Loyola Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsLoyola-Chicago has had quite the ride in the NCAA tournament. The Ramblers' ride to the arena on Wednesday was not so pleasant.

ATLANTA -- Loyola-Chicago’s first trip to the Sweet 16 in more than three decades got off to an ominous start on Wednesday.

According to coach Porter Moser, the police escort that was supposed to lead the team from its hotel to Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta never showed. Then, it turns out, the bus driver had no idea where he was going.

Moser estimated that it took 35-40 minutes to find their destination, causing his team to be late getting to the floor for practice. The 49-year-old coach admitted “it was frustrating.”

“Our guys handled it a lot better than me,” Moser said. “I guess my immaturity came out.”

Clayton Custer, a fourth-year junior on the team, laughed when he was asked about his coach’s demeanor in dealing with the delay.

“I think some of us were starting to be like, what is going on right now?” he said. “So I knew Porter was not happy about what was happening. We were driving around, driving around, and then when we finally made it, I knew that he wasn't -- I knew he was going to say something to somebody.”

Moser tried to turn it into a positive for his team.

“You overcome,” he said. “I told our guys it’s our first thing to overcome. Like you get a couple turnovers and you have to overcome.”

The No. 11 seed Ramblers and Syracuse are the only double-digit seeds to reach the Sweet 16. Loyola advanced to Atlanta by upsetting No. 6 Miami and No. 3 Tennessee.

The last time Loyola reached the second weekend of the tournament was in 1985.

On Thursday, it will face No. 7 Nevada, which is something of an underdog itself having beat No. 2 Cincinnati to reach the Sweet 16.

One year to the day after he was named Washington's head coach, Mike Hopkins landed a verbal commitment that could have significant ramifications on the program's future as one of the nation's most talented unsigned big men, Bryan Penn-Johnson, verbally committed to the Huskies.

videoHere are some takeaways from the late set of games:

  • Of the top 11 teams picked to win the championship, six (Virginia, Michigan State, North Carolina, Arizona, Xavier, Cincinnati) failed to reach the Sweet 16.

  • 3 brackets out of 17.3 million got 15 of 16 Round of 32 games correct (none got all 16 correct) – 62,559 incorrectly predicted all 16 games.
  • Of 17.3 million Tournament Challenge brackets, 5,969 entries correctly predicted No. 5 Kentucky, No. 11 Loyola-Chicago, No. 7 Nevada and No. 9 Kansas State making the Sweet 16 out of the South.
  • 191,342 (1.1 percent) of the 17.3 million Tournament Challenge brackets called the Sweet 16 matchup of No. 11 Loyola-Chicago and No. 7 Nevada.
  • 31.1 percent (5,384,973) of brackets predicted that No. 1 UVA, No. 2 Cincinnati, No. 3 Tennessee and No. 4 Arizona would advance to the Sweet 16 out of the South.
  • 81.5 percent of brackets picked Xavier to make the Sweet 16, 47.5 percent the Elite Eight, 21.6 percent the Final Four, 8.2 percent the final and 3.5 percent to win it all.
  • Just 3.8 percent of entries correctly predicted that No. 9 Florida State would square off against No. 4 Gonzaga in the Sweet 16.
  • 77.4 percent of brackets picked No. 2 Cincinnati to make the Sweet 16, 53.04 percent to the Elite Eight, 13.6 percent the Final Four, 6.24 percent the final and 2.54 percent to win it all.
  • Percentage who picked these Sweet 16 teams to advance to the Elite Eight: No. 7 Nevada, 3.1 percent; No. 7 Texas A&M, 2.4 percent; No. 5 Clemson, 6.8 percent; No. 9 Florida State, 2.3 percent; No. 5 West Virginia: 10.5 percent.


We continue our recruit and return series with the Xavier Musketeers, whose season ended Sunday with a loss to Florida State. A look at what the 2018-19 season could hold for Chris Mack (maybe) and Xavier: Possible 2018-19 starting five G: Quentin Goodin G: Paul Scruggs G: Naji Marshall F: Kaiser Gates F: Evan Boudreaux
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP PhotoThe Musketeers' future depends on whether Chris Mack ends up as their ex-coach.
Who is lost: Xavier will bid farewell to one of the greatest players in program history, as Trevon Bluiett has no eligibility remaining. Bluiett became a legitimate All-American during his time with the Musketeers and cemented his spot in Xavier lore due to his performance during the NCAA tournament last season. J.P. Macura, the enigmatic sidekick to Bluiett, is also gone. Up front, Sean O’Mara and Kerem Kanter have to be replaced. Kanter, in particular, became a go-to inside scorer over the course of the season. But the loss of any of them potentially could be overshadowed by a Chris Mack departure. The head coach is going to be one of the primary candidates for the Louisville job. Who is added: Xavier isn’t bringing in the same kind of elite recruiting class it had last spring, but the Musketeers have a couple of contributors in the fold. Dartmouth graduate transfer Evan Boudreaux brings a different dimension to the Musketeers, as he averaged 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in the Ivy League while making 65 3-pointers over two seasons. Among the freshmen, look for Keonte Kennedy to get the most buzz. He had ACC and Big 12 schools in the mix, and Kennedy has the ability to make shots from the perimeter. Dontarius James and Jake Walter round out the newcomers. What it means for next season: The losses of Bluiett and Macura will really hurt Xavier’s offense, especially early on, and especially when you add O’Mara and Kanter to that list. But it also provides a chance for Xavier’s returning freshman class to break out. Naji Marshall is a versatile playmaker on the wing who could shoulder a much bigger role next season. Paul Scruggs was highly touted coming out of high school and could form a two-headed point guard tandem alongside Quentin Goodin next season. Goodin is a difficult matchup for opposing point guards due to his strength and physicality. Up front, Xavier will need more consistency from Kaiser Gates, who could be a perfect stretch-four but has to bring toughness. Tyrique Jones is a terrific rebounder and will provide a good foil to Boudreaux and Gates in the frontcourt. Trending: Neutral -- for now. Much of this depends on what happens with Mack. He’s going to be one of the primary candidates at Louisville, and it remains to be seen what Xavier would do if he left. As it stands, don’t expect Xavier to take a huge step back, and the Musketeers will likely be busy on the transfer market to fill some gaps.

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We continue our recruit and return series with Auburn, whose season ended Sunday with a loss to Clemson. Here's what next season could hold. Possible 2018-19 starting five: G: Jared Harper G: Bryce Brown G: Desean Murray F: Mustapha Heron F: Anfernee McLemore
Jim Brown-USA TODAY SportsThe status of Bruce Pearl will be a major storyline on The Plains this offseason.
Who is lost: That, like everything else, is a significant question for the program, but it’s not one we can answer right now about a team steeped in controversy. Mustapha Heron could choose to turn pro. Other players could decide to stay or flee if the FBI scandal costs Bruce Pearl his job. Stay tuned. Who is added: Everything with Auburn is tentative right now. Pearl’s tenuous position following the arrest of former assistant Chuck Person and the season-long suspensions of Austin Wiley (8.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG) and Danjel Purifoy (11.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG), all in connection with the massive FBI probe that has rocked college basketball, could dictate the difference between an Auburn team that returns every key piece and chases a national title in 2018-19 and one that blows up this offseason, loses Pearl and demands a complete reconstruction. E.J. Montgomery, a top-20 recruit in the 2018 class, decommitted after Person’s arrest in September. The futures of Purifoy and Wiley remain unclear. But they will both be excellent additions if they return in 2018-19. Plus, Anfernee McLemore, who suffered serious leg and ankle injuries last month, is expected to recover within the next six months after surgery. What it means for next season: Without Wiley and Purifoy, Auburn still managed to shock the country and win the SEC title. And every player on this roster – plus, the addition of two talented players whose collective eligibility could be restored – might return in 2018-19. And if this group comes back for another season, the Tigers will enter the year as a serious threat to win the national championship. But it just feels far too early to make any assumptions about the makeup of this roster. Will everyone come back? Will Pearl be the coach in 2018-19? Will McLemore return as the same defensive threat he was before he suffered the ankle and leg injuries that required surgery? We’ll see. Either way, this is the most intriguing team to watch this offseason. Trending: Neutral, for all the reasons mentioned above. This team will certainly trend up if the bulk of this SEC championship roster comes back. No prognosticator can predict, however, the state of Auburn basketball in 2018-19 without knowing what’s next in the FBI investigation.

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Cincinnati vs. Wichita State (Jacob Evans)William Purnell/USA TODAY SportsJacob Evans was Cincinnati's leading scorer as a junior in 2017-18 and helps form a nucleus that should be formidable next season.
Our recruit and return series continues with a look at the Cincinnati Bearcats, who lost on Sunday to Nevada. Here's a look at what 2018-19 could hold: Possible 2018-19 starting five: G: Justin Jenifer G: Jarron Cumberland G: Jacob Evans F: Tre Scott C: Nysier Brooks Who is lost: Mick Cronin loses two mainstays of the frontcourt, 6-foot-8 Gary Clark and 6-9 Kyle Washington, both of whom were seniors. Clark had possibly the finest individual season of any player in the American in 2017-18, and Washington was perhaps the best rim defender on a team renowned for its interior defense. Replacing these two will be no small task, but the Bearcats do bring back just about everyone else. Who is added: Currently, the lone member of UC's 2018 recruiting class is 6-2 Logan Johnson out of Mountain View, California, the No. 68 point guard nationally. Cronin might sign an additional recruit or two before the start of practice, but, again, UC played 10 players with just two rotation seniors last season. Absent any forthcoming departures or transfers, space is tight on this roster. What it means for next season: Cincinnati will have a veteran nucleus in Evans, Cumberland and Jenifer. That's three returning starters right there, and Evans and Jenifer will be seniors. Evans is coming off his second straight season of efficient scoring from both sides of the arc as a 6-6 wing, and as a junior he showed considerable development in terms of distributing the ball. The 6-5 Cumberland became the starter at 2-guard as a sophomore and earned good marks on defense and inside the arc on offense while working to improve from 3-point range. Jenifer shared duties at the point with nominal sixth man Cane Broome, who came off the bench but effectively logged about as many minutes as the starter. Trending: Neutral. It's hard to go up coming off possibly the program's best season in 15 years, but Cincinnati has the talent to stay at the top of the American along with Houston and Wichita State. In Evans, Cronin has a potential preseason American player of the year, and the Bearcats' defense has been consistently outstanding for close to a decade. Cincinnati will return and be heard from.

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Here are some takeaways from the early set of games:

  • 4.9% of brackets had UNC, MSU and UVA in the Final Four -- 5.7% had a UVA-MSU final and 2.5% had a UNC-MSU final.
  • UVA, MSU, UNC and Arizona were among the top seven teams picked to win it all in the Tournament Challenge.
  • Percent of brackets picking No. 2 UNC for Sweet 16 (85.4%), Elite Eight (55.4%), Final Four (34.4%], Final (15.7%), Champs (6.93%).
  • Percent of brackets picking No. 3 MSU for Sweet 16 (82.1%), Elite Eight (41.2%), Final Four (28.5%), Final (16.4%), Champs (8.6%).
  • Just 3.7% of brackets thought that No. 7 Texas A&M would meet No. 3 Michigan in the Sweet 16.
  • Only 2.9% of Tournament Challenge entries correctly predicted that No. 11 Syracuse would face No. 2 Duke in the Sweet 16.
  • 45.7% of entries correctly predicted that No. 2 Purdue would face No. 3 Texas Tech in the Sweet 16.
  • Only No. 1 Villanova (74.2%) and No. 1 Kansas (73.6%) were picked in more brackets than No. 2 Purdue (58.9%) to get to the Elite Eight.
  • Percentage who picked these Sweet 16 teams to advance to the Elite Eight:
  • No. 2 Purdue: 58.9%
    No. 11 Syracuse: 1.4%
    No. 7 Texas A&M: 2.4%

    Luke MayeAbbie Parr/Getty ImagesLuke Maye will transition from breakout star to veteran leader for the 2018-19 Tar Heels.
    Our recruit and return series continues with a look at the North Carolina Tar Heels, who lost to Texas A&M, 86-65. Here's a look at what 2018-19 might bring for Roy Williams and UNC: Possible 2018-19 starting five: G: Coby White G: Kenny Williams F: Cameron Johnson F: Luke Maye C: Garrison Brooks Who is lost: Between them, Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson have played a lot of basketball in Chapel Hill, and their departures will be felt next season. Berry, in particular, has been the backbone of this team the past three years, and finding an answer at point guard will be one of the biggest offseason question marks for Williams. Who is added: It's certainly possible Berry's replacement arrives this fall. Coby White, the nation's No. 4-ranked point guard, is a quick guard who can score and has strong court vision. The question is whether he can also provide the intangibles that have marked Berry's tenure at UNC. White is joined in this class by another potential star in the making in small forward Nassir Little, ESPN's No. 10 overall recruit. What it means for next season: There's no reason to question the talent arriving in this year's recruiting class. White, Little and Rechon Black could all be instant-impact guys. But following a season in which the veterans were the centerpiece, it's fair to wonder what the chemistry and leadership looks like on next season's squad. Maye has developed into a force -- while Williams and Johnson should provide stability as well -- but as much as UNC needs help from its incoming seniors, the real key could be the continued development of players such as Brooks, Sterling Manley, Brandon Huffman and Seventh Woods. Trending: Neutral. No one should be surprised if North Carolina blossoms into the best team in the ACC next season, and there's a case to be made that the talent on the roster could be better in 2018-19 than it was this season. But it's tough to replace established veterans like Berry and Pinson -- not only because of their ability, but because veteran consistency isn't something that comes with a good recruiting class.

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    videoDETROIT -- Syracuse wasn't supposed to be dancing. The team many didn't want to invite to the party is refusing to go home.

    Tyus Battle launched himself into a sea of orange-clad teammates as Cassius Winston's half-court heave fell short for Michigan State. As Battle and junior Frank Howard made their way back to Syracuse's locker room after a 55-53 upset victory Sunday evening, Howard turned to his teammate and asked, "So where are we going next?" It took a few seconds before either of them could come up with an answer.

    It has been a draining whirlwind of a week for the Orange and the core players who have rarely, if ever, left the floor during their unlikely winning streak. It was an equally draining couple of hours that sent Syracuse onto the Sweet 16 and sent home a Michigan State team that many thought had the pieces to make a run at Tom Izzo's second national championship.

    It was fitting that the final minute played out in a halting maze of foul shots and replays. Battle finished with a game-high 17 points, a few of those being foul shots at the end of an exhausting game. Howard chipped in 13 points and was on pace to play the entire game before he fouled out late in the second half.

    "They battle. I'm really proud of them," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "They just don't let things get away."

    The Orange had a losing record this season in ACC play, in which they were 1-5 against ranked opponents. Injuries and midseason transfers made a short bench almost nonexistent. Michigan State looked as if it might get away as well, as the Spartans took hold of a five-point lead in front of a friendly local crowd with less than eight minutes to play.

    Syracuse kept chipping away and relied on its defense Sunday to finish with its third win in the past five days.

    Boeheim didn't make any attempts to dress up his current roster with platitudes and euphemisms this week in Detroit. It has been a slow dance for the Orange, and the moves haven't been great. By doing his best to make sure their games are gloomy and muddy, though, Boeheim has the Orange headed to the most unlikely Sweet 16 appearance of his four-plus-decade career.

    The trademark 2-3 zone is particularly well equipped for creating sloppy conditions. It held Arizona State and its efficient offense to 56 points in the First Four in Dayton. TCU managed only 52 points in a sludge-filled, first-round victory for the Orange. Against Michigan State, a team loaded with future NBA draft picks in zone-breaking roles, Syracuse's weary defense gave up only 25 first-half points, and the Orange never trailed by more than six points.

    Michigan State's Jaren Jackson Jr., who probably will be a top-five draft pick if he leaves for the NBA this year, managed only two points and didn't make a field goal in a meager 15 minutes on the floor. Fellow future lottery pick Miles Bridges made a couple of big 3-pointers and rattled nearly all of Little Caesars Arena with a Thor-like dunk with eight minutes to play, but twice he rose up for potential tying jumpers in the final minute of the game and both times came up empty.

    As a team, the Spartans shot worse than 30 percent from the field and missed their final 12 attempts of the game in a drought that lasted nearly six minutes.

    After the TCU win, Howard was asked by a reporter if mucking it up was the type of game Syracuse's players were hoping to play.

    "Uhh, nah," he said. "No, this wasn't ideal for us."

    Howard scored seven points against the Horned Frogs while playing all 40 minutes. Battle hasn't left the floor once for the Orange so far this tournament. Oshae Brissett got a three-minute breather against the Sun Devils but hasn't had a break since then. They'll now get the better part of a week to rest before gearing up again for a meeting with ACC foe Duke. Boeheim said he expected his players would be fully rejuvenated by then.

    "They'll be fine," the coach said. "They get four days off. Shoot, they'll be fresh [and] ready to go."

    Syracuse's approach to its past few games might have been tiring and less than ideal whether you are playing or watching. But right now, it's working and the Orange are marching on.video

    We continue the recruit and return series with the Michigan State Spartans, whose season ended with a loss to Syracuse on Sunday. A look at what the 2018-19 season could hold: Possible 2018-19 starting five G: Cassius Winston G: Joshua Langford G: Matt McQuaid F: Kenny Goins C: Xavier Tillman Who is lost: Sophomore Miles Bridges isn't likely to make another encore in East Lansing. Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson Jr. is a lottery pick if he decides to leave after an outstanding freshman season and Nick Ward could follow both of them into the draft, dealing a blow to the Spartans' frontcourt. Three role players -- Gavin Schilling, Tum Tum Nairn Jr. and Ben Carter -- are out of eligibility. Nairn, a veteran leader and voice of the team, will be missed the most among that trio.
    Cassius WinstonRich Graessle/Icon SportswireCassius Winston has emerged as a vital facilitator and someone who has the ability to make big plays when they are needed during the last couple of months.
    Who is added: The Spartans are hovering around the edge of a top-10 recruiting class this year thanks to the addition of four of the top five players in the state of Michigan. Big men Marcus Bingham and Gabe Brown will both need to spend time in the weight room this summer, but both have the talent to carve out minutes in Michigan State's frontcourt next season. Foster Loyer is an undersized point guard with all of the intangibles needed to keep a big smile of Tom Izzo's face and the talent to be a starter for several years in East Lansing. Thomas Kithier projects as a good fit in the 4 spot for the Spartans in the future. Aaron Henry, the only non-Michigander in the group, should push some of his older teammates in practice before getting his shot down the road. What it means for next season: The departure of some young talent for the draft will certainly change some of the dynamics, but there is no shortage of basketball talent on the roster. Winston has emerged as a vital facilitator and someone who has the ability to make big plays when they are needed during the last couple of months. His role will grow as he becomes an upperclassman with a boatload of experience. Langford, Goins and McQuaid have all been a part of big moments this season, as well. That institutional knowledge should help the Big Ten's highest-ranked recruiting class get its bearings and keep things rolling for its most storied basketball program. Trending: Neutral. Michigan State won a Big Ten title this season, and there's no reason to think the Spartans shouldn't be in the conversation for another one next year. Depending on how the NCAA tournament plays out, the most discussed topic around the program this offseason may be how many more years Izzo wants to keep going as he closes in on a quarter-century as the head coach.

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    We continue our recruit and return series with the Butler Bulldogs, whose season ended Sunday against Purdue. A look at what the 2018-19 season could hold for LaVall Jordan and Butler: Possible 2018-19 starting five G: Kamar Baldwin G: Paul Jorgensen G: Sean McDermott F: Jordan Tucker F: Nate Fowler
    Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon SportswireButler is going to miss Kelan Martin, one of the best players in program history.
    Who is lost: The Bulldogs must bid farewell to Kelan Martin, one of the best players in program history. Martin proved himself to be among the Big East’s best the past three years, averaging around 15-16 points his sophomore and junior seasons and then putting up more than 21 points a game as a senior. He was one of the toughest players in the league to guard, routinely looking unstoppable for long stretches. Along with Martin, Butler is losing big man Tyler Wideman. Wideman wasn’t a huge point producer, but he was a double-figure threat who was unbelievably efficient from inside the arc. Both players will be missed. Who is added: LaVall Jordan is bringing in only two newcomers, but one player has everyone excited: Duke transfer Jordan Tucker. Tucker was a top-50 player coming out of high school but could never find a role with the Blue Devils during the first half of his freshman season. He decided to transfer and ended up heading to Butler. He’s a high-level shooter who has the size to play a small-ball 4 for the Bulldogs. His ability to stretch the defense will be an asset for Butler. The lone freshman signed right now is forward Markeese Hastings. What it means for next season: Essentially the entire perimeter group for Butler is back, led by all-conference guard Kamar Baldwin. His scoring fell off somewhat down the stretch of the season, but he’s a high-level playmaker who can score with the ball in his hands or create for teammates. With Martin gone, he’ll have to shoulder more of the scoring load. Paul Jorgensen, who transferred from George Washington two years ago, takes some of the pressure off Baldwin, as he can run the offense or play off the ball. Freshman Aaron Thompson is a tough-minded two-way player who carved out a role as the third guard for the Bulldogs. He could see an increase in minutes next season. Then there’s 6-foot-6 Sean McDermott, the best perimeter shooter on the team. In lineups that feature both McDermott and Tucker, Butler will be tough to guard. Who will provide inside production for the Bulldogs? The best option will be 6-foot-10 Nate Fowler, who was able to contribute a few double-figure games this season. Former four-star prospect Joey Brunk should also help. Trending: Neutral. Butler loses Martin and Wideman up front, but its entire backcourt returns, and Tucker adds another dimension to the wing. The Bulldogs could also make some late moves on the transfer market. Jordan showed well in his first season in the Big East, despite some bumps in the road late in the season, and should keep Butler in the hunt for another NCAA tournament bid.

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    DETROIT -- The biggest and strongest elbow on Purdue’s roster sat buried in a bundle of metal and tape Sunday afternoon, but the No. 2-seeded Boilermakers managed to hold a dangerous Butler team an arm’s length away anyway.

    Purdue advanced to its second consecutive Sweet 16 with a 76-73 win over Butler despite missing 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas, who fractured his elbow in the team’s first-round victory Friday. The Boilermakers flexed enough depth and presence by the rim despite the big man’s absence to show that their hopes of a Final Four run need not be dashed just yet.

    "We found a way," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "We lost the big fella, and he's a big part of our team. But I think we also showed we've got a lot of pieces and we've got a lot of guys and we were able to hang in there and get this one."

    Butler tested the limits of Purdue's ability to stave off an upset in the final minutes, but a Dakota Mathias 3-pointer in the final 15 seconds provided just enough breathing room. Mathias' turn-and-shoot jumper gave him 11 points on the day and gave the Boilermakers four different players in double digits.

    Purdue managed to weather Butler’s hot-shooting start by finding ways to get to the foul line 15 times in the first half. Matt Haarms, the fiery redshirt freshman from the Netherlands who replaced Haas in the starting lineup, took eight of those first-half foul shots. After missing his first two, he settled into a better rhythm and helped send his team to the locker room with a four-point lead. He said Haas provided with him a steady supply of support and advice from the bench.

    "He was a huge help from the start," Haarms said. "He just told me from the start: Be confident in your abilities. I know you can do this. It's your turn now."

    Haarms finished with seven points and a career-high 29 minutes of playing time in his increased role, but he had support in the front court from a cast of players that included Jacquil Taylor, Grady Eifert and veteran stalwart Vincent Edwards.

    Edwards found several different ways to score while bouncing around the Boilermakers’ lineup Sunday. Mostly, he just didn’t miss. The senior missed a layup on Purdue’s first possession of the game, but found the bottom of the net on all but one shot he attempted from there on out. His monster block in the final two minutes erased what looked like Butler's best chance to tie the game in its closing moments.

    Edwards' 20 points, including a 3-pointer that pushed Purdue’s lead to nine points midway through the second half, led a pack of double-digit scorers for Purdue. Along with Edwards and Mathias, P.J. Thompson added 14 points and Carsen Edwards scored 13 despite not having a stellar shooting performance. This is nothing new for the Boilermakers’ starting crew, but doing it without having their regular mountain of a distraction in the post showed that the Purdue machine could still run at full speed with a couple replacement parts in the engine.

    Haas grimaced his way through a few shots during warm-ups, but the senior being able to participate and contribute less than 48 hours after fracturing his elbow was never realistic. The Boilermakers announced shortly after X-rays revealed the damage Friday that Haas’ season was over. Painter said Haas worked out Saturday and warmed up Sunday more for his own well-being than to actually test the possibility of playing.

    The chances of him playing next week are just as slim, and that could make a Sweet 16 run-in with Texas Tech a difficult test for this slightly smaller version of the Boilermakers. Haas said he is holding out hope that a few days of rest will provide enough healing for him to convince Painter to put him back on the floor. Even if he manages to talk his way into a few minutes of playing time, a fractured elbow will make it hard for him to battle with the big, physical defense of Texas Tech.

    The Red Raiders have been one of the nation’s best defensive teams all year. Haas’ size would have been an obvious asset in that battle. Instead, the same rotation that held its own against Butler will have to see if it can muscle up against Texas Tech.

    Here are some takeaways from the last set of games:

    • Had No. 3 Michigan lost to No. 6 Houston, it would have had a huge impact across the Tournament Challenge: 74.2% of entries have the Wolverines in the Sweet 16, 32.0% in the Elite 8, 19.1% in the Final 4, 8.1% in the title game and 3.8% as the champions.
    • No. 6 Florida gave No. 3 Texas Tech a scare, but the Red Raiders held on to win. 18.9% of entries have them advancing to the Elite 8.
    • No. 4 Gonzaga was tested by No. 5 Ohio State but made it to the Sweet 16, as predicted in 69.3% of brackets. 35% have the Bulldogs winning again and joining the Elite 8.
    • Although 9.5% of brackets had No. 11 Loyola-Chicago in the Sweet 16, only 1.9% pushed the Ramblers to the Elite 8.
    • No. 1 Kansas advances to the Sweet 16. Only Villanova (74.1%) was picked to make the Elite 8 in more brackets than Kansas (73.6%).

    Percentage who picked these Sweet 16 teams to advance to the Elite 8:

    No. 11 Loyola-Chicago: 1.9%
    No. 1 Kansas: 73.8%
    No. 4 Gonzaga: 35%
    No. 3 Texas Tech: 18.9%
    No. 3 Michigan: 32.0%

    (Earlier games)
    No. 1 Villanova: 74.2%
    No. 2 Duke: 48.2%
    No. 5 Kentucky: 12.3%

    Galen RobinsonReinhold Matay/USA TODAY SportsPoint guard Galen Robinson will be tasked with helping Houston through a transition as a senior next season.
    We continue the recruit and return series with the Houston Cougars, whose season ended Saturday against Michigan. A look at what the 2018-19 season could hold for Kelvin Sampson and Houston. Possible 2018-19 starting five: G: Galen Robinson G: Corey Davis G: Armoni Brooks F: Fabian White F: Breaon Brady Who is lost: Houston bids farewell to two of the most important players behind the program’s most successful season since the 1980s: Rob Gray and Devin Davis. Gray, a 6-foot-1 point guard, led UH in scoring in each of the past three seasons. Davis was an undersized power forward at 6-foot-6 who nevertheless more than held his own on the defensive glass and in terms of scoring inside the arc. Nura Zanna, a 6-foot-6 reserve and LIU Brooklyn transfer who averaged 14 minutes a game, also played his senior season in 2017-18. Who is added: Departing seniors Gray and Davis both arrived at Houston via junior college, and Sampson continues to blend JC transfers with recruits out of high school. For next season, the Cougars will add two junior college veterans: DeJon Jarreau, a 6-foot-5 wing, and Brison Gresham, a 6-foot-9 power forward. Jarreau and Gresham are former junior college teammates who decommitted from UMass as a two-player package. That being said, the highest-rated new arrival in Houston next season might be freshman Nate Hinton, a 6-foot-6 wing ranked as the nation’s No. 95 recruit in the ESPN 100. Sampson also adds 6-foot freshman and reputed sharpshooter Antoine Davis, a 2-guard from Houston. Lastly, 6-foot-5 Cedrick Alley Jr. will be eligible after taking a redshirt season as a freshman. What it means for next season: If Sampson can find the answer at point guard, Houston could be in surprisingly good shape for a team coming off its first appearance in the NCAA tournament since the program’s miracle run from the No. 7 seed line to the Conference USA tournament title in 2010. The first option at the point will be Robinson, a strong defender who up to now has operated strictly as a pass-first distributor alongside Gray. Robinson’s usage-weighted turnover rate looks worrisome, but improvement there is not a far-fetched expectation for a senior-to-be. If the point guard situation is settled, there’s a lot to like for 2018-19. Corey Davis and Brooks combined to drain 44 percent of their 3s, White posted a promising freshman season, and Brady shows considerable potential as an elite rebounder (if he can stay out of foul trouble). Trending: Neutral. Replacing a first-team all-conference performer like Gray at point guard would ordinarily be a recipe for a rocky transition, but give Sampson credit. In four seasons at Houston he has built the program to the point where the Cougars will likely, and deservedly, earn a good many second- and even first-place votes in preseason American Athletic Conference polls for 2018-19. With a veteran core made up of returning starters Davis, Brooks and Robinson, UH will be tough once again next season.

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    We continue the recruit and return series with the Ohio State Buckeyes, whose season ended Saturday in a loss to Gonzaga. A look at what the 2018-19 season could hold: Possible 2018-19 starting five G: C.J. Jackson G: Musa Jallow G: Luther Muhammad F: Kaleb Wesson F: Micah Potter Who is lost: Keita Bates-Diop has a year of eligibility remaining should he want it, but that isn’t likely for the redshirt junior, coming off a breakout year. Seniors Jae’Sean Tate and Kam Williams were both productive starters this season for the Buckeyes. Graduate transfer Andrew Dakich is also moving on.
    Luther MuhammadBrian Fluharty-USA TODAY SportsLuther Muhammad has a competitive spirit that could help him take advantage of some openings in Ohio State's lineup next year.
    Who is added: Coach Chris Holtmann’s first full recruiting class was in need of guards. Thus far, the Buckeyes have signed two four-star backcourt players: Muhammad and Duane Washington. Muhammad has a competitive spirit that could help him take advantage of some openings in Ohio State’s lineup next year. Ohio State hasn’t closed the door on adding another player. The crown jewel of the class at this point is big man Jaedon LeDee. The 6-foot-9 Texan has a versatile skill set that will allow him to play as a wing like Bates-Diop. Other younger players in Columbus should get a chance to provide a bigger impact starting in the fall. Jallow, who made a few clutch shots to beat Purdue on the road when Williams was suspended, and 6-foot-8 forward Kyle Young both have a chance to play themselves into bigger roles moving forward. What it means for next season: Holtmann earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors for the quicker-than-expected turnaround at Ohio State. How much of that early success can be attributed to Bates-Diop finding another gear? The 2018-19 season should be a good gauge on the Buckeyes’ trajectory under Holtmann, a proven winner at Butler before coming to Columbus. Backcourt depth could be an issue, and new scorers will need to pick up the slack from losing not only Bates-Diop but also big-time contributors in Williams and Tate. Trending: Up. This past season should help the new coaching staff with credibility in the locker room and on the recruiting trail. Momentum from an unexpected run through the Big Ten has changed the outlook on how much rebuilding the Buckeyes needed. Even if Ohio State falls off the pace at the top of a top-heavy league next season, prospects for the long-term future are good.

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