Men's Basketball

College basketball highlights: Feb. 6

Notre Dame's Natalie  Novosel drove past West  Virginia's Linda Stepney during the Irish's 73-45 victory in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament. Novosel had 18 points and five rebounds.
Notre Dame's Natalie Novosel drove past West Virginia's Linda Stepney during the Irish's 73-45 victory in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament. Novosel had 18 points and five rebounds. AP

No. 11 Murray State accomplished its season-long goal of reaching the NCAA Tournament. Now, the Racers must wait and wait and wait to see what comes next.

The earliest Murray State (30-1) will play again is next Thursday — a layoff of at least 11 days.

"That 1.1 seconds in the OVC championship was the longest 1.1 seconds of my life, but these 11 days are going to be long," senior guard Donte Poole said, recalling the final seconds of the Racers' victory. "We've just got to make sure we stay focused, stay hungry."

Murray State can take away a lot from its rally over Tennessee State, a 54-52 win capped by senior Jewuan Long's floater with four seconds left. The Racers then withstood a last-second three-point attempt to win it.

"For me to make that shot, it could've been anybody," Long said. "I was going to make the right play. At the same time, any of our players could've done that."

Long said they'll use the time off wisely to prepare even though they won't know their next opponent until Sunday.

"I would hope it would go by quick, but I believe it's going to go by a little bit slow because it's just the anticipation. We're excited to go to the NCAA Tournament," he said. "I know what we're getting into. It means more practice. We're just ready to get back on the floor and play."

Coach Steve Prohm said Murray State can make a strong case to be a No. 2 seed.

"We have like five or six top 100, 125 (RPI) wins, so when you factor that into the equation, and then you look at the fact we're 30-1, you have to sit back and say, 'Wow,' " Prohm said. "You're not just 30-1 by mistake. Now, do I think we're going to get a two seed? Probably not. But, four, five or six if I'm a betting man."

The Racers insist they won't linger on where they're seeded Sunday because the best teams in the tournament will separate themselves.

"At the end of the day, if we want to get to where we want to go, which is the Final Four, you have to play some of the best teams anyway," Long said. "That's how you've got to look at it."

Syracuse investigation

Syracuse has self-reported possible violations of its internal drug policy, and an NCAA inquiry is under way, according to school officials.

Kevin Quinn, senior vice president for public affairs for the university, said the inquiry does not involve any current athletes.

In a report Monday, Yahoo Sports said a three-month investigation it conducted showed that the Syracuse men's basketball program failed to adhere to its internal drug policy while playing ineligible players over the past decade.

The report, which cited anonymous sources, said at least 10 players since 2001 had tested positive for a banned recreational substance or substances. The sources said all 10 of the players were allowed to practice and play at times when they should have been suspended by the athletics department, including instances when some might not have known of their own ineligibility.

Jim Boeheim, coach of the second-ranked Orange, was not immediately available for comment Monday.

Women

No. 3 Notre Dame 73, No. 25 West Virginia 45: Lexington Catholic graduate Natalie Novosel scored 18 points, and Kayla McBride added 15 to help Notre Dame beat West Virginia in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament in Hartford, Conn.

"We're in a position right where we want to be," Novosel said. "Going into tomorrow night's game, we want to go in and win that for coach (Muffet McGraw)."

The Irish will play Connecticut in the title game Tuesday night.

Notre Dame will be looking for its first Big East Tournament championship.

Notre Dame (30-2) got a measure of revenge on the Mountaineers (23-9), who ended the Irish's 21-game winning streak on Feb. 12 with a 65-63 win in South Bend, Ind. It was Notre Dame's only Big East loss.

"I think we came out here with a little fire in us," Novosel said. "We were excited when we saw we were playing West Virginia."

Big 12: Brittney Griner was selected as the Big 12 women's basketball Player of the Year for the second year in a row by the league's coaches. Griner is the Big 12's leading scorer with 23.3 points per game.

Men

Big 12: Kansas junior Thomas Robinson was the unanimous selection as The Associated Press Big 12 men's basketball player of the year. Robinson is averaging 18 points and 11.9 rebounds a game for the Jayhawks.

ACC: North Carolina placed its entire starting frontcourt on the All-Conference first team. Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Harrison Barnes were joined by Virginia's Mike Scott and Duke's Austin Rivers.

Big East: Syracuse sophomore center Fab Melo was named the conference's defensive player of the year by league coaches. The 7-foot Melo averaged 3.7 blocks per game.

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