NCAA Tournament Latest: Izzo gets 56th tourney win


The Latest on the first full day of the NCAA Tournament:

It’s 56 and counting for Tom Izzo

Tom Izzo in March (and sometimes April) tends to mean good stuff for Michigan State.

The Spartans’ win over Mississippi State was Izzo’s 56th NCAA Tournament win at Michigan State.

Only three coaches have won more tourney games at one school. Mike Krzyzewski won 101 at Duke, Dean Smith won 65 at North Carolina and Jim Boeheim won 62 at Syracuse.


March Madness melee

There’s been a melee in the opening minutes of the second half between BYU and Duquesne when the Cougars’ Noah Waterman and the Dukes’ Fousseyni Drame simultaneously grabbed the rebound and took it together to the floor.

Drame appeared to be the instigator, rolling back on top of Waterman on the floor as official Pat Driscoll jumped between them. Players from both teams surrounded them as if it was a schoolyard fight and Driscoll appeared to be a bit shaken up.

Officials reviewed the play on the courtside monitor and both players were given a technical foul.


A better in-game experience

One thing the NCAA has improved is keeping fans at games in the loop on what’s happening elsewhere in the tournament. At halftime at CHI Health Center in Omaha, where BYU and Duquesne were playing, the game between Creighton and Akron in Pittsburgh was played on the video board hanging above the arena floor. CHI Health Center is the home court of the Bluejays and a lot of their fans were interested in the game.

That kind of look-in used to be rare. But these days, now that most fans can watch any game they want on their phones anyway, it makes sense to show other games on the massive screens in every arena.


BYU is bloodied and bumming vs Duquesne

Just about everything has gone wrong for sixth-seeded BYU in the first half.

Lead guard Dallin Hall has tissues shoved up both of his nostrils to plug his bloody nose, Richie Saunders was doubled over after taking an elbow to his midsection and Spencer Johnson even lost a shoe while trying to play some defense.

Not the kind of start the Cougars envisioned as they try to snap a four-game NCAA tourney losing streak. They trailed 17-10 midway through the first half in Omaha, Nebraska.


Izzo’s Spartans look good early

Tom Izzo and Michigan State eked into March Madness but look good so far. Tyson Walker has a couple 3-pointers and the ninth-seeded Spartans lead eighth-seeded Mississippi State 20-8 just before the midway point of the first quarter.


March Madness could be on the way out

Tracking the changes upending college sports can be as frenetic as flipping between all the games going down over the first week of March Madness. Ultimately, those changes could impact what America’s favorite basketball tournament looks like in the future — or whether it exists at all.

News about athlete compensation, player unions and realignment dominate discussions. Everything in college sports is open for discussion, interpretation and adjustment. That includes the industry’s most hallowed tradition, the NCAA basketball tournaments, which begin this week and will stretch from coast to coast.

The bottom line behind it all is money.

Read more about how changes to college sports are impacting March Madness.


BYU’s Khalifa plays while observing Ramadan

BYU forward Aly Khalifa will play against Duquesne on Thursday without having any food or drink after sunrise as he observes Ramadan during the NCAA Tournament.

The native of Alexandria, Egypt, probably could have taken an exception to one of the Five Pillars of Islam because of travel involved in the college basketball tournament. But instead, he chose to work with the BYU sports science and medicine staff to ensure he could play while observing the fast.

Khalifa planned to wake up at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday to eat and pray, then head to the arena for an 11:40 a.m. tipoff.

Read more: BYU’s Aly Khalifa.


For Tom Izzo, a 26th straight tourney bid wasn’t a layup

March Madness kept Tom Izzo sleepless for more than 24 hours before he heard and saw Michigan State made it into a 26th consecutive NCAA Tournament.

The Hall of Fame coach said he had one of the most anxious days of his career on Sunday, sensing his record-breaking streak might get snapped after the Spartans started No. 4 in the AP Top 25 preseason poll and finished an uneven season with five losses in seven games.

Izzo was able to exhale — and get some much-needed sleep — because Michigan State (19-14) was placed in the West Region as a No. 9 seed and matched up with No. 8 seed Mississippi State (21-13) on Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Read more about Tom Izzo’s 26th March Madness bid.


Health could help to decide this year’s tourney

Bill Self feels pretty good about Hunter Dickinson’s availability for the NCAA Tournament. The Kansas coach frankly has no idea what to expect of his other All-America candidate, Kevin McCullar Jr.

And he’s not the only one fretting the health of their teams. Whether it’s Marquette star Tyler Kolek’s oblique injury or Houston big man J’Wan Roberts dealing with some leg soreness, injuries could play a big role in what transpires over the next three weeks.

Read more about what injuries could impact this year’s tournament.


AP March Madness bracket: and coverage:

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