Bruce Pearl blames NCAA — not his lying — for his firing

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Bruce Pearl made the media rounds Thursday, a day after learning the NCAA imposed a three-year show cause penalty on the former Tennessee coach. The move effectively bans him from a high-major job until 2014 (though some schools might think otherwise).

And he isn’t happy about it.

“I believe I should have gotten more credit for coming forward and telling the truth,” Pearl told the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “But the damage that was done was too great.”

Pearl won’t appeal the decision. He says he takes “full responsibility” for his actions. Instead, he seems to be hoping the contrition angle will help him for future gigs. But here’s a protip: Don’t piss off the NCAA by making critical comments.

He told the paper that the NCAA’s allegation of major violations was too harsh given that the charge was eventually dismissed. (Lying got him fired and punished, not the cheating.) Even if he’s correct, this probably isn’t the way to go, Bruce.

“The timing of that charge led directly to the termination of my coaching staff,” Pearl told the paper. “Our chancellor and our athletic director went on record as saying that supposed bump violation was the beginning of the end for me.

“I waited a lifetime for a job like Tennessee … It was my hope our staff could have survived.”

Forget the NCAA. You know what would’ve helped you survive, Bruce? Not lying. And not lying some more.

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Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.