Archive for the ‘NCAA’ Category

A year after one of the most embarrassing losses in NCAA Tournament history, Virginiahas been crowned the 2019 national champions following a thrilling 85-77 overtime victory Monday over Texas Tech.

The Cavaliers were the first No. 1 seed to fall in Round 1 after losing to 16-seed UMBC in 2018. They managed to right their wrong this season with wins over Gardner-Webb, Oklahoma, Oregon, Purdue, and Auburn before clinching the title against Texas Tech.

De’Andre Hunter came up clutch down the stretch, drilling the game-tying 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining in regulation, along with a triple to put Virginia up two with 2:10 left in OT. The sophomore forward finished with 27 points and seven rebounds in the win.

Junior guard Kyle Guy was named Most Outstanding Player for the Final Four, finishing with 24 points and three rebounds against the Red Raiders. 

Guy hit the game-winning free throws on Saturday to beat Auburn 63-62, sending Virginia to the program’s first-ever national championship game.

This marks the third consecutive comeback for the Cavaliers when they trailed with under 12 seconds left in regulation.

Texas Tech star Jarrett Culver finished with an inefficient 15 points on 5-of-22 shooting. He added nine rebounds and six assists in the loss.

Virginia’s 85-point effort is the most points the Red Raiders have given up this season. The previous high was 80 points in a February overtime win against Oklahoma State.

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Kyler Murray is making the rounds on Radio Row during Super Bowl week, informing members of the NFL media that he’ll be making a decision on whether to pursue a career in professional football or baseball in the near future.

“Soon. Very soon,” Murray said to NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano on Thursday, per NFL.com’s Nick Shook.

Murray was the ninth overall pick by the Oakland Athletics‘ in the 2018 MLB Draft. However, he was allowed to continue his collegiate football career and wound up winning the Heisman Trophy in December as the quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners.

If it were up to Murray, he wouldn’t limit himself to one sport.

“I wish I could play both,” Murray said to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “I know it’s highly, highly, highly unlikely, but it’s not an easy decision.”

Murray has declared for the 2019 NFL Draft and is projected to go as early as the first round.

Rick Pitino, a Hall of Fame basketball coach who’s best known for leading collegiate powerhouses Kentucky and Louisville to NCAA tournament championships, has his eyes set on making the jump back to the professional ranks.

“I just want to be a part of an organization,” Pitino told ESPN’s Adrian Wojanarowski. “I want to develop young players. I want to be part of a team. I miss it terribly. I’m using this time to really study the NBA. If something opens up with a young basketball team, I’d have deep interest in it.

“I think the league is going to get younger and player development will become even more important to every organization,” he continued. “That’s my forte. I believe I can help an organization find a pathway to success.”

The 66-year-old was ousted from Louisville in the midst of a sport-wide corruption scandal last year, though an FBI probe appeared to back up Pitino’s claim of ignorance about payments made from the program and its stakeholders to potential recruits.

Pitino has a 192-220 regular-season record as an NBA head coach, which was accrued during stops with the New York Knicks (1987-89) and Boston Celtics(1997-01). With the Celtics, Pitino served as both head coach and team president – the sort of arrangement that’s fallen out of fashion in recent years as the scope of each role has expanded.

“I’m not looking for any of that (power/control) at this stage of my life,” Pitino said. “I want to develop teams and develop players and build a winner. I value analytics. I want to fit into an organization. At this stage, that’s all I’m interested in.”

Michael Jordan or LeBron James? It’s a debate that will rage on forever, but according to a recent survey, an overwhelming majority of college basketball coaches believe the title of GOAT belongs to Jordan.

CBS Sports college basketball writers Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander anonymously polled more than 100 coaches for their annual Candid Coaches series, asking them, among other things, to choose between Jordan and LeBron. Jordan easily won, receiving 82 percent of the votes.

“Not to take anything away from LeBron, but the game is so different now from when Jordan played,” one coach who picked Jordan said. “If Mike played in in this day and age, with freedom of movement, he’d average 40 points a game.

“LeBron’s done so many great things on and off the court. But if somebody put a gun to your head, and you had to go win a game, who are you going to go with? Michael Jordan or LeBron James? My money and my life is going to be with Jordan. He played both sides of the ball as good as anybody. He was the best offensive player and defensive player in the league every night.”

Another coach said they voted for LeBron primarily because of his off-court contributions.

“If we are going off the man as a whole, I’m taking LeBron. Basketball-wise he is not far off from Jordan – and the numbers he has put up year in and year out are absurd. Where I think LeBron has separated himself from Jordan is with his stances on what he believes in,” the coach explained. “The school he just opened is awesome and will change lives. And what he has stood for, and stood against, throughout his career is what puts him on my Mount Rushmore of Athletes.”

Quinn Hughes won’t be turning pro just yet.

The Vancouver Canucks‘ first-round pick in this year’s draft has announced he will return to the University of Michigan next season.

“My heart’s obviously still at Michigan,” Hughes told Steve Kornacki of MGoBlue.com. “I was heartbroken when we lost to Notre Dame in the Frozen Four last year. I’ve never really been on a team that cares so much about each other, and I think that’s a big reason why I’m coming back, because I love my teammates.

“I think we have a good team this upcoming year, and I believe in the group. So, for me, I have a lot of goals in my mind. I want to be the best player in college hockey, and I want to win the national championship. I think we can do it with the group and the coaching staff we have, and we believe in each other.”

Canucks management backed Hughes’ decision to return to the Wolverines.

“We are in full support of Quinn’s decision to continue his university career as he further develops as a hockey player and student,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a statement. “He now has an opportunity to be a leader at the University of Michigan and represent Team USA at the 2019 World Junior Championship in Vancouver.

“These are once-in-a-lifetime experiences that will only benefit Quinn’s future career.”

After collecting 29 points in 37 games in his first season with Michigan, the budding blue-liner also impressed against savvy veterans as part of the World Championship.

With Michigan, there is also the possibility that Quinn could play alongside his brother, Jack, a dominant center and the projected top pick in the 2019 NHL draft.

Oliver Luck, the father of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, will be the first commissioner and CEO of the rebooted XFL.

Luck, who currently works for the NCAA in its eligibility department, will vacate his post and relocate from Indianapolis to Connecticut for the new job.

“The XFL will be a labor of love as I get to combine my experiences as a player and executive,” Luck wrote in an email to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “I’m thrilled to have this unique opportunity to reimagine the game that has been a constant in my life for 40 years.”

The XFL is set for relaunch in 2020. Its founder, WWE chairman Vince McMahon, tried to get the league off the ground in 2001 but it folded after one season.

Luck has a wealth of executive experience in the sports industry and previously served as president of the now-defunct NFL Europe.

“Oliver and I share the same vision and passion for reimagining the game of football,” McMahon said in a statement. “His experience as both an athlete and executive will ensure the long-term success of the XFL.”

The 58-year-old Luck had a short playing career in the NFL, suiting up for the Houston Oilers from 1982-86.

The Los Angeles Clippers are armed with two lottery picks in the upcoming draft, but they may be looking to move up from their pedestrian slots at Nos. 12 and 13 to give themselves a better chance at drafting a blue-chipper.

The Clippers, who have their own first-rounder and the Detroit Pistons‘ pick (acquired in the Blake Griffin trade), are “open to moving up in the draft,” rival executives told The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.

One player they would likely target with a higher pick is Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr., a front-office exec. told O’Connor. Porter profiles as a fluid, scoring combo forward, not unlike the Clippers’ own Tobias Harris. He could make the team more dynamic and versatile on both ends of the floor.

It’s unclear, though, whether the Clippers – who have been reckless about tossing away first-rounders in recent years and have whiffed on just about everything since taking Griffin first overall in 2009 – would be willing to swap both their late-lottery picks for a crack at drafting Porter. Most mock drafts currently have him going in the top eight.