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    Darrion Trammell and San Diego State used a dominant defensive performance to knock top overall seed Alabama out of the NCAA Tournament, bottling up All-America freshman Brandon Miller in a 71-64 victory in the Sweet 16. Trammell scored 21 points while Miller, whose outstanding season was marred by off-the-court complications, was held to nine points on 3-of-19 shooting and had six turnovers.

      GREENVILLE, S.C. — Alexis Morris hit two foul shots with 10 seconds to play as third-seeded LSU reached the Elite Eight for the first time since 2008 by beating No. 2 Utah 66-63 on Friday.

        To get a sense of where Kansas State and Florida Atlantic sit in college basketball’s hierarchy before they play in the Elite Eight, look at their transfers. The Wildcats have nine players who previously played at other Division I schools, several of whom were productive multi-year starters in mid-major conferences. Most notable among them is Markquis Nowell, the 5-foot-8 point guard who put on the performance of the NCAA Tournament in an overtime victory against Michigan State. FAU’s transfers arrived at the Boca Raton, Florida, school after compiling thinner resumes at programs in the so-called power conferences.

          Gonzaga has a short turnaround to face a physical opponent coming off an emotional win. That didn't go so well the last time. The Zags beat UCLA on a buzzer beater in the 2021, then got manhandled by Baylor in the national title game two days later. Gonzaga faces a similar challenge against UConn after another dramatic win over the Bruins. The Huskies are big, physical and playing like a team that can win a national championship. But the Zags have been this far before, reaching the Final Four twice in the past five NCAA Tournaments. UConn hasn't been to the Final Four since winning the 2014 national title.

            Cinderella is no stranger at the NCAA Tournament. From George Mason to VCU to Loyola of Chicago, there are some scintillating Final Four runs that keep hope alive for the little guys. Winning a national title is a far taller mountain to climb. So daunting, in fact, that not one of our beloved underdogs has done it. Not even Loyola, which seemingly had a higher power on its side. Which brings us to Florida Atlantic, a school that finds itself in the midst of one of those magical runs. Will they be the team that finally breaks through?

              High-top basketball shoes aren't as common a sight on the college basketball floor these days. The footwear most players are lacing up in the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments are some version of a low-top sneaker, with a few mid-cut styles thrown in. 

                Markquis Nowell broke the NCAA Tournament record for assists in a game with 19, his last two on spectacular passes in the final minute of overtime, and Kansas State beat Michigan State 98-93 in a Sweet 16 thriller at Madison Square Garden. Playing in his hometown and fighting through a second-half ankle injury, Nowell found Keyontae Johnson for a reverse alley-oop with 58 seconds left in OT to give the Wildcats  the lead for good. Plus more news from the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.

                Alabama was expected to be in the Sweet 16 as the overall top seed in the NCAA Tournament. Few thought the teams standing between the Crimson Tide and a trip to the Final Four would be No. 5 seed San Diego State, sixth-seeded Creighton and 15th-seeded Princeton. A win over Alabama could elevate any of those schools to the status of March Madness legend.

                Iowa State was quick to say that its miserable shooting performance in the NCAA Tournament had nothing to do with some wonky rims in Greensboro, North Carolina. Nevertheless, the Cyclones were among the many teams that struggled during the opening weekend, especially from the 3-point line.

                Drew Timme and Jaime Jaquez Jr. grew up in different states, yet often came across each other at AAU tournaments, sometimes as roommates. The two fancy-footworking forwards with the fantastic facial hair will be reunited Thursday night in Las Vegas, when Gonzaga meets UCLA in the NCAA Tournament's West Region semifinals.

                Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is not a big fan of the transfer portal in general, lamenting that it gives young people an easy out instead of an opportunity to overcome challenges at a potentially pivotal time in their lives. But the Spartans are not alone in relying on transfers.


                Need gift ideas to help with the ladies in your life? This list will surely help you make the grade.

                Willis Reed, who dramatically emerged from the locker room minutes before Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals to spark the New York Knicks to their first championship and create one of sports’ most enduring examples of playing through pain, has died. He was 80. Reed died Tuesday, according to the National Basketball Retired Players Association, which confirmed it through his family. Reed had been in poor health recently and was unable to travel to New York when the Knicks honored the 50th anniversary of their 1973 NBA championship team last month. Nicknamed “The Captain,” Reed was the undersized center and emotional leader on the Knicks’ two NBA championship teams.

                Ryan Nembhard was injured and watched from the bench during Creighton’s two-game stay in last year’s NCAA Tournament. The point guard is front and center for the sixth-seeded Bluejays this year after having just played the game of his life to lead them into the Sweet 16. Nembhard scored a career-high 30 points in an 85-76 win over third-seeded Baylor in Denver on Sunday. 

                In less than a year, Jerome Tang has taken a Kansas State program that was down to two scholarship players and built a team headed to the Sweet 16. The longtime Baylor assistant has changed the culture of the Wildcats' program. Tang and his team are headed to Madison Square Garden in New York on Thursday night to play Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament.

                Coaches across college basketball are looking at ways to evolve to deal with recruiting, roster management and athletes who can earn money. It is a chaotic landscape. The challenges include players being able to move freely through the transfer portal and cash in on their fame with endorsement deals. 

                Willis Reed, who dramatically emerged from the locker room minutes before Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals to spark the New York Knicks to their first championship and create one of sports’ most enduring examples of playing through pain, died Tuesday. He was 80.

                The injuries to Cade Cunningham and LeMelo Ball have made this season another dreary one for the Pistons and Hornets, but the presence of those two players mean improvement could certainly come quickly if they’re back to full health.

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