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NCAA Basketball News and Notes for March 21

For those that love March Madness, the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament certainly did not disappoint. Between major upsets, an amazing play, and captivating stories, there was a little bit of everything to enthrall fans around the nation.

With so much excitement as the tournament has narrowed its way to the Sweet 16, let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories of the week.

Saint Peter’s Is This Year’s Tournament Cinderella

Every year there is an underdog story that becomes America’s sweethearts as they take down programs that far exceed them in history and clout. This year, it is the Saint Peter’s Peacocks that has made headlines as the No. 15 seed has danced their way into the Sweet 16 as this year’s Cinderella story.

The Peacocks’ first-found win was the biggest upset of the tournament as they took down the No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats, 85-79. In the win, Daryl Banks III and Doug Edert combined for 47 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in the win.

If that wasn’t enough, they took down No. 7 Murray State on Saturday, 70-60. This time it was KC Ndefo leading the way with a double-double as he had a team-high 17 points and ten rebounds.

Saint Peter’s will next play on Friday against the No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers. Time will tell if the Cinderella story can keep going, but for now, it has made for one of the best stories of the first weekend.

UCLA Wins, But Suffers Tough Injury

After beating No. 13 Akron in the first round, No. 4 UCLA took down No. 5 Saint Mary’s to move onto the Sweet 16. They will square off with No. 8 North Carolina after they upset No. 1 Baylor.

While UCLA is thrilled with the victory, it didn’t come without a cost. The Bruins lost Jaime Jaquez to an ankle injury, the same ankle he has been dealing with injuries to all season long.

On the season, Jaquez is the second-leading scorer for the Bruins averaging 14 points on 48.2 percent shooting. He is also averaging 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.2 steals.

Hopefully, several days off will allow Jaquez to return on Friday, but if he is unable to go, it is a huge loss for the Bruins.

Coaching Carousel In Full Swing

Like every year, the end of the basketball season kicks off a coaching carousel as teams fire and hire new coaches. Here are a few of the filled positions from the week.

Mississippi State has found its replacement for Ben Howland by hiring Chris Jans from New Mexico State. Jans and No. 12 New Mexico State upset No. 5 Connecticut in the first round of the tournament before falling to No. 4 Arkansas on Saturday.

Overall, Jans finishes his tenure at New Mexico State with a 122-32 record, which included three trips to the NCAA tournament.

Sean Miller is headed back to Xavier. After serving as their head coach from 2004 to 2009, Miller will once again call Xavier home.

After his departure from Xavier, Miller spent 12 seasons at Arizona but was dismissed after a federal investigation showed multiple violations by Arizona. Miller could still face punishment from those allegations, but it was not enough to make Xavier avoid their former head coach.

CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reports that the Kansas State Wildcats have found their new coach. After parting with Bruce Weber, who had been there for ten seasons, KSU is turning to Jerome Tang to be the next head coach.

Tang has served as an assistant coach with the Baylor Bears. Unfortunately for Baylor, they were upset in overtime by North Carolina in the second round, becoming the first No. 1 seed to be knocked out of the tournament.

Lastly, Florida has found its new coach as they announced they have hired Todd Golden for the position. Golden comes from San Francisco, where he just finished a 24-10 season that included an appearance in the NCAA tournament.

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