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Monday, February 27
Kansas moves to No. 1 in AP poll, Villanova 2nd, UCLA 3rd: Kansas could have rested easy after clinching a share of its 13th straight Big 12 title. Instead, the Jayhawks hit the road to beat Texas on Saturday, clinching the outright championship with two games left in the regular season. And when top-ranked Gonzaga and second-ranked Villanova dropped games last week, it meant the Jayhawks ascended to the top of The Associated Press poll. So much for taking it easy. The Jayhawks (26-3) moved up two places to the top spot, receiving 58 first-place votes Monday from the 65-member national media panel . They spent five weeks at No. 1 last season, including the final three polls, but became the sixth No. 1 this season by moving to the top spot for the first time. -- AP
Texas gives suspended swingman Mack his release: Texas coach Shaka Smart says Tevin Mack has been released his scholarship. Mack was the Longhorns' leading scorer when he was suspended in January for the second time this season. He was also benched for the season opener. Smart said Monday that Mack was given his release to transfer. -- AP
Young Vols slumping as their postseason hopes fade: The underclassmen who dominate Tennessee's roster are learning some hard lessons about how the intensity level changes as March approaches. After outperforming preseason expectations for much of the season, Tennessee (15-14, 7-9 SEC) has dropped four of its last five games to fall out of contention for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid. In their last two games, the Volunteers lost 67-56 to Vanderbilt and 82-55 at South Carolina . -- AP
Sunday, February 26
UCLA within striking distance of a No. 1 seed: Watching from his couch (ESPN still believes differently) in Los Angeles, LaVar Ball probably announced to anyone willing to listen his son, Lonzo, will soon earn the Imperial Medal of Bravery for his galactic performance in Tuscon. Ball and cohorts were indeed brilliant. They racked an explosive 1.22 points per possession against a steadfast Arizona defense. More outstandingly, they out-rebounded the Wildcats and defended sufficiently. Yes, you read that correctly. If their 3-2 zone employment continues to frustrate, the sky’s the limit. They are, after all, the most electric offense in the country. Ball, T.J. Leaf, Thomas Welsh, Bryce Alford, Aaron Holiday and Isaac Hamilton are insanely efficient. As a group, they net over 41 percent from beyond the arc and over 60 percent inside it. -- The Dagger
Lonzo Ball's father says son will 'only play for the Lakers,' later clarifies statement: UCLA’s Lonzo Ball is still in college but his father, LaVar, already knows where his son is going to be playing after college: The Los Angeles Lakers. “My son will only play for the Lakers,” LaVar Ball said on The Kevin and Mike Show, a local Arizona sports radio show. LaVar later cleared up the comments, telling ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, “All I said was that my boy is going to play for the Lakers, and I’m going to speak it into existence. I want him to be a Laker, but I wasn’t saying he’s only going to play for the Lakers. I’m not trying to say he won’t play for a different team.” -- The Dagger
Friday, February 24
Locker room fight over music volume results in a University of Maine player breaking his jaw: A request to “turn the music down” escalated quickly in the Maine locker room on Feb. 14. What started as a request, ended up sending a player to the hospital with a broken jaw. His jaw had to be wired shut for six to eight weeks.
A public safety officer from the University of Maine came to the locker room after an ambulance transported senior guard Marko Pirovic to the hospital where he had to have surgery on two bilateral fractures in his jaw. Initially, players told the coaching staff and the officer that Pirovic slipped in the shower and injured himself. However, in the officer’s report, it was noted that Pirovic’s hair was dry. -- The Dagger
Thursday, February 23
Rick Pitino restrained after verbal exchange with UNC fan: Lousiville head coach Rick Pitino had to be restrained from going after a North Carolina as he worked off the court for halftime during the Top 10 matchup on Wednesday. Video shows Pitino walked toward the locker rooms at the Smith Center when he turns around and starts shouting at someone in the stands. Team personnel and staff held him back and ushered him toward the locker room. A North Carolina team spokesman said that fan was ejected from the arena after the incident. -- SI Wire
Saturday, February 18
Mick Cronin's 300th win seems a perfect number after what he has been through at Cincinnati: There have been only 22 defeats in the 27 months since Mick Cronin was reminded he had so much more to lose than a basketball game. So maybe that’s why he handles the losses better now. Perspective helps, but success helps more. He’ll still have his moments where photographers or television catch him shouting an instruction, or perhaps some friendly advice to a referee, and he’ll look a shade maniacal. After games, though, you almost never will see him celebrate a victory or grieve a defeat. You won’t find YouTubes of his press conferences that become instantly legendary through Twitter or Facebook sharing. He picks through the Cincinnati Bearcats’ rare defeats with the calm demeanor of, say, a doctor trying to explain precisely what’s gone wrong in a patient’s brain. Cronin did not immediately smile when he won the 300th college basketball game of his career Saturday, but no doubt he was proud. -- Sporting News
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