It appears that the drama is finally over.
After a couple of days worth of back and forth, Mike Anderson appears to have finally made a decision — he’s headed to Arkansas. There were rumors swirling this morning that he was leaning heavily towards Arkansas, and this afternoon Jeff Goodman and Sports by Brooks reported that Anderson has informed the Missouri Athletics Department of his decision. (Funny side note — in that SbB link, there is a picture of Anderson’s former parking spot, where the sign labeling the spot Anderson’s has already been removed.)
As you should be well aware by now, Anderson was a long-time assistant at Arkansas under Nolan Richardson. He will be taking over a program that has some decent talent returning and a loaded recruiting class that Anderson is going to have to work to keep. It will also be interesting to see if Phil or Matt Pressey, whose father is good friends with Anderson, follow him out the door.
For my money, the opening at Missouri is not the best job available, at least in the short term — we could probably argue the long term benefits of a gig like Georgia Tech, NC State, or Oklahoma. There is enough talent returning to immediately be considered a contender in the Big 12.
And if I’m the Tigers, I set my sights on VCU’s Shaka Smart.
Politics and salaries aside, when it comes to the basketball, Smart is the perfect fit for Missouri. The roster make up of the Tigers is ideal for the system he currently runs at VCU considering Smart’s system isn’t all that different from Anderson’s. Smart also presses and his guard-heavy teams also take quite a few threes.
VCU has a good history with coaches, as well. Jeff Capel took Oklahoma to the 2009 Elite 8 while Anthony Grant nearly got Alabama into the NCAA Tournament this season.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.
For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.
On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.
Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.
Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.
In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.
As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.
(More to come from Chapel Hill…)
North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.
(H/T: The Cauldron)