Look who's back in the national championship game.
Louisiana Tech returned to the Final Four with a flourish Friday night, running past North Carolina State for an 84-65 national semifinal victory and its sixth trip to the NCAA title game.
Playing in its ninth Final Four but its first in four years, Tech will meet heavily favored Tennessee for the title Sunday night. The Lady Techsters, who won national titles in 1982 and 1988, lost, 75-61, at Tennessee to start the season.
Returning to the dominating style that has been its trademark, Tennessee rolled past Southeastern Conference rival Arkansas, 86-58, to gain yet another berth in the NCAA championship game.
The Lady Vols (38-0) had been given a scare by North Carolina in the regional finals earlier in the week and had to rally from a 12-point deficit to win, 76-70.
Arkansas (22-11) did keep it close for a half. But Tennessee then pounced on the Lady Razorbacks as Chamique Holdsclaw finished with 23 points on 8-for-16 shooting after missing six of her first eight shots. Flying downcourt for easy baskets all game long, Louisiana Tech took control of the game with a 14-0 first-half run and put it away with a 12-0 surge early in the second half.
Amanda Wilson scored 14 of her 20 points in those two bursts to go with 11 rebounds as the Lady Techsters (31-3) spoiled the Final Four debut of Kay Yow, longtime coach of North Carolina State (25-7). Yow has won 495 games in her 23 seasons, but she never had been as far as the regional finals before this year.
Izzo AP coach of year
SAN ANTONIO -- Tom Izzo won the Associated Press Coach of the Year award in his third year as basketball coach at Michigan State.
Izzo led the Spartans to a surprising 22-8 record and a share of the Big Ten Conference regular season championship. Izzo spent 12 years as Jud Heathcote's assistant at Michigan State, primarily as a recruiter.
North Carolina's Antawn Jamison was named the AP college player of the year. The 6-foot-9 forward was the runaway winner of the award, receiving 110 votes from a nationwide panel of sports writers and broadcasters. Kansas center Raef LaFrentz was second with 35 votes and Duke's Trajan Langdon third with 15.
Traylor says he'll go pro
DETROIT -- No longer willing to help carry the load for Michigan, Robert "Tractor" Traylor confirmed he would forego his senior season with the Wolverines and declared himself eligible for the NBA draft.
"I've been through a lot the past three years and I loved it all, but I think right now, it's time to do things to better myself and be a better man," Traylor said at a news conference at Murray-Wright High School, his alma mater.
Traylor led Michigan with 10.1 rebounds per game and was the Wolverines' second-leading scorer at 16.2 points per game. The 6-foot-8, 300-pound junior center helped Michigan to a 25-9 record and the inaugural Big Ten tournament title. The Wolverines' season ended in the second round of the NCAA tournament with an 85-82 loss to UCLA.
Around the rim
Canisius' Mike MacDonald and Richmond's John Beilein are among 19 college basketball coaches who will be on hand today when the NCAA conducts a youth clinic, in conjunction with the Final Four, at Sam Houston High School in San Antonio. Among the other coaches participating are Georgetown's John Thompson and Jim Harrick of Rhode Island.
Tevester Anderson, an assistant to former coach Mark Gottfried, has been hired as Murray State's new head coach. Anderson, 61, succeeds Gottfried, who brought Anderson to Murray as an assistant three years ago and left this week to accept the coaching job at Alabama. His promotion is an acknowlegement of the role he played in building a team that went 29-4 this season and earned a No. 25 ranking in the final AP poll.
Ron Selleaze, Brigham Young's leading scorer this season, was charged with possession of marijuana. Selleaze, suspended from the team earlier this week, faces one count of possession of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone, a class A misdemeanor. Selleaze averaged 17 points per game and was picked for the second-team All-Western Athletic Conference.