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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Wednesday / February 19.

  • NEW YORK –D.J. Kennedy flashed a smile as he appeared with his St. John’s teammates on the CBS “Selection Sunday” show.

    The No. 6-seeded Johnnies (21-11) are headed to a first-round showdown with No. 11 Gonzaga (22-9) in Denver in the Southeast region of the NCAA Tournament. It is the Johnnies’ first tournament appearance since 2002, which was vacated by the NCAA.

    But Kennedy won’t get to play.

    NEW YORK — Steve Lavin spent seven years at ESPN and he knows as well as anyone that the Big East will face some serious heat from the media if it doesn’t advance one or two teams deep into the NCAA Tournament.

    “Of course, that’s the one of the things they teach you in broadcasting, is to find the headlines,” Lavin said on Selection Sunday. “You guys know that better than anybody.”

    NEW YORK — On the night ESPN ran its documentary on Michigan’s “Fab Five,” the St.  Anthony Friars placed their own Fab Five in the NCAA Tournament.

    A quintet from St. Anthony’s undefeated national championship team of 2007-08 is going dancing.

    Travon Woodall of Pittsburgh, Tyshawn Taylor of Kansas, Jio Fontan of USC, Mike Rosario of Florida and Dominic Cheek of Villanova are all in. Rosario is sitting out a year at Florida after transferring from Rutgers. Cheek was the lone junior on the 2008 team in the group.

    “I’m happy that we got in the tournament,” Woodall said Sunday night by phone. “I just wish Mike was able to play.”

    USC reinstated head coach Kevin O’Neill on Sunday, two days after he had been suspended.

    “Effective immediately, I am reinstating Kevin O’Neill as our men’s basketball head coach,” USC AD Pat Haden said in a statement. “Coach O’Neill and I have talked numerous times these past few days. He has continued to express his regret and embarrassment over the incident that led to his suspension from any remaining games of the Pac-10 Conference Tournament.

    “… Further, he understands that he let them down as their role model and leader. He has apologized to his team, as well as to me, our administration, our fans and the Pac-10.”

    Like many of you, I received my annual invitation to participate in an NCAA tournament office pool.

    But this year’s pool comes with a caveat: Even though the new 68-team tournament officially begins Tuesday with the “First Four” in Dayton, our bracket won’t tip off until Thursday’s and Friday’s games.

    In short, the play-in games won’t count.

    Our bracket isn’t the only one discounting the “First Four” games.