Michigan’s Fab Five, including Chris Webber, in attendance for title game


It had been rumored that the entire Fab Five would be in attendance to watch Michigan’s national title game tilt with Louisville.  Jimmy King, Ray Jackson and Jalen Rose, with the possibility of Juwan Howard as well. But the one wild card was Chris Webber.

Webber was hit with a 10-year no-contact penalty stemming from sanctions handed down by the NCAA for violations that occurred during his two-year career with the  Wolverines. Both Final Fours those teams made were vacated as a result as well.

Turns out he is at the national title game tonight.

CBS showed footage of the former All-Big Ten selection and NBA All-Star prior to the game. Webber will be reportedly be in attendance, “high above” as Jim Nance said, watching the game.

Webber’s no-contact clause ends in a few months, but he is within his legal rights to attend the game, so long as he doesn’t have contact with anyone around the program while he’s there.

This is just cool. Webber, like it or not, was the key player on those two Michigan teams that made back-to-back national title games. The Wolverines are entering their first NCAA title game since his sophomore year in 1993, his final year with the team.

(Photo courtesy of Chris Webber’s Twitter @realchriswebber.)

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

Sun Belt approves new scheduling format

Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Conference
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With an 11-member setup the Sun Belt Conference has played a 20-game conference schedule the last couple of years, which may be seen as a positive when it comes to determining the regular season champion (home-and-home between every team). But for a conference that spans from North Carolina (Appalachian State) to Texas (UT-Arlington, Texas State) travel was far from easy in that setup.

And with Coastal Carolina joining next season, it was clear that the league needed to do something with its scheduling.

Thursday the Sun Belt members approved an 18-game conference schedule, which will begin with the 2016-17 season when the league consists of 12 members. Included in the agreement is the assignment of travel partners (similar to setups in the Pac-12 and Ivy League), and teams playing no more than three consecutive conference games on the road.

Schools will also be guaranteed at least five weekend home games during conference play, and there will be no more weekends in which teams play conference games both home and away (thus cutting down on travel). Obviously with the addition of Coastal Carolina the Sun Belt needed to make some changes in their scheduling, and this week the conference made the moves they needed to make.

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.