Northeastern becomes final piece of 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off puzzle

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Last November the organizers of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off announced its completed eight-team field, with programs such as Florida State, Georgetown and Michigan being confirmed participants.

Also among the eight teams: Auburn.

But apparently something changed with the Tigers’ schedule, leading to a report from Andy Katz of that Northeastern would be the eighth team in the field.

The Huskies, who won the CAA regular season title last year, replace the Tigers in the event which will once again consist of 12 games played over three days (Thursday, Friday and Sunday; taking Saturday off) in mid-November.

Joining Northeastern in San Juan are Charlotte, Florida State, Georgetown, Kansas State, Long Beach State, Michigan and VCU.

Michigan was the most successful of the eight teams last season if going by their performance in the NCAA tournament, as they reached the national title game. Along the way to the title game Michigan beat VCU in the round of 32.

And even with the early departures of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., John Beilein’s team is expected to once again be a contender in the Big Ten.

VCU won 27 games in its debut season as a member of the Atlantic 10, finishing second with a conference record of 12-4 and reaching the title game of the conference tournament.

Four of the eight teams won at least a share of their conference’s regular season title in 2012-13: Georgetown (Big East), Kansas State (Big 12), Long Beach State (Big West) and Northeastern. Unfortunately for those teams however, none won a game in the NCAA tournament.

While Long Beach State and Northeastern didn’t reach the Big Dance, the Hoyas and Wildcats fell to a pair of “Cinderella” programs in their respective tournament openers: Florida Gulf Coast and La Salle.

Oklahoma State won last season’s event, beating N.C. State 75-56 in the title game. Big 12 Freshman of the Year Marcus Smart was named tournament MVP.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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.


AUDIO: Rick Pitino discusses allegations, future at Louisville

Rick Pitino
Associated Press
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Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.

The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.

“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.

“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.

“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”

Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.