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NCAA Tournament preview

Heaven? No, Iowa for Funk and Richardson


Two standout seasons from two area seniors will earn them a chance to capture “One Shining Moment” in the Corn Belt in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament.

No. 10 Penn State opens with No. 7 Texas A&M, with the winner facing the better of No. 15 Colgate vs. No. 2 Texas. Both games are Thursday in Des Moines.

Andrew Funk (Warrington), a graduate transfer to Penn State after a 1,000-point career at Bucknell, started every game for the Nittany Lions. He earned a Big Ten Honorable Mention nod for averaging 12.0 points per game and ranking in the country’s top 30 in 3-point percentage.

Funk scored 43 points in Penn State’s first three Big 10 tournament games, helping the Nittany Lions vanquish three straight 20-win foes and reach their first conference final since 2011.

Tucker Richardson (Hunterdon Central) had a triple-double, and tied Colgate’s career 3-point mark, when the Raiders defeated Lafayette 79-61 on March 8 to clinch their third straight Patriot League championship and automatic NCAA bid.

A fifth-year senior, Richardson won the Patriot League Scholar Athlete of the Year, Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year this winter. The 6-foot-5 guard is the first player in Patriot League men's basketball history to reach 1,500-plus points, 700-plus rebounds and 500-plus assists. He is also Colgate’s career leader in games played, assists and steals.

On the women’s side, Villanova ended the regular season 28-6 and ranked in the country’s top 15. The Wildcats featured junior Maddie Burke (CB West), who ranked third on the team in points and fourth in assists. She was a perfect 17 for 17 from the foul line. Freshman Kaitlyn Orihel (Newtown) appeared in every game for Villanova.

No. 4 Villanova hosts No. 13 Cleveland State in Saturday’s first round of the NCAA women’s tournament.

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