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Steve Alford’s mad about rankings because it could mess with his money


Yesterday we touched on a topic that a number of other writers wrote about: Steve Alford complaining about where teams in the Mountain West are ranked.

Essentially, Alford said the MWC is underrated in the polls and that he doesn’t like it. Our response? So what. Polls don’t matter. And it’s true. They don’t have any impact on the NCAA tournament or conference standings or anything beyond perception of the program. Recruiting wise, it helps. But San Diego State and UNLV are the two teams that could have been ranked this week, and I don’t think either program is struggling on the recruiting front right now.

That said, I’m going to change my tune a bit here.

Steve Alford does have the right to be upset about where teams in the MWC are ranked.

Because he has money riding on it.

You see, in Alford’s contract with New Mexico, there is a clause that allows him to receive some performance bonuses. He gets $10,000 for a 20-win season and $20,000 for an NCAA tournament berth. There’s a $25,000 bonus for a National Coach of the Year award and a $100,000 reward for a trip to the Final Four. That’s just a sampling.

The most interesting bonus, given our discussion yesterday, is that Alford gets $15,000 if the Lobos beat a top 20 team, as defined by either poll. Now, he’s already reached that bonus once this season — the Lobos beat then-No. 8 Cincinnati earlier this year. But he can cash in on that bonus more than once-per-season, and on Saturday, the Lobos take on San Diego State. They already beat UNLV once this season, when the Rebels were ranked 24th in the country.

He’s running out of chances to cash in.

I’d be upset, too.

(Edit: There was an addendum to Alford’s contract that allowed him to receive the bonus for a team ranked in the top 20 of either to Coaches or the AP poll so as to eliminate a conflict of interest in voting. A previous version of this story said that Alford only received the bonus for wins over top 20 teams in the Coaches poll.)

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

No. 24 Cincinnati beats George Washington 61-56

Troy Caupain
AP Photo
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NEW YORK (AP) Troy Caupain scored 16 points, including the go-ahead three-point play with 1:38 to play, and No. 24 Cincinnati beat George Washington 61-56 on Saturday in the championship game of the Barclays Center Classic.

The fact the game came down to a three-point play was ironic as both teams took 22 3-point attempts and there were times it seemed a 3-point shooting broke out.

Caupain’s traditional three-point play gave the Bearcats (7-0) a 55-54 lead. After a missed 3 by the Colonials (6-1) Octavius Ellis, who chosen the tournament MVP, scored on a tip-in. Patricio Garino scored on a drive for George Washington with 29 seconds left.

The Colonials let the Bearcats pass the ball around and they finally fouled when Ellis touched the ball with 14 seconds to play. Ellis, a 56 percent free throw shooter, clinched his MVP award by making both for a 59-56 lead. Two free throws by Caupain with 6.1 seconds left capped the scoring.

Farad Cobb and Kevin Johnson both had 11 points for the Bearcats while Ellis had nine points and seven rebounds.

Garino had 15 points for George Washington, Tyler Cavanaugh had 13 and Joe McDonald 11.

The Colonials finished 11 of 22 from 3-point range, not bad for a team that came in shooting 27.9 percent (29 of 104) from there. The 50 percent doesn’t look so good when you consider the Colonials made five of their first six 3-point attempts and were 8 of 11 from beyond the arc in the first half. They went 16:42 between 2-point field goals but led 30-27 at halftime.

The Bearcats were 7 of 22 from 3-point range but their advantage came at the free throw line where they were 10 of 12 compared to George Washington’s 3 of 4.


George Washington: The Colonials beat Tennessee in the opening round and they were 3 of 15 on 3s. … George Washington was off to its best start since it was8-0 in 2005-06. … The Colonials finished 10 for 34 from 2-point range.

Cincinnati: The win gives the Bearcats a 13-1 all-time record against George Washington and this was their sixth straight. The last win came on Jan. 31, 1976. … Cincinnati is 7-0 for the fourth time in the last six seasons. … The Bearcats are 51-8 in and have won 24 of 25 in November under coach Mick Cronin. They have won 49 straight games when scoring over 60 points. The 60th point against the Colonials came with 6.1 seconds to play.


George Washington hosts Seton Hall on Wednesday.

Cincinnati hosts Butler on Wednesday.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady improving after being hospitalized

James Woodard, Anton Grady, Ron Baker
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Wichita State senior forward Anton Grady received some positive news on Saturday as a neurosurgeon reviewed MRI results, which are negative for spinal cord trauma.

According to a release from Wichita State, doctors believed Grady suffered a spinal cord concussion during a collision on Friday after he was taken off the floor in a stretcher and taken to a hospital in an ambulance. CT and MRI scans on Friday both turned up negative, but the news of Saturday’s results are an even more encouraging sign for Grady.

The injury for Grady occurred during a Friday loss to Alabama during the AdvoCare Invitational as the senior’s condition has improved since the collision. Grady will receive physical therapy over the next few days and doctors will check his progress before he is released from the hospital.

Grady has been alert and responsive to questions and had feeling in his extremities on Friday, but the use of his arms and legs was limited. By Saturday morning, Grady had improved the use of his extremities.

The 6-foot-8 Grady has averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds per game this season in his first season with the Shockers. The Cleveland State transfer is shooting 39 percent from the field.