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Transfers boost men’s basketball teams like Houston, Michigan at NCAA Tournament

Michigan guard Chaundee Brown dunks during the second half of a second-round game against LSU in the NCAA men's basketball tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday in Indianapolis. (AP photo)

By AARON BEARD

AP Basketball Writer

INDIANAPOLIS — Kelvin Sampson never set out to take a once-proud Houston program back to national prominence by leaning on transfers.

“Sometimes that’s just the way it works out,” Sampson said.

And there’s no reason to change that approach, either. Not after the transfer-led Cougars are back in the Sweet 16 for the second straight NCAA Tournament — making them one of multiple teams still alive in Indianapolis with a boost from players who started their college careers on other campuses.

The other top seeds in each region have transfers playing a key role, too, from top-ranked Gonzaga adding point guard Andrew Nembhard from Florida, to fellow No. 1 seed Baylor adding a third-team AP All-American in Davion Mitchell (Auburn) and MaCio Teague (UNC Asheville) as double-digit scorers.

In the case of No. 1 seed Michigan and No. 3 Arkan

sas, they’ve had transfers elevate their games to ensure they advance out of tough second-round matchups.

The Wolverines are playing without senior forward Isaiah Livers, who is out indefinitely with a foot injury. They needed and got a big game from Wake Forest transfer Chaundee Brown Jr., against LSU, with the 6-foot-5 senior scoring a season-high 21 points to exceed his output from the previous three games combined.