Arkansas ousts defending champ Kansas from March Madness Minnesota hires West Virginia’s Plitzuweit to replace Whalen Bill Self to miss Kansas’ NCAA game against Arkansas Princeton women top NC State 64-63 in March Madness opener Coles hits late floater, TCU edges Arizona St in March Madness Florida Atlantic edges Memphis 66-65, first March Madness win
DEMOINES, Iowa (AP) Kansas’ national title defense came to an end in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday as Arkansas’ Ricky Council IV made five last-second free throws as the No. 8 Razorbacks beat the No. 1 Jayhawks, 72-71.
Davonte Davis scored 25 points and the Council added 21 as Arkansas bounced back from a 12-point deficit in the second half. Kansas, playing without ailing coach Bill Self, became the second seed not to escape the opening weekend of the tournament after Purdue lost Friday night to 16th seed Farleigh Dickinson.
Arkansas (22-13) and coach Eric Musselman return to the Sweet 16 for the third year in a row. The Razorbacks will play either St. Mary’s or UCLA in the West Region Semifinals in Las Vegas on Thursday.
Musselman and his players rushed to the group of fans sitting by the court after the final signal. The 58-year-old coach ripped off his polo shirt, waved it over his head and screamed with joy.
“This is an incredible victory for our program,” Musselman said. “I keep telling people that we are getting better. Few teams can get better this time of year. I’ve never been as proud of a team as I am today.”
Self has been with the Jayhawks (28-8) since they arrived in Des Moines and has been attending practices and meetings, but he still didn’t feel well enough to practice the game following March 8 heart surgery to clear a clogged arteries.
Longtime assistant Norm Roberts served as interim coach for the fifth straight game in Self’s absence.
Kansas, in contention to become the first repeat national champion since Florida in 2006-07, was ahead 35-27 at halftime and lost for the first time in 27 games, entering the second half by a lead. Kansas was 47-0 in the NCAA Tournament when they led by eight or more points in the half.
Davis scored 21 points in the second half. He fouled with 1:56 left, passing it all to the Veterans Council, moving from Wichita State, who had scored nine of the Razorbacks’ last 11 points.
“This team had problems and we figured it out,” Davis said. “I’m glad we did it at the right time. I hope we continue to do so.”
A few minutes later, outside the locker room, a sobbing Musselman hugged Davis and yelled, “I (expletive) love you, man!”
A Council free throw gave Arkansas the lead to go 68–67 with 24 seconds left. He then recovered his own second free throw miss and made two more to give the Razorbacks a three-point lead.
The teams traded free throws and Arkansas sent Kansas’ Jalen Wilson to the line with 3 seconds left to head off a potential 3-pointer. Wilson hit the first free throw and appeared to deliberately miss the second, but he hit the glass hard and went inside, and Kansas never regained possession.
Wilson led the Jayhawks with 20 points.
Arkansas ranked first for the third year in a row. Last year, the Razorbacks knocked out Gonzaga en route to a second consecutive Elite Eight.
Arkansas, who beat Illinois in the first round, was considered an intimidating matchup for the Jayhawks due to his explosive transition play and ability to defend against blocking.
But the circumstances were far from ideal for Sharp Spins. Defenseman Anthony Black treated a nagging ankle injury early and went to the bench to re-tape and change his shoes, while fellow defenseman and projected high first-round NBA draft pick Nick Smith Jr. received two quick fouls and was limited to 10 minutes. and no points in the first half. Also, the big man Kamani Johnson was sick and was playing with a bad toe.
The Razorbacks were too eager to throw 3s early. They conceded 8 of 9 in the first half and were unable to continue.
Kansas looked completely in control early on. The Jayhawks got their fans on their feet with a series of electric pranks, including a fast break dunk by Grady Dick from a Dajuan Harris interception, Wilson’s controversial and-1 basket shot and his primal yell to the Arkansas fans, and Joseph Yesufu. high arc 3 off the logo to beat the shot time.
Davis started the game-turning Arkansas streak 11-0 midway through the second half, and a Jordan Walsh three-pointer with eight minutes left gave the Razorbacks their first lead since their first shot of the game. Davis ran over, chest-butted Walsh and raised his hands to ask the Arkansas fans to make more noise.
Arkansas neutralized Wilson when it mattered most, allowing the All-American to make just two shots in a 15-minute second-half stretch.
Arkansas enters the Sweet 16 for the 14th time. The only lower-seeded Razorbacks team to reach the Regional Semi-Finals was the 1996 team, which finished 12th.
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Minnesota hired West Virginia head coach Don Plitzuwait on Saturday to a six-year contract, turning to another leader with strong regional ties to try to lift a lagging program.
Plitzweit, who will replace Lindsay Whalen, has 16 years of experience as a 356-141 head coach at four schools. She spent just one season with the Mountaineers, who, after finishing 10th, lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to 7th-place Arizona on Friday.
Prior to that, Plitzuwait had taken South Dakota to the NCAA Tournament for four of her six seasons there. She was a three-time Major League Coach of the Year award winner along with the Coyotes who reached the Sweet 16 in 2022.
Plitzwait also spent four seasons in Northern Kentucky and five seasons in Grand Valley State, which won the 2006 NCAA Division II National Championship. Between these stops, she was an assistant in Michigan.
The 50-year-old West Bend, Wisconsin native has also worked as an assistant at the Michigan Institute of Technology, Wisconsin and Green Bay.
“It’s kind of a homecoming, and Minnesota is a program that I’m very familiar with from my previous time in the area and in the Big Ten,” Plitzuwait said in a statement. “I look forward to returning to the area and meeting the team, alumni and fans. I also look forward to meeting local school and club coaches. I can’t wait to get to work.”
The university has scheduled a press conference on Monday afternoon to introduce Plitzuweit. The terms of her contract were not immediately available. Whalen’s base salary this season was $547,000.
Whalen’s departure was described by Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle as a mutual decision, but it seemed that she was not ready to leave. She was scheduled to appear at a press conference with Coyle on March 2 when the change was announced, but later said she was too emotional to participate.
Whalen was hired five years ago with no coaching experience. But she’s a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and led her home state Gophers to their only Final Four appearance as a player in 2004, then starred for the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA and for the US National Team in 2004. Olympic Games.
Whalen went 71-76 with Minnesota, including a 32-58 record in the Big Ten game and no NCAA tournament appearances. The Gophers made two NCAA appearances in four years under Whalen’s predecessor, Marlene Stallings, their only appearance in the past 14 seasons.
This season, Whalen brought in highly regarded freshmen with four players from the state, including top scorer Mara Brown. The Gophers’ 11–19 season ended with a first-round loss to Penn State in the Big Ten on Wednesday. They finished 12th in the Big Ten with a 4-12 record, their fewest wins in 12 years.
Plitzweit will become the 13th head coach in the history of the Gophers program. Her teams have been fifth or higher in the regular season conferences in all 16 seasons as a coach, including 11 top-three finishes.
“We’re all set,” Coyle said in early March. “There is no reason why it cannot be done here. That’s the question we need to find out.”
As a player, Plitzuwait was a two-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year at Michigan Institute of Technology, appearing in the NCAA Division II Tournament four times.
She and her husband Jay have a son, AJ, who plays for South Dakota and a daughter, Lexie, who plays for Grand Valley State.
DEMOINES, Iowa — Bill Self will miss the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Arkansas on Saturday in No. 1 Kansas, the school announced.
Self, who is recovering from heart surgery earlier this month, has been with his team since they arrived in Des Moines and has been attending meetings and practices.
Self declined to comment on Friday as he walked past reporters after practice, but said in a radio interview ahead of the Jayhawks’ first-round win over Howard that he was feeling better and getting stronger — just not ready to sit on the bench before the game yet. .
Norm Roberts, Self’s longtime assistant, will take over as coach for Game 5.
Self went to the emergency room on the night of March 8, shortly after seeing the Jayhawks conduct a final shootout ahead of the Big 12 quarter-finals. He complained of chest tightness and balance problems, and the 60-year-old man had two stents placed to treat clogged arteries.
Kansas leads 3-1 in Self’s absence and Texas lost in the Big 12 Tournament championship.
Roberts, 57, is Self’s right-hand man and has worked on Self’s staff for four practices.
“We’ve been together for almost 25 years, so we’re probably finishing each other’s sentences in basketball terms,” Roberts said Friday.
SALT LAKE CITY — Grace Stone has made a habit of winning jumpers for the Princeton Tigers.
She has ice in her veins. She has that look in her eyes and you know what she’s going to play. She hit…