Pregame Shootaround 12.23.12: Diamond Head Classic highlights Sunday’s action

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Each day, CollegeBasketballTalk brings you the “Pregame Shootaround,” which will lay out a preview for the slate of games that night. We’ll take a look at some key match-ups and important games, as well as make some predictions and point out what you need to watch for. Take a look below at today’s edition:

Note: The weekend editions of Pregame Shootaround will be published half an hour prior to tip-off of the day’s first game.

Game of the Day: No. 4 Arizona vs. Miami (Fla.)

Arizona and Miami meet up in Hawaii in what some expect could be the most likely upset to keep us from a San Diego State-Arizona final. The Wildcats took care of East Tennessee State Saturday behind a double-double from freshman Brandon Ashley of 16 points and 10 rebounds. They face a Miami team that handled host school Hawaii with help from Durand Scott’s 20 points.

The Miami backcourt of Scott and Shane Larkin vs. Arizona’s Mark Lyons and Nick Johnson will be at the center of the  matchup Sunday night. Also keep an eye on what Miami’s Reggie Johnson can do on the interior against the young front line from Arizona.

Who’s Getting Upset?: Virginia Tech against Colorado State (11:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

It might not be your quintessential idea of an upset because these teams have identical records, but the Hokies began the season 7-0, including a big win over then-No. 15 Oklahoma State. They have since gone 2-2, including a loss to Georgia Southern at home. Colorado State, on the other hand, is riding a three-game winning streak. The biggest battle will be on the backboards between CSU’s Pierce Hornung and Colton Iverson and Tech’s Jarell Eddie.

Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: St. Mary’s vs. Northern Iowa (2:00 p.m. ET)

Don’t be fooled by Northern Iowa’s 6-5 record. All five losses have come against quality high-majors (Louisville, Stanford, Memphis, Iowa, UNLV) and UNI has beaten a solid mid-major in George Mason. St. Mary’s comes into Sunday’s game having shaken off two disappointing losses in late November to win four straight. Matthew Dellavedova continues to prove that he is one of the best point guards in the country, averaging 19.5 points and 6.1 assists per game. He’ll face off against Deon Mitchell, who leads UNI with 12.4 points and 3.6 assists per game.

Five Things to Watch

1. San Diego State is expected to be in the Diamond Head Classic final, but they have to get by Indiana State first. The Sycamores upset Ole Miss on Saturday.

2. Clemson traveled on the road to Coastal Carolina and got beaten soundly, 69-46, earlier this week. They now return home to take on South Carolina State Sunday.

3. Ole Miss is in the Top 10 nationally in both points and rebounding, yet lost to Indiana State in overtime on Saturday. They face San Francisco in the Diamond Head Classic.

4. Pittsburgh hasn’t gotten a whole lot of national recognition, despite the fact that the Panthers are 11-1. A win over Kennesaw State on Sunday will likely push them into the Top 25 when polls are released Monday.

5. Boise State is one of the upstart darlings of the early season under coach Leon Rice. Wins over Creighton and LSU have the Broncos on the maps. They face New Orleans Sunday.

The Top 25 

No. 4 Arizona vs. Miami (Fla.) (11:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

No. 18 San Diego State vs. Indiana State (5:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Other Notable Games

Ole Miss vs. San Francisco (3:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Pittsburgh vs. Kennesaw State (5:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Reports: Rhode Island’s Dan Hurley mulling UConn, Pitt options

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Even before Rhode Island’s NCAA tournament came to an end Saturday in the Round of 32 against Duke, speculation was running wild about the future of Rams coach Dan Hurley.

Stay or go. If it’s go, where to?

There was no clarity, but maybe some progress Monday.

Both Connecticut and Pittsburgh, the prime candidates to pry Hurley away from Rhode Island, spoke with the coach, but no decision had yet been reached, according to multiple reports.

Hurley was set to meet with Rams athletic director Thorr Bjorn on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. Heart Connecticut Media’s Jeff Jacobs reported that UConn was “closing in on an agreement” with Hurley but that Pitt was continuing its pursuit.

Hurley has led the Rams to the NCAA tournament the last two years and signed a seven-year contract with Rhode Island worth approximately $1 million per year last off-season. UConn was paying Kevin Ollie, who led the team to the 2014 NCAA title before being fired after this season, an average of $3 million per season while Kevin Stallings reportedly was due a buyout of nearly $10 million when he was fired by Pitt this season.

What Hurley will have to weigh beyond the financial circumstances will be his ability to win at either UConn or Pitt, should he decide to move on from Rhode Island.

Ollie – well, really Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright – showed you can win a national title out of the AAC at UConn. The league adding Wichita State only strengthens that point. Pitt, meanwhile, may be a tougher job now than it was when Jamie Dixon had it rolling since their move from the Big East to the ACC.

CBT Podcast: Recapping the first weekend of the 2018 NCAA Tournament

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Eamonn Brennan of The Athletic joined Rob Dauster for an epic, two-hour podcast on the first weekend of the tournament. It was so good that we had to split the podcast into two parts. On this show, the two go through everything that happened in the South and West Regions, from Sister Jean to UMBC to Nevada’s comebacks to Kentucky’s chances at a Final Four.

On this show, the two go through everything that happened in the East and Midwest Regions, from Villanova and Duke steamrolling to Michigan State collapsing to Syracuse and Clemson and Texas Tech and Purdue. It’s all in there.

2018 NCAA Tournament: Eight viral heroes from first weekend of March Madness

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One of my favorite parts of the NCAA tournament is seeing who comes out of nowhere to turn into a viral celebrity during this month of madness.

By my estimation, we had eight true candidates for the award of March Madness Viral Celebrity of the Year. Here they are:


He was more fired up for Houston’s success in the tournament than any Houston fan in the history of basketball in the city of Houston.


Jordan Poole is spelled a lot like Jordan Peele, which inevitably led to people tweeting at Peele instead of Poole. Peele’s thank you tweet was a highlight of the first weekend.


Having to answer questions from a bunch of reporters after suffering the most humiliating moment of your life is not an easy thing to do. Having to answer ridiculous and stupid questions could be intolerable, which is why I loved Ty Jerome’s response to a stupid question he was asked:


I loved seeing Robert Williams’ teammate do a panotmine windmill in the background while Williams was throwing down a windmill in real time on Providence:


Nevada head coach Eric Musselman has led his team to the Sweet 16, cussed on live television and gone shirtless to celebrate with his team, but the star of the Musselman family is his daughter Mariah:


He really does have great hair:

2. @UMBCAthletics

This dude lived the dream of every twitter user out there. When your shot is there, you have to take it.


Mic drop:

VIDEO: Eric Musselman celebrates Nevada win without a shirt

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Nevada head coach Eric Musselman went shirtless to celebrate his team’s come-from-behind win over No. 2 seed Cincinnati on Sunday.

I guess this is better than dropping F-bombs live on national TV. Maybe that’s why they had Steve Lappas talking over him …

Penny Hardaway to be named next Memphis head coach

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The worst-kept secret in college basketball no longer appears to be a secret: Penny Hardaway is going to be the next coaching at the University of Memphis.

ESPN is reporting that a deal has been agreed upon. The Memphis Commercial-Appeal is reporting that Penny was waiting for his season to end with East High School before he made anything official. NBC Sports can confirm that an announcement is expected to be made early this week, likely as soon as Tuesday, to introduce the former Memphis and NBA star as Tubby Smith’s replacement.

The truth, however, is that we all knew this was what would be happening the second that Memphis formally fired Tubby Smith. Hell, we knew it a month before that decision was made final. This was always how it was going to play out.

What’s interesting to me is now the discussion of whether or not Penny will be able to handle being a Division I head coach, because it’s been hit or miss with basketball programs hiring legends of their past. Chris Mullin and St. John’s hasn’t exactly gone to plan but Fred Hoiberg was quite successful at Iowa State. Kevin Ollie won a title with UConn then fell off a cliff. Patrick Ewing’s start wasn’t great, but he was better than expected.

Where does Penny fall on this scale?

Well, let me just drop this section of a column from Geoff Calkins in here:

Hardaway isn’t a guy who woke up one morning and decided he’d like to be a Division I head coach. He’s not a former player who got bored with retirement and decided he’d like to do something other than play golf.

Hardaway started coaching at middle school. Middle school! Because an old friend needed some help.

Then he built one of the best AAU programs in the country. Then he spent years coaching a high school team.

Does that sound like someone who doesn’t want to roll up his sleeves and do the work? Does that sound like someone who is just in it for the glory and the glitz?

The truth is, if it weren’t for Hardaway’s iconic stature, he might be characterized as a grinder, as a guy who worked his way up from the lowest levels of basketball on the strength of his relationship with the kids.

I think that this is going to work out for both Penny and Memphis, especially if Penny hires a staff that can help him with the intricacies of running a college basketball program.