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Nebraska hires Kenya Hunter away from Georgetown

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Nebraska has hired Kenya Hunter as associate head coach, according to a release from the school. Hunter had previously been an assistant coach at Georgetown under John Thompson III.

“I’m really excited to add Kenya Hunter to our staff. He brings a wealth of experience in many areas which will help the Huskers reach our goals,” Nebraska head coach Tim Miles said. “Through my discussions with Kenya, I was very impressed with his knowledge of the game and his feel for the game, and I believe his extensive network of contacts will help us expand our recruiting boundaries.”

This hiring clears up some of the confusion regarding Georgetown’s coaching staff. After Mike Brennan was hired as the head coach at American, JT3 went out and hired both Tavaras Hardy and Kevin Sutton as assistants. Hunter’s decision to take the job with Nebraska makes sense, as it opened up a third assistant coach position.

The bigger news here is that this is just the latest example of Nebraska funneling money into the hoops program. Gary Parrish explains:

The Big Ten school opened a new $20 million basketball practice facility in October 2011, will open a new $179 million basketball arena this season, and is paying second-year coach Tim Miles a salary that’ll eventually exceed $2 million annually, which brings me to Hunter and his salary. A source told CBSSports.com that it’ll be $230,000 a year, and that all three Huskers assistants now make at least $200,000 a year. So while Nebraska is still quite obviously a “football” school, the administration has made it clear it thinks there’s no reason basketball can’t operate at a high level, too.

Now dumping money into a program doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s guaranteed to be successful, especially not when the Cornhuskers share a conference with Indiana, Ohio State, Wisconsin, both Michigans, and a number of other programs — Purdue, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, eventually Maryland — with significantly more hoops notoriety.

But the fact that the Huskers are investing in their hoops program means that they do care about getting better. They want to have a relevant basketball program.

And that’s the first step that needed to be made.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

VIDEO: Duke’s Grayson Allen beats No. 7 Virginia at the buzzer

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Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia sparks come-from-behind win over No. 13 Louisville

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) goes up for a shot over Boston College’s Idy Diallo (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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Demetrius Jackson scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half and Steve Vasturia scored 15 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes as Notre Dame landed a 71-66 win over No. 13 Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Irish trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but Vasturia’s hot shooting combined with Notre Dame holding Louisville to just 15 points in the final 15 minutes made all the difference.

The Fighting Irish are not as good as they were last season, but they are built in a similar mold. Jackson, as we expected, as become one of the nation’s most dynamic point guards, impossible to slow-down in isolation and ball-screen actions. Steve Vasturia emerging as a legitimate secondary option offensively and Zach Auguste is one of the nation’s most underrated big men and one of the most dangerous as the roll-man in ball-screens.

Combine all of that with a handful of shooters creating space and Bonzie Colson’s emergence as a force on the offensive glass, and Mike Brey once again has one of the nation’s most lethal offensive attacks.

Where they struggle is on the defensive end of the floor, which is what makes the end of Saturday’s win so meaningful. The Irish entered the day ranked 232nd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which more or less means they’re as good as a bad mid-major program at keeping their opponents from scoring.

But they don’t have to be great to be able to win games.

They have to be good enough and they have to get important stops.

That’s precisely what happened on Saturday.

Whether or not that actually becomes a trend for this group will be something to monitor — it happened for Duke during last year’s NCAA tournament — but the bottom-line is this: Notre Dame does something better than just about anyone else in college basketball, and that’s score the ball.

On the nights they are able to gets some stops, they are going to be able to win some games. In the last eight days, they’ve proven that, beating North Carolina, Clemson on the road and Louisville.

And that makes them dangerous in March.