Wholesale Notre Dame Fighting Irish Jerseys

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The final NCAA sanctioned swimming event of the season looms on the horizon. Looking to ride the momentum of a successful campaign in the water into the national meet, the University of Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team will take part in the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

No. 19 Notre Dame returns to the NCAA meet following the best finish at the championships in program history in 2017. The Irish scored 29 points to place 25th at the NCAA Championships last March in Indianapolis, raising the bar for the program at the national meet in 2018. Notre Dame sends four individual competitors and four total relay squads to Minneapolis in search of NCAA points and prestige.
Irish Storm The NCAA Pool
A host of Notre Dame student-athletes have punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships, which will be held Wednesday through Saturday in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Three Notre Dame swimmers have qualified for individual events at this week’s NCAA men’s meet. Justin Plaschka will race in both the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly events, entering the meet ranked 23rd nationally in the 50 free and 11th nationally in the 100 fly.

Rob Whitacre will compete in both the 200 backstroke and the 200 IM during the 2018 NCAA Championships for Notre Dame. Whitacre set an Irish program record in the 200 back earlier this season, ranking 13th nationally. His top 200 IM effort is the 34th-fastest time in the country thus far in 2017-18.

Zach Yeadon enters his first career NCAA Championships meet in the midst of a historic freshman season for Notre Dame. Yeadon, a two-time ACC Men’s Swimmer Selection of the Week (Oct. 10 and Jan. 30), will race in the 500 and 1650 freestyle events. To date, his Irish record time in the 500 free ranks seventh in the country and earned him an automatic invitation to the NCAA meet. Yeadon’s school record 1650 free swim is slotted third in the country on the eve of NCAAs, with his additional record split in the 1000 free ranking sixth in Division I men’s swimming.

On the relay schedule, Notre Dame will be represented in the 200 and 400 freestyle relay events, along with the 200 and 400 medley relay preliminary heats. The Irish posted NCAA A-cuts in both the 200 (1:17.61) and 400 (2:51.62) free relays earlier this season to earn automatic bids to the NCAA Championships.

In diving, Joe Coumos returns to the NCAA Championships for the fourth time in his career and will dive off both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards. Coumos was the ACC runner-up in the 1-meter event at the conference championships meet last month with a score of 391.90 points.
Irish Rewrite The Record Books
A total of eight Notre Dame program records have been established during the 2017-18 season on the road to the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships. Seven individual swimming events and one diving high score off the 3-meter board set the pace in Irish program history, with the oldest top time in the Notre Dame record book now dating back only as far as 2014.

Justin Plaschka threw down the fastest Notre Dame 50 freestyle in history, placing fourth in the ‘A’ final at the ACC Championships with a time of 19.30. Plaschka added the top 100 butterfly mark ever by an Irish men’s swimmer during the ACC meet, touching the wall in :45.41 for an NCAA A-cut and automatic slot in the national meet. Plaschka previously set the Notre Dame 100 freestyle (:42.78) last season.

Zach Yeadon etched his name into three places on the Notre Dame record book during his freshman season. His runner-up time of 4:12.74 in the 500 freestyle at the ACC Championships was good for the fastest in Irish history and a silver medal. Yeadon added his second silver finish at the ACC meet with a time of 14:34.60 in the 1650 freestyle, with his 8:51.16 1000 free split also on the top of the all-time Notre Dame list.

Rob Whitacre has enjoyed a standout senior season for the Irish in the backstroke, putting his name on the top 100 and 200 back swims in program history this season. Whitacre swam a prelim time of 46.46 in the 100 backstroke at the ACC Championships before finishing seventh in the event final to extend his team mark. He was also the top seed in the 200 back at ACCs following a Notre Dame record time of 1:40.17 in his prelim session.

Off the 3-meter diving board, Joe Coumos extended his own team record with 419.80 points on his way to victory at the Shamrock Invitational. Coumos also holds the top Notre Dame score in the 1-meter dive with a score of 420.00 points in 2017.
Irish Riding High In 2018
Racking up a 9-2 record in dual meets earlier in the season, Notre Dame staked its claim as one of the top teams in the ACC on its way to a fourth-place finish at the conference championship meet. The Irish downed No. 7 Louisville (Oct. 7), No. 23 Purdue (Oct. 27) and No. 20 Florida State (Jan. 19-20) in dual action, adding a first-place result in a talented Shamrock Invitational field that featured two additional ranked foes in January and a third-place finish at a loaded Ohio State Fall Invitational last November.

In addition to the key dual victories, Notre Dame scored a fourth-place finish at the ACC Swimming and Diving Championships in February to build off its third-place result in 2017. The Irish scored 941 points during the meet, with top finishes earned in the 500 and 1650 freestyle by Zach Yeadon (second place), a runner-up result for Rob Whitacre in the 200 backstroke and a silver medal for Joe Coumos off the 1-meter diving board. Whitacre added a fourth-place result in the 200 IM to his conference meet weekend, while Justin Plaschka was fourth in the ACC in the 50 freestyle.

ony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball, men’s soccer and swimming and diving programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.

Wholesale Ohio State Buckeyes Jerseys

Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State Buckeyes

The Ohio State Buckeyes and South Dakota State Jackrabbits played an entertaining 5-vs-12 NCAA Tournament matchup Thursday afternoon with the Buckeyes prevailing 81-73. The hero may have been senior Kam Williams who converted on a four-point play with the game tied at 70 with 1:36 remaining. Junior Keita Bates-Diop led Ohio State with 24 points and 12 rebounds. The Jackrabbits were paced by junior Mike Daum with 27 points on 5-10 shooting from three.

Let’s take a look at what we can learn from Ohio State’s first NCAA Tournament victory since 2015.
What We Learned
1. Ohio State Can Win With Offense In The NCAA Tournament

The formula for Ohio State’s success this season has been the Big Ten Player of the Year play of Bates-Diop and lockdown defense. The Buckeyes were a KenPom top 20 defense overall this season. Ohio State expected the replicate that type of game in today’s matchup

What they got was more of an offensive showdown with the Jackrabbits. Ohio State responded and leaned on its offensive playmaking from upperclassmen Bates-Diop, C.J. Jackson, and Williams. All had 20 points apiece and contributed with big shots down the stretch.

Now, this isn’t to disparage the Ohio State offense. They are rated no. 26 on KenPom and have shown an ability to light up the scoreboard, but overall, this is a team that digs in and wins with getting stops and grinding it out. It was somewhat unexpected to see Ohio State up-and-down the court keeping up with the Jackrabbits. It has to give the Buckeyes confidence to know that they can win NCAA Tournament games playing multiple ways.
2. Daum vs Bates-Diop Lived Up To The Hype

The talk before this afternoon’s game was the matchup between Mike Daum and Keita Bates-Diop. The talk was backed up with inspired play by both players.

Daum, who entered the game averaging 23.8 points per game and 10 rebounds, ended up leading all scorers with 27. Ohio State was able to limit him to just nine points in the second half, but the Nebraska-native played a heck of a game against a tough defensive team.

Bates-Diop was right there as well. The Big Ten Player of the Year dropped 24 and 12, 17 of which came in the first half.

Neither player was particularly efficient, both shot 20 or more shots. Still, it was exciting to see players of this caliber go at each other and delivering on this type of stage.
3. The Gonzaga Rematch Will Be Different

Now that the Buckeyes have gotten by the Jackrabbits, a rematch with Gonzaga awaits for a trip to the Sweet Sixteen. The Zags destroyed Ohio State 86-59 in the PK80 tournament in Portland back in November. But just expecting a similar result in their game on Saturday would be foolish. True, the Buckeyes will need to solve Johnathan Williams, who scored 21 points in that game. The Buckeyes weren’t yet the Buckeyes from this year in that game. Defensively they were poor, giving up 44 first-half points, and Bates-Diop only passively took seven shots to score seven points. Expect the game to be much more competitive this time around, especially given Gonzaga’s struggles in their opening round matchup against UNC Greensboro.

Ohio State continued its strong turnaround season with a First Round victory over South Dakota State this afternoon. Before the season, this accomplishment looked improbable to even the most diehard Buckeye supporters. Still, the Buckeyes have done it and now look towards Gonzaga for some revenge on Saturday. It should be a great game with the Buckeyes playing with house money given all they have achieved this season.

Wholesale Oklahoma Sooners Jerseys

Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma Sooners

NORMAN, Okla. — It was almost like a sudden gust of wind hit the floor at Lloyd Noble Center late Sunday afternoon. NCAA Tournament selection show host Greg Gumbel and Ernie Johnson reached the Os and right after Ohio State, there was Oklahoma.

The month-long swoon where the Sooners dropped from a top-10 team in every poll and metric to on the NCAA Tournament bubble wasn’t enough to keep them out of the field.

“I was nervous,” freshman guard Trae Young said. “I was very anxious to see if our name was being called. I’ve been very comfortable throughout this whole process until the last minute and a half. But once they called our name, all my emotions just let go. I’m very fortunate that they chose us. I think they did it right.”

Whether the Sooners (18-13) belonged is a debate that heated up a few weeks ago and showed no signs of cooling off. NCAA Tournament selection committee chairman Bruce Rasmussen laid out the rationale for the Sooners’ inclusion in the field. For most doubters, it wasn’t enough.

If Oklahoma and its fans that gathered for their team banquet prior to the selection show knew they were a shoe-in for an at-large berth, the roaring sigh of relief wouldn’t have been as loud.

“Look we didn’t do what we needed to do towards the end, and so we put our fate up in the air,” Oklahoma center Khadeem Lattin said. “So, at this point, all we can do is get ready for whatever is ahead of us, and pray for the best outcome. That’s what we did. We had two very intense practices, and we just started to get ready for the fight that lies ahead of us.”

The Sooners are the No. 10 seed in the Midwest Region. They face No. 7 seed Rhode Island (25-7) on Thursday at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
Oklahoma knows where it stands

The Sooners’ players are not deaf and they’re very adept at social media. They’ve heard all the critiques they’ve received while dropping nine of their final 12 games going into selection Sunday.

Young lobbied for the Sooners after the 71-60 loss Wednesday to Oklahoma State, which didn’t receive an NCAA Tournament bid. He cited Oklahoma’s strength of schedule and the quality of its victories.

Turner Sports analyst Charles Barkley didn’t hold back. When the meeting with Rhode Island was announced he said: “I don’t think they deserve to be in the (NCAA) Tournament and they’re gonna lose to Rhode Island.”

“I know our team has a big chip on our shoulder. Me, personally, I have a tremendous chip on our shoulder. I’ll be ready to play,” Young said. “I hear a lot of things. Not a lot people think we should be in, which is fine. The people who make the decision that we should be and that’s what matters. If you put our blind resume up, I think we would be in. I think we’ll have a tremendous chip on our shoulder. I don’t think that a lot of people not having us in is gonna affect us. We have to be ready to play.”
Getting out of Big 12 play should help Oklahoma

It’s no coincidence that Oklahoma’s slide began in early February, which is when it started facing Big 12 opponents for the second time in the round-robin schedule. It’s one thing to scout an opponent. The understanding grows of personnel multiples after playing against them.

The Sooners and Rams have never met.

“I’m not gonna say it’s a relief,” Young said. “The relief now is that it’s zero and zero and everyone has the same record. Now we know who we have to play. It’s gonna be different playing against a non-Big 12 team. We have to get prepared for them [Rhode Island]. They’re a really good team and we have to be ready to play.”

Much like the Sooners, Rhode Island limped into the postseason. After securing the Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season title, the Rams fell to St. Bonaventure and Davidson to close the regular-season. Davidson upset the Rams on Sunday in the Atlantic 10 Tournament title to grab a bid.

None of that matters to the Sooners. They’re in the NCAA Tournament after a one-year absence and four days of sweating since their abrupt exit from the Big 12 tournament.

“Obviously any time you get to play in the tournament you’re delighted,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “A long year, and we’ve had the extremes all in one season, very good play to less than that by a lot.”

This represents their last chance to recapture that level of play they had in December and January that has been absent for a month.

Wholesale Oklahoma State Cowboys Jerseys

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Oklahoma State continues to make college basketball as difficult as possible.

Its previous coach (Brad Underwood) left abruptly last March after one season for Illinois.
Underwood’s top assistant Mike Boynton then took over. Head coaching experience? Zero.
In September, Boynton’s associate head coach Lamont Evans was charged with fraud and bribery in the now infamous roundup by the FBI.
Leading scorer Jeffrey Carroll was suspended three games to start the season. Boynton kicked two other players off the team.

Now stuff all that into a current bracketology blender. A victory against Oklahoma in the first round of the Big 12 tournament Wednesday might leave the men’s basketball selection committee with one of its toughest decisions.

The Cowboys (19-13) have some of the top wins of any team this season. They also began Wednesday with an NCAA RPI of 89. That would be the lowest RPI of any tournament team since the formula was changed in 2005.

A conundrum grows.

“It’s been a heck of a ride,” Boynton said after that 71-60 victory against the Sooners. “I had a lot of stuff to deal with. The character of the kids is what gives you a chance. If I’ve got a bunch of knuckleheads, this thing implodes a long time ago.”

Instead, the Cowboys have become a fingernails-on-chalk-board crew that is a witch to play against. Ask Oklahoma, which was methodically ground down in three meetings. The Cowboys went from allowing 109 in the first meeting to 81 to 60.

Oklahoma State won two of the three and might have knocked the Sooners out of the NCAA Tournament. Previously, the Cowboys became the first Big 12 team to sweep a season series from Bill Self at Kansas (by a combined 23 points). They finished 4-2 against the top three teams in the league (Kansas, West Virginia, Texas Tech).

But that RPI is being weighed down by nonconference games against Charlotte, Houston Baptist and Mississippi Valley State — all three with sub-300 RPIs.

“They’re still alive,” CBS Sports bracketologist Jerry Palm said of the Cowboys. “I said before the Big 12 tournament that they needed to get past Kansas to entertain a conversation about their prospects. That is still true.”

A third meeting with Kansas in the Big 12 quarterfinals on Thursday should be dripping with desperation.

“None,” Boynton countered. “I don’t operate that way. People that have been around me … You don’t have to be desperate when you have success.”

Things are actually sort of falling into place for the Cowboys. Kansas will be without its center Udoka Azubuike due to a sprained MCL. Boynton wasn’t aware of that until after the OU game.

“The thing they do best is shoot threes,” Boynton said of Kansas. “He doesn’t shoot any of them. It’s not like Azubuike plays 35 minutes a game. It’s just that when he’s in there, you gotta have a plan.”

The Cowboys’ plan is to continue to be that team you can’t quite profile. Statistically, they don’t do anything especially well except shoot free throws (35th nationally). Every starter plays at least 20 minutes, only one more than 30 (Carroll). Sophomore forward Cameron McGriff plays the fewest minutes of the starters. He erupted for 18 points and nine rebounds against the Sooners.

“Cam is a microcosm of what our program will be, really embraced the hard work mentality,” Boynton said. “We’re not at a point where we’re bringing in a bunch of McDonald’s All-Americans that people assume are pros. Maybe that’s why people don’t think we’re any good to start with.”

The intent remains to be as difficult as possible. The Cowboys have played their way into the NCAA Tournament conversation by winning four of their past five. Previously, Oklahoma State has won at Allen Fieldhouse and WVU Coliseum. The Cowboys will face an overwhelmingly hostile crowd Thursday at the Sprint Center.

Not bad for a program that lost its coach, was tainted by the FBI probe and had a 36-year-old no-name as Underwood’s replacement.

“Everyone thought I was going to suck …” Boynton told CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander last month.

How hard can it be keeping this roll going? The last time a team beat Kansas three times in a season was Oklahoma State in 1983 — when Self played for the Cowboys.

No sweat.

“I thought we were in [the tournament] all along,” Boynton said.

Wholesale Oregon Ducks Jerseys

SEATTLE — The queen is dead, long live the queen.

One week after winning its first conference title in 18 years, No. 6 Oregon vanquished No. 16 Stanford 77-57 in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game Sunday night at KeyArena.

The top-seeded Ducks (30-4) had never played in a conference tournament final until denying the tradition-rich Cardinal (22-10), seeded second, their 13th conference tournament crown.

Sabrina Ionescu, the Pac-12 player of the year, was named the tournament’s most outstanding player after another legendary performance on a big stage.

The sophomore guard scored a career-high 36 points to lead Oregon to its first win against Stanford outside of Eugene since a 65-51 road victory on March 5, 1987.

“She’s just awesome,” Oregon freshman forward Satou Sabally said of Ionescu, who broke the record for points in a Pac-12 Tournament championship game held by Stanford’s Candice Wiggins (30, 2008). “One time she hit a three, and I was just smiling like, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s crazy.’

“I don’t know, she’s just amazing and an inspiration to me.”

Oregon avenged its 78-65 loss to the Cardinal on Feb. 4 in the only regular-season meeting between the teams. Brittany McPhee, who scored 31 of her career-high 33 points in the second half to will Stanford to the comeback win, was held to 12 points in the rematch.

“It was the Ionescu show today,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “I think she’s a competitor. Last time we played them, beating them up there was a great accomplishment, and it was the Brittany McPhee show. Britt really torched them.

“And then today Sabrina torched us.”

The Ducks have won nine consecutive games and are 19-2 against Pac-12 teams, including a 14-0 record when senior Lexi Bando is in the lineup.

The March Madness will continue in two weeks at Matthew Knight Arena, where the Ducks will host first- and second-round games after making a strong final argument for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

“I love it,” said Bando, the former Willamette High star, after cutting down the nets with her teammates. “Everyone laughed, they said, ‘Why didn’t you cry on your senior night?’ I’m like, ‘Well I still have games to play at Matthew Knight.’

“It will be amazing. Our fans are unbelievable, I think the best in the Pac-12, so to be able to play in front of them hopefully a couple more times, it would just be amazing.”

Winning big games and collecting trophies is the new normal for the Ducks.

Oregon’s invitation to the Big Dance was a given, but winning the conference tournament qualifies the team automatically.

A year ago, after losing to Stanford in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals, the Ducks made it to the Elite Eight as a No. 10 seed with upsets of Temple, Duke and Maryland on the East Coast.

This year coach Kelly Graves will enter the bracket with a team that knows it has a chance to get to the Final Four.

“We’re still loose,” Graves said after cleaning the cupcake out of his ears deposited there by his players during the postgame celebration. “I don’t know if I’ve ever coached a group that is this close, and you can tell they play for each other. They’re great teammates, they’ve got talent and great leadership.

“So we’ve got all the pieces. We’ll see how far we can take this. I know we’re guaranteed one game.”

Maite Cazorla, who finished with 10 points and six assists, made a three-pointer and then found Ionescu in the corner for another three-pointer to give the Ducks a commanding 66-47 lead with 6:15 remaining.

Sabally, playing through a painful pelvis injury suffered during a collision in Saturday’s intense semifinal win over UCLA, made a pair of three-pointers early in the third quarter to give Oregon a 41-28 lead.

The Pac-12 freshman of the year finished with 12 points, three rebounds and two assists in 27 minutes.

“I wanted to play this game no matter what,” Sabally said. “I just had to go through it. Adrenaline helped a lot and the crowd helped a lot, just like pushing.”

For the second consecutive Sunday, the Ducks were posing for pictures with a Pac-12 championship trophy in the locker room.

“It’s kind of unreal,” Sabally said. “I’m in my freshman year and it’s kind of normal for me now.”

Ionescu set the tone for both halves with 12 points in the first quarter and 11 points in the third quarter.

“I think we had some unfinished business,” Ionescu said. “Our coaches did a great job on the scouting. We adjusted from what we did last game, and I was just ready to come out.”

Graves sensed a special performance was coming from his best player before the team even arrived at the arena.

“I saw a little twinkle in her eye coming off the bus today and at shoot around and at pregame meal,” he said. “She had a different look about her. I didn’t know what that was going to translate into, but now I know the look.”

Stanford led 15-11 after a frenzied start in which the teams combined to make 12 of 19 shots before the first media timeout.

The Cardinal had a seven-point head start before Ionescu scored after grabbing an offensive rebounds. Then she buried a three-pointer to get Oregon within 13-11.

Ionescu was 5-for-7 from the field in the first quarter and gave the Ducks their first lead with a three-point play to make the score 18-17.

Stanford never regained the lead.

“When you have somebody like Sabrina, she shines the brightest in the biggest moments,” Graves said. “She sure did that tonight. That’s part of her competitive greatness.”

The second quarter began with Ionescu knocking down a deep three-pointer and then taking a steal in for a layup to give Oregon a 23-17 advantage.

Cazorla beat the shot clock with a desperation three-pointer, and Sabally drove the baseline for a basket to give the Ducks a 31-21 advantage.

Stanford finished 4-for-14 (28.6 percent) behind the arc. Forward Alanna Smith was the bright spot offensively with 17 points on 8-for-17 shooting.

Oregon scored 24 points off 16 Stanford turnovers, 19 points off 15 offensive rebounds and had a 30-24 rebounding edge.

Now Ionescu and the Ducks wear the crown.

Wholesale Penn State Nittany Lions Jerseys

Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State Nittany Lions

Coming off a season that ended with a Fiesta Bowl victory and another solid recruiting class in the fold, Penn State looks to continue working hard to prepare for a run at the Big Ten title once again in 2018. That work begins in the spring, with James Franklin and his staff looking to raise the bar and keep their eyes on a few key players that could have a significant impact in the fall.

Whether they are new faces or players looking to fill some big shoes or coming back from an injury, the spring will be a good opportunity to see what these Nittany Lions have in them as Penn State begins to write another chapter in the program’s history.

John Reid, CB

A year ago, Reid was beginning the spring expecting to be a key member of the Penn State defense, but a torn ACL put his 2017 season on ice. Now ready to get back in the swing of things, Penn State will welcome back an experienced starter at defensive back as Reid bounces back from the injury. Reid started 14 games for the Nittany Lions in 2016 and will give them a veteran upperclassman to rely on in a key spot. Don’t be surprised if Penn State keeps his workload a tad lighter when possible though.

Lamont Wade, S

Staying in the defensive backfield, Wade should be watched closely as a strong candidate to fill one of the vacant starting jobs this spring. One of the top cornerback recruits in the Class of 2017 and one of the top players in Pennsylvania, Wade enrolled early at Penn State to get a jump on his college career. Though his playing time in 2017 was as a garbage-time backup, Wade appeared in 12 games and made 31 tackles to get his feet wet. Now, Wade is expected to continue to grow and step foot into a bigger role in the defense. Though he has worked at defensive back, Penn State currently lists him as a safety, but his athleticism and versatility may come in handy.

Miles Sanders, RB

With Saquon Barkley on his way to the NFL, the torch will be passed to Sanders. A junior, Sanders (above, right) has had to wait for his time to shine in the leading role on the ground, but Penn State has taken steps to prepare him for the job, including some more opportunities in the Fiesta Bowl (six carries, 15 yards, TD) in addition to his special teams duties. Sanders may not be Barkley, but he was a five-star recruit and the No. 1-ranked running back in the nation in the Class of 2016, according to 247Sports. This spring will be his chance to prove worthy of carrying the running game this fall.

Zach Kuntz, TE

Not only is Penn State losing a top running back, but the Nittany Lions also have to replace Mike Gesicki at tight end. Jonathan Holland and Nick Bowers each have limited playing experience to build on, but Kuntz was a four-star recruit in this year’s class who enrolled early. By getting to campus now, Kuntz can get right to work this spring and make a push for consideration to jump right into the starting lineup, or at least find a consistent role on offense.

Backup Quarterback

Trace McSorley is going to be the starter for a third straight season, but what happens in the event McSorley gets banged up and has to miss some playing time? As last football season showed, having a reliable backup option can save your season (see: Alabama and the Philadelphia Eagles). So who ends up being the No. 2 guy in State College? This spring could have something to say with that especially with a new offensive coordinator in charge. Tommy Stevens has been used in receiver formations to get him on the field, and Jake Zembiec and Sean Clifford each arrived with some high praise and potential. A strong spring by any of these three could go a long way, and seeing one of these names move on (Stevens or Zembiec) after the spring may not be a shock either.

Wholesale South Carolina Gamecocks Jerseys

South Carolina makes the list of Athlon’s Top 40 Football-Basketball Coaching Duos in college athletics, but just barely.

The tandem of Will Muschamp and Frank Martin enter the list at No. 38, which ranks the Gamecocks as seventh in the Southeastern Conference. Leading the SEC was Alabama, which came in third on the list with Auburn at No. 5 and Kentucky at No. 8.

Muschamp, entering his third season at South Carolina with spring practice starting on Wednesday, brought a formerly 3-9 team to a bowl game in his first year in charge and upped his win total from six to nine in his second year as head coach of the program.

Martin took a team that hadn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2004 and hadn’t won a game in the Big Dance since 1973 to the Final Four last season. The Gamecocks have gotten gradually better each season under Martin and this is likely to be the first year that his team won fewer games than the previous season.

Athlon wrote about South Carolina’s coaching duo:

Muschamp has improved his reputation nationally — which wasn’t great after his struggles at Florida — by guiding South Carolina to a bowl game in 2016 and then a nine-win season in ’17. Martin broke through with a trip to the Final Four in his fifth year at South Carolina — it’s his only trip to the NCAA Tournament at the school — but the Gamecocks will miss the NCAAs this season.

The men’s basketball team, which certainly seems destined for the NIT unless it can win the SEC Tournament next week, hosts LSU for Senior Night on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. on the SEC Network. Muschamp and the football team begin spring practice on Wednesday at a time still to be announced.

Wholesale Texas Longhorns Jerseys

Texas Longhorns
Texas Longhorns

At some point in the next several months, the Texas Longhorns will receive a visit from Honolulu (Hawai’i) St. Louis defensive tackle Faatui Tuitele:

Though Tuitele hasn’t announced it yet on his Twitter page, there are also multiple reports that he now holds an offer from the Longhorns, which makes sense. Why make the nation’s No. 2 defensive tackle visit to receive one?

Tuitele also took a recent trip to Oregon and will visit Oklahoma and LSU — Texas was his third choice on that particular trip.

USC currently has the lead in his 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, with Oregon and Alabama also holding picks.

Tuitele is a consensus five-star prospect ranked as the nation’s No. 23 player and the No. 1 player in Hawai’i, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.


Wholesale Ucla Bruins Jerseys

It’s really pretty simple. UCLA needs a win tonight.

Tonight’s game against Arizona is UCLA’s best chance to pick up a road win against a quality opponent. If the Bruins can pull it off, it will go a long way to helping UCLA get into the NCAA Tournament.

Oh, and, of course, it would definitely improve the Bruins’ chances of winning the Pac-12 regular season title. Right now, they are two games behind the Wildcats and a win would cut that deficit to just one game.

But, if UCLA cannot defeat Arizona, it could be the first game of a long final stretch of the season.
Listen to the Game Here on BN!

This season, we are proud to, again, have today’s audio feed for everyone who opts to use the Tune In player embedded below. For optimum results, start the audio feed then pause your DVR and sync them up together. Personally, I don’t know why anyone would want to do that this afternoon with Bill Walton calling the game, but I get that some of you don’t like listening to him. I think he makes the game more entertaining.

For those who don’t think like me, you can listen here on BN!

Join your fellow fans discussing today’s game below. This is your UCLA Bruins at Arizona Wildcats game thread.


Go Bruins!!!

Wholesale Usc Trojans Jerseys

Usc Trojans
Usc Trojans

I don’t think it’s crazy to say that today’s game against the USC Trojans was a must-win for the Bruins. I do think it’s crazy that UCLA is in a position where they have must-win games against USC in basketball, but that’s a story for another day.

The point is, the UCLA Bruins needed a win in the worst way today, and were able to secure victory in a back-and-forth 82-79 victory over the Trojans at Pauley.

This really was a defense-optional game for both teams; the Bruins shot 50.9% (29-57) from the field, and while USC shot a much-lower 42.9%, it should be noted that that came on 70 shots, as the Trojans were able to dominate UCLA on the glass (38-32 rebounding advantage, including 14-7 on the offensive glass) and took advantage of 12 Bruin turnovers, scoring 16 points off of those. For their part, UCLA was able to take advantage from a poor shooting night from distance from the typically-streaky USC shooters (30% on 9-30 attempts from 3) while shooting extremely well from distance on their own end (46.3% on 12-26 shooting). And while USC dominated the paint to the tune of 34-22, UCLA was able to routinely kill the Trojans with a bevy of midrange shots, repeatedly finding the hole in the USC defense for easy looks.

In big games, you want your best players to show up, and that happened for the Bruins. Aaron Holiday led the team with 23 points on 7-10 shooting, including 5-7 from distance as he almost single-handedly willed the Bruins back into the game late in the second half. He also threw in a team-high 9 assists and cleaned up his play in the second half, as he had 3 turnovers by halftime but only 1 the rest of the way. Thomas Welsh, meanwhile, threw in 21 points on 8-15 shooting, and put in the final 5 points for the Bruins, including a 3 while the game was tied at 77, and then hitting two FTs to give the Bruins a 3 point lead with 8 seconds left. Kris Wilkes threw in 13 points of his own, while Jaylen Hands had 9 as both freshman got their first taste of the Crosstown Rivalry. GG Goloman also had a solid game, as he had 9 points and a series of big momentum plays, including 2 monster blocks and a big slam dunk, and the UCLA comeback was keyed in part by replacing Prince Ali with Goloman on the floor.

In fact, if there’s one player that really didn’t play well, it’s Prince Ali. It’s hard to say what’s going on with Ali; since coming back from a knee injury that kept him out all of last year, it’s looked like a struggle for the sophomore for stretches this season and today was no different, as Ali was kept scoreless. Worse, Ali only saw 16 minutes of game time, and those who watched the game may have felt those were 16 minutes too many, as he looked out of sorts while on the court. When he’s on, Ali gives UCLA a solid scoring option, so UCLA’s tournament chances may still rest on getting Ali hot.

Overall, though, this was a competitive game that saw 18 lead changes on top of 12 ties. USC led the majority of the game, and that was the story for most of it, as the Bruins would claw their way back to a 1 point game before USC would extend the lead, but the Bruins finally put things together late. The final minute did see the return of Steve Alford, Tactical Neophyte, as he again chose not to foul USC with 8 seconds left while up 3, leading USC to get off 2 good shot attempts to attempt to tie the game, but luckily USC’s cold shooting from distance held out in the end.

If you’re an optimist, this could be the kind of victory that gets things clicking and leads the Bruins to a late-season run and eventual Steve 16 berth. For pessimists, this may feel like an empty win that does nothing but prolong the inevitable. Either way, a UCLA victory over just$c should feel good, no matter the circumstances.

Aaron Holiday led the Bruins with 23 points, and had a team-high 9 assists. Thomas Welsh led the team in rebounds with 8. Elijah Stewart led the Trojans with 20 points.

3 Takeaways

  1. Player of the Game: Aaron Holiday – Big players play big in big situations, and Holiday had himself a game exactly when the Bruins needed him to. 23 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds showcased what an all-around excellent performance Holiday had, but maybe a better example would be the events in the second half. USC went on a 14-2 run to take a 9 point lead with 8:09 remaining. After a UCLA timeout, Aaron Holiday went on an 8-0 run (with an Alex Olesinski FT thrown in) to tie the game, and a Welsh basket 10 seconds later would give the Bruins the lead. Holiday was not going to be denied a victory in this game.
  2. Point of emphasis: 3-point defense – Don’t let the percentages fool you; UCLA did not do a great job of defending the 3-point line in this game, which might as well be a statement I could say in any UCLA game. USC shot almost 10% lower than they have on the season from distance, but that wasn’t due to increased defensive effort – USC’s 30 3FGAs is a testament to how many open looks UCLA was content to give up, especially when in the zone defense, as USC constantly took advantage of poor weak-side defense. At this point in the season, it’s hard to believe UCLA will ever become decent at defending the three, which means all I can do is just sit here and constantly mention this failure of defense.
  3. Underrated stat of the game: Bench points – Even after watching the game and looking at the stats, the biggest shock for me was that UCLA did not lose the bench points battle to the Trojans. Much was made of USC possessing superior depth to the Bruins, and to be fair 4 UCLA starters were forced to play over 30 minutes (including the entire game for Aaron Holiday) compared to only 2 for the Trojans, but even in limited time, the UCLA bench was able to outscore their rival’s counterparts 16-15. GG Goloman really stepped up when it was recognized how ineffective Ali was going to be, while Chris Smith and Alex O both chipped in a few key baskets. More importantly, the Bruins were able to make gains whenever the USC bench was on the floor, which kept them close enough to make their last push late. Despite everything, UCLA’s bench won their battle, and that was a key difference.

The Bruins now head on the road for their second rivalry game in 2 games, as they take on the Arizona Wildcats for the first and only time in the regular season on Thursday (and again, great job on scheduling there, Pac-12!). Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM PST.