Credit: University of Washington Athletics

Sunday News and Notes

Highlighting the news in college basketball and around the NBA draft

Kevin Willard turned down Virginia Tech to stay at Seton Hall. The Seton Hall coach will receive an extension and a pay raise, but the terms have not been disclosed. In addition to his pay increase, the university will allot more funds to pay other employees on the basketball staff, and improve their facilities.

Buffalo has promoted their top assistant, Jim Whitesell, to replace their former coach Nate Oats. Whitesell has been at Buffalo since 2015, and promoting from within follows the same path that Buffalo took when replace Bobby Hurley with Nate Oats.

Virginia survived to advance to the national championship game, after a controversial missed double dribble by Ty  Jerome, and a foul call with 1 second remaining sending Kyle Guy to the line for the game winning free throws. Auburn had been down by double digits in the game and clawed their way back to grab the lead in the final minute. Virginia makes their first championship game, and a championship this season would complete their redemption story after the historic loss last season.

Texas Tech controlled most of the game against Michigan State, advancing to their first national championship, ensuring that we will have a first time NCAA champion Monday night. The Spartans attempted to close the gap, but the Red Raiders defense has been elite through their tournament run and it is a good sign they got the victory despite their star Jarrett Culver not playing well. They will need Culver to get going against an equally strong defense in Virginia, which will not be the most exciting game if you’re tuning in to see scoring, but both teams have capable offensive weapons as well.

Zion Williamson was named the winner of the Naismath Player of the Year, which is only the third time that a freshman has won the award. Surely Williamson would have like a national championship to top off his impressive season, but being named the ACC player of the year, a first team all-american, and the AP player of the year is one of the best freshman seasons in the history of the college game.

• Williamson’s name is also currently caught up in the allegations that attorney Michael Avenatti has leveled against Nike, saying that the company has offered payments to over 100 players as bribes to attend schools with Nike equipment deals. Other players named were Deandre Ayton, currently in the NBA, and Bol Bol who attended Oregon this season, among others. Anything that is being accused by a man who has been charged with attempting to extort money from Nike to keep quiet should be taken with a grain of salt, but he is claiming to have evidence to back up his claims.

Minnesota has extended Richard Pitino for two seasons. Pitino has gone 112-92 in his six seasons with the Golden Gophers.

Eric Mussleman is reportedly finalizing a deal to become the head coach at Arkansas. Musselman has NBA experience, and has gone 110-34 in his 4 seasons at Nevada. This would be a big get for the SEC program, with Musselman being viewed by many as a top tier college coach.

Matisse Thybulle was named the Naismith defensive player of the year, capping off his career at Washington with the award. He could be drafted anywhere from the late first round to the second round, with his potential as a three and d player in the NBA having teams intrigued.

 

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