The Cyclones can sleep easy, as it seems that Ben McLemore’s banked-in three and George Niang’s “blocking foul” won’t end up costing Fred Hoiberg’s team a spot in the NCAA tournament.
Iowa State knocked off Oklahoma in their Big 12 tournament opener out in Kansas City, notching a 73-66 win in the first game of the day to advance to take on Kansas (as long as they beat Texas Tech) on Friday. Melvin Ejim led the was with 23 points and 12 boards, while Will Clyburn chipped in with 13 of his 17 points in a six minute second half stretch.
The Cyclones have an RPI of 47 as of Thursday afternoon, and after beating Oklahoma, they now have four wins over teams in the RPI top 50 — Oklahoma twice, Oklahoma State and Kansas State — and an 8-8 record against the top 100. Given how weak the bubble is right now, that should be enough to outweigh their weak non-conference resume and a pair of bad losses to Texas and Texas Tech.
It didn’t look that way early on, as the Sooners jumped out to a double-digit lead on a cold-shooting Cyclone team. They led by as much as 12 in the first half, and after an and-one from Cameron Clark with just under 10 minutes left in the game put OU up 13 points, it looked like ISU was on their way to a long and stressful weekend.
But Clyburn his a three to spark a 17-4 run — in which he scored the last seven points — to tie the game at 60 with four minutes left, before he scored an and-one bucket a minute later to give the Cyclones their first lead of the game.
The best news? Iowa State won despite an awful night shooting. For a team that relies as heavily as ISU does on the three-ball, beating an NCAA tournament team on a night where they shot 7-26 from beyond the arc should build some confidence.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
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.
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.