NCAA

Saint Mary’s moves up one spot in latest AP Top 25 poll

gaels-us.jpg
USATSI

Saint Mary’s moves up one spot in latest AP Top 25 poll

Villanova held onto its impressive lead as the No. 1 team in The Associated Press' college basketball poll.

The Wildcats (11-0) are on top for a third straight week receiving 56 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel.

UCLA remained ranked second with three No. 1 votes. Kansas, Baylor (which got the other six first-place votes), Duke and Kentucky remained third through sixth for a third consecutive week.

Gonzaga moved up one spot to seventh while North Carolina, which lost 103-100 to Kentucky on Saturday, dropped one place to eighth.

Creighton and Louisville moved up one spot each to round out the top 10.

West Virginia was 11th followed by Virginia, Butler, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana, Xavier, Arizona, Saint Mary's and Oregon.

The last five teams are Florida State, South Carolina, Southern California, Cincinnati and Notre Dame.

Butler's 83-78 victory over Indiana gave the Bulldogs the week's biggest jump, from 18th to No. 13. The loss dropped Indiana from ninth to No. 16.

South Carolina's 67-64 loss to Seton Hall saw the Gamecocks fall from 16th to No. 22.

There is only one double-ranked this week but it means an awful lot to the people of a certain commonwealth as No. 6 Kentucky visits No. 10 Louisville on Wednesday.

Jim Harbaugh vows he'll remain Michigan coach, not plotting NFL return

harbaugh-jim-us.jpg
USATSI

Jim Harbaugh vows he'll remain Michigan coach, not plotting NFL return

Jim Harbaugh is being proactive in addressing the rumors this year: No, he isn’t leaving Michigan to return to the NFL, he says.

"I can't be any more clear about this -- it's not true," the former 49ers coach told ESPN’s Adam Schefter this weekend. "I'm not going anywhere."

Harbaugh’s success in San Francisco -- a 44-19-1 record and a Super Bowl berth in four seasons (2011-14) -- leads some to speculate each year that an NFL return could be in the cards. Harbaugh hinted that chatter could be planted by others to hurt him in recruiting players to Michigan, where he's 38-13 in four seasons as coach.

"This is a choreographed message that comes up at this time every year before signing day," Harbaugh said. "It's people spreading messages to further their own personal agenda.”

Harbaugh played quarterback at Michigan in the mid-1980s. Schefter, the reporter, also is a Michigan alum.

FL teams that need an offensive-minded coach who can develop a young QB surely will inquire about Harbaugh’s availability, though. For example, should the Arizona Cardinals, who’ve struggled to a 3-9 record, decide one season with coach Steve Wilks is enough, they certainly could consider Harbaugh and the impact he’d have on rookie QB Josh Rosen.

That would mean seeing Harbaugh and his signature pleated khakis on the Levi’s Stadium sideline once per season. Not sure how 49ers fans would feel about that.

Heisman Trophy voting 2018: Why Kyler Murray won college football's top honor

Heisman Trophy voting 2018: Why Kyler Murray won college football's top honor

Everyone knew Kyler Murray was a great college football player. But his Big 12 Championship Game performance, along with Tua Tagovailoa's SEC title game struggles, showed he was the best college football player, thus worthy of the 2018 Heisman Trophy.

Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples shared a graphic that revealed Tagovailoa received the majority of Heisman votes made before and during the conference championship games, but Murray cleaned up after all was said and done.

It makes sense that the majority of Heisman voters who waited to cast their ballots picked Murray. The Oklahoma quarterback completed 25 of 34 passes for 379 yards and three touchdowns last week in a 39-27 win over Texas that pushed the Sooners into the College Football Playoff field.

Tagovailoa, meanwhile, struggled for Alabama, going 10-of-25 passing for 164 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions before leaving the SEC Championship Game against Georgia with an injury. Jalen Hurts relieved Tagovailoa and rallied the Crimson Tide to a 35-28 win that kept them in the CFP field.

Of course, the A's, who voted for Murray to play baseball by drafting him last summer, hope he sticks with his original plan. Or, at the minimum, pull a Bo Jackson and play both sports.