failed to finish routes.
  • Below-average play strength when battling for catch space.
  • Inconsistent tracking and working back to underthrows.

CHRIS OLAVE OHIO STATE GRADE: 6.46

Olave (pronounced oh-LAH-vay) showed glimpses of his talent as a true freshman in 2018 (12-197-16.4, three TDs in 14 games), just one year after excelling (1,764 yards, 26 TDs) as a senior at Mission Hills High School in California — he was ineligible to play his junior year due to a transfer issue. He gained 15 pounds of solid muscle between his freshman and sophomore seasons at Ohio State, and there was an immediate benefit. Olave garnered third-team All-Big Ten accolades, becoming an essential target for Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Justin Fields as the team leader in receiving yards and touchdowns (48-840-17.5, 12 TDs in 14 games, six starts). Olave showed maturity at the end of the season, taking the blame for slipping on a route where Fields threw an interception at the end of the national semifinal game against Clemson. He was the Buckeyes’ top receiving option in 2020, finishing the season among the national leaders in receptions and receiving yards (50-729-14.6) while starting all seven games to earn first-team all-conference honors for the FBS runner-up. He received second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team all-conference notice in his final year, tying for sixth in the FBS with 13 receiving TDs to become the school’s all-time leader in the category. His 35 beat out NFL stars David Boston, Cris Carter and Santonio Holmes. Olave caught 65 passes for 936 yards (14.4 per rec.) in 12 starts for the Buckeyes, opting out of the team’s bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft. He was also named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award for excellence on and off the field. 

Overview

The quiet storm of the Ohio State wide receiver corps, Olave is smooth, steady and makes things happen. His movements are fluid and easy from snap to the catch and all points between. He’s fast but efficient and plays with the bend and foot agility to uncover on all three levels. Olave possesses natural, well-rounded ball skills but needs to add play strength to ward off the physical challenges that are headed his way. His play traits should allow for success beyond the scheme and talent advantages surrounding him at Ohio State. He is an inside/outside hybrid appealing to offenses looking for a field-stretcher with the ability to take on a sizable catch load.

Strengths

  • Buttery smooth mode of operation.
  • Able to jab and juke press doors open.
  • Top-end speed creates vertical opportunities.
  • Glider with ability to route coverage up.
  • Burst for separation on all three levels.
  • Able to sit and settle quickly for hitch/curl.
  • Alters weight and direction for balanced route turns.
  • Effortless in the air and can create a highlight.
  • Adjusts speed to ball flight.
  • Ball skills feature plus focus and well-timed, sudden hands.
  • Scrambles with his quarterback.
  • Blocked two punts during career and has gunner talent.

Weaknesses

  • Scheme provided a lot of room for free play.
  • Lack of desired play strength could become a concern.
  • Room for more manipulation as a route salesman.
  • Average hand strength to finish the catch.
  • Inconsistent working back to the throw when needed.
  • Failed to hold onto would-be touchdown catch in first quarter of loss to Michigan.
  • Average in run-after-catch mode.
  • Gets run through as run blocker.

CURRENT FREE AGENCY GRADES

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Grade: A+

  • Key re-signings: WR Chris Godwin, C Ryan Jensen, CB Carlton Davis, G Aaron Stinnie, WR Breshad Perriman, RB Leonard Fournette
  • Key additions: G Shaq Mason, WR Russell Gage, S Logan Ryan
  • Key losses: S Jordan Whitehead, G Alex Cappa, G Ali Marpet, TE O.J. Howard, EDGE Jason Pierre-Paul, DT Ndamukong Suh, CB Richard Sherman, RB Ronald Jones, RB Giovani Bernard, RB Le’Veon Bell

The Bucs retained Tom Brady after his brief flirtation with retirement and found a way to keep their key pieces intact (minus Rob Gronkowski for now) to remain formidable Super Bowl contenders.

2. Buffalo Bills

Grade: A

  • Key re-signings: DE Shaq Lawson, WR Isaiah McKenzie, WR Jake Kumerow, CB Siran Neal
  • Key additions: EDGE Von Miller, G Rodger Saffold, TE O.J. Howard, RB Duke Johnson Jr., WR Jamison Crowder, DT Tim Settle, DE Jordan Phillps, DT DaQuan Jones
  • Key losses: QB Mitchell Trubisky, DT Harrison Phillips, DT Star Lotulelei, CB Levi Wallace, C Jon Feliciano, WR Emmanuel Sanders, WR Cole Beasley, OT Daryl Williams

Miller was a surprise coup for this strong AFC championship contender. The Bills reloaded their defensive line rotation and worked patiently to find depth elsewhere.

3. Cleveland Browns

Grade: A

  • Key re-signings: TE David Njoku, LB Anthony Walker
  • Key additions: QB Deshaun Watson WR Amari Cooper, EDGE Chase Winovich, WR Jakeem Grant, QB Jacoby Brissett, DT Taven Bryan
  • Key losses: WR Jarvis Landry, TE Austin Hooper, WR Rashard Higgins, LB Mack Wilson, K Chase McLaughlin, CB M.J. Stewart

Unless Watson is suspended by the NFL for a significant portion of the 2022 season, the Browns upgraded from Baker Mayfield on the field and are back in the conversation for AFC title contention, too. Cooper was a nice new No. 1 to get for their new franchise QB, too.

4. Los Angeles Chargers

Grade: A

  • Key re-signings: WR Mike Williams, K Dustin Hopkins, QB Chase Daniel, DT Christian Covington
  • Key additions: CB J.C. Jackson, EDGE Khalil Mack, DT Sebastian Joseph-Day, DT Austin Johnson, TE Gerald Everett
  • Key losses: EDGE Uchenna Nwosu, DT Linval Joseph, CB Chris Harris Jr., TE Jared Cook, OT Bryan Bulaga, LB Kyzir White, C/G Scott Quessenberry

Let’s throw down the Chargers as another AFC contender that spent its resources well to take advantage of Justin Herbert’s rookie contract. Jackson and Mack can be an incredible new 1-2 punch for Brandon Staley’s defense.

5. Las Vegas Raiders

Grade: A

  • Key additions: WR Davante Adams, EDGE Chandler Jones, CB Rock Ya-Sin, RB Brandon Bolden, DT Bilal Nichols, FB Jakob Johnson, CB Anthony Averett, WR Mack Hollin, RB Ameer Abudllah
  • Key losses: EDGE Yannick Ngakoue, CB Casey Hayward Jr., EDGE Carl Nassib, FB Alec Ingold, LB Nicholas Morrow, QB Marcus Mariota, RB Peyton Barber, DT Quinton Jefferson

The Raiders gave Derek Carr a dominant No. 1 to strengthen their playoff status in a very tough AFC West. Jones is a nice complement to Maxx Crosby, too. There’s smart spending here overall from the new ex-Patriots braintrust.

6. Tennessee Titans

Grade: A

  • Key re-signings: EDGE Harold Landry, C Ben Jones, K Randy Bullock, RB Dontrell Hilliard, RB Jordan Wilkins
  • Key additions: WR Robert Woods, TE Austin Hooper, RB Trenton Cannon, OT Jamarco Jones, CB Buster Skrine
  • Key losses: WR Julio Jones, OT David Quessenberry, G Rodger Saffold, RB D’Onta Foreman, CB Jackrabbit Jenkins, TE Anthony Firsker

The Titans weren’t looking all that good early in free agency, but then Hooper and Woods became the ideal offensive skill players available to boost Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill. They’re looking great in the AFC South again, especially when keeping Landry.

7. New York Jets

Grade: A

  • Key re-signings: WR Braxton Berrios, QB Joe Flacco, RB Tevin Coleman, DT Nate Shepard, OT Conor McDermott, S Lamarcus Joyner
  • Key additions: G Laken Tomlinson, S Jordan Whitehead, CB D.J. Reed, TE C.J. Uzomah, TE Tyler Conklin, LB Jacob Martin
  • Key losses: DT Foley Fatukasi, S Marcus Maye, OT Morgan Moses, WR Jamison Crowder, WR Keelan Cole, G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, LB Blake Cashman

Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh didn’t go nuts with the spending but were very calculated in the needed upgrades for the defense and offense with great draft capital ahead to continue the expedited turnaround centered around Zach Wilson.

8. Indianapolis Colts

Grade: A

  • Key re-signings: TE Mo Alie-Cox, LB Zaire Franklin, OT Matt Pyror, DT/DE Tyquan Lewis
  • Key additions: QB Matt Ryan, EDGE Yannick Ngakoue, CB Brandon Facyson
  • Key losses: QB Carson Wentz, OT Eric Fisher, G Mike Glowinski, TE Jack Doyle, CB Rock Ya-Sin, S George Odum, DE Al-Quadin Muhammad, RB Marlon Mack

The Colts were sitting on a lot of money but have slow-played free agency under sometimes-aggressive GM Chris Ballard, who waited patiently to upgrade from Wentz to Ryan at QB.

9. Miami Dolphins

Grade: A

  • Key re-signings: EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah, TE Mike Gesicki, WR Preston Williams, LB Duke Riley, LB Elandon Roberts, LB Brenann Scarlett, TE Durham Smythe
  • Key additions: RB Chase Edmonds, LG Connor Williams, WR Cedrick Wilson, RB Raheem Mostert, QB Teddy Bridgewater, WR Trent Sherfield, CB Keion Crossen
  • Key losses: QB Jacoby Brissett, WR Mack Hollins WR Will Fuller, RB Phillip Lindsay

Keeping Ogbah and Gesicki was a great start and then they loaded up Mike McDaniel with several key versatile pieces and a better backup to Tua Tagovailoa in Bridgewater.

10. Cincinnati Bengals

Grade: A

  • Key re-signings: S Jessie Bates, DT B.J. Hill, QB Brandon Allen, CB Eli Apple, S Michael Thomas, WR Mike Thomas
  • Key additions: G Alex Cappa, G Ted Karras, OT La’el Collins
  • Key losses: DT Larry Ogunjobi, TE C.J. Uzomah, CB Darius Phillips

The AFC champions had to be careful with spending with a big contract for Joe Burrow just around the corner. They did good value work on the offensive line, the biggest need, and kept some key role players under Duke Tobin.

11. Seattle Seahawks

Grade: A-

  • Key re-signings: S Quandre Diggs, TE Will Dissly, CB Sidney Jones, DT Al Woods, Rashed Penny
  • Key additions: TE Noah Fant, DT Shelby Harris, DT Quinton Jefferson, EDGE Uchenna Nwosu, QB Drew Lock, G Austin Blythe, CB Artie Burns
  • Key losses: QB Russell Wilson, CB D.J. Reed, OT Jamarco Jones, TE Gerald Everett

The Seahawks were a last-place team with Wilson, so they had to move their unhappy QB and got tremendous return for him. They were able to give themselves some flexibility to spend elsewhere and save big at the most important position in their necessary hastened rebuild for Pete Carroll and John Schneider.

12. Arizona Cardinals

Grade: A-

  • Key re-signings: RB James ‘Conner, TE Zach Ertz, TE Maxx Williams, QB Colt McCoy, LB Dennis Gardeck, P Andy Lee
  • Key addition: CB Jeff Gladney
  • Key losses: RB Chase Edmonds, WR Christian Kirk, EDGE Chandler Jones, LB Jordan Hicks, DE Jordan Phillips, CB Robert Alford, WR A.J. Green, DT Corey Peters

The Cardinals had to get younger after being the oldest team based on average player age last season. It also looks like the Kyler Murray drama has cooled for Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury and they re-signed the right guys without overspending based on their cap situation.

13. Los Angeles Rams

Grade: B

Key re-signings: OT Joe Noteoom, C Brian Allen

Key addition: WR Allen Robinson

Key losses: EDGE Von Miller, RB Robert Woods, CB Darious Williams, G Austin Corbett, DT Sebastian Joseph-Day, P Johnny Hekker, TE Johnny Mundt

Les Snead and Sean McVay had an interesting follow to winning the Super Bowl, taking some expected hits. Losing Miller hurts, but they upgraded wide receiver and kept the offensive line strong.

14. Philadelphia Eagles

Grade: B

Key re-signings: DT Fletcher Cox, RB Boston Scott, S Anthony Harris, WR Greg Ward

Key additions: EDGE Haason Reddick, WR Zach Pascal

Key losses: EDGE Derek Barnett, DT Hassan Ridgeway, LB Alex Singleton, DE/LB Genard Avery, G Brandon Brooks, S Rodney McLeod, CB Steven Nelson, EDGE Ryan Kerrigan

The Eagles had to work some good cap magic with extended GM Howie Roseman and still got one of the most impactful free agents in former Temple star Reddick. They also moved on from fading players.

15. Washington Commanders

Grade: B

Key re-signings: RB J.D. McKissic, WR Cam Sims, CB Bobby McCain, C Tyler Larsen

Key additions: QB Carson Wentz, G Andrew Norwell

Key losses: G Brandon Scherff, G Ereck Flowers, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, DT Tim Settle, DT Matt Ioannidis, S DeShazor Everett, S Landon Collins, TE Ricky Seals-Jones, QB Kyle Allen, WR Adam Humphries, ILB Jon Bostic

Wentz is a bit of a gamble but does potentially stabilize QB for Ron Rivera and Scott Turner based on how well he can do in the system. The offensive line, defensive line, secondary and wide receiver corps required a collective shakeup and that happened.

16. Atlanta Falcons

Grade: B

Key re-signings: RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson, K Younghoe Koo, CB Isaiah Oliver

Key additions: QB Marcus Mariota, CB Casey Hayward Jr., RB Damien Williams

Key losses: QB Matt Ryan, LB Foyesade Oluokun, TE Hayden Hurst, WR Russell Gage, EDGE Dante Fowler Jr.

The Falcons enter a new era after trading Matt Ryan and now have a chance to start fresh by drafting his replacement to develop behind Mariota. Hayward was a nice get given their tough cap spot.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars

Grade: B

Key re-signings: OT Cam Robinson, G Tyler Shatley, CB Tre Herndon

Key additions: G Brandon Scherff, WR Christian Kirk, DT Foley Fatukasi, LB Foyesade Oluokun, CB Darious Williams, WR Zay Jones, TE Evan Engram

Key losses: LB Myles Jack, WR D.J. Chark, G Andrew Norwell, TE James O’Shaughnessy, G A.J. Cann, DT Taven Bryan, LB Damien Wilson, RB Dare Ogunbowale

The Jaguars get this grade more of their defensive quality in the midst of all the quantity, as their offensive moves remained questionable based on the lack of value to help Trevor Lawrence under Doug Pederson and Trent Baalke.

18. San Francisco 49ers

Grade: B

Key re-signing: RB JaMycal Hasty

Key additions: CB Charvarius Ward, LB Oren Burks, DT Hassan Ridgeway, S George Odum, WR Ray-Ray McCloud

Key losses: G Laken Tomlinson, DT D.J. Jones, RB Raheem Mostert, WR Trent Sherfield, G Tom Compton, RB Trenton Cannon

The 49ers took some hits on the offensive and defensive lines but John Lynch did some good work on the back seven of the defense to mitigate some of that. The big remaining question is whether they can successful deal Jimmy Garoppolo, harder now with the Colts getting Ryan.

19. Denver Broncos

Grade: B-

  • Key re-signings: LB Josey Jewell, DT DeShawn Williams
  • Key additions: QB Russell Wilson, EDGE Randy Gregory, DT D.J Jones, LB Alec Singleton
  • Key losses: DT Shelby Harris, TE Noah Fant, QB Drew Lock, QB Teddy Bridgwater, LB Alexander Johnson

The Broncos are doing their best to build a championship potential roster for Russell Wilson, but they aren’t there yet and gave up a lot key draft resources and a couple key veterans, too. There’s a good chance they remain the fourth-best team in a loaded AFC West.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Grade: B-

  • Key re-signings: OT Chukwuma Okorafor, LB Robert Spillane, CB Arthur Maulet, S Miles Killebrew, QB Dwayne Haskins
  • Key additions: QB Mitchell Trubisky, G James Daniels, LB Myles Jack, C Mason Cole, CB Levi Wallace, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, WR Gunner Olszewski
  • Key losses: QB Ben Roethlisberger, CB Joe Haden, OT Zach Banner, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR James Washington, WR Ray-Ray McCloud

The Steelers worked on their offensive line, linebacker and secondary issues and also got a contingency at QB in Trubisky. Per usual, their bread and butter for big improvement is the draft.

21. Dallas Cowboys

Grade: B-

  • Key re-signings: WR Michael Gallup, TE Dalton Schultz, LB Leighton Vander Esch, S Malik Hooker, S Jayron Kearse
  • Key additions: WR James Washington
  • Key losses: WR Amari Cooper, OT La’el Collins EDGE, Randy Gregory, G Connor Williams, WR Cedrick Wilson, S Xavier Woods, K Greg Zuerlein

The Cowboys had to get creative to keep some preferred contracts and took real hits at wide receiver, offensive line and defense. They came out OK given they were bound to lose something significant with their cap situation.

22. Baltimore Ravens

Grade: B-

  • Key re-signings: TBD
  • Key additions: S Marcus Willams, DT Michael Pierce, OT Morgan Moses
  • Key losses: C Bradley Bozeman, OT Alejandro Villanueva, CB Anthony Averett

The Ravens had limited means for improving their team going in but managed to solve a big issue at safety by splurging on Williams. Moses proves good swing depth with Villanueva retiring.

23. Detroit Lions

Grade: B-

  • Key re-signings: S Tracy Walker, LB Alex Anzalone, EDGE Charles Harris, WR Josh Reynolds, WR Kalif Raymond, QB Tim Boyle, QB David Blough, CB D.J. Moore
  • Key addition: WR D.J. Chark
  • Key loss: EDGE Trey Flowers, OLB Jalen Reeves-Maybin

The Lions kept some so-so talent and Chark was their notable young veteran signing in lieu of being all about the youth movement in the draft. They’ve been a solid rebuilding team, but far short of spectacular.

24. Kansas City Chiefs

Grade: C

  • Key re-signings: OT Orlando Brown, QB Chad Henne, OT Andrew Wylie
  • Key additions: CB Justin Reid, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
  • Key losses: CB/S Tyrann Mathieu, CB Charvarius Ward, EDGE Melvin Ingram, RB Darrel Williams, G/T Mike Remmers, WR Demarcus Robinson, WR Byron Pringle, G Austin Blythe

The Chiefs downgraded by going from Mathieu to Reid and also took another considerable secondary hit in Ward. Smith-Schuster is intriguing in the offense. But Kansas City got little edge here compared to their very active division opponents, who gained ground.

25. Green Bay Packers

Grade: C

Key re-signings: LB De’Vondre Campbell

Key additions: P Pat O’Donnell

Key losses: WR Davante Adams, EDGE Za’Darius Smith, OT Billy Turner, G/C Lucas Patrick, LB Oren Burks, WR Equanimeous St. Brown

The Packers did everything for Aaron Rodgers only to need to pass on re-signing Adams. Campbell was the priority to keep over the others with little money to spend.

26. New England Patriots

Grade: C

Key re-signings: S Devin McCourty, RB James White, OT Trent Brown, QB Brian Hoyer, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, G James Ferentz, K Nick Folk, WR Matthew Slater

Key additions: LB Mack Wilson, CB Terrance Mitchell, RB Ty Montgomery

Key losses: CB J.C. Jackson, G Shaq Mason, LB Kyle Van Noy, LB Dont’a Hightower, LB Chase Winovich, RB Brandon Bolden, WR Gunner Olszewski

New England’s typical exodus of particular veterans vs. the others wasn’t inspiring given how well Buffalo, Miami and New York did in the division. They’re for a status quo team at best in Year 2 of Mac Jones.

27. Minnesota Vikings

Grade: C

Key re-signing: P Jordan Berry

Key additions: DT Harrison Phillips, LB Jordan Hicks, TE Johnny Mundt

Key losses: LB Anthony Barr, LB Nick Vigil, CB Patrick Peterson, CB Mackensie Alexander, DE Everson Griffen, G Rashod Hill, DT Sheldon Richardson, DT Michael Pierce, TE Tyler Conklin, S Xavier Woods, C Mason Cole

The Vikings committed to Kirk Cousins more on an extended deal as their most notable pre-draft move with a new coach and GM combination of Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Memsah. They are slowly retooling for new leadership but lost a lot in the process.

28. New Orleans Saints

Grade: C

Key re-signing: QB Jameis Winston

Key addition: S Marcus Maye

Key losses: LT Terron Armstead, S Marcus Williams, RB Ty Montgomery

The Saints started free agency trying to dig out of salary-cap hell and then threw a lot into Maye downgrading for Williams. They ended it with bigger QB questions after failing to land Watson.

29. New York Giants

Grade: C

Key re-signings: OT Korey Cunningham

Key additions: QB Tyrod Taylor, G Mike Glowinski, C Jon Feliciano, E Ricky Seals-Jones, RB Matt Breida

Key losses: TE Evan Engram, S, Logan Ryan, DT Austin Johnson, CB Keion Crossen

The Giants couldn’t do much with their new coach and GM combination of Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen. The offensive line pickups help, but there’s not much to see here ahead of the team having two high first-rounders in the draft.

30. Chicago Bears

Grade: C-

Key re-signing: S DeAndre Houston-Carson

Key additions: C/G Lucas Patrick, DT Justin Jones, LB Nicholas Morrow, WR Equanimeous St. Brown, WR Byron Pringle, DT Al-Quadin Muhammad

Key losses: EDGE Khalil Mack, DT Akiem Hicks, WR Allen Robinson, G James Daniels, DE Bilal Nichols, RB Damien Williams, WR Jakeem Grant, CB Artie Burns, P Pat O’Donnell

The Bears were another weak performing team in free agency as it feels like GM Ryan Poles is pushing to be fully committed to a massive rebuilding situation across the roster.

31. Carolina Panthers

Grade: D

Key re-signings: CB Donte Jackson, WR Brandon Zylstra, EDGE Marquise Haynes, K Zane Gonzalez

Key additions: RB D’Onta Foreman, G Austin Corbett, C Bradley Bozeman, LB Cory Littleton, S Xavier Woods, P Johnny Hekker, WR Rashard Higgins, LB Damien Wilson

Key losses: EDGE Haason Reddick, CB Stephon Gilmore, CB A.J. Bouye, DT DaQuan Jones, DE Morgan Fox

The Panthers also lost on Watson and are committing more to Sam Darnold. They’ve worked a little at the offensive line, but they seem to be all over the place in the questionable plans of Scott Fitterer and Matt Rhule.

32. Houston Texans

Grade D

Key re-signings: DT Maliek Collins, CB Desmond King, C Justin Brit QB Jeff Driskel, WR Chris Conley, RB Royce Freeman, LB Christian Kirksey, S Terrance Brooks, TE Pharaoh Brown

Key additions: G A.J. Cann, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB Blake Cashman, QB Kyle Allen, RB Dare Ogunbowale, LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, CB M.J. Stewart, OT Cedric Ogbuehi, C Scott Quessenberry

Key losses: QB Deshaun Watson, QB Tyrod Taylor, S Justin Reid, LB Jacob Martin, RB David Johnson

The Texans seem like they’re just shuffling around average players under Nick Caserio and Lovie Smith to field a passable starting team. The whole Watson debacle can’t be forgotten in stamping their personnel acquiring dysfunction.

Super Bowl hero CB Malcolm Butler will return to Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass (AP) Cornerback Malcolm Butler is returning to the New England Patriots, where he went from Super Bowl star to the bench.

The hero of the Patriots’ 2014 championship – who was inexplicably benched for New England’s appearance in the Super Bowl three years later – agreed to a two-year deal worth up to $9 million, his agent, Derek Simpson confirmed Wednesday.

Butler, 32, sat out the 2021 season for personal reasons and was placed on the reserve/retired list by the Arizona Cardinals.

Butler was an unheralded rookie in 2014 before he stepped in front of Russell Wilson’s goal-line pass in the final minute of the Super Bowl, crashing into receiver Ricardo Lockette and coming down with the ball to turn an almost-certain Patriots loss into a 28-24 victory over Seattle.

He was a Pro Bowl selection the following year and started four seasons for the Patriots, helping them win another Super Bowl after the 2016 season. But in the Super Bowl following the 2017 season, a game in which New England was desperate for defense, he played just three special teams snaps and the Patriots lost 41-33 to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Butler signed with the Titans after the season and played three years in Tennessee before signing with Cardinals for 2021, then deciding at the end of August to step away from the game.

In all, he has 17 interceptions in 100 games.

NBA NEWS

Play ball: NYC to let unvaccinated athletes play home games

NEW YORK (AP) New York City’s mayor will announce Thursday that he’s exempting athletes and performers from the city’s vaccine mandate for private workers, a move that will allow Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving to play home games and unvaccinated baseball players to take the field when their season begins.

Mayor Eric Adams will make the announcement Thursday morning and it will be effective immediately, according to a person familiar with the upcoming announcement who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

The city’s sweeping vaccine mandate for workers will still apply to people with other types of jobs, including government employees.

Adams had said he felt the vaccine rule was unfair when it came to athletes and performers because a loophole in the measure, imposed under his predecessor, allowed visiting players and performers who don’t work in New York to still play or perform even if they are unvaccinated.

Irving, a vaccine holdout, had been among the most high-profile people impacted. He was able to re-join the team in January but only when they played out of town games.

This month, concerns had been raised that the rule would also impact Major League Baseball, with it applying at the outdoor baseball parks in the Bronx and Queens.

Adams, a Mets fan, is scheduled to make an “economic and health-related announcement” Thursday morning at Citi Field, where the Mets play, according to his official calendar that was released Wednesday night.

Adams has been rolling back vaccine mandates and other coronavirus restrictions, including on Tuesday when he said masks could become optional for children under 5 starting April 4.

Mask mandates for older children have already been removed, as well as rules requiring people to show proof of vaccination to dine in a restaurant, work out at a gym or attend a show or go to an indoor sporting event.

Nuggets agree to multiyear contract extension with Malone

DENVER (AP) The Denver Nuggets have agreed to a multiyear contract extension with coach Michael Malone.

Terms of the extension announced Wednesday were not released by the team. Malone was under contract through the 2022-23 season.

Over seven years in Denver, Malone has won 309 regular season games, a total that ranks third in franchise history behind only Doug Moe and George Karl. His 20 postseason victories are fourth all-time in team history, and just four away from matching Moe.

Malone guided the Nuggets to the Western Conference final in 2020 before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers. In that playoff run, the team rallied back from being down 3-1 in two different series.

This season, Denver is closing in on its fourth straight postseason appearance despite the absence of point guard Jamal Murray (knee) and sharpshooter Michael Porter Jr. (back). The Nuggets have relied heavily on reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic along with a strong supporting cast that includes Aaron Gordon, Will Barton, Monte Morris and Jeff Green.

“This extension is well deserved for Coach Malone and one we are very excited to announce,” Nuggets governor E. Stanley Kroenke said in a statement. “You can easily point to the on-court success that Michael has brought and the improvements the team has made each year under his watch, and you can also point to the selfless, hard-working culture that has developed and grown during his tenure.

“We look forward to Coach Malone continuing on the sidelines as we all work toward our goal of bringing an NBA Championship to the city of Denver.”

Malone’s overall mark with the Nuggets is 309-237.

Before arriving in Denver, he was the head coach for parts of two seasons with Sacramento. He went 39-67 with the Kings.

Short-handed Warriors get past frustrated Heat, 118-104

MIAMI (AP) Jimmy Butler and Udonis Haslem were shouting at each other, fingers were pointed in various directions, some Miami players were trying to play peacemaker and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra slammed a clipboard to the floor in frustration.

And that wasn’t the evening’s low point for the Heat.

The short-handed Golden State Warriors made things even worse for Miami when the final buzzer sounded – and suddenly, Miami’s grip on the top spot in the Eastern Conference is tenuous at best.

Jordan Poole scored 30 points to continue his hot scoring run, plus had a career-best nine assists, and the Warriors scored the first 19 points of the second half on the way to beating the frustrated Heat 118-104 on Wednesday night.

“Our overall competitive fire and execution at both ends … was excellent,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

Damion Lee, Jonathan Kuminga and Andrew Wiggins each scored 22 points for the Warriors, who got 11 points from Gary Payton II and 16 rebounds from Kevon Looney.

The Warriors were already without Stephen Curry because of a sprained left foot and Andre Iguodala with low back tightness, plus gave Draymond Green, Otto Porter Jr. and Klay Thompson the night off for injury management.

Golden State made that decision based on medical rationale and a desire to minimize the chance of injury going into the playoffs – not because of a bad loss at Orlando on Tuesday.

They had more than enough.

The Heat, they just had problems.

Kyle Lowry scored 26 points, Bam Adebayo had 25, Butler finished with 20 and Duncan Robinson had 13. Miami shook off the huge Warriors run to start the second half – and a huge dust-up on its bench during a timeout – to lead briefly in the fourth, then let the game slip away and had its lead in the Eastern Conference race trimmed to 1-1/2 games over Milwaukee and Boston.

“You can use moments during the season to catapult you,” Spoelstra said. “You can galvanize together over frustration and disappointment. Teams can also go the other way. I don’t see that with our group. I don’t see that with our locker room. But we have needed a kick in the butt.”

Barrett, Knicks snap Hornets’ 5-game win streak, 121-106

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) RJ Barrett scored 30 points and the New York Knicks made 20 3-pointers to beat Charlotte 121-106 on Wednesday night, snapping the Hornets’ five-game winning streak.

Obi Toppin had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Alec Burks chipped in with 17 points for the Knicks, who have won three of five.

Playing without Julius Randle, who sat out with right quadriceps tendon soreness, the Knicks showed no signs of fatigue on the second night of a back-to-back, shooting 20 of 45 from beyond the arc against a Hornets team that was slow on closeouts.

“The important thing for us is to play winning basketball, play the right way, play hard and play unselfishly,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “You can deal with a missed shot if it’s the right shot. But we made a number of plays tonight where a guy passed up a good shot and we ended up getting a better shot – and that’s winning basketball.”

LaMelo Ball had 32 points and nine rebounds and Terry Rozier scored 18 points for the Hornets.

Tatum, Brown sizzle, Celtics roll to 125-97 win over Jazz

BOSTON (AP) It seemed unlikely the Celtics could play better than they did during a 4-0 West Coast road trip that included three wins by 20-plus points.

They found a way to do just that.

Jayson Tatum scored 11 of his 26 points during Boston’s nearly perfect first quarter to help the Celtics roll to a 125-97 victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.

Jaylen Brown also added 26 points and Marcus Smart finished with a career-high 13 assists as Boston (46-28) recorded its fifth straight victory to improve its chances for one of the Eastern Conference’s top four seeds.

It’s given a team that was in ninth place and just two games above .500 on Jan. 31 a completely different outlook heading into the final stretch of the regular season.

“That’s crazy, right? Brown said. “I feel like this was very prime for us, we just had to put full stretches together. I knew the energy was about to shift. So I’m happy that we’re here now.”

It’s taken the sting out of some early season losses, he said.

“As many games as we blew in the first half of the season – it would have been nice to have won some of those games because we would be in first right now,” Brown said. “But everything happens for a reason. We take it one game at a time and we’ll see where we’re at playoff time.”

Donovan Mitchell scored 37 points but Utah (45-28) lost consecutive games for the first time since the end of January, a span of 21 games. Rudy Gobert added 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Bane leads Grizzlies past Nets as Irving scores 43 points

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Desmond Bane scored 23 points, including nine straight as Memphis rebuilt its lead in the fourth quarter, and the Grizzlies beat Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets 132-120 on Wednesday night.

Irving scored 43 points and Kevin Durant had 35 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Still banned from playing home games because of a New York City vaccine mandate, Irving was on the court for the first time since scoring a career-high 60 points at Orlando eight days earlier.

But that arrangement for Irving, who is unvaccinated against COVID-19, is coming to an end. New York City Mayor Eric Adams is set to lift the mandate for athletes and performers.

Memphis was the short-handed home team this time with leading scorer Ja Morant sidelined because of right knee soreness. But the Grizzlies got enough offense anyway thanks to reserve De’Anthony Melton, who matched Bane’s 23 points, and Dillon Brooks, who finished with 21, part of seven Memphis players reaching double figures.

“Great example of just staying the course,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We’ve been saying that throughout the season.”

As for the Grizzlies’ 15-2 record without Morant, Jenkins said: “Togetherness. That’s probably the biggest thing.”

The Grizzlies have won six of seven and are second in the Western Conference. They have a two-game lead over the Golden State Warriors, who beat the Miami Heat 118-104 on Wednesday night.

Ayton has career-high 35 points, Suns rally past T-Wolves

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The NBA-leading Phoenix Suns, still playing short-handed, passed another stiff test.

Even before Chris Paul comes back, they appear more than ready for another deep postseason run.

Deandre Ayton scored a career-high 35 points and had 14 rebounds, Devin Booker had 22 of his 28 points in the second half and the Suns surged past the trash-talking Minnesota Timberwolves 125-116 on Wednesday night.

Landry Shamet scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to help fuel the rally from a 15-point deficit.

Phoenix needs one win – or a Memphis loss – to wrap up home-court advantage for the entire playoffs. The Suns have a nine-game lead with nine games left. They have won six straight, 18 of 22 and are 59-14 overall.

“That’s a playoff environment,” said Ayton, who clutched the game ball for his career game at a podium afterward for his interview session.

Phoenix completed its first sweep of three or more games against Minnesota in 11 seasons.

Anthony Edwards scored 19 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves. They dropped 1 1/2 games behind Denver for the No. 6 seed that avoids the play-in tournament. Minnesota has its first two-game losing streak since Feb. 9-11.

Maledon’s 25 points help Thunder top Magic, end 10-game skid

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Theo Maledon scored 17 of his season-high 25 points in the fourth quarter and the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Orlando Magic 118-102 on Wednesday night to snap a 10-game losing streak.

Maledon, a second-year guard from France, shot 6 of 8 from the field and 4 of 4 at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.

“I think it was just trying to be aggressive and making sure we keep the lead,” he said. “I was playing off my teammates and the situation that I was in. That helped me get an advantage, and I think I did a good job using those advantages.”

Tre Mann and Isaiah Roby each scored 21 for the Thunder in a matchup between two of the NBA’s worst teams. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City’s top scorer this season, sat out with a sore right ankle. He has averaged 30.4 points and 7.3 assists on 54% shooting since the All-Star break.

Maledon didn’t care that the Magic were near the bottom of the standings.

“A win is a win,” he said. “No matter what, every time we get on the court, we’re trying to win for sure. That was a good one, being able to control, take the lead in the second quarter and maintain the lead and manage it at the end of the game.”

Chuma Okeke scored 19 points and Cole Anthony added 17 for the Magic. Orlando was without Wendell Carter Jr., its leading rebounder and No. 3 scorer, because of left wrist and ankle sprains. Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley said that was no excuse.

Doncic-less Mavs pull away, beat last-place Rockets 110-91

DALLAS (AP) Jalen Brunson scored 28 points and Spencer Dinwiddie added 26 with Luka Doncic resting a sore right ankle, and the Dallas Mavericks overwhelmed the Houston Rockets in the second half for a 110-91 victory Wednesday night.

The victory pulled Dallas even with Utah at 45-28 for the fourth seed and home-court advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. The Jazz, who lost 125-97 at Boston, currently hold the tiebreaker over the Mavericks. They play Sunday in Dallas.

Rookie Alperen Sengun had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Christian Wood scored 12 points with 10 boards in the 11th consecutive road loss for the Rockets, who have the worst record in the NBA at 18-55.

Dinwiddie had 19 points by early in the second quarter after scoring his Dallas (and season) high of 36 the previous time Doncic rested, that time because of a sore foot. The 114-113 victory over Sacramento on March 5 was Dinwiddie’s sixth game and first start since coming from Washington in a trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Wizards.

The Mavericks swept the season series (4-0) from the Rockets for the first time since consecutive seasons in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Those were were the final two seasons in Dallas as a player for first-year coach Jason Kidd, who was celebrating his 49th birthday.

The Rockets led 53-52 at halftime before getting outscored 58-38 after the break.

Joel Embiid, Sixers hold off LeBron-less Lakers, 126-121

LOS ANGELES (AP) Joel Embiid had 30 points and 10 rebounds, James Harden added 24 points and the Philadelphia 76ers hung on for a 126-121 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers without LeBron James on Wednesday night.

Two nights after the Sixers surprisingly beat Eastern Conference-leading Miami despite playing without Embiid and Harden, both stars returned for a tougher-than-expected win over the up-and-down Lakers. Tyrese Maxey scored 21 points for Philadelphia, which has won five of seven overall.

“Guys played well,” Harden said. “Obviously, we wanted to play a lot better, especially defensively. But we’ll take the win, and we’ve just got to continue to get better in these last games before the playoffs.”

James sat out to rest his sore knees, scuttling the potential showdown between the NBA’s leading scorer and Embiid, who was a fraction of a point behind him.

Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers saw his team’s second-half play behind its stars as an encouraging sign for the process of building teamwork between Embiid and newcomer Harden before the playoffs.

“Big picture, it’s going great, because they want to do it,” Rivers said. “As far as doing it well, they’re up and down. If you’ve got two guys that want to get it right, they’ll get it right. It’s difficult because it’s being done with 22 games left.”

Dwight Howard scored a season-high 24 points and Malik Monk had 23 for Los Angeles in a spirited effort from the supporting cast, but the Lakers lost for the 11th time in 15 games to fall 11 games below .500 again (31-42).

Murray has 28 points, Spurs rout Trail Blazers 133-96

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Dejounte Murray had 28 points before sitting for the final quarter and the San Antonio Spurs routed the Portland Trail Blazers 133-96 on Wednesday night.

Keldon Johnson added 26 points for the Spurs, who are still in the mix for a play-in spot in the Western Conference with three wins in their last five games.

The Spurs are 11th in the West, 1 1/2 games behind New Orleans for the final play-in position. They finished with 19 3-pointers, matching their season high and just one shy of the franchise record.

“We didn’t want to let them linger around so we took that and ran with it.” said Devin Vassell, who finished with 16 points for San Antonio. “If you let a team like that start coming back and feeling good, it’s a dogfight.”

Ben McLemore had 23 points off the bench for the Trail Blazers. Portland has lost 10 of its last 13 games, but was coming off a victory Monday night at Detroit.

Former Spur Drew Eubanks finished with a career-high 20 points against his old team.

The Blazers are 1 1/2 games behind San Antonio and in the midst of a rebuild. Of the team’s starters at the beginning of the season, two are injured (Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic) and three – including Lillard’s longtime backcourt partner CJ McCollum – were traded away before the February deadline. Lillard’s replacement, Anfernee Simons, is also nursing an injury.

TOP INDIANA SPORTS NEWS/RELEASES

INDIANA PACERS BASKETBALL

(PACERS RELEASE)

Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield put on a show in their first game against the team that traded them to Indiana on Feb. 8.

But the Kings got the last laugh, as Damian Jones’ tip-in with 0.2 seconds remaining lifted Sacramento (26-48) to a 110-109 victory over Indiana (25-48) at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Hield and Haliburton combined for 38 points and 22 assists for the Blue & Gold, but a late mistake by Hield set up Jones’ game-winner and prevented Indiana from picking up a third straight win.

Indiana held a narrow 103-101 lead after two Haliburton free throws with 5:02 remaining in the game. Neither team scored again until 3:12, when Sacramento tied the game on Trey Lyles’ layup.

Hield answered with a bucket of his own on the other end before Davion Mitchell knocked down a go-ahead three for the Kings at 2:27. Once again, Hield had a response, getting to the bucket and scoring at 2:11 to put the hosts back in front.

Each team missed on their next possession. Haliburton then intercepted a Mitchell pass and eventually set up Terry Taylor, who drew a foul with 1:08 to play. The rookie knocked down both free throws to push the Pacers’ lead to three.

The two teams traded misses before Mitchell converted a baseline jumper with 18.7 seconds left to cut the deficit to one. After a timeout the Pacers put the ball in Hield’s hands, but the Kings didn’t foul right away. As Hield dribbled left across the court, he lost the ball out of bounds with 14 seconds to play.

“It’s basketball, man,” Hield said of the crucial turnover. “I was looking ahead and trying to beat my guy and just lost the ball…Maybe I should have (held) the ball, let them come trap me or foul me. But I was just trying to get the ball over halfcourt so I didn’t get (an eight-second violation).”

After a timeout, the Kings put the ball in Mitchell’s hands. Indiana doubled him as he drove baseline, but they swung the ball to Lyles, who had an open look from the right wing. Lyles missed, but Jones was there to clean up the miss with 0.2 seconds remaining.

Indiana could only managed a desperation lob with so little time left, and Jones intercepted it to seal the win for Sacramento.

Hield had a game-high 25 points, going 10-for-18 from the field and 5-for-8 from 3-point range, to go along with seven assists and four steals.

“I love Buddy Hield,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said after the loss. “Ever since he got here, he’s been enthusiastic, he’s been a willing learner. He’s doing a better job defensively all the time. Offensively, he can make plays. He’s not just a shooter, not just a scorer. He drives the ball well, he sees things. I’m sure he’s disappointed.”

Haliburton was just 4-for-14 from the field, but managed to tally 13 points, five rebounds, 15 assists, and three steals.

Goga Bitadze scored seven of Indiana’s first 11 points on Wednesday, but the Blue & Gold still found themselves in an early eight-point hole before Hield came to life. The former King scored eight straight Indiana points against his former team, drilling two threes and then scoring off a backdoor cut, a 10-2 Pacers run to tie the game at 26.

The Pacers actually took a brief 31-28 lead after Taylor banked in a three with 2:30 left in the first quarter. Sacramento responded with nine unanswered points before Lance Stephenson’s buzzer-beating trey ended Indiana’s drought and trimmed the deficit to 37-34 entering the second quarter.

The Kings opened the ensuing frame with another 8-0 surge thanks to a Chimezie Metu dunk, Justin Holiday three, and then a trey from Metu. The Pacers chipped away at Sacramento’s lead over the remainder of the quarter, getting the deficit down to 64-61 entering the final minute of the first half.

Harrison Barnes’ runner with 27.9 seconds left pushed the lead back to five and Duane Washington Jr. missed a three at the buzzer that would have made it a two-point game entering halftime.

The Pacers finally surged ahead in the third quarter, however, thanks to their duo of former Kings stars. Haliburton set up Hield for a 3-pointer to tie the game at 72 with 8:29 remaining in the third quarter. They connected again a minute later for a go-ahead three.

Indiana remained in front a few minutes later, when Hield pulled up in transition for his third trey of the quarter. The next trip down the floor, Haliburton fired a no-look dish to Taylor for a reverse layup. Then, after Hield came up with a steal, Haliburton raced down the lane and finished at the rim to extend the Pacers’ lead to 87-76.

Haliburton was fired up as the Kings took a timeout, letting out a primal scream before dapping up Oshae Brissett on his way back to the Pacers’ bench.

The Kings closed the frame with a 9-2 run, however, to make it an 89-85 game entering the fourth. Sacramento even took a brief lead in the final frame thanks to a Donte DiVincenzo three followed by a Jeremy Lamb layup in the first minute of the fourth.

The Pacers moved back in front after a pair of baskets, but back-to-back threes by Lamb allowed the Kings to retake the lead. There were three lead changes and a tie over the next two-plus minutes.

Bitadze finished with 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting and nine rebounds in the loss. Taylor tallied 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while Brissett registered 10 points and 10 boards.

Mitchell had a team-high 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting and seven assists for Sacramento. Metu added a career-high 22, going 8-for-11 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range.

The Pacers will travel to Memphis to face the Grizzlies on Thursday on the second night of a back-to-back. They then visit Toronto on Saturday before returning for a two-game homestand.

INDY FUEL HOCKEY

FUEL WIN WEDNESDAY NIGHT VS WHEELING

INDIANAPOLIS – In the first of four games this week, the Indy Fuel hosted Central Division rival Wheeling Nailers on Wednesday night. After heading into the first period tied, the Fuel would score three unanswered goals and eventually earn a 4-1 win.

Controlling the majority of the first period, the Nailers would be the first team to get on the board. Picking up a loose puck behind the net, Matt Alfaro circled the Fuel defensive zone before firing a shot over the shoulder of Mitch Gillam. Scoring his first ECHL goal, Tanner Butler tied the game when he pounced on a rebound and shoved the puck past Louis-Phillip Guindon.

Throughout the first half of the second period, the two teams would trade chances but nobody would be able to breakthrough. Scoring just past the midway point of the period, Chad Yetman fed Seamus Malone a centering pass and he one-timed the puck past Guindon to give the Fuel a 2-1 lead. Indy would hold on to their lead for the remainder of the period and take a one-goal lead into the second intermission.

Killing off a penalty early in the third, the Nailers would hold off a handful of chances from the Fuel. Scoring his 27th goal of the season Spencer Watson would give the Fuel a 3-1 after a tic-tac-toe passing sequence with Jan Mandat and Jacob LeGuerrier. Bryan Lemos would put home the empty-net goal with :43 seconds remaining and earn the Fuel a 4-1 win on Wednesday night.

Various ticket options are now on sale for the Fuel’s 8th season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum! Lock up your seat for every second of the action at Indiana Farmers Coliseum with a Fuel Ticket Plan – grab yours by heading to IndyFuelHockey.com or by calling the Fuel front office at 317-925-FUEL. Don’t forget to follow the Fuel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (IndyFuel) for news, updates, contests and much more throughout the 2021-22 season.

FIFE WON’T RETURN TO INDIANA

IU  coach Mike Woodson will not retain assistant coach Dane Fife.

“I am committed to doing what I believe is best for the continued growth of our men’s basketball program as we collectively work toward returning it to the upper echelon of college basketball,” Woodson said in a news release announcing the move. “Sometimes, that commitment can result in some very difficult decisions, and that is the case today. Ultimately, I believe that the fit must be right with a coaching staff, and I’ve decided that a change is necessary. I appreciate everything Dane has done as a member of the staff during the last year and as player for our program. He will always be a part of the Hoosier family and I wish him well in his future pursuits.”

Fife responded on his Twitter account: “I love IU with every part of my soul and grateful to those that gave me this opportunity,” Fife posted. “Most importantly, I’m honored to have worked with the players on our team. They dug deep, never gave in and will be forever remembered for their accomplishments. I became an Indiana Hoosiers 25 years ago, I’m a Hoosier today, and I’ll be a Hoosier tomorrow! Go IU!” 

HOOSIER BASKETBALL MAGAZINE TOP 60 WORKOUT PARTICIPANTS

Jameer Ajibade, Evansville Bosse

Reggie Bass, Tech

Tobey Billups, Connersville

Caedmon Bontrager, Leo

Richard Brooks, Mishawaka Marian

Javon Buchanan, Lafayette Jeff

Brock Buckley, Covenant Christian

Luke Carroll, Hamilton Heights

Wesley Celichowski, Floyd Central

Colin Comer, Greensburg

Tayshawn Comer, Cathedral

Ryan Conwell, Pike

Hayden Cutter, Scottsburg

Tae Davis, Warren Central

AJ Dixon, Merrillville

Jaxon Edwards, Cathedral

Connor Essegian, Central Noble

Travis Grayson, Chesterton

Will Grissom, Guerin Catholic

CJ Gunn, Lawrence North

Cam Haffner, Westfield

Mark Hankins, Terre Haute North

Eli Hoffman, South Dearborn

Chris Hood, East Noble

Aaron Humphrey, Tindley

Chandler Jackson, Warren Central

Jalen Jackson, Fort Wayne Northrop

Sam Jacobs, Hamilton Southeastern

Amhad Jarrard, Mt. Vernon

Armon Jarrard, Mt. Vernon

Karson Jenkins, Fort Wayne Snider

Hunter Johnson, South Decatur

Cade Jones, Eastern (Pekin)

Rasheed Jones, Tech

Randy Kelley, Sullivan

Sam King, Columbus North

Nick Klaiber, Bloomington North

Hagen Knepp, Barr-Reeve

Aidan Lambert, Fort Wayne Snider

Fletcher Loyer, Homestead

Hayden Maiben, Maconaquah

Neil Marshall, Delta

Elijah Mattingly, Central Christian

Chrishon McCray, Avon

Logan McIntire, North Harrison

Carson Miller, Bremen

Branden Northern, Silver Creek

Christian Nunn, Crispus Attucks

Landon O’Neal, Eastern Hancock

Aaron Pickel, North Putnam

Nate Powell, Tipton

Eric Price, Gary 21st Century

A.J. Roseman, Bishop Chatard

Brady Ruggles, Danville

Avery Saunders, Southmont

Jeffrey Simmons, Fishers

Billy Smith, Brebeuf Jesuit

E.J. Smith, Noblesville

Tommy Snyder, South Bend Adams

Peter Suder, Carmel

Jahni Summers, Evansville Harrison

Kyle Thomas, Cloverdale

Shon Tupuola, Brownsburg

Jordan Turner, Cardinal Ritter

Jackson Ullom, Monroe Central

Carter Waskom, Brownstown Central

Charlie Williams, Carmel

Ty Wills, Anderson

Bobby Wonnell, Taylor

*****PURDUE VS. ST. PETERS PREVIEW*****

PURDUE NOTES:

GAMEDAY INFORMATION – NCAA SWEET 16

[3] Purdue (29-7) vs. [15] Saint Peter’s (21-11)

Friday, March 25 | 7:09 p.m. ET | Philadelphia, Pa.

CBS (Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Jamie Erdahl)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The No. 3-seed Purdue Boilermakers aim for their second Elite Eight appearance in the last three NCAA tournaments when it faces No. 15-seed Saint Peter’s in a Sweet 16 contest in Philadelphia. The winner will face the winner of No. 4 seed UCLA and No. 8 seed North Carolina on Sunday for the right to go to New Orleans and the Final Four.

Purdue is 29-7 overall, owning 14 wins over teams in the field. Saint Peter’s is 21-11 and is coming off wins over Kentucky and Murray State.

The contest will be televised on CBS with Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel and Jamie Erdahl on the call. On the radio waves, Rob Blackman and Bobby Riddell will be courtside on the 22-station Purdue Radio Network. Tom McCarthy and Will Perdue will handle the Westwood One broadcast. Social updates will be provided on Purdue’s official Twitter account (@BoilerBall).

THE NOTES TO KNOW

1) Purdue is making its fourth Sweet 16 appearance in the last five tournaments, the third-most in the country (Gonzaga, Michigan – 5).

2) Purdue went 19 years between Elite 8 appearances (2000 to 2019). It is attempting to reach its second Elite 8 in the last three years.

3) Jaden Ivey has been named an All-American, giving Purdue four All-America honors in the last six years — the sixth most in the country.

4) Purdue owns a 14-7 record against the NCAA Tournament field, the most victories of any team in the field.

5) Iowa State (15-0), Purdue (13-0) and Minnesota (9-0) are the only undefeated teams nationally against non-conference opposition.

6) Purdue is one of five teams nationally whose only losses this year were to NCAA Tournament teams (Gonzaga, Kentucky, Tennessee, Villanova).

7) Purdue and Kansas are the only schools in America to have a top-five seed in each of the last six NCAA Tournaments.

8) Purdue spent the entire season ranked inside the AP top 10, for just the second time in school history (1986-87 season).

9) Purdue has won 11 more games this season than last year, the third-best improvement in school history and the best since 2006 to 2007 (+13).

10) Purdue needs one more win for 30, which would tie the school record for victories (2017-18 season).

11) Purdue is 26-0 in games it scores 70 or more points. In games held under 70 points, Purdue is 3-7.

12) Matt Painter needs one win to tie Thad Matta for fifth on the NCAA Tournament victories list by a Big Ten head coach. 

13) Jaden Ivey, Trevion Williams and Zach Edey are averaging a combined 43.4 points per game, accounting for 54.4 percent of Purdue’s points. The trio has each scored in double-figures in 16 of the 36 games.

SERIES HISTORY

• Purdue leads the all-time series with Saint Peter’s by a 1-0 advantage, defeating the Peacocks in the 2011 NCAA Tournament first round, 65-43. JaJuan Johnson had 16 points and 16 rebounds and E’Twaun Moore led Purdue with 19 points in the win.

• Purdue is 2-0 all-time in the NCAA Tournament against teams from the MAAC (Saint Peter’s game; March 19, 2010 vs. Siena).

• Purdue is 13-0 all-time against the current members of the MAAC, including 8-0 under head coach Matt Painter.

CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE SCHOOLS

• We have found no connections between the two schools, so let’s focus on Philadelphia.

• Head coach Matt Painter’s favorite player growing up was former 76ers great Julius “Dr. J” Erving. He has an autographed ball and poster from Erving in his basement.

• Ethan Morton returns “somewhat close” to home, or at least his home state. Morton played high school ball in Butler, Pennsylvania, which is just outside Pittsburgh. It will be a 326-mile drive to Philly for the Morton family.

• Purdue has never played an NCAA Tournament game in the state of Pennsylvania.

INDIANA SWIMMING

Hoosiers Post All-America Finishes in Opening Night Relays

ATLANTA – No. 4-ranked Indiana placed a pair of All-America relays in the opening night of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship on Wednesday (March 23) inside McCauley Aquatic Center.

Indiana closed its night with a ninth-place finish in the 800 Freestyle Relay, winning the third of four heats and out-touching Virginia Tech by one one-hundredth of a second with a 6:11.84.

Freshman Rafael Miroslaw, sophomore Tomer Frankel, junior Brendan Burns and senior Van Mathias beat their No. 10 seed, swimming slightly better than their Big Ten Champion time of 6:11.96 coming in. Indiana extended its 800 free relay All-America streak to nine straight seasons, earning honorable mention honors.

IU’s 200 Medley Relay placed 15th with a 1:23.31 to grab an All-America placement for the fifth consecutive season.

“The evening started rough with our 200 Medley Relay,” IU head swimming coach Ray Looze said. “We definitely had higher hopes there, but I was really happy to move up from 10th to ninth in that 800 free relay. We went a little faster, which is difficult to do.

“I thought we had a little bit of deer-in-the-headlights feel tonight, and we’re going to address that tonight in the team meeting because it’s a tough meet, but we’re a really good team. I have the utmost confidence in these guys, and they need to be a little looser. It’s not a dissimilar from how we started the Big Ten Championships.”

Through just two events, IU sits in a three-way tie for 11th with 22 points.

“I think we’re well prepared. Tomorrow is probably our weakest day point-wise, so we just have to hang tough. A big part of our meet starts Friday and then, of course, Saturday. [We have] A lot of meet left.”

RESULTS

200 MEDLEY RELAY

15. Gabriel Fantoni, Josh Matheny, Tomer Frankel, Bruno Blaskovic – 1:23.31 (All-America Honorable Mention)

800 FREESTYLE RELAY

9. Rafael Miroslaw, Tomer Frankel, Brendan Burns, Van Mathias – 6:11.84 (All-America Honorable Mention)

HOOSIER ALL-AMERICANS

Bruno Blaskovic (200 Medley Relay*)

Brendan Burns (800 Freestyle Relay*)

Gabriel Fantoni (200 Medley Relay*)

Tomer Frankel (200 Medley Relay*, 800 Freestyle Relay*)

Josh Matheny (200 Medley Relay*)

Van Mathias (800 Freestyle Relay*)

Rafael Miroslaw (800 Freestyle Relay*)

* – Denotes All-America Honorable Mention

UP NEXT

The 2022 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships resume Thursday (March 24) for day two, the first full day of action and the first day of diving. Athletes will compete in the 500 Freestyle, 200 IM, 50 Freestyle, 1-meter dive and 200 Freestyle Relay, with preliminaries beginning at 10 a.m. ET. Finals are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET.

VALPO BASEBALL

St. Bonaventure (0-12, 0-0 Atlantic 10)

at Valparaiso (7-9, 0-0 MVC)

Emory G. Bauer Field (500) | Valparaiso, Ind.

Friday, March 25, Noon (Game 1) – Trent Turzenski (R)

Friday, March 25, To Follow (Game 2) – Colin Fields (R)

Saturday, March 26, 1 p.m. – Jake Miller (L)

Next Up in Valpo Baseball: The Valparaiso University baseball team will host a home series for the first time this season as St. Bonaventure comes to town for three games this weekend. The Beacons and Bonnies will lock horns in a doubleheader on Friday before concluding the set with a single game on Saturday. Note that the schedule for the weekend was altered due to forecasted cold temperatures for Saturday and Sunday. Since Wednesday’s scheduled game vs. Milwaukee was postponed, Friday’s doubleheader will mark the home opener and the first-ever web streamed games from Emory G. Bauer Field as the program has added streaming capabilities this season.

Last Time Out: Murray State’s unblemished 12-0 home record and the program’s longest home winning streak since 1958 came to an end at the hands of Valpo as the Beacons prevailed 7-2 in Game 1 of a doubleheader this past Saturday afternoon. Murray State won Friday’s series opener 8-2 and Saturday’s nightcap 5-1, but Valpo earned a 6-1 win in Sunday’s series finale to garner a road split against the team picked to finish second in the Ohio Valley Conference. The series served as a preview of future Missouri Valley Conference showdowns as the Racers will join the MVC next season. Valpo was slated to play a midweek game on Wednesday vs. Milwaukee, but the contest was postponed due to inclement weather and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on April 5 at Milwaukee.

Following the Beacons: This weekend’s games will air on ESPN3 with links to live video and stats available on ValpoAthletics.com. This marks the first season that Valpo baseball features video streaming capabilities for home games. Brian Jennings will have play-by-play for Friday’s doubleheader, while Todd Ickow will describe the action on Saturday. Thomas Kithier will serve as the color analyst for all three games in the series. 

Head Coach Brian Schmack: Brian Schmack (159-244), the 17th head baseball coach in Valparaiso University history, is in his ninth season in charge of the program. This year, he moves into sole possession of third in program history for number of seasons coached with nine, surpassing Donald Warnke (1946-1953). Entering the season, Schmack’s win total ranks fourth in program history after he surpassed Rick Ferchen (1982-1987, 147) during the 2021 campaign. Also in 2021, Schmack joined Paul Twenge (1988-2006), Emory G. Bauer (1954-1981) and Tracy Woodson (2007-2013) as the only head coaches to reach the 150-win threshold. The former big-league pitcher led Valpo to 25 wins in his inaugural campaign in 2014, a school record for victories by a first-year skipper. Schmack, a member of the 2003 Detroit Tigers, served as pitching coach/associate head coach at Valpo for seven seasons prior to his promotion.

Talking Schmack: Head coach Brian Schmack moved into third in program history in career games coached on March 13 at SEMO. Schmack’s predecessor, Tracy Woodson, was at the helm for 397 contests. During the March 18 game at Murray State, Schmack became the third head coach in program history to work 400 games, joining Paul Twenge (1988-2006, 1011) and Emory G. Bauer (1954-1981, 606).

Series Notes: Valpo and St. Bonaventure have faced off on the diamond just once prior to this weekend. That meeting was a 5-4 Valpo victory on March 2, 2013 in Port Charlotte, Fla. That matchup occurred during Tracy Woodson’s final seasons leading the program, a year that culminated with an NCAA Regional appearance.

Top 60 RPI: Valpo is rated among the top 60 nationally, according to Rating Percentage Index (RPI). The Beacons are 58th in the RPI through March 22 games, one of three Missouri Valley Conference teams in the top 60. DBU is No. 1 in the RPI and Illinois State is 36th. This marks a significant bump from last season, when Valpo finished the year at 210.

Leading the League: As of March 23, the Valpo pitching staff leads the Missouri Valley Conference and ranks 53rd nationally in strikeouts per nine innings at 10.2. Furthermore, the Beacons lead the league and rank 32nd in the nation with seven triples. Bobby Nowak is the MVC leader with four saves, a number that ranks 21st in the nation, while Colin Fields’ 42 strikeouts have him first in the league and 31st nationally. In terms of strikeouts per nine innings, Fields ranks fourth in the nation and leads the MVC at 15.97.

In the Other Dugout: St. Bonaventure

Coming off a series where they were swept in four games at Lehigh this past weekend.

Under the direction of interim head coach B.J. Salerno, who took over in October for the retiring Larry Sudbrook, who spent the previous 36 seasons as the program’s head coach.

Led by Jagger Nucci, who is hitting .316 in 10 games. Jackson DeJohn is hitting .308 in nine contests. Brendyn Stillman and Pierce Hendershot have driven in a team-high eight runs apiece.

Rushil Bhat has appeared in six games and owns a 4.32 earned run average over 8 1/3 innings.

Picked to finish 12th in the 12-team Atlantic 10 Conference after finishing at 7-24 overall and 6-14 in league play a year ago.

NOTRE DAME SWIMMING

ATLANTA, Ga. — The University of Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team got off to a fast start on the first night of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the McAuley Aquatic Center Wednesday night.

The 200 medley relay team of Kaden Smesko, Josh Bottelberghe, Cason Wilburn and Chris Guiliano broke the school record with a time of 1:23.76 as they finished 18th overall in the event. The group bested the school record that they set over a month ago in the same pool at the 2022 ACC Championships (1:23.81).

The Irish will be back in the pool tomorrow morning as Guiliano is set to compete in the 50 freestyle prelims. Later in the day, the 200 freestyle relay will compete in the evening session of events.

INDIANAPOLIS MEN’S LACROSSE

INDIANAPOLIS – The No. 8 UIndy men’s lacrosse team bounced back on Wednesday to post their first Great Lakes Valley Conference victory of the season, taking down Lewis 10-6 at Key Stadium.  The win moves the Hounds to 8-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play.  UIndy also improves to 3-0 all-time against Lewis and picks up their 25th straight win at home.

STOCKS HITS 100

With the win, head coach Greg Stocks hit 100 career wins.  He has the most wins among active head coaches in the GLVC and remains the most winning coach in UIndy men’s lacrosse history.

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Hounds scored a pair of goals in the opening four minutes to jump out to a 2-0 lead with Sam Arfsten and Drew Billig finding the net.  The lead was short lived as the Flyers scored three straight to take a 3-2 lead after the first.

UIndy’s defense stepped up in the second quarter, holding Lewis to zero goals and just six shots.  Brian Robb and Wyatt Auyer both lit the lamp to give the Hounds a 4-3 lead entering the break.

A quick start put UIndy ahead by three in the second half as Parker Johnson scored on the first possession.  Just over a minute later Ben Foster netted his first of the game with Auyer picking up an assist.  Both teams scored a trio of goals in the third period, giving UIndy a 7-6 lead entering the final frame.

The defense shined again in the final quarter, holding the Flyers scoreless on seven shots.  Foster scored a man-up goal to give the Hounds a two-goal lead before Billig and Easton Ong each added insurance goals in the closing minutes.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– Billig paced the Hounds with six points off of two goals and four assists.  He also added six ground balls and two caused turnovers.

– Auyer finished with three points off of two goals and one assist while Johnson and Foster each recorded two points.

– Austin Barnett picked up his eighth win of the season in net, making 12 saves in the full 60 minutes.

UP NEXT

The Hounds have this upcoming weekend off before hitting the road to Grand Rapids, Michigan to take on Davenport on Saturday, April 2.

MARIAN WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Atlanta, Ga. – On Monday March 21, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced the 2022 WBCA All-American Teams, with Marian’s Imani Guy earning the honor for the second consecutive season.

Stephanie Soares of The Master’s University was named teh WBCA Player of the Year, an honor claimed by Guy last season. The WBCA presents the Player of the Year award annually to the top player in five of the six WBCA membership divisions (NCAA Divisions II, and III, NAIA, two-year college and high school). The Player of the Year and the 10-member Coaches’ All-America team in each division are selected by a committee of WBCA member coaches in that division.

Imani Guy was instrumental in the Knights’ success in 2022, as the senior repeated as the Crossroads League Player of the Year, earning the honor for the second consecutive season. Guy was an All-Crossroads League First Team honoree, and led the Knights in points per game averaging 16.0 an outing. Guy totaled 529 points starting 33 games, shooting 57.1 percent from the field and 80.1 percent from the foul line. Guy averaged 8.5 rebounds per game and blocked 58 shots on the year, ranking in the top-100 in the NAIA in scoring, shooting, rebounding, and blocked shots.

For her career Guy finished No. 7 all-time in program history in scoring with 1288 career points, No. 3 in points per game averaging 15.2 a contest over 85 career games, and the third-highest field goal percentage at 56.7 per game. Guy is fourth all-time at Marian in total rebounds with 698, and has the second best per game rebounding average at 8..2 a game. The senior ended her career as Marian’s second best shot-blocker in program history, closing her three-year run at Marian with 161 rejections.

Marian finished 30-5 in 2021-22, winning the Crossroads League Regular Season Championship while making a run to the NAIA Quarterfinals.

WABASH BASEBALL

Kamden Earley drove in six runs to lead the Wabash College baseball team to a 14-10 victory Wednesday evening over Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.

Wabash improves to 10-2 with the win. The Little Giants have scored 10 or more runs in six of their 10 wins this season and average 9.6 runs a contest.

Earley finished the evening with five hits in six at-bats with a pair of doubles. The sophomore outfielder is hitting .411 for the season and leads the Wabash team with 23 RBI. His six-RBI effort tied for the fifth-most RBI in a game by a Little Giant player.

Wabash scored five runs in the second innings. Austin Simmers opened the scoring by drawing a bases-loaded walk before Earley drove home two runs with a single to center. AJ Reid added another run to the scoreboard with a single through the left side to make it a 4-0 ballgame. Liam Patton followed with an RBI double to left to push the lead to 5-0.

Earley added a two-run single in the third to answer a two-run effort by Earlham (10-3) in the bottom of the second. Earlham scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to cut the Little Giants’ lead to 7-6.

Wabash pushed six more runs across the plate in the fifth inning starting with a two-run double by Earley. Reid drove Earley home with another double to make the score 10-6. Patton made it 11-6 with a sacrifice fly. Felix Valero brought home a run on a ground ball to second to push the Wabash lead to 13-6.

Earlham scored a run in the sixth, two more in the seventh, and added a final run in the eighth to trim the advantage to 13-10. Valero added a final RBI with a ground out to short in the ninth inning to provide the four-run margin of victory.

Wabash finished the game with 14 total hits led by the five-hit performance by Earley. Reid and Camden Scheidt each collected two hits. Simmers, Patton, Noah Luebbehusen, Evan Neukam, and Valero added one hit apiece.

Tavic Simmons earned his first victory in relief for the Little Giants. Simmons pitched four innings of six-hit baseball. He allowed three runs and gave up two walks with three strikeouts. Grant Stratton started for the Little Giants and pitched three innings. He gave up five earned runs on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Sam Phillips worked the final two innings for Wabash. He held Earlham to one unearned run on no hits. Phillips walked three batters and struck out three.

Wabash plays Illinois Wesleyan University in a three-game weekend series beginning with a doubleheader in Bloomington, Illinois, on Saturday. The series concludes with a single nine-inning game at Goodrich Ballpark on Sunday afternoon.

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1933       Babe Ruth, who made $75,000 last season, takes a $23,000 pay cut, a decrease which is indicative of the depression era. The 38 year-old Yankee slugger remains productive, batting .301, hitting 34 home runs, and driving in 103 runs for the second-place club that finishes seven games behind the Senators.

1936       Paul Dean agrees to a $10,000 deal to pitch for the Cardinals after posting a 19-11 record in his sophomore year. After compiling 38 victories in his first two seasons, Dizzy’s 23-year-old right-handed brother will have his career shortened by arm troubles, retiring after a nine-year tenure in the major leagues with a 50-34 mark.

1946       In Birmingham, Alabama, police pull 27-year-old southpaw Edward Klep from the Cleveland Buckeyes lineup, a visiting Negro American League team. The authorities order the first white player in organized black baseball to change into his civilian clothes and sit in the “whites only” section of Rickwood Field away from his teammates.

1947       During a four-hour hearing with Commissioner Chandler at the Sarasota Terrace Hotel, Dodger manager Leo Durocher admits to playing occasional card games for money with Kirby Higbe. Before Opening Day, Chandler will suspend the Brooklyn skipper for the entire 1947 season for “association with known gamblers.”

1952       During spring training at St. Petersburg, Cardinals pitcher Bob Slaybaugh is hit in the face with a line drive during batting practice that will subsequently result in the loss of his left eye. The 21-year-old southpaw will attempt a comeback in 1953 and again in 1954 before retiring from professional baseball.

1959       A photo of Pete Whisenant taken before an exhibition game played against the Dodgers in Havana, Cuba, shows the Reds outfielder toting a machine gun. The weapon shown in the posed picture belongs to a rebel from Fidel Castro’s revolutionary army.

1961       The NY State Senate approves $55 million in funding to build a new stadium in Flushing Meadows Park for the new National League’s expansion team. Until the Queens’ ballpark is completed, which will become known as Shea Stadium, the Mets will play in the Polo Grounds during the first two years of their existence.

1982       When Fernando Valenzuela ends his three-week holdout, the Dodgers automatically renew the southpaw’s contract for a reported $350,000. The National League Cy Young Award and Rookie of the Year Award recipient, after earning just $42,500 in his freshman season, still refuses to sign the deal that makes him the highest-paid second-year player in baseball history, having asked for a raise to $850,000.

1984       The Tigers trade utility player John Wockenfuss and outfielder Glenn Wilson to the Phillies for first baseman Dave Bergman and relief pitcher Willie Hernandez, who will win the American League’s MVP and Cy Young awards. The 29-year-old closer from Aguada (PR) posts a 9-3 record and a 1.92 ERA en route to saving 32 games in 33 opportunities for the World Champs.

2001       During an exhibition game against the Giants, Diamondback hurler Randy Johnson’s fastball hits and instantly kills a dove flying in front of home plate. The bird appears to explode as the National League Cy Young winner’s pitch sends it over catcher Rod Barajas’ head.

2006       At Mickey Mantle’s Manhattan restaurant, the U.S. Postal Service unveils the Baseball Sluggers postage stamps, to be issued before the game against the White Sox at Yankee Stadium on July 15. The four featured Hall of Famers all have roots in New York, with Mickey Mantle (Yankees), Mel Ott (Giants), and Roy Campanella (Dodgers) playing their entire careers in the Big Apple, and the fourth, Hank Greenberg, setting schoolboy records at James Monroe High School in the Bronx.

2008       The Twins agree to a new deal with their All-Star closer, signing Joe Nathan (1.88, 37 saves) to a $47 million, four-year contract, including a 2012 club option. The 33 year-old right-hander’s 160 saves over the past four seasons is tied with Mariano Rivera of the Yankees for most in the American League.

2008       On the South Lawn of the White House, the Washington Nationals Presidential character mascots take part in the traditional White House Easter Egg Roll. Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington all appeared very comfortable in their surroundings.

TV THURSDAY

COLLEGE BASKETBALL – MENTIME ETTV
NCAA SWEET 16: (1) GONZAGA VS (4) ARKANSAS7:09PMCBS
NCAA SWEET 16: (2) VILLANOVA VS (11) MICHIGAN7:29PMTBS
NCAA SWEET 16: (2) DUKE VS (3) TEXAS TECH9:39PMCBS
NCAA SWEET 16: (1) ARIZONA VS (5) HOUSTON9:59PMTBS
COLLEGE BASEBALLTIME ETTV
VANDERBILT AT SOUTH CAROLINA8:00PMESPN2
GOLFTIME ETTV
PGA: CORALES PUNTACANA RESORT CHAMPIONSHIP10:30AMGOLF
PGA: WGC DELL TECHNOLOGIES, MATCH PLAY2:00PMGOLF
LPGA: JTBC CLASSIC9:00PMGOLF
MLB SPRING TRAININGTIME ETTV
ATLANTA AT TORONTO1:00PMMLBN
CHICAGO CUBS AT LA ANGELS4:00PMMLBN
NBATIME ETTV
CLEVELAND AT TORONTO7:30PMSPORTSNET
BALLY SPORTS
INDIANA AT MEMPHIS8:00PMBALLY SPORTS
CHICAGO AT NEW ORLEANS8:00PMNBCS-CHI
BALLY SPORTS
WASHINGTON AT MILWAUKEE8:00PMBALLY SPORTS
NBCS-WSH
PHOENIX AT DENVER9:00PMNBATV
ALT
BALLY SPORTS
NHLTIME ETTV
DALLAS AT CAROLINA7:00PMESPN
FLORIDA AT MONTREAL7:00PMBALLY SPORTS
SPORTSNET
TAMPA BAY AT BOSTON7:00PMBALLY SPORTS
NESN
DETROIT AT NY ISLANDERS7:30PMBALLY SPORTS
MSG+
OTTAWA AT WINNIPEG8:00PMSPORTSNET
PHILADELPHIA AT ST. LOUIS8:00PMESPN+
HULU
VANCOUVER AT MINNESOTA8:00PMBALLY SPORTS
SPORTSNET
SAN JOSE AT EDMONTON9:00PMNBCS-CA
SPORTSNET
NASHVILLE AT VEGAS10:00PMATTSN-RM
BALLY SPORTS
CHICAGO AT LOS ANGELES10:00PMESPN+
HULU

NBA STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
 WLPCTCONF GBHOMEROADDIVCONFLAST 10STREAK
1 XY-MIAMI4726.64426-1021-1611-230-146-42 L
PHILADELPHIA4527.6251.521-1624-116-927-176-42 W
MILWAUKEE4527.6251.525-1220-1510-327-188-21 W
BOSTON4628.6221.525-1221-169-630-169-15 W
CHICAGO4230.5834.526-1016-209-527-183-71 L
CLEVELAND4131.5695.523-1318-189-524-195-51 L
TORONTO4032.5566.517-1623-168-524-206-41 L
BROOKLYN3835.5219.016-1922-169-626-186-41 L
CHARLOTTE3736.50710.019-1818-186-722-237-31 L
10 ATLANTA3637.49311.023-1413-238-622-245-51 L
11 NEW YORK3142.42516.015-2116-214-1016-276-41 W
12 WASHINGTON3041.42316.018-1812-236-722-222-81 L
13 INDIANA2548.34222.016-219-272-1311-344-61 L
14 DETROIT2053.27427.012-248-295-916-294-61 W
15 ORLANDO2054.27027.510-2610-282-1110-354-61 L
 
WESTERN CONFERENCE
 WLPCTCONF GBHOMEROADDIVCONFLAST 10STREAK
1 XY-PHOENIX5914.80830-829-68-435-98-26 W
MEMPHIS5023.6859.025-1025-139-532-147-32 W
GOLDEN STATE4825.65811.029-919-1610-328-175-51 W
UTAH4528.61614.026-1119-1713-129-155-52 L
DALLAS4528.61614.025-1220-1613-232-157-32 W
DENVER4330.58916.021-1422-165-926-196-41 W
MINNESOTA4232.56817.524-1318-1911-428-207-32 L
LA CLIPPERS3638.48623.520-1516-237-721-263-74 L
LA LAKERS3142.42528.020-1811-243-1116-273-71 L
10 NEW ORLEANS3042.41728.516-2014-226-820-234-61 L
11 SAN ANTONIO2944.39730.014-2315-214-819-245-52 W
12 PORTLAND2745.37531.517-1910-261-1211-312-81 L
13 SACRAMENTO2648.35133.516-2310-255-817-293-71 W
14 OKLAHOMA CITY2152.28838.010-2711-254-814-311-91 W
15 HOUSTON1855.24741.011-257-303-129-373-71 L
 

EIGHT TEAMS IN EACH CONFERENCE QUALIFY FOR THE PLAYOFFS. 

X – CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT,  Y – CLINCHED DIVISION,  Z – CLINCHED CONFERENCE

NHL STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
 GPWLOTLPTSROWGFGAHOMEROADL10
FLORIDA PANTHERS6242146904025418026-6-016-8-67-2-1
CAROLINA HURRICANES6342156904120615024-5-318-10-35-4-1
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS65391610883621317218-9-521-7-56-2-2
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS6340185853823219123-7-217-11-35-4-1
NEW YORK RANGERS6440195853619316720-6-320-13-26-4-0
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING6239176843720717719-6-420-11-24-6-0
BOSTON BRUINS6339195833719116918-10-221-9-37-2-1
WASHINGTON CAPITALS65352010803121618515-13-520-7-57-2-1
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS6432293672821123918-13-314-16-04-4-2
10 NEW YORK ISLANDERS6127259632616516616-12-411-13-57-2-1
11 DETROIT RED WINGS6326307592318423517-12-49-18-33-6-1
12 BUFFALO SABRES6423338542017122312-16-411-17-47-3-0
13 PHILADELPHIA FLYERS63203211512015922013-15-67-17-54-5-1
14 NEW JERSEY DEVILS6423365512119723315-14-38-22-24-6-0
15 OTTAWA SENATORS6322365492116220712-19-210-17-33-7-0
16 MONTREAL CANADIENS6317361044151602389-18-48-18-64-3-3
 
WESTERN CONFERENCE
 GPWLOTLPTSROWGFGAHOMEROADL10
COLORADO AVALANCHE6445145954224517825-4-320-10-25-4-1
CALGARY FLAMES6338178843621815319-6-619-11-26-3-1
ST. LOUIS BLUES6235189793322217520-7-415-11-53-4-3
MINNESOTA WILD6137204783222819620-7-117-13-36-3-1
LOS ANGELES KINGS6535228783218818217-13-318-9-56-3-1
EDMONTON OILERS6435245753221720419-12-016-12-55-3-2
NASHVILLE PREDATORS6437234783521118419-11-018-12-47-3-0
DALLAS STARS6235243733218418521-8-114-16-26-4-0
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS6634284723020520118-13-316-15-13-7-0
10 WINNIPEG JETS64302410702920119817-12-213-12-86-3-1
11 VANCOUVER CANUCKS6531268702818618714-13-517-13-35-3-2
12 ANAHEIM DUCKS66272811652318821416-14-411-14-71-7-2
13 SAN JOSE SHARKS6328278642616719815-14-413-13-44-4-2
14 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS6423329552017122111-16-512-16-44-5-1
15 SEATTLE KRAKEN6420386461816822811-18-39-20-34-5-1
16 ARIZONA COYOTES632039444191642289-22-111-17-36-4-0
 

EIGHT TEAMS IN EACH CONFERENCE QUALIFY FOR THE DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF FORMAT.  THE TOP THREE TEAMS FROM EACH DIVISION MAKE UP THE FIRST SIX SPOTS.   THE TWO REMAINING TEAMS WITH THE HIGHEST POINTS, REGARDLESS OF DIVISION, QUALIFY FOR THE FINAL TWO WILD CARD SPOTS.  X – CLINCHED PLAYOFF SPOT, Y – CLINCHED DIVISION, Z – CLINCHED CONFERENCE