University of Virginia Basketball Team Will Not Celebrate NCAA Win at the White House

(WASHINGTON) — The Virginia Cavaliers, winners of this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament, won’t be going to the White House to celebrate with President Donald Trump.

Head coach Tony Bennett tweeted Friday that the team has “received inquiries about a visit to the White House” but “would have to respectfully decline an invitation.”

Bennett said, “With several players either pursuing pro opportunities or moving on from UVA, it would be difficult, if not impossible to get everyone back together.”

The Villanova Wildcats, who won the 2018 NCAA men’s tournament, didn’t visit the White House, either.

However, the Clemson Tigers, who won the college football championship in January, did go to the White House — where Trump famously served them fast food from McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King.

And the Baylor Lady Bears, who won this year’s NCAA women’s basketball tournament, have accepted a White House invitation. The school said Wednesday that coach Kim Mulkey and the Lady Bears expect to meet with Trump when they are in Washington on Monday.

Sports – TIME

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Ty Jerome, the ‘Herky-Jerky’ Underdog, May Win Virginia the NCAA National Championship

The number of people who’ve failed the Ty Jerome “eye test” could fill an arena or three. Take one quick glance at Jerome, the 6’5″ Virginia point guard, and you might not think he’s one game away from a potential national championship, and a reasonable bet to win the Most Outstanding Player award at the Final Four. Jerome’s not dunking on anyone, not overwhelming opponents with his physicality, not blowing by everyone on the court with his blazing speed. “Not athletic,” says Jerome in Minneapolis, where Virginia will play Texas Tech on Monday night in the national championship game. He’s listing reasons, with a slight grin, on why he’s failed the so-called “eye-test” so many times. “Not long. Doesn’t look strong.” He’s been listening to this stuff his whole life. And while other players may underestimate his ability, he’ll happily keep kicking their ass.

“He’s the kind of guy who will rip your heart out,” says Virginia radio announcer Dave Koehn, “and smile while doing it.”

Just ask Auburn. Jerome filled the box score against the Tigers in Saturday’s first national semifinal, scoring 21 points, grabbing 9 rebounds and dishing out 6 assists. When he had to leave the game with four-and-a-half minutes left after picking up a silly fourth foul, Virginia couldn’t subsist without him. Auburn began cutting into the Cavaliers’ nine-point advantage, and eventually took the lead before Virginia won the game on a mini-miracle: shooting guard Kyle Guy was fouled, barely, on a last-second three-point shot. He made all three free throws, giving Virginia a 63-62 win.

And while the refs may have missed a Jerome double dribble in the waning seconds — a turnover would have essentially clinched the game for the Tigers — Jerome points out that an Auburn player grabbed his shirt on the play. To Jerome, the violations cancelled each other out. “I knew they weren’t going to call a double dribble after they let that one go right in front of them,” he says.

Jerome unveiled his entire arsenal against Auburn. Deep threes at opportune moments. Little leaners that had no business going in the basket. Jerome stops, and starts, and stops, and starts, calling to mind the inferior athlete who’ll eventually score on you, since he tests your patience and wears you down. When asked to describe Jerome’s game, Virginia associate head coach Jason Williford offers up “Herky-jerky. Old man. YMCAish.”

Almost from the time Jerome arrived home from the hospital to a basketball in his crib — his father, Mark Jerome, put it there -— he’s heard the doubters. “Guard him!” his mom, Melanie Walker, remembers other parents shouting at youth basketball tournaments in the New York City area, where Jerome grew up. “He can’t go past you! He’s not fast enough!” (“As Mark can attest,” Melanie says. “I got in a couple of fights.”) Mark, who played college basketball at Lafayette — Melanie played at Brandeis — doubled as Jerome’s AAU coach, and was tough on his son. He said some things to young Ty he regretted, and would rather not repeat. “Often times I’d look in front of the mirror and say how could I have done that?” says Mark. “How would I have treated him that way?”

Read more: Why Telling the NCAA to Pay Players Is the Wrong Way to Help College Athletes

Still, Ty remained utterly committed to basketball. His parents couldn’t get him out of the gym. The problem: he was small and skinny.

“He entered his freshman year of high school about 5’10” with no signs of puberty,” says Melanie. “Not a single hair under his arms.” After his first year at Iona Prep in New Rochelle, N.Y., a doctor told Ty he still had some growing to do. His eyes lit up. “How much?”Ty asked. About another inch.

Fortunately for Jerome and Virginia, that prediction stunk. He sprouted up about a half-foot in high school. Virginia coach Tony Bennett kept seeing Jerome on the summer hoops circuit (while scouting other higher-rated prospects, naturally). But Bennett couldn’t get Jerome out of his head. So he recruited Jerome, who committed to Virginia before his junior year at Iona. Still, the questions wouldn’t stop. Could Jerome do the things he did in high school — take over games, throw magical passes — at the college level, lest at Virginia and in the ACC, where he’d be facing the likes of Duke and North Carolina? Koehn, the Virginia radio announcer, recalls a mid-major college head coach telling him that Jerome would have thrived at his school, but he’d struggle at Virginia.

“That stuff would bring a lot of kids down,” says Vic Quirolo, Jerome’s high school coach. “But it seemed to energize him.”

Once he got to Virginia, Jerome hit the weight room hard with strength coach Mike Curtis. “He’s not the most genetically gifted athlete in college basketball,” says Curtis. “But he’s phenomenal at doing the little things that can level the playing field for him.” Virginia tracks things it calls KPIs — Key Performance Indicators. When it comes to things like sleep, hydration, and nutrition, Jerome hits the marks.

His defense has improved under Bennett, one of the most demanding defensive coaches in the country. Jerome also got better at shooting on the move. So now, one year removed from Virginia’s historic loss to UMBC —- the top-seeded Cavaliers became the only school in NCAA tournament history to lose to a No. 16 seed — Virginia sits one game away from a national championship, with its point guard a potential first round NBA draft pick.

Bennett calls that loss a “painful gift,” and it’s clear that Jerome takes the negativity personally. On Sunday, his emotions almost boiled over as he cited a news article from the UMBC aftermath that demeaned the program.

“All the outside noise has made us so much stronger, so much more unified, and brought us together,” says Jerome. Making fools of the doubters has defined Jerome’s entire basketball life. Why not a national title to top it all off?

Sports – TIME

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Why Telling the NCAA to Pay Players Is the Wrong Way to Help College Athletes

The annual March Madness heist is under way. Let’s take a peek behind the curtain: while the cameras show supremely gifted college athletes delivering drama and thrills on the court, the NCAA has licensed every television broadcast to hoard a bonanza for people who never touch the ball.

Well-meaning voices call for the NCAA to pay players, but this demand is misguided. No college should be required to pay athletes, and no pay structure needs to be planned. The central question is whether college athletes should have the bargaining rights that other Americans take for granted. On this point, the NCAA is deaf to persuasion. It will hang on to its windfall tenaciously.

The NCAA system is not a creation of law. It’s a private compact of colleges and their athletic conferences, designed to impose a compensation ceiling on athletes by fiat and to demonize anyone who pays or receives a nickel above essentially the cost of college attendance.

Basic reform is simple: just recognize the right of each athlete to bargain for the value of his or her work. This is not a radical notion. Roughly 14 million of 20 million U.S. undergraduates have jobs outside the classroom, and no one thinks to regulate or confiscate those earnings. Only the players in commercialized college sports are victimized as cash cows, to the tune of several billion dollars per year.

A fair, free-market college sports industry would evolve on its own once athletes have their rights restored. Some revenue would be diverted to those players as the essential core talent, which is only fair. What’s amazing is how long we’ve allowed them to be robbed.

Such a system would favor the same 60 to 100 schools that are dominant already. The major conferences may adopt differing, nonmonopoly standards for their athletic budgets, but the vast majority of athletes would not be affected. A volleyball player at a small college could seek compensation like anyone else, but negligible revenue would make such a request moot. Most college sports could remain amateur in the only true sense of the word, being pursued for love of the game and voluntarily divorced from commerce.

But while the solution may be simple, it won’t be easy. The NCAA constitution blocks athletes from membership while professing devotion to their welfare, and NCAA officials resist the danger of granting college athletes even “limited” rights. Under pressure, they have stuck to the claim of exclusive authority. Small benefits called reform, such as a “full scholarship package” — which includes free tuition and a stipend — shrewdly fall short of rights or independent representation for the athletes.

External forces will be needed to compel significant change, and there is precedent on several fronts. In 1978, spurred by Cold War competition over Olympic medals, Congress passed the Amateur Sports Act to empower active athletes by requiring they have at least 20% representation on each governing committee for U.S. Olympic teams. This small but revolutionary step soon dissolved draconian “amateur” rules that had enriched the AAU, then the NCAA’s biggest rival. Defying hysterical predictions, the compensation since negotiated by Olympic athletes has hardly destroyed worldwide audiences for the Games. A similar law requiring representation for college athletes could be effective, and deserves consideration, but Congress has shown no interest in bucking the college sports establishment.

The courts are another venue for justice. Several times they have struck down the NCAA system as an illegal restraint of trade. Until 1984, the NCAA asserted a sole power to license each college football broadcast. That power vanished overnight when the Supreme Court upheld a demand from the major football colleges, led by Georgia and Oklahoma, to schedule their own unlimited broadcasts. In the late 1990s, when an NCAA rule restricted certain new assistant coaches to a $ 16,000 annual salary, some 2,000 assistants banded to file an antitrust grievance that won them the freedom to bargain, plus a $ 54.5 million settlement. NCAA colleges promptly found ways to pay assistant coaches many times the old limit.

Judges have acknowledged the same legal reasoning in recent cases brought by current and former college athletes. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken recently ruled the NCAA compact a violation of antitrust law because it captures “extraordinary revenues” for member schools by confining players to compensation “not commensurate with the value that they create.” This is a restrained understatement, and courts have not yet granted athletes anything like the direct relief awarded to big football schools and the assistant coaches.

So far, the judiciary seems unwilling to confront the NCAA’s self-serving bromide that economic rights for college athletes would diminish their educational experience. In truth, compensation would give players an incentive to stay in school — and standing to bargain for better academic life. Beyond that, it remains up to the colleges whether they treat prime athletes as legitimate students.

Universities should be a forum for clarity about whether commercialized sports can coexist with academic integrity, but such debate rarely takes place at the institutions born for fearless thought. My alma mater, the University of North Carolina, temporarily canceled a pioneering course on NCAA history as too controversial. Sadly, most professors never examine the conflicted juggernaut right there on campus.

The burden of change may thus fall on athletes. Some have already begun raising their voices. A recent strike by the football team saw the University of Missouri’s president resign quickly, and the University of Maryland dismissed its football coach after players spoke out against him following a teammate’s death in practice. Even symbolic gestures in defiance of NCAA rules, such as wearing an armband or a small patch discreetly labeled something like “RFA” (Rights for Athletes), or selling autographs for charity at a public ceremony, could provoke spasms of attention that sports broadcasts zealously avoid. Truly concerted action could topple the NCAA.

I am cheering for UNC in March Madness as always, and I don’t expect to hear a word about equity for the players. Armchair experts and well-paid commentators will continue to obsess about bracketology, upsets, momentum and a key player’s sore ankle. This is natural, because sports are a designated world where fans escape to cheer and boo as they please. Intrusions from real life can break the spell, provoking resentful cries for pampered athletes to shut up and play.

Sports-think gives fans a presumptive stake to say how college sports should be run, oblivious that the whole NCAA production rests on players who have no voice at all. Athletes become urgently important for moments on the screen, but we force their fundamental rights to fit our entertainment and convenience. Surely this perspective is backward. College athletes are young adults who love a sport they have played all their lives. Some don’t realize how badly they have been used until they are leaving school, which helps perpetuate the exploitation.

Sparks of courage are needed. Fans, being also citizens, should engage the larger arena of fairness. Nonfans should stop wishing for commercial sports to vanish, as though Plato might rescue the academy, and address sports corruption and dishonesty at the heart of our vital universities. My hope for March Madness, now and in the future, is some small sign of agitation over basic rights. Regardless, I’ll chant, “Go Heels!” for Carolina and keep pushing for those armbands.

Sports – TIME

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While You’re Getting Paid for NCAA Brackets, A New Bill Proposes College Athletes Get Paid

A Republican congressman is pushing to pass a new bill that would allow student-athletes to make money off of their image and likeness. Introduced days before the start of March Madness and NCAA brackets-madness, the Student-Athlete Equity Act would amend the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) bylaws that prohibit students from receiving any form of outside payment for the use of their name, image, and likeness. Under current NCAA rules, student-athletes are not allowed to sign endorsement deals, accept gifts from fans, or even sell their autograph. Duke’s Zion Williamson, for example, can’t earn a dime despite the fact that his athletic prowess has high-profile celebrities and fans pouring into the stands to see him play.

“Signing an athletic scholarship with a school should not be a moratorium on your rights to your name, image, and self-worth,” reads a statement by the bill’s legislator, North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker. “It’s time to bring equity to student-athletes and fix the injustices that exist in the current NCAA model. After nearly two years of discussions with players and leaders, we are introducing legislation that won’t cost the NCAA or our schools a single dollar, while empowering college athletes with the same opportunities that every American should have in a free-market.”

Similar to how superstars like LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Serena Williams have made millions from lucrative endorsement deals, the Student-Athlete Equity Act would allow student-athletes to get paid when they appear in video games and other public media by amending the definition of “an amateur” in the NCAA tax code. The bill, however, does not advocate for students to receive direct payment from NCAA member schools.

The bill is the latest action in the ongoing “pay-to-play” debate. For years, critics have argued that players are being exploited by colleges, which rake in millions of dollars from fans who pay to watch them play. Colleges and universities are also allowed to profit off the student-athletes’ likeness by selling promotional items like jerseys. The NCAA, on the other hand, argues that athletes are rewarded with sports scholarships, free education, and other perks.

“To be able to profit off the backs of many of the students, some which come from underprivileged or impoverished areas, to me, that’s not fair,” Walker told WFMY News, “If everybody else has access to the free market, they should as well.”

Walker’s bill comes just days before the start of March Madness, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, on Tuesday. During the Division I tournament, CBS and Turner Sports, sponsors, NCAA, universities, and coaches, will earn a mint.

“We’re not asking the NCAA or the schools to spend a dime on these athletes,” Walker told ThinkProgress. “We’re asking for them to have the same rights to the free market that you and I have.”

The post While You’re Getting Paid for NCAA Brackets, A New Bill Proposes College Athletes Get Paid appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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The 10 Most Exciting March Madness Match-Ups That Could Happen During the 2019 NCAA Tournament

The NCAA tournament, March Madness, the Big Dance, whatever you want to call it, it’s the most wonderful time of the year for college basketball fans.

Selection Sunday has come and gone and the field of 64 Division I men’s basketball teams that will compete for the 2019 National Championship is set— with the exception of the four teams that will be determined by play-in games on Tuesday and Wednesday, of course. This year’s Final Four will take place in Minneapolis, Minn. from April 6 – 8, with the national championship title game set for Monday, April 8.

In the mix this March are three No. 1 seeds from the Atlantic Coast Conference — Duke, Virginia and North Carolina — as well as the fourth and final one-seed, Gonzaga, and a slew of other programs gunning for an upset against the four top-ranked teams.

Brackets will almost certainly be busted and at least one Cinderella story will hopefully be told as the tournament plays out, but in the meantime let’s take a look ahead at 10 of the most exciting potential match-ups that could happen in the 2019 NCAA tournament.

Match-up: Tennessee (2) vs. Purdue (3)

Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Auburn Tigers at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on March 17, 2019.
Matthew Maxey—Icon Sportswire/Getty ImagesTennessee Volunteers guard Jordan Bone watches the final seconds tick off the clock during the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Auburn Tigers at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on March 17, 2019.

Round: Sweet Sixteen

The Volunteers and Boilermakers may not be defensive powerhouses — their defenses are ranked 34th and 32nd in the nation, respectively, according to KenPom — but with the No. 3 and No. 5 offenses in play, this could be a high-scoring second weekend match-up to look out for.

Match-up: Duke (1) vs. Virginia Tech (4)

Wabissa Bede #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies runs past Jordan Goldwire #14 and Marques Bolden #20 of the Duke Blue Devils at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Virginia on February 26, 2019.
Lauren Rakes—Getty ImagesWabissa Bede #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies runs past Jordan Goldwire #14 and Marques Bolden #20 of the Duke Blue Devils at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Virginia on February 26, 2019.

Round: Sweet Sixteen

The Hokies pulled off a decisive upset when they came up against the Blue Devils during regular-season conference play in February. Of course, the caveat to that win is that Duke’s star freshman, Zion Williamson, sat the game out with a sprained right knee. Williamson is back and slamming down more dunks than ever, but that doesn’t mean Virginia Tech won’t somehow find an answer to the Blue Devils’ 6-foot-7-inch, 285-pound forward.

Match-up: North Carolina (1) vs. Kentucky (2)

North Carolina Tar Heels forward Luke Maye #32 handles the ball against Kentucky Wildcats forward PJ Washington #25 during the CBS Sports Classic at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on December 22, 2018.
Quinn Harris—Icon Sportswire/Getty ImagesNorth Carolina Tar Heels forward Luke Maye #32 handles the ball against Kentucky Wildcats forward PJ Washington #25 during the CBS Sports Classic at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on December 22, 2018.

Round: Elite Eight

When these two storied basketball programs last met in March, North Carolina’s Luke Maye hit the game-winning shot with just 0.3 seconds left to send the Tar Heels to the Final Four on the way to their 2017 National Championship. Not to mention that the 2018 CBS Sports Classic game that these two played in December came down to the final minutes — Kentucky pulled off the win. An Elite Eight match-up between the one and two-seeds in the Midwest would almost certainly be another one for the books.

Match-up: Duke (1) vs. Michigan State (2)

Michigan State Spartans guard Foster Loyer #3 and Michigan State Spartans players celebrate after defeating the Michigan Wolverines in a Big Ten Tournament Championship game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans at the United Center in Chicago, IL on March 17, 2019.
Robin Alam—Icon Sportswire/Getty ImagesMichigan State Spartans guard Foster Loyer #3 and Michigan State Spartans players celebrate after defeating the Michigan Wolverines in a Big Ten Tournament Championship game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans at the United Center in Chicago, IL on March 17, 2019.

Round: Elite Eight

Straight off a come-from-behind victory against their in-state rival Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament Championship, Michigan State is entering the NCAA tournament on a hot streak. The only bad news is that the Spartans’ Kyle Ahrens suffered a gruesome ankle injury in Sunday’s game that could keep him on the bench for the remainder of the season. As the No. 1 overall seed, the Blue Devils are going to be a force to be reckoned with for any team, let alone one that isn’t at full strength.

Match-up: Virginia (1) vs. Villanova (6)

Phil Booth #5 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates the 74-72 win over the Seton Hall Pirates during the Big East Championship Game at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 16, 2019.
Elsa—Getty ImagesPhil Booth #5 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates the 74-72 win over the Seton Hall Pirates during the Big East Championship Game at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 16, 2019.

Round: Elite Eight

After battling through a late-season slump to win the Big East Tournament Championship, Villanova could easily turn out to be one of the most dangerous teams ranked below the top three seed lines in this year’s tournament. On the other hand, after losing to the No. 16-seeded UMBC Golden Retrievers in the first-round of last year — a historic March Madness upset — the Cavaliers are back at No. 1 with something to prove.

Match-up: Kentucky (2) vs. Kansas (4)

Lagerald Vick #24 of the Kansas Jayhawks shoots the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky on January 26, 2019.
Andy Lyons—Getty ImagesLagerald Vick #24 of the Kansas Jayhawks shoots the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky on January 26, 2019.

Round: Elite Eight

If one-seed North Carolina and current-Tar-Heel-former-Jayhawk coach Roy Williams fall to Kansas in a Sweet Sixteen game that is set to take play at Kansas City’s Sprint Center — an arena that would essentially give Kansas a home-court advantage — a Kentucky-Kansas match-up in the Elite Eight could very well be in the cards. The Wildcats topped the Jayhawks by just eight points when the two teams faced off in January, so with a spot in the Final Four at stake, this rematch would likely be a showstopper.

Match-up: Gonzaga (1) vs. Michigan (2)

Rui Hachimura #21 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs brings the ball up the court against the Pepperdine Waves during a semifinal game of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 11, 2019.
Ethan Miller—Getty ImagesRui Hachimura #21 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs brings the ball up the court against the Pepperdine Waves during a semifinal game of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 11, 2019.

Round: Elite Eight

As the losers of the 2017 and 2018 National Championships, Gonzaga and Michigan are both itching to make it back to the championship title game for a shot at redemption. But to get there, the two may first have to face each other in an Elite Eight game that would pit the nation’s No. 1-ranked offense (Bulldogs) against the No. 2-ranked defense (Wolverines).

Match-up: Virginia (1) vs. North Carolina (1)

Kenny Williams #24 of the North Carolina Tar Heels takes a three-point shot against the Virginia Cavaliers during their game at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on February 11, 2019 .
Grant Halverson/Getty ImagesKenny Williams #24 of the North Carolina Tar Heels takes a three-point shot against the Virginia Cavaliers during their game at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on February 11, 2019 .

Round: Final Four

The Cavaliers came out on top the first and only time that Virginia and North Carolina met during the regular season, but it’s always a showdown when these two ACC powerhouses go head to head. The Cavaliers thrive at a slower pace while the Tar Heels like to race down the court at breakneck speed, so the outcome of this Final Four match-up would likely depend on who controls the tempo of the game

Match-up: Michigan (2) vs. Michigan State (2)

Ignas Brazdeikis #13 of the Michigan Wolverines dribbles the ball while being guarded by Aaron Henry #11 of the Michigan State Spartans in the second half during the championship game of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on March 17, 2019.
Jonathan Daniel—Getty ImagesIgnas Brazdeikis #13 of the Michigan Wolverines dribbles the ball while being guarded by Aaron Henry #11 of the Michigan State Spartans in the second half during the championship game of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on March 17, 2019.

Round: Final Four

If both Michigan State and Michigan manage to knock out the No. 1 seeds in their regions (Duke and Gonzaga, respectively) — or another team does the job for them first — a Big Ten Tournament Championship rematch could prove to be one of the tournament’s most exciting games. Only this time, the Spartans and Wolverines would be competing for a chance to play in the 2019 National Championship.

Match-up: Duke (1) vs. North Carolina (1)

North Carolina Tar Heels forward Nassir Little #5 shoots over Duke Blue Devils forward RJ Barrett #5 during the ACC basketball tournament between the Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC on March 15, 2019.
Icon Sportswire—Icon Sportswire via Getty ImagesNorth Carolina Tar Heels forward Nassir Little #5 shoots over Duke Blue Devils forward RJ Barrett #5 during the ACC basketball tournament between the Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC on March 15, 2019.

Round: National Championship

No matter either team’s record or ranking, a Duke-UNC game is high stakes any time the two Tobacco Road teams meet. Over the course of college basketball history, the two schools — both of which are among the top five winningest programs of all-time — have won a combined 38 of the 65 ACC Tournament Championships, 50 regular season ACC championships and 11 National Championships. This year alone, North Carolina swept Duke to win a share of the ACC regular season championship before Duke returned the favor by edging Carolina out of the ACC Tournament with a 74-73 win in the semifinals.

All of this is to say that, for fans of either program, the idea of the Blue Devils and Tar Heels meeting in the NCAA tournament for the very first time with a national title on the line is nearly unfathomable. If these two do go head to head in the 2019 National Championship, the greatest rivalry in college basketball will skyrocket to a whole new level.

Sports – TIME

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For as much as Mark Few’s program has done to establish itself as a perennial power, it is still judged too critically by a single loss in its mid-major conference.
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Bracket Watch: Where the 2019 NCAA Tournament Field Stands With Shakeups Dead Ahead

Thursday is one of the busiest days of Championship Week, with top teams making their case for No. 1 seeds and bubble teams sweating out Selection Sunday.

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Penny Hardaway: NBA pedigree is making NCAA coaches jealous

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Penny Hardaway says the NBA background of his Memphis coaching staff is creating a little jealousy among other coaches, putting a target on his own back in his first season with the Tigers. “I’m getting used to this as a coach because it’s a little jealousy from a lot of these…
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Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence Declares for NFL Draft Amid NCAA Suspension

The Tigers’ defensive tackle announced his decision to forgo his senior season after sitting out the last two games of Clemson’s 15–0 season due to a suspension.

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Inside the NCAA and FBI’s Smearing of Duke Basketball Phenom Zion Williamson

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Zion Williamson is a goddamn hero. Even though he’s going to Duke this season, truly tragic, the basketball world devours this big ol’ guy’s dunks, windmills, passes, whatever. Please, watch this highlight video of the man making his high school peers look like fetuses.

Dominant. Skilled. Extremely angry at the rim. This dude is NBA catnip. He is also worth a ton of money. Take, for instance, the purveyors of this highlight tape, Ballislife. They show ads during this video of Zion and get revenue so they can make a living traveling to obscure high school gyms around the country. His college sells tickets to his games and solicits donations based on his play. A shoe company supplies them with kicks and gets their image flashed across TVs all over America, chilling on his feet. His coach, Mike Krzyzewski, will make $ 8.9 million this year, utilizing Zion’s skillset without paying him a red cent of that salary. He will do this with pride, actually, regarding himself as a moral person who follows the rules because he makes money off of Zion’s work without giving him any of it.

This Monday, Zion’s name came up in the Justice Department’s ongoing prosecution of former Adidas executive James Gatto, AAU maven Christian Dawkins, and former Clemson standout Merl Code Jr. for wire fraud related to NCAA recruiting violations, which is consuming the edges of college basketball pre-season attention. “There was a wiretapped phone call that was recorded between one of the Adidas executives and a Kansas assistant coach.” Ricky O’Donnell, a college basketball writer at SB Nation, tells me. “The executive told the Kansas coach that Zion’s father asked the company for housing, some money for Zion’s services as a basketball player, and a job for himself, and apparently the coach said, ‘Yeah sure, whatever.’”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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