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With Mabrey On Point Notre Dame Back In Ncaas At Top Seed



When the season became a numbers game for Notre Dame, coach Muffet McGraw decided to turn Marina Mabrey into a point guard.

Mabrey, the 5-foot-11 junior shooting guard, was a little apprehensive taking over at the point. But McGraw, Mabrey and Notre Dame really had no choice after losing two point guards and two other players over nine months to knee injuries that required season-ending surgeries.

“As a two, you’re thinking about scoring,” Mabrey said after Notre Dame (29-3) received one of the four top seeds in this year’s NCAA Tournament. “Now I feel like I have to put myself second and think, ‘OK, what does our team need?'”

A point guard herself at St. Joseph in the 1970s, McGraw had few options to consider on the plane ride home from a 96-73 victory at Wake Forest on the last day of 2017. Point guard Lili Thompson, a graduate transfer from Stanford, had hours earlier gone down in a heap with the team’s fourth season-ending injury, joining senior point guard Mychal Johnson, All-America senior forward Brianna Turner and promising freshman forward Mykala Vaughn on a bench now down to seven scholarship and three walk-on players.

“Any time you ask a scorer to step out of their role and play point, which is a job where you have to think about everybody else and not yourself, you wonder,” McGraw recalled. “Marina was really, really willing to do that.”

It wasn’t a total stretch for McGraw, who gave Mabrey some time at the position last season behind senior Lindsay Allen, who was back up her first three seasons by Mabrey’s older sister, Michaela, a senior when Marina arrived on campus in 2015.

“Marina had a little bit of experience but not much,” McGraw said. “Michaela was naturally a point guard. She looked to pass first. It was easy for Michaela to play the point. It’s been an adjustment for Marina, but she’s handled it well.”

There was a hiccup three games after Mabrey made the move when then-No. 2 Notre Dame was routed 100-67 at No. 3 Louisville on Jan. 11. A 14-game winning streak followed that allowed the Fighting Irish to share a fifth straight Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title with Louisville. The Cardinals again prevailed in the ACC Tournament championship game, 74-72.

That’s a 16-2 run to the NCAA Tournament for the Irish with Mabrey at point. During those 18 games, the native of Belmar, New Jersey, totaled seven games of 20 or more points, had seven games of five or more rebounds, dished out seven or more assists on seven occasions and had at least five steals five times.

Next up is the NCAA tourney opener at home on Friday against Cal State Northridge (19-15).

Many have provided Mabrey an ear as she has sought to find her comfort zone. Thompson and Johnson have guided her every day as have McGraw and associate head coach Niele Ivey, who played the point on McGraw’s 2001 national championship team. Allen still keeps in touch, and, of course, there’s older sister Michaela, now an assistant coach at Miami (Ohio).

“Michaela told me, ‘Take what they give you. You’re a great scorer so don’t let go of that. Find a balance,'” Marina said. “I think I’m starting to find the balance.”

Ivey believes Mabrey has in a season during which she has averaged 14.2 points (down from 14.6 a year ago), 4.6 rebounds (up from 3.0), 4.3 assists (up from 2.4) and 1.9 steals (up from 1.5).

“I knew with the ball being in her hands that she would be the hardest worker,” Ivey said. “Marina is a competitor. She wants to win. She’s going to do whatever it takes to win. She’s going to run through a wall for this team.”

Before she does that, Marina Mabrey might want to talk to her coach and teammates, who have seen enough crutches and bandages this season.


Ncaa Latest Purdues Haas To Warm Up For Butler Game




The Latest on the second round of the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern):

2:20 p.m.

The plot is now thickening for Purdue and star center Isaac Haas.

Coach Matt Painter now says he thinks Haas will dress and go to warmups for Sunday’s game against Butler, but he said he still doesn’t expect the big man to play after breaking his elbow in Friday’s victory over Cal State Fullerton. Shortly before Painter’s news conference Saturday, a CBS reporter tweeted that Haas had practiced.

Purdue announced Friday that he was out for the rest of the NCAA Tournament, but there now appears to be some question about that.

“He ran up and down today, did a few things and worked out,” Painter said. “I don’t see him playing.”

Haas was not available to reporters Saturday.


2:15 p.m.

No second-round flameout for top-seeded Villanova this time.

Mikal Bridges scored 22 of his 23 points in the second half and the Wildcats rolled by ninth-seeded Alabama 81-58 and into the Sweet 16 on Saturday. Bridges poured in 16 points during an 18-1 burst to start the second half as Villanova quickly pulled away.

Donte DiVencenzo added 18 off the bench for Villanova (31-5), helping the Wildcats stay in front in the first half with star guard Jalen Brunson in foul trouble.

The Wildcats had lost during the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament four times as a No. 1 or 2 seed, including last season. They overwhelmed the Crimson Tide (20-16) with a barrage of 3-pointers. Villanova finished 17 of 41 from deep.

The Wildcats will play either Marshall or West Virginia in the East Regional semifinals in Boston on Friday.

Alabama freshman star Collin Sexton finished with 17 points but also committed five of the Crimson Tide’s 15 turnovers


1:40 p.m.

No. 1 Villanova has a Sweet 16 berth in sight.

Mikal Bridges hit three straight 3-pointers and the Wildcats opened the second half on an 18-1 run to grab a 50-28 lead. Bridges scored only 1 point in the first half before he exploded in the second.

He finished off a thunderous alley-oop then went on his 3-point spree.

The Wildcats are trying to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since they won the national championship in 2016. Villanova was upset by Wisconsin in the second round a year ago.


1:10 p.m.

No. 1 Villanova is getting a scare from Alabama.

The Wildcats lead the ninth-seeded Crimson Tide 32-27 at halftime. The sport is still buzzing from top-seeded Virginia’s 20-point loss to 16th-seeded UMBC on Friday night.

Alabama would love to make it two No. 1s knocked out.

The Wildcats are upset prone because they live and die by the 3-pointer. When it works, and it usually works, they are clearly one of the best teams in the tournament.

Against Alabama, they missed eight of their first 11 3-point attempts. Donte DiVincenzo steadied the Wildcats when he hit three straight 3s and added one more right before the half to give them a 5-point edge.

DiVincenzo scored 18 points in the half.


12:50 p.m.

The Pac-12 is out. The Big Ten is undefeated. And the SEC has the most teams left in the NCAA Tournament with six still playing after the first round.

The conference scoreboard for the 32 teams left in the NCAA Tournament is an interesting mix with 13 conferences remaining, with most of the one-bid leagues and the Pac-12 bounced in the first round.

The ACC has five teams left in the field after losing four teams in the first round, while the Big Ten, Big East and Big 12 each have four teams chasing a spot in the Sweet 16.

Here’s a look at the tournament records for the basketball’s top conferences at the start of the second round:

SEC: 6-2

ACC: 6-4

Big Ten: 4-0

Big East: 4-2

Big 12: 4-3

Pac-12: 0-3.


12 p.m.

The second round of the NCAA Tournament tips off on Saturday — with many fans still stunned over top-seeded Virginia’s 20-point loss to 16th-seeded UMBC on Friday night.

Fellow No. 1 seed Villanova opens the action against Alabama, as the Wildcats look to avoid a second-round exit for the second year in a row.

Second-seeded Duke will face a dangerous and veteran Rhode Island team, while Kentucky takes on 13th-seeded Buffalo — which blew out Arizona on Thursday.

No. 1 seeded Kansas will play Seton Hall, while Tennessee has Loyola-Chicago in its path to the Sweet 16.

Ohio State and Gonzaga will square off in Boise. Florida and Texas Tech will meet in an AP Top 25 matchup, and Michigan closes out the day against Houston.


More AP college basketball: ;—Top25 and

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Morocco Bid 16bn For 2026 World Cup Venues Infrastructure




Morocco says it will need to spend almost $16 billion to prepare to host the 2026 World Cup, with every proposed stadium and training ground built from scratch or renovated.

With less than three months until the FIFA vote, the north African nation on Saturday presented details of its proposal to take on the joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The North American bid plans to rely on existing infrastructure, including large NFL stadiums already hosting events.

When FIFA insiders score the bids, infrastructure — of which half relates to stadiums — will account for 70 percent of the panel’s mark. The remaining 30 percent is based on projected costs and revenues. A high-risk bid can be disqualified before the FIFA Congress votes on June 13.

Morocco says for $3 billion it can build nine stadiums, refurbish five others and build or renovate 130 training grounds.

That is part of the $12.6 billion in public investment that also requires hospital services being upgraded in 20 cities and transport networks improved for the first 48-team World Cup.

The bid says another $3.2 billion of private investment is required to build hotels.

Morocco’s bid team told The Associated Press that the projections had been “carefully costed” but could not provide a breakdown on how the figures were reached.

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Six Nations 2018 Bonus Points: How Do Rugby Teams Earn An Extra Point?




THE SIX NATIONS is underway as England look to defend their title.

Eddie Jones’ side took their 28th championship with a game to spare, but were denied a Triple Crown and Grand Slam triumph by a determined Ireland.

PA:Press Association England will defend their Six Nations title this year

In a Six Nations first, bonus points were awarded in 2017 in what was designed to be a three-year trial run.

But due to its overwhelming success in encouraging attacking, engaging rugby, that trial has now been scrapped and the system brought in permanently.

PA:Press Association England’s Danny Care scores a try at the Six Nations competition last year

And plenty of teams have already earned bonus points in this year’s competition.

How do you get a bonus point?

THE tournament uses a league system where the six competing nations are ranked in a table.

ENGLAND VS WALES LIVE Red Rose hope to keep Grand Slam quest on course as Welsh come to Twickenham for monster showdown

They receive four points for a win, two points for a draw and nothing for a defeat.

If a team wins all their games – called a Grand Slam – they are automatically given three extra points to make sure they finish top of the pile.

Six Nations outright winners

England 10/11

Ireland 15/8

Wales 14/1

France 14/1

Scotland 9/1

Italy 1000/1

For the full list of Sun Bets odds CLICK HERE

PA:Press Association Boss Eddie Jones names his Six Nations squad on Thursday but is short of options at No8

As of last year, bonus points are now awarded depending on performance during any given game.

A team will receive ONE extra point if they score four or more tries in a single match, and ONE extra point if they lose by seven or less.

IRELAND VS ITALY LIVE Minute-by-minute updates from the Aviva Stadium as Joe Schmidt’s side look to build on France win

Despite the 2017 trial being a success, the bonus points collected by the six teams didn’t have a say on the overall standings.

Six Nations launches in London with interviews from Dylan Hartley, Eddie Jones and Warren Gatland

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