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.

Iowa State’s starting center Jameel McKay remains suspended

Iowa State forward Jameel McKay celebrates on the court at the end of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 82-77. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Steve Prohm announced on Monday that starting center Jameel McKay will not be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Cyclones take on Texas Tech.

“He’ll practice today because I want him in practice,” Prohm said, “but game-wise, he’s suspended.”

McKay did not make the trip to Stillwater with the team on Saturday, where Iowa State beat Oklahoma State, 64-59. Prohm has not gotten into specifics regarding the cause of McKay’s suspension, but it’s reportedly an issue with the way he has been practicing. McKay is dealing with a nagging knee injury, which may play a role in the situation as well.

“My hope is he’ll be with us on Saturday,” Prohm said.

AP POLL: Villanova climbs to No. 1 in the country.

Jay Wright
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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Like the Coaches Poll, Villanova found themselves No. 1 in the AP Poll during the regular season for the first time in the history of the program.

And like the Coaches Poll, there isn’t much in the way of a consensus when it comes to who is the No. 1 team, as there are six teams that received No. 1 votes in the poll this week.

[NEW PODCAST]

[LATEST BRACKETOLOGY]

The biggest shock to me?

The No. 1 team in the NBC Sports Top 25, Iowa, received just 11 first place votes and is ranked fourth in the AP Poll.

They were ranked fifth in the Coaches Poll.

Can we get Fran McCaffery the love they deserve?

Here is the rest of the AP Poll:

1. Villanova (20-3, 32 first-place votes)
2. Maryland (21-3, 13)
3. Oklahoma (19-3, 7)
4. Iowa (19-4, 11)
5. Xavier (21-2)
6. Kansas (19-4, 1)
7. Virginia (19-4, 1)
8. Michigan State (20-4)
9. North Carolina (19-4)
10. West Virginia (19-4)
11. Oregon (18-4)
12. Miami (FL) (18-4)
13. Louisville (19-4)
14. Iowa State (17-6)
15. Texas A&M (18-5)
16. SMU (20-2)
17. Arizona (19-5)
18. Purdue (19-5)
19. Dayton (19-3)
20. Providence (18-6)
21. Baylor (17-6)
22. Kentucky (17-6)
23. USC (18-5)
24. Texas (16-7)
25. Wichita State (17-6)

DROPPED OUT: No. 22 Indiana, No. 25 South Carolina
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 23 USC, No. 24 Texas