Shaka Smart has packed an entire career's worth of experiences into 14 years as a college head coach. He led VCU to an improbable Final Four as a 30-something wunderkind in 2011, guided mighty Texas to a Big 12 Tournament title during six otherwise tepid years in Austin, and now has turned Marquette into a Big East beast.
Alabama All-American forward Brandon Miller is heading to the NBA after displaying versatile talent and athleticism in a lone season of college ball that was blemished by revelations he was present at a fatal shooting in January near campus.
The Final Four — FAU (35-3) plays San Diego State (31-6) on Saturday in Houston, before Miami (29-7) plays UConn (29-8) in the other national semifinal — is rarefied air for coach Dusty May and the Owls.
A congressional hearing Wednesday targeting ''NIL chaos'' in college sports drifted into the ramifications of athletes being deemed employees of their schools and mostly highlighted those who support congressional intervention to protect the collegiate model.
While Connecticut can boast the most titles of any school in college basketball over the last quarter-century, this week's trip to the Final Four is the men's first since their last championship in 2014.