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With a move to Conference USA on the horizon Old Dominion filled its head coaching vacancy on Thursday, introducing former American head coach Jeff Jones as the new leader of the program.
Jones, who led American to two NCAA tournament appearances (three postseason appearances in all) during his 13 seasons at the Patriot League school, has 21 seasons of head coaching experience.
Jones spent eight seasons at his alma mater, Virginia, with the Cavaliers making six postseason appearances (five NCAA, one NIT) during his time in Charlottesville.
With the ODU program coming off of a five-win (5-25, 3-13 CAA) season this hire is an important one, and in Jones athletic director Dr. Wood Selig feels that he’s got the right man to turn things around.
“I have immense respect for Jeff Jones and his ability to lead a highly successful Division I men’s basketball program. Coach Jones is one of the most respected head basketball coaches in the country,” Selig said in a statement released by the school. “His head coaching career has been characterized by winning seasons and successful post season play. I know our student-athletes will benefit greatly from Jeff’s experiences as a college student athlete and head coach.
“He will run a model program from which our university and Hampton Roads community will take considerable pride. I enjoyed my working relationship with Jeff during our time together at UVA and I am very excited about the opportunity to join forces again on behalf of ODU.”
Jones replaces interim head coach Jim Corrigan, who took over after the school fired Blaine Taylor in early February. One of Jones’ first tasks will be to find a replacement for DeShawn Painter (13.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg), who led the team in both scoring and rebounding in 2012-13.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.
For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.
The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.
2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.
3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.
4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.
5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
- No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
- No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.
Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.
But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.
It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:
After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”: