While the FIU Panthers aren’t playing in the NCAA tournament the first season of the Richard Pitino era resulted in a much-improved product on the court in Miami. The Panthers (18-14) improved their win total by ten games and reached the title game of the Sun Belt tournament, where they fell to Western Kentucky.
With their top three scorers from this season all due to return next season, which will also feature the addition of Louisville transfer Rakeem Buckles, the future looks to be bright at FIU.
And according to Coach Pitino’s Twitter account the school is considering a new court design for its debut season in Conference USA. Pitino sent out two of the possibilities earlier this week via Twitter, and to say the least the proposals are interesting:
Those designs would certainly grab some attention for the program. Given some of the different jersey designs that schools have worn this season there really isn’t much of a surprise when it comes to things like this. But in the case of an ugly jersey at least a team can decide not to wear it; the same can’t be done with an expensive floor design.
But regardless of what FIU decides to do with its court design, it’s better to look for some extra publicity in this manner as opposed to how they went about hiring the coach prior to Pitino.
h/t The Dagger
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.