— Southern Utah 89, Utah Valley 88— Thunderbirds trailed by 23 with 15:42 left in game; they scored 37 points in last 10:00, and now advance to play Grand Canyon is finals of WAC tourney tonight. Grand Canyon knocked off #1-seed Sam Houston State 78-75 Friday, making 16 of 30 shots on the arc.
— Marist 69, Saint Peter’s 57— Red Foxes came into MAAC tournament on a 3-10 skid, but they’ve won three games this week, giving up only 55.3 ppg. Marist hasn’t been to the NCAA’s since 1987; they play #1-seed Iona today- they’ll be a big underdog.
— UAB 76, North Texas 69— Blazers jumped out to a 22-2 lead, coasted home; they play #1-seed Florida Atlantic Saturday. 30-3 FAU is likely in the NCAA’s no matter what, but they’ll sleep better Saturday night if they beat the Blazers.
I’m not kidding about that; when I was the student manager of our basketball team in college, one year we were right on the bubble to get into the Division III tournament; waiting for that phone call was a very long Sunday (we got in thankfully).
— Toledo 82, Ohio U 75— Last three years, Toledo is 48-9 in MAC regular season games, but they haven’t won the MAC tournament since 1980, which was also the first year the MAC had a conference tournament. This is a good team that could give a higher seed fits next week, but first they have to beat Kent State in the MAC final Saturday.
Mountain West tournament
— Utah State 72, Boise State 62— Aggies started this week as a bubble team; they trailed this game 36-28 at halftime, but they outscored Boise 44-26 in second half, and word now on the Interweb is that Utah State will make the NCAA’s- their game with San Diego State Saturday can’t hurt their resume any.
— Vanderbilt 80, Kentucky 73— On February 1st, Vandy was 10-12; they lost a game to Alabama by 57 points (101-44). Since that loss, the Commodores are 10-1; there are mixed opinions as to whether Vandy will get in the tournament or not. They play Texas A&M today; win that game, and there will be very little doubt they’re getting in.
— Missouri 79, Tennessee 71— Vols are 5-7 in their last 12 games; their point guard is out for the year. Will be interesting to see where they’ll be seeded; they’re struggling right now.
Big East tournament
— Marquette 70, UConn 78— Rough day for the Hurley family; Danny Hurley’s team lost this game, Bobby Hurley’s Arizona State squad lost in the Pac-12 tournament.
Marquette has won eight games in a row, the last three by 2-2-2 points. They started five sophomores Saturday; their subs were three freshmen and another soph. If Shaka Smart can keep all those kids from bolting elsewhere, Marquette will be even better next season.
Big West tournament
Cal-Fullerton 83, Cal-Irvine 80— Titans made 10-17 on arc, knock off #1-seed Anteaters in a terrific game to watch. 70 possessions, lot of pace with good shooting. Fullerton has won the Big West tournament twice in last four years; they play UCSB Saturday. Big West’s level of play has improved a lot this season.
Big 14 tournament
— I have trouble listening to broadcasts on the Big 14 Network; their announcers are such shills. Some guy was touting Ohio State as “the 14th best team in country since February 1st”. WTF???
Ohio State went thru a 1-14 skid this season; they’ve rallied to win three games this week in the conference tournament, but when you’re touting a 16-18 team for postseason play, its time to stop talking, You lose your credibility.
— Penn State 67, Northwestern 65 OT— Wildcats had two players bolt their program last spring, one to Duke, one to North Carolina. What were the odds that Northwestern would make the NCAA’s this season, while North Carolina wouldn’t? Go figure.
— Houston 60, East Carolina 46— This is the last time Jim Nantz will announce the Final Four; he is a Houston alum, the Cougars will be a #1-seed and the Final Four is in Houston. Anyone out there think they won’t make the Final Four?
Elsewhere in the world………
— Chicago Bears traded the #1 pick in next month’s draft to Carolina; in exchange, they get:
Carolina’s 1st round pick this year (#9 pick)
Carolina’s 2nd round pick (pick #61)
Carolina’s 1st round pick in 2024
Carolina’s 2nd round pick in 2025
WR DJ Moore
Seeing how Chicago already has a young QB (Justin Fields) and how a lot of pundits don’t think this year’s crop of college QB’s is that good, consensus was that the Bears won this trade.
— This is the 7th time since 1990 that a team traded up for the #1 pick:
2016— Rams traded up for QB Jared Goff
2001— Falcons traded up for QB Michael Vick
1997— Rams traded up for OT Orlando Pace, a Hall of Famer
1995— Bengals traded up for RB Ki-Jana Carter
1991— Cowboys traded up for DT Russell Maryland
1990— Colts traded up for QB Jeff George
— Sad news in baseball; former big league OF Jesus Alou passed away at age 80. One of three brothers who all played in the major leagues— they once started a game in the same outfield for the Giants, in 1963 against the Pirates.
Later on, all three brothers played for the A’s, at one time or another. Jesus Alou helped the A’s win World Series in 1973 and 1974.
On July 10, 1964, Jesus Alou went 6-6 in a game against the Cubs; reader Glen points out that he got the six hits against six different pitchers, which couldn’t have happened very many times.