The suit now includes stories from former TCU players dating back to 2002 that allege they were pressured to return from injuries too quickly.
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Look past the gloom and doom of Saint Mary’s losing two of their past three teams, and dropping from No. 11 all the way to No. 22, and what the Gaels have is a 25-win team that still has a good chance to play into the second week of the NCAA Tournament.
“I told our team this the other day: ‘We’re in the last week of the season, and all of our goals are still on the table.’ That’s where you want to be,” head coach Randy Bennett told his Gaels via sfgate.com.
Almost every team has a hiccup, especially this season, where it seems every week a handful of high-ranked teams lose on the same night.
The Gaels hit a bump in the road by losing to Gonzaga, 78-65, in a game that wasn’t close from the tip. Bennett’s squad carried a hangover into their next game, a seven-point loss to San Francisco.
Saint Mary’s (25-4, 14-2 WCC) got back on track Saturday in Portland with a 12-point win against the Pilots. On Thursday, the Gaels will welcome Pepperdine (4-24, 1-15 WCC) to McKeon Pavilion hoping to regain some of the swagger and confidence they had built during a school-record 19-game win streak before losing to the Bulldogs.
All-time assists leader Emmett Naar’s status is uncertain against the Waves. Naar injured his left ankle in the first half against the Pilots, left the game and didn’t return.
“I’m not a fortune teller,” Bennett said. “I can’t read this thing (perfectly), but I think he’ll probably play.”
If Naar can’t go, Jordan Ford is expected to run the point. Whoever is playing still has All-America candidate Jock Landale in the post.
Landale is averaging 21.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. After being devoured by Gonzaga’s defense, which held him to just four shots and four points, Landale bounced back to score 23 points and grab 10 boards against the Pilots.
His execution and play around the basket comes as no surprise to his teammates or opposing coaches.
“It’s ridiculous how unsurprising it is,” Naar told the (San Jose) Mercury News before the win at Portland. “He’s been doing it all year. You look at the stat sheet and he has like 30 and 15. For most players, ‘Wow, that’s unbelievable.’ He’s done it so many times now you sort of take it for granted. It’s a ridiculous level he’s playing at right now.”
While the Waves are playing out the string with a lame-duck coach, an upset of the Gaels would be gratifying. And as this season has proven, upsets seem to be the norm, which the Gaels learned first-hand against the Dons.
Pepperdine, which announced on Feb. 13 that head coach Marty Wilson will not return for an eighth season, lost two close games last week.
BYU dropped the Waves in overtime on Feb. 15.
Against No. 6 Gonzaga on Saturday, the Waves trailed 66-64 before the Bulldogs went on an 11-0 run to put the game out of reach.
“Our focus coming into this game was to stay within striking distance,” leading scorer Colbey Ross told the Pepperdine Graphic. “Gonzaga is one of the top teams in the country, but we wanted to show our game and not back down to the challenge.”
Ross, a freshman guard, tallied a game-high 21 points and recorded six assists. Fellow freshman guard Trae Berhow had nine points and seven rebounds.
In the end, Gonzaga just had too much talent and made plays when it counted.
“We were struggling to stop them and bouts where we were struggling to score ourselves,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few told reporters as he credited the Waves for not giving up. “But in the end, we were really solid and made plays at both ends.”
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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Duke says Marvin Bagley III will miss his fourth straight game with a knee sprain.
Team spokesman Mike DeGeorge announced Bagley’s status about three hours before tipoff of Wednesday night’s game against Louisville.
Bagley leads the Atlantic Coast Conference with averages of 21.2 points and 11.4 rebounds. He was hurt in the first half of the loss to North Carolina on Feb. 8.
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Former Louisville coach Rick Pitino believes the school should take legal action against the NCAA after the governing body nullified the Cardinals of the 2013 men’s basketball title.
Pitino, speaking from his attorney’s offices in New York, said that the NCAA’s decision to have Louisville vacate the title as part of sanctions for a sex scandal was unfair.
”I don’t know if this Board of Trustees will do that,” Pitino said when asked if Louisville should take legal action, ”but they should because the players deserve it.”
The sex scandal occurred during Pitino’s coaching tenure, though the Hall of Fame coach once again reiterated that he didn’t know about the sex shows.
Pitino did take responsibility for the people he hired as assistant coaches – including Andre McGee. It was McGee who an escort said hired her and other dancers for sex parties on campus with players and recruits that led to the NCAA investigation.
As for taking legal action himself, Pitino said he was defenseless in this situation, but he is suing Louisville for his dismissal. He was not fired after the sex scandal, but Louisville let him go in October after the school acknowledged the university was being investigated as part of a federal college corruption case.
That case is unrelated to the NCAA’s investigation of the sex scandal.
Louisville announced on Tuesday that the NCAA had denied its appeal of sanctions that included vacating 123 victories and the return of about $600,000 in conference revenue from the 2012-15 NCAA Tournaments. The school later removed banners of the 2013 championship and 2012 Final Four appearance.
Cardinals interim athletic director Vince Tyra said Tuesday that legal options hadn’t been discussed. He suggested being personally against it, citing the difficulty and cost of litigation.
Then there is the federal investigation, and where that leads is still unclear.
The school fired Pitino following allegations that the family of former men’s basketball recruit Brian Bowen was bribed in an effort to get him to attend Louisville. Bowen has since transferred to South Carolina.
In part of a statement Pitino issued Wednesday he said that he was cooperating with federal authorities. Pitino is not named in the court complaint but said he received a grand jury subpoena last September and that his attorneys have met with U.S. attorneys in the case.
”I knew nothing about any agreement to make improper payments,” the statement said, ”and had no reason to suspect any illegality in the recruitment of any athlete in my programs.”
Pitino said he hasn’t considered his options about returning to coaching.
However, the coach acknowledged missing ”every minute” of a coaching routine covering 40 years, including NBA stints with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.
”What the NCAA did hurts, and it takes time to get over that hurt,” Pitino said.
While the NCAA no longer recognizes Louisville as the 2013 national champion, it doesn’t mean the title falls to runner-up Michigan. Former Wolverines guard Tim Hardaway Jr., now a member of the New York Knicks, doesn’t believe it changes what Pitino or the Cardinals achieved.
”You could take away all the banners or whatever the case may be, but you can’t take away their legacy and what Pitino built there,” said Hardaway, who played on the Michigan team that lost 82-76 to Louisville in the championship game.
”He had guys there that loved him. I heard practices were grueling,” Hardaway said. ”They played for their coach. That’s what it’s all about when it comes to college basketball.”
Associated Press writers Denis Gorman in New York City and Adry Torres and in Greenburgh, New York, contributed to this report.
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A look at things to watch this week in the Pac-12 Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK: UCLA at Utah, Thursday. Big bubble game for both teams. The Bruins (19-8, 10-5 Pac-12) are in decent shape for an NCAA Tournament berth after beating the Oregon schools last week. UCLA has wins over Arizona, Kentucky, Washington and Southern California, but is on the road the rest of the regular season. A loss to fellow bubble team Utah could put a dent in the Bruins resume, particularly if they lose another game down the line. The Utes (17-9, 9-6) are in a bit more precarious position and could need to win out to reach the field of 68. Utah can boost its resume with wins over UCLA and USC this week and closes the season against Colorado.
LOOKING AHEAD: No. 14 Arizona has a chance to clinch its 16th Pac-12 regular-season title and fourth in five years this week. The Wildcats (21-6, 11-3) have a 1 1/2 game lead over UCLA and USC, and can clinch the title with a win and losses by both southern California teams. Arizona plays at Oregon State on Thursday and at Oregon on Saturday.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Utah became the first team with two conference weekend road sweeps last week after beating both Washington schools last week. The Utes also swept the Oregon schools earlier this year. … An average of 8,430 fans has attended Pac-12 games through 86 league games so far. That’s just short of the 8,737 average during the 2016-17 campaign, most in the Pac-12 era. … Washington’s Matisse Thybulle has 82, three shy of cracking the Pac-12 top 10 for a single season.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Aaron Holiday, UCLA. The junior guard doesn’t always get the same recognition as the other top players in the Pac-12, but there’s no question he’s one of the conference’s best. Holiday is one of six players averaging at least 20 points (19.4) and five assists (5.7), putting him on pace to become the seventh player in Pac-12 history to hit those marks. He was the Pac-12 player of the week after averaging 23.0 points and 8.0 assists in a pair of wins last week.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: The Pac-12’s women’s race will go down to the wire, but No. 8 Oregon is in the best position. The Ducks (24-4, 13-2) have a half-game lead over No. 16 Stanford (19-9, 13-3) , with No. 10 UCLA (21-5, 12-3) another half-game back. Oregon is at the Arizona schools this week, Stanford at the Washington schools, and the Bruins host Colorado and Utah.
Compiled by AP Basketball Writer John Marshall in Phoenix.
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