Towns Drops 25 and Kentucky Makes Key Defensive Play as Wildcats Remain Perfect at 38-0

Kentucky is still perfect and they have Karl-Anthony Towns to thank for it.

The 7-foot New Jersey native went for 25 points and 5 rebounds as No. 1 Kentucky fended off its toughest challenge yet in this NCAA Tournament by holding off No. 3 Notre Dame, 68-66, in the Midwest Region final Saturday night in Cleveland.

“I played a bad game last game but my brothers had me,” Towns told TBS with his father, Karl Towns, attached to his hip. “Just like my father taught me me growing up, it’s not about the last game, it’s about winning. And we did a great job of winning and we just went out there and did a great job.” To read more of this story, click here

Reports: Rick Barnes Out at Texas

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-2nd Round-Butler vs TexasBy JOSH NEWMAN

SYRACUSE — The coaching carousel is making a stop in the Lone Star State.

The Austin American-Statesman reported late Saturday afternoon that Texas head coach Rick Barnes is being released by the school. According to the newspaper, a decision was made on Saturday and an announcement will come either Sunday or Monday.

Multiple outlets are reporting that Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall and VCU’s Shaka Smart are the leading candidates to replace Barnes.

The American-Statesman reported on Thursday that athletic director Steve Patterson met with Barnes at least twice face-to-face and asked the 60-year-old coach to make changes. To read more of this story, click here

Rick Pitino: ‘St. John’s has to hire a great recruiter’

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Louisville PracticeSYRACUSE — Rick Pitino was born in Manhattan and raised on Long Island.

He knows New York City and what it takes to succeed in the Big Apple about as well as anyone.

And even though Pitino is the Hall of Fame coach at Louisville — which meets Michigan State here on Sunday with the winner going to the Final Four — part of him always wants to see New York City basketball thrive.

Now that St. John’s has a coaching opening in the wake of parting ways with Steve Lavin, the school is at a crossroads. To read more of this story, click here

The 4 Quarters Podcast: Will Brown, Mark Gottfried, Larry Blunt and the Sweet 16

Adam Zagoria and Josh Newman deliver an all-new episode of The 4 Quarters Podcast, covering college hoops and recruiting for Albany head coach Will Brown calls in to chat about his team and his thoughts on the Tournament overall, and NC State head coach Mark Gottfried joins the show to talk about the Wolfpack in the Sweet 16, other Tourney thoughts, as well as recruiting and draft issues. The guys also chat about the future of Steve Lavin at St. John’s and cover recruiting with Orangeville prep coach Larry Blunt.

Subscribe in iTunes RSS

1st Quarter: Albany head coach Will Brown (00:50)
2nd Quarter: NC State head coach Mark Gottfried (7:40)
3rd Quarter: The future of St. John’s and Steve Lavin (16:50)
4th Quarter: Recruiting Round Up: Orangeville prep coach Larry Blunt (21:25)

E-Mail us with feedback, comments, or questions for a future show:

NCAA Tournament Tip Times (UPDATED)

finalfourHere are the tip times and commentator assignments for Saturday and Sunday’s Elite 8 games.

The Final Four on Saturday, April 4 will be televised on TBS and The National Championship Game on Monday, April 6 will air on CBS.

Here are your tip times, announcing assignments and locations for all the games.

Elite 8 Games

Saturday, March 28

Los Angeles (West Region), TBS

Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner and Rachel Nichols
6:09 p.m. ET: No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 2 Arizona

Cleveland (Midwest Region), TBS

Announcers: Marv Albert/Chris Webber/Len Elmore /Lewis Johnson
8:49 p.m. ET: No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 3 Notre Dame To read more of this story, click here

Top 20 Pick Montrezl Harrell Hoping to Extend College Career With Louisville

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Louisville vs North Carolina StateSYRACUSE — Montrezl Harrell’s college career is likely going to come to end in the coming days.

He just doesn’t want it to be on Sunday against Michigan State in the Elite Eight.

“We worked so hard throughout the whole year to get where we’re at, and we really just don’t want to go home early,” the 6-foot-8, 240-pound Harrell said here Saturday. “So we’ve just got to make sure we do anything and everything in our power to make sure that we head to Indianapolis.”

Harrell was a projected first-round NBA pick last season after his sophomore year, but opted to come back to develop his game and remain in college. A year later, he’s listed as the No. 20 pick by Draft

“I believe he can be an effective [NBA] backup for 10 years,” one veteran NBA scout told

To read more of this story, click here

Charlotte Transfer Mike Thorne Has Suitors, Planning Visits

SYRACUSE — Mike Thorne, a 6-foot-11, 275-pound transfer from Charlotte, has no shortage of suitors.

Thorne told he’s considering Arizona, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Illinois, Kansas, Pittsburgh and “possibly N.C. State.”

He met Saturday with Illinois coach John Groce and has a visit set for Illinois April 17-19.

“He would like me to come in and help the team,” Thorne told “He wants me to improve as a player and a person.”

Kansas coach Bill Self and Pitt coach Jamie Dixon were in to see Thorne last week, and other coaches will be coming in to see him. He plans on taking more visits.

Thorne averaged 10.1 points and 7.3 rebounds in 26.1 minutes per game this past season for Charlotte (14-18 , 7-11 Conference USA). He will graduate in May and will be immediately eligible.

Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter

And like ZAGS on Facebook

After Pep Talk from Pitino, Raleigh, N.C. Native Anton Gill Leads Louisville to Sweet 16 Victory Over N.C. State

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Louisville vs North Carolina StateSYRACUSE — Louisville coach Rick Pitino called up sophomore Anton Gill the other day while the coach was working out and gave him a little pep talk.

The 6-foot-3 guard from Raleigh, N.C., had only played 2 minutes in Louisville’s win over Northern Iowa in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament and failed to score. In fact, Gill had failed to score in his last four games dating back to the beginning of March.

“Son, you’re mentally in a funk,” Pitino told him. “It’s nothing you’re doing wrong because you’re playing behind Terry Rozier, who’s an unbelievable player…You’re going to get your opportunity, son.”

“I got you, Coach, and I’ll be ready,” Gill replied. To read more of this story, click here