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2018 NCAA Tournament: Thursday’s Notes

The PAC-12 is already down to one team.

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NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament - Arizona State vs Colorado
Mar 7, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Bobby Hurley reacts to a call during the first game of the Pac-12 Tournament against the Colorado Buffaloes at T-Mobile Arena
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Bobby Hurley won’t be playing his brother or Coach K or anyone other than Syracuse in the 2018 NCAA tournament as his Sun Devils fell to the ‘Cuse 60-56. Nonetheless, the trajectory of his program is clear: Arizona State is rising.

A second program with Durham ties also fell as NCCU lost to Texas Southern 64-46.

As for the ACC, Duke, NC State and Virginia Tech play on Thursday. Duke gets Iona, as covered elsewhere, State gets Seton Hall and Va. Tech gets ‘Bama in an 8-9 hinge game.

Here’s a nice piece on Wendell Carter and his family with some stuff you may not have known.

NCCU lost to Texas Southern Wednesday, but Texas Southern Coach Mike Davis says that when they get older they’re going to be tough. And while LeVelle Moton would probably be happy to stay in Durham in many ways, his phone will be ringing now.

Tubby Smith is out at Memphis and made John Calipari look smart in the process. Quite a day.

Here’s a name you might here a lot this weekend: Mike Daum from South Dakota State. We haven’t seen him but this sentence captures the imagination: “The small-college forward with the NBA skillset and the jump shot that recalls a certain Larry legend chose his Twitter handle back in middle school.”

Michael Jordan started the baggy shorts era. The Fab Five accelerated it. Now though, Michigan is changing fashion direction again.

Arizona opens with Buffalo, which retains a lot of the fearlessness that Bobby Hurley instilled. With the PAC-12 down to just one team - Arizona - after UCLA and ASU lost in the First Four, how much pressure is on Arizona to represent the PAC-12?

The truth is that in many respects, Gonzaga has become the best West Coast team and if Arizona’s issues become seriously difficult, Gonzaga could really seize control - although Hurley’s Sun Devils are going to get better and better. It’s pretty amazing to think that the Zags have supplanted the entire PAC-12 in basketball. It’s sort of like Davidson becoming the dominant team on the East Coast or Belmont dominating SEC territory.

It’s one of the most unappreciated stories in the NCAA.

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