The NCAA tournament won’t be underway for a few more days, but March Madness has already started in earnest. The conference tournaments have provided plenty of mouthwatering appetizers to the main course this week, fresh with buzzer-beaters, the dunk of the year, and of course, Duke’s Grayson Allen committing yet another controversial foul, this time with a hip-check on a North Carolina player in the ACC semifinals on Friday night. Here’s a rundown of the drama from the past few days:
UMBC stuns Vermont on a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Jairus Lyles. The Retrievers are headed to the NCAA tournament after the DeMatha product pulled up and nailed the game-winner with 0.6 seconds left the beat the Catamounts, 65-62, in the America East finals on Saturday.
Radford’s Carlik Jones wins the Big South tournament with a buzzer-beater. Lyles wasn’t the first one to pull up from deep to send his team dancing this week — Jones had already done it last Sunday in the Big South championship, nailing a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat Liberty, 55-52.
Memphis keeps its season alive with a leaping, one-handed buzzer beater. The Tigers bowed out of the American Athletic Conference semifinals with a loss to Cincinnati on Saturday, and Coach Tubby Smith could be on his way out. But all of that was put on hold thanks to one of the wildest plays of the week, as the Tigers beat Tulsa on a teardrop three-pointer by Kareem Brewton in the quarterfinals.
Alabama’s Collin Sexton saves his team’s season with a coast-to-coast game-winner. Sexton has emerged as one of the top stories in all of college basketball this week, in large part because he kept his team’s NCAA tournament hopes alive with a game-winning layup to beat Texas A&M in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
Auburn Coach Bruce Pearl exchanges words with an Alabama staffer after loss. After Sexton dropped 31 points to upset the Tigers in the quarterfinals, Pearl added to the drama after reportedly getting in a heated exchange with Alabama’s strength and conditioning coach.
Northern Colorado’s Jordan Davis provides the dunk of the year. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more devastating slam in college basketball this season than Davis’s against Montana in the Big Sky tournament semifinals on Friday night.
Here’s Davis’s victim, Montana’s Fabijan Krslovic, responding to the play after the Griz rallied for the win:
Duke’s Grayson Allen adds to feud with North Carolina after flagrant foul. College basketball’s biggest villain has a history of tripping opponents, but he used his hip to intentionally check a North Carolina player in a loss in the ACC semifinals on Friday night.
Allen was called for a flagrant-one foul and added yet another controversial layer to both his career and a dramatic postseason that has only just begun.