Tray Woodall, Kris Dunn

Pregame Shootaround: 1.28.13: Can Louisville avoid a fourth straight loss?

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Game of the Day: Pittsburgh at No. 12 Louisville (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Louisville is looking to snap a three-game losing skid that has dropped them from No. 1 in the country to behind St. John’s in the Big East standings. That’s quite a tumble for the Cardinals to make, and turning it around isn’t going to be the easiest thing in the world, either. For starters, Louisville will be playing without two members of their rotation on Monday night as Wayne Blackshear is dealing with a shoulder injury and Kevin Ware has been suspended indefinitely.

But there’s more to it than that. Pittsburgh is actually one of the more underrated teams in the country. They’re sitting at 17-4 on the season and No. 7 in the current Kenpom rankings. They have a big front line that pounds the offensive glass and a pair of quality point guards that can control tempo and that don’t turn the ball over. Keeping Louisville from scoring points in transition is the best way to beat this team, especially with their most dynamic scorer (Russ Smith) being muzzled by Rick Pitino.

Who’s Getting Upset?: Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Jackson State (8:30 p.m. ET)

Jackson State has a kid on their team named Dundrecous Nelson. Nelson, who was forced out of Ole Miss for some issues with marijuana, was a double-digit scorer as a sophomore in the SEC. He’s averaging nearly 16 points for JSU, and he’s not even the team’s leading scorer. UAPB is currently a half-game off the pace set by Southern in the SWAC, while Jackson State needed to sweep Mississippi Valley State and Grambling last week to avoid the cellar.

Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: Delaware at Drexel (7:00 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Net)

These were supposed to be the two best teams in the CAA this season, but after Northeastern knocked off George Mason on Sunday evening, they are both sitting tied for second place in the league a full three games behind the Huskies. Drexel has won three straight games since Damion Lee returned from injury, but the Blue Hens have as much talent on their roster as anyone in the country.

Five Things to Watch For

1) On Saturday, a bat spent the entire afternoon attacking No. 25 Marquette and Providence players. The Golden Eagles host South Florida tonight. Will he make another appearance?

2) No. 2 Kansas will make their first trip up to Morgantown to play a Big 12 game in the Big Monday nightcap. the intrigue in this one is almost nonexistent, as Bob Huggins’ club has not done much in the way of impress this year.

3) There is a terrific back court matchup in that game on NBCSports Network tonight. Drexel’s Damion Lee and Frantz Massenat taking on Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt.

4) SWACtion on ESPNU: Alabama State takes on Texas Southern.

5) Someone needs to get Rick Pitino to take the shackles off Russ Smith. He only got nine shots after coming off the bench in the loss at Georgetown. #shootmore

The Top 25

  • Pitt at No. 12 Louisville (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • No. 2 Kansas at West Virginia (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • South Florida at No. 25 Marquette (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
Associated Press
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Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.

Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.

“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”

While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.


AUDIO: Rick Pitino discusses allegations, future at Louisville

Rick Pitino
Associated Press
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Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.

The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.

“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.

“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.

“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”

Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.