NCAA Basketball Tournament - St Louis v Michigan State

Former SLU, Utah coach Rick Majerus dead at 64

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When Rick Majerus decided to take a leave of absence at the beginning of the 2012-13 season for health reasons, the news was concerning.

When he announced he wasn’t coming back to the Billikens at all, it was alarming.

Now the true extent of Majerus’ health issues has become known. Multiple sources, including Majerus protege and current Loyola (Chicago) head coach Porter Moser, have confirmed that Majerus passed away today at the age of 64.

USA Today confirmed the news with Majerus’ girlfriend, Angie Kvidera.

The Chicago Tribune spoke with Moser after the news began to circulate, and the former Majerus protege praised his former boss’ preparation and tactical skill:

“No one saw the game like he saw it,” said Loyola coach Porter Moser, a protege and former Majerus assistant at Saint Louis. “All of the people who will be talking about him, they didn’t have the luxury of being in a room filled with dry erase boards and preparing for a game with Rick Majerus, watching him dissect how we’re going to stop an opponent. He was a basketball guy through and through.”

St. Louis Tribune writer Bernie Miklasz penned a heartfelt ode to a friend.

Majerus began his career with the then-independent Marquette Warriors, and jumped to Ball State after three years in Milwaukee. He became best known as head man of the Utah Utes, making it all the way to the NCAA title game in 1998. He led St. Louis to a 26-8 record and an NCAA berth in his final season as Billikens head coach.

Majerus’ overall record as a collegiate head coach was 517-215.

Majerus faced heart problems early in his career, coaching just six games in his first season at Utah before undergoing bypass surgery in 1989. Another bout of heart trouble put him in the hospital in 2004, when he retired at Utah. He returned to college coaching at St. Louis in 2007, after a stint as a television commentator.

Majerus was one of the funniest coaches the sport has ever known, as a collection of his best-known quotes will attest.

He will be missed.

How did Gary Clark catch that alley-oop?

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 24:  Gary Clark #11 of the Cincinnati Bearcats shoots the ball against the Tulane Green Wave at Fifth Third Arena on January 24, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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No. 15 Cincinnati pounced on Memphis from the start, taking a 51-32 lead into halftime.

Then, Gary Clark decided to add insult to injury to start the second half. Seriously, how did he catch that?

Mick Cronin’s team is much better offensively than in previous seasons. I’m sure fans in the Fifth Third Arena can get used to seeing more plays like this.

Cassius Winston ends half with half-court 3-pointer

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15:  Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans talks with Cassius Winston #5 in the second half during the State Farm Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden on November 15, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Michigan State freshman guard Cassius Winston had just one field goal in the first half. And it was a half-court buzzer-beater as the Spartans capped a sizable run to take a 49-31 lead over Nebraska going into the break.

The Spartans ended the half on a 21-5 run.

Winston provided a serious boost off the bench during that stanza. Moments earlier, he helped the Breslin Center erupt when he lobbed a pass off the backboard to teammate Miles Bridges.

Michigan State opened the day projected as one of the final at-large bids in the NCAA Tournament. The margin for error is thing and it appears the Spartans are playing with a sense of urgency.

 

CBT Podcast: Mark Titus recaps Wednesday’s games

LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 22: Frank Mason III #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks lays the ball up against JD Miller #15 and Jaylen Fisher #0 of the TCU Horned Frogs in the first half at Allen Fieldhouse on February 22, 2017 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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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

Roy Williams apologizes to Rick Pitino, hopes that never happens at UNC again

CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 16:  Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates after his 800th career victory with a 85-68 win over the Syracuse Orange at the Dean Smith Center on January 16, 2017 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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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.

Bubble Banter: It’s a quiet night on the bubble

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15:  Miles Bridges #22 reacts after being taken out of the game by head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans against the Kentucky Wildcats in the second half during the State Farm Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden on November 15, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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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.