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College basketball: UCLA’s Lonzo Ball earns honors

College basketball: UCLA’s Lonzo Ball earns honors
UCLA guard Lonzo Ball dunks during the first half of a Pac-12 tournament game against Washington State on Mar. 4. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball was selected a first-team All-American by the U.S. Basketball Writers Assn. and a finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy that goes to national player of the year.

The other finalists are Gonzaga's Nigel Williams-Goss, Villanova's Josh Hart, Kansas' Frank Mason III and Purdue's Caleb Swanigan. The winner will be announced March 31 during the Final Four in Glendale, Ariz.

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— Ben Bolch

Poll: Villanova first, UCLA seventh

Villanova, the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, is No. 1 in the final Associated Press college bas-ketball poll of the season.

The Wildcats (31-3) were a runaway choice Monday, receiving 59 first-place votes from the 65-member media panel.

Gonzaga (32-1), which received the other six first-place votes, and Kansas, two No. 1 seeds for the tournament, were second and third. Arizona was fourth in the poll, while North Carolina, the fourth No. 1 seed, was ranked fifth.

Kentucky was sixth, followed by Duke, UCLA, Oregon and Louisville.

Meet these NCAA play-in squads

Kansas State will play Wake Forest and Mt. St. Mary's will meet New Orleans on Tuesday in NCAA tournament First Four play-in games at Dayton, Ohio. So what's to know about these teams?

Kansas State (20-13) and Wake Forest (19-13) boast efficient offenses.

Wake Forest scored 90 points nine times this season. Kansas State put up the points too, scoring 80 nine times. Danny Manning, a former Clipper, coaches Wake Forest.

The winner will play Cincinnati.

Mt. St. Mary's (19-15) relies on a pressing defense — the so-called "Mount Mayhem" — and three-point shooting. New Orleans (20-11) is led by forward Erik Thomas, the Southland Conference player of the year, who averages 19.5 points and 7.8 rebounds. The winning team will face Villanova.

Weather affects travel plans

Teams chasing a college basketball title are contending with an unexpected wrinkle that's making last-minute travel plans difficult — a fierce storm bearing down on the Northeast that's expected to dump up to two feet of snow in some places and create blizzard-like conditions.

Villanova left Philadelphia on Monday afternoon for Buffalo, N.Y., to get ahead of a storm that's projected to last three days. The defending champion Wildcats play Thursday.

"I'm not really looking forward to leaving right away. But it hits you with reality, you're in it," Coach Jay Wright said.

U.S. airlines canceled thousands of flights for Monday and Tuesday in anticipation of the storm.

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Providence was leaving Monday evening for Dayton, Ohio, for its Wednesday night matchup against USC in the First Four, and the Friars had no worries about cancellations because they take charter flights for away games and can avoid the local airport, Athletic Director Bob Driscoll said.

Coaches dismissed

Struggling to get out of the Atlantic 10 Conference cellar, Duquesne has fired Coach Jim Ferry after five seasons.

Ferry went 60-97 with the Dukes, including 10-22 this season. Duquesne went just 3-15 in the A-10 to finish last in the 14-team league. The Dukes were never better than 10th in the A-10 under Ferry.

Cameron Dollar is out as the head coach at Seattle after eight seasons in which he was unable to turn the Redhawks into a contender in the Western Athletic Conference.

Dollar, who played for UCLA, confirmed on Twitter that the school had ended the relationship. He was 107-138 in his time at Seattle.

Illinois State has fired women's Coach Barb Smith after an 8-23 season.

The team was 28-93 during her tenure.

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