Posted by Nate Kotisso on April 1st, 2013
- It appears the entire Kansas team took a harder shot below the belt than Michigan’s Mitch McGary on Friday night. The Jayhawks coughed up a 14-point second half lead to the Wolverines, capped off by a deeeeep three-pointer from point guard/superman Trey Burke with five seconds left in regulation. Now Michigan’s prepping for the Final Four in Atlanta while KU is looking ahead to a very different roster in 2013-14. Gone will be Travis Releford, Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Kevin Young and Ben McLemore to the NBA (presumably) but Bill Self has a top-flight recruiting class coming in to plug those holes. Next year will sort of resemble the KU team he had in 2009: a major roster turnover after they won a national title. Another reason to not be down on Kansas: that ’09 team made the Sweet Sixteen.
- Fred Hoiberg isn’t going anywhere for awhile. The Mayor agreed to a 10-year, $20 million extension with Iowa State last Thursday just as his name was thrown around the rumor mill for the vacant Minnesota job or consideration for a future NBA job. All he’s done in three years in Ames is make the NCAA Tournament twice while winning two games in March. Typically, opportunities for coaches to “come home” occur later in their coaching careers (see: Roy Williams, Bob Huggins). With Hoiberg’s local ties and statements like “It’s [Iowa State] where I want to be” and “I hope to coach here until I retire,” it’s hard to believe he’ll go anywhere else. What a welcome change in college athletics.
- Remember conference realignment? For the longest time, Louisville was rumored to become a member of the Big 12, but it never materialized. It would have been a perfect fit. Their football team is coming off a win in the Sugar Bowl, men’s basketball is headed for a second consecutive Final Four, and women’s hoops has just pulled a colossal upset of Baylor to advance to the Elite Eight. Now they’re headed for the ACC in 2014, which for basketball purposes, is as close to heaven as anything else with Syracuse, Duke, and North Carolina all in the same league. If I had to put money on it, this bigger ACC will not last. We’ve seen mega-conferences before (WAC, Big East) and they don’t tend to last for very long. Hopefully, the Big 12 can get another shot at the Cards in the future.
- The Tubby Smith-Texas Tech rumors of a meeting are now fact. According to an Associated Press report from Saturday night, TTU is in talks with Smith to become its next head coach. Tubby and his wife left Lubbock and we have not discussed whether Smith received a firm offer from the school. I personally like Chris Walker to take the full-time job because of how he carries himself and treats his players, but all of that changes if Tubby is interested. He’s a winner everywhere he’s been and Minnesota probably made a huge mistake by letting him go.
- Did you even think we’d say the Baylor men’s season would last longer than the women’s? Well, it will. Brittney Griner, arguably the greatest women’s player at the college level, ended her decorated career Sunday night in a Sweet Sixteen defeat to Louisville, 82-81. She had one of her worst games of the year as the Cardinals were physical and unrelenting with her all game long, failing to score her first points until the second half. The Lady Cards earned it the hard way and will now face Tennessee for the right to go to the Final Four tomorrow night.
Posted by dnspewak on March 5th, 2013
- The fall of Baylor has been underpublicized this season. The Bears have crashed and burned this season with another influx of blue-chip talent under Scott Drew, and they’re now in major bubble trouble after losing at Texas last night. The loss drops Baylor to below .500 in the league, and it’s also the eighth loss in 11 games for this team. The resume doesn’t look anything like an NCAA Tournament team, but the collection of individual talent on the floor sure does. Pierre Jackson’s production has not dipped, and Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson are statistically two of the best rebounders and shot-blockers in the Big 12. But everything imaginable has gone wrong during league play this winter, and it’ll only feed the Scott Drew haters during the offseason.
- Senior Night is always special. It’s even more special when guys like Kevin Young decide to go out with a bang and do stand-up comedy. One of his top quotes: “I had a long speech prepared. It got lost in my hair.” The actual game between Kansas and Texas Tech was a big joke itself, with the Jayhawks knocking out TTU by 37 points. It’s a good thing top high school recruit Andrew Wiggins made his visit for this particular game and got to see a stellar performance. Apparently, the fans chanted “We Want Wiggins,” which will not win awards for creativity but certainly gets the point across.
- Senior Day will also be a little different in Manhattan tonight. After Frank Martin left for South Carolina last year, some of the senior class considered transferring. They decided to stay, and that’s why their final game at Bramlage Coliseum will mean so much more. Rodney McGruder, Martavious Irving and Jordan Henriquez are now the winningest class in Kansas State history, and they have their team in the top 10 of the national rankings and in position to possibly win a Big 12 title. You can infer that they made the right decision.
- Iowa State is the quintessential bubble team. After an eye-opening loss to Oklahoma this weekend, Fred Hoiberg is blaming himself for the missed opportunity to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee, but at least one writer blames the players instead. No matter who you blame, the Cyclones could be a very dangerous team if they find a way to sneak into the field. They’re very good on the boards, they’re set with a solid point guard and they have a lot of scorers and shooters. If they can’t seal the deal during the next two weeks (including the Big 12 Tournament), the NIT better watch out.
- We’ll leave you on a Brittney Griner note. This is normally a site for the men’s game (a women’s basketball RTC might be quite the gold mine if there’s a self-starter out there), but performances like Griner’s are too good to pass up here. The Baylor star scored 50 points against Kansas State last night, and she’s now second on the all-time scoring list. Oh, and she’s a senior, and we’ve had the pleasure of watching her for multiple seasons without leaving for the pros. Sounds nice.