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March Madness 2019: Five things to know about 7-foot-6 UCF center Tacko Fall

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March Madness 2019: Five things to know about 7-foot-6 UCF center Tacko Fall

After a one year hiatus from the NCAA Tournament, the VCU Rams are back in March Madness. Getting back in style, they did so by getting the No. 8 seed in the East Region of the bracket. 

Their opponent drawing first blood is the No. 9 seed UCF Knights from their American Athletic Conference. A team that for a majority of the 2019 season was considered to be on the bubble, hopped on the good side after a stellar run to end the season. 

Intriguing as UCF is as a school and a basketball program, they have one of the most fascinating players on their roster.

Center Tacko Fall stands at 7-foot 6-inches, the tallest basketball player currently in college basketball. He is from Senegal and been a staple of college basketball all four years with the Knights. Here are five things you need to know about the incredible marvel.

1. He unsurprisingly rewrote the UCF record book

Just some of the records he currently holds at UCF:
-Best FG% in a season 
-All-time leader in blocks
-Fourth most rebounds

2. Fall missed half of the 2017-18 season

Injuring his shoulder, Fall only played in 16 games his junior season. It was coming off testing the NBA waters the year prior and essentially prevented him from moving on to the next level. Had it not been for that injury, Fall leading UCF to their first NCAA berth since 2005 might not had happened. 

3. He was a part of the tallest tip-off in college basketball history

During Fall’s freshman season the Knights faced off against UC Irvine for a nonconference contest. The Anteaters just so happened to also have a 7-6 center, also from Senegal, Mamadou N’Diaye.  

It was the tallest head-to-head matchup in college basketball history and the tallest tip, according to the Washington Post.

Oh and they both whiffed on the jump

4.  It took N’Diaye’s brother to convince Fall to play basketball

Before dominating the basketball court, he literally towered over everyone on the soccer field. Soccer was his first sport and picked up basketball after running into Ibrahim N’Diaye.

5. Fall did not see his mother for seven years

Fall moved to the United States from Senegal at 16 to pursue a future in basketball. That day he left would be the final time he would see his mom until his Senior Night earlier this month.

And one - He is a double major in business and psychology

Not only did he get his scholarship's worth at Central Florida he also is looking to do more than just basketball. 

“If I could be LeBron James or Steve Jobs, I would be Steve Jobs because your athleticism will fade one day, but your knowledge will last forever,” via News.com.au

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The 9 craziest things that happened in Week 8 of the college football season

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The 9 craziest things that happened in Week 8 of the college football season

Illinois ruined next week's undefeated matchup between Wisconsin and Ohio State with the biggest upset of the year, a football game turned into a dance-off, Virginia Tech won a six-overtime thriller and Louisville is still insane.

Here are the six craziest things that happened in Week 8 of the college football season.

31-point underdog Illinois upsets Wisconsin

Were you looking ahead to a game of unbeatens between Ohio State and Wisconsin? Well, I've got some bad news....

Wisconsin entered Saturday's game in Champaign 6-0. Four of those six wins were shutouts. The defense had only allowed 29 combined for the season. Illinois entered the game as a 31-point underdog and yet, the Fightin' Illini pulled off the biggest upset of the season with a field goal as time expired for the 24-23 win.

What the heck happened on that Tennessee goal-line play?

The fact that Tennessee lost to Alabama isn't crazy. The Crimson Tide have now won 13 straight so it would have been crazy had Alabama not won. What was lost in the win and all the injury news on Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was a goal-line play by Tennessee that went horrifically wrong in what was still a close game.

Trailing 28-13 in the fourth quarter, Tennesse lined up for a 4th and goal from Alabama's 1-yard line. Then this happened.

Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano fumbled the ball and Trevon Diggs returned it all the way down the field to turn what could have been a one-possession game into a three-possession game.

Unfortunate play? No, it goes beyond that.

There's a lot going on with that offensive line. It looks like the guard pulls which would never happen on a quarterback sneak. Guarantano doesn't come close to getting into the end zone and he gets smacked backward. We will never know exactly what happened on that play, whether he called the wrong play or there was a different run called and he decided to try to sneak it in himself. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt, however, was pissed and met his quarterback on the field so he could yell at him and grab his face mask. He said after the game he was mad because Guarantano tried to go over the top instead of trying to push his way through the middle, but again...the guard pulls so...?

Seven players ejected after a dance-off

Things got pretty heated in Saturday's game between Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern. How heated you ask? Well between the third and fourth quarters both teams had to be separated because...a dance-off broke out!

No, this is not the script for a Footloose sequel, this actually happened.

In the most intense dance-off since West Side Story, both teams began dancing on the field when the song "Mo Bamba" played over the loudspeakers. 

Unfortunately, the referees apparently have no love for the art of dance so they gave every single player a penalty which resulted in seven players getting ejected.

Kansas almost beat Texas because a Tom Herman quote was taken out of context

Texas needed a field goal as time expired to beat Kansas on Saturday which would probably be weird enough to warrant landing on this list on its own. What really made things weird was why this game was so close.

After the game, several quotes came out of Kansas players saying they were motivated by disrespectful comments Texas head coach Tom Herman made at his Monday weekly press conference. When asked about Kansas, Herman said, "We actually play a game this week?"

OK, you can see why Kansas players would be upset...until you hear the context of the quote.

Herman was not asked a single question about Kansas during his press conference until it was almost 17 minutes in. His remark seemed aimed at the writers for not bringing up that week's game sooner, but I guess Les Miles and his coaches decided the Kansas players did not need to know that part.

The Sooner Schooner crashed

This is one of those stories that is only funny because everyone was OK.

The Sooner Schooner comes out onto the field at Oklahoma to celebrate Sooner touchdowns. In the second quarter, however, things went awry as the Schooner tipped over when making too sharp a turn.

As mentioned above, the school sent out a Twitter update saying no one was injured.

This is actually not the first time this has happened as the Schooner toppled over 26 years ago in a game against Colorado as well.

Louisville needs to chill, part 2

Last week we were all introduced to Louisville defensive line coach Mark Ivey who got bloodied during some intense warmups.

Evidently, he is not the only insane intense coach on the staff. This is just a thing at Louisville.

Here you can see the Cardinals getting pumped up by several coaches including the quality control coach. Because how could you not get pumped up by a rousing speech from the quality control coach?

Louisville lost by 35.

The worst fake punt ever?

When you're looking at the possibility of losing your 15th straight conference game, you get desperate. Arkansas certainly must have been desperate when it dialed up perhaps the worst fake punt in the history of college football.

A six overtime game

Virginia Tech and North Carolina fought through six overtimes before the Hokies finally emerged victorious and that's fine because six overtimes are still better than a tie. This marathon game gave us our first look at the new overtime rules in which each team gets a two-point conversion try starting in the fifth overtime instead of going series after series after series. The best part about this is that it mercifully took special teams out of the equation which is good because both teams had already missed two field goals in overtime.

Air Force gets a bizarre pick-6

Late in the fourth quarter, Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald dropped back to pass. Air Force safety Grant Theil read the play perfectly and jumped a route to get his hands on the football. He could not come up with the catch and the ball bounced out of his hands when he hit the ground. It bounced off his hip, rolled to his knee and his leg kicked it up in the air and right into the hands of teammate Milton Bugg. The ball never touched the ground and Bugg proceeded to run it 92 yards for the touchdown.

Week 8: Virginia, Virginia Tech pick up key Coastal wins

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Week 8: Virginia, Virginia Tech pick up key Coastal wins

Virginia sits atop the Coastal Division standings after a win over Duke while Virginia Tech remains in the race after a six-overtime thriller over UNC. Maryland dropped another Big Ten game, Navy dominated South Florida and Penn State held on to edge Michigan in the Whiteout.

Here's a recap of the week's local action.

Navy 35, South Florida 3

The good

Navy’s defense completely dominated the Bulls forcing seven punts and one interception. This is the first time since 2013 the Midshipmen have not allowed a touchdown in a game. Navy now has a three-game winning streak for the first time since 2017 and sit one win away from becoming bowl eligible. That’s quite the turnaround for a team than won just three games last year.

The bad

The one thing that did not seem to go well for Navy on Saturday was the pass offense. That was something Ken Niumatalolo wanted to add to the offense this year. Quarterback Malcolm Perry attempted only three passes, one was incomplete and the other two were completed...to South Florida.

With three total turnovers on the day, Navy’s turnover margin for the season dropped to minus-3.

The ugly

Things always get ugly when one team knows what the other wants to do and still can’t stop it. South Florida loaded the box to stop the option and couldn’t. The Bulls even put 11 players in the box and still Navy continued to march up and down the field for a season-high 434 rushing yards.

Virginia Tech 43, North Carolina 41 (6OT)

The good

A Virginia Tech offense that was completely left for dead earlier in the season has really come alive. Quarterback Hendon Hooker who took over as the starter before the game against Miami was credited with the turnaround, but he suffered an injury late in the first half Saturday. Ryan Willis took over initially and completed all three of his pass attempts including one touchdown. Justin Fuente, however, wisely elected to replace Willis with third-string quarterback Quincy Patterson for the second half.

The offense seemingly comes alive with a dual-threat quarterback under center which Willis is not. WIth him in, this offense has a ceiling that likely could not have kept up with North Carolina.

The move paid off as Patterson threw for 54 yards, rushed for another 122 and scored two total touchdowns plus the game-clinching two-point conversion in overtime.

The win incredibly puts Virginia Tech right back in the thick of the ACC Coastal Division race and puts them two wins away from bowl eligibility with five games remaining.

The bad

Once again, the Hokies defense was torched giving up 491 yards, 41 points and forcing no turnovers. It’s a good thing the offense has started to figure things out because the defense has not been able to offer much help of late.

The ugly

You don’t get to six overtimes without some ugliness. Both teams managed 10 points in the first two overtimes, then Hokies kicker Brian Johnson missed a 41-yard field goal in triple overtime giving North Carolina the chance to win. Noah Ruggles, however, missed a 35-yard field goal forcing a fourth overtime.

Virginia Tech stuffed North Carolina for minus-two yards and blocked North Carolina’s field goal. With a chance to redeem himself, Johnson lined up for the 42-yard field goal and the win...and missed again.

Mercifully, the new college overtime rules take kicking out of the equation by the fifth overtime and give each team one play for a two-point conversation. Virginia Tech was stopped in fifth overtime, North Carolina failed in their next two attempts and Patterson finally ended the game in the sixth OT, running the ball in from three yards for the win.

Indiana 34, Maryland 28

The good

With no Anthony McFarland Jr. who was out with a high-ankle sprain, the Terps needed a big game from Javon Leake and he delivered with a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns.

The bad

You never want to see a player get injured, but from a purely competitive standpoint, Maryland should have had an advantage when Indiana’s starting quarterback, Michael Penix Jr., was forced out of the game early in the second quarter with an injury. Yet, it still didn’t matter as Maryland’s defense was picked apart by backup Peyton Ramsey.

To be fair, Ramsey was the Hoosiers’ starter last season and lost his job to Penix. He decided to stick with Indiana and was ready when called upon Saturday, completing 20 out of 27 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown.

This marks the second straight week the Terps were beaten by a team playing its backup quarterback. For the game, Maryland gave up 520 total yards including 334 through the air.

The ugly

Despite their troubles on defense, the Terps still had an opportunity to win this game. With less than four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the score 31-28, Maryland got the ball back deep in their own territory. In just one play, however, Leake had the ball stripped and it was recovered by Indiana. The Hoosiers tacked on a field goal, but Maryland got the ball back again with a chance to win, this time down by six. The offense managed to drive the ball to Indiana’s 42, but Tyrrell Pigrome overthrew his receiver for an interception to seal the game. That’s two turnovers late in the fourth quarter when Maryland still could have won the game.

Virginia 48, Duke 14

The good

A Duke offense that had scored 30 points or more in each of its last five games was held to just 14 by Virginia’s defense on Saturday. Only one of those touchdowns was against starters as the second came in the fourth quarter when the backups for both teams came into the game. The Blue Devils had just 166 total yards in those first three quarters.

The win puts the Cavaliers in first place in the Coastal Division at 3-1. Pitt, who Virginia beat to open the season, sits in second at 2-1.

The bad

Virginia’s offense remains a one-man show with Bryce Perkins responsible for 152 of Virginia’s 153 yards (111 passing, 42 rushing) in the first half of the game. That cost UVA in its previous two losses and will cost them again this season if Virginia can't find its quarterback some help.

The ugly

The Cavaliers forced a whopping five turnovers from the Blue Devils on the day and turned those turnovers into 20 points. That’s how a seemingly evenly matched game turned into a 34-point blowout.

Penn State 28, Michigan 21

The good

Quarterback Sean Clifford accounted for all four of Penn State’s touchdowns with three passing touchdowns and one one-yard run. K.J. Hamler was his favorite target and he torched Michigan’s secondary with 108 yards on six catches and two touchdowns.

The bad 

The NittanyLion’s strength this season has been its defense while Michigan’s offense has struggled to find an identity. They seemed to find it Saturday as they tore through Penn State’s defense for 417 total yards.

The ugly

What is home-field advantage worth? A heck of a lot. The Whiteout flustered Michigan early on as the Wolverines had to call timeout before their very first snap on offense. The next drive ended when a false start on a third-and-long prevented any chance of Michigan getting the first down.

This loss drops Jim Harbaugh’s record against top-10 teams while at Michigan to 1-10.