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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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Monday / May 27.
    Kentucky is still perfect and they have Karl-Anthony Towns to thank for it.

    The 7-foot New Jersey native went for 17 of his career-high 25 points in the second half and added 5 rebounds as No. 1 Kentucky fended off its toughest challenge yet in this NCAA Tournament by downing No. 3 Notre Dame, 68-66, in the Midwest Region final Saturday night in Cleveland.

    “I played a bad game last game but my brothers had me,” Towns told TBS with his father, Karl Towns, attached to his hip. “Just like my father taught me me growing up, it’s not about the last game, it’s about winning. And we did a great job of winning and we just went out there and did a great job.”

    NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Louisville vs North Carolina StateSYRACUSE — Montrezl Harrell’s college career is likely going to come to end in the coming days.

    He just doesn’t want it to be on Sunday against Michigan State in the Elite Eight.

    “We worked so hard throughout the whole year to get where we’re at, and we really just don’t want to go home early,” the 6-foot-8, 240-pound Harrell said here Saturday. “So we’ve just got to make sure we do anything and everything in our power to make sure that we head to Indianapolis.”

    Harrell was a projected first-round NBA pick last season after his sophomore year, but opted to come back to develop his game and remain in college. A year later, he’s listed as the No. 20 pick by Draft

    “I believe he can be an effective [NBA] backup for 10 years,” one veteran NBA scout told

    NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-2nd Round-Butler vs TexasBy JOSH NEWMAN & ADAM ZAGORIA

    SYRACUSE — One day after the Austin American-Statesman reported  that Texas head coach Rick Barnes is being released by the school, the school made it official, saying the two sides had mutually agreed to part ways.

    The Longhorns finished 20-14 this season and have not advanced beyond the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament since advancing to the Elite Eight in 2008. Barnes had a record of 402-180 in 17 seasons with Texas, and 604-314 overall.

    Multiple outlets are reporting that Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall and VCU’s Shaka Smart are the leading candidates to replace Barnes.

    Barnes, meantime, has already been linked to the coaching openings at Alabama and Tennessee.

    NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Louisville PracticeSYRACUSE — Rick Pitino was born in Manhattan and raised on Long Island.

    He knows New York City and what it takes to succeed in the Big Apple about as well as anyone.

    And even though Pitino is the Hall of Fame coach at Louisville — which meets Michigan State here on Sunday with the winner going to the Final Four — part of him always wants to see New York City basketball thrive.

    Now that St. John’s has a coaching opening in the wake of parting ways with Steve Lavin, the school is at a crossroads.

    NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Louisville vs North Carolina StateSYRACUSE — Louisville coach Rick Pitino called up sophomore Anton Gill the other day while the coach was working out and gave him a little pep talk.

    The 6-foot-3 guard from Raleigh, N.C., had only played 2 minutes in Louisville’s win over Northern Iowa in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament and failed to score. In fact, Gill had failed to score in his last four games dating back to the beginning of March.

    “Son, you’re mentally in a funk,” Pitino told him. “It’s nothing you’re doing wrong because you’re playing behind Terry Rozier, who’s an unbelievable player…You’re going to get your opportunity, son.”

    “I got you, Coach, and I’ll be ready,” Gill replied.

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