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Photos: UNC defeats Gonzaga to win 6th NCAA Championship

Justin Jackson delivered the go-ahead 3-point play with 1:40 left Monday and North Carolina pulled away for a 71-65 win over Gonzaga that washed away a year's worth of heartache.

South Carolina women win first NCAA basketball title

For the first time in four years, women’s college basketball has a new top team, and it wears garnet and black. The South Carolina women’s basketball team is the new national champion, winning a national title for the first time in program history.

The Gamecocks beat Mississippi State 67-55 in Dallas on Sunday afternoon, completing the run through the postseason all the way to the crown in Dawn Staley’s ninth season.

>> Visit SECCountry.com for more NCAA Tournament coverage

South Carolina made the run without senior center Alaina Coates, who missed the NCAA Tournament with an ankle injury. But what the Gamecocks had was more than enough — and all of it is expected back next season.

Junior forward A’ja Wilson led the Gamecocks with 23 points, while Allisha Gray — the star against Stanford on Friday in the Final Four — again came up huge for South Carolina with 18 points.

When the moment mattered most, it was the pair of Wilson and Gray that proved to be the difference as the duo hit back-to-back hoops after the Bulldogs cut the lead to 4 in the fourth quarter.

In the third meeting between the two teams this season, South Carolina jumped out to a lead late in the first quarter with a 6-0 run. The Gamecocks would never trail again, but the evening wasn’t without its tense moments.

>> Men's basketball: Gonzaga brings South Carolina's fairytale run to an end in Final Four

Mississippi State had a huge third-quarter push left in the tank, started by three straight points from star Victoria Vivians. The Bulldogs rattled off a 9-0 run to cut South Carolina’s lead from 14 down to 5 late in the third quarter, but USC had the answer it needed to live through the run.

Wilson made a short jumper and Kaela Davis capped the third quarter with a buzzer-beating jumper to extend the lead back to 8, but the Bulldogs had another run left.

MSU scored four straight to cut the lead down to 4 with 6:52 to play. Wilson had the necessary answer again, swatting away an MSU shot and getting a good bounce on a short jumper to send South Carolina to a 6-point advantage. Then it was Gray with a jumper to lift the Gamecocks back to safety and off with the national title.

Gonzaga brings South Carolina's fairytale run to an end in Final Four

South Carolina basketball made it all the way to the third weekend of the NCAA Tournament, but it could not make it to the final step.

And it came close after it looked like all was lost. The Gamecocks made a frantic second-half comeback, as they have so many times in the postseason. But it was not enough, as the No. 1-seeded Zags had too much in the end. The Gamecocks’ historic run halted Saturday afternoon in Arizona with a 77-73 heartbreaker at the hands of fellow first-time Final Four participant Gonzaga.

>> Visit SECCountry.com for more NCAA Tournament coverage

South Carolina rattled off a 16-0 run in the second half to take a 67-65 lead with 7:05 to play, but a Zach Collins 3-pointer and back-to-back Przemek Karnowski hoops flipped the game back for the Zags after the Gamecocks has seized control after missing it for the first 33 minutes of the game.

South Carolina kept it close down to the final seconds, but could not get a crucial hoop in the final 1:45 of the game when it was down one possession throughout. Gonzaga fouled Sindarius Thornwell with 3.5 seconds left. The senior made the first but missed the second and Gonzaga grabbed the rebound up two with 2.2 seconds left.

>> Read more trending news

Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie made a pair of free throws, ending the Gamecocks’ season.

Gonzaga came out of the locker room cruising in the first half, hitting 57.6 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from 3-point range. The Gamecocks tied the game twice in the first half — 26-26 and 31-31 — but both times the Zags swung the game right back in their favor with 3-pointers from Jordan Matthews.

Read more here.

Atlanta Hawks fan celebrates major dunk with silly dance

At the Atlanta Hawks game against the Brooklyn Nets Sunday in Atlanta, one fan got the crowd going with his dunk and his dance.

In a video posted on Facebook by the Hawks, a man dressed in jeans, a shirt and Nike shoes, first dribbled the ball from across the court and then made the jump of his life.

>> Read more trending news

His body reached heights taller than the basket, but he was able to make the daring basket and land on the pad below.

If that didn’t get the crowd going, his dance surely did.

He somersaulted off the pad and “butt-bumped” on the court and then finished with a full-body spin.

The clip has more than 368,000 views.

Some commented with skepticism on the video and suggested it was staged, comparing it to some of the “kiss cam fails” that have gone viral, like the proposal fail at a January Hawks game.

Whether or not he was a real fan, it was a fun sight for the crowd.

As for Sunday’s game, the Nets won 107-92. 

Watch the video of the dunk and dance below.

Suns’ Devin Booker scores 70 in loss to Celtics

The Phoenix Suns made history two nights in a row.

>> Read more trending news

The Suns started the youngest lineup ever Thursday, with an average of 21 years and 14 days. Worse, the Suns were down to eight players and lost by 26 to the Brooklyn Nets. The lineup was younger than several of the Sweet 16 teams still in the NCAA tournament. 

Friday also netted a loss, but Devin Booker kept them in it. He scored 70 points for the Suns, and helped Phoenix claw back from a 20-point first quarter deficit. Booker’s scoring eventually won over the Boston crowd, who began cheering for him as the Suns tried to keep the game going late, calling timeouts to give Booker a chance to score more points. He finished with the highest single-game total in franchise history, but lost to the Celtics 130-120.

Booker joined Wilt Chamberlain, David Robinson, David Thompson, Elgin Baylor and Kobe Bryant as players to reach 70 in one game.

Booker was 21 of 40 from the field, four of 11 from the 3-point range and was 24 of 26 shooting free throws. The former Kentucky star also had eight rebounds and six assists. He averaged 20.9 points per game before Friday. 

South Carolina trolls USA Today after beating Duke

Consider the 2017 NCAA Tournament party crashed after South Carolina’s upset win on Sunday night.

The Gamecocks took down No. 2 seed Duke in a game that many pundits had all but given the Blue Devils prior the the meeting in Greenville. After all, the South Carolina program had just won its first NCAA tournament game in 44 years and had never visited the Sweet 16. They’d be happy with just one win against Marquette, right? Wrong.

>> Read more trending news

In fact, USA Today was so confident that the Gamecocks would fold on Sunday that its sports account tweeted out a message after No. 1 seed Villanova fell to Wisconsin on Saturday, proclaiming: “Duke’s path to the Final Four looks ridiculously clear with Villanova’s loss.”

Let’s just say the fine folks at South Carolina bookmarked that tweet for future reference.

On Sunday night, in the moments following the Gamecocks’ historic victory, the school’s official Twitter account sent out this zinger to the news publication:

South Carolina will next play Baylor for a chance to advance to the Elite 8 for the first time in program history.

Photos: NCAA cheerleaders

They cheer on the teams at every NCAA game. Take a look at some of the cheerleaders you may see during March Madness.

2017 NCAA Tournament: Brackets, schedules, predictions, players to watch

Rejoice, college basketball fans: The 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket is officially out.

>> Click here to download your printable bracket (PDF)

Here's what you need to know about each region:

>> Read more trending news

 

2017 NCAA Tournament East Region

Bracket:

Here it is: the East Region #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/SENjhn4ryU— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 12, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The top four seeds are Villanova, Duke, Baylor and Florida. Potential sleepers in the region are SMU and Virginia. And the upset darlings could be UNC-Wilmington and East Tennessee State.Schedule:

  • No. 1 Villanova vs. Mt. Saint Mary’s/New Orleans, 7:10 p.m. on CBS, Thursday
  • No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 Virginia Tech, Approx 9:40 p.m. on CBS, Thursday
  • No. 5 Virginia vs. No. 12 UNC-Wilmington,  12:40 p.m. on truTV, Thursday
  • No. 4 Florida vs. No. 13 East Tennessee State, Approx 3:10 p.m. on truTV, Thursday
  • No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Troy, 7:20 p.m. on TBS, Friday
  • No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 10 Marquette, Approx 9:50 p.m. on TBS, Friday
  • No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 14 New Mexico State, 12:40 p.m. on truTV, Friday
  • No. 6 SMU vs. No. 11 Providence/USC, Approx 3:10 p.m. on truTV, Friday

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 5 Virginia, No. 2 Duke vs. No. 6 SMU
  • Elite Eight: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 2 Duke
  • Final Four: No. 2 Duke

Players to watch:

  • Villanova’s Josh Hart: Hart was the Big East Player of the year and a key piece of last year’s national championship team.
  • Duke’s Luke Kennard: Kennard and Jayson Tatum helped lead Duke to the ACC Tournament title.
  • Baylor’s Jonathan Motley: Motley had a monster year for the Bears and is one of the best big men in the country.
  • Virginia’s London Perrantes: Perrantes was a key piece of last year’s Virginia team that went to the Elite Eight.

 

2017 NCAA Tournament West Region

Bracket:Time to make your picks in the West Region. #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/eQ1llCKWjX— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 12, 2017

The No. 1 seed in the region is Gonzaga, which completed a 32-1 regular season, followed by Arizona at No. 2, Florida State at No. 3 and West Virginia as the No. 4 seed. The region also features teams that could pull an upset like No. 12 Princeton or No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast.Schedule:

  • No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 South Dakota State, 2 p.m. ET on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 9 Vanderbilt, Approx 4:30 p.m. on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Princeton, 12:15 p.m. on CBS, Thursday
  • No. 4 West Virginia vs. No. 13 Bucknell, Approx 2:45 p.m. on CBS Thursday
  • No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 15 North Dakota, Approx 9:50 p.m. on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 7 Saint Mary’s vs. No 10. VCU, 7:20 p.m. ET on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast, Approx 9:20 p.m. on TNT, Thursday
  • No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 Xavier, 6:50 p.m. on TNT, Thursday

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 6 Maryland
  • Elite 8: No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 2 Arizona
  • Final Four: No. 1 Gonzaga

Players to watch:

  • Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss: Williams-Goss is one of the top point guards in the country and easily one of the best talents the Bulldogs have ever had.
  • Arizona’s Allonzo Trier: Trier’s return from an PED suspension helped change the trajectory of Arizona’s season and could get the Wildcats to the Final Four.
  • Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac: Isaac is one of the most talented players in the country and figures to be a top NBA draft pick.
  • Gonzaga’s Przemek Karnowski: Karnowski is more mountain than man as he’s listed at 7-foot-1 and 300 pounds. But he’s also an extremely skilled big (averaging 12.6 points, 6 rebounds).

 

2017 NCAA Tournament Midwest Region

Bracket: The Midwest Region #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/o1lYukeITh— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 12, 2017

The Kansas Jayhawks lead the way as the No. 1 seed, followed by Louisville, Oregon and Purdue to round out the top four. Lower seeds like Rhode Island or Nevada could prove to be bracket busters if they come to play later this week.Schedule: 

Thursday, March 16: 

  • No. 5 Iowa State vs. No. 12 Nevada (Milwaukee), 9 p.m., truTV
  • No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 13 Vermont (Milwaukee), 6:27 p.m., truTV

Friday, March 17: 

  • No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 N.C. Central -or- UC Davis (Tulsa, Okla.), 6:50 p.m., TNT
  • No. 8 Miami vs. No. 9 Michigan State (Tulsa, Okla.), 9:20 p.m., TNT
  • No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 11 Rhode Island (Sacramento, Calif.), 3:30 p.m., TBS
  • No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 14 Iona (Sacramento, Calif.), 1:00 p.m., TBS
  • No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 10 Oklahoma State (Indianapolis), 11:15 a.m., CBS
  • No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 15 Jacksonville State (Indianapolis), 1:45 p.m., CBS

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 8 Michigan State vs. No. 4 Purdue, No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 2 Louisville
  • Elite Eight: No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 2 Louisville
  • Final Four: No. 2 Louisville

Players to watch:

  • Kansas’ Frank Mason: The Big 12 player of the year, Mason has had one of the best seasons in all of college basketball.
  • Oregon’s Dillon Brooks: Also a player of the year, but in the Pac 12, Brooks will need to have a standout tournament to compensate for the serious injury suffered by teammate Chris Boucher.
  • Michigan State’s Miles Bridges: Bridges will have Kansas sweating if both teams advance to the round of 32. He’s one of the most-athletic players in the country.
  • Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan: The third major conference player of the year winner in the Midwest Region, Swanigan laid waste to the Big Ten as the Boilermakers took home the regular-season conference crown.

 

2017 NCAA Tournament South Region

Bracket: 

Let's take a complete look at the South Region. #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/41ODmegBGQ— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 12, 2017

The Tar Heels are somewhat of a surprise pick for the No. 1 seed. North Carolina fell to Duke twice, including in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament, and the committee rewarded the Blue Devils with a No. 2 seed. Still, North Carolina is very deserving, having won the ACC regular-season title.

The region’s top four seeds are North Carolina, Kentucky, UCLA and Butler.Schedule:

  • No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 16 Texas Southern, Friday 2 p.m., truTV
  • No. 8 Arkansas vs. No. 9 Seton Hall, Friday 12:30 p.m., TNT
  • No. 5 Minnesota vs. No. 12 Middle Tennessee, Thursday 3 p.m., TNT
  • No. 4 Butler vs. No. 13 Winthrop, Thursday 12:30 p.m. TNT
  • No. 6 Cincinnati vs. Kansas State/Wake Forest, Friday 7:27 p.m. truTV
  • No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 14 Kent State, 10 p.m., TNT, Friday
  • No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 10 Wichita State, Friday 7:10 p.m., CBS
  • No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 15 Northern Kentucky, Friday 9:40 p.m., CBS

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Minnesota, No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 3 UCLA
  • Elite Eight: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Kentucky
  • Final Four: No. 2 Kentucky

Players to watch:

  • Kentucky’s Malik Monk: A star freshman among young stars who helped lead the Wildcats to the SEC regular season and tournament championships.
  • UCLA’s Lonzo Ball: Projected to be one of the top picks in the 2017 NBA Draft, the 6-foot-6 freshman averaged a very healthy 14.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists for the Bruins.
  • North Carolina’s Kennedy Meeks: Along with fellow upperclassmen Justin Jackson and Joel Berry IIMeeks led UNC to the regular-season ACC championship and could help take the Tar Heels back to the NCAA final.

Youth basketball coach blocks own player's shot

When this coach says “no,” he means it. Emphatically.

>> Read more trending news

In a video that is making the rounds on social media, a youth basketball coach is exhorting his team to take a shot. One of his players takes a pass, and instead of shooting, begins dribbling the wrong way toward the other basket.

The coach screams “noooo!” and then takes matters into his own hands. As the player prepares to make a layup, the coach swoops in for a savage block that would make any NBA player proud.

The video made its way to the internet, where it is drawing plenty of interest. There is no information about where the game took place and when it happened, but the player who suffered the tomahawk block and fell to the ground on the play is probably glad he is remaining anonymous for now.

But that was some great defense on the coach’s part. And a lesson learned by his player.

<iframe width="390" height="219" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FKaxFOBi70A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Portland fan makes halfcourt shot to win minivan

It was a night of long shots during Thursday night's NBA game in Portland, as a fan won a car with a left-handed halfcourt toss and Oklahoma City’s Taj Gibson made a 61-foot buzzer-beater just before halftime.

>> Read more trending news 

 Peter Crum of Beaverton, Oregon, hit a halfcourt shot during a promotion between the third and fourth quarters to win a new Toyota minivan.

“I’ll tell you what, I knew it was tracking, I just hoped it had the distance,” Crum said.

Gibson, meanwhile, threw up a high-arcing shot from beyond halfcourt. The ball swished through the net to snap a tie, giving the Thunder a 60-57 halftime lead.

Gibson scored 15 points, but it wasn’t enough as the hometown Trail Blazers rallied for a 114-109 victory.

Peter from Beaverton has range -- and a new @Toyota! pic.twitter.com/maj8DvTSeT — Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) March 3, 2017 🚨Taj Gibson with the last minute interception and TD throw🚨@okcthunder up 60-57 at halftime, Russell Westbrook leads w/ 27 Pts! pic.twitter.com/SfJmetblFb — NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 3, 2017
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