NCAA

The seven best players to watch in the NCAA Tournament other than Zion Williamson

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USA Today Sports Images

The seven best players to watch in the NCAA Tournament other than Zion Williamson

All eyes will be on Zion Williamson and No. 1 overall seed Duke once the NCAA Tournament starts. But what other, lesser-known stars should you be watching? Here are seven names. 

1. Ja Morant, G, Murray State

The nation's most exciting guard, Morant is the straw that stirs the drink for the 12th-seeded Racers. The 6-3 sophomore not only averages nearly 25 points per game, he's dishing out 10 assists per contest, the only player in Division I averaging double-digit dimes. And get excited, Morant and Murray State get to face off with another name on this list in the first round...

2. Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga

When Gonzaga beat Williamson and Duke back in November, Hachimura poured in 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Bulldogs to an improbable upset win. And the Japanese big man hasn't slowed down, winning the West Coast Conference's Player of the Year award. If you're looking for an old-school, dominant post presence, look no further than Hachimura.  

3. Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State

The Player of the Year in the conference which earned the most tournament bids, Winston put together an incredible season for Tom Izzo and the Spartans. He can create his own shot (19.0 PPG), create shots for others (7.5 APG) and can fill it up from beyond the arc (40.8 3P%). Don't be surprised if Winston leads Michigan State on another deep tourney run. 

4. Markus Howard, G, Marquette

Ja Morant, meet Markus Howard. That's right, Murray State will be facing Marquette in the can't-miss matchup of the first round. Howard is short at 5-11, but that doesn't stop him from getting serious buckets. The Big East Player of the Year averages an even 25 points per game, the sixth-highest mark in the country. Morant vs. Howard is what March Madness is all about.  

5. Carsen Edwards, G, Purdue

Speaking of getting buckets, Edwards does that in spades for Matt Painter's Boilermakers, averaging 23 points a game. And he gets it done on the defensive end too, leading Purdue in steals with 1.4 per contest. The only unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten team besides Winston, Edwards has the talent to lead Purdue out of the East Region. 

6. Myles Powell, G, Seton Hall

The 10th-seeded Pirates' tournament could come to a swift end against the red-hot Wofford Terriers, but Powell will make sure Seton Hall doesn't go down without a fight. Powell can score on anyone (22.9 PPG) as he proved during the Big East Tournament, dropping 31, 22 and 25 points in the Pirates' three-game run to the conference final, in which they fell to Villanova 74-72 Saturday. 

7. Shamorie Ponds, G, St. John's 

That's right, another guard from the Big East! Ponds will get to showcase his talents from the get-go when the Red Storm face Arizona State in their play-in game Wednesday night. He does it all for St. John's, with per-game averages of 19.5 points. 4.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.6 steals. The First Four doesn't often include as eye-catching a star as Ponds, so make sure you're in front of a screen at 9:10 p.m. ET on March 20. 

    Click here to join NBC Sports Washington’s NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge and compete against Wizards analysts Drew Gooden and Jimmy Patsos for a chance at great prizes.

    Grand Prize: if you have the highest-scoring bracket in the NBC Sports Washington Bracket Challenge, you will win a 3-night trip for four people to Universal Resort, including round trip airfare, lodging, admission to Universal Studios and tickets to Blue Man Group.

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    2019 College World Series Central: Bracket, favorites, viewing information

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    2019 College World Series Central: Bracket, favorites, viewing information

    The four matchups in the first round of the College World Series are set after the final two games of the tournament Super Regionals finished on Monday.

    Arkansas and Auburn were the last two teams to make the CWS bracket, after each team won the rubber match in its respective Super Regional, scoring 14 runs apiece.

    Of the eight teams vying for the prized college baseball title, two (Michigan and Florida State) were amongst the last four teams in the field of 64 to make the tournament. Now, they join some of the other top teams across the country. 

    Michigan beat a No. 1 UCLA team 2-1 in the Los Angeles Super Regional, a Bruins team which hadn't lost a series all season. The Wolverines proved they are a force to be reckoned with as they head to their first CWS appearance since 1984.

    Like Michigan, Auburn made the CWS for the first time in over 10 years (the Tigers' last CWS appearance was in 1997).

    It's the second consecutive year that Mississippi State, Arkansas and Texas Tech have made the final bracket. Last year, Arkansas was the runner-up after losing to Oregon State in the finals. Mississippi State made it to the semifinals before Oregon State defeated the Bulldogs and went on to win the tournament. 

    2019 NCAA COLLEGE WORLD SERIES BRACKET & BROADCAST SCHEDULE

    CWS Final Game 1: Michigan vs. Vanderbilt, Mon. 6/24 at 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
    CWS Final Game 2: Michigan vs. Vanderbilt, Tues. 6/25 at 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
    CWS Final Game 3*: Michigan vs. Vanderbilt, Wed. 6/26 at 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

    (*if necessary)

    FINALIZED RESULTS

    Game 1: Michigan 5, Texas Tech 3, Sat. 6/15
    Game 2: Florida State 1, Arkansas 0, Sat. 6/15 
    Game 3:  Vanderbilt 3, Louisville 1 Sun 6/16
    Game 4: Mississippi State 5, Auburn 4, Sun. 6/16 
    Game 5: Texas Tech 5, Arkansas 4, Mon. 6/17 | Arkansas eliminated
    Game 6: Michigan 2, Florida State 0, Mon. 6/17
    Game 7: Louisville 5, Auburn 3, Wed. 6/19 | Auburn eliminated
    Game 8: Vanderbilt 6, Mississippi State 3, Wed. 6/19  
    Game 9: Texas Tech 4, Florida State 1, Wed. 6/19 | Florida State eliminated
    Game 10: Louisville 4, Mississippi State 3, Thurs. 6/20 | Mississippi State eliminated
    Game 11: Michigan 15, Texas Tech 3, Fri. 6/21 | Texas Tech eliminated, Michigan advances to final
    Game 12: Vanderbilt 3, Louisville 2, Fri. 6/21 | Louisville eliminated, Vanderbilt advances to final

    FUN FACTS

    • Vandy Rockstar: The Commodores' freshman right-hander Kumar Rocker threw a complete game no-hitter (and 19 Ks) in Game 2 against Duke in the Nashville Super Regional to keep Vanderbilt's championship hopes alive. 
    • Sweeps on Sweeps: Florida State, Louisville and Mississippi State each swept its respective Super Regional. The most notable was the Cardinals' sweep of the East Carolina Pirates, where Louisville outscored ECU 26-1. 
    • No Repeats: Texas Tech defeated the reigning champion Oregon State in the Lubbock Super Regional to ensure there will be a new school crowned champion. 

     

    Maryland hosts Notre Dame, Purdue faces Virginia in 2019 Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchups

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    ACC Men's Basketball

    Maryland hosts Notre Dame, Purdue faces Virginia in 2019 Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchups

    The annual matchup continues and we’ve got big news. For the 21st season, two of the prominent conferences will face off in the 2019 Big Ten/ACC Challenge.   

    All 14 Big Ten teams will battle against 14 of the 15 ACC teams, with Virginia Tech the lone school not participating. The Challenge will include a total of 14 games spread across Monday, Dec 2nd - Wednesday, Dec. 4th.  

    This year’s Challenge will feature eight first-time meetings in the event: Maryland at Notre Dame, Penn State at Wake Forest, Boston College at Northwestern, Florida State at Indiana, Georgia Tech at Nebraska, Iowa at Syracuse, Louisville at Michigan, Pitt at Rutgers. 

    Maryland will host Notre Dame on Wednesday, December 4th. The matchup will be the first meeting between the Terps and the Fighting Irish since the 2013-14 season, before the Terps left the ACC. 

    In 2018-19, Maryland finished 23-11 overall, good for fifth in the Big Ten. Notre Dame tied for last place in the ACC, finishing a disappointing 14-19. 

    Virginia, the reigning national champions will travel to Indiana to take on Purdue. Virginia and Purdue will battle for the third time in the Challenge and fourth time overall. In the 2000 Challenge between the Cavaliers and the Boilermakers, Virginia won 98-79. A few years later in 2006, Purdue beat Virginia 61-59. 'In the Challenge, UVA has an all-time record of 13-6, including a five-game winning streak. UVA beat former ACC rival Maryland 76-71 in last season’s Challenge. 

    The Cavaliers and Boilermakers recently faced off against each other in this year’s Elite Eight game. Virginia defeated Purdue 80-75 in overtime.

    The ACC has not lost the Challenge since 2015. 

    Tip-off times, networks and more information have not yet been provided.

    The 2019 Challenge matchups:

    Monday, December 2:

    Clemson at Minnesota 

    Miami at Illinois

    Tuesday, December 3:

    Michigan at Louisville 

    Iowa at Syracuse 

    Rutgers at Pitt

    Northwestern at Boston College 

    Duke at Michigan State 

    Florida State at Indiana 

    Wednesday, December 4:

    Notre Dame at Maryland 

    Virginia at Purdue 

    Wisconsin at NC State 

    Wake Forest at Penn State 

    Nebraska at Georgia Tech 

    Ohio State at North Carolina

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