state championship

Instant replay is coming to high school football. But will it come to North Carolina? | Charlotte Observer

At its quarterly central board meeting this week, the Alabama High School Athletic Association voted to use instant replay this fall in its high school football games.

Alabama is believed to be the first state to have instant replay available at all high school games, although New Jersey and Minnesota have used or planned to use it in state championship games.

"The purpose of instant replay," AHSAA executive director Steve Savarese told the Alabama Media Group, "is to aid the officials in getting it right."

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NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker

NCHSAA

N.C. High School Athletic Association executive director Que Tucker had lunch with Savarese in Indianapolis Thursday while they were attending a meeting of national association heads. They talked about Alabama’s move to add replay.

Tucker was asked if North Carolina might one day do the same thing. She said for now, the state would monitor what’s going on in Alabama.

"Have we thought about it in North Carolina? Well, yes, we have," Tucker said, "but we’re nowhere close to making a decision to say we will do that."

Already, the NCHSAA does have a form of replay – at least in state championship basketball games.

In 2013, Oxford Webb beat Statesville 73-70 in the N.C. 2A state championship game in overtime. Isaiah Hicks, a McDonald’s All-American who later played on the North Carolina Tar Heels’ national championship team, hit a shot that would have won the game at the buzzer in regulation.

The shot, which many felt was released on time, was ruled to have come after the clock expired.

The next year, Tucker said the NCHSAA implemented a rule to allow officials to use televised replays, in state finals, to determine if a player got a shot off before time expired in a quarter or a game.

At the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A state championship last month, there was controversy over whether a player from Jacksonville Northside legally made what would have been a game-winning 3-point shot at the end of the game against Concord’s Cox Mill High School.

The player was ruled out of bounds before he made the attempt. Video replays later confirmed it. But there was controversy when the officials initially made the call – and no replay to confirm it (the NCHSAA rule only covers whether shots were released on time).

Savarese, the Alabama high schools director, was asked about the costs of implementing the solution, and while he didn’t go into specifics, he said costs would be minimal for his schools.

Current National Federation of High School rules do allow for instant replay for football. The Alabama schools have been granted a waiver that will last for up to three years to experiment with replay.

The AHSAA will partner with DVSport, a 16-year-old software company out of Pittsburgh, to provide the equipment to schools. According to its website, DVSport’s replay solutions have been used in more than 10,000 college football games and more than 15,000 college basketball games.

For the high school games, DVSport’s solution will plug into each schools’ current video-taping cameras and machines and officials will access replays via a hand-held tablet, like an iPad, on the field.

Vance High football coach Aaron Brand was surprised to hear about Alabama’s plans. He said he hopes it doesn’t migrate to his state.

"I don’t like referees messing up as much as they are, but they’re not messing up on purpose," Brand said. "I like to keep football somewhat genuine, and there’s going to be a little bit of home-field advantage here and there, and that’s important. Adding replay would make for a longer game, too. I know it’s on Friday night, but I’m good without it."

Olympic High’s Jason Fowler took the opposite view.

"I think (replay in North Carolina) would be a great idea," he said. "I think we all would like to challenge some of the calls we get. It would make the officials’ association be more accountable."

Tucker, the NCHSAA commissioner, seems to think Fowler is going to get his wish, that moving toward replay seems inevitable.

"Everybody in the world can video anything," she said. "You think about parents in the stands. They have a (camera phone). The National Federation changed its rules to allow coaches to have electronic devices on the sidelines. That changes the landscape.

"Now officials hear coaches on the sidelines – not necessarily talking to the officials – but saying, ‘Well, lookie here. He just missed that call.’ If that’s happening on the sidelines and coaches are (filming it), we probably can’t be that far away from it becoming a standard."

Wertz: 704-358-5133; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr

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Student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro tests positive for tuberculosis

GREENSBORO – A student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro tested positive for tuberculosis, according to an email from the school.

Tuberculosis, sometimes called TB, is a disease that generally develops over weeks and months and is curable with medications.

Tuberculosis typically attacks the lungs and, if not treated properly, can be fatal. The disease is spread through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms can include a bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood, weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills, fever and sweating at night.

People are only at risk of tuberculosis if they’ve come in direct contact with someone who has it.

School officials at UNCG said this is an isolated incident and all classes and activities are continuing as scheduled.

The school said the student lives off campus, is complying with home isolation and is being treated.

The university said it is working closely with the Guilford County Health Department and has contacted the affected students and faculty to make sure they are being tested and, if necessary, treated.

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FSU snags top QB Sam Howell from North Carolina

Sam Howell of Monroe (N.C.) Sun Valley, committed to FSU on Monday night. (Courtesy Rivals)

FSU, which didn’t sign a quarterback in its 2018 recruiting class, landed a big one for 2019 Monday night when Sam Howell of Monroe (N.C.) Sun Valley High announced via his Twitter account that he was committing to the Seminoles.

Howell, a 6-foot-1, 217-pound pro-style passer, is the No. 4-ranked pro-style quarterback in the country according to 247Sports. He is also the No. 152-ranked player overall.

“I’m proud to announce my commitment to Coach Taggart and Florida State University,” Howell said in a lengthy post on social media.

He’s considered a pro-style QB, but he’s adept at running the ball, as well.

In his first three seasons a Sun Valley, Howell has thrown for 10,175 yards and 109 touchdowns, He has aso run for 2,229 yards and 43 touchdowns.

Howell had a huge season last year, completing 59 percent of his passes (225 of 382) for 3,372 yards and 36 touchdowns, and running for 1,594 more yards and 24 touchdowns.

He is the sixth commitment to the Seminoles’ 2019 recruiting class, joining cornerbacks Akeem Dent of Palm Beach Central and Travis Jay of Madison County, defensive ends Mike Morris of Delray Beach American Heritage and Quashon Fuller of Lehigh and defensive tackle Tru Thompson of Loganville (Ga.) Grayson High.

FSU currently has just three quarterbacks on the roster, including starter redshirt-junior Deondre Francois and last year’s starter, due to a Francois injury, sophomore James Blackman and redshirt freshman Bailey Hockman.

Chris Hays covers college football recruiting, as well as college and high school football for the Sentinel. Reach him at chays@orlandosentinel.com.

Also follow us on Twitter @OS_Recruiting or on Faceboook at OS Recruiting or on Instagram at OS_Recruiting.

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tobacco to China

‘It really hits North Carolina’: China goes after tobacco in latest tariff fight | News & Observer

WASHINGTON — A trade war with China could have devastating impacts on North Carolina’s tobacco farmers.

North Carolina exported more than $156 million in leaf tobacco to China in 2017, making the nation the largest consumer of the state’s tobacco in the world. That number is already down from more than $184 million in 2015 and $166 million in 2016, according to U.S. Census data.

On Wednesday, as part of a quickly escalating trade war with the United States, China announced plans to impose 25-percent higher tariffs on more than 100 U.S. products. The list includes several different tobacco products as well as soybeans. Earlier, China announced tariffs on pork products from the U.S.

Tariffs on unmanufactured tobacco would rise from 10 percent to 35 percent, while duties on cigarettes and cigars would climb from their current 25 percent to 50 percent, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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“This is troubling, to say the least, in terms of tobacco,” said Larry Wooten, president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau. “When you add pork and soybeans, it really hits North Carolina.”

China has seemingly targeted its tariffs to impact states that voted for President Donald Trump, adding not only tobacco but corn and soybeans (Iowa), whiskey (Kentucky) and vehicles (Michigan) on its most recent list for tariffs.

In addition to being the nation’s largest producer of tobacco, North Carolina plants 1.6 million acres of soybean. North Carolina exported $2.3 billion in goods to China in 2016 up from $1.4 billion in 2006, according to the US-China Business Council. China was the state’s third-largest trading partner, trailing Canada ($6.2 billion in goods) and Mexico ($3.1 billion).

“I don’t think we would look favorably on something that would hurt not only agriculture but other industries. The technology industry is a large exporter from North Carolina,” said Tony Copeland, North Carolina’s Secretary of Commerce.

North Carolina exported $213 million in semiconductors and components to China in 2016, according to the US-China Business Council.

Trump announced tariffs on imported steel and aluminum last month and then announced more tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods on Tuesday. China responded quickly. Trump seemed defiant, claiming on Twitter that the U.S. was not in a trade war with China because we have already lost.

We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S. Now we have a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 4, 2018

We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S. Now we have a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 4, 2018

Though North Carolina tobacco exports to China, the world’s most populous nation, have decreased in recent years, overall agriculture imports from the state to China have increased. North Carolina exported almost $599 million in agricultural products to China in 2017. Wood and wood charcoal ($222 million), tobacco ($156 million) and pork products ($137 million) led the way.

Sampson, Johnston and Nash counties are among the largest tobacco-producing counties in the state. Wooten said North Carolina produces about 50 percent of the nation’s tobacco and exports about 75 percent of the tobacco it grows.

The tariffs are just proposed at this time and will not go into effect until at least the middle of May, leaving time for negotiations between the two nations. Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, urged the nations to negotiate and “produce an agreement that serves the interests of the world’s two largest economies.”

Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican from Winston-Salem, said that he opposes tariffs but supports punishing the Chinese for unfair trade practices.

“Listen, I don’t like tariffs. I have openly said that my entire career. But fair trade agreements are what we should shoot for. When the Chinese close their market place to certain US products, when China continues to ignore intellectual property, then sometimes you have to use a different tactic, and I think clearly that is what the president is doing,” Burr said Wednesday in Durham County.

“My hope is that they will negotiate a settlement before the first tariff takes place, but at the end of the day that means our product goes into China as easily as Chinese products come into the United States.”

Wooten said his group would work hard to convince officials of the serious consequences for the farm economy in North Carolina.

“If this were to continue and go into effect, it could impact the incomes of our farmers in a very direct way,” he said. “We’re going to be working hard to say this is really problematic for American agriculture.”

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, called for an end to trade protectionism.

“The back and forth escalation of trade protectionism will be felt by American businesses, families and workers just beginning to feel the benefits of tax reform and a thriving, post-tax reform economy,” Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillip said. “Tariffs punish those Americans with higher costs, which undermines tax reform, destroys jobs and weakens the economy. It’s hard to imagine a more counterproductive and self-destructive policy.”

Brian Murphy: 202-383-6089, @MurphinDC

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Orange Lutheran

Orange Lutheran advances to championship game in North Carolina

Zach Lew’s RBI single in the top of the seventh inning broke a 2-2 tie and lifted Orange Lutheran past Florida Calvary Christian 3-2 on Friday to send the Lancers into the championship game of the National High School Invitational in Cary, N.C.

Christian Rodriguez allowed two hits in 5 2/3 innings and Evan Adolphus pitched the final 1 1/3 innings.

Orange Lutheran has won three consecutive games in the tournament. Chad Born and Cole Winn each had two hits.

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Elizabeth City

North Carolina Town Accepts, Then Spurns Russian Gift

Bed-and-breakfast owner Rick Boyd stands in a downtown arts center looking at a model of a bronze monument that he hopes will soon grace the Elizabeth City, N.C., waterfront.

"It’s just one of the most beautiful pieces of art that I’ve ever seen," Boyd said.

In a heroic style that evokes Frederic Remington’s rough-hewn Western art, three pilots – American, Canadian and Soviet – look off into the distance.

"And then there’s the airplane, the military version of the Catalina, depicted coming out of the water," Boyd said.

A model of the proposed monument to Project Zebra. The monument is projected to be 13 feet tall and weigh 25 tons.

The monument would honor a World War II program called Project Zebra. Americans trained hundreds of Soviet fliers on amphibious bombers that they then flew home to fight German and Japanese submarines.

Almost a year ago, Elizabeth City agreed to accept the monument, valued at an estimated $1 million, as a gift from the Russian government. But in a surprise move, a city council with new members has torpedoed the deal, with some saying the city shouldn’t associate with Russia.

"I would caution this council that you, or this previous council, gave your word to another foreign government and I’d be embarrassed, to be honest with you, to go back on your word," City Manager Richard Olson said at a council meeting last month.

"You’re talking about the ‘hacking government?’ " asked council member and ex-pro football player Johnnie Walton, referring to Russia. "Some people say we’d be dumb not to do it. I’d say it would be dumber to do it."

During the same meeting, another council member asked why the city should accept a Russian monument when it doesn’t have statues honoring notable African-Americans.

The U.S. Navy identification card issued to Col. Maxim Chibisov, commanding officer of Soviet pilots training in North Carolina. Chibisov’s first name is misspelled.

Some locals back the council majority.

Hezekiah Brown, a professional arbitrator and mediator, questions the timing of the Russian offer, given U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election.

"You can’t deny the fact that politics are involved somewhere," Brown said. "You know, you’ve got the 2018 election coming up."

A secret program in the American South

One reason the Russians didn’t propose the monument earlier could be that Project Zebra wasn’t declassified until six years ago.

The project began in 1944. The U.S. was making the amphibious bombers for Russia, and needed a place to train more than 300 Soviet pilots.

"We then went ahead and made 185 of these 11-crew planes in the Philadelphia Naval Yard and painted red stars on them and flew them down to Elizabeth City, N.C.," says M. G. Crisci, author of Project Zebra: Roosevelt and Stalin’s Top-Secret Mission to Train 300 Soviet Airmen in America.

‘It was both a Coast Guard base that had huge airfields that could take these planes, and it had the waterways nearby that they could practice and take off in the water.

"The town was remarkable in that it was essentially cheerleaders and provided these crews things that they wanted and needed and it was actually an amazing team effort," Crisci said.

"There was once a time in America where a bunch of people that didn’t know each other, who couldn’t speak each other’s language, came together through circumstances and built a monument to humanity. While at the same time completing a very successful military mission."

That’s what the Russians say they want to honor with the monument.

Saying no to a gift

Supporters say if Elizabeth City turns the Russians down, it could have an unexpected consequence: hampering international efforts to search for missing U.S. troops.

Soviet and American officers pose at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

That’s because a joint U.S.- Russia commission that supports those searches helped broker the monument deal, in part because three Soviet fliers went missing during Project Zebra.

U.S. researchers hunt through Russian archives for clues about MIAs who went missing in the Soviet bloc during the the Cold War, or who were shot down in Vietnam, where some missile crews had Soviet advisers.

The commission’s U.S. chairman, retired Air Force Gen. Robert Foglesong, is concerned the Russians will be offended if Elizabeth City rejects the monument.

"Potentially, the Russians could deny us the opportunity to go in the archives," Foglesong said. "They could deny us the opportunity to come and do site work."

Foglesong said his counterpart in Russia is watching to see how the debate over the monument plays out.

"They have put considerable resources into this and time and effort and in a sense are out on their own limb," he said.

Boyd, the bed-and-breakfast owner, started a petition asking the city council to reverse its decision. Within days he and other monument supporters had collected more than 500 signatures.

And local tourism and VFW officials also are trying to get the city council to reconsider.

Foglesong said if they’re not successful, it’s unclear if the Russians would try to find another site, or ditch the monument idea entirely.

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Manufacturing

North Carolina’s governor visited Japan in last-ditch bid for Mazda-Toyota plant

Less than a month before the Japanese auto giants opted to build their plant in Huntsville, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and several officials spent more than $50,000 on a last-minute, four-day trip to Japan to swing the $1.6 billion Mazda-Toyota project in their direction.

That’s according to WRAL-TV in North Carolina. In fact, Cooper had to make a side trip to Washington to retrieve his passport just to make the trip.

But in early January, Alabama was picked as the plant’s site.

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA, Inc., or (MTMUS), says the full-scale construction of its $1.6 billion Huntsville plant will begin in 2019. When fully operational in 2021, the plant is expected to employ 4,000 people and produce about 300,000 vehicles a year.

The trip included the governor, the state’s commerce and transportation secretaries, a senior adviser and a two-man security detail to Tokyo Dec. 14 to 18, 2017.

Neither the press nor the public was notified of the governor’s absence during the trip, with his schedule saying he was in meetings. A few legislators were also alerted to the trip.

North Carolina reportedly offered $1.6 billion of incentives to attract the auto plant. Alabama offered more than $800 million in incentives.

Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot speaks to the Huntsville chapter of the National Space Club on March 20, 2018. (NASA/Emmett Given)
The Apartments at the Venue is a 618-unit apartment community located in Valley in Chambers County.

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Seton Hall beat

Seton Hall beats North Carolina State 94-83 in foul-filled matchup

Khadeen Carrington scored 26 points, Desi Rodriguez added 20 and eighth-seeded Seton Hall beat North Carolina State 94-83 in a foul-filled first-round matchup in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.

Myles Powell added 19 points and Angel Delgado scored 13 for the Pirates (22-11), who led the entire way a year after a late meltdown cost them an early exit against Arkansas.

Seton Hall will play top-seeded Kansas on Saturday in the second round of the Midwest Regional.

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Virginia completes its ACC dominance with 71-63 win over North Carolina

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Virginia claimed its second ACC championship of 2017-18 with a wholly impressive 71-63 win over North Carolina in the league’s tournament championship game Saturday night at the Barclays Center.

The Cavaliers, who finished a full four games ahead of the next-closest team in the final ACC standings, now turn their attention to the NCAA Tournament. UVA is almost certain to be the No. 1 overall seed when the brackets are unveiled on Sunday, but Tony Bennett’s team will have more doubters than most squads that have carried that banner.

This will be the fourth time in five seasons that Virginia has been a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the Big Dance, and the third time they’ve graced the top line. Despite that fact, UVA hasn’t been to a Final Four since 1984, and they’ve played in just one regional final since 1995.

Still, the evidence that this March could be different for the Cavaliers was on full display Saturday night.

Virginia’s defense gobbled up a North Carolina team that hadn’t been held below 74 points since Jan. 22. But that’s expected. Where the Cavaliers truly shined was on the other end of the floor. They drilled 9 of 17 three-point attempts, assisted on 15 of their 21 made shots, went a nearly perfect 20 for 22 from the free-throw line, and saw all three of their top scorers — Kyle Guy, Devon Hall and Ty Jerome — score 12 points or more.

Luke Maye scored 20 points in a losing effort for North Carolina, which was looking for its second ACC Tournament title in three years. Senior point guard Joel Berry chipped in 17 points for the Tar Heels.

The win gave Virginia its third ACC Tournament title ever, and its first since 2014. In that season, like this one, the Cavaliers also won the conference’s regular season championship and were the tournament’s No. 1 seed.

North Carolina, the No. 6 seed, had been vying to become just the second team ever (and the second straight) to claim the ACC Tournament title by winning four games in four days. Duke achieved the feat last year as the No. 5 seed.

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NCAA tournament

Bracket Watch: Duke, Kansas and North Carolina In Contention for Top Line

Less than one week from now, the NCAA tournament bracket will be set. Even though less than half of the field’s 68 teams will have their tickets punched before Selection Sunday, the truth is that the vast majority of squads already know they’re in. For example: Michigan may have won the Big Ten tournament but Purdue and Michigan State can be just as sure as the Wolverines that they, too, will be dancing.

The in-or-out intrigue is reserved for the Bubble Watch, which we will be updating daily during Championship Week. The Bracket Watch, which we’ll also be updating daily, is focused on the seeding discussion as that changes with each passing day as the conference tournament results roll in.

Last Four In

Syracuse
Kansas State
Marquette
UCLA

First Four Out

USC
Louisville
Oklahoma State
Alabama

Next Four Out

Washington
Notre Dame
LSU
Oregon

South Region

The Michigan Wolverines have done it again. For the second straight season, the Wolverines will enter the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country after ripping through the Big Ten tournament. It wasn’t merely that the Wolverines claimed their second straight Big Ten tourney crown that was impressive. It was the way in which they did it. After needing overtime to get past Iowa in their first game, the Wolverines went on to beat Nebraska, Michigan State and Purdue by a combined 39 points. The wins over the Spartans and Boilermakers were both well in hand with five to seven minutes remaining. The final few minutes of the win over Purdue felt more like a coronation than a championship game between two Final Four contenders. That’s what it was, however, and few people thought we’d be able to say that about Michigan as recently as one month ago after it lost at Northwestern. The Wolverines haven’t lost since, stringing together nine straight wins including victories against every other team in the conference that is headed to the tournament. We have Michigan as a No. 3 seed, but even if they end up as a No. 4, or somehow a No. 5, they’re going to be a team no top seed will want to see in its region.

East Region

We’re down to three teams fighting for one spot on the top line. Virginia could lose its first ACC tournament game and still get a No. 1 seed. Villanova and Xavier are also near-locks for the top line. That leaves Kansas, North Carolina and Duke—our No. 2 seed in the East—fighting it out for the No. 1 seed in the West. Kansas has the inside track, with Duke close behind. Duke is a spot higher in RPI—fourth against fifth—but it will be hard for the committee to look beyond Kansas’s 10 Quadrant 1 victories, the second-most in the country. That same door is open for the Tar Heels, who actually lead the country with 11 Q1 wins. As the No. 6 seed in the ACC tournament, they have a much more challenging road to a conference title. If the chalk holds up, they’ll have to get through Syracuse, Miami, Duke and Virginia to cut down the nets in Brooklyn.

If Kansas goes on to take the Big 12 tournament title, it will likely add at least two more Q1 wins. Should the Jayhawks lose—even in the championship game—and Duke takes the ACC tournament title, the committee will likely give the fourth No. 1 seed to the Blue Devils. Thanks to the depth of the ACC, Duke would likely get three more Q1 victories if it wins the tournament this week. That, combined with a Kansas loss, should be enough to get the Blue Devils to the top line. That same door would be open for the Tar Heels, but they wouldn’t have the slam dunk case that Duke would in that scenario.

Midwest Region

Want to be the smart person in your pool who backs the double-digit seed that pulls off a couple of upsets to advance to the second weekend? Well, then it’s time for you to start falling in love with Loyola-Chicago. The Ramblers won the Missouri Valley tournament over the weekend, notching the program’s first trip to the dance since 1985. Featuring a dynamic offense that ranks 14th in the country in three-point percentage and eighth in kenpom.com’s effective field goal percentage, the Ramblers dominated what is routinely one of the best mid-major conferences. It’s almost easier to find someone on this team who didn’t earn some individual hardware than someone who did. The Larry Bird Player of the Year Award? That went to junior guard Cameron Custer, who put up 13.4 points, 4.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. The Freshman of the Year? Forward Cameron Krutwig, who scored 10.5 points and pulled down 6.3 rebounds per game, took home that one. Senior guard Ben Richardson won the Valley’s Defensive Player of the year Award. And, of course, it should come as no surprise that head coach Porter Moser was named Coach of the Year, an award won in recent years by Gregg Marshall, Cuonzo Martin and Matt Painter.

Loyola can play with anyone, something it proved by going into Gainesville and knocking off the Gators back in December. With four players who shoot at least 40% from behind the arc, a second dynamic scorer in Donte Ingram, the 24th-ranked defense by kenpom.com’s adjusted efficiency to go with the offense, and the confidence that comes from winning 28 games in the regular season, the Ramblers are going to be a tough out in the dance.

West Region

Loyola wasn’t the only team to dominate a Valley conference and win a championship over the weekend. Murray State went 16-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference and took down Belmont in the championship game on Saturday, getting back to the dance for the first time since 2012. The Racers aren’t quite the threat the Ramblers are. Unlike their Valley counterparts, there isn’t any one thing they do exceptionally well on offense that makes them a dangerous team against any opponent. They do, however, have a tremendous leader in Jonathan Stark, who averaged 21.8 points per game this season. Stark shot 46% from the field, 41% from three and 88.8% from the free throw line. When they need a bucket, they’ve got someone who not only can get it, but relishes having the ball in his hands at those moments. That’s crucial for any No. 12 or 13 seed, which the Racers are sure to be. They may not have as high a ceiling as Loyola, but just like the Ramblers, they’re perfectly capable of pulling off a run to the Sweet 16, taking down a couple of No. 4 and 5 seeds along the way.

Bolded teams = won NCAA tournament auto-bid

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