Roundup: Full slate of men's and women's March Madness
Make the Pac-12 2-0 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament after Arizona took down North Dakota 100-82 to set up a second-round date with Saint Mary’s, and Greg Hansen writes that Lauri Markkanen saved the Wildcats from a potential upset bid by scoring 20 points and getting a quick 16 when the Fighting Hawks were putting up a serious fight.
UCLA is preparing for 14th-seeded Kent State Friday in Sacramento, and UCLA head coach Steve Alford “sidestepped” questions about whether he is interested in the Indiana job (Indianapolis Star). Tom Crean was fired from his post as Hoosiers head roundball coach on Thursday, leading many to speculate that the former Hoosier Alford would be in the running for the gig. Oh, and did you see Russell Westbrook’s half-court bounce pass through the legs of Cory Joseph of the Toronto Raptors? Unbelievable pass, and just another triple-double for Russell (Yahoo Sports).
Zach Helfand of the Los Angeles Times looks at how USC and SMU match up as the two get ready for a round-of-64 battle. The Trojans beat the Horsies 78-73 in November at the Galen Center.
As the third-seeded Ducks get ready for Iona, Andrew Greif profiles Oregon men’s basketball coach Dana Altman and details the path that brought him all sorts of success and took him to Eugene, beginning with his junior college roots. Very solid stuff from Greif.
The NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament gets underway Friday, and Gina Mizell tells us about Oregon State’s historic senior class getting ready to make one last NCAA Tournament run. The class of Sydney Wiese, Gabby Hanson, Kolbie Orum and Breanna Brown is the first class in school history to go to the NCAA tourney all four years. No. 15 Long Beach State is the first-round opponent for the Beavs Friday.
Stanford swimmer Katie Ledecky broke her own NCAA and U.S. record in the 500 freestyle at the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis on Thursday, clocking in with a time of 4:24.06.
Meanwhile, Cal women’s swimming won the 200-yard free relay NCAA title with a time of 1:25.59. Abbey Weitzeil, Maddy Murphy, Amy Bilquist and Farida Osman doin’ work.
Perhaps some gamesmanship from the Red Rocks? With the Pac-12 Gymnastics Championships coming Saturday, Utah gymnastics coach Megan Marsden says UCLA should win the Pac-12 title “easily,” what with their four Olympians and all.
Mike Rutherford of SB Nation takes a look at what the firing of Lorenzo Romar might mean for the future of Washington men’s basketball and whether or not the Huskies will be able to hold on to Michael Porter Jr., the No. 1 player in the class of 2017.
Read Brian Howell’s gamer from Colorado defeating UNLV 66-52 in a WNIT first-round game behind 23 points from Kennedy Leonard and 16 from Alexis Robinson. Up next for the Buffs is a second-round date at South Dakota State on Sunday at 1 p.m. MT/noon MT. Perhaps the Buffs can make a trip to scoreboard-maker supreme Daktronics while they’re out in Brookings.
And props to Washington State for beating BYU 72-64 in its WNIT opener, overcoming a 12-point halftime deficit in Provo (Chet Broberg, CougCenter).
Jeff Metcalfe provides us with an Arizona State football spring practice report from Thursday. ‘Twas the second spring practice of the year for the Sun Devils.