Mike Krzyzewski and a college basketball ritual about to end

In light of this weekend's West Regional exit, Coach K stayed rooted in the familiar. (Author: Gardener)

Mike KrzyzewskiSAN FRANCISCO — He swears he can't remember any records or results, but he can't forget an end. This one, however - the last one - was an end from the beginning. Each game starts the same way: Duke's players enter the court, followed by the assistant coaches and finally Mike Krzyzewski. He walks out of the dressing room these days with a slight limp, looking like a man who left something but didn't have time to find it. He is a 75-year-old king at the tail of a royal procession, about half a minute behind assistant Jon Scheyer, the young heir. Krzyzewski has made that move 1,569 times as head coach, a staggering 1,437 of those in 42 years as Duke head coach. For the last two weeks he has walked out of every dressing room knowing it could be the last time. Every game, every practice session has the potential to be significant or just another day, and with Saturday night's win over Arkansas, Krzyzewski's long goodbye earned another week. Either Saturday or next Monday in New Orleans, where the Blue Devils play the Final Four for the 13th and final time of Krzyzewski's career, a practice session will be the last and a walk the last. Next week in college basketball, like much of college basketball's last nine months, will revolve around him. His players made sure of that with their 78-69 win over the Razorbacks in the West Regional Finals, and when the questioning turned to the inevitable - the players wanted to win one for Coach K - he cut it off with a skin-piercing tone . "We were already two champions," said Krzyzewski. Enough about doing it for the old man here. This comes just a day after a reporter suggested he had never seen Coach K loose as he had shown in the first two weeks of this tournament. ' he said, and everyone laughed at the mere suggestion that he has the ability to extend even the most liberal definition of easygoing longer than a self-deprecating remark. From the outside it always seemed like this: the joy far outweighed the fear. He is the old school elder and purveyor of a brand of goods that has gradually declined in popularity over the decades. Regulated, demanding, sometimes strict. He reluctantly gave in to the changes in the game and took When Trevor Keels hit a 3 in the last second to give Duke a 12-point halftime lead over Arkansas, Krzyzewski allowed himself two big claps as he walked across the court. — he looked like a man brushing dust off his palms — is about as much of a celebration allowed within the strict diet of stoicism. He will be remembered for the winning record and for five - maybe six - national titles, but the lasting image will be of a man standing on the sidelines, his face contorted with pain as he cups his hands around his mouth and screams that his team should relax. Duke's run through this tournament was an extended exercise in connecting the past with the present. In the closing minutes against Texas Tech, Krzyzewski led the call for his team to hit the ground on defense as a callback to the days of Quin Snyder and Saint Wojo. M. On Wednesday, the day before Duke defeated the Red Raiders to get promoted to the Elite Eight, several Duke student managers rushed onto the court at the Chase Center to set up the equipment needed for Coach K's final practice as Duke's head coach was . He didn't know it then, but after 42 years, 12 — now 13 — Final Fours and five national championships, after decades of All-American and first-round NBA draft picks, and a near-infinite number of hours in the gym, this weekend would be his provide five or six more opportunities to assess the geometry of the game and the strengths of its players and try to come up with a plan that will bring them one step closer to what they all want to achieve. Training folder in hand, whistle on a bow around his neck, he went to the pitch at 2:45 sharp, because training begins at 2:45 sharp. He walked with a slight limp, his face - relaxed minutes earlier at a press conference - clenched the moment his feet touched hardwood. The brow dropped to darken his eyes, giving the impression of a man searching for something important. This is the time when only the privileged see, and only he manages, the invisible moments that determine what is eventually brought to light. His players ran through a staccato shooting practice, shots from the corners and wings, and Krzyzewski stood under the basket watching the scene play out for perhaps the millionth time. The players roared and laughed, celebrating each other's skills while Krzyzewski stood motionless, his expression unchanged, occasionally breaking the hilarity with instructions. "Fire ready," he barked when someone took too long to collect themselves. The former Army officer's training is crisp and organized, all sharp angles and functional movements, as it has been since he first hung a whistle around his neck at West Point when he was 28. Trainers can only control a portion of it, which is why so many of them micromanage all the controllable elements, knowing that once the game starts, they can become impossible to rein in. Controlling what you can control is usually a partial surrender, a way of declaring how to make peace with what exists outside of your realm. However, sometimes it means inventing things that can be controlled to counteract the times when control is impossible. Micromanaging the controllable elements is a way to counter what happens when the game starts and nothing can be reined in, which might explain why he carries two sets of rosaries in his pockets during gameplay. THREE PLAYERS, Paolo Banchero, Wendell Moore Jr. and Mark Williams, spoke for the Duke team on the podium on Wednesday afternoon. The conversation, of course, eventually led to Coach K's resignation: what it means for him, for her and for the world at large, and how much motivation it offers. This time they were allowed to answer. (Coach K wasn't there.) They looked at each other blankly, with the heavy-lidded gaze of teenagers asked to speak in class. Two looked at one and one looked at two, their eyes begging each other to take on the subject they were long done with but knowing it won't go away. It finally fell to Banchero, who said all the right things, including: "We've been dealing with this all season. It was the last thing the manager did in every game." But then he added something lost in the coronation and the conversation: They wanted to win it over as well. "I mean, obviously that's not all that motivates us," he said. "We're coming out and we know it could be our last game as a group." Krzyzewski's fortune - and legacy - was built by young men like these: strong, talented, on the rise. From Grant Hill to Elton Brand and Kyrie Irving to Zion Williamson and AJ Griffin, they've sat in some version of the same formation, their trainer on their right, in front of hundreds of reporters anxious to chronicle his ability to showcase their talents to shape vision. "It weighs on you a bit because everywhere you go, everyone takes a picture of you and watches everything," Krzyzewski said. "Look, this is getting old. You know, this is getting old, but I feel for my boys. Their response shows they can split up just as well as their coach. Krzyzewski's wife Mickie was at the press conference after the Texas Tech win at the back of the room and his daughter, Debbie Savarino, was standing next to her.They nodded along with everything he said, knowing this win would buy her husband and father - and them - more time as he finished , came Krzyzewski praising the growth of his young team, making the sign of the cross and saying: "What a joy." IT'S HIS special sign, since time immemorial: He leans forward in his chair on the bench, reaches down and nervously he pulls his socks up through his pant legs.He usually does this while doing something else, either yelling down the line for a replacement or barking the kind of expletives that have made him America's foremost professor of beginning lippele have made sense. The first sock pull of the West Regional Finals came a not exactly two minutes into the game after Stanley Umude turned over in a layup to give Arkansas a 4-2 lead. (Tight games are hell at the seams.) When the clock ran out, Krzyzewski was still calling games and dictating the terms of the engagement. The first hint that this was more than a January game against Wake Forest came in the last minute as he stood on the sidelines, arms outstretched with excitement. He took Moore, clearly a favourite, out of the game and hugged him before he could reach the bench. The 1.202. Victory of his career was a certainty, along with his record 13th Final Four. He admitted that this one is different, probably better, but he wouldn't go that far and nobody was brave enough to ask him. A national title with this team, which includes two freshmen, two students and a junior, would show the world that he can win any era thrown at him. As much as he laments the changes in the game, the one-and-dones and the transfers, it would mean something to walk away with a net around your neck as an old man who could evolve and adapt. After the game, his voice was a bit high-pitched, and it cracked ever so slightly as he ended a statement with the words, "Let's go to New Orleans." He had performed all the prescribed rituals: he had diligently walked down the handshake line to congratulate and comfort the Arkansas players; he had dutifully but reluctantly held up the trophy for winning the region and had Moore join him; and he had climbed the ladder to cut the last strand of the net, foolishly pretending to dive before completing the task. He looked tired and exhausted, but also as happy as he can be. He looked like a man who could take this for another week, at most. And somehow, in that weary, drained look, you could tell something else: a man who's gonna miss it like hell the second it ends.


Duke eliminates Arkansas with 78-69 victory in NCAA tournament

For the second year in a row, Arkansas' season ended in victory before the pinnacle of college basketball. (Author: Gardener)

ArkansasThe Razorbacks lost 78-69 to Duke in the final game of the NCAA West Region at the Chase Center on Saturday. The Blue Devils (32-6) advanced to the Final Four in New Orleans, where they will play either North Carolina or Saint Peter's next Saturday. Duke was the second team to crack their ticket to New Orleans. Arkansas (28-9) lost in the Elite Eight for the second straight season, failing to weather a 27-year Final Four drought. Duke is in the Final Four for the 17th time in program history and for the 13th time under Mike Krzyzewski, coach in his 42nd year, who will retire at the end of the season. Krzyzewski, who has NCAA records for career wins (1,202) and NCAA tournament wins (101), broke with the late former UCLA coach John Wooden for most Final Four appearances by a coach. Duke will play in his first Final Four since Krzyzewski won his fifth national championship in 2015. "I'm so happy," Krzyzewski told TBS after the game. There's nothing like being a regional champion and going to the Final Four and playing with three other champions this Saturday and scoring 10 second chance points. The Blue Devils ended the first half on an 8-0 run that included a three-pointer from Trevor Keels as time ran out to take a 45-33 half-time lead. It was the Blue Devils' second 8-0 run in the first half. After a three-pointer from JD Notae at 12:40 in the half that split the game 14-14, Wendell Moore and Keels made layups and Paolo Banchero made four free throws. "I thought like that. We really hurt the first half," Arkansas coach Eric Musselman told TBS after the game. The Razorbacks struggled early in the second half, reducing the deficit to 53-48 with a Jaylin Williams layup and free throw. But the Blue Devils controlled play the rest of the way after Krzyzewski called a time-out to regroup and ke answered the time-out with a 10-0 run. The Blue Devils led by up to 18 points after halftime. "They outplayed us early in the second half and they made it five," said Krzyzewski. Thanks in part to several blunt looks, Duke shot 55% (29 of 53) against a Razorbacks defense that was one of the best of the tournament this year. Arkansas hit 42% (26 of 62) of his shot attempts, including 6 of 20 from three-point range. The Razorbacks, who led the NCAA in free throw attempts, were 11 of 11 at the line. AJ Griffin led the Blue Devils by 18 points. Banchero added 16 points, Moore scored 14, and Mark Williams had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Arkansas appeared to be level with Duke for the first 15 minutes of the game, but the Razorbacks' star post player Jaylin Williams sat with 4:56 left in the first half after committing his second foul. The Blue Devils benefited from the game with Jaylin Williams. Duke beat Arkansas 14-7 with him on the bench, extending a 5-point lead to 12 points. Jaylin Williams had 7 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in 14 minutes in the first half. He also drew two charges in 30 seconds to take his NCAA lead count to 54. Jaylin Williams finished the game with 19 points and 10 rebounds. He had a double-double in all four of the Razorbacks' NCAA tournament games, including wins over Vermont, New Mexico State and Gonzaga. Notae, Arkansas' All-America guard, scored 14 points before fouling with 3:47 minutes remaining. Stanley Umude also scored 14 for the Razorbacks. It was the second year in a row that Notae was fouled in the elite eight round. He did so last season in a nine-point loss to Baylor. Arkansas was the last SEC team remaining in the tournament. The Razorbacks' Elite Eight run came during a season in which they lost 5 of 6 straight games in December and January and started 3-0 in SEC play. Musselman said he told his team not to hang their heads. Arkansas had won 18 of its last 21 games prior to Saturday. "It's hard to do an Elite Eight — really hard," Musselman said. The Razorbacks played Duke for the first time since the 1994 NCAA Tournament championship game, which Arkansas won 76-72. Krzyzewski went 2-2 against the Razorbacks during his career, including 2-1 in NCAA tournament games.


Duke and Villanova reach Men's Final Four; Women's Elite Eight Set

Villanova and Duke booked their tickets to the Final Four with victories in the Regional Finals, while the women finished the Sweet 16 Saturday. (Author: Gardener)

VillanovaDuke ensured Coach K's final season ended in New Orleans after second-seeded No. 4 Blue Devils choked Arkansas in the West Regional Finals to a record-breaking 13th Final Four appearance for Coach Mike Krzyzewski, No. 2 Villanova, to take first place in next weekend's Big Easy with a narrow win over No. 5 Houston in the South Regional Finals that sends the Wildcats back to the Final Four for the third time since 2016. From NFL games to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day. But it was the women who took center stage early as four more Sweet 16 games in the women's tournament began. No. 1-seeded Bridgeport Region state North Carolina overcame a second-half deficit to send out No. 5 Notre Dame and advance to the Elite Eight. In the region's second game, No. 2 Connecticut prevailed, using a decided home field advantage and a 16-0 second-half run to overthrow No. 3 Indiana 75-58. In the Wichita area, No. 1 Louisville defeated the tournament mainstay and No. 4 Tennessee 76-64. Michigan, No. 3, finished Cinderella run No. 10, South Dakota 52:49 to finish the Sweet 16. NOT YET MIDNIGHT: Among the NCAA tournament's 10 most surprising Cinderellas is Saint Peter's Villanova junior guard Justin Moore, who was in tears and on crutches after he injured himself at the end of Villanova's win over Houston, which sent the Wildcats to the Final Four next weekend, on the lower right leg. Something in Moore's leg appeared to burst with a game 35 seconds left, but the Wildcats had built a tiny cushion on the Cougars to withstand the loss of the Star Guard. Justin Moore's teammates immediately ran over to comfort him after leaving the game in the final seconds 🙏#MarchMadness @NovaMBB - NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 27, 2022 Revealed after the win Villanova coach Jay Wright when an X-ray showed no broken bones but said the situation was 'probably not good for Justin'. Wright also said Moore will have an MRI when the team returns to Philadelphia. Moore has averaged 15 points for the Wildcats and assuming he misses the Final Four it would be a huge loss for Villanova. On Saturday night, following Duke's win over Arkansas in the second of two men's Elite Eight games televised on TBS, Hall of Famer and basketball studio analyst Charles Barkley pledged $25,000 towards humanitarian aid in Ukraine. The idea of ​​using the NCAA tournament to raise money for Ukraine came from the mind of another Hall of Famer - Tara VanDerveer, head coach of reigning women's national champion Stanford Cardinal. At the start of this year's tournaments, VanDerveer pledged to donate $10 for every 3rd place finisher in the women's NCAA tournament. Tara VanDerveer has personally pledged $10 for every 3-pointer shot by any team during the @MarchMadnessWBB tournament, 100% of which will be donated to humanitarian aid in Ukraine. — Stanford Women's Basketball (@StanfordWBB) March 17, 2022 "Pony up," she said after Stanford dispatched 16-man Montana State, 78-37, in the first round. Mike Krzyzewski's coaching career and farewell tour survived again when his second-seeded Duke Blue Devils defeated the fourth-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks 78-69 in Saturday's Elite Eight of the men's NCAA tournament. Duke's victory at the Chase Center gave Krzyzewski, the legendary basketball coach who will retire at the end of the season, his 13th record in the Final Four, his 42nd at Duke. With two more wins, the Blue Devils can send Coach K off with his sixth national title. In the national semifinals, the Blue Devils will meet the winner of the Saint Peter's-North Carolina game, which will be played on Sunday. Regardless of the final result, Krzyzewski, 75, made it clear he will enjoy being in New Orleans, home of the Final Four, which he described on Friday as a "Mecca" for coaches and players. Duke denied Arkansas its first Final Four appearance since 1995. But the Razorbacks thrived under head coach Eric Musselman, reaching the Elite Eight in consecutive years. For the second time in the men's NCAA tournament, cheerleaders came to the rescue. When the ball got stuck on top of the back wall early in the second half during Duke's Elite Eight game against Arkansas, the officials ignored the broom. Instead, the Arkansas cheerleaders stationed under the basket immediately took charge and executed a perfect lob to snatch the basketball. Can't believe this happened again 😂S/O to the @RazorbackMBB cheerleaders 👏 #MarchMadness— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 27, 2022 At the start of the tournament when the Hoosiers vs. Saint Mary's Played In a first round game, many minutes were spent trying to figure out how to release the ball wedged between the back of the backboard and the shot clock rig behind it. That's how Saint Mary forward Matthias Tass, who didn't get the ball the first time, waved to the Indiana cheerleaders. Duke is doing everything possible to ensure that coach Mike Krzyzewski completes his final season with the Blue Devils in New Orleans. No. 2-seeded Duke scored the last eight points of the first half and went into the West Regional Finals with a 45-33 lead over No. 4-seeded Arkansas at halftime. The Blue Devils shot 54.8% in the first half, making 17 shots from 31 and going 9-on-10 from the free throw line. Duke's defense was also great, beating the Razorbacks 22 to 12 and keeping Arkansas at 40.6% shooting. Center Mark Williams led the way for Duke, walking off the field with a perfect 5-on-5 for 10 points while adding eight rebounds and two blocks. Guard Trevor Keels struck three seconds from the end of the half to give the Blue Devils their biggest lead of the game. Michigan women's basketball is entering the NCAA Elite Eight tournament for the first time in program history. It wasn't pretty, however, as the third-seeded Wolverines ground up baskets in the second half to defeat 10-seed South Dakota, 52-49, on Saturday in Wichita, Kansas. Naz Hillmon led the Wolverines with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Phelia added 14 points, her most since she scored 19 in U-M's loss to Nebraska in the Big Ten tournament. Michigan meets No. 1 seed Louisville in Monday's regional finals. The winner travels to the Final Four in Minneapolis, which begins Friday. The Wolverines and Cardinals played on December 2, with Louisville Michigan dominating 70-48. Michigan Wolverines center Brooklyn Rewers reacts after a game against the South Dakota Coyotes in the Wichita Regional Semifinals of the Women's College Basketball NCAA Tournament at INTRUST Bank Arena. Villanova secured coach Jay Wright's fourth trip to the Final Four with a 50-44 win over Houston, defying the Cougars' ultra-physical style and massive crowd advantage to earn a trip to New Orleans next week. The Wildcats, seeded at No. 2 in the region, won despite shooting just 29 percent from the field and making 5-of-21 from the 3-point line. But they were able to lead from start to finish, then fend off a late Cougars push because they took all 15 foul shots, turned the ball over just nine times and held their own on the boards against a team that managed to recover from the specialty whole season. Villanova senior Jermaine Samuels (16 points, 10 rebounds) led by just four points late and found his way to the rim for a layup with 1:06 left -- one of many massive plays by the Wildcats on the line when Houston needed a stop himself to give a chance. Houston, of course, didn't shoot well at any point in the game either, only making 1 of 20 from the 3-point line and 30 percent overall. The Wildcats are up seven points despite shooting 28% from the field and 3-12 from three. Jermaine Samuels has 7 points for the Wildcats and Caleb Daniels added 7 from the bench. Taze Moore leads the team with 6 points. Houston's 20 points were the fewest first-half points in an NCAA tournament game in school history, according to TBS. Houston Cougars guard Taze Moore (4) drives to the basket against Villanova Wildcats guard Caleb Daniels (14) during the first half of the South Regional Finals of the Men's College Basketball NCAA Tournament at the AT&T Center. - The Louisville women's basketball team returns to the Elite Eight for the fourth straight year. The No. 1-seeded Cardinals, who defeated No. 4-seeded Tennessee 76-64 in Saturday's Sweet 16 matchup, were led by Emily Engstler (20 points and 10 rebounds) with a stellar performance. Hailey Van Lith had 23 points and a career-high six assists, and Kianna Smith had 12 points despite sitting the entire second quarter. Louisville's defense troubled Tennessee throughout the game. Still, Tennessee cut Louisville's lead to two points, 55-53, in the fourth quarter, but four straight turnovers allowed the Cardinals to regain control. Louisville forced 18 turnovers in the game and was 21 points short of those turnovers. The Cardinals have emerged as one of the dominant women's programs in the nation under coach Jeff Walz — much like the Lady Vols were for so many years under Pat Summitt — but are still chasing their first national championship. Louisville plays the winner of No. 3 Michigan and No. 10 South Dakota Monday night. Hailey Van Lith of Louisville goes to the basket while Jordan Walker of Tennessee during the first half of a college basketball game in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA women's tournament on Saturday, March 26, 2022, in Wichita, Kan., SAN FRANCISCO – Nolan Richardson, defended. The Hall of Fame basketball coach who guided the Arkansas Razorbacks to the national title in 1994 has a prediction on Mike Krzyzewski's farewell tour. It's in the Elite Eight at the Chase Center until the end of Saturday. Then fourth-placed Arkansas plays second-placed Duke Blue Devils. "If you look at it with the eye test, if both [teams] are reaching their potential, I think the Razorbacks are three, four, five points better at that point, hopefully because of maturity," Richardson said Friday. In 1994, his Razorbacks defeated Krzyzewski's Blue Devils 76-72 in the national championship game. (AP) -- Paige Bueckers and Christyn Williams each scored 15 points to lead a balanced UConn offense in a 75-58 win over Indiana on Saturday to propel the Huskies into their 16th straight Regional Finals. Olivia Nelson-Ododa had a 10-point, 14-rebound double-double for Connecticut (28-5) that outplayed the Hoosiers 46-32 in the paint. Azzi Fudd added 13 points for the Huskies, who take on top-seeded North Carolina State Monday night for a 14th-straight finish in the Final Four. Ali Patberg, in her seventh year of college basketball thanks to transfers and COVID-19 rules, had 16 points for the third-seeded Hoosiers, who finish their season 24-9. Grace Berger had 13 points and Mackenzie Holmes added 12 for Indiana. UConn led 37-33 at halftime but opened the second half with a 16-0 run to control the game. UConn are in the Elite Eight for their 16th straight year, where they will face off against NC State No. 1. Raina Perez snatched the bag of Notre Dame guard Dara Mabrey near midfield with 16 seconds left and got the go-ahead as North Carolina State advanced into the Elite Eight with a 66-63 win over Notre Dame. The Wolfpack, the No. 1 in the Bridgeport area, advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1998. Perez's layup capped a 13-4 run as North Carolina State erased a 10-point deficit in the second half and returned to the elite game by forcing Notre Dame seven turnovers in the fourth quarter. Notre Dame freshman guard Olivia Miles scored 15 of her powerful 21 points in the first half. Elissa Cunane led the wolfpack with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Kai Crutchfield added 14 points. NC State, which has shot just 40 percent, is advancing to play Connecticut with a trip to the Final Four in Minneapolis at stake. CHICAGO -- In a battle between two double-digit seeds who aren't expected to be here in the Sweet 16, a Miami (Fla.) team loaded with veterans made enough games to post a relentless 70-56 out of the on Friday To Beat Iowa State Reach the Elite Eight in the Men's NCAA Tournament. It's coach Jim Larrañaga's first promotion above the Sweet 16 with Miami in 11 seasons. The Hurricanes (26-10) are now one win away from bringing the veteran coach back to the Final Four - where he memorably led mid-major George Mason in 2006. Due to a poor year in the ACC regular season, Miami was a bubble team earlier in the month but did enough to get their name comfortably heard as the No. 10 on selection Sunday. After North Carolina upset UCLA on Friday and Duke got promoted on Thursday, the ACC has three teams left. - Stanford delivered a (mostly) easy 72-66 win over Maryland on Sweet 16 Friday, advancing to their third straight Elite 8. The defending champion Cardinal meets Texas on Sunday night with a ticket to the Final Four at stake. The two teams met (much) earlier this season at the Maples Pavilion, with then-No. 25 Texas upsetting the Cardinal 61-56. Three Stanford players scored 15 or more points Friday night. Every player who completed minutes for the Cardinal scored, with the exception of Ashten Prechtel, who only played three minutes. Stanford blitzed the Terrapins early with precise backdoor cuts for easy points to put a 39-23 lead in the dressing room. This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: March Madness 2022 Recap: Duke, Villanova Reach Men's Final Four; Women's Elite Eight Set


Will UNC end Saint Peter's Run, how far can Duke and Villanova go and other Elite Eight storylines

Will it be NCAA Tournament Duke-UNC for the first time, or will Saint Peter's amazing ride continue? (Author: Gardener)

UNCTwo Elite Eight games lost, two remaining. And at least one of the NCAA tournament meetings on Sunday 2022 is what March Madness is about for a great many viewers. The Saint Peter's Peacocks were tournament history to this day, becoming the first No. 15 team in NCAA tournament history to reach the Elite Eight. Her quest to keep dancing to New Orleans for the 2022 Final Four will depend on Shaheen Holloway's team's ability to get past one of the sport's blue bloods, the number 8 North Carolina Tar Heels -- who managed one more surprising thing in their own right Run to the doorstep of the national semifinals under first-year head coach Hubert Davis. Speaking of blue blood, the lonely remaining No. 1-seeded Kansas Jayhawks will start Sunday's action by going for their 16th-ever Final Four trip against a Miami Hurricanes roster for the first time in school history compete in the Elite Eight. Saturday's Elite Eight action got the weekend off to a thrilling start as the Villanova Wildcats beat Houston 50-44 and the Duke Blue Devils gave Coach K the ticket to his last with a 78-69 win over Arkansas Final Four secured. ESPN's team of Myron Medcalf, Jeff Borzello, John Gasaway and Joe Lunardi shared their thoughts on everything they saw Saturday and what they're looking for in Sunday's last two Elite Eight games. Follow this link for NCAA tournament pick times and visit here to check your March Madness bracket. * No. 15 St. Peter vs. No. 8 North Carolina, 5:05 p.m. ET (CBS) Borzello: On paper, North Carolina appears well-equipped to take St. Peter's run one step ahead of the Final Four break up. But the Peacocks were also superior on paper against Kentucky, Murray State and Purdue — so I think most of that can be jettisoned. The only major difference between the Tar Heels and Saint Peter's three previous opponents is the pace. Kentucky, Murray State, and Purdue all rank in the bottom third in pace nationally, which often levels the playing field for a lower seed. That's not why the Peacocks won, but it's one of the reasons they've been in three tight games. Carolina will look to slow the pace and pick up points if St. Peter's aren't defensive; Given the Peacocks' elite defense in court, that's probably a good idea. But this team from St. Peter just has something. They've taken on the nation's best big men in Oscar Tshiebwe, Trevion Williams, Zach Edey and KJ Williams, so the task of holding Armando Bacot down will come as no shock. Medcalf: I think the Peacocks' run will end on Sunday, although nothing would surprise me with Shaheen Holloway's team. Saint Peter's could play the Brooklyn Nets and it would feel like they have a chance now. I think Saint Peter's will make sure this is another tight game and when the Peacocks are in a tight game they will know how to excel. But I also believe that styles have an influence on games. And this North Carolina squad is a different challenge. In three games in the NCAA tournament, Saint Peter's opponents have combined for 60 3-pointers. None of these teams made more than 33 percent of those attempts in a single game. North Carolina has 91 3-point attempts through the Sweet 16 and the Tar Heels have made 37 percent of their attempts. North Carolina will distribute the ground in a way that Saint Peter's previous opponents have not. And I think that dynamic will make the difference in this game. North Carolina wins. But I can't wait to see how Saint Peter's takes its shot. Gasaway: If we've learned anything from the Peacocks, it's that this is going to be a close game. Shaheen Holloway's group has been on the good side from competitions decided by six, ten and three points, with the first of them going into overtime. Yes, Love and Bacot should both pose significant problems for this defense, but we're talking about a Saint Peter team that has already seen off Oscar Tshiebwe, TyTy Washington Jr., KJ Williams, Jaden Ivey, Zach Edey and Trevion Williams. (Saint Peter's hit his 3s against UK but have shot just 26% from the arc in back-to-back wins.) The Peacocks took the best the East Region threw at them and prevailed. With the Tar Heels being the lowest seed SPU has seen to date, I'll ride with Destiny for another stop, narrowly passing Holloway's team. Lunardi: Every time I am asked about St. Peter's Basilica, my answer was the same. What bothers me, as always, is "Can St. Peter's Basilica score enough?" The Peacocks averaged just over a point per possession for the season (1.009), ranked 216th nationally according to KenPom. They average 1,088 points per possession in the NCAA tournament, which would have ranked in the top 70 nationally. So do you trust the three-game sample or the three-month trend? Medcalf: Speaking to Wendell Moore Jr. earlier this week, I asked him how losing North Carolina in Mike Krzyzewski's last home game affected the Blue Devils. He said this week had been filled with celebration and admitted he thought the team was a bit distracted. But it also made Duke a disappointment in the eyes of some before the NCAA tournament even started. In a way, the backlash following that loss was as bad as it could get, the team believed. They say, "What else can anyone say about us?" They asked Krzyzewski to switch back to man defense late in the game against Texas Tech, and it worked. In the first half against Arkansas on Saturday, they took turns attacking Arkansas before ending the half with a 3-pointer from Trevor Keels, who extended the halftime lead to 12 points. I think the Blue Devils can put on two more big games and win Krzyzewski's sixth national title in his final season. And no team in the field has a higher cap. It seems these young Duke players realized so much this week. Borzello: Talent was never an issue for Duke -- the Blue Devils have had one of the most talented rosters in America since the beginning of the season. But what impressed me about them at the NCAA tournament is their tenacity and adaptability. They struggled in tight games during the regular season, leading in the last 65 seconds in each of their first four losses. The Red Raiders in particular had the defense and physical strength to really put Duke out of the game. But the Blue Devils fought and pulled out a win. And then defensively, where Duke has struggled at times this season, Coach K has deployed zone defenses in each of the last two games to choke Tech and the Razorbacks. Those are all things we haven't seen consistently from Duke throughout the regular season. But the Blue Devils turned a page in the postseason and demonstrated the sense of urgency required to win a national championship. Gasaway: Duke is 80 minutes from a national title, so there's not much time for this or that supposed fatal error to trip them up. Mark Williams is building on the potential he showed with his outstanding game against Gonzaga in November. We knew all along that Duke had the talent, the question was whether this group of future pros was too inexperienced. The Blue Devils might not win everything, but what this team isn't showing at the moment is an inexperienced look. Coach K's group looks confident and dangerous. Lunardi: We sometimes forget how long the season lasts and how many versions of the same team we can see. Turns out, everyone who insisted that Duke had the tallest ceiling in the country was right. The Blue Devils will be favored against either North Carolina or Saint Peter's in the national semifinals - the former out of revenge and the latter due to an overwhelming talent advantage - and who among us would doubt Coach K when his career happened to end next Monday night? Lunardi: All year I've described Villanova as 'normally good', meaning that in terms of overall talent they were a far cry from the national champions of 2016 and especially 2018. Houston did what it does defensively and limited the Wildcats to 29% shooting, yet the Cougars never led, rarely threatened and chased the entire game. Even when Houston went into a bucket at 42-40, my first thought was, "Villanova isn't going to panic." Jay Wright called the time, Collin Gillespie came from a simple screen, game over. Gasaway: This group is a far, far cry from the record shooters of the 2016-18 era, but here's Villanova again. The Wildcats find a way to victory. Yes, they received the good shot of an opponent (Houston) shooting 1 in 20 on 3s, and in fact four tournament opponents combined only converted 21% of their attempts from beyond the arc. Nonetheless, Villanova has kept his last four opponents at 46% shooting at 2s, and Jay Wright's team has even started throwing a small Houston-style offensive rebound. Shot volume recorded by the Wildcats en route to the Final Four was excellent. We hope Moore is fit to play. I think the similarity between this group and the national championship team from 2016 and 2018 lies in the way they ended the season. These two teams had fewer grind-it-out games like the one we all saw on Saturday, but these Wildcats were equally successful in toppling every team before them in the final chapter of the season. Villanova is 14-1 in their last 15 games. In the one game it lost during that stretch - 71-69 at UConn - the Huskies scored five points in the final 21 seconds of the game to win. However, it was difficult to see Moore sobbing with his teammates on the touchline after the game. And if he's not available in New Orleans, it will change a Villanova's ceiling and affect the depth of the team. They don't deviate from the staples that Jay Wright used to win two national championships and is now making three Final Fours in the last six NCAA tournaments. Houston is said to be the team that takes opponents out of their comfort zone and makes them uncomfortable. On Saturday it was Villanova. The Wildcats forced Houston to adjust his offense and guard for 30 seconds at the other end. Discipline, ball movement, playing with both feet, changing everything defensively - Villanova sticks to these principles and wins games. Given that Moore didn't get off the bench after the buzzer sounded and walked to the dressing room on crutches before returning during the awards ceremony, it could make it difficult for him to play next week - and we're hoping it won't that's serious. With Moore out, it puts a lot of pressure on Caleb Daniels, who was the sixth man in Villanova's six-man rotation. Daniels has unleashed several key shots from the bench in the last two games and he is likely to take Moore's place in the lineup. What Jim Larranaga calls his "scramble" defense gave both Auburn and Iowa State seizures, to the point where Miami is actually the best remaining team this side of the ball in tournament play. It was quite a turnaround for a Hurricanes defense that was just average in the ACC game. The Miami numbers perhaps speak not only to solid defensive principles, but also to the grisly shooting from beyond the arc (19%) by the Tigers and Cyclones. Of course, KU's perimeter shoot against Providence was terrible in itself, but I like the Jayhawks' chances with Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun and Remy Martin. Borzello: If that had been a month ago, before Remy Martin started looking like the Arizona State version of Remy Martin, I might have been a lot more worried about Kansas. But I think Martin's return to form over the past few weeks has solved the Jayhawks' playmaker and point guard problems. He has averaged 16.0 points, 3.6 assists and less than one turnover per game in his last five games. I've loved how Miami has been playing lately; The Hurricanes' three-guard lineup of Charlie Moore, Kameron McGusty and Isaiah Wong was fantastic at both ends of the floor, forcing turnovers defensively and making big shots offensively. They're going to test Kansas, but the Jayhawks just have more up front. Well, I don't think Kansas can survive another game where Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun bring nothing to the table -- but I think the Jayhawks have enough to beat the Hurricanes if the two experienced wings can throw off shots . Medcalf: I think every coach who watches Saint Peter's successes is concerned about Miami's potential to send their team home. But this Martin development is like an NBA team making an important trade just before the deadline. We had been wondering what Kansas would be like if Martin was healthy and comfortable, and here we are. He transformed this team and took the pressure off Agbaji of carrying the squad every night. Martin has made 40% of his 3-point attempts and 64% of his shots from inside the arc in the NCAA tournament. You combine that with a Kansas team that's tenaciously defending around the rim, and it's not hard to imagine the Jayhawks winning by double digits. Lunardi: Kansas is the best team left in the tournament by seeding and where it counts the most. If the current version of Martin had been available all season, the Jayhawks would be in the upper-left corner of the bracket as the No. 1 overall seed. And if you asked Self back in October if he would make an elite eight matchup against a 10 seed, we all know the answer. Kansas boosters may be appropriately concerned, but the sleepless night belongs to Miami.


The Chiefs' Tyreek Hill trade only opens the Broncos' new window further into AFC West

So trading Tyreek Hill will have a butterfly effect on the Broncos and AFC West. (Author: Gardener)

BroncosWhat you feel is a window is being broken open in the AFC West. After Kansas City dumped speed demon wide receiver Tyreek Hill and traded him to the Miami Dolphins for a smorgasbord of draft picks, the Chiefs made the decision to retire to the earth of talented AFC West teams. Will the hill trade pay off for the Chiefs going forward? It remains to be seen, but draft picks are only ever as good as the players who are chosen with them. The AFC West pitch has been leveled and as crazy as it may sound, it's a lot more interesting. According to Pro Football Focus's Improvement Index, no team has improved their roster more drastically this offseason than the Denver Broncos. Take a second and sign up for our FREE newsletter and get the latest Broncos news delivered to your inbox daily! Going from the Teddy Bridgewater/Drew Lock experience to a legitimate top-10 quarterback Russell Wilson will do that. However, the Broncos have also done a phenomenal job of filling out nearly their entire roster. While the 2022 unit is unlikely to be confused with the league's best line, its bottom is as high as any in the NFL. With option upon option for solid and competent offensive linemen and proper tackle position being cemented by Calvin Anderson, Tom Compton and Billy Turner in anticipation of the winner of the upcoming camp fight, Denver could improve on the correct tackle spot in the draft and add more talent. but the unit shouldn't implode next season based on solid depth alone. Sure, the Broncos could miss Noah Fant if Albert Okwuegbunam doesn't step forward or battle injury again, but given how little Wilson uses middle of the field in the passing game, a step back at the tight end doesn't mean Denver line up will be a worse offense in 2022, nor should it be something fans are worried about this season. With wideouts Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler and Javonte Williams running back, the Broncos will have no shortage of pass catchers barring one extremely unfortunate injury situation. The Broncos have two of the best defensemen in football in Justin Simmons and rising star Patrick Surtain II. The defensive line has some underrated contributors in newly signed DJ Jones and Dre'Mont Jones at center, as well as the enticing promise at the edge rusher if free-agent pickups Randy Gregory and Bradley Chubb don't miss time in 2022. Even the rest of the depth of the back seven with Josey Jewell, Ronald Darby and K'Waun Williams is looking good for the Broncos on paper. Sure, there are some critics with articles already written about how Wilson is losing weight and not being able to keep his style of the game at his peak. There are people who say the Broncos are overrated because this team has so much "novelty" in staff, coaching and plan, and that's why it's wiser to wait and see how it all looks when it all comes together. Still, the roster broadly appears to be one that should see the Broncos return to the playoffs for the first time since Super Bowl 50. Anything can happen from there if the Broncos can just beat a ticket to the playoffs. The Chiefs are betting that even without Hill, Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid would be enough to continue dominating the division, along with greater draft pick and salary cap flexibility. However, without Hill, the Chiefs are at their most vulnerable in a while. The Chiefs' weapons are decent and their offensive line may be the best in the division, but Kansas City also has the worst secondary and edge rushers in the AFC West. The door has been left open just waiting for someone else in the division to break through and stake their claim as the team to beat going forward. The plan with Wilson was always to compete for the next 5-10 years. With the division now up for grabs and the equally fearsome Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders making big strides this offseason, the Broncos shouldn't hesitate to make additional moves this offseason that will propel them even closer to the top of the division the league. With the offseason flowing, it's almost impossible to gauge just how much room the Broncos have left to attract more talent. The cap is not a "myth" as some like to exaggerate, but it can be manipulated to allow for more leeway, sacrificing some future contractual flexibility. The Broncos may not have the nearly $20 million in space some sites are currently reporting, but if Denver wants to create more space, it can restructure deals like Justin Simmons' contract and appeal to Bradley Chubb with an extension to play in offering more guarantees in the coming years but lowering its cap hit in 2022 or possibly switching from veteran Mike Purcell with a June 1 designation. The Broncos are already without their first- and second-round picks in 2022 and 2023. Denver's most valuable asset for attracting talent is now gone (and very well spent) in acquiring Wilson. The Broncos shouldn't overdo it and lose any future cap flexibility and bust all of their draft picks, but the team still has some room to be aggressive. Wilson will never be as cheap as it is now. With $24 million to cap this season and $27 million to cap in 2023, Wilson likely faces a massive payday after his current contract expires, if not sooner. Instead of worrying about how to pay for their recently acquired franchise quarterback, the Broncos should be asking themselves what they can do now to minimize their margin for error and build a true champion contender. So who should the Broncos add to the roster to bring their chips to the table? While many Broncos fans will be clamoring for more offensive line or something to bolster offense in general, the area that seems ripe for additional talent is on the defensive side of the ball. With so many big-name defensive players still available, perhaps Wilson and his recruiting skills can enlist a veteran or more to further move the needle for the Broncos from playoff hopes to legitimate Super Bowl contenders next season. A selection of niche roleplayers to help really round out the defensive depth chart, like an additional veteran edge rusher lifting the bottom of a volatile space with Chubb and Gregory? A 3-4 defensive end that would allow defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero to play a five-man scheme at the line of scrimmage, similar to Los Angeles last season, and help replace Shelby Harris? Another cornerback who can play for everyone inside and out, but guarantees depth and quality when faced with insanely talented passing offenses in the AFC West? A third safety to push Caden Sterns and allow Evero to play more three-safety defense to combat the aforementioned insanely talented passing offenses? The Chiefs remain the clear favorite to win the AFC West. However, since Mahomes won his first MVP, the odds have not diminished for the Chiefs and the rest of the AFC West. With the Broncos and Chargers essentially neck and neck with the Raiders not far behind, the window is open for someone to step forward. The Broncos roster is talented and solid across the depth chart, the team still has some flexibility in cap space and still has a solid selection of draft capital. Wilson will never be younger, he will never be cheaper and probably he will never be more motivated than he is now. The window is open and there is no need to wait. Broncos Country should be able to admit that it's had a pretty spoiled fan base and the last six years of waiting has been more than enough penance for years of victories in football.


1 dead in shooting at Larimer near Coors Field Saturday morning

Denver Police Department response to a fatal shooting on Larimer Street in the Ballpark District early Saturday morning. (Author: Gardener)

LarimerDENVER (CBS4) -- The Denver Police Department's response to a fatal shooting on Larimer Street in the Ballpark District early Saturday morning. According to the DPD tweet, around 2am officers were in Block 2000 of Larimer where a man was shot. ALERT: #DPD is investigating a shooting that took place on the Larimer Street block in 2000. An adult male was pronounced dead at the scene. Crime scene tape was up all over the intersection at 20th Street and Larimer and at 21st Street and Larimer at 7 a.m. There was no suspicious information as of Saturday morning. "An adult male was pronounced dead at the scene with an apparent gunshot sound," said Denver Police Department spokesman Nate McGee. Anyone with information can call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7876.


Saturday morning weather at your fingertips

Sunny skies today with highs in the low 80's. (Author: Gardener)

SaturdayTYLER, Texas (KLTV/KTRE) - Good morning East Texas! Sunny skies today with highs in the low 80's - a perfect Saturday! We might see some fog tomorrow morning, especially in Deep East Texas. Temperatures will be a few degrees above normal for the next few days with sunny/mostly sunny skies for the weekend. High to very high risk of fire this weekend due to warmer temperatures, lower dew points and breezy conditions. Outdoor burns are discouraged. Our next ran chance is on Wednesday through Monday and Tuesday partly to heavily overcast. Highs remain in the 80s through Tuesday. As I just mentioned, the next chance of rain is on Wednesday. Another spring front will pull through, bringing with it the possibility of some showers and storms as well as cooler temperatures. At the moment it looks like shower/storm activity will be moving through the areas Wednesday morning through early afternoon. There is a possibility of severe weather along our eastern counties bordering Louisiana, which we will be monitoring closely in the forecasts for the next few days. There is currently no first weather warning day, but we are considering the possibility and will let you know when and if one will be issued.


Snow accumulates from Saturday to Monday

The highest totals are recorded east of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. (Author: Gardener)

Saturday to MondayHopefully you haven't put away your whisk and shovel yet because more snow is on the way. High altitude snow showers will mix in at lower elevations Saturday night and into Sunday when colder air moves in. A west/northwest current will only increase activity through Sunday, particularly east of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. By Saturday morning, The Tug Hill will have picked up 3 to 6 inches of fresh snow, with a possible 4 to 8 inches or more in the hills south of Buffalo. Snow showers and squalls appear to be continuing with additional frequency on Sunday. Blowing snow could prove problematic as it affects visibility and causes snow drifts on roadways. Lake snow will be concentrated southeast of the lakes through Monday before gradually tapering off earlier in the week. The big winners in total snowfall during this extended stretch will be the Chautauqua Ridge, Boston Hills and Wyoming County Ridges ranging from 6 to 12+ inches. Tug Hill will also perform decently and be close to a foot of snow by Monday morning. Single digit and teenage wind chills on Sunday will be followed by single digit wind chills and sub-zero temperatures on Monday morning.


Saturday morning news summary

More than 30 residents of two apartment complexes in Antioch were... (Author: Gardener)

SaturdayMore than 30 residents of two apartment complexes in Antioch were evicted Friday night after a fast-moving fire that spread from one building to another. Steve Hill, spokesman for the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, said late Friday night that the fire was first reported at 8:23 p.m. with two alerts. at the 2300 block of Sycamore Drive, east of Auto Center Drive and north of State Highway 4. Hill said the fire started in a one-story apartment building where it damaged two units. The fire quickly spread to a balcony of this building, eventually damaging eight units there. The fire was under control around 9:30 p.m. Hill said 21 adults and 12 children were evicted from a total of 10 housing units. The American Red Cross is helping the fire victims late Friday night. Hill said none of the 10 damaged units were habitable. Fire investigators arrived at the scene and made a preliminary determination that the fire started near gas meters on the outside of the single-story apartment building. Hill said the fire caused $1 million in damage to the two buildings and their contents. Sycamore Drive between Auto Center Drive and Spanos Street will be closed for a minimum of two hours beginning at 11:30 p.m. Friday. A 58-year-old employee at the Hayward Public Library was arrested Friday on suspicion of sexually abusing a youth over a period of about five years. Police investigations revealed that the teenage victim was sexually assaulted more than once while visiting one of the city's public library branches. A Hayward Police spokesman announced the arrest late Friday afternoon. Robert Spitzel, of Castro Valley, was arrested and taken into custody just before 10am on Friday and is currently being held on four counts of sexually abusing a minor. The investigation found the victim was sexually assaulted while visiting the Weekes Branch Public Library in South Hayward. The library is located on Patrick Ave. 27300. After his arrest on Friday, Spitzel was placed on administrative leave pending the completion of the police investigation. Ofc. Cassandra Fovel, a Hayward Police spokeswoman, added that there is currently only one identified sexual abuse victim involving snitch. The City of Hayward, along with the Hayward Public Library and the Hayward Police Department, are committed to safety and are supporting all victims during this process, Fovel said. Anyone who believes they have been harassed is asked to contact the Hayward Police Department. Fovel said this is an active investigation and further details of the case are still being considered. The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office on Friday announced an ongoing criminal investigation by them and the FBI into "crimes of moral depravity" involving Antioch and Pittsburgh police officers. Prosecutors said on Wednesday that authorities had "conducted court-approved prosecutions at multiple locations" in connection with the investigation. Prosecutors said they are reviewing active and closed cases involving investigations and that the two police departments and their respective cities are cooperating on the investigation. Further details were not immediately released as of Friday afternoon. One person was injured in a shooting Thursday afternoon in East Oakland, police said Friday. Police are investigating and said no further details were available on Friday. PG&E crews will soon be replacing more than 160 umbilicals and more than a mile of gas main at Rodeo. A spokesman for Contra Costa's public works department said Friday the utility company has been granted a permit to carry out the work, which will begin next week and last through November. The purpose of this work is for PG&E to modernize gas plants and pipelines which will ultimately benefit more than 160 local customers with a safer and more resilient system. No work is planned to interrupt gas operations. The work will take place between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Work will take place on the following streets: Myrna Way, Langlie Way, Langlie Court, Stirling Drive, Viewpoint Boulevard, California Street, Sandpoint Drive, Coral Drive, Donald Drive and Claeys Court in Rodeo. Customers in the affected area will be notified before work begins. The county's district attorney's office has received a $2.3 million grant to be used to help clean up streets in Alameda County and fight illegal garbage disposal. The office receives the grant from the California Department of Transportation Clean California. County officials said illegal dumping is an environmental justice issue and disproportionately burdens disadvantaged communities, explaining that one of the most difficult and complex challenges in tackling illegal dumping is dumping in or near homeless encampments. Caltrans' Clean California Grant will support a new partnership between Alameda County. DST will provide ongoing litter and graffiti removal services in Hayward and East Oakland, and Waste Management and Argent Materials will cater for DST, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping homeless people in the community improve their neighborhoods and provide job training for DST team members and other services to find ways out of homelessness. The District Attorney's Office's Environmental Division will provide support and oversight, with the cities of Oakland and Hayward as active members. An 85-year-old Fairfield man is missing Friday night, just hours after he called his family to say he was stuck in traffic driving home from Vallejo. A spokesman for the Fairfield Police Department said Friday night Lebrane Wallace left Vallejo Friday afternoon and was on his way home to Fairfield. His family told police he called them at 4:45 p.m. inform them of his whereabouts. Wallace has medical issues that make him a vulnerable missing person. The Fairfield Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating Wallace or his vehicle. If you find him, please contact the Fairfield Police Department at (707) 428-7300. To help combat climate change and biodiversity loss, among other environmental issues, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife are donating $12.6 million to their alma mater for a new research center. The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Center for Data Science and Environment was announced this week by the University of California at Berkeley. The center will combine data science and environmental science to solve ecological challenges. The role of data science in solving environmental problems has increased thanks to the availability of new data along with computational methods and tools. UC Berkeley's Department of Computer Science, Data Science and Society will work with the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management to develop the center, which will complement ongoing research and collaboration. The new center will apply open science principles, which aim to make research and its dissemination accessible to all. The National Weather Service forecast for Saturday for the greater San Francisco Bay Area calls for partly cloudy skies for most of the day with highs in the 60s to low 70s. Saturday morning overnight lows range in the upper 40s to mid 50s for mostly cloudy skies. Copyright © 2022 Bay City News, Inc. Republication, retransmission, or redistribution is prohibited without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. Bay City News is a 24/7 news service covering the greater Bay Area. Copyright © 2022 by Bay City News, Inc. Republication, redistribution, or other reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.


Winners, grades, reactions and highlights from March 22nd

The takeover of the main roster of WWE NXT 2.0 was completed two weeks ago when Dolph Ziggler became the NXT Champion. And the March 22 edition focused on Bron Breakker beating the defending champion's tag team partner Robert Roode in a first meeting... (Author: Gardener)

March 22ndAnd the March 22 edition focused on Bron Breakker beating the defending champion's tag team partner Robert Roode in a first meeting. The women's Dusty Tag Team Classic has taken several unpredictable directions, and Io Shirai and Kay Lee Ray battled Dakota Kai and Wendy Choo in Tuesday night's finals. In two qualifiers for the NXT North American Championship ladder match at NXT Stand & Deliver on April 2, Grayson Waller faced NXT UK's A-Kid while Roderick Strong battled the dominant Solo Sikoa. The Creed Brothers are still unsure who cost them their chance at the NXT Tag Team Championships. The Grizzled Young Veterans have denied their involvement but agreed to fight Julius and Brutus on Tuesday night in a bid to get closer to the tag titles. This show promised some big matches building towards Stand & Deliver. Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams joined the commentators for this match. Santos Escobar also came out to keep a closer eye on the progress of the competition. While Roderick Strong was in control for a while, he gave Solo Sikoa too much room. Sikoa threw him off the top rope and took the win with a smashing splash. This qualified him for the ladder match of the NXT North American Championship. It didn't help that so many people outside the ring were involved. It was surprising to see The Messiah of the Backbreaker lose cleanly, but he wasn't quite protected in NXT 2.0 like he was in the black and gold mark. Sikoa got a solid near drop from an avalanche to a Samoan drop. Strong never came close to winning and focused solely on technical holds. Backstage, Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta shared the TMZ article with footage of both women still trying to outdo each other. Pirotta and Duke Hudson came out to Hartwell to watch the game closely. Dexter Lumis controlled the action with terrifying concentration until he was lured outside by Tony D'Angelo and sent hard against the steel steps. Tony D finished the match with his swinging neckbreaker for the win. Tommaso Ciampa then interrupted Tony D's promo and gave him a Fairy Tale ending. He promised to write his own "fairy tale ending" at Stand & Deliver. D'Angelo and Lumis are interesting as a pair and can do more than they showed her in the ring. D'Angelo continued to show what he can do in the ring with different opponents. Ciampa is the kind of talent that can take him to the next level, and the story is aided by The Blackheart unofficially selling this as his final match in NXT. Lumis made sliding outside look effortless in a smooth transition that many could learn from. Wade Barrett is very into Hudson's kissing technique and takes off his shirt. The referee dodged the crowbar shot but apparently missed hitting Lumis in the face. Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen made sure Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde couldn't get involved by fighting them in the back. While Fallon Henley landed some physical elbows, Elektra Lopez was too dominant and hit a spin out powerbomb for three. The positive thing about This Match was that there was a story behind it. Jensen's best advice was that Lopez was beautiful. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode spoke about The Glorious One's history as an NXT Champion, confident he could defeat Bron Breakker. Ziggler was kicked out of the match after trying to interfere too many times. Roode showed his veteran intelligence and dominated his young opponent without wasting energy. However, Breakker caught him in the air to hit the powerslam and take the win. After that, The Showoff threw Breakker hard to the ground with a super kick. He might not be the most exciting wrestler, but Roode is one of the smoothest workers in the business. He's an old-school performer who can help a youngster like Breakker look good. He made the former NXT Champion look good and gave him valuable experience with a variety of offensive sequences. Roode would never win here but it was a great reminder of what he can do when given the time and the spotlight. Breakker grabbed a big win that continues to build his legacy before even arriving on the main roster. It's nice to hear the classic "Glorious" theme return to NXT. Roode ducked Breakker early until he was caught with an effortless powerslam. The Glorious One caught Breakker with a delayed elbow drop followed by a series of push-ups. Roode hit a spinebuster and then teased the Glorious DDT, but Breakker fought and hit a spear for a near fall. Rooded from the position of the military press and hit a glorious DDT for a near miss. Bodhi Hayward presented his essay on steadfastness, and he and Andre Chase ran over a student while he was cheering on Hayward vs. Von Wagner next week. Grayson Waller himself spoke ahead of his Tuesday night match, clearly impressed by A-Kid but too cocky to believe he could lose. Solo Sikoa came out to get a close look at this match. While A-Kid impressively managed to counter several of Grayson Waller's big moves, he still fell into the return rolling cutter for three with a springboard leg sweep. After that, Carmelo gave Hayes Kid, Cameron Grimes and Roderick Strong a second chance in a Triple Threat qualifier for the ladder match. Trick Williams mocked Kid and got an enzuigiri for his troubles. Kid is really good and it showed here in the way he challenged Waller during this match. He made Waller look smoother than he'd ever been in the ring, resulting in a great sprint. It's just a shame this couldn't get more time. Waller needed to win, but Kid got a surprise build with Melo before getting his second chance next week. He or Grimes has to get that last spot. Waller confidently attempted to transition into a headscissors only for Kid to move into a leg lock. Kid managed to reverse a rolling cutter's first attempt into an impressive leg trap sleeper. The Creed Brothers ( w/ Malcolm Bivens and Ivy Nile) vs. Sofia Cromwell then came to Stone and asked to close their deals from last week. Face. After Julius Creed escaped a doomsday device by Zack Gibson and James Drake, Brutus Creed placed Drake to set up a low running clothesline to win. Afterwards, a mysterious duo appeared on the Titantron and destroyed Diamond Mine's personal training room. Creed Brothers and Grizzled Young Veterans are always good together. It was a good warm up for Julius and Brutus before Stand & Deliver. The mysterious team pursuing Diamond Mine is an interesting angle. It's rare that NXT 2.0 has surprised so far, but this story might come as a big shock before it's over. Drake ran right into Brutus, who hit a pair of gutwrench suplexes. Gibson complained to Julius that GYV should have won the Dusty Classic, but it's unclear what he was protesting when the team lost cleanly. Backstage, Persia Pirotta claimed Duke Hudson could beat anyone and Dexter Lumis pulled Gunther and asked if Lumis was up for the challenge. Hudson held his ground against Gunther for a moment, but The Ring General knocked his opponent down. After a series of chops and a boot in the corner, Gunther won with a powerbomb. The Ring General despised LA Knight until The Million Dollar Mega Star came out to challenge him. MSK parried and stood up next to Knight. It's hard to look strong next to Gunther, but Hudson held his own. It feels like The Million Dollar Mega Star's final hooray in NXT 2.0, and this might be the best match he's ever had in NXT. He has to bring his wrestling shoes. Gunther locked in a sleeper hold, and Hudson edged out of the hold and into the ropes. Gunther nearly bloodied Hudson's chest with his vicious slashes. Cameron Grimes vowed to do whatever it takes next week to earn himself a shot at the NXT North American Championship. Dakota Kai had to calm Wendy Choo down as she discussed the main event and her chance to establish herself with the Dusty Cup. Toxic Attraction had a new Toxic Lounge closer to the ring for the finals of the Dusty Tag Team Classic. This match went back and forth, always marked by near falls. Kay Lee Ray finally put it to the win with a KLR bomb on Choo, followed by Io Shirai's over-the-moonsault. Mandy Rose mocked the winners as confetti fell. Shirai and Kai surprised the leader of Toxic Attraction by announcing that they would capitalize on their title opportunity by making the NXT Women's Championship Match a Fatal 4-Way. Cora Jade joined the two and sent Toxic Attraction into the running. This was by far Kai and Choo's best match as a team. It helps to work with Shirai and KLR, two of the best in the business. This was a great Main Event and one of the best NXT 2.0 matches in recent memory. Shirai and KLR aren't the best tag teams, but they are great individual wrestlers who deserve a big accolade like this. The Genius of the Sky needed this final award for their NXT legacy. It's a shame the Dusty Cup win was squandered in a similar fashion to the men's. KLR and Shirai went through an entire tournament to get a shot, which Jade got by asking for it. The Creed Brothers got a title shot after defeating MSK, only for MSK to get the same shot. Shirai sent Kai hard into the commentary table with a running crossbody to the outside. Kai hit a big running kick to KLR, followed by a superplex from Choo for a near fall. Kai hit a backstabber into a Diving Double Foot Stomp followed by Choo's top rope Vader Bomb, but Shirai sent Kai with a rocket dropkick at Choo to break it up.