If you’re like me and itching for the arrival of March Madness, last night was a pretty good appetizer in college basketball.
Franklin grad Luke Kennard scored 23 points, but Duke lost at Syracuse on a buzzer-beating three-pointer.
No. 6 Oregon fell behind bit at California but rallied to win – also on a buzzer beater – and No. 22 Butler went to No. 2 Villanova and beat the defending champions for the second time this season.
That all overshadowed a tightly played top 10 matchup in which No. 7 Louisville lost at No. 8 North Carolina 74-63.
That game also included a clash between Cardinals coach Rick Pitino and a fan.
Rick Pitino is very displeased with a UNC fan pic.twitter.com/z4bYUuyMw6— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) February 23, 2017
Closer to home, the Dayton women’s basketball team took care of business by knocking off Saint Louis for the second time this season.
That gave the Flyers a share of the Atlantic 10 championship in coach Shauna Green’s first year.
They will be the No. 1 seed in the A-10 tourney.
Meanwhile, another disappointing Ohio State basketball season continues tonight with a visit from Wisconsin.
Sadly, the 16th-ranked Badgers have pretty much become the anti-Buckeyes: A cohesive unit that plays hard and has multiple accomplished players from the state of Ohio.
Wisconsin is getting 30.4 points per game from its four Ohio natives, including 5.7 from former Wayne High School standout D’Mitrik Trice, a freshman who has been the Badgers’ most productive reserve.
Meanwhile, Ohio State’s Buckeye State natives are pouring in 34.9.
(We also touched on the Buckeyes’ recent struggles in yesterday’s column.)…
There was big news in the world of college football yesterday as Mississippi was delivered an amended Notice of Allegations from the NCAA that leaves the Rebels football team accused of 21 violations.
Fifteen of those are Level 1, including lack of institutional control.
It’s likely that last one that led the school to impose a postseason ban for 2017.
Sometimes we in the media get carried away with narratives and jump to the wrong conclusions, but the suspicion something wasn’t right when a traditionally downtrodden program suddenly started recruiting very well and winning games appears to have been on the money (so to speak).
Coach Hugh Freeze disputed the allegation he did not promote a climate of compliance but apparently isn’t fighting the postseason ban…
If you missed it yesterday, we had an item on the Bengals, Browns and A.J. McCarron.
A report from Peter King of TheMMQB challenges my original guess McCarron would be more valuable in Cincinnati than whatever the team could get for him in a trade, but King suggests old friend Hue Jackson may change that…
If there is big news in the sports world today, there’s a good bet it will come from the NBA.
The trade deadline arrives at 3 p.m.
Names who could be on the move include Jared Sullinger, Jahlil Okafor, Jimmy Butler and Paul George.
USA Today reports George could find himself in a good ol’ soap opera involving the Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, who now run the Lakers and Pacers, respectively.
The Celtics mixed in for ultimate 1980s NBA nostalgic effect.