NCAA

Michigan adjusting to new No. 1 ranking

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Michigan adjusting to new No. 1 ranking

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Ray Jackson was a sophomore the last time Michigan was ranked No. 1 in the country.

Now, two decades after the Fab Five went to back-to-back Final Fours, Jackson is ready to tell any remaining doubters how impressed he is with this season's Wolverines.

``Everybody has been calling me and asking if we're for a real, and I keep saying, `Yes, we're for real,''' said Jackson, who lives in Texas now. ``It brings back good memories.''

Michigan has the nation's attention now, after moving to the top of the AP poll Monday for the first time since Jackson and his other Fab Five teammates were ranked there during the 1992-93 season. There's no telling how long the Wolverines will remain at No. 1 - a brutal Big Ten schedule could knock them off that perch at any moment. But this rise is a source of obvious pride.

``The different ways the program has grown, with a lot of support from a lot of people - from the regents to the president, to our athletic directors,'' said coach John Beilein, who took over in 2007. ``This is what happens, when you really do the right things to prepare your team to put them in this position, and then you have to have a lot of luck.''

Michigan did catch a bad break Sunday night, when forward Jordan Morgan sprained his right ankle in a win at Illinois. His status for Wednesday night's game against Northwestern is uncertain.

The Big Ten offers few chances for a breather. After hosting Northwestern, the Wolverines (19-1) will play at No. 3 Indiana next weekend. Then they'll host Ohio State next week - a rematch against the only team to beat them so far.

Still, Michigan has been turning heads all season - to the point that even Michigan State coach Tom Izzo offered his grudging respect Monday.

``If I had a vote, I'd have to vote them No. 1 even though it's your rival,'' Izzo said. ``Who wants to do that? But I also have respect for what they've accomplished and what they've done.''

The Fab Five lost in the national title game in 1992 and 1993 before Chris Webber left early to go to the NBA, but banners from those seasons were removed from Michigan's home arena. A federal investigation revealed that a booster gave Webber and three non-Fab Five players more than $600,000 while they were student-athletes, and the NCAA forced the school to dissociate from them until 2013.

Jackson says he hasn't heard from Webber in years.

``It would be great to get those banners back up to restore some of the tradition,'' Jackson said. ``I don't know what his thinking is about the situation. I know a lot of people keep asking.''

The dissociation with Webber can't end until May 8, so for the rest of this season, most of the focus will be on Beilein and the current players. Trey Burke decided to stay for his sophomore year instead of going to the NBA, and he's developed into perhaps the top point guard in the country. Guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and freshman Glenn Robinson III are other standouts for what has turned out to be a smart, unselfish team.

``We are excited about the ranking, don't get me wrong,'' Hardaway said. ``It's great for our fan base, and it's great for the University of Michigan. We just want to do a great job of just staying in the moment - just do what we can to get better as a team each and every day.''

That's Beilein's main message for his players. As the attention grows and the games become bigger, the Wolverines are hoping little will change about the way they're playing.

``We have to put it in perspective and say to them, `How did we get here?''' Beilein said. ```Did we get here because we were obsessed with being No. 1, or did we just get here because we worked hard every day? Well if that worked so far, then let's just keep doing exactly what we were doing.'''

Miami outlasts Virginia Tech in triple-overtime thriller

Miami outlasts Virginia Tech in triple-overtime thriller

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Kameron McGusty scored five of his 21 points in the third overtime to lead Miami to a 102-95 triple-overtime victory over Virginia Tech on Wednesday in the longest Atlantic Coast Conference game in 17 years.

Isaiah Wong added a career-high 27 points, and Chris Lykes finished with 23 for the ’Canes (14-12, 6-10 ACC), who won their third straight game and swept the Hokies this season.

The game marked the longest ACC game since Dec. 20, 2003 when a Chris Paul-led Wake Forest team won 119-114 in triple overtime over North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Tyrece Radford paced the Hokies (15-11 6-9) with a career-high 26 points.

Virginia Tech had a great chance to win the game in regulation, grabbing a 77-74 lead after Jalen Cone made the second of two free throws with 13 seconds remaining. But McGusty tied the game when he scored on a layup, and the Hokies’ Radford fouled him with five seconds to go. McGusty made the free throw to tie the game at 77, and Radford’s shot at the buzzer was blocked by Keith Stone, sending the game into overtime.

In the third overtime, McGusty hit one of two free-throw attempts with 3:29 left to give Miami a 93-90 lead. Moments later, he scored back-to-back baskets, pushing the Miami lead to 98-92 with 56 seconds to go. Lykes' layup with 20 seconds remaining, and Wong’s two free throws with 10 seconds left enabled the ’Canes to hold off the Hokies.

Wong’s two free throws capped an outstanding night at the free-throw line for Miami, which connected on 29 of 32 attempts.

BIG PICTURE

Miami: The ’Canes lost five of six games in a recent stretch, but are finally healthy, and with all the parts in all the proper places, they’re playing much better. The ’Canes opened the first of three consecutive games on the road in perfect fashion with a triple-overtime victory over the Hokies, and with four regular-season games remaining, they could convert a late-season run into a postseason bid.

Virginia Tech: After a 5-3 start to ACC play, the Hokies are struggling with a young roster that features six freshmen who see significant minutes. They have lost five of their past six games and now face the beef of their schedule with games at No. 6 Duke, vs. Virginia and at No. 11 Louisville.

UP NEXT

Miami: The ’Canes play at Notre Dame on Sunday.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies play at Duke on Saturday.

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Luwane Pipkins, Aplha Diallo lead Providence past Georgetown

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Luwane Pipkins, Aplha Diallo lead Providence past Georgetown

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Alpha Diallo had 18 points and eight rebounds and Luwane Pipkins added 16 points as Providence defeated Georgetown 73-63 on Wednesday night.

Kalif Young added 11 points and nine rebounds and Maliek White had 11 points and seven assists for Providence (15-12, 8-6 Big East Conference).

Georgetown led 34-30 at halftime and protected a slim lead through the first eight minutes of the second half. The Friars tied it at 49 on a putback by Diallo with 11:50 remaining and pushed their lead to eight points when Pipkins hit a 3-pointer near the seven-minute mark. In the final minute, Pipkins made three free throws and Diallo two to preserve the win.

Providence scored 43 points in the second half, shooting 60% after halftime, 44% for the game.

Jahvon Blair had 20 points for the Hoyas (15-11, 5-8). Terrell Allen added 16 points and Jamorko Pickett had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

The Friars improve to 2-0 against the Hoyas on the season. Providence defeated Georgetown 76-60 on Dec. 31.

Providence plays Marquette at home on Saturday. Georgetown plays at DePaul on Saturday.

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