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UMBC's NCAA Tournament hopes end vs. Kansas State, but its Cinderella run was unforgettable

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USA TODAY Sports

UMBC's NCAA Tournament hopes end vs. Kansas State, but its Cinderella run was unforgettable

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — UMBC's improbable run through the NCAA Tournament was brief. The statement the Retrievers made and their place in history is forever.

For one weekend in March, the tiny commuter school from Baltimore known for its academics and championship-winning chess team captured the hearts of the college basketball world and beyond. UMBC became the first No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 in March Madness, a victory over Virginia that made the Retrievers the ultimate Cinderella.

The fairytale came to an end Sunday night in a 50-43 loss to No. 9 Kansas State -- heartbreaking because it was a game UMBC could have won, but still satisfying because the Retrievers touched so many people by accomplishing what many thought was impossible.

"We put our name on the map. We gave hope to teams that come to the tournament with lower seeds," said senior guard K.J. Maura. "I think we gave hope to guys that are not even that tall like me. People that feel like they are underdogs in their life, I think we gave hope to everything they want to do in life."

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Stephen Curry noticed the team and sent UMBC the sneakers the team wore against Kansas State. The Golden State Warriors had his Curry 5s, which are in limited release, and other swag sent to the team. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams declared the Retrievers "Surgeon General approved" and posted a photo of himself on Facebook wearing a sweatshirt from his alma mater.

NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers tweeted to UMBC guard Joe Sherburne, who claims to be Rodgers' biggest fan. And for a team addicted to the video game "Fortnite," their dreams were made when Ninja, a popular gamer who recently played against rapper Drake and JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers, FaceTimed with the team early Sunday.

"They play with passion, they play with heart, they play together," coach Ryan Odom said. "We do things together for one another, and obviously when you have a big win like that (over Virginia) and it's so shocking, you know, people love to see that. They love to see the upset.

"And our guys handled it with grace and understood the circumstances. They weren't pounding their chests or anything. They expected to be here and expected to compete."

When UMBC returned to the locker room following its ouster, Odom had written just one word on the whiteboard. The Retrievers needed a buzzer-beating 3 against Vermont to win their conference title and make the NCAA Tournament, but they showed up believing they could beat Virginia, and the same about Kansas State.

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So Odom simply penned "Proud" on the board for his players.

"Just very proud of these kids and what they've been able to do as the representatives that they are for our university," Odom said. "Just captured our country and beyond, to be honest, from a sporting perspective and it's really, really neat to see."

Sherburne said Odom relayed stories from friends who had texted or called from outside the country to rave about UMBC. Near tears after an 0-for-9 shooting night, Sherburne found consolation in the joy UMBC brought to so many.

"From when we beat Vermont until the last two hours were the greatest time of my life," Sherburne said. "What we did, everyone in here, it's the greatest time of our lives."

Odom arrived at UMBC two years ago and inherited a team accustomed to losing. He told them he was going to get them to .500 that first year; they thought he was joking. But slowly the culture changed and the Retrievers did everything Odom told them they could accomplish.

And then some.

"When I got here, first we were a four-win team that year, and then the next year we went on to win seven games," said graduate student Jairus Lyles. "Then Coach Odom and his staff came in, we won 21 games and this year we had a tremendous season."

Odom doesn't know how far the UMBC program can grow. Those four letters are now synonymous with the biggest upset in college basketball history, but it's a long way from becoming a basketball school.

"UMBC is a unique place -- lot of high achieving kids on campus," Odom said. "We want guys that want to be great from a basketball perspective and want to play after college. But, at the same time, we want folks that are highly motivated academically that want to do great things past basketball. Because the air goes out of the ball at some point for everybody."

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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

Game 5: Texas Tech vs. Arkansas, Mon. 6/17 at 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 6: Michigan vs. Florida State, Mon. 6/17 at  7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 7: Louisville vs. Auburn, Tues. 6/18 at 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 8: Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State, Tues. 6/18 at 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

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 

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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