For the first time in more than a decade, the NCAA tournament will have a new czar. And it’s not sitting well with various college basketball writers and coaches.
The NCAA announced Tuesday that Mark Lewis will be the new executive vice president for championships and alliances, replacing Greg Shaheen.
Shaheen was the man who negotiated the recent 14-year, $10.8 billion TV contract. He also helped devise the First Four format (avoiding an expansion to a 96-team tournament) and was a man who was accommodating to anyone involved in covering March Madness.
There’s still a possibility that Shaheen will have some sort of role with the NCAA in the future – he’ll soon meet with NCAA president Mark Emmert – which would be smart. Some of the game’s biggest coaches love Shaheen.
- “Working with Myles Brand, Greg furthered the cause of men’s college basketball as much as anyone in the last decade,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told CBSSports.com. “It’s a huge loss for our game.”
- “It’s hard for me to understand anything anymore except that everyone wants their own power,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo told The New York Times. “I don’t know if it’s the way it has to be. This guy has done a lot for college athletics.”
- “I can’t imagine anyone doing their job from a coach’s standpoint better than he’s done his,” Kansas coach Bill Self told The Times. “Greg Shaheen is one of the brightest guys that we have a chance to come in contact with.
There’s a good chance that Lewis, who comes to the NCAA from Jet Set Sports, a company than made beaucoup bucks off the Olympics, will thrive in his new role. But it’s clear he’ll have big shoes to fill.
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Wednesday’s slate of games had several wild results.
Former Ohio State walk-on turned blogger turned author Mark Titus, who is currently writing for The Ringer, joined Rob Dauster on the latest episode of the CBT Podcast to go over last night’s games. The two also discussed who is the best team in the nation at the moment, as well Frank Mason III’s rap single from several years ago #BIFM
You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom
North Carolina’s Roy Williams called fellow Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino to apologize for a fan’s behavior during Wednesday night’s game in Chapel Hill.
While leaving the floor at halftime, Pitino had to be restrained by members of the Louisville coaching staff and he and a UNC fan exchanged words as he made his way to the locker rom. There’s video of Pitino pointing and shouting at a fan, who reportedly said, “Pitino, you suck!”
“I don’t like that,” Williams said, according to the Charlotte Observer. “I mean we’re in North Carolina. We don’t have to be like everybody else. We can raise Cain. You can boo, but you don’t have to say the stuff that we as coaches have to put up with.”
“I hope that never happens at North Carolina ever again.”
No. 8 North Carolina defeated No. 7 Louisville, 74-63.
STILL TO PLAY
Georgia at Alabama (RPI: 68, KenPom: 61, next four teams), 7:00 p.m.
Nebraska at Michigan State (RPI: 43, KenPom: 55, No. 10 seed), 7:00 p.m.
Towson at UNC Wilmington (RPI: 41, KenPom: 57, No. 12 seed), 7:00 p.m.
Jim Boeheim was on the DP Show on Thursday morning, and he admitted that John Gillon’s 23-foot banked-in three at the buzzer was (shocker!) a lucky shot.
But that wasn’t the most interesting thing that he said on the show.
Patrick asked him about his future in Syracuse, and Boeheim had an interesting response.
“I don’t know what’s etched in stone these days,” Boeheim said. “I really don’t. There’s a plan in place, and we’re going to see what happens. But basically right now, I might be done this year. You just don’t know. You just have to wait until the season’s over.”
Boeheim also responded to a column written by Pete Thamel in SI that speculated on when his time in Syracuse would come to an end, saying the only accurate part of the story was that “he spelled my name right”, before adding that, like anyone else nearing the end of a career, when he has a bad day or a bad week, he thinks about calling it a career.
Creighton announced on Wednesday that injured point guard Mo Watson Jr. was suspended from the program on Feb. 13th for “alleged actions that are contrary to university policies and core values.”
The reason for that suspension, according to a report from the Omaha World-Herald, is that he is being investigated for an alleged sexual assault that happened in Omaha this month.
No charges have been filed and Watson was not arrested as of Wednesday night, according to the paper.
Watson was having an all-american season and leading the nation in assists when he tore his ACL on Jan. 16th in a win at Xavier. He underwent surgery in his hometown of Philadelphia a couple of weeks later, but he has not been a part of a Creighton team activity since his return.
Creighton is 4-5 since Watson’s injury, losing on Wednesday night at home against Providence. They’ll likely make the NCAA tournament still.
Watson is not going to participate in Senior Night festivities in Omaha next week, per the OWH.