The Florida State Seminoles wrapped up their winter conditioning program Thursday and coach Jimbo Fisher raved about the atmosphere and how the players understand the culture and what it takes to be elite.
A former assistant football coach and key witness in the upcoming conspiracy trial of three former Penn State leaders accused of covering up Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse crimes told his players that he was sexually abused as a boy, sources said.
Alabama coach Nick Saban and Arkansas coach Bret Bielema voiced their concerns about the effects of up-tempo, no-huddle offenses on player safety to the NCAA committee that passed a proposal to slow down those attacks.
Former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston sued the NCAA and five major conferences Wednesday, saying they violated antitrust laws by agreeing to cap the value of an athletic scholarship at less than the actual cost of attending school.
Jamal Turner, who started his career at quarterback before moving to receiver, was back under center as he began his final spring at Nebraska. Turner spent most of Saturday's opening practice taking snaps along with returning starter Tommy Armstrong and top challenger Johnny Stanton. ''It just gives us some other options, some wildcat things,'' coach Bo Pelini said. ''He has quarterback in his background, so it's not new to him.
The presence of four healthy quarterbacks gives Tennessee coach Butch Jones reason for optimism that the Volunteers could have better results this season. Three of the four scholarship quarterbacks on Tennessee's roster got hurt last season as the Vols ended up starting three players at the position. All four quarterbacks are back this year and were fully healthy Friday as the Vols kicked off spring practice. Senior Justin Worley, sophomores Joshua Dobbs and Nathan Peterman and redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson are competing for the starting spot in a wide-open competition.
After guiding Missouri to a seven-win improvement and an appearance in the SEC championship game, coach Gary Pinkel signed a new contract that boosts his annual salary above $3 million and extends his previous deal by three years to the end of the 2020 season. ''It's important for our program to keep moving forward and build on a solid foundation.'' The 61-year-old Pinkel is 102-63 in 13 seasons at Missouri and surpassed Don Faurot last season as the school's winningest coach. The Tigers finished 12-2, tying the school record for victories, and won the SEC's Eastern Division title in their second year in the league after going 5-7 in 2012. Missouri won the Cotton Bowl and finished ranked No. 5, second best in school history.
An NCAA panel has approved a change to the targeting foul that would wipe out the 15-yard penalty when video review overturns the ejection of a player. The targeting rule was implemented by the NCAA last season. The foul was reviewed by replay officials and the ejection could be overturned - but the 15-yard penalty stood. The football rules committee last month passed a proposal to no longer enforce the 15-yard penalty when the ejection is overturned, as long as another foul has not been committed.
The Florida State Seminoles wrapped up their winter conditioning program Thursday and coach Jimbo Fisher raved about the atmosphere and how the players understand the culture and what it takes to be elite. What I'm looking for is another group of hungry guys who are willing to pay the same price they did last year when they didn't know they were real good.'' Florida State wrapped up nearly four weeks of conditioning Thursday as new roles are formed throughout the roster. Gone are offensive leaders James Wilder Jr., Devonta Freeman and Kenny Shaw. Fisher said Karlos Williams and first-team All-ACC receiver Rashad Greene have stepped into those shoes.
Angry with the way his defense played in its last three games, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is urging his players to attack more and think less. ''It's a fast-paced game (with coaches dealing with getting players) lined up as opposed to it used to be a game based on effort,'' Meyer said. ''And I want to get back to that.'' The Buckeyes held their second practice of the spring Thursday, and as will be the case throughout the 15 workouts the emphasis is on relying on instinct and playing without restraint instead of following the diagrammed play and reacting. Ohio State surrendered an average of more than 38 points and 539 yards a game while closing out 1-2 in the most important games of 2013.
The Oklahoma football program believes it is on the cusp of returning to elite status after beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Coach Bob Stoops said the hungry Sooners might have had their best winter of preparation since he became head coach in 1999. ''That's what I'm most pleased with.'' Most of the intrigue heading into the spring is on offense, since the Sooners return 11 starters on defense. Trevor Knight enters the spring as the undisputed starting quarterback after his showing in the Sugar Bowl.
Wichita State's still perfect. After the nation's only unbeaten made another put-away run in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament title game, guard Fred VanVleet fired back at doubters who cast aspersions on a schedule ranked 113th in the nation. Facts are facts, truth is truth,'' VanVleet, the conference player of the year, said after the second-ranked Shockers beat Indiana State 83-69 on Sunday to go to 34-0. And nobody that's arguing about it is on the selection committee.'' Players wore championship T-shirts that proclaimed Wichita State the winner on the front but on the back had a bracket with Indiana State winning.
As the final seconds of regulation ticked off the clock, the sellout crowd was poised to storm the court to celebrate an upset victory in Maryland's final regular season game in the Atlantic Coast Conference. No. 5 Virginia forced overtime, forcing the fans back to their seats to see if the Terrapins could rebound from the letdown to pull off an upset against the best team in the league. Maryland closed out its 61st and final ACC regular season in stunning fashion, outlasting the Cavaliers 75-69 in overtime Sunday to end Virginia's 13-game winning streak. It was a lot of things,'' Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon said.
Syracuse was dangerously close to letting another less talented opponent pull off the upset when C.J. Fair took over Sunday. The seventh-ranked Orange had let a sporadic Florida State team rally late in the first half and get within a point in the second. The senior forward scored 15 of his 22 points after halftime and led Syracuse to a 74-58 victory in the program's first trip to Florida State. ''We saw right away he got it going,'' Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.
Tim Miles is tired of hearing about the old Nebraska program that made a habit of bumbling and stumbling its way through the past two decades. Shavon Shields and Terran Petteway scored 26 points apiece, and the Cornhuskers beat No. 9 Wisconsin 77-68 on Sunday night to strengthen the school's chance for its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1998. The Huskers (19-11, 11-7) won for the 10th time in 12 games to clinch fourth place in the Big Ten for their highest conference finish since 1997-98. The Badgers (25-6, 12-6) had their longest conference win streak since 1940-41 end at eight games.
This was a fitting way for Aaron Craft to close out his final home game. The hard-nosed point guard led Ohio State's voracious defense down the stretch - even diving for a big rebound in the final 25 seconds - helping the Buckeyes rally past No. 22 Michigan State 69-67 on Sunday. ''Probably the poetic justice way to end the game was the way he did it,'' Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. ''I give him a lot of credit for that.'' A lot of Buckeyes made big plays down the stretch as the Spartans went scoreless for the final 4:30.
Jordiar Jett gave No. 17 Saint Louis more than just a 64-62 road win over Massachusetts on Sunday. His driving layup with 3 seconds left gave the Billikens (26-5, 13-3 Atlantic 10) their second straight outright conference title and snapped a three-game losing skid after a school-record 19-game winning streak. ''We had guys make big plays throughout,'' Saint Louis coach Jim Crews said. ... I'm really proud of our guys.'' Jett finished with 17 points, including the Billikens' last six of the game.
Mercer guard Langston Hall watched Florida Gulf Coast become the darlings of last season's NCAA tournament with one thought in his mind. Mercer will do the playing, FGCU will have to do the watching. There won't be a repeat Dunk City run in this year's NCAA tournament - not after Mercer captured its first berth in the Big Dance since 1985, beating top-seeded Florida Gulf Coast 68-60 in the Atlantic Sun championship game on Sunday, getting the ultimate comeuppance for what happened a year ago when the Eagles took the tournament title on the Bears' home court.
Iowa State senior forward Melvin Ejim has been selected as the Big 12's player of the year by the league's coaches. The All-Big 12 awards selected by the 10 coaches were announced Sunday. A pair of Kansas freshmen earned individual awards, with Andrew Wiggins voted the top freshman and 7-foot Joel Embiid the defensive player of the year. Iowa State guard DeAndre Kane was chosen as the newcomer of the year, and Texas' Rick Barnes is coach of the year.
Cliff Ellis proved he still has a little dancing left in him. The Coastal Carolina coach was in the thick of a mid-court dance party Sunday as his Chanticleers earned their first NCAA trip in 21 years with a 76-61 victory over Winthrop to win the Big South Conference tournament. Ellis, who had previously led South Alabama, Clemson and Auburn into the NCAAs, hugged his wife near the end of the game, then joined his players for some celebrating. Coastal Carolina got 22 points from Warren Gillis and 19 from Josh Cameron to reach the NCAA tournament for the third time overall and first since 1993.
The 6-foot-8 sophomore scored a career-high 42 points - topping the 41 he had a game earlier - to help North Carolina State beat Boston College 78-68 on Sunday in the regular-season finale for both teams. It made him the first ACC player to score 40 points in consecutive games in nearly two dozen years and just the third ever to do it in consecutive league games. Warren, who entered the game averaging 24.2 points and shooting a league-best 52.8 percent, had 22 by halftime and shot 14-for-23 for the Wolfpack (19-12, 9-9 ACC). He also matched his career high of 13 rebounds and made 14 of 17 free throws, helping N.C. State push ahead in the final 6 minutes after blowing a 14-point second-half lead against the Eagles (8-23, 4-14).
When Cassie Harberts took a second to reflect, she remembered watching the NCAA tournament selection show and waiting for Southern California to appear on the screen. Kiki Alofaituli scored 12 of her 15 points in the second half, and Southern California earned its first Pac-12 Conference tournament title by rallying for a 71-62 win over Oregon State on Sunday night. ''This time we can sit and be proud of what we've accomplished,'' Harberts said. ''We've rightfully earned a spot in the NCAA tournament.'' Ariya Crook had 16 points as the Trojans claimed their first Pac-12 title since winning the regular-season crown in 1994.
Notre Dame's Jewell Loyd pulled an Atlantic Coast Conference championship cap over her head. It fit just as well as that old Big East gear did. Make it two tournament titles in two leagues and two years for the second-ranked Fighting Irish, who capped their perfect first run through the ACC by beating No. 10 Duke 69-53 in the final Sunday night. ''It's definitely exciting coming into a new conference and having this impact,'' Loyd said.
Kansas State has fired women's basketball coach Deb Patterson, announcing the move two days after an opening-round loss in the Big 12 tournament. The Wildcats' season ended with an 87-84 overtime loss to Kansas on Friday in Oklahoma City. Kansas State was 11-19, going 5-13 in the conference. ''As the year unfolded and you look at where we've been over the last five years, we just didn't feel right about the transition and I felt like it was time.'' Assistant head coach Kamie Ethridge will oversee the day-to-day operations of the program as interim head coach until a new head coach is hired.
The sophomore guard scored 23 points to help No. 7 West Virginia beat Texas 67-60 in the Big 12 tournament semifinals. A day later, West Virginia's top scorer made was 6 of 11 from the field and made nine of 14 free throws while putting the Longhorns in foul trouble. ''I noticed my outside shot wasn't falling yesterday, so today, I decided to attack the basket more.'' Christal Caldwell added 15 points for the Mountaineers (29-3). West Virginia outscored Texas 28-14 from the free-throw line to win its 12th straight.
Winthrop coach Kevin Cook crossed the court past his celebrating players and handed his mother a Big South Conference championship hat and T-shirt. After all, there's no bigger memento in Winthrop women's basketball history. Dequesha McClanahan had 24 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Eagles to their first Big South tournament title and NCAA berth after an 87-74 victory over High Point on Sunday. ''And we're not finished yet,'' said McClanahan, the league's player of the year and tournament MVP.
Baylor superstar Odyssey Sims has been in a bit of a slump while dealing with special defenses designed to slow her down. Fortunately, Baylor's emerging star has picked up the slack. Freshman forward Nina Davis had 18 points and 12 rebounds to help the No. 9 Lady Bears beat No. 18 Oklahoma State 65-61 in the Big 12 women's semifinals Sunday. Baylor will face No. 7 West Virginia in the title game Monday night.
Tennessee's late-season surge has produced another Southeastern Conference tournament championship and perhaps a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Meighan Simmons scored 17 points, including two go-ahead free throws with 1:45 remaining, and No. 6 Tennessee edged 12th-ranked Kentucky 71-70 on Sunday to win its 17th SEC tournament title. The Lady Vols (27-5) have won seven straight, including a win over No. 5 South Carolina to close the regular season. ''I think we've come on strong at the end of the year,'' said second-year coach Holly Warlick after her first SEC tournament title.