Men's College Basketball
NCAAB News Wire
  • Tuesday, March 31, 2015
    College basketball notebook: Mullin returns to St. John's
    By The Sports Xchange

    Chris Mullin's basketball career came full circle on Tuesday with an official announcement that he is the new head coach at St. John's.

    • The school confirmed earlier reports on Tuesday that the former Red Storm player is replacing Steve Lavin, who agreed to step aside last week after leading the Red Storm to the NCAA Tournament twice in five seasons.

      Mullin played on St. John's 1985 Final Four team and is the program's career scoring leader with 2,440 points from 1985 to 1985. He went on to become a five-time NBA All-Star and a two-time Olympic gold medalist

      Mullin worked for the Sacramento Kings the past two seasons as a senior adviser and before that was a executive vice president for basketball operations with the Golden State Warriors for five years. St. John's will be the 51-year-old Mullin's first head coaching job.

      ---Tennessee named Rick Barnes head coach on Tuesday, days after Barnes was ousted at Texas and the Volunteers fired Donnie Tyndall amid off-court controversy.

      Texas informed the 60-year-old Barnes on Saturday that his tenure was over -- a day after Tennessee created its opening -- and he held a farewell news conference Sunday. Barnes, the winningest coach in program history (402-180), reached the NCAA Tournament in 16 of his 17 seasons at Texas. He took Texas to the Final Four in 2003 and made two other Elite Eight appearances. But Barnes escaped the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament just five times, and his last Sweet 16 came in 2008.

      Barnes is one of 13 active coaches with at least 600 career wins. Barnes is 604-314 in 28 seasons overall with stops at George Mason, Providence and Clemson.

      Tennessee fired Tyndall last Friday after only one season because Tyndall is being investigated by the NCAA for alleged violations at Southern Mississippi. Tennessee went 16-16 this season, including a 7-11 record in the Southeastern Conference.

      ---There's a chance that Travis Ford could be on the way out at Oklahoma State's coach.

      The Daily Oklahoman reported Tuesday that school officials are considering the possibility of ousting Ford. But the cost would be hefty. Ford has a $9.6 million buyout in his contract.

      The Cowboys struggled at the end of this past season, losing seven of their last eight games and being eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in their opening game for the third year in a row. Oklahoma State finished 18-14 overall and 8-10 in the Big 12.

      ---LSU forward Jordan Mickey announced Tuesday his intentions to declare for the NBA Draft in June.

      The 6-foot-7 Mickey joined teammate Jarell Martin in giving up his eligibility early for a shot at playing professionally. Mickey averaged 15.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game as a sophomore this past season, but many NBA draft analysts have him going in the second round this year or possibly undrafted.

      ---Georgetown guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera is bypassing is senior season to enter the NBA Draft, the school announced Tuesday.

      Smith-Rivera plans to sign with an agent, according to a release from the university.

      Last season as a junior, Smith-Rivera led the Hoyas in scoring (16.3 points per game) and assists (3.2). He was selected to All-Big East first team.

  • Tuesday, March 31, 2015
    Mullin returns to St. John's as coach
    By The Sports Xchange

    Chris Mullin's basketball career came full circle on Tuesday with an official announcement that he is the new head coach at St. John's.

    • The school confirmed earlier reports on Tuesday that the former Red Storm player is replacing Steve Lavin.

      Mullin played on St. John's 1985 Final Four team and is the program's career scoring leader with 2,440 points from 1985 to 1985.

      "This is a role I have been preparing for all of my life," Mullin said in a statement. "There are so many people who have had a great influence on me to reach this point, especially my parents, Coach (Lou) Carnesecca and my former teammates."

      Lavin agreed to step aside last week after leading the Red Storm to the NCAA Tournament twice in five seasons.

      "As we embark on this next chapter of our storied history, it is with great pride and excitement one of our most revered student-athletes returns to take the reins of a program he once vaulted into the national spotlight," St. John's athletic director Chris Monasch said.

      Mullin worked for the Sacramento Kings the past two seasons as a senior adviser and before that was a executive vice president for basketball operations with the Golden State Warriors for five years.

      St. John's will be the 51-year-old Mullin's first head coaching job.

      To help on the bench, Mullin hired Iowa State assistant Matt Abdelmassih to join his new staff.

      Drafted seventh overall by the Warriors, Mullin was a five-time NBA All-Star and also won two Olympic gold medals on his way to the Hall of Fame.

  • Tuesday, March 31, 2015
    Georgetown's Smith-Rivera opts for NBA draft
    By The Sports Xchange

    Georgetown guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera is bypassing is senior season to enter the NBA Draft, the school announced Tuesday.

    • Smith-Rivera plans to sign with an agent, according to a release from the university.

      Last season as a junior, Smith-Rivera led the Hoyas in scoring (16.3 points per game) and assists (3.2). He was selected to All-Big East first team.

      Smith-Rigera finished with 1,386 points, which ranks 18th in school history.

      Georgetown completed the 2014-15 season with a 22-11 record after a loss to Utah in the NCAA Tournament.

  • Tuesday, March 31, 2015
    Izzo keeps chasing Coach K
    By The Sports Xchange

    Mike Krzyzewski, known mostly for winning at Duke, is going to his 12th Final Four. That's just one short of the number of Sweet 16 appearances for Tom Izzo at Michigan State.

    • Izzo, who led his No. 7 seed to the East Region title and prepares to meet Duke (33-4) at Lucas Oil Stadium in the first national semifinal Saturday night (6:09 p.m. ET, TBS) before Wisconsin (35-3) takes on undefeated Kentucky (38-0), said he'll always be tracking Coach K's path.

      "As far as Mike, I mean, it's almost unprecedented what he's done. It's good to have him around because I'm always chasing," said Izzo, who is making his seventh Final Four appearance. "Seven seems like a lot until you look at 12, then it doesn't seem as many."

      The Spartans (27-11) lost to Duke in the 1999 Final Four, 68-62, and Izzo is just 1-8 in the matchup with Coach K including a 10-point loss in November. Izzo joked Tuesday that there is no rivalry, per se, because of the way the Devils have dominated the series. But that doesn't make the 2015 version of the Spartans an underdog. He will not sell Saturday's matchup that way, even if the Devils – who opened as a five-point favorite – are defined as favorites.

      "One time we played them at our place after they lost to Purdue, I think, up in the Great Alaskan Shootout. Thought we could beat them. We lost by 20," Izzo said. "If it is pressure, it sure is good pressure to know that you've been to that many when there's so many great coaches that haven't had a chance to do it. I don't feel entitled, that's for sure. But I don't look at it as pressure. I look at it as a great feat to be involved with so many coaches that have been to many of them."

      Krzyzewski is now tied with legendary UCLA coach John Wooden with 12 trips to the Final Four. This team isn't the usual sort for Duke, dominated by freshmen and led by center Jahlil Okafor, who was named CBS Sports National Player of the Year on Tuesday.

      It's the first trip to the Final Four for Duke since 2010, and the 68-year-old Krzyzewski has never had a younger roster. And perhaps not a more confident one. Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones and Okafor all started throughout the season as freshmen.

      "We've got eight guys that can just go out there and play. This is where we thought we'd be," Winslow said. "There was never a doubt in our mind that we could make it to the Final Four."

      There were doubts about Michigan State, which drew a middle-of-the-road seed in the tournament because of 11 losses. The Spartans also play a rugged schedule, and lost two of their key players from the 2013-14 team – point guard Gary Harris and forward Adreian Payne – to the NBA. Izzo is sure both guys would 'give their arm' to play in the Final Four.

      But even without them, Michigan State muscled up in March as is becoming habit. The Spartans are 8-2 in March, losing 68-61 to Wisconsin and 80-69 in overtime to the Badgers 14 days later. Coach K is not surprised to see his pal in Indianapolis.

      "Tom is as good as there is," Krzyzewski said. "Not just a coach, but he's a great guy. He's a terrific friend. I think we have an amazing relationship. Nothing surprises me that he and his program would do. They don't have a team; they have a program. As he develops each team, I don't know what the timeframe of it is until that group understands what the program is about, whether it be offense, defense or just character-wise, but they're going to keep improving because it's a program. It's a program of excellence."

  • Tuesday, March 31, 2015
    LSU's Mickey leaves early to enter draft
    By The Sports Xchange

    LSU forward Jordan Mickey announced Tuesday his intentions to declare for the NBA Draft in June.

    • The 6-foot-7 Mickey joined teammate Jarell Martin in giving up his eligibility early for a shot at playing professionally.

      Mickey averaged 15.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game as a sophomore this past season, but many NBA draft analysts have him going in the second round this year or possibly undrafted.

      "Today I will be announcing that I will forego my final two years of eligibility here at LSU and enter my name in the 2015 NBA Draft," Mickey said in a text to reporters.

      "After discussing my options with my family, I believe this is the time to move on and accept new challenges at the next level. I want to first thank God for giving me the talent to play the game that I love so much. I want to thank my Mom and Dad for all the support they have (given) me over the years. Last but not least, I want to thank the coaching staff, teammates and the LSU fans. I will always be a Tiger at heart forever.

      "This was a tough decision because I hate to leave my teammates and LSU family. We have been through a lot in the past two years as we have grown as a team. This is just the beginning for LSU. I'm confident great things are coming in the near future for this team as they continue to grow. I wanted things to end on a better note but due to injuries, I was limited in what I could do for my team. Trust that I gave it my all."

  • Tuesday, March 31, 2015
    Report: Ford could be on hot seat at Oklahoma State
    By The Sports Xchange

    There's a chance that Travis Ford could be on the way out at Oklahoma State's coach.

    • The Daily Oklahoman reported Tuesday that school officials are considering the possibility of ousting Ford. But the cost would be hefty. Ford has a $9.6 million buyout in his contract.

      The Cowboys struggled at the end of this past season, losing seven of their last eight games and being eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in their opening game for the third year in a row. Oklahoma State finished 18-14 overall and 8-10 in the Big 12.

      According to reports, Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder is weighing the possibilities with Ford at the behest of boosters. Ford signed a contract extension in 2009 that runs through the 2019 season.

      The 45-year-old Ford was hired by Oklahoma State in 2008 and has led the Cowboys to the NCAA Tournament in five of his seven seasons at the school. He came to Stillwater after coaching at Massachusetts, Eastern Kentucky and Campbellsville. Ford has a career record of 331-234 and is 143-91 at Oklahoma State.

  • Tuesday, March 31, 2015
    Tennessee names Barnes head coach
    By The Sports Xchange

    Tennessee named Rick Barnes head coach on Tuesday, days after Barnes was ousted at Texas and the Volunteers fired Donnie Tyndall amidst off-court controversy.

    • Barnes was scheduled to be introduced Tuesday afternoon in Knoxville.

      Texas informed the 60-year-old Barnes on Saturday that his tenure was over -- a day after Tennessee created its opening -- and he held a farewell news conference Sunday.

      Barnes, the winningest coach in program history (402-180), reached the NCAA Tournament in 16 of his 17 seasons at Texas.

      Barnes took Texas to the Final Four in 2003 and made two other Elite Eight appearances. But Barnes escaped the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament just five times, and his last Sweet 16 came in 2008.

      Barnes is one of 13 active coaches with at least 600 career wins. Barnes is 604-314 in 28 seasons overall with stops at George Mason, Providence and Clemson.

      Tennessee fired Tyndall last Friday after only one season because Tyndall is being investigated by the NCAA for alleged violations at Southern Mississippi.

      Tennessee had hired Tyndall last April after he went 56-17 in two seasons at Southern Miss.

      Tennessee went 16-16 this season, including a 7-11 record in the Southeastern Conference.

  • Monday, March 30, 2015
    Legendary coaches make Final Four special
    By The Sports Xchange

    Talent will be abundant on the floor at the NCAA Tournament's Final Four on Saturday in Indianapolis.

    • Watching from the sideline will be four of the most accomplished active college basketball coaches.

      Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Kentucky's John Calipari, Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Wisconsin's Bo Ryan recognize that the assemblage of coaching legends is a special occurrence.

      "That's a privilege to be part of that," said Izzo, adding that the coach his team just beat, Louisville's Rick Pitino, deserves to be in the discussion of the game's best, too. "When you look at Bo, a team they had coming back, it's tough to do what they did and what Kentucky did because they were both there last year.

      "The job Mike has done over the years, he's been there so many times with so many different kinds of teams, that's not surprising. ... It's a privilege and an honor to be in the class with the people that are there. I think you got a lot of coaches that have worked hard to get there and put in their time, put in their years, been graduate assistants on up. That makes it great because I know I have great respect for the other three coaches that are in here."

      Calipari gave a "scouting report" of his fellow Final Four coaches.

      "When you talk about Bo Ryan, you're talking about one of those guys that walked through the ranks and has done it anywhere he's been, was a great assistant before he was a great head coach. He's just a good guy," Calipari said. "Tommy Izzo and I go so far back. We're in touch throughout this tournament. He knows what I feel about him. You talk about one of the top two or three coaches, he's it. He's done it every year with every kind of different team. He's done it when he's lost guys, when he's had great players, when he's had great teams.

      "Then you talk about Mike Krzyzewski, c'mon. Wooden, Krzyzewski, and that's about it. My respect for Mike Krzyzewski goes beyond just watching him and what he's done in thousands of games."

      Krzyzewski said of the coaching quartet, "They're all really the best of the best. It's really an honor for me to be in a Final Four with those three programs and those three coaches because they're all really good guys and they've all understood the commitment to excellence that a program needs to make."

      Once their teams take the floor, all eyes will be on Calipari's Wildcats, who are trying to complete college basketball's first undefeated season since Indiana ran the table in 1976. Michigan State (27-11) faces Duke (33-4) in the first semifinal before Wisconsin (35-3) gets a crack at Kentucky (38-0).

      "Even if there's a guy that shoots a bad percentage or has a rough day (for Kentucky), look how many other guys can pick them up," Ryan said. "There are some teams who have two, three, maybe four scorers. If they all have a bad day the same day, they're definitely losing.

      "Kentucky can have guys have bad days but still have enough guys to make up for that. They're strong from point to post. You don't go undefeated in college now without something pretty special."

  • Monday, March 30, 2015
    Louisville loses three players
    By The Sports Xchange

    Louisville will lose three players off its Elite Eight roster, with junior forward Montrezl Harrell and sophomore guard Terry Rozier entering the NBA draft and sophomore guard Anton Gill transferring, coach Rick Pitino said Monday.

    • The departures of Harrell and Rozier were expected.

      "They're both leaving, yes -- 100 percent," Pitino said one day after the Cardinals lost in overtime to Michigan State in the East Regional final. "And it's the right thing to do for both of them."

      Harrell averaged 15.7 points and 9.2 rebounds this season, and Rozier averaged 17.1 points and 3.0 assists. Harrell is expected to be drafted in the late first round, and Rozier is projected as a second-rounder.

      Gill is seeking more playing time after averaging 2.5 points per game this season.

      "Anton is one of the finest young men that I have had the privilege of coaching the past two years," Pitino said in a school release. "He is a bright, articulate, hard-working young man that we will miss very much. I agree with his decision and have given him his release to attend any university he desires. He wants to play major minutes and I believe he has a bright future ahead of him. We thank him for his dedication to our team."

      Gill said, "I really appreciate all of the support I received from everyone. I've talked to my family and will take my time to look at my next step after I finish out this semester. I'm just looking for a fresh start to try something new."

  • Monday, March 30, 2015
    College basketball notebook: Tennessee reportedly close to hiring Barnes
    By The Sports Xchange

    Just one day after saying goodbye to Texas, Rick Barnes reportedly was close to a deal to coach Tennessee on Monday.

    • Barnes and the school had been talking since the weekend and were "closing in on a deal" Monday, ESPN's Jeff Goodman reported.

      Texas informed the 60-year-old Barnes on Saturday that his tenure was over, and he held a farewell news conference Sunday.

      Barnes, the winningest coach in program history (402-180), reached the NCAA Tournament in 16 of his 17 seasons at Texas.

      Tennessee fired coach Donnie Tyndall last Friday after only one season because Tyndall is being investigated by the NCAA for alleged violations at Southern Mississippi.

      ---Chris Mullin reportedly will return to his alma mater, St. John's, as coach of the basketball team.

      Mullin will replace the recently fired Steve Lavin, according to reports Monday by ESPN.com and the New York Daily News.

      Mullin, 51, starred at St. John's in the 1980s, winning the Big East Player of the Year award three times and leaving as the school's career scoring leader (2,440 points).

      St. John's and Lavin agreed to part ways Friday after five seasons.

      ---Texas is talking to Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart about its coaching vacancy, sources told CBS Sports on Monday.

      Texas is seeking to replace Rick Barnes, who was fired last weekend after 17 seasons.

      Smart, who took over at VCU in 2009, has led the Rams to the NCAA Tournament for five straight years, including a Final Four in 2011.

      The 37-year-old has declined overtures from several schools, including Illinois, Marquette, Maryland, North Carolina State, UCLA and Wake Forest.

      ---Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky and Duke center Jahlil Okafor, both leading their teams to the Final Four, were the top selections on the Associated Press' 2014-15 All-American basketball team.

      Kaminsky, a 7-foot senior, was a unanimous choice and Okafor, a 6-11 freshman, received all but one first-team vote from same 65-member media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. The voting was done before the NCAA Tournament.

      Notre Dame senior guard Jerian Grant, Kentucky junior forward Willie Cauley-Stein and Ohio State freshman guard D'Angelo Russell rounded out the first team.

      Utah senior Delon Wright, Kentucky freshman Karl-Anthony Towns, Northern Iowa senior Seth Tuttle, Arkansas sophomore Bobby Portis and Virginia junior Malcolm Brogdon were on the second team.

  • Monday, March 30, 2015
    Report: Texas talking to VCU coach Smart
    By The Sports Xchange

    Texas is talking to Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart about its coaching vacancy, sources told CBS Sports on Monday.

    • Texas is seeking to replace Rick Barnes, who was fired last weekend after 17 seasons.

      Smart, who took over at VCU in 2009, has led the Rams to the NCAA Tournament for five straight years, including a Final Four in 2011.

      The 37-year-old has declined overtures from several schools, including Illinois, Marquette, Maryland, North Carolina State, UCLA and Wake Forest.

      Texas fallback options are Utah's Larry Krystkowiak and Xavier's Chris Mack, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

  • Monday, March 30, 2015
    Reports: St. John's will hire former star Mullin as coach
    By The Sports Xchange

    Chris Mullin reportedly will return to his alma mater, St. John's, as coach of the basketball team.

    • Mullin will replace the recently fired Steve Lavin, according to reports Monday by ESPN.com and the New York Daily News.

      Mullin, 51, starred at St. John's in the 1980s, winning the Big East Player of the Year award three times and leaving as the school's career scoring leader (2,440 points).

      Drafted seventh overall by the Golden State Warriors, Mullin was a five-time NBA All-Star and also won two Olympic gold medals on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Since retiring, Mullin had spent five seasons as the general manager of the Warriors and recently had worked as an advisor to the Sacramento Kings.

      St. John's and Lavin agreed to part ways Friday after five seasons.

      Lavin led the Red Storm to the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and this year, when they lost to San Diego State in the second round.

  • Monday, March 30, 2015
    Kaminsky, Okafor headline AP All-America team
    By The Sports Xchange

    Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky and Duke center Jahlil Okafor, both leading their teams to the Final Four, were the top selections on the Associated Press' 2014-15 All-America basketball team named Monday.

    • Kaminsky, the 7-foot senior, was a unanimous choice and Okafor, the 6-11 freshman, received all but one first-team vote from same 65-member media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. The voting was done before the NCAA Tournament.

      Notre Dame senior guard Jerian Grant, Kentucky junior forward Willie Cauley-Stein and Ohio State freshman guard D'Angelo Russell rounded out the first team.

      "It's cool to be named first-team All-American. It's something you dream of as a kid," Kaminsky said. "To finally be able to do so, it's a good thing and it shows how hard I've worked in my career. To be up there with Alando Tucker is a pretty cool thing."

      Kaminsky joins Alando Tucker (2007) as the only AP first-team All-Americas at Wisconsin.

      Kaminsky led the Badgers to their second straight Final Four berth, averaging 18.2 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 55.3 percent from the field.

      "Not to be overly patriotic, but we're an American story, that you can do that in this kind of a system," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "Sometimes where it looks like the privileged, the ones that are identified as being great players and can't-miss-type guys, where there can always come that guy from behind in the race and then cross the tape first.

      "Frank is that guy who got a little bit later start as far as people noticing his abilities, but that's just a great accomplishment on his part. ... He took advantage of a chance and has made the most of it."

      Okafor, who is Duke's 16th first-team AP All-America, averaged 17.7 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 66.9 percent, second in the nation.

      "His game has grown continuously and he's got a lot more growth ahead of him," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "The main thing for Jah is that he's gotten better as the season's gone along."

      Grant returned for his senior season and averaged 16.8 points and 6.6 assists while playing 36.6 minutes per game.

      The 7-foot Cauley-Stein and his Kentucky teammates are 38-0 -- just two wins away from an undefeated season and an NCAA championship. He averaged 9.3 points while grabbing 6.4 rebounds and shooting 58.8 percent.

      Russell averaged 19.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists for Ohio State.

      Utah senior Delon Wright, Kentucky freshman Karl-Anthony Towns, Northern Iowa senior Seth Tuttle, Arkansas sophomore Bobby Portis and Virginia junior Malcolm Brogdon were on the AP second team.

  • Sunday, March 29, 2015
    Duke books Final Four spot by beating Gonzaga
    By The Sports Xchange

    HOUSTON, Texas -- Duke punched its ticket to the Final Four and it could be a sign of more Blue Devils' victories to come.

    • Freshman forward Justise Winslow and sophomore guard Matt Jones scored 16 points apiece to lead the top-seeded Blue Devils past the second-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs 66-52 in the South Regional final on Sunday at NRG Stadium.

      Duke (33-4) earned its first trip to the Final Four since a national championship season in 2010, when the Blue Devils also advanced through a regional in Houston.

      This one tied Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski with UCLA legend John Wooden for the most Final Four appearances for a head coach with 12. However, Krzyzewski downplayed the coaching accomplishment while heaping praise on his current Blue Devils team.

      "I'm in this moment," Krzyzewski said, "my past is not important right now. My present is incredibly important, just being with these kids and sharing this moment and this Final Four. I'm so happy for them and to be with them. I'm not saying this because we won, I've said it the whole year. I love my team. They're a pleasure to be with and as a result they're taking me to Indy, which is kind of neat."

      Playing in the home of the NFL's Houston Texans, Duke turned to a pair of Texans to lead it past Gonzaga. Winslow, from Houston, hit a 3-pointer with 2:48 left to give the Blue Devils a nine-point lead.

      Jones, from Desoto, Texas, nailed four 3-pointers and put the exclamation point on the win with a steal and a fast-break layup with 45 seconds left for the Blue Devils' final tally.

      "Matt gave us such a huge lift," Krzyzweski said. "He's been the dirty work guy and for him to hit those four 3's, it's like a big difference the two Texas kids did pretty good today."

      Duke guard Tyus Jones scored 15, guard Quinn Cook added 10 and center Jahlil Okafor finished with nine points and eight rebounds.

      Gonzaga (35-3) is still winless against top seeds, falling to 0-7 all-time. The Bulldogs reached the Elite Eight for only the second time and are still searching for their first Final Four appearance.

      "We accomplished a lot and obviously wanted to make it to the Final Four, but we can look back and be pretty happy with what we've been able to do," Gonzaga senior guard Kevin Pangos said. "We just fell a little short."

      Forward Kyle Wiltjer led Gonzaga with 16 points, but guard Byron Wesley, who finished with 10, was the only other Bulldogs player in dough digits.

      Gonzaga scored the first five points out of halftime as guard Gary Bell hit a 3-pointer and Wiltjer added a fast-break tip-in to tie it a 31 less than two minutes into the second half.

      The Bulldogs stayed on the attack and extended the run to 12-3 and took a four-point lead when Wesley completed a three-point play with 16:20 left.

      But the Blue Devils responded by scoring nine straight to re-establish a five-point edge. Four different Duke players scored during the run, which Okafor finished with a jumper over Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski.

      Krzyzewski attributed the run to Duke's defensive work as it clamped down on a prolific Gonzaga team.

      "At the start, the first four minutes of the second half, we weren't there for some reason," Krzyzewski said. "After the two timeouts, one we called and one media, our guys responded and they played great defensively. I think they scored 14 points in the last almost 16 minutes. That's just collective effort."

      Gonzaga, which came in averaging seven made 3-pointers, hit just 2 of 10 vs. Duke. The Bulldogs missed a trio of treys -- one each by Bell, Pangos and Wiltjer -- with the game tied at 38 around the 14:00 mark of the second half.

      "That little sequence sticks out in my head," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "Those are the 3s we've been making all year. Those are the 3s that having been building runs for us all year and that get us going."

      Duke began the game shooting right on target, hitting four of its first five 3-pointers, capped by Cook's 3-pointer to put the Blue Devils ahead 20-12.

      Okafor then completed a three-point play to give Duke its largest lead of the first half at 11 points with 11:44 left before the break.

      Gonzaga, which shoots more than 17 3-pointers per game, didn't attempt a shot from beyond the arc for the first 12 minutes. Wiltjer finally hit a 3-pointer with 6:13 left in the half, starting a 7-0 run that cut Duke's lead to one point.

      With forward Domantas Sabonis guarding Okafor and the Blue Devlis cooling off from 3-point range, Duke went more than four minutes without scoring in the first half. Duke finished the first half four of 11 from beyond the arc. But the Blue Devils bounced back in time to score the last four points of the half and took a 31-26 lead to the break.

      NOTES: This was the third all-meeting between Duke and Gonzaga and the first in the NCAA Tournament. Duke won the previous two games as well, both played at Madison Square Garden. ... Duke improved to 12-2 in regional finals, while Gonzaga fell to 0-2. ... Gonzaga shot 16 percent, 3-for-19, from 3-point range in its Sweet 16 win over UCLA, then hit just 2-for-10 against Duke.

  • Sunday, March 29, 2015
    College baslketball notebook: St. John's expected to hire Mullin
    By The Sports Xchange

    Former NBA player and general manager Chris Mullin was offered the head coaching job with the St. John's Red Storm, and he is expected to accept the offer, multiple media outlets reported Sunday.

    • Contract negotiations were ongoing, and ESPN.com reported that a deal could be completed as early as Sunday night. According to CBSSports.com, the school hopes to have a press conference on Tuesday or Wednesday to announce Mullin's hiring.

      Mullin would replace Steve Lavin, who was fired Friday after five years at the school.

      Mullin, 51, has never been a head coach or an assistant coach, but he has front-office experience in the NBA and was a standout player at St. John's when the Red Storm were a national power.

      --Tulsa assistant coach Dave Leitao, who was DePaul's head coach from 2002-05, agreed to return as the Blue Demons' head coach, the school announced.

      Leitao agreed to a five-year deal, according to multiple reports.

      The Blue Demons made postseason appearances in each of the three seasons Leitao was their coach. They played in the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and the NIT in 2003 and 2005. The 2004 squad won the Conference USA regular-season championship.

      DePaul has not made a postseason appearance since Leitao left.

      --The Texas Longhorns and head coach Rick Barnes officially agreed to part ways after 17 seasons.

      Texas reportedly informed the 60-year-old Barnes on Saturday that his tenure as basketball coach was over.

      Barnes, the all-time winningest coach in program history, reached the NCAA Tournament in 16 of his 17 seasons in charge of the Longhorns.

      Barnes fought back tears at his 40-minute farewell news conference later Sunday in Austin, Texas.

  • Sunday, March 29, 2015
    Overtime win sends Michigan State to Final Four
    By The Sports Xchange

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- In an NCAA Tournament East Regional championship game featuring the Masters of March Madness, Michigan State's Tom Izzo wrestled the "Mr. March 2015" title away from Louisville's Rick Pitino.

    • Junior guard Bryn Forbes scored Michigan State's first five points in overtime as the seventh-seeded Spartans outlasted the fourth-seeded Cardinals 76-70 Sunday afternoon at the Carrier Dome.

      In the Final Four on Saturday in Indianapolis, Michigan State (27-11) will face the winner of Sunday's South Regional championship game between No. 1 seed Duke and No. 2 Gonzaga.

      "If this was football we'd say we're going to Disney World," Izzo said. "But we are going to Indy and we're excited about it."

      It will be the seventh Final Four for Izzo, who is now 21-4 in the second game of an NCAA Tournament weekend and 13-9 in the NCAA Tournament when Michigan State is the lower seed -- the most lower-seeded victories in NCAA history. This will be the Spartans' first Final Four appearance since 2010 as last year's Michigan State senior class became its first class in Izzo's 20 years to fail to reach at least one Final Four.

      "They were on a mission to maybe start their own legacy," Izzo said of this year's team. "So many times here you're following (successful teams) and once that was broken last year, their mission was to start a new one."

      Forbes' 3-pointer from the corner -- his third 3-pointer of the second half -- broke a 65-65 deadlock at the start of overtime. Forbes then sank two free throws to boost Michigan State's lead to 70-66.

      Louisville pulled within two on senior forward Wayne Blackshear's two free throws, but senior forward Branden Dawson's putback on a Forbes' 3-point miss and senior guard Travis Trice's two free throws iced the win for the Spartans.

      Pitino (722 wins) and Izzo (495) have combined for 1,217 career wins, 14 Final Fours and three national championships. Pitino was looking for his 11th Final Four overall and third in the last four years.

      "It's a bitter pill to swallow because the Final Four is so special," Pitino said. "They had total momentum and we came back and had a chance to win it. That speaks to me of a tremendous basketball team with great heart."

      Trice led the Spartans with 17 points, while junior guard Denzel Valentine added 15 points and Dawson grabbed 11 rebounds.

      Blackshear led all scorers with 28 points, and junior forward Montrezl Harrell chipped in with 16 for Louisville.

      After shooting 53.1 percent in the first half (17 of 32), the Cardinals shot 20 percent (5 of 25) in the second half and 14.3 percent (1 of 7) in overtime to finish at 35.9 percent for the game.

      Perimeter defense has been the key to Michigan State's run as the Spartans held their first three NCAA Tournament opponents (No. 10-seed Georgia, No. 2 Virginia and No. 3 Oklahoma) to an overall 33.1 field goal percentage and 20.8 percent from beyond the arc.

      "I think we got away from what was getting us buckets in the first half," said Louisville's Blackshear, who returned in the second half after throwing up repeatedly at halftime. "We started going one-on-one and not going through our offensive sets."

      Trailing 61-55, the Cardinals (27-9) pulled within three on a three-point play that included Blackshear's layup and freshman guard Dillon Avare's free throw after Blackshear was knocked woozy on the play. Blackshear returned and sank a 3-pointer from the wing to slice Michigan State's lead to 63-62 with 1:48 remaining.

      Blackshear's two free throws gave the Cardinals a 64-63 lead, but Michigan State freshman forward Marvin Clark sank a left-handed scoop shot to give the Spartans a one-point advantage.

      After Clark missed two free throws, Louisville sophomore center Mangok Mathiang had a chance to give the Cardinals the lead with 4.9 seconds left, but he made only one of two free throws to knot the score at 65.

      His first free throw hit the rim and went straight up in the air before settling into the net. Izzo called a timeout and Mathiang missed his second shot, setting up Trice's halfcourt shot at the buzzer that clanked off the backboard.

      "I was positive we were going to win it when that first free throw went in, the way it went in," Pitino said. "The difference in the game is that one team could really shoot and the other team really struggled (shooting)."

      After losing to Nebraska on Jan. 24, Michigan State was 13-7 and looked more like an NIT team than an NCAA Tournament team. But led by Trice and inspired by last year's East Regional final loss to Connecticut, the Spartans are back where they've resided so many times under Izzo.

      "I can't even put it into words (how it feels)," Trice said. "Just all the summers (of practice), all the hard work, being so close last year and not getting it. It makes it all worthwhile."

      "All summer we were saying, 'Indy, Indy, Indy,' '' said Valentine. "Through an up-and-down season, we stayed together and stayed strong and believed in ourselves."

      NOTES: Three Louisville players and two Michigan State players were named to the All-East Region Team: sophomore G Terry Rozier, junior F Montrezl Harrell and senior F Wayne Blackshear of Louisville, and senior G Travis Trice and junior G Denzel Valentine of Michigan State. ... Michigan State and Louisville have now played three times in the NCAA Tournament since 2009. They split the first two meetings, with the Spartans winning in the 2009 Elite Eight and Louisville winning in the 2012 Sweet 16. ... Entering Sunday's games, Rick Pitino (.757, 53-17) and Tom Izzo (.738, 45-16) ranked second and sixth among active coaches for the best NCAA Tournament winning percentage. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski ranked first at .766 (85-26). ... Louisville senior F Wayne Blackshear became the third Louisville player to participate in three regional championship games, joining Milt Wagner and Rodney McCray. ... In Friday's Sweet 16 win over Oklahoma, Michigan State junior G Denzel Valentine became the 48th player in Spartans history to score 1,000 career points and the fourth to do it this season, along with senior F Branden Dawson, senior G Travis Trice and junior G Bryn Forbes.

  • Sunday, March 29, 2015
    Report: Mullin offered St. John's head coaching job
    By The Sports Xchange

    Former NBA players and general manager Chris Mullin was offered the head coaching job with the St. John's Red Storm, and he is expected to accept the offer, multiple media outlets reported Sunday.

    • Contract negotiations were ongoing, and ESPN.com reported that a deal could be completed as early as Sunday night. According to CBSSports.com, the school hopes to have a press conference on Tuesday or Wednesday to announce Mullin's hiring.

      Mullin would replace Steve Lavin, who was fired Friday after five years at the school.

      Mullin has never been a head coach or an assistant coach, but he has front-office experience in the NBA and was a standout player at St. John's when the Red Storm were a national power.

      Sources told CBSSports.com that St. John's officials believe Mullin could an impact similar to Fred Hoiberg, who had no head-coaching experience before he became head coach at his alma mater, Iowa State.

      Mullin spent the past few seasons as an adviser in the Sacramento Kings' front office and was the general manager of the Golden State Warriors before that.

      Mullin, 51, is a Brooklyn native, and he was a first-team All-American at St. John's. He led the Red Storm to the 1985 Final Four and was named Big East Player of the Year three times.

      Mullin was the seventh overall pick by Golden State in the 1985 NBA draft and was a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team. He was a five-time NBA All-Star.

      Mullin was named Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Warriors in April 2004, and he held that position until the team announced in May 2009 that his contract would not be renewed.

      Mullin was hired by the Sacramento Kings as an adviser in September 2013.

      St. John's was 21-12 this past season. It reached the NCAA Tournament but was knocked out in the round of 64 by San Diego State.

      The Red Storm graduate four seniors, and Rysheed Jordan and Chris Obekpa are considering entering the NBA draft.

  • Sunday, March 29, 2015
    Texas parts ways with Barnes after 17 seasons
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Texas Longhorns and head coach Rick Barnes officially agreed to part ways Sunday after 17 seasons.

    • Texas reportedly informed the 60-year-old Barnes on Saturday that his tenure as basketball coach was over.

      Barnes, the all-time winningest coach in program history, reached the NCAA Tournament in 16 of his 17 seasons in charge of the Longhorns.

      "I leave this job with no regrets," Barnes said in a statement. "Instead, I look back at our time here and say 'thank you' to all the players, coaches and staff who have worked with our program throughout the last 17 years."

      Barnes fought back tears at his 40-minute farewell news conference later Sunday in Austin, Texas.

      "The wins and losses are fleeting, but it's the relationships that matter," Barnes said. "We know as a coach, this whole thing is about players. We've been blessed as a staff here to have so many players who have affected our lives."

      Barnes revealed he was told by athletic director Steve Patterson that he would be back after Texas lost to Butler in the round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament.

      "Some things changed," Barnes said.

      Texas said it will begin a national search for Barnes' replacement immediately.

      "The University owes Rick a great deal of gratitude and respect for all he's done to put Texas on the basketball map," Patterson said in the statement. "He elevated our program immensely and always did it with class. He put our student-athletes first. He won with integrity. We thank Rick for his many years of service to Texas and wish him continued success in the future."

      Patterson did not attend Sunday's news conference with Barnes.

      Hired in 1998, Barnes compiled an overall record of 402-180 (.691) over the 17 seasons at Texas, an average of nearly 24 victories per year. Texas reached the Final Four in 2003 and made two other Elite Eight appearances, but Barnes escaped the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament just five times and his last Sweet 16 came in 2008.

      According to reports, two candidates Texas will seriously consider are Wichita State's Gregg Marshall and VCU's Shaka Smart.

      Patterson demanded that Barnes revamp his coaching staff, but Barnes did not agree with the decision.

      Barnes confirmed Sunday that Patterson told him he had to fire some assistants or be fired himself. That ultimatum was leaked to the media Thursday, and Barnes blamed the leaks on the athletic department.

      "I was shocked," Barnes said of the leaks. "I couldn't do that. That would be me saying this is about me. I've been carried by a lot of people here. We're in this together."

      After failing to make the tournament during the 2012-13 season, the Longhorns rebounded to make it back in the past two years. Barnes received a two-year contract extension after 2014 that ran through the 2018-19 season.

      This season, the Longhorns disappointed with a No. 11 seed and opening-game 56-48 loss to Butler. Texas finished 20-14 overall and 8-10 in the Big 12.

      According to the Austin American-Statesman, a clause in Barnes' contract, which had a base pay this season of $2.55 million, calls for a $1.75 million buyout if he is fired before April 1. The payout would have decreased to $1.5 million on Wednesday.

      Texas is the only school in the country that claimed two National Players of the Year in the last 12 seasons, T.J. Ford (2003) and Kevin Durant (2007). During the Barnes era, Texas had eight All-Americans, including four consensus first-team All-Americans -- Chris Mihm in 2000, Ford in 2003, Durant in 2007 and D.J. Augustin in 2008.

      "I am so proud of our players and their success, not only on the court, but also in the classroom and in the community," Barnes said in his statement. "I'm humbled when I really step back and think about how many of them have gone on to be such great all-around men in life."

      Before taking over at Texas, Barnes was the coach at Clemson for four seasons. He went to the NCAA Tournament in his final three seasons with the Tigers, reaching the Sweet 16 in 1997. Barnes previously was the coach at Providence for six seasons and George Mason for one season.

      "I don't want anyone to think I'm bitter," Barnes said Sunday. "Do those emotions rage up inside you? Yeah, they do. I told Steve I wanted a chance to finish the job."

  • Sunday, March 29, 2015
    Leitao returns to DePaul as head coach
    By The Sports Xchange

    Tulsa assistant coach Dave Leitao, who was DePaul's head coach from 2002-05, agreed to return as the Blue Demons' head coach, the school announced Sunday.

    • Leitao agreed to a five-year deal, according to multiple reports.

      "This is a special day for my family and me," Leitao said in a statement released by DePaul. "I underestimated what a special place DePaul University and the city of Chicago are when I left here in 2005. The dedication and support here to the growth of student success is second to none, not only for a basketball program but also for the entire student body.

      "I'm proud and our team will be proud to represent this great institution in one of the world's great cities. We will exude the work ethic that drives Chicago and the region every day and look forward to everyone joining us next season."

      The Blue Demons made postseason appearances in each of the three seasons Leitao was their coach. They played in the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and the NIT in 2003 and 2005. The 2004 squad won the Conference USA regular-season championship.

      DePaul has not made a postseason appearance since Leitao left.

      DePaul finished 12-20 this season, including 6-12 in the Big East. Leitao replaces Oliver Purnell, who resigned earlier this month.

      "(Leitao's) success here speaks for itself with three postseason appearances in three years with teams that energized our alumni and fans with their competitiveness and work ethic," DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto said in a statement.

      "When he left in 2005, we recognized that it is the nature of our business that dynamic coaches get recruited away. Now we are pleased to welcome Dave, his wife Joyce and their family back to Lincoln Park with great enthusiasm for his leadership and the future development of our men's basketball program."

      Leitao left DePaul to become head coach at Virginia for four seasons. He compiled a 63-60 record with the Cavaliers, including 10-18 in his final season in 2008-09. Virginia reached the NCAA Tournament once under Leitao, in 2007.

      He later coached in the NBA Developmental League and then became an assistant to Frank Haith, first at Missouri and then at Tulsa.

  • Sunday, March 29, 2015
    Kentucky 68, Notre Dame 66
    By The Sports Xchange

    CLEVELAND -- Guard Andrew Harrison hit two free throws with six seconds remaining and the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats advanced to the Final Four with a 68-66 victory over the third-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Midwest Regional final on Saturday night.

    • Kentucky (38-0) will face Wisconsin (35-3) in the national semifinals next Saturday.

      Forward Karl-Anthony Towns led Kentucky with 25 points and guard Devin Booker added 10.

      Notre Dame (32-6) was led by forward Zach Auguste with 20 points and guard Steve Vasturia with 16.

      Guard Jerian Grant's 3-pointer gave Notre Dame a 66-64 lead with 2:35 remaining before Towns' basket tied the score with 1:12 left.

      After a Notre Dame shot clock violation with 33 seconds remaining, Andrew Harrison drove to the basket, was fouled and calmly made both free throws.

      Grant's desperation 3-pointer from the corner missed and the Wildcats, who rallied from a 61-56 deficit with 5:22 remaining, survived.

      The score was tied 31-31 at halftime.

      The first half was tight throughout, with 13 lead changes and 10 ties.

      Kentucky's biggest lead was 2-0 and Notre Dame's biggest was 26-22 late in the half.

      Forward Bonzie Colson's three-point play with 25 seconds remaining in the first half gave the Irish a 31-29 lead, but Wildcats forward Trey Lyles' tip-in beat the buzzer to tie it.

      Kentucky was 10 of 12 at the free-throw line and Notre Dame made all four of its foul shots in the opening half.

      The Wildcats were coming off a 78-39 rout of West Virginia in the semifinals, a game they put away with a 16-0 run early in the first half. But they ran into much more resistance from the Irish.

      NOTES: Kentucky G Aaron Harrison started despite dislocating his left ring finger Thursday. He was injured diving for a loose ball. ... Notre Dame finished 14-4 in the ACC after winning six conference games last season. ... The Wildcats are the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament for the 12th time. ... Notre Dame defeated Kentucky 64-50 in the last meeting in 2012. ... The Irish's winning streak included three victories in the ACC tournament and NCAA wins over Northeastern and Butler.

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    Wisconsin too hot to handle, returns to Final Four
    By The Sports Xchange

    LOS ANGELES -- A shooting clinic by forward Sam Dekker and the Wisconsin Badgers spelled the end for Arizona again.

    • Forward Frank Kaminsky scored 29 points and top-seeded Wisconsin advanced to its second straight Final Four with an 85-78 victory over second-seeded Arizona in the NCAA West Regional championship game on Saturday at the Staples Center.

      Dekker scored 20 of his career-high 27 points in the second half, when he connected on all five 3-pointers he attempted. It allowed the Badgers (35-3) to eliminate the Wildcats in the regional final for the second year in a row. Last season, Wisconsin beat the Wildcats in overtime in nearby Anaheim.

      "I was put in a position to hit some shots and they went down for me," said Dekker, who finished 8 of 11 from the field and 5 of 6 from behind the 3-point arc.

      Wisconsin will play the Kentucky-Notre Dame winner next Saturday in Indianapolis. The Badgers lost to Kentucky in last season's Final Four semifinal.

      "When Sam Dekker does what he did, and I think some of his shots were very well defended, when he does that with Kaminsky, maybe Kentucky is that school that can beat them," said Arizona coach Sean Miller, who lost for the fourth time in a regional final. "But I'm telling you, I don't know if there is another one out there when they're clicking with that one-two punch."

      Forwards Brandon Ashley and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 17 points apiece to lead the Wildcats (34-4), who had their 14-game winning streak snapped.

      "As a team, we set some goals in what we wanted to do," said Dekker, who had a career-best 23 points in Thursday's semifinal win over North Carolina before topping that against Arizona. "We're two games away from our last goal that we had. All our guys came together. Couldn't be prouder of these guys."

      The Badgers benefited from their long-distance shooting in the second half and advanced to back-to-back Final Fours for the first time in school history.

      "Sam's just a heck of a player," said Wisconsin guard Josh Gasser, who had 10 points. "He's really picked up his game now when it matters most."

      Wisconsin converted 12 of 18 shots from 3-point range, making 10 of 12 in the second half. Arizona managed just 2 of 6 on 3-pointers.

      The Badgers shot a sizzling 78.9 percent (15 of 19) from the floor in the second half after managing just 38.5 percent in the first half. Overall, they shot 55.6 percent compared with 55.8 percent for the Wildcats.

      "Guys got hot," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "You don't shoot 79 percent every day in a half, but they were good shots."

      Ryan couldn't resist a needling his team.

      "Probably shouldn't have missed the other four (shots)," the coach joked.

      The Badgers dictated the action in the second half before the Wildcats made a late run. A 3-pointer by guard Gabe York brought Arizona within 76-71 with 2:22 remaining, but Dekker answered with a trey 30 seconds later.

      Arizona sliced the margin to five again but got no closer.

      The blow of losing to Wisconsin in consecutive regional finals was especially tough for Arizona senior point guard T.J. McConnell, who was determined to get Miller to his first Final Four.

      "I think it's the same feeling regardless," an emotional McConnell said. "But put any team up against Wisconsin in the Elite Eight, I would say most of the time it's the same result. We played as hard as we could, and they just made more plays than we did tonight."

      Wisconsin used a 14-3 run to open the second half for a 44-36 advantage after forward Duje Dukan's 3-pointer with 16:38 left. Arizona cut the deficit to 44-42 after McConnell scored on a drive with 14:59 remaining.

      After a tip-in by Hollis-Jefferson pulled Arizona within 50-48, Wisconsin scored seven straight points, capped by a Kaminsky layup for a nine-point cushion with 10:55 remaining.

      The Badgers pushed the lead to double digits (62-51) on a layup by Gasser with 8:49 left.

      Wisconsin started strong. The Badgers bolted to a 10-2 lead after a 3-point basket by Gasser less than four minutes into the game. However, the Wildcats bounced back, using their defensive pressure to spark a 12-4 surge.

      At the break, Arizona led 33-30.

      NOTES: Wisconsin has won five of seven meetings between the schools. ... The Wildcats led the nation in free throw attempts (944) entering the game and ranked second in makes (672). ... Arizona has a 9-1 record and Wisconsin is 17-2 against tournament teams this year. ... Wisconsin G Josh Gasser has played 145 minutes in the tournament with only one turnover.

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    Reports: Texas fires Barnes after 17 seasons
    By The Sports Xchange

    Rick Barnes, the winningest coach in school history, was fired as coach of the Texas Longhorns after 17 seasons, according to reports Saturday.

    • Texas athletic director Steve Patterson informed Barnes that his tenure is over, a source told ESPN.com.

      The American-Statesman reported that school officials reached their final decision Saturday and plan to make an announcement either Sunday or Monday.

      Hired in 1998, the 60-year-old Barnes went 402-180, won three Big 12 regular-season championships and reached the NCAA Tournament in 16 of his 17 seasons in charge of the Longhorns.

      Texas reached the Final Four in 2003 and made two other Elite Eight appearances. Barnes escaped the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament just five times in 17 seasons, and his last Sweet 16 came in 2008.

      According to reports, two candidates Texas will seriously consider are Wichita State's Gregg Marshall and VCU's Shaka Smart.

      Patterson reportedly demanded that Barnes revamp his coaching staff, but Barnes did not agree with the decision.

      Russell Springman has been a Texas assistant since 2001, Rob Lanier returned in 2011 after coaching under Barnes in 1999-2001, and former Texas player Chris Ogden joined Barnes' staff in 2008.

      After failing to make the tournament during the 2012-13 season, the Longhorns rebounded to make it back in the past two years. Barnes received a two-year contract extension after 2014 that ran through the 2018-19 season.

      This season, the Longhorns disappointed with a No. 11 seed and opening-game loss to Butler 56-48 in the NCAA Tournament. Texas finished 20-14 overall and 8-10 in the Big 12.

      According to the Austin American-Statesman, a clause in Barnes' contract, which had a base pay this season of $2.55 million, calls for a $1.75 million buyout if he is fired before April 1. The payout decreases to $1.5 million on Wednesday.

      Before taking over at Texas, Barnes was the coach at Clemson for four seasons. He went to the NCAA Tournament in his final three seasons with the Tigers, reaching the Sweet 16 in 1997. Barnes previously was the coach at Providence for six seasons and George Mason for one season.

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    Bradley hires WGB's Wardle as coach
    By The Sports Xchange

    It took less than a week for Bradley University to find a replacement for fired coach Geno Ford, as Wisconsin-Green Bay's Brian Wardle was given the job.

    • Wardle led Wisconsin-Green Bay to the Horizon League regular-season championship this season and has taken the school to the postseason in each of the past three years.

      Ford was fired last Sunday after going 46-86 in four years. Bradley went 9-24 this season and finished in the Missouri Valley Conference cellar at 3-15.

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    Izzo's Spartans do it again, upset Oklahoma
    By The Sports Xchange

    SYRACUSE, NY -- Denzel Valentine snapped out of his first-half funk and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo got his wish.

    • "I get to work another day," Izzo said after his No. 7 seeded Spartans defeated the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners 62-58 at the Carrier Dome to earn a trip to the school's second straight Elite Eight appearance on Sunday against Louisville. "I can't tell you how excited that makes me."

      The win certainly excited Valentine, who scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half after being limited to just two field goals on nine attempts in the first 20 minutes.

      "It's funny, just talking to Travis (Trice), the first half felt like it was my first time playing basketball," Valentine said. "I just kind of snapped out of it. I said 'We're in the Sweet 16 and we have a chance to go to the Final Four.' I just smacked the ground and woke up."

      Valentine woke up the rest of his teammates as well. The Spartans trailed by four at halftime, somewhat of a feat according to Izzo, going to his third Elite Eight in the last six years.

      "I was honestly so happy we were only down by four at halftime," said Izzo. "They got challenged at halftime. It was an interesting locker room and they needed to be challenged. What I liked is that they started to challenge each other."

      Izzo's team has gone through disastrous endings of games at the foul line during the season, but Trice, who led the Spartans with a game-high 24 points, and Valentine hit six straight foul shots down the stretch to preserve the win for the Spartans (26-11).

      "We just got to realize that we're good free throw shooters," said Valentine, an 83 percent shooter from the line. "The team's going to go by us, so if we're missing free throws, the rest of the guys are going to miss free throws. So we have to knock them down."

      While the Spartans didn't revert to its poor shooting from the line, Izzo felt his team regressed in the first half to a style of play that had them on the cusp of missing the NCAA Tournament just a month ago.

      "We started believing about 14 games ago that we had to change our approach. We were a soft team," Izzo said. "The first half, either they were monsters or we reverted back."

      Oklahoma (24-11) had something to do with that.

      "I'm proud of our guys," said Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger. "They gave a good fight tonight. Give credit to Michigan State for doing things better down the stretch than we did. Trice, Valentine and (Branden) Dawson, they're really good players and they're playing with a lot of confidence. They made some shots in the second half that were critical to the ballgame. I'm not sure if they changed anything (in the second half). They were a little more aggressive and did a good job on Buddy (Hield) and battled TaShawn (Thomas) inside."

      Hield and Thomas agreed with their coach's assessment.

      "They stepped up a lot," said Hield, who finished with a team-high 21 points.

      "The last 30 minutes I'm guessing Coach Izzo got on them to step up the defense," said Thomas, who chipped in with 16.

      And now Izzo's defenders can set their sights on Lousiville, the third time Izzo and Louisville coach Rick Pitino will face each other in the NCAA Tournament.

      NOTES: The Spartans and Sooners had met once before in the NCAA Tournament, in the 1999 Sweet 16. ... Michigan State held an overall record of 6-3 against the Sooners after Friday. ... Michigan State held its first two NCAA Tournament opponents, Georgia and Virginia, to a 32 percent field-goal shooting, including 19 percent from the 3-point stripe. ... Spartans coach Tom Izzo ranks sixth among active coaches in NCAA Tournament winning percentage. ... The Sweet 16 appearance was Oklahoma's first since 2009 when the Sooners advanced to the round of eight. ... Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger is the first in Division 1 history to lead five different programs to at least one NCAA Tournament win. ... Oklahoma is one of just six teams nationally -- the only one among the Power Five conferences -- that started the same five players in every game.

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    Winslow leads Duke past Utah
    By The Sports Xchange

    HOUSTON -- Duke answered a challenge from Utah with a little grittiness on the defensive end and a lot of freshman forward Justise Winslow on offense.

    • Winslow scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as top-seeded Duke outlasted fifth-seeded Utah 63-57 on Friday night in an NCAA South Regional semifinal game at NRG Stadium.

      Winslow, the son of Houston Cougar Phi Slama Jama alum Rickie Winslow, celebrated his 19th birthday on Thursday, then went to work leading the Blue Devils' charge in his hometown.

      When Utah began to gain some offensive momentum in the second half, Winslow was there to answer with back-to-back 3-pointers.

      When the Utes cut Duke's 15-point lead to six, Winslow punched back with a three-point play that broke a Utah run and re-established a nine-point edge.

      So Winslow will be rewarded with another game in his hometown. Duke (32-4) advances to face Gonzaga in the South Regional final on Sunday.

      Though Winslow said he had about 100 family and friends in attendance and enjoyed being able to see his mother and siblings in the crowd, he stated that his mind is on basketball.

      "I'm glad to be home, but like I said, it's a business trip and it's just about getting Duke two wins," Winslow said. "We got one down tonight and we've just got one more on Sunday."

      Duke guard Tyus Jones scored 15 points, including making nine of 10 free throws, and guard Quinn Cook pitched in 11.

      Duke center Jahlil Okafor, the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, was limited to six points on 3-of-6 shooting. The six points matched a season low for Okafor and was only the second time this season he failed to reach double figures in scoring.

      "Their double team with Jah was great," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Just about took him out of the game and then he made some great passes in the second half that helped."

      Utah guard Brandon Taylor scored 15 points to lead the Utes, center Dallin Bachynski added 11, and Jakob Poeltl and guard Delon Wright each had 10.

      Utah (26-9) couldn't overcome 35-percent shooting from the field and 15 turnovers that resulted in 16 Duke points.

      "I thought our turnovers more than the missed shots put an undue pressure," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "We had turnovers to start with, nine in the first half, that was the difference. Sometimes when you're presented with open shots, it was a bad combination. We weren't able to make them."

      The Blue Devils built a 15-point lead with an 8-0 run midway through the second half.

      Blue Devils forward Amile Jefferson highlighted the run with a dunk on an assist from Jones that caused Krzyzewski to pump both fists and prompted Krystkowiak to call timeout.

      The Utes fought back by scoring nine straight points, including a pair of baskets each from Taylor and Poeltl, to cut the Duke lead to 49-43.

      But Winslow's three-point play kept Utah from creating a bigger wave of momentum.

      The Blue Devils used an 8-0 run late in the first half to open a double-digit lead when Okafor went to the basket for a layup with 3:04 left.

      Duke began clamping down defensively during the surge, causing four Utah turnovers, including a 10-second backcourt violation.

      "I thought our defense was outstanding," Krzyzewski said. "It's the third straight game in the tournament that we've played, I think, just great defense."

      The Utes struggled offensively, shooting 30 percent from the field in the first half, a problem made worse by their nine first-half turnovers.

      However, Bachynski stopped Duke's run and changed the momentum for the final three minutes of the half. Bachynski made an inside jumper while being fouled by Okafor and completed the three-point play to cut the Blue Devils' lead to 27-22 at halftime.

      "Still to be down five at half, it really felt like we were down 20," Krystkowiak said. "So there was a little bit of hope."

      Bachynski was the only double-digit scorer for either team in the first half with 11 points.

      The Blue Devils didn't score in the final three minutes of the half and saw their lead shrink to five points at the break.

      NOTES: Duke's 24 appearances in the Sweet 16 are tied with Kentucky for the second most all time, behind North Carolina with 26. ... Despite Utah's prominence among college basketball programs and its 17 NCAA Tournament appearances since 1980, Friday was the Utes' first matchup with Duke during the Krzyzewski era. ... Utah defeated Duke 78-75 in the last meeting between the programs in the 1970 NIT. ... Duke defeated Utah 79-77 in the consolation game of the 1966 NCAA Tournament. Texas Western defeated Kentucky in the championship game that year in a game featured in the 2006 film "Glory Road."