Louisville joins ACC; UVA staying put?


Louisville joins ACC; UVA staying put?

Another week, another change to the Atlantic Coast Conference dance card. After founding member Maryland recently two-stepped its way to the Big Ten, the ACC once again sashayed over to the Big East for its latest addition, announcing on Wednesday that basketball-heavyweight Louisville would becomes the conference's 14th member. The Cardinals, coached on the hoops side by Rick Pitino, are the seventh program to bail on the once-mighty Big East conference in the last 18 months and the seventh to Big East school to joint the ACC since 2003-04.

Louisville reportedly beat out Connecticut and Cincinnati in the race to fill Maryland's vacated - and still warm - slot. However, don't think for a second the game of conference realignment musical chairs is over. The Big Ten, Southeastern Conference and Big 12 are all reportedly on the hunt for more schools, looking to swell its membership to 16 because this is how things are done these days. Super, gigantic, mega conferences or bust, so the mantra appears.

Various reports have the Big Ten eying other ACC schools including North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Virginia. In his attempt to tamp down any speculation, Virginia's Athletic Director Craig Littlepage issued a statement Tuesday night before the ACC school President's voted on the latest round of expansion.

"During the past week there have been numerous reports and rumors linking the University of Virginia to interest in membership in other athletic conferences,' Littlepage said. "Due to the recent changes that have taken place with conference realignment around the nation, I think it is important for us to put an end to this speculation as it relates to UVa.

"The University of Virginia is a proud member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Neither representatives of the athletics department, nor President Teresa Sullivan, has received invitations to nor sought membership in other conferences. The ACC's commitment to its members and their student-athletes is the finest in the country. We look forward to continuing this relationship far into the future. Our goal is to continue supporting the ACC and its initiatives for long-term success.

"I have expressed this stance to ACC Commissioner John Swofford, and I want to take this opportunity to express that same commitment to our alumni, fans, supporters, student-athletes and coaches. We firmly stand behind the Atlantic Coast Conference."

North Carolina also made similar claims this week of wanting to stick with the ACC. We'll see about that. In the meantime, the ACC is suing Maryland following last week's conference changing announcement. Guess there are $50 million reasons why we knew this was coming. Getting Virginia and any other program thinking about jumping ship attention's, also a factor.

Back to Louisville. Considering the program's national championship hoops history and current Final Four contender status under Pitino, the swap with Maryland is hardly a downgrade (should Pitino return to his vagabond coaching roots and bail in the near future, and Mark Turgeon keep recruiting like his life depends on it, then we might have to revisit the exchange rate).

Obviously that's not the case with the television markets. Losing the Washington-Baltimore region is going to sting for the ACC, but Louisville represented the best of the remaining options (if Jim Calhoun remained in coaching perhaps Connecticut could have made such a claim). As for the football, kind of eh on both sides, though Louisville figures to have a greater chance for success in the ACC then Maryland will in the Big Ten.

Since 2003-04, seven schools have left the Big East for the ACC; Virginia Tech, Miami, Boston College, Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame (football only) and now, Louisville. Considering the final four names on that list remain in the Big East for now, the conference will have its own Big East-ACC challenge on an almost nightly basis. So, there's that.

Speaking of the Big East, the conference this week announced Tulane's addition as a full-time member with East Carolina joining for football only. Good luck with that.

No. 16 UMBC shocks No. 1 Virginia to make NCAA history

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No. 16 UMBC shocks No. 1 Virginia to make NCAA history

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Senior guard Jairus Lyles scored 28 points, and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County pulled off the most shocking upset in NCAA Tournament history, defeating Virginia 75-54 on Friday night to become the first No. 16 seed ever to beat a No. 1 seed.

Virginia entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed after going 31-2 this season, including 20-1 in ACC competition.

But the Cavaliers couldn't get anything generated on offense and the nation's top-ranked defense couldn't contain American East Conference champions.

The 74 points were the most Virginia had allowed this year.

Lyles was the catalyst.

He diced up Virginia's defense in the second half, getting the hole easily on six different occasions and making easy layups. He also knocked down a pair of 3-pointers as UMBC built a 16-point lead.

Lyles finished with 23 of his points in the second half and Joe Sherburne finished with 14 points.

The game was tied at halftime, but the Retrievers came out confident and motivated in the second half and built a double-digit lead that Virginia could never erase.

Sherburne scored on an and-one drive and then knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key after a behind-the-back pass from KJ Maura. After Virginia made a foul shot, the shifty 5-foot-8, 140-pound Maura drove the lane for uncontested layup.

A Tony Bennett timeout couldn't stop the bleeding, as Lyles hit two more 3's and Sherburne hit one to extend UMBC's lead to 14 with 14:57 left in the game. Lyles was fouled on a 3-point shot and suddenly the Retrievers led by 16.

A corner 3-pointer and a layups off a fastbreak by Arkel Lamer gave UMBC its biggest lead at 67-48. From there, the party was on as chants of "UMBC" rang through the arena.

It was yet another early exit for the Cavaliers in a season that seemed to hold so much promise.


UMBC: Despite being undersized and unknown, they shocked the world and made history with an epic game.

Virginia: This isn't the first time Virginia has struggled as the No. 1 seed. The Cavaliers trailed by five at halftime in 2014 to Coastal Carolina but went on to win 70-59.


UMBC: Will face No. 9 seed Kansas State on Sunday in the second round.

Virginia upsets Cal, grabs first Women's NCAA Tourney win since '09


Virginia upsets Cal, grabs first Women's NCAA Tourney win since '09

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Dominique Toussaint hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1:08 to go and No. 10 seed held off seventh-seeded Cal 68-62 in the Albany Regional for its first women's NCAA Tournament win in nine years on Friday.

Felicia Aiyeotan led the Cavaliers (19-13) with 16 points, just her second game in double figures since Jan. 7.


Cal had a streak of seven straight first-round NCAA wins entering the game, but played without leading scorer and rebounder Kristine Anigwe, who was medically ruled out after missing a morning shoot-around. The team would not detail what was wrong with the 6-foot-4 junior.

No doubt Anigwe's absence gave Virginia and especially the 6-9 Aiyeotan room to move down low. Aiyeotan was 5-of-5 in the final two quarters as Virginia moved in front.

The Cavaliers will take on the winner of No. 2 seed South Carolina -- coached by the most famous female in Virginia athletics, Dawn Staley -- or No. 15 seeded North Carolina A&T.

Despite missing Anigwe, Cal appeared ready to take control as they scored the first two baskets of the third quarter to move in front 35-30. That's when Virginia went on a 20-8 run to lead 50-43.

Cal was not done, though, as Asha Thomas and Kianna Smith combined to score 12 straight points in the fourth quarter. Thomas' foul shot tied things at 57-all with 1:53 to play.

On Virginia's next time down court, Toussaint struck from the left side of the arc for her go ahead shot. Smith cut things to one with her basket a moments later before Aiyeotan was alone once more for an uncontested basket to restore the Cavaliers margin.

Cal could not respond.


It was Virginia's first NCAA Tournament victory since defeating Marist, 68-61, in the opening round in 2009. The Cavaliers had not been back to the tournament since 2010.

For Cal, it was the latest disappointing postseason showing.

The Golden Bears have only been past the second round one time in coach Lindsay Gottlieb's six tournament appearances when they reached the Final Four in 2013.

Jocelyn Willoughby had 13 points and Aliyah Huland El 12 for Virginia.

Smith led Cal with 20 points while Thomas added 17.


Virginia: The Cavaliers turned up their defense in the final two quarters to overcome Cal's hot start. The Golden Bears had 14 of their 20 turnovers in the final 20 minutes. Virginia will need that kind of effort if they hope to go further in the Albany Regional.

Cal: The Golden Bears needed more push from the rest of their starters with Anigwe out and did not get it. Mikayla Cowling and Penina Davidson, who combined for 17 points a game this season, were held to nine points on 4-of-15 shooting.