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Butler promotes Brandon Miller to head coach

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The last three times that Butler has needed to hire a new head coach, they’ve promoted from within.

All three coaching decisions ended up quite successful, as Thad Matta, Todd Lickliter and Brad Stevens kept the Bulldog’s program growing. With Stevens making the decision to head to the NBA to take over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, the Bulldogs were once again forced to find a new head coach, and once again they hired from within.

On Saturday afternoon, Butler sent out a release naming assistant coach Brandon Miller Stevens’ replacement.

“I am confident that Brandon will carry on the Butler University basketball tradition of excellence, especially as we make the transition to the Big East Athletic Conference,” Butler AD Barry Collier said. “As a player, assistant coach, and person, Brandon has exemplified the Butler Way and brings a blend of energy, talent and integrity to this role. With Brandon’s leadership, Butler is well positioned to expand upon the success of the last few years.”

Miller was a starting point guard for Butler in the early 2000s, getting recruiting to the program by Collier, who was, at that time, the Butler head coach. Miller played for Matta and, after spending a couple of years on the Butler staff, took a job with Matta at Ohio State. He spent last season as a special assistant to Illinois head coach John Groce.

Miller is a 34 year old first-time head coach, and he couldn’t possibly walk into a situation with bigger shoes to fill. The coach he is replacing led Butler to back-to-back national title games, sparking a 15-month span where the Bulldogs went from the Horizon League to the Atlantic 10 and into the new Big East next season. That won’t be an easy job for Miller, who interviewed with Collier on Wednesday after Stevens announced that he would be leaving and was hired over former Butler assistant and current Michigan assistant LaVall Jordan, to take on.

But the trend for Butler over the last decade and a half is one of success and consistent tournament appearances.

Miller was a part of the growth of the program, so don’t be surprised to see continued success for the Bulldogs.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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:

Niang, Morris lead No. 14 Iowa State past No. 24 Texas

Iowa State forward Georges Niang drives past Texas guard Tevin Mack, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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After falling at Texas Tech for the second straight season midweek, No. 14 Iowa State needed to bounce back with No. 24 Texas visiting Hilton Coliseum. The return of Jameel McKay, who was suspended for two games, certainly helped the Cyclones and the play of Georges Niang and Monte Morris was key as well. But the biggest difference on this night was the fact that Iowa State was able to limit the effectiveness of Texas point guard Isaiah Taylor.

 

Taylor scored just nine points on 3-for-14 shooting from the field, and with Morris and Niang scoring 24 points apiece the Cyclones won by the final score of 85-75.

Taylor had multiple opportunities to make plays around the basket thanks to his ability to beat defenders off the bounce, but he struggled to finish. Add in a 0-for-4 night from three, and Texas’ most dangerous offensive option was unable to duplicate his performance in the first meeting between the two teams. In Texas’ 94-91 overtime win over the Cyclones January 12, Taylor scored 28 points and dished out six assists with just one turnover, shooting 11-for-17 from the field.

Four Longhorns finished in double figures, with Tevin Mack and Javan Felix scoring 18 apiece, but with Morris decisively winning the point guard matchup Texas was unable to pick up the win on the road.

For Iowa State the aforementioned tandem of Morris and Niang performed as they did in the first meeting, which should come as no surprise. What helped them, especially when it came to Texas attacking the basket, was the presence of McKay. McKay finished the game with eight points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 22 minutes of action, and to have their best interior defender back on the floor certainly helped the Cyclones on this night.

With their lack of depth Iowa State’s margin for error is small, especially when it comes to foul trouble, injuries and disciplinary reasons.¬†Even with Texas’ size advantage Iowa State outscored them in the paint 48-34, and McKay’s defensive ability factored into that. The Cyclones can put points on the board with the best of them, but at some point they’ll need to string together stops as the games get even bigger.

Iowa State managed to do that down the stretch, with Morris and Niang running the show offensively. And that’s a good formula to be able to rely upon as the season approaches its most important month.