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NCAA First Four Game Notes: St. John’s to make 29th Tournament appearance facing Arizona State






QUEENS, N.Y.  – The St. John’s men’s basketball team will kick off the 2019 NCAA Tournament on Wednesday night in Dayton, Ohio, taking on Arizona State in the First Four at UD Arena.

The winner of Wednesday’s game between the Red Storm and Sun Devils will earn the right to play the no. 6 seed in the West Bracket, MAC Champion Buffalo, on Friday in Tulsa, Okla.

Entering the Big Dance with a record of 21-12, St. John’s is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance under the direction of Head Coach Chris Mullin, who played in four NCAA Tournaments from 1981-85, including a berth in the 1985 Final Four in Lexington, Ky.  The Red Storm is making its third March Madness appearance of the last decade, as the team also received bids in 2011 and 2015.

The Johnnies earned their place in the field of 68 thanks in part to the team’s record against top-tier opposition.  St. John’s compiled 10 Quad One and Two wins, including a 5-7 record in Quad One opportunities.  Highlighting the Red Storm’s resume were two wins over Marquette, a victory over BIG EAST Champion Villanova at Madison Square Garden and a neutral site triumph over VCU in the championship game of the Legends Classic in Brooklyn.

The Red Storm’s 21 wins are tied for the most by a St. John’s team since 2000, when the Johnnies won 25 games, captured their last BIG EAST Tournament crown and earned a no. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.  That season also marked the last time the Red Storm won a game in the Big Dance.

St. John’s is making its 29th appearance all-time in the NCAA Tournament, a total that is tied for 24th in the history of Division I.  In reality, the Johnnies have been to 30 tournaments, but the program’s 2002 berth was later vacated.  The Red Storm boasts a 27-30 record in the NCAA Tournament dating back to 1951, has advanced to nine Sweet 16s, participated in six Elite Eights and advanced to the Final Four twice.

The Red Storm enters the NCAA Tournament led by Shamorie Ponds, who became just the fifth player in program history to earn consecutive First All-BIG EAST selections in 2019.  Mullin, Mark Jackson, Malik Sealy and Marcus Hatten are the only other Johnnies to have twice earned a spot on the conference’s top squad.  Ponds ranks third in the BIG EAST in scoring average (19.5 ppg) while placing second in the league with 5.2 assists per game.  He became just the third BIG EAST player since conference realignment to finish in the top three in both those categories, joining Providence’s Bryce Cotton in 2013-14 and Seton Hall Isaiah Whitehead in 2015-16.  The Brooklyn native also leads the league in a pair of categories, swiping 2.6 steals per game while turning in an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.6-to-1.  His steal average ranks ninth nationally and his assist-to-turnover ratio is good enough for 37th in all of Division I.

Arizona State, one of two Pac-12 teams to receive an at-large bid, heads to Dayton with a record of 22-10 after falling in overtime to eventual conference champion Oregon.  The Sun Devils went 12-6 during the Pac-12 regular season, finishing second in the league standings behind Washington.

Under the direction of Bobby Hurley, the Sun Devils are led offensively by freshman guard Luguentz Dort, who is averaging 16.4 points per game.

Arizona State ranks among the best teams in the nation on the boards after finishing second in the Pac-12 with a +4.8 rebounding margin.  Redshirt senior forward Zylan Cheatham, a San Diego State transfer, averages 11.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, the latter of which ranks 14th in the nation.

St. John’s and the Sun Devils shared a pair of common opponents during the regular season in Princeton and California.  The Red Storm topped the Tigers during the Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival while Princeton scored an upset victory in Tempe on Dec. 29.  St. John’s picked up a victory over Pac-12 foe Cal in the opening game of the Legends Classic while Arizona State swept the Golden Bears during league play.

NCAA First Four Game Notes: Arizona State in back-to-back tournaments, takes on St. John’s




THIS IS MARCH: The Arizona State Sun Devils (22-10; 12-6) — who advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014 last year and just the fourth time in 24 seasons — decided to do it again this year and will meet St. John’s in Dayton on Wednesday, March 20, at 9:10 p.m. ET on TruTV with Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Jim Jackson and Ros Gold-Onwude calling the action. The Sun Devils had an 11-6 mark in Quad 1 & 2 games, including Quad 1 wins over Kansas in Tempe and in Las Vegas against Mountain West Tournament champ Utah State and Mississippi State. ASU won five games against NCAA Tournament teams, also topping Oregon and Washington in Tempe.

THE MONEY NOTE: Four seasons after Bobby Hurley arrived in Tempe, ASU has removed itself from a long-standing chart. ASU had the fifth-longest active streak of a NCAA Tournament back-to-back drought, as it had not made March Madness in back to back years since 1980-81, when Byron Scott, Fat Lever and Alton Lister were wearing short shorts. Four years after his arrival, ASU is the only Pac-12 school to make the NCAAs the last two seasons.

IN THE NCAAS: ASU will make its 16th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the biggest note is Bobby Hurley in his third and fourth season has led ASU to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since 1980-81. ASU is 11-16 in the Big Dance and has reached the final eight on three occasions (1961, 1963 and 1975) under Ned Wulk. In 2014, it fell to Texas on a buzzer beater in Milwaukee while in 2009, sixth-seeded ASU beat Temple 66-57 in Miami before falling to Syracuse 78-67 in James Harden’s second and final season. Last year ASU fell in the First Four to Syracuse 60-56, as ASU led 49-42 with 7:05 left before it was outscored 18-7.

SOLID: ASU finished second in the Pac-12 for just the fourth time in its 41-year Pac-10/12 history, as it also finished second in 2009-10, 1980-81 and 1979-80. ASU won 12 loop games for just the sixth time.

16-2 (1): 1980-81
15-3 (2): 1979-80
12-6 (4): 2018-19, 2009-10, 1994-95, 1982-83

LAST MEETING: #16 ASU 82, ST. JOHN’S 70 (DEC. 8, 2017): ASU led 44-26 with 3:07 left in the first half but St. John’s cut it all the way to 71-70 before the Sun Devils outscored Saint John’s 11-0 for the 82-70 win. Romello White posted 22 points and nine rebounds while Shannon Evans II added 18 points, six rebounds and six assists. ASU made 23-of-27 (.852) free throws and also got 11 points from Vitaliy Shibel and 15 points from Kodi Justice. ASU held St. John’s to .391 from the floor (25-of-64) and led for more than 38 minutes.

TURNED IT AROUND FAST: Buffalo was 285-369 (.436) in 22 seasons after going DI (1991-2013). The Bulls were 42-20 (.678) in Coach Hurley’s two seasons. He is 114-77 (.597) in six years as a head coach.



NCAA First Four Game Notes: North Dakota State making 3rd Tournament appearance against North Carolina Central




The Game: The No. 16-seeded North Dakota State men’s basketball team (18-15, 9-7 Summit League) will play No. 16 seed North Carolina Central (18-15, 10-6 MEAC) in the First Four of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday, March 20. Game time is 6:40 p.m. ET / 5:40 p.m. CT.

What’s at Stake: NDSU is looking for its second Division I NCAA Tournament victory in its fourth tournament appearance.  The winner of the North Dakota State-NC Central contest will play No. 1 overall seed Duke in Columbia, S.C., on Friday, March 22, at 7:10 p.m. ET / 6:10 p.m. CT.

Been Here Before: NDSU is making its third NCAA Tournament appearance in six years, and its fourth Division I NCAA Tournament appearance in school history.

One Previous Meeting: NDSU and NCCU have played once previously — a 104-51 Bison victory in Fargo on Nov. 17, 2007, when both schools were transitioning to Division I.

Under Richman: NDSU is 9-3 at the Summit League Tournament in the Dave Richman era.

Title Talk: NDSU has won four Summit League Tournament crowns in 11 seasons as a full member of the league — 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2019.

Free Throw Shooting: The Bison rank ninth in the nation in free throw shooting at 77.4%.

Challenging Slate: NDSU played eight non-conference opponents this season who finished in the top three of their league standings, including four regular season champions (New Mexico State, Gonzaga, Drake & Montana).

Lighter Load: The Bison did not have a single player rank among the top 20 in The Summit League in minutes played during the conference season. Vinnie Shahid’s 30.0 minutes per game were the 23rd-most in the league.

Limited Turnovers & Fouls: NDSU ranks 15th in the nation for fewest fouls committed per game (14.9) and 20th nationally for fewest turnovers committed per game (10.6).

10 in Double Figures: Ten different Bison players have scored in double figures this season.

NCAA Tournament History

Date                       Round    Seed    Opponent                    Location                   Result
March 20, 2009      64            14        (3) Kansas                    Minneapolis, MN       L, 74-84
March 20, 2014      64            12        (5) Oklahoma               Spokane, WA            W, 80-75 (OT)
March 22, 2014      32            12        (4) San Diego State     Spokane, WA            L, 44-63
March 20, 2015      64            15        (2) Gonzaga                 Seattle, WA               L, 76-86

Team Season Records

The Bison set a school record for three-pointers made in a season this year. NDSU has made 315 threes through 33 games, surpassing the previous record of 294 set in 2017-18.

NDSU is on pace to set a school record for free throw percentage in a season. The Bison are shooting 77.4 percent from the line – nearly a full percentage point better than the previous record set in 1984-85.

Individual Season Records

Jared Samuelson is shooting 46.4 percent from three-point range this season, which would rank him sixth on NDSU’s all-time season list. Samuelson is shooting 90 percent at the free throw line, which would rank him seventh on NDSU’s all-time list.

With one start in the NCAA Tournament, Vinnie Shahid and Rocky Kreuser will become the fourth and fifth Bison to ever start 34 games in a season, joining Lawrence Alexander, TrayVonn Wright and Marshall Bjorklund in 2012-13.

Individual Career Lists

Jared Samuelson ranks fourth on the NDSU career list for three-point shooting, making 43.6 percent for his career. Cameron Hunter is seventh on the list at 42.1 percent.

Summit League Tournament Notes

Vinnie Shahid was named the 2019 Summit League Tournament MVP after averaging 14.7 points in NDSU’s three victories. He shot 56 percent overall and 5-of-9 (56 percent) from beyond the arc. Shahid scored 22 points in the championship game victory over Omaha, with 20 of those points coming in the final 15 minutes.

As a team, NDSU made 34-of-70 from three-point range (49 percent) in the tournament.

The Bison committed just 19 total turnovers in three Summit League Tournament games – an average of 6.3 per contest.

Cameron Hunter made 9-of-12 attempts from three-point range in the Summit League Tournament. He scored 31 point on 12 shots in the tournament.

Individual Trends
  • Tyson Ward is averaging 16.4 points over the past five games.
  • Point guard Vinnie Shahid has committed just 12 turnovers in the past 12 games.

From All Angles: All 12 Bison who have played this season have made multiple three-pointers, and 10 players have made at least 10 treys.

Good Run: The Bison are averaging 21 wins per season over the past six years.

Taking on the Best: NDSU’s game at No. 1-ranked Gonzaga on Nov. 26 was the second time in its Division I history that the Bison took on the No. 1 team in the country. NDSU also played at No. 1 Indiana on Nov. 12, 2012.

High-Level Shooter: Jared Samuelson shot 49 percent from three-point range in Summit League play. He ranks 16th among all active Division I players with a career 43.6 percent from beyond the arc.

On the Boards: Tyson Ward and Purdue Fort Wayne’s John Konchar were the only players in the Summit League under 6-foot-8 who averaged at least 7 rebounds per game in league play.

Eady Stepping Up: Redshirt freshman Tyree Eady shot 52.5 percent in league play, including 45 percent from three-point range. He ranked seventh among Summit League freshmen with 6.8 points per game in league play.

Winning Streak: NDSU’s five-game winning streak in late January and early February was its first since the 2014-15 season. NDSU won five straight in Summit League play that year between Jan. 29 and Feb. 12.

90 Wins: The 81-71 victory over Denver on Feb. 9 was the 90th career win for NDSU head coach David Richman. He is on pace to be the second-fastest to 100 victories in school history.
1. Erv Inniger, 1978-92                       90-51       141 games
2. David Richman, 2014-present        90-63       153 games
3. Bob Lowe, 1933-46                        90-68       158 games
T4. Saul Phillips, 2007-14                  90-69       159 games
T4. Tim Miles, 2001-07                      90-69       159 games


NCAA First Four Game Notes: North Carolina Central takes on sharpshooting North Dakota State







DURHAM, N.C. – North Carolina Central University’s men’s basketball program will make its third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament at UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio against North Dakota State on Wednesday, March 20 in the First Four.  The winner moves on to face No. 1 seed Duke in Columbia, South Carolina on Friday, March 22.

2019 NCAA Tournament
North Carolina Central (18-15, 10-6 MEAC)
North Dakota State (18-15, 9-7 Summit)
Wednesday, March 20, 2019 – 6:40 p.m.
UD Arena – Dayton, Ohio
TV: truTV
Audio: WestwoodOne

Complete Game Notes (PDF)

1. NCCU has one NCAA Division-II National Championship, defeating Southeast Missouri State 73-45 in 1989.
2. NCCU is 15-4 at the MEAC Tournament under Coach Moton with four titles.
3. NCCU is 60-6 when leading with five minutes remaining since the 2016-17 season.
4. NCCU has shot over 50 percent from the floor 13 times this season.
5. NCCU has made 10 or more threes in a game eight times this season.

North Dakota State enters the NCAA Tournament as the champions of the Summit League, winning its title game 73-63 over Omaha.  The Bison finished fourth in their league with a 9-7 conference mark, and have an identical overall record with NCCU of 18-15.  NDSU is led by Summit League Tournament MVP Vinnie Shahid who chipped in 22 points in the title game.  Over the season, he leads the squad in scoring with 12.8 points per outing.  The only time NCCU and NDSU have met was back in 2007 during NCCU’s inaugural year of transitioning from Division II to Division I.

11/17/07 at NDSU………. 51-104 L

NCCU has won the MEAC Tournament for the third consecutive year, and became the first MEAC school to clinch three-straight bids since North Carolina A&T won seven consecutively from 1982-88.  The Eagles have now captured the tournament crown for the fourth time in the eight years that they have been eligible for the MEAC Tournament since transitioning to Division I.

NCCU is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its 1989 NCAA Division II National Championship, where it defeated Southeast Missouri State, 73-45, setting a record for the largest margin of victory in the title game that still stands to this day.

During the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, the Eagles learned that they will face North Dakota State in the First Four.  The Eagles will meet NDSU for the first time since 2007 during NCCU’s inaugural year of competition as a Division I program.  The winner of this game moves on to face No. 1 Duke, who was NCCU’s very first Division I opponent during that 2007 campaign.

If the Eagles advance, they will face Duke 75 years after the historic “Secret Game” on campus at NCCU on March 12, 1944.  During a time of heated racial segregation, the men’s basketball team from the North Carolina College for Negroes (now North Carolina Central University) competed against a squad from the Duke School of Medicine on the campus of NCCU in the first racially integrated college-level basketball game in the South.  For more information on the Secret Game, visit

NCCU held Norfolk State to just four made field goals in the second half of the MEAC Tournament Championship, and stifled the Spartans from long range as they went 0-5 from the perimeter in the second period as well. NSU managed just 18.2 percent from the floor after the intermission, and 34 percent for the game.

The Eagles watched NSU make the first bucket of the second half to build a 12 point advantage, but the Eagles were able to erase it in their largest second-half comeback since it trailed by 12 at Hampton on Jan. 19, 2015 on the way to a 59-52 win.  Earlier this year, NCCU trailed McNeese State by as many as 11 in the second half, and closed the game on a 10-2 run for a 67-66 victory at home at McDougald-McLendon Arena.

NCAA First Four Game Notes: Temple plays upset-minded Belmont





DAYTON, Ohio – The second of 67 games in the 2019 NCAA Tournament will feature 11th-seeded Temple men’s basketball facing 11th-seeded Belmont in the NCAA First Four on Tuesday, March 19 at 9:10 p.m.

NCAA Tournament History
> This is the 33rd NCAA Tournament appearance for the Owls, who own a 33-32 record in tourney play.
> Temple has been an 11 seed four times before in the NCAA Tournament, including when the Owls made a run to the Elite Eight in 2001.
> Temple’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament was in 1944, and the Owls have had 16 players make NCAA All-Tournament Teams.
> The Owls are placed in the East Region for a 19th time. Temple’s last East Region appearance was in 2013 when the Cherry and White went 1-1 in Dayton in the First and Second Round.
> Temple is 2-5 this season against the other 67 teams in the 2019 NCAA Tournament field.
> Temple has advanced to the Elite Eight seven times (last, 2001) and the Final Four twice (1956, 1958).
Fran Dunphy has taken his team to the NCAA Tournament 17 times in 30 seasons as a head coach (8 w/ Temple, 9 w/ Penn).
> Dunphy’s 17 appearances in the NCAA Tournament are the 12th-most of all active Division I coaches.

Scouting Belmont
> Belmont comes into the tournament with an overall record of 26-5, and the Bruins had won 14 straight prior to losing to Murray State in the Ohio Valley Conference Championship game on March 9.
> Dylan Windler leads Belmont with 21.4 points per game, and his 10.7 rebounds per game lead the team and rank 10th among all players in NCAA Division I.
> Grayson Murphy is averaging 6.6 assists per game to rank 11th in the nation.
> The Bruins average 87.4 points per game to rank second in the nation, with their 19.9 assists per game ranking first.
> The Bruins rank top 25 nationally in 12 statistical categories, including first in assists per game and total assists, second in scoring offense and assist to turnover ratio, fifth in field goal percentage, and sixth in offensive efficiency and defensive rebounding.
> Rick Byrd has been the head coach at Belmont for 33 years and has 712 career wins (ranks 12th all-time in Division I career victories with 804).
>  This NCAA Tournament appearance will be his eighth with the Bruins. Belmont last earned an NCAA Tournament berth in 2014-15 and lost to #6 Virginia, 79-67.

Series History vs. Belmont
> Temple and Belmont are facing each other for the first time in program history.

Scouting Temple
> Temple had three players recognized with American Athletic Conference postseason awards. Senior guard Shizz Alston, Jr. was named to the AAC First Team, junior guard Quinton Rose was named to the AAC Second Team, and sophomore guard Nate Pierre-Louis was named Most Improved along with Josh Carlton from UConn.
> Alston, who leads all players in the AAC with 19.7 points per game, has scored 20 or more points in each of the last eight games. He exploded for a career-high 34 points on 12-of-14 shooting to lead the Owls to a 78-71 win at UConn on March 7. In addition to his AAC First Team honor, Alston was named to the USBWA All-District II Team.
> Alston has hit at least one three-pointer in 43 straight games to set a new Temple record, surpassing the 39-game streak by Dionte Christmas (2006-08).
> The Owls have won six of their last eight games and had won three straight heading into the AAC Championships before being upset by Wichita State, 80-74 in the quarterfinals. Temple got a 67-62 Senior Day win over #25 UCF on March 9, earning its second win over a Top 25 team this season.
> The Owls beat Tulsa, 84-73 on Feb. 23, for their 20th win of the season. Dunphy has now guided the Owls to 20 or more wins in nine of his 13 seasons.
> Temple finished 13-2 at home this season, giving Dunphy his ninth 10-win season at the Liacouras Center.
> The Owls defeated then-#17/15 Houston at home on Jan. 9, making it 12 seasons in a row that Temple has defeated a Top 25 program. Temple was the only team to defeat the Cougars through their first 28 games until UCF became the second team to do so on March 2. The Owls got another Top 25 win when they beat #25 UCF on March 9.
> Rose and Pierre-Louis average 16.5 and 13.3 points per game, respectively, to rank second and third on the team. Rose has tallied eight 20-point performances while Pierre-Louis has four.
> Temple ranks 16th in the nation with 8.7 steals per game. The Owls have posted double-digit steals in 13 games.

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