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It appears that Memphis coach Josh Pastner will not fill either of the job vacancies at USC or UCLA, as the 35-year-old coach has reportedly agreed in principle a contract extension with the Tigers.
Pastner led Memphis to a 31-5 season and undefeated mark in the C-USA. The Tigers beat Saint Mary’s in the Round of 64 of the NCAA tournament, but lost to Michigan State, 70-48, in the next round.
“I love Memphis,” Pastner told CBSSports.com. “I love my president, Dr. Shirley Raines. I love my athletic director, Tom Bowen. I love Tiger Nation. And I love my team. My focus has always been on Memphis.”
USC has now lost out on two candidates that were once considered targets to fill the spot that was vacated by Kevin O’Neill midway through the season and that has since been filled on an interim basis by assistant Bob Cantu. Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon was considered a candidate but recently signed a contract extension that will keep him at Pittsburgh through the 2022-23 season.
Pastner staying put means Memphis will reap the benefits of the high-level recruiting class that he has put together for the Tigers first season in the soon-to-be-renamed Big East in 2013-14. The class consists of five players, four of whom are among the Top 100 in the nation. The most high-profile among them is 6-8 power forward Austin Nichols, a Tennessee native who is in the nation’s Top 25.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Tonight’s bubble action. This post will be updated as the games are completed.
Cincinnati at UCF, 7:00 p.m.
Pitt at No. 12 Miami, 7:00 p.m.
No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
Ole Miss at Florida, 9:00 p.m.
Georgia at No. 22 Kentucky, 9:00 p.m.
Arkansas at Mississippi State, 9:00 p.m.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.
The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.
We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
- Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
- Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
- Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
- No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
- No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.