Sacred Heart University

Sacred Heart head coach Dave Bike officially passes torch to Anthony Latina

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In 35 seasons as head coach at Sacred Heart University, Dave Bike racked up a list of accomplishments that any coach would be proud to claim. More than 500 victories, a Division II national title in 1986 and a transition to the Division I level that was completed in 1999.

The Pioneers may not have been able to get over the NCAA tournament hump under Bike’s watch at the Division I level, leading the Pioneers to two NEC tournament title game appearances, but that will not overshadow Bike’s overall body of work.

At the end of the 2012-13 season Bike decided that it was time to hang up his whistle, and on Thursday afternoon Sacred Heart officially announced Bike’s retirement and the hiring of Anthony Latina as his replacement.

To follow along with the 2013 Coaching Carousel, click here.

While this was an emotional day for all involved with Sacred Heart athletics, it was also one in which many gave thanks to Bike for his impact on the school.

“No one would debate that Dave Bike is the face of the institution in the athletic sense,” said Sacred Heart Executive Director of Athletics C. Donald Cook. “He’s been the pillar and standard for the intercollegiate athletics program since 1978 when he assumed the role of men’s basketball coach.

“While he’s accomplished much on the basketball court, and has garnered more honors and awards than he can count, his legacy is not just about sport. It’s been about the impact he has had on the lives of hundreds of young men who had the privilege of playing for him. Dave’s unconditional love for his players, and commitment to helping them become responsible adults, is his real legacy.”

With Bike moving into a part-time role in the school’s finance department, the question now is how quickly Latina can get the Pioneers headed in the right direction. Sacred Heart finished the 2012-13 season on a seven-game losing streak, missing out on postseason play for the third time in the last four seasons.

And with leading scorer Shane Gibson (21.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg) out of eligibility, Latina will need to rely on Luis Montes (14.4, 6.2) and Steve Glowiak (10.4, 3.0) in his first season as a head coach after stints as an assistant at Central Connecticut State and UMass-Lowell.

“I am very excited and appreciative for this opportunity. I know what a special place Sacred Heart University is and I hope that our program will represent this great university in the manner in which it deserves,” Latina said during the press conference.

“We will do everything possible to ensure our student-athletes have a first-class experience and reach their potential both on and off the court.”

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

BUBBLE BANTER: All of the action on the fringe of the NCAA tournament

Fred VanVleet
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Tonight’s bubble action. This post will be updated as the games are completed.

Cincinnati at UCF, 7:00 p.m.
Pitt at No. 12 Miami, 7:00 p.m.
No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
Ole Miss at Florida, 9:00 p.m.
Georgia at No. 22 Kentucky, 9:00 p.m.
Arkansas at Mississippi State, 9:00 p.m.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A Big 12 and a Big Ten showdown

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.

The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.

We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
  2. Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
  3. Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
  4. Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
  5. No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.