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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 / May 22.
  • 7997051Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback would like to see Wichita State and Kansas play in an annual preseason tournament.

    “This ought to be regular,” Brownback said after Wichita State beat Kansas 78-65 on Sunday to advance to the Sweet 16, according to the New York Times. “We ought to have a preseason tournament, Wichita host it, invite K.U. and Kansas State in alternating years because you don’t need those teams playing each other, and then invite a couple of other teams.”

    Sunday’s meeting was the first between the two Kansas powers in 22 years. While the Shockers (30-4) advanced to play Notre Dame on Thursday in Cleveland, Kansas is done before the second weekend of the tournament.

    CA0jbgPUQAAv2JxAs had been reported, Ben Howland on Monday was officially named the 20th head men’s basketball coach at Mississippi State.

    His deal is reportedly for four years and worth a total of about $8.2 million.

    The job came open when Rick Ray was fired last week.

    A press conference to introduce Howland is set for 2:30 p.m. CT Tuesday on the floor of Humphrey Coliseum, and fans are invited to attend, the school announced.

    Howland is expected to hire former UCLA assistant Korey McCray to his staff, sources told

    Howland, 57, comes to Mississippi State with an overall coaching record of 401-206 with stints at Northern Arizona (1995-99), Pittsburgh (2000-03) and UCLA (2004-13).

    “We have a coach who is a proven winner that’s taken three schools to the NCAA Tournament,” MSU AD Scott Stricklin said. “Ben is someone who is ready to invest in the people of Mississippi and Bulldogs everywhere, while bringing championship basketball back to the Hump. Mississippi State basketball can compete at the highest level, just as several of our other teams have done in recent years, and I’m excited to have coach Howland lead us back to that level.”

    NCAA Basketball: Duke at St. JohnCHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Pac-12 and the ACC are flying high in this NCAA Tournament, while the Big East got hit hard on Saturday and is now down to just one representative.

    From the Pac-12, UCLA, Arizona and Utah all won on Saturday to advance to the Sweet 16 and are a collective 7-0 in the Big Dance. If No. 8 Oregon upsets No. 1 Wisconsin in the West on Sunday, the Pac-12 would be 8-0 with four teams in the Sweet 16.

    “It speaks volumes for how our league is,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said.

    IMG_1374By JACK LeGWIN

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla.– North Carolina is headed to the Sweet 16 with an 87-78 win over Arkansas behind 20 second-half points from point guard Marcus Paige.

    They will face the winner of Wisconsin and Oregon in Los Angeles on Thursday.

    Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams said that while this year has brought a great deal of heartache, getting a big win over a quality team and getting to the Sweet 16 does help.

    “Losing Coach [Dean] Smith, losing Ted Seagroves, my big-time buddy, Stuart Scott, the stuff that we’ve had going on, Mitch Kupchak’s daughter, it’s been a hard year, it really has,” Williams said. “I probably acted sillier in the locker room after this game than I have in quite a while. I’m going to try to enjoy the dickens out of this one for a while tonight.”

    Williams won his 65th NCAA Tournament game, which tied him for second all-time behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.

    North Carolina also helped the ACC improve to 9-0 in the tournament.

    Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 9.36.15 PMBy JACK LeGWIN

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla.– It’s hard to write the story that Xavier has scripted for itself in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

    With their 75-67 win over Georgia State here on Saturday, the No. 6 Musketeers advanced to face No. 2 Arizona on Thursday in the Sweet 16 in Los Angeles.

    Arizona, of course, is led by former Xavier head coach Sean Miller, and the Wildcats earlier beat Ohio State and another former Xavier head coach in Thad Matta, 73-58.

    “As far as playing Sean, it’s really tough,” Mack said. “But Sean gave me a heck of an opportunity to come back to my alma mater. He put a lot of responsibility and trust in me.”

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