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Notre Dame's Vasturia leads Philly contingent in NCAAs

Tracking down players with local ties in the NCAA Tournament

Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Steve Vasturia (32) helps cut down the net. The Fighting Irish defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels 90-82 in the championship game of the ACC Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. (Bob Donnan/USA Today)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Steve Vasturia (32) helps cut down the net. The Fighting Irish defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels 90-82 in the championship game of the ACC Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. (Bob Donnan/USA Today)Read more

THE DEVELOPMENT of Steve Vasturia took another step over the weekend when he helped Notre Dame win its first ACC Tournament championship. They were doing the jig all over Tobacco Road after the Irish beat Duke and North Carolina on consecutive nights.

Vasturia, a sophomore from St. Joseph's Prep, performed well enough that he became the first city leagues player to be named to the ACC's all-tournament team since Duke's Gerald Henderson (Episcopal) in 2009.

Jerian Grant is Notre Dame's best player, but Vasturia is a solid contributor with a wonderful basketball IQ.

"He's a special kid. He sees a pass ahead [of the play]," said Speedy Morris, his coach at the Prep. "He's very smart. I am a little disappointed in his foul shooting, however. He's only at [85 percent]. He's usually at 90 or 91 percent. He made 63 in a row here."

This might not help alleviate the sting of Temple's exclusion, but - with help from - here are the city leagues players whose teams are dancing:

David Appolon, Robert Morris

Senior, guard, Imhotep

Season: Was averaging six points and nearly 22 minutes per game before he injured his shoulder on Jan. 31.

Recently: He had season-ending surgery a week ago.

NCAA Tournament: The Colonials face North Florida in a preliminary game tomorrow night (6:40 p.m, truTV) in Dayton. The winner gets Duke on Friday in Charlotte.

Hakeem Baxter, UAB

Sophomore, guard, P.E.T

Season: Started 29 of 34 games for the Blazers, averaging 7.6 points per game.

Recently: Had a clutch three-point play early in the overtime during the upset win over top-seeded Louisiana Tech in the Conference USA semifinals. UAB, the 4-seed, then handled fifth-seeded Middle Tennessee.

NCAA Tournament: The Blazers are the 14-seed in the South. They play Big 12 champion Iowa State on Thursday in Louisville (12:40 p.m., truTV).

Nick Lindner, Lafayette

Sophomore, guard, Germantown Academy

Season: Averages a team-high 32.0 minutes per game and has nearly a 3:1 assist to turnover ratio.

Recently: Was the Patriot League Tournament MVP with 71 points in three games, including 25 in the final. Lindner averaged 10.8 points in the regular season, 23.7 in the tournament. Lafayette, the No. 4, is the lowest seed ever to win the Patriot.

NCAA Tournament: Lafayette is a 16-seed. It opens with Villanova on Thursday (6:50 p.m., TBS). A No. 16 has never beaten a No. 1.

Rysheed Jordan, St. John's

Sophomore, guard, Vaux

Season: Averaged 14.3 points per game with a season-high 25 against Creighton in February and 21 points and eight assists in a lopsided loss to Villanova in the regular-season finale.

Recently: Playing his best ball of the year lately, averaging 17.5 ppg over his last six.

NCAA Tournament: St. John's is the 9-seed in the South. They play San Diego State on Friday (9:40 p.m., CBS) with the winner likely facing Duke. Jordan had 18 points in a loss to Duke earlier this season.

Kevin Rafferty, Villanova

Junior, forward, Malvern Prep

Season: A deep sub, Rafferty has played in 14 games with two field goals.

NCAA Tournament: The Wildcats are the top seed in the East. They open on Thursday with Lafayette (6:50 p.m., TBS). With a win, they'll get either N.C. State or LSU on Saturday.

Steve Vasturia, Notre Dame

Sophomore, guard,

St. Joseph's Prep

Season: Started all 34 games (9.7 pts.) as the Irish turned around last year's disappointing 15-17 campaign.

Recently: Helped Notre Dame win eight of the last nine, including Ws over Miami, Duke and North Carolina as the Irish claimed their first ACC Tournament championship. Vasturia had 39 points in the three games and was a member of the all-tourney team.

NCAA Tournament: The Irish are a 3-seed in the Midwest, a region that includes top-seeded Kentucky and second-seeded Kansas. Notre Dame plays 14-seeded Northeastern on Thursday in Pittsburgh (12:15 p.m., CBS). A victory would get them the winner of Butler/Texas.


Kentucky played six teams from power conferences outside the SEC that went on to make the NCAA Tournament. Obviously, the 34-0 Wildcats won each of those games. Here's how those opponents shot from the field:

FG pct.

North Carolina. . . 45.0

Texas. . . 29.8

Providence. . . 28.2

UCLA. . . 26.8

Louisville. . . 25.9

Kansas. . . 19.6

Zig Zagged

Gonzaga hasn't been out of the first weekend since getting to the Sweet 16 in 2009. Yes, the Zags lost as a No. 1 seed to Wichita State in 2013. But the other 4 years, they were seeded 7, 8 (twice) and 11.

Wanna Bet?

For all of our friends headed out west for the best weekend on the Vegas calendar, here are how the top four seeds in each region have fared in their last 10 games against the spread:

MidwestATS EastATS

1. Kentucky. . . 7-1-2 1. Villanova. . . 8-2

2. Kansas. . . 3-7 2. Virginia. . . 4-6

3. Notre Dame. . . 7-3 3. Oklahoma. . . 3-7

4. Maryland. . . 5-3-2 4. Louisville. . . 4-6

SouthATS WestATS

1. Duke. . . 6-4 1. Wisconsin. . . 5-5

2. Gonzaga. . . 5-5 2. Arizona. . . 8-2

3. Iowa State. . . 7-2-1 3. Baylor. . . 5-5

4. Georgetown. . . 3-7 4. N. Carolina . . . 7-3

Note: Notre Dame is on a 5-0 run ATS . . . According to

Dandy Dozens

A No. 12 seed has beaten the No. 5 seed SIX times in the last 2 years. All three of the teams that did it last year – Harvard, North Dakota State and Stephen F. Austin – are back in the tournament again this year. Here are the 12-5 games this year:


West - 12-Wofford vs. 5-Arkansas: The Woffs, who do not have much height, must contain Arkansas' big man Bobby Portis.

South - 12-S.F. Austin vs. 5-Utah: SFA pulled a 12-5 surprise last year when it dumped Virginia Commonwealth.


East - 12-Wyoming vs. 5-N. Iowa: Remember when Northern Iowa used to be an underdog?

Midwest - 12-Buffalo vs. 5-West Virginia: The Mountaineers are getting healthy while Buffalo's best player has been nagged by an ankle injury. Look elsewhere.