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Ball State completes coaching staff with addition of Billy Wright

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New Ball State head coach James Whitford has completed the process of assembling a coaching staff, as it was announced on Friday that Billy Wright has joined the program as an assistant coach.

Wright was formerly the associate head coach on Jim Molinari’s staff at Western Illinois, helping to lead the Leathernecks to their first two postseason tournament appearances in their history as a Division I member.

A native of Richmond, Ind., Wright spent 12 years coaching at both Pike and Ben Davis high schools in Indianapolis before moving to the collegiate ranks.

So there’s a clear connection between Wright and not only to the state itself but also the talent that Whitford will need to attract in order to turn around the Ball State program.

“Billy comes very highly regarded from a lot of people in the state of Indiana,” Whitford said in the release. “He is well connected in the state. Billy was a great player at both Richmond High School and Bradley.

“He has worked for a person I respect a lot in Coach Molinari, who had great things to say about him. Billy has a great background as a person, as a player and as a successful coach.”

Wright joins associate head coach Brett Nelson and assistant Jason Grunkemeyer on the coaching staff.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: