Dan Fahey, Ben Brust

VIDEO: Ben Brust thrusts Wisconsin into B1G title contention


Just another day in the Big Ten.

No. 3 Michigan had a chance to put themselves into a great position for a run at the Big Ten regular season title by winning in the Kohl Center, and it looked like they were going to do just that when Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a contested three from the top of the key with 2.4 seconds left.

But there was too much time left on the clock.

Junior guard Ben Brust took the in-bounds, Michigan’s Caris LaVert didn’t foul him and Brust hit a running 40-footer to send the game into overtime:

In the extra frame, the two teams traded baskets before Brust hit another three, this one with 39 seconds left, to put the Badgers up 65-62. Michigan would miss a layup at the other end, and after Ryan Evans missed the front-end of a one-and-one, Trey Burke’s three fell short and Wisconsin escaped, 65-62.

This was a huge win for the Badgers, as they now tied with Michigan and Ohio State for the second-best record in the Big Ten, a game behind Indiana and Michigan State. Indiana plays at Ohio State on Sunday, and this afternoon with feature the Spartans visiting Purdue. There’s a realistic chance that, come Monday morning, the Badgers will be sitting in a five-way tie for first place in the Big Ten.

Even if they still wind up a game out of first place, the Badgers are in a great position to make a run at the regular season title. They only play Michigan and Indiana once this season, and won both of those games. They visit Minnesota on Thursday and host Ohio State next Sunday, but in their last five games, the only other tournament team that the Badgers will face is a trip to East Lansing to take on Michigan State. They lost to the Spartans by two points back in January.

That schedule’s not a cakewalk, but no one in the Big Ten is going to have it easy down the stretch of the season. What’s important is that Wisconsin has swept the two best teams in the league. It’s not crazy to think that the Badgers can win six of their last seven games.

A 14-4 Big Ten record might be enough to earn them a regular season title, especially if they hold the tie-breaker with Michigan and Indiana.

But regardless of all the big picture postulating, what really matters is that Saturday got kicked off with yet another incredible game and thrilling finish.

And it’s only 2:00 p.m.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Sun Belt approves new scheduling format

Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Conference
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With an 11-member setup the Sun Belt Conference has played a 20-game conference schedule the last couple of years, which may be seen as a positive when it comes to determining the regular season champion (home-and-home between every team). But for a conference that spans from North Carolina (Appalachian State) to Texas (UT-Arlington, Texas State) travel was far from easy in that setup.

And with Coastal Carolina joining next season, it was clear that the league needed to do something with its scheduling.

Thursday the Sun Belt members approved an 18-game conference schedule, which will begin with the 2016-17 season when the league consists of 12 members. Included in the agreement is the assignment of travel partners (similar to setups in the Pac-12 and Ivy League), and teams playing no more than three consecutive conference games on the road.

Schools will also be guaranteed at least five weekend home games during conference play, and there will be no more weekends in which teams play conference games both home and away (thus cutting down on travel). Obviously with the addition of Coastal Carolina the Sun Belt needed to make some changes in their scheduling, and this week the conference made the moves they needed to make.

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.

h/t ShockerHoops.net