NCAA tournament 2017: Friday’s live blog, scores, highlights, and news

Posted by    |    March 24th, 2017 at 6:18 pm

Follow along with all the action as the NCAA tournament field gets cut from 12 to eight.

Sweet 16 Friday is always something of a loss of innocence event. It’s the last night of the college basketball season that we’re all blessed with the gift of high-profile games being played simultaneously. Regional finals and Final Four games are cool and all, but if one of them is bad, there’s no lifeboat anywhere around us.

So soak it up while you can, and enjoy Friday night’s Sweet 16 slate:

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 4 Butler, 7:09 p.m.

South region | FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tenn.

TV: CBS | Announcers: Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson

No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 7 South Carolina, 7:29 p.m.

East region | Madison Square Garden, New York

TV: TBS | Announcers: Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce

No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 3 UCLA, 9:39 p.m.*

South region | FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tenn.

TV: CBS | Announcers: Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson

No. 4 Florida vs. No. 8 Wisconsin, 9:59 p.m.*

East region | Madison Square Garden, New York

TV: TBS | Announcers: Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce

*game time is approximate

Refresh this post throughout the evening for updates, analysis, pictures and videos from tonight’s games.

7:19 — Here’s hoping every segment of this game is as entertaining as the opening one. Both offenses are clicking. Carolina leads, 10-9.

7:11 — We are underway in Memphis, where North Carolina is looking to erase any doubt that may have spawned by the team’s uneven performance against Arkansas last weekend.

USA vs. Honduras 2017: Live coverage and score updates for World Cup qualifier

Posted by    |    March 24th, 2017 at 4:06 pm

The USMNT lost their first two games in CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. Now they need a win against Honduras.

The United States got off to a terrible start in 2018 World Cup qualifying, losing its opening two Hexagonal matches, which led to the firing of Jurgen Klinsmann. He’s been replaced by Bruce Arena, who is now tasked with leading the USMNT to victory over Honduras on Friday night.

Arena has been handed a tough early job due to injuries and suspensions in the American player pool. Striker Bobby Wood, do-everything wide man Fabian Johnson, and right back DeAndre Yedlin are all injured. Midfielder Jermaine Jones and right back Timothy Chandler are both suspended.

If all of the above sounds pretty grim and you’re looking for some good news for the USMNT: Clint Dempsey is back. He missed the Americans’ two October losses while getting treatment for a heart condition but has been cleared to play again.

Honduras isn’t in as rough a situation as the USMNT but does need some points on the road. They beat Trinidad and Tobago during its first set of games, but lost at home to Panama. If they’re going to get into the top four, they can’t just rely on picking up points in home games.

While the Americans should be able to dominate possession at home, Honduras is a good fast counter-attacking team, and the American defense will have to be on its toes.

Game time and how to watch, on TV and online

TV: Fox Sports 1 (U.S. – English), UniMas, Univision USA (U.S. – Spanish), Canal 5 Televicentro (Honduras)

Online: Fox Soccer 2 Go, Fox Sports Go, Univision Deportes, Fubo, Sling (U.S.)

Match Date/Time: Friday, 10:30 p.m. ET, 7:30 p.m. local

Venue: Avaya Stadium, San Jose, California

Make friends: Check out U.S. Soccer blog Stars and Stripes FC.

Listings via LiveSoccerTV.

Gonzaga can shut up the haters forever

Posted by    |    March 24th, 2017 at 10:21 am

After one of the toughest wins in school history, the Bulldogs are close to ending one constant critique.

SAN JOSE – Running on fumes after an exhausting “rock fight,” Mark Few came into Thursday night’s post-game press conference hot.

“First of all, I don’t know that I have a monkey on my back,” the Gonzaga Bulldogs head coach responded, about as curtly as one could without being rude when asked a tired question.

“I certainly don’t wake up with one or walk around with one. I don’t think my wife thinks I have one or anybody in my family, close friends. Fishing buddies never talk about it.”

OK, so absolutely no monkeys. Got it.

If you think Few and his team and the entire city of Spokane, Washington are sick of the overplayed angle about this program being good enough to make 19 straight tournaments but not good enough to break through to the Final Four, that quote is all you need to confirm it.

Clichés aside, breaking through is never easy. Each time you get close, your next attempt gets that much harder. There’s more doubt in your head and speculation from the rest of the world that you might not be capable of reaching the next level.

And even after Thursday’s 61-58 win over West Virginia in the Sweet 16, arguably the most grueling and painstaking tournament victory in the history of the program, the Bulldogs still aren’t there.

But given the hurdle they just passed, this win was most definitely for the haters.

It was for everyone who dismissed them as the team with an easy schedule, felt they were a bunch of overseeded frauds, or never bothered to stay up late enough to watch them run through most of their opponents.

Now, one win away from the Final Four, with likely their toughest test behind them, you, hater, have no choice but to give Gonzaga some respect.

West Virginia v Gonzaga
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Before tip, their matchup with the Mountaineers felt like the game when the Bulldogs could get tripped up.

Bob Huggins’ squad is about as physically and mentally exhausting a team as college basketball has seen recently. No backcourt is safe from their pressure.

They resemble the 2013 Louisville team, which won a national championship because it was just too much too much to handle for 40 minutes. Yeah, you can go 10 minutes and hit a few outside shots, maybe even a half and avoid that trap in the corner, but a full game of concerted pressure usually prevails.

Gonzaga fell victim to it too, surely. They were imperfect, playing a style at a pace that did not suit them.

They turned the ball over.

They committed fouls out of exhaustion and mental lapses.

They faced the same barrage that made 28 other West Virginia opponents wilt.

They also won.

Despite being uncomfortable all night and on the brink of losing yet another second-weekend-of-the-tournament game, the Zags are still standing, in their best-ever position to break through.

It was fitting that they clinched it by preventing WVU from even getting a shot off in the final 10 seconds; they are tops in the country in defensive efficiency, after all.

So now with that game over, Gonzaga can just go play.

Their Elite Eight matchup with Xavier won’t be easy, but it will be against a team that can’t be as disruptive. Przemek Karnowski will probably get more touches down low, Nigel Williams-Goss will probably get cleaner looks at the rim, and Josh Perkins just might get a chance to shoot the ball.

It’s just going to be a basketball game. If the Bulldogs win, they go to Phoenix, and Few can’t be asked about monkeys on backs ever again.

NCAA hockey tournament 2017: Live scores, bracket, and schedule

Posted by    |    March 24th, 2017 at 8:00 am

This year’s tournament features some new faces.

The 2017 NCAA men’s Division I hockey tournament is missing some big college hockey names. Most notably, last year’s No. 1 seed Quinnipiac finished the season with a 23-15-2 record and fell out of tournament contention.

Also missing is last year’s No. 2 seed St. Cloud State, as they went sub-.500 this year with a 16-19-1 record.

Instead of these usual heavyweights, the tournament features some new blood. Michigan Tech got a bid to the dance after missing out in 2014-15, thanks to quite the dramatic ending to the WCHA final, which ended in double-overtime. Also getting in via double-overtime? Penn State, who has secured their first tournament spot after just five years as a Division I program.

The favorites, however, remain the usual suspects. Denver is the tournament favorite, as the Pioneers have lost just one game since late January. Also in the mix are Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth, with the talents of Boston University and North Dakota facing off in a very unfair first-round matchup.

Keep track of the entire tournament’s ups and downs right here, through the first puck drop to the final whistle.

The format

The tournament consists of 16 qualified teams in four groups across four regions. The winner of each regional will advance to the Frozen Four, and the winners in the Frozen Four will advance to the championship game at the United Center in Chicago.

ESPNU, ESPN2, and ESPN3 will share most of the tournament’s early games, while the Frozen Four will be on ESPN2 and the championship game will feature on ESPN. Every game will be available online on WatchESPN.com.

The teams

Midwest Regional

1. Denver Pioneers
2. Union Dutchmen
3. Penn State Nittany Lions
4. Michigan Tech Huskies

Northeast Regional

1. Minnesota Golden Gophers
2. UMass Lowell River Hawks
3. Cornell Big Red
4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

East Regional

1. Harvard Crimson
2. Western Michigan Broncos
3. Air Force Falcons
4. Providence Friars

West Regional

1. Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs
2. Boston University Terriers
3. North Dakota Fighting Hawks
4. Ohio State Buckeyes

Bracket


Source: NCAA.com

Schedule and Results (All Times Eastern)

Friday, March 24 (First Round)

No. 2 Boston University vs. No. 3 North Dakota
When/How to watch: 3:00 p.m., ESPN2

No. 1 Harvard vs. No. 4 Providence
When/How to watch: 4:00 p.m., ESPNU

No. 1 Minnesota Duluth vs. No. 4 Ohio State
When/How to watch: 6:30 p.m., ESPNU

No. 2 Western Michigan vs. No. 3 Air Force
When/How to watch: 7:30 p.m., ESPN3

Saturday, March 25 (First Round/Quarterfinals)

No. 2 UMass Lowell vs. No. 3 Cornell
When/How to watch: 12:00 p.m., ESPN3

No. 1 Denver vs. No. 4 Michigan Tech
When/How to watch: 1:00 p.m., ESPN3

No. 1 Minnesota vs. No. 4 Notre Dame
When/How to watch: 3:30 p.m., ESPNU

No. 2 Union vs. No. 3 Penn State
When/How to watch: 4:30 p.m., ESPN3

West Quarterfinal
When/How to watch: 6:00 p.m., ESPNU

East Quarterfinal
When/How to watch: 8:30 p.m., ESPNU

Sunday, March 26 (Quarterfinals)

Northeast Quarterfinal
When/How to watch: 3:30 p.m., ESPNU

Midwest Quarterfinal
When/How to watch: 6:00 p.m., ESPNU

Thursday, April 6 (Frozen Four)

West/East Semifinal
When/How to watch: TBA, ESPN2

Northeast/Midwest Semifinal
When/How to watch: TBA, ESPN2

Saturday, April 8 (Championship)

NCAA Tournament Final
When/How to watch: 8:00 p.m., ESPN

2017 printable NCAA bracket: Who will join Gonzaga and Oregon in the Elite 8?

Posted by    |    March 24th, 2017 at 6:00 am

Tune in to find out.

Is your bracket busted? Probably, but that’s ok. We here at SB Nation have your back, so we’re updating our printable brackets so that you can have a mulligan. Don’t mess this one up!

Up to this point, the NCAA Tournament has been a bit of a dud, with even the most exciting games resulting in abysmal finishes (think Gonzaga’s victory over West Virginia). At this point, we’re hoping as the good teams separate themselves from the pack, the games get better as the tournament rolls on. Be sure to check out our live bracket for up-to-the-minute updates.

Here’s a printable tournament bracket, available for your free downloading and use.


Download the PDF

As the tournament continues, several teams have questions that still need to be answered. Can Gonzaga continue its momentum after the Bulldogs barely edged out a late victory against West Virginia? Now that Michigan has been eliminated, who is this year’s team of destiny? And, the most obvious, which remaining team has what it takes to win this year’s NCAA Tournament?

On Friday, Lonzo Ball and No. 3 UCLA will take on Malik Monk and No. 2 Kentucky in what’s shaping up to potentially be the most exciting game in this year’s tournament. The two superstars and their respective squads look to advance to the Elite 8, where the winner will face the winner of the North Carolina-Butler matchup.