NCAA

The Cuonzo Martin Era at Cal a legacy of incompleteness

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USATI

The Cuonzo Martin Era at Cal a legacy of incompleteness

Cuonzo Martin is leaving California, either for the greener currency and greater term (seven years) at Missouri. He wasted fewer than 15 hours since the Golden Bears’ embarrassing NIT beating by Cal State Bakersfield to tell his players he’s three and done.
 
Three, as in years, making Martin the shortest tenured coach in 97 at Berkeley and abruptly ending a stage in his career that never quite fit anyone right.
 
Martin’s last act, if it is such, was watching his team lay down against Cal State Bakersfield in the first round of the NIT Tuesday night. Without Ivan Rabb (knee/NIT-it is) or Jabari Bird (concussion), their fleeting incentive against the Jackrabbits fled, and they went down with a thudding bad-jumper-laden ignominy.
 
But Martin was never an entirely cheery fit in Berkeley anyway. Between the school’s initial reluctance to give a formalized contract (he finally got one, and then an extension that takes him to 2020-21), and the general lack of atmospherics around the program despite three consecutive winning seasons, his time has been (on the verge of was) less than electric.
 
When compared to his essentially laudatory character and work improving the program’s academic profile, that would seem only mildly relevant, but at Cal, where the financial wolf always seems to be in close proximity to the door, deep tournament runs and a powerhouse football program would seem to be more necessity than luxury. 
 
And the truth is that Martin needed a greater sense of surety than Cal could provide, and Cal needed that cash-fueled electricity – electricity that the successful recruitment of Rabb and Jaylen Brown (a one-and-done now with the Boston Celtics) couldn’t seem to accomplish. Martin’s 62-39 record in three years is leavened by first round losses in each of the past two seasons, to Hawaii in NCAA Tournament in 2016 and Tuesday night, and both years the customers expected more. Expectations, after all, remain undefeated no matter where you go.
 
The alternate truth is that Missouri, which just canned Kim Anderson after the three worst years in half a century of Missouri basketball is a qualitatively and quantitatively better job with higher energy levels and expectation demands.
 
Cal athletic director Mike Williams said in the school press release that Martin had “a strong desire to move closer to home,” and while that could be either his childhood home in East St. Louis, his coaching home in Missouri or his last job at Tennessee (the Southeastern Conference), the money is also reportedly much better – perhaps by as much as 50 percent.
 
That he didn’t engage Cal about a potential extension is an indication that he (a) either knew that a year after his last one he was probably not going to get it, or more likely (b) that he just wanted out despite having four more years on his current contract.
 
In other words, there are jobs and then there are jobs, and in the college basketball diaspora, Cal is mostly just another job – successful, but not successful enough to change the school’s essential football-first profile or the area’s pro-sport-first profile. And while Cal has to figure out how to get around UCLA, Oregon and Arizona, Missouri has to figure out how to get around Kentucky, which has the strength of three programs on its own.

And in other other words, there are contracts and there are contracts. Cal is still not a high profile revenue generator as major programs go, and has been debt-strapped for years now. Missouri, on the other hand, essentially emptied out for Martin, and that talks just as loud.
 
His legacy? A .613 winning percentage, two postseason losses (Hawaii in the NCAAs a year ago and the CS Bakersfield debacle), two five-star recruits that could have changed the program, and a legacy of incompleteness that reveals Cal’s essential big-time-athletics flaw.
 
There are at least 50 athletics programs which are much bigger, and that is not likely to ever change.

NCAA Tournament schedule 2019: Bracket, dates, times for 68-team field

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USATSI

NCAA Tournament schedule 2019: Bracket, dates, times for 68-team field

The 2019 NCAA Tournament field was announced Sunday, with Duke, Virginia, North Carolina and Gonzaga earning the four No. 1 seeds.

The tournament will have a definite Northern California flavor, as Mississippi State, Liberty, Virginia Tech, Saint Louis, Wisconsin, Oregon, Kansas State and UC Irvine all will play their first-round games in San Jose. Additionally, the West Coast Conference champion Saint Mary's Gaels earned a No. 11 seed, and will face No. 6 Villanova in Hartford, Conn.

Below are the matchups, game days and scheduled start times for each first-round game. Let the bracket-filling commence!

EAST REGION
At Columbia, S.C.
No. 1 Duke vs. No. 16 NC Central/North Dakota State -- Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT
No. 8 VCU vs. No. 9 UCF -- Friday, March 22 at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT

At San Jose, Calif.
No. 5 Mississippi State vs. No. 12 Liberty -- Friday, March 22 at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT
No. 4 Virginia Tech vs. No. 13 Saint Louis -- Friday, March 22 at 9:55 p.m. ET/6:55 p.m. PT

At Jacksonville, Fla.
No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 Belmont/Temple -- Thursday, March 21 at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT
No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Yale -- Thursday, March 21 at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT

At Des Moines, Iowa
No. 7 Louisville vs. No. 10 Minnesota -- Thursday, March 21 at Noon ET/9 a.m. PT
No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 15 Bradley -- Thursday, March 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT

SOUTH REGION
At Columbia, S.C.

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 16 Gardner-Webb -- Friday, March 22 at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT
No. 8 Ole Miss vs. No. 9 Oklahoma -- Friday, March 22 at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT

At San Jose, Calif.
No. 5 Wisconsin vs. No. 12 Oregon -- Friday, March 22 at 4:20 p.m. ET/1:20 p.m. PT
No. 4 Kansas State vs. No. 13 UC Irvine -- Friday, March 22 at 1:50 p.m. ET/10:50 a.m. PT

At Hartford, Conn.
No. 6 Villanova vs. No. 11 Saint Mary's -- Thursday, March 21 at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT
No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 14 Old Dominion -- Thursday, March 21 at 9:45 p.m. ET/6:45 p.m. PT

At Columbus, Ohio
No. 7 Cincinnati vs. No. 10 Iowa -- Friday, March 22 at Noon ET/9 a.m. PT
No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 15 Colgate -- Friday, March 22 at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT

MIDWEST REGION
At Columbus, Ohio
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 16 Iona -- Friday, March 22 at 9:15 p.m. ET/6:15 p.m. PT
No. 8 Utah State vs. No. 9 Washington -- Friday, March 22 at 6:45 p.m. ET/3:45 p.m. PT

At Salt Lake City, Utah
No. 5 Auburn vs. No. 12 New Mexico State -- Thursday, March 21 at 1:20 p.m. ET/10:20 a.m. PT
No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Northeastern -- Thursday, March 21 at 3:50 p.m. ET/12:50 p.m. ET

At Tulsa, Okla.
No. 6 Iowa State vs. No. 11 Ohio State -- Friday, March 22 at 9:45 p.m. ET/6:45 p.m. PT
No. 3 Houston vs. No. 14 Georgia State -- Friday, March 22 at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT

At Jacksonville, Fla.
No. 7 Wofford vs. No. 10 Seton Hall -- Thursday, March 21 at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT
No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 15 Abilene Christian -- Thursday, March 21 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT

WEST REGION
At Salt Lake City, Utah
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson/Prairie View A&M -- Thursday, March 21 at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT
No. 8 Syracuse vs. No. 9 Baylor -- Thursday, March 21 at 9:55 p.m. ET/6:55 p.m. PT

At Hartford, Conn.
No. 5 Marquette vs. No. 12 Murray State -- Thursday, March 21 at 4:20 p.m. ET/1:20 p.m. PT
No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 Vermont -- Thursday, March 21 at 1:50 p.m. ET/10:50 a.m. PT

At Tulsa, Okla.
No. 6 Buffalo vs. No. 11 Arizona State/St. John's -- Friday, March 22 at 3:50 p.m. ET/12:50 p.m. PT
No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 14 Northern Kentucky -- Friday, March 22 at 1:20 p.m. ET/10:20 a.m. PT

At Des Moines, Iowa
No. 7 Nevada vs. No. 10 Florida -- Thursday, March 21 at 6:45 p.m. ET/3:45 p.m. PT
No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 15 Montana -- Thursday, March 21 at 9:15 p.m. ET/6:15 p.m. PT

Quinnen Williams, possible Raiders draft target, misses mark in Alabama's loss

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USATSI

Quinnen Williams, possible Raiders draft target, misses mark in Alabama's loss

SANTA CLARA -- Quinnen Williams proved Monday night that he can talk a big game, even if he doesn’t play one.

The Alabama defensive tackle, whom many project to be a top-five pick if he leaves school for the 2019 NFL draft, didn’t exactly show out in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi’s Stadium. The redshirt sophomore finished with just four total tackles (three solo, one assist) and 1.5 for loss.

Williams went relatively unnoticed in Clemson’s 44-16 rout, except for this first-quarter stop that showcased his power.

Williams, who entered the game tied for second on the Crimson Tide with eight sacks this season, didn’t register any noticeable pass rush -- to be fair, no one on Alabama did -- as the Tigers handily won the title.

Still, Williams wasn’t that impressed by what he saw from the now-national champions.

“They really didn’t do anything that caught us off guard,” Williams said. “We knew everything that was coming. They ran zone. They ran go routes, 50-50 balls.

“[Clemson QB] Trevor Lawrence threw the ball, and it looked like he put it on the money. He didn’t drop dimes, none of that. He threw it up, and the receivers made plays. All the respect to the receivers.”

While Williams later called Lawrence “good,” his comments were reminiscent of his pre-Orange Bowl words on Kyler Murray, when he smartly stopped himself from criticizing Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. Williams showed no such restraint this time, and while you could chalk it up to the hurt of losing a national title game, NFL teams surely will ask him in pre-draft interviews about how he'll handle such situations.

As for his NFL draft status, Williams didn’t want to say much, claiming he really hadn’t thought about the possibility of turning pro after the season.

“I don’t know yet, man,” he said. “I got to go home, watch this film first, get with my teammates and let them know, man, everything.”

New Raiders general manager Mike Mayock, whose team has been linked to Williams with the No. 4 overall pick in numerous mock drafts, saw the defensive tackle in person Monday. Whether he liked what he saw or heard remains to be seen over the next three months.