Friday, March 11, 2011
Posted: 11:24 p.m. Updated: 11:42 p.m.
NEW YORK (AP) Preston Knowles, despite playing the final 10 minutes of regulation and overtime with four fouls, scored 20 points to rally No. 14 Louisville to an 83-77 victory over No. 4 Notre Dame on Friday night and a spot in the championship game of the Big East tournament.The third-seeded Cardinals (25-8) will face ninth-seeded and 21st-ranked Connecticut, which advanced with a 76-71 overtime win over Syracuse.It is the first time both Big East semifinals went to overtime and this was the third extra-session game of the tournament, matching the record.The overtime was certainly nothing new to these teams as six of their last 10 games have gone to the extra 5 minutes, including this season's meeting, an 87-79 Notre Dame win on Feb. 9.Ben Hansbrough, the conference player of the year, struggled through one of his worst games of the season for the Irish (26-6), who had won 12 of 13. The senior guard finished 3 of 16 from the field for 13 points and had six turnovers.Peyton Siva, who also played the final 10 minutes and overtime with four fouls, had 15 points and seven assists for the Cardinals, who will be seeking their second title, having won it in 2009.Connecticut will be looking for its seventh title, which would tie Georgetown for the most ever. The last time the Huskies won the tournament was in 2004.Notre Dame ended the first half on a 13-5 run to take a 46-32 lead. The largest halftime deficit overcome for a tournament game win was 15 points by Syracuse in a 58-57 semifinal win over Georgetown.Louisville had its 14-point deficit wiped out by taking advantage of a terrible second half of shooting by the Irish.Notre Dame shot 56.7 percent from the field (17 of 30) in the first half. The Irish managed to go just 6 of 22 in the second 20 minutes (27.3 percent) and then 2 of 6 in the extra 5 minutes. They finished 25 of 58 overall (43.1 percent), including 8 of 24 from 3-point range.Knowles tied the game at 66 with 2:47 left in overtime. His tip-in of his own jumper gave Louisville a 70-68 lead with 1:52 to go and then his jumper with 1:02 left gave the Cardinals a 72-70 lead.Carleton Scott tied the game at 72 with 46 seconds left and both teams missed a chance at taking the lead late in regulation, Notre Dame's a 3-point attempt by Hansbrough with 3 seconds to go.It was Knowles again who gave Louisville the lead in the overtime for the final time with two free throws with 3:57 to play. Notre Dame managed just two points the rest of the way, keeping the Irish from their first ever championship game appearance.Terrence Jennings, Louisville's center who played the final 9:30 of regulation and overtime with four fouls, had 16 points.Scott Martin led Notre Dame with 21 points and eight rebounds, and Tim Abromaitis added 16 points.Complete Recap Boxscore
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Illinois basketball has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2013 and has endured losing records in three of the last four seasons. However, things are looking up for the Fighting Illini.
Three straight Big Ten wins have the Illini 4-2 in the league, good for second place and the No. 24 spot in the latest AP poll. It’s the first time the Illini have been ranked since Dec. 2014.
Coach Brad Underwood went 26-39 in his first two seasons in charge, but things have turned around this season. A win against Michigan on Dec. 11 gave the Illini a marquee win, but losses to Missouri and Michigan State followed soon after. The current three-game winning streak has featured a blowout win against Purdue, a one-point win at Wisconsin and a three-point win against a surprisingly good Rutgers team.
Illinois’ RPI is currently 42 so they’re far from a lock to get in the tournament, but the Illini are in good shape as of now. The last season the Illini were ranked, they had to settle for an NIT bid.
Chicago native and Morgan Park High School product Ayo Dosunmu leads the team with 15.5 points per game.
Bulls rookie guard Coby White has talent, an infectious smile and an afro that makes him stand out on the court. It’s a fair bet he could have made some money off his likeness while he played at North Carolina if the rules allowed it.
The NCAA is taking steps towards allowing its athletes to do so, but there’s still a long way to go in the process. The organization’s Board of Governors unanimously voted to start the process. That vote moves things to the NCAA’s three divisions “to consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies,” as it was worded in the NCAA's press release.
“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael V. Drake, the chair of the board and president of Ohio State. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”
The board asked each division (Division I, Division II, Division III) to make any new rules immediately and no later than January 2021.
It’s important to note that none of the changes are final, or even imminent. It’s still relevant that the NCAA is going through the process at all, after being so strongly in favor of amateurism across the board for its student-athletes.
The potential changes would not allow for compensation based on performance or participation in a sport. Of course, the natural grey area is that higher performing athletes will be more marketable so they would be compensated on performance indirectly.
This comes after California passed legislation to allow college athletes to receive endorsement/sponsorship money and other states are pursuing similar.
This is still far from being official or finalized, but it will continue to be a major story in college sports over the next couple years.