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NCAA Basketball

Roy Williams And The Favored Tar Heels’ In The Hunt For First Title Since 2009

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Last year the North Carolina Tar Heels lost a heartbreaker in the championship game to Villanova at the buzzer. Move forward a year and the number one seeded tar heels are back! Once again they in the hunt for a Championship and a favorite to win it all. North Carolina is no new comer to the college basketball scene. A long time powerhouse they have been in the thick of the tournament more often then not. With five national titles,  26 tournament championships and 19 final fours, they are the team many programs aspire to be. However, with all that success came a few seasons of under achievement.

With an NIT appearance after the 2009 season and failing to reach a final four from 2009-2015, many hard core supporters questioned if the program was headed in the right direction or if Roy Williams should retire all together. While the noise was heard in the basketball world, Roy made it clear in February 2016 that he wasn’t going anywhere . As reported by the News&Observor, Williams had this to say about a reporter who said he would retire after the 2016 season. “You have no freakin’ idea what you’re talking about.” After that Williams took it to another level. “That’s the guy,” Williams said,  (who) couldn’t put his damn pants on the right way when he was playing at Oklahoma State.”

Needless to say, Williams wont be retiring and after some underperforming seasons, North Carolina showed they still belong among he elite. Having won the ACC regular season two years in a row (2016,2017) and if not for a three pointer to take the lead in the waning seconds by Villanova in last years title game they would be seeking their second title in as many seasons. Carolina has stayed the course, believed in their coach and the process. A team that still thrives on big men and power post ups. A team that still recruits four  year players and remains dominate down low when others teams base their game around the perimeter.  This type of mentality puts you in position to not only be a number 1 seed but also win a lot of games. Williams knows this all to well. “I’m very pleased with what our team accomplished,” coach Roy Williams said Sunday night, “because they don’t give those (top seeds) away, you have to earn them.”

March is upon us and the tournament is in full swing. Nothings given but earned, and any Cinderella team can steal the show. The favored Tar Heels know that and with their record 16th number one seed in program history are ready to get to work and bring a sixth title to the dean dome. While the order is tall for the Heels to return to the title game its not out of question and Roy Williams with a record of 392-115 will lead the way. With a dominant 39 point win over Texas Southern on Friday, they are set to take on  Arkansas 3/19/2017 at 6:10 Eastern. With the likes of Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks and Luke Maye on the floor, its not a question of whether the talent is there but putting it all together and playing consistent.

Oh! And by the way, Retirement for the programs head man is nowhere in sight.

 

NCAA Basketball

Louisiana Tech Sports Facilities Damaged by Tornado

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A deadly tornado, which has been linked to the death of at least 5 people across two states, damaged several sports facilities located on the campus of Louisiana Tech, according to ESPN.

While no injuries have been reported among the students at the school, two people were killed when the storm ripped through Ruston, Louisiana and caused a tree to fall onto their home.

The school is closed on Thursday and Friday, and the following images were shared on Twitter by the Athletic’s Department, showcasing some of the damage.

National Weather Service hydrologist C. S. Ross said that the deadly tornado cut a track over 130 miles from eastern Texas to near the Louisiana-Arkansas border.

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NCAA Basketball

Video Surfaces Showing Agent Christian Dawkins Promoting Connections to Top Coaches

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Another layer has unraveled in the college basketball corruption trial on Wednesday when a video recording of a conversation about paying college coaches and athletes was played on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Paula Lavigne.

In the video dated June 6th 2017, aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins brags about his connections to top NCAA basketball coaches, including Arizona head coach Seam Miller.

When referring to incoming (at the time) Arizona player Deandre Ayton (who currently plays for the Phoenix Suns) Dawkins says Miller told him, “I’m taking care of everything myself. I wanna bring you in. I’ll turn everything over to you.”

Dawkins is currently on trial for allegedly bribing college coaches.

Marty Blazer, a former financial advisor who was being questioned by prosecutors and who was present for the conversation, said the reference was about Miller “taking care” of payments for Ayton.

“Sean Miller has to know everything that’s going on. I can call Sean and have a conversation … like this is what is needing to be done,” Dawkins said on the video. He said that Miller is, “talking on the phone about stuff he shouldn’t be talking on the phone about.”

Unites States District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled back on Friday that defense attorneys could not subpoena Miller and LSU’s Will Wade to testify during the federal bribery trial.

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NCAA Basketball

Rick Barnes Says He Would Have Left Tennessee if UCLA Paid Buyout

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Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes could have been the next head coach for UCLA, instead of Mick Cronin, if only the Bruins were willing to open up their wallets.

Barnes says that if UCLA would have promised to pay Barnes’ $5 million buyout, he would have left Tennessee to take the job at UCLA.

“I think I would’ve been the coach at UCLA,” Barnes said (h/t ESPN). “I’ve said that to people before. I really felt at that time that’s what would happen.”

Barnes was honest and open with his decision process during the news conference, saying that he struggled with making a final decision due to financial matters.

Barnes has since agreed to a new deal with Tennessee that will pay him $4 million per year before increasing to a $6 million annual sum by the end of the contract and provide more cash for his assistants.

“I’m supposed to be at Tennessee,” Barnes said. “And it’s really above and beyond the basketball program. I’m in love with this community. I’m in love with this state. I just think we got a lot of great things going on in this town.”

“A lot of praying went into it, I can tell you that,” Barnes said. “There was a lot going on. When you get down to a situation like that, it has to make sense from a financial standpoint. Bottom line is we couldn’t work it out with the buyout.”

Barnes also informed UCLA that he would not depart Knoxville without talking to athletic director Phillip Fulmer and others in the community.

I told them point blank, ‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with my team,'” Barnes said. “‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with people here that have been really good to me.’ … I said, ‘You just can’t say send a plane tomorrow and we’re leaving. I’m going to make sure this is done the right way.'”

“There was one time in my mind I truly felt that’s what would happen,” Barnes said about potentially taking the UCLA offer. “It got to that point where I felt like my prayers had been answered.”

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