NCAA

First Four: Florida Gulf Coast, Wichita State dominate to advance

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First Four: Florida Gulf Coast, Wichita State dominate to advance

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DAYTON, Ohio -- Florida Gulf Coast showed once again that it can rise to the occasion in the NCAA Tournament.

It wasn't the same "Dunk City" gang that captured the nation's attention during an improbable Sweet 16 run in 2013, but the Eagles controlled the boards and blew past overmatched Fairleigh Dickinson 96-65 in a First Four game Tuesday night.

Marc-Eddy Norelia opened the game with a dunk, two of his 20 points on the night to lead the Eagles (21-13). FGCU never relinquished the lead, going on a 23-6 run in the first 10 minutes and opening a 40-19 lead at the half.

Fairleigh Dickinson got some looks but couldn't get much to fall, shooting just 33 percent from the field while playing thoroughly lackluster defense. It was one of the team's worst shooting performances of the season.

Florida Gulf Coast relied on outmuscling its opponent's big men inside and controlling the boards, while making 60 percent of its shots from the field.

"That's what got us here," Norelia said of the inside game. "Coach made the game plan and said we're going to do what we've been doing, and it worked for us."

Julian Debose and Christian Terrell both added 14 for Florida Gulf Coast, and Demetris Morant chipped in 10. After Norelia's opening slam, Brian Greene Jr. closed the scoring with a dunk for FGCU (see full recap).

Wichita State pulls away late to beat Vandy
DAYTON, Ohio -- Wichita State's guards used their Final Four experience to pull out a defense-dominated First Four game on Tuesday night, leading the way to a 70-50 victory over Vanderbilt.

Fred VanVleeet -- the two-time Missouri Valley player of the year -- scored 14 points, and Ron Baker also had 14 as Wichita State (25-8) took control at the start of the second half and held on. The seniors were part of Wichita State's 2013 Final Four team.

The Shockers play Arizona on Thursday in Providence, Rhode Island.

Vanderbilt (19-14) couldn't take advantage of its pronounced size advantage on offense and never led in the second half. Joe Toye and Riley LaChance had 10 apiece.

The Shockers returned three starters from the team that knocked off Indiana and Kansas to reach the Sweet 16 last year, drawing a No. 10 ranking in the preseason poll. A lot of early injuries -- including VanVleet's pulled hamstring -- forced the Shockers to reinvent themselves.

They got yet another setback on Tuesday when VanVleet left to get treated for a cut on the right side of his forehead only a few minutes into the game. He gave the Shockers a pep talk during the next timeout but stayed on the bench.

VanVleet got back into the game with 13:13 left in the half and hit a baseline jumper for his first points. Asked after the game if he would need stitches, he said, "No, I'm not a stitches guy, I don't do needles. I'll just butterfly (bandage) it up" (see full recap).

Sports Uncovered Podcast: How to listen to episode on Oregon football's uniform revolution

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NBC Sports

Sports Uncovered Podcast: How to listen to episode on Oregon football's uniform revolution

Forget about Chip Kelly for a second: When you think of the University of Oregon, you probably think of their uniforms.

Each season, the Ducks push jersey and helmet designs to new heights, and their trailblazing influence has trickled down throughout college athletics. It all started in the 1990s, when Oregon decided to get crazy - and it worked.

In the second episode of NBC Sports' "Sports Uncovered" podcast series, NBC Sports Northwest takes a deep dive into how Oregon sparked a fashion transformation across college football with a mascot change, and with unique Nike uniforms that helped push the program into the national college football coversation.

The episode features in-depth interviews with former Oregon football head coach Mike Bellotti, former Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington, and more.

The episode releases Thursday, June 11. You can listen to this episode and the entire "Sports Uncovered" series by subscribing for free wherever you listen to podcasts.

To catch every episode, be sure to subscribe to "Sports Uncovered" and have every episode automatically downloaded to your phone. Sports Uncovered is available on the MyTeams app and on every major podcasting platform: Apple, Google Podcast, iHeart, Stitcher, Spotify, and TuneIn

Listen and subscribe to the "Sports Uncovered" podcast:

Jay Wright talks Saddiq Bey, missing March Madness, Phillies

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USA Today Images

Jay Wright talks Saddiq Bey, missing March Madness, Phillies

It's been 12 days since Villanova's season ended abruptly due to the coronavirus crisis. Jay Wright held a video conference on Wednesday to discuss a number of topics. 

Here are the major takeaways from Wright's session with the media.  

This March is different

Villanova missed out on opportunities to win a fourth straight Big East Tournament and participate in the NCAA Tournament for the 15th time in the last 16 years. The Wildcats won eight of their final nine games to clinch a share of the Big East regular season title. Not having a chance to shine in the postseason stings. 

"Missing the NCAA Tournament is obviously tough for our guys," Wright said. "We felt like we were playing great basketball, coming on strong. I always say we want to play our best basketball at the end of the year, and I think we were doing that. It is what it is, our guys get it. 

"It's a great example of our mantra 'attitude'. We try to teach our guys that you don't have control over what happens in life. What you do have control of is your response to what happens to you. 

"I don't know if there's even been a March where I wasn't either in (the NCAA Tournament), watching it or recruiting during it. I'm testing myself on what else is there in me? Being a better father, being a better husband. Spending more time with the kids, watching more movies, reading more, trying to be more worldly. I'm not very good at it but I'm trying."

Will Saddiq Bey leave for the NBA? 

Arguably the biggest question concerning Wright's team heading into the offseason is will Saddiq Bey leave for the NBA or will he return for his junior season at Villanova? Wright mentioned that Bey was especially disappointed when this season was cut short. He realizes that he has a big decision to make on his future. Wright discussed Bey's future plans as well as freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who is also considered an NBA prospect. 

"The NBA is still on hold," Wright said. "They don't have a plan yet for what they're going to do with the pre-draft process or the draft yet. Saddiq and Jeremiah probably both will go through that process when we find out what it is. They're waiting on us for information, should they start working out? We're trying to get them as much information as possible. 

"If we were in a normal timeline, they would both go through the process. As we learn what the NBA is going to do there are so many possibilities. Just to take it to an extreme, there's a possibility they might not have a pre-draft process and just have the draft with no workouts, using the evaluations they had during the season. 

"We're communicating with both of them daily. Saddiq is having a tough time trying to find a place to work out in [his hometown] Washington D.C. He just got a gym to get into so he can shoot, he can't find a gym to get into to lift. Jeremiah is trying to find a place around here to get into to shoot."

2020 Summer Olympics postponed

Wright was supposed to spend a portion of his summer as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team in Tokyo. But with this week's announcement that the Olympics are postponed, his plans have changed. 

"It's the right decision," Wright said. "I feel bad for all of those athletes that it's once in a lifetime experience. I really feel bad for them. For basketball guys it's not as difficult. I talked with [U.S. head coach Greg Popovich] yesterday. It's postponed, obviously not cancelled, postponed until some time next spring or summer. There's a lot of questions there. They could do it late spring, when you might not have NBA players. If they did it in the summer maybe you do have NBA players. We have to wait for the IOC to make those decisions. 

"For us personally (at Villanova), it's kind of crazy because we thought we came up with this great plan. I was going to have to leave our offseason program for the Olympics. We had a plan to work around that, and now it doesn't matter. We'll be here in June and July. Now we don't even know if the players will be here. We worked so hard to put this plan in place for me being away and now it doesn't even matter."

Phillies season on hold

A Bucks County native, Wright is a huge Philadelphia sports fan. He had Phillies season tickets as a kid and is a regular at Citizens Bank Park during the summer months. Like all Phillies fans, he's disappointed the baseball season isn't starting this week.

"The end of the basketball season was always sobering," Wright said. "But what always saved us was the start of the Phillies. Opening Day and the start of baseball season in our family is a big deal. 

"We watch the spring training games, we'll even joke, 'Who do the Phillies play tonight?' It's really surreal. Spring time without baseball, especially the Phillies, is bizarre. It's really the way myself and my family get ourselves out of basketball mode. We go to Opening Day, we go to the Phillies games, we love 'Bark in the Park', we always bring the dogs. We're really going to miss it."

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