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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.

Ellis, Lucas lead No. 6 Kansas past No. 10 West Virginia

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) blocks a shot by West Virginia guard Tarik Phillip (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lawrence, Kan., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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In the first meeting between No. 10 West Virginia and No. 6 Kansas, the Mountaineers dominated in their 74-63 win in Morgantown. Bob Huggins’ “Press Virginia” attack forced 22 Kansas turnovers, with the Jayhawks playing far too fast and loose with the basketball while also getting out-toughed by the Mountaineers. In the rematch Kansas (20-4, 8-3 Big 12) looked far better equipped to deal with West Virginia in both of those areas, winning by the final score of 75-65.

Kansas committed 15 turnovers, with Devonte’ Graham responsible for five of them, but they did not allow West Virginia (19-4, 8-3) to use those chances to kickstart their offense. The Mountaineers scored 13 points (one fewer than Kansas, which took advantage of ten WVU miscues) off of those turnovers and did not register a single fast break points. Having to play in the half-court more than they would have liked, West Virginia could not execute at the level they did in beating Baylor Saturday.

As a result Bob Huggins’ team shot 37.3 percent from the field and 5-for-20 from beyond the arc. The Mountaineers have shown signs of being able to win games in which they don’t force a high turnover count, but that wasn’t the case at Allen Fieldhouse.

If not for West Virginia grabbing better than 34 percent of their misses and scoring 14 second-chance points, the margin is likely even greater than the ten-point outcome due to the contract in offensive execution. Kansas pushed the ball early, getting out to an 8-0 lead, and as the game wore on the Jayhawks were much better in finding quality shot opportunities. Bill Self’s team shot 56.1 percent from the field with Perry Ellis scoring 21 points to lead five Jayhawks in double figures.

The tandem of Ellis and Landen Lucas, who grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds, won the battle against a WVU front court missing the suspended Jonathan Holton. Devin Williams, who went for 17 and 12 in the first meeting, finished the rematch with a respectable 14-point, nine-rebound effort but he didn’t get much help in the post from the likes of Elijah Macon and Nathan Adrian.

After having Self question their toughness in a home win over Kansas State six days ago, the Jayhawks have responded with wins over TCU and West Virginia. Obviously it’s tough to read too much into beating the Horned Frogs, because even with that game being in Fort Worth it’s one Kansas was expected to handle with ease. The Mountaineers posed a different, and far more rigorous test, and Kansas got the job done.

As a result the Jayhawks have brought West Virginia back to the pack in the Big 12 title race, making Saturday’s game at No. 3 Oklahoma even bigger than it already was.

VIDEO: North Carolina head coach Roy Williams collapses on sideline

Roy Williams
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North Carolina head coach Roy Williams collapsed during the second half of No. 2 North Carolina’s visit to Boston College on Tuesday night:

Roy Williams has dealt with vertigo in the past; it’s not abnormal for him to collapse on the sideline during games, and given that his team is currently losing to Boston College, it’s understandable that he may have screamed himself dizzy.

He had to be helped off the floor:

It does appear that this isn’t something serious, according to a North Carolina release, that said Williams is “doing OK”.