NCAA

Griner and Ogwumike finally to square off

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Griner and Ogwumike finally to square off

This is how big Brittney Griner is and we dont just mean her 6-foot-8 height, 7-foot-4 wingspan and 9-foot-2 reach.

Shes so big that she dwarfs RGIII Robert Griffin III, the reigning Heisman trophy winner - making him only the second biggest athlete at Baylor.

That will change. In a few weeks, RGIII will be wealthier than Griner will probably ever be, when he becomes the second pick in the NFL Draft. If he succeeds in the NFL, hell be king.

But for now, hes Griners caddy. He texted Baylor coach Kim Mulkey and told her hes coming to Denver this weekend to cheer on Griner and her teammates in the Final Four against Stanford. RGIII will probably be hoping she can throw down another two handed jam in transition again.

Can Nneka Ogwumike counter with Andrew Luck?

RELATED: Stanford's Ogwumike sisters eager to face Griner

Ogwumike is a superstar in her own right a player who has helped Stanford get to the Final Four in every year that shes worn a Cardinal uniform. Shed be the shoo-in for the national player of the year if it wasnt for you-know-who.

But Nneka isnt the biggest thing on her campus: Luck is because hes s almost as unusual in his own right as Griner: a superstar Stanford football player has been almost as rare as a woman hoopster with 88-inches between her outstretched fingers. On the other hand, a player like Ogwumike is what we expect out of Tara VanDerveers program, which churns out player of the year candidates and Final Four berths like theyre undergrad requirements.

Griner and Ogwumike are the headliners of an intriguing womens Final Four: all four No. 1 seeds are in the finals for only the second time in history. And none are the defending champion: Texas A&M was knocked out along the way.

The other semifinal is as exciting as holding yet another Republican debate: this will be the eighth time in two seasons that Notre Dame and UConn have played each other. UConn holds a 4-3 lead, thanks to its win in the Big East final earlier this month.

Stanford and Baylor, in contrast, havent played each other since Griner has been in a Baylor uniform. Its an unfamiliar matchup, but an intriguing one, between the two best players in the country.

Griner has everyone talking: not just because she is so tall and skilled, or because she can dunk, but she brings an edge. She punched a girl in the face when she was a freshman. On Monday, she jumped off the bench when a fight broke out between her teammate and a Tennessee player and ended up being ejected from the game.

She brings some controversy, Van Derveer said. I think it brings a lot of good attention to the game. People are paying attention to whats going on in Denver.

RGIII will be. Andrew Luck should show up, to level the playing field.

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

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AP

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

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AP

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.

THE TAKEAWAY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.

UP NEXT

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.