Michigan State Spartans' Harris reacts after making three-point basket against Iowa Hawkeyes during NCAA men's college basketball game at the 2013 Big 10 tournament in Chicago

Iowa blows a golden opportunity vs. Michigan State, headed to NIT

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This one is going to sting for the Hawkeyes, because they had a golden opportunity to put themselves into a great spot for an NCAA tournament bid.

With the rest of the bubble teams around the country losing today, the Hawkeyes — who Dave Ommen had as the fifth team out heading into today’s action — took a 10 point lead over Michigan State into halftime and pushed that lead to 12 with just over ten minutes left in the game. Close out the win, and Iowa just may have done enough to inch their way onto the right side of the bubble.

But that’s not what happened.

Instead, Keith Appling and Gary Harris sparked a 22-2 run that turned that 12 point deficit into a 57-49 lead with just under two minutes left in the game. Iowa still had a chance, missing three threes in the final minute that would have tied the game, but none of the three went down and Fran McCaffery and his talented group of youngsters look like they’re headed to the NIT.

Would the win over Michigan State have been enough to change their fortunes?

Maybe. Maybe not. It would have depended on how a lot of other things played out around the country, and likely would have required at least a win over Ohio State in the semifinals to feel safe. Hopefully, that will take some of the sting out of the loss, knowing that all Iowa cost themselves was a chance to play their way into the tournament, not a spot in the Big Dance.

For the Spartans, the good news is that Appling and Harris, who had struggled throughout the game, took over down the stretch. Appling, in particular, has had an up-and-down season, but the Spartans are undoubtedly a better basketball team when he is playing well. Will he carry the momentum from this win into Saturday’s semifinal against the Buckeyes?

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.

h/t ShockerHoops.net

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.