Mark Turgeon

Bubble Banter: Who hurt their tournament chances?

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Arkansas: The Razorbacks are done. Wins over Florida and Missouri put them back into the bubble conversation, but an easy way to drop back out is to lose yet another road game in league play. On Wednesday, the loss came against LSU.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils missed out on a great opportunity to help their profile when they lost at UCLA on Wednesday night. The Sun Devils have some ugly computers numbers thanks to a really poor non-conference performance and a pair of ugly losses to Utah and DePaul, but they do have four top 50 wins and they’ll visit USC and Arizona before the season’s over. Herb Sendek’s team is in a dangerous spot, but they’re not quite dead yet.

Maryland: All that credit that the Terps built up by beating Duke two weeks ago? Poof. Maryland has now lost road games to Boston College and Georgia Tech since then. They are 7-8 in the ACC, they don’t have favorable computer numbers, they have two notable wins (NC State and Duke) and they still have a tough schedule down the stretch. That schedule is the only reason they are still in the conversation: at Virginia, at Wake Forest, North Carolina and the ACC tournament. There will be chances to turn things around. It better happen soon.

Wichita State: The Shockers aren’t exactly in trouble just yet. They have three top 50 wins and eight top 100 wins. But WSU plays at Creighton in the MVC finale — which just so happens to double as the MVC regular season title game — and then heads to St. Louis for Arch Madness. After losing to Evansville at home tonight, if the Shockers lose at Creighton and then get dropped in the first round of Arch Madness, they’ll be sweating it out on Selection Sunday.

Oklahoma: The Sooners aren’t in a ton of trouble just yet, thanks mostly to a really strong RPI and no glaringly awful losses. That changed, however, on Wednesday when Oklahoma lost to Texas in overtime after blowing a 22 point lead. The Sooners have wins at home against Kansas and Oklahoma State and, well, not much else. Lon Kruger’s club is at home for Iowa State and West Virginia and then heads to TCU before the Big 12 tournament. They’re going to want to avoid another slip-up.

Charlotte: Charlotte was hanging on for their tournament lives, but I think it’s safe to say that getting blown out by a Dayton team that may miss the Atlantic 10 tournament at home is not a good way to try to impress the selection committee.

Indiana State: I think we can officially pop the Sycamore’s bubble after they lost to Drake at home tonight. There is only so much juice you can squeeze out of a win over a depleted Miami team.

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.