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It’s March 1st. “Madness Season” is officially here.

And it makes sense that on the first day of “Madness Season” we bring news of hideous uniforms, new basketball conferences and Duke moving to 0-4 in games where the opposing fans storm the court.

Let’s hit the links.

Friday’s Top games:
7:00 p.m. – Harvard @ Princeton
7:00 p.m. – Loyola (Md.) @ Iona
9:00 p.m. – Fairfield @ Manhattan

Read of the Day:
What if Jay Bilas ran the NCAA? If there’s a guy who could fix the problems with college athletics, it’s Jay Bilas. Ever wonder how Bilas would solve the hot mess involving University of Miami and Nevin Shapiro? Click here. (Deadspin via Bloomberg View)

Top Stories:
Late Night Snacks: Joe Harris leads Virginia past No. 3 Duke: Morehead State and and Tennessee State put on a thriller in the OVC, and Gonzaga survived BYU and Virginia stormed the court again Duke.

Virginia bolsters NCAA tournament resume with win over No. 3 Duke: With as many bad losses as Virginia had, they desperately needed to secure a win over a top-5 team. Joe Harris led the Wahoos over the Blue Devils, scoring a season-high 36 points.

Duke lost, but don’t go getting all panicked just yet: This is almost exactly the same as what I wrote when Duke lost at Maryland two weeks ago. Sure they lost on the road, but trust us. Don’t panic.

Report: ‘Catholic 7′ to split following current academic year, keep Big East name: Thursday afternoon it was reported that the Catholic-7 members will break away from the current conference at the end of this academic year, and will keep the Big East name. This is big news.

Bubble update: Tennessee making a push for NCAA consideration: CBT’s resident bracketologist Dave Ommen provides the latest updates on the tournament bubble.

Bubble Banter: Who helped and who hurt their tourney chances? North Carolina continues to play their way back into the field of 68, and Temple’s win over Detroit keeps the Owls in discussion for an at-large bid.

NCAA grants St. John’s forward Orlando Sanchez one year of eligibility: Sanchez’s eligibility had been under questioned all season because of three minutes of playing time for the Dominican National team in 2010.

Hoops Housekeeping:
– NCAA will release their decision on the Saint Mary’s basketball investigation. The Gaels have been subject of an NCAA inquiry since last summer, looking into the recruitment of some of their previous Australian players. (San Jose Mercury News)

– Notre Dame’s Scott Martin has decided to call it a career after six years. The forward will undergo career-ending knee surgery. (Sporting News)

– Wisconsin forward Ryan Evans, he of the “jump shot free throw” fame, injured his knee in practice yesterday. The severity of his status is still undetermined. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
Observations & Insight:
– Ugliest. Uniforms. Ever. (Bruins Nation)

– There was an ugly scene during Virginia’s court-storming against No. 3 Duke. Duke has been involved in four court-stormings this season. Coach-K is spot on with his concerns. (Wilmington Star News)

– Expansionocalypse struck again yesterday, with the Catholic-7 taking the Big East name and adding Butler and Xavier. The “Big East v.2.0” is going to screw up things for a lot of other leagues. (USA Today)

– Creighton officials remain mum about inclusion in the new Catholic-7. (Omaha World Herald)

– Andy Katz on the brand victory earned by the departing Big East schools. (ESPN)

– Connecticut has had a rough nine months or so. Things got worse yesterday with the news that the Catholic-7 would be breaking away from the Big East at the end of the year. No school has lost as much from conference realignment as UConn has. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Think about it. In just under a decade Butler has gone from 6th place in the Horizon League the new era of Big East basketball. (Indianapolis Star)

– Bill Self was not thrilled with the Big-XII’s decision to release a statement of officiating in regards to the controversial ending to Monday night’s thriller against Iowa State. (Wichita Eagle)

– Is a good win better than a bad loss? No team better typifies this ongoing debate than the Virginia Cavaliers. (The Backboard Chronicles)

– By defeating Hartford last night, Stony Brook captured the America East regular season championship. (Mid-Major Madness)

– Although UConn is not eligible for postseason play, Big East games against the Huskies will count towards determining Big East Tournament tie-breakers. (Syracuse Post-Standard)

– Just how far ahead is Otto Porter from the rest of the Big East PoY competition? (Big East Basketblog)

– This is crunch time for a handful of tournament hopefuls. Mike DeCourcy details the three-week long trek through the pressure cooker. (Sporting News)
Odds & Ends:
– The new Adidas March Madness uniforms are so ugly, a petition has been sent to the White House. Normally, I’m not big on petitions. But I’d sign this one twice. (The Pitch)

– Kansas head coach Bill Self received a letter of apology from the Iowa State student government for the incidents that took place following the Jayhawk’s stunning comeback win at Iowa State. (Fox Sports)

In honor of Chane Behanan’s monstrous dunk over Worrel Clahar, here are the ten best dunks in Louisville history. (Card Chronicle)

– Kenny Kadji replicated LeBron James’ between-the-legs warm-up dunk during the pregame shootaround against Virginia Tech. (The U Hoops)

– James Fraschilla is easily my favorite walk-on in the country. (Fox Sports Southwest)
Picture of the Day:
No caption necessary. (H/T @ThomasBeisner)


Dunk of the Day:

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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.