Is Princeton the closest to St. Peter’s Basilica? Plus a preview of Friday’s men’s and women’s tournament action

Happy Friday everyone! Wow, what a basketball day. And guess what? We have to do it again today and all weekend.

Let’s get straight to the point.

Good morning to everyone, but especially to…


in 1996, Mitch Henderson played on the Princeton Team that beat the reigning champions UCLA in the first round of the men’s NCAA tournament. Twenty-seven years and two days later, Henderson coached his alma mater to another upset at an all-time NCAA tournament, with the 15-seeded Tigers leading the 2-seeded Arizona, 59-55, as a 16-point underdog.

  • With 4:43 left, Azuolas Tubelis put the Wildcats up 55-50 and it looked like they might get away. Little did they – or anyone else – know those were the last points Arizona would scoreas the Tigers closed with a 9-0 run.
  • Keeshawn Kelman And Ryan Langborg scored on consecutive possession, and Langborg gave the Tigers the lead in a tough layup by just over two minutes.
  • It’s just the 11th 15-2 excitement everbut it has now happened in three consecutive seasons: Saint Peter last year and Oral Roberts the year before.

Princeton did a great job grounding Arizona’s high-flying attack, finishing with a lead in rebounds and paint points and limiting Arizona to just eight fastbreak points. The Tigers meet another Tigers team – Missouri — morning.


Does anyone know what a paladin is? Whatever it is, it sure fits in Cinderella’s slipper.

No. 13 Seed Furman stunned 4 seed Virginia, 68-67, in a wild ending that will live on forever.

  • Less than 10 seconds down by two, Furman caught the Virginia guard Kihei Clarkwho threw an inexplicable desperation pass (although the team was on a timeout) right into the hands of Paladin’s big man Garret Hien.
  • Hien fired a pass JP Pegueswho hit the 3-pointer to start with 2.4 seconds before the end. Reece Beekman‘s shot at the buzzer for Virginia missed.
  • Conference Player of the Year Jalen Slawson (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Markus Foerster (14 points, four 3-pointers) went ahead.
  • It is Furman’s first NCAA tournament victory since 1974. The paladins were one of the biggest winners of the daywrites our David Cobb.

Everyone will remember Pegues’ shot, but the fact that Furman had a chance at all was the result of great play and coaching down the track. The Paladins were down as much as 12, but Furman is the coach Bob Richey had the team switch from a man-to-man defense to a 1-3-1 zone, handicapping the Cavaliers’ guards. Furman ended the game with a 30-17 run over the final 10-54.


And not such a good morning for…

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Based on her seeding, her dynamic duo and her Pac-12 tournament title, The Arizona Wildcats entered the NCAA tournament with legitimate title hopes. Due to their guard game, however, they came up short.

Here’s what Tubelis and Omar Ballo against Princeton:

  • 35 points
  • 15-30 shooting (50%)

Here’s what everyone else did:

  • 20 points
  • 9-27 shooting (33%)
  • 2-14 shooting 3-pointers (14%)

Guard play is crucial in March. For the second year in a row, Arizona wasn’t good enough and goes home early.


During his five-year career with Virginia, Kihei Clark set the ACC record for wins and the program record for assists. One of those assists was hitting one of the greatest passes in Virginia—and the NCAA tournament—history Purdue during the 2019 Cavaliers’ championship run.

But at the end of that remarkable career, he made one of the worst decisions at the worst time. Clark, whose attitude has been a constant over the past half decade, could have called for a time-out or… just not attempted an over-the-shoulder fling that led to Pegues’ 3-pointer and again a heartbreaking defeat for Clark and the Cavaliers.

Virginia has not won an NCAA tournament game since winning the national championship. March can be magical. It can also be cruel.

Not so honorable mentions

Preview of the men’s NCAA tournament on Friday 🏀

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Let’s do it all again! Friday’s action is packed with great games and storylines, so it’s time to dig in. Here’s the schedule.

One of the best games of the day – and a Top 10 first round game according to David Cobb’s rankings — Is 8 seeds Memphis vs. 9 seeds Florida Atlantic. Here’s who our Kyle Boone likes:

  • Boone: “FAU has 31 wins this season after dominating Conference USA with a good mix of offense and defense. The sticking point in the FAU takeover is the fading Memphis guard Kendric Davis — a jack of all trades and creator who may be the best at his position — but I’m a betting coach Dusty May has a game plan to at least give him a hard time. I like it when the owls win this game outright, so I’ll take the 2.5 points. Choice: FAU +2

All recommendations from our experts are here.

One of the biggest storylines will be meanwhile Rick Pitino coach what could be his last game Ionas trainer. There have been rumors that Pitino could go to one of Big East’s coaching positions, but first he’ll try to beat one of Big East’s best: UConn. Chip Patterson investigates the and other top storylines here.

Mets’ Edwin Díaz is likely out for the season with a knee injury he sustained at WBC ⚾

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The worst-case scenario has come true Edwin Diaz and the New York Mets. The Star Helper is likely to be out for the season after sustaining a full-thickness patellar tendon tear in his right knee. The injury happened when Diaz celebrated Puerto Rico’s victory over the Dominican Republic with his teammates.

  • He had to be carried to the edge of the field and then placed in a wheelchair to get out of there.
  • Last season, Díaz made the All-Star Game, posting a 1.31 ERA and converting 32 of 35 saves en route to winning the Trevor Hoffman Award for Best Reliever in the NL.
  • Diaz is Entering the second year of a five-year, $102 million contractthe greatest deal ever given to a helper.

The Mets go into this MLB season as the team with the most pressure to win it all, writes our Mike Axisa. Mike also sketched where the Mets can go from here for their closeness.

Such an injury will have people questioning whether the World Baseball Classic should exist at all, or whether MLB players should be seated in it. Our Matt Snyder says the good far outweighs the bad.

  • snyder “The main argument against players participating in the WBC seems to be that it is an ‘unnecessary risk of injury.’ Unnecessary isn’t really debatable… However, I’ll argue the “risk” thing. There is no riskier playing at the WBC than at spring training or simple daily activities. None at all. Again, Díaz wasn’t even injured during the game – and if he were, it would be no different than someone playing in a spring training session.

Expert tips for the women’s NCAA tournament 🏀

You have until noon ET today to play our Women’s Bracket Games and if you’re waiting until the last moment, let me help you. Our experts filled in their bracketsand like three of them South Carolina.

This is of course not a surprise, because the Gamecocks are undefeated and the reigning champions. So do with it what you want. Here’s what else you should know:

What we’re watching this weekend 📺

🏀 We’re looking at the NCAA men’s tournament. Here’s how.
🏀 We also look at the NCAA women’s tournament. Here’s how.


🏀 Warrior at Hawks7:30 p.m. on NBA TV
🏀 Lakers underdogs10:30 p.m. on NBA TV


World Baseball Classic: USA vs Venezuela7 p.m. on FOX
🏀 Warrior at Grizzlies8 p.m. on NBA TV
🏒 Penguins at Rangers8 p.m. on ABC


🏀 Birds of prey at Bucks8 p.m. on NBA TV

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