Billy Taylor

Former Ball State head coach Billy Taylor joins Iowa staff as director of basketball operations

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After posting an 84-99 record in six seasons as head coach at Ball State, Billy Taylor was relieved of his duties back in March. Despite the way in which his tenure in Muncie ended, Taylor’s 15 years of college coaching experience can be an asset to a program.

That’s one reason why Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery decided to add Taylor to his staff as the program’s director of basketball operations, with the move being announced by the school on Saturday.

The two have worked together before, as they were both members of John MacLeod’s staff at Notre Dame during the 1998-99 season, and Taylor was one of McCaffery’s assistants at UNC-Greensboro (1999-2002) before becoming the head coach at Lehigh.

Taylor will replace Jerry Strom as Iowa’s director of basketball operations, with Strom making the decision to retire at the end of the 2012-13 season.

“We are extremely excited to have Billy Taylor join the Hawkeye family,” McCaffery said in the release. “I’ve known Billy since he was a teenager, having recruited and coached him, as well as being on the same coaching staff at Notre Dame and UNC-Greensboro. Billy is someone with tremendous character and will be a great asset to our program.”

Overall Taylor has a record of 165-168 in 11 seasons as a head coach, with his one NCAA tournament appearance coming with Lehigh in 2004. Taylor won’t be allowed to actively work with the players in his new role, but having another experienced voice in the room should be a positive for McCaffery.

Iowa reached the title game of the Postseason NIT last year, and with the majority of their key contributors returning (forward Aaron White and guard Devyn Marble being two) the Hawkeyes are expected by many to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006.

Iowa will play six games in Europe next month, making stops in London and Paris. The games will serve as an opportunity to get a head start on preparations for the 2013-14 season, in addition to incorporating newcomers Jarrod Uthoff (sat out last season after transferring in from Wisconsin) and Peter Jok into the system.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

WATCH LIVE: Hofstra travels to Delaware on NBCSN

James Madison forward Yohanny Dalembert (40) prepares to shoot against Hofstra forward Rokas Gustys, behind, during the first half of an NCAA basketball game in Harrisonburg, Va., Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. (Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
(Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP)
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Hofstra tries to keep pace with the conference’s elite as they travel to Delaware on Saturday afternoon. You can watch this CAA battle live on NBCSN at 5:00 p.m. EST.

The Pride (17-8, 9-4) are currently two games behind conference leader UNC-Wilmington and they’re trying to make a run to close out the season. Senior guard Juan’ya Green leads the Pride in points (17.7 ppg), assists (7 apg) and steals (1.8 spg) and he’s surrounded by a dangerous supporting cast.

Delaware (6-18, 1-12) had lost 15 consecutive games before beating Drexel in their last game. The Blue Hens have struggled in CAA play but Kory Holden (17.5 ppg, 4 apg) will try to help lead the upset.

These two teams met on Dec. 31 with Hofstra winning that one, 90-80, at home.

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Saturday afternoon.

Michigan gets Caris LeVert back in a win over No. 18 Purdue

Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan (50) tries to steal the ball from Michigan guard Caris LeVert (23) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
(AP Photo/Tony Ding)
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Zak Irvin scored 22 points and Michigan’s outmanned front line held Purdue’s redwoods to just seven offensive boards, six second chance points and just 22 points in the paint as the Wolverines landed a critical, 61-56, win over the No. 18 Boilermakers.

Depending on who you listen to, Michigan entered the day, at worst, on the bubble and at best, in headed for the 8-9 game.

And they picked up a top 25 win.

So yes, this win was big for them moving forward.

But more important than the win itself was that Wolverine fans got a glimpse of all-american guard Caris LeVert. He played just 11 points and didn’t return in the second half, he didn’t score and he missed the only shot that he took, but LeVert took the court for the first time since Dec. 30th. That day, LeVert rolled his left ankle and most likely reinjured a foot that had had a broken bone surgically repaired twice in the last 20 months. Michigan never confirmed what the actual injury was and never gave a timetable for when he would be back in the lineup, which is what made his brief appearance so important.

LeVert isn’t done for the season.

And since the Wolverines managed to post a 9-4 Big Ten record with LeVert acting as little more than a spectator, they have a chance to make a run in the Big Ten tournament and get into the NCAA tournament.

That will happen with LeVert in the rotation and, if all goes according to plan, the starting lineup.

So even with a loss against Purdue, the Wolverines had a good day. Bolstering their NCAA tournament profile was an added bonus.