Wichita State

Wichita State’s run making big money for Missouri Valley

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Wichita State is making the Missouri Valley’s first appearance in the Final Four since Larry Bird and Indiana State made the same run in 1979. Aside from the free exposure that the journey is giving the school and the conference, the Missouri Valley is getting some good solid money from the NCAA.

The NCAA pays out money to conference based on the number of “basketball units” that a given league accrues over a six-year period. Forbes.com does a good job of explaining it in a recent piece on Wichita State:

A unit is earned for each game a conference member plays in the NCAA tournament, and the value of the unit escalates over the course of the afore-mentioned television contract. This year, one unit is worth approximately $250,000.

Note that each conference under this distribution system is assured of receiving at least 6 units annually (a scenario that would arise if a conference only placed one team in the tournament for 6 consecutive years, and their teams fail to win a single game).

With Wichita State making the Final Four and Creighton reaching the Round of 32, the Missouri Valley has cashed in with seven units so far in the 2013 NCAA tournament. That gives the conference earnings close to $1.75 million. For a mid-major conference, that’s a major pay day.

Part of that rise is likely attributed to more parity in college basketball, where an experienced non-BCS team has a chance against major conference schools who are stocked with younger talent.

For more on the economics of the NCAA tournament, click here from Forbes.com.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Texas lands commitment from top 100 center

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James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.

Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.

“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”

He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.

Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.

Memphis guard could miss season with shoulder injury

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Memphis just cannot catch a break.


It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.

Today, CBSSports.com reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.

Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.

This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.

That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.