calipari

The Secondary Break: Friday’s Links

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College Basketball’s Top 25 Coaching Gigs (Sports on Earth)
It’s a topic that tends to come up just about every spring, with the coaching carousel leading many to wonder which head coaching jobs are the best in the sport. Will Leitch of Sports on Earth put together his list of the 25 best head coaching jobs in college basketball, with the usual suspects leading the way at the top.

The narrative of Andrew Wiggins is already growing tiresome (Busting Brackets)
“To those whom much is given, much is expected.” For college basketball’s top players with their status comes a great amount of scrutiny. Such has been life for Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins, whose performances are picked apart on a nightly basis. And for some, the narrative that has accompanied the freshman has become tiresome.

Shabazz Muhammad’s father pleads guilty in federal fraud case (Los Angeles Times)
On Thursday afternoon Ron Holmes, the father of former UCLA wing Shabazz Muhammad, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit federal fraud in connection with some real estate deals he made in the Las Vegas area. Holmes, who originally entered a not guilty plea in May, received six months house arrest in 2000 a similar charge in Los Angeles County.

Louisville’s Mangok Mathiang trying to follow Gorgui Dieng’s growth curve (Louisville Courier-Journal)
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino made the decision a short time ago to move Mangok Mathiang into the starting lineup, and while some fans may have expected Mathiang to immediately become “Gorgui Dieng 2.0” the process will take longer than that. The hope is that in time Mathiang will be able to add some weight (he currently weighs 212 pounds) and become an impact player in the post.

“Return to Rec” as much about history as it is future (State College News)
On Saturday Penn State will host Princeton, but instead of playing in their usual home building (the spacious Bryce Jordan Center) the Nittany Lions will do so at Rec Hall. Rec Hall was the program’s home for decades and Penn State was very tough to beat there, as they racked up a winning percentage of 73.7%. Penn State last played at Rec Hall in January 1996 before moving into the Bryce Jordan Center.

Memphis head coach Josh Pastner donates $250,000 to building plan (Associated Press)
On Thursday Memphis head coach Josh Pastner made the greatest contribution made by a head coach in the history of the program, as he donated $250,000 meant to help improve the athletic facilities on campus. One of those upgrades is expected to be a new practice and training facility for the basketball program.

DeAndre Kane carries father’s dream with him at Iowa State (CBS Sports)
Iowa State senior guard DeAndre Kane’s been one of the best transfers in the country thus far, helping to lead the way for a team that’s undefeated entering Friday’s game against No. 23 Iowa. Kane’s pushed forward despite losing his father in February 2012, wearing the number 50 in his honor.

Starting 5: Atlantic 10 better than the Big East? Very possibly (Sporting News)
Non-conference play gives us the opportunity to evaluate conferences and how they stack up against other leagues. And thanks to its solid start and successful runs by member teams in multiple in-season tournaments the Atlantic 10 has been better than some anticipated. And according to Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News, the A-10 could be closing the gap between itself and the Big East.

No. 14 West Virginia takes care of No. 15 Baylor

West Virginia forward Devin Williams (41) dunks the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor, Saturday, Feb, 6, 2016, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)
AP Photo/Raymond Thompson
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Not exactly noted for their ability to knock down shots from the perimeter, No. 14 West Virginia grabbed sole possession of first place in the Big 12 thanks in part to their perimeter shooting. The Mountaineers shot 7-for-14 from three and 49.1 percent from the field in a 80-69 win over No. 15 Baylor that wasn’t as close as the final margin would lead one to believe.

Bob Huggins’ team led by as much as 19 in the second half, and the way in which they did it is what makes the win so impressive. “Press Virginia” yielded just ten Baylor turnovers, but that low number didn’t matter much thanks to West Virginia’s execution offensively.

They found quality looks against Baylor’s 1-1-3 zone in the first half and made them at a good clip, forcing Scott Drew to switch to man-to-man. That change didn’t do much to slow down West Virginia either, as Daxter Miles Jr. scored 20 points and sixth man Jaysean Paige added 17 off the bench. And with Devin Williams chipping in with 16 points and seven boards in the post, outplaying Baylor’s Rico Gathers Sr. (five points, seven rebounds), West Virginia grabbed control of the game in the first half and did not relinquish it.

The usual formula for West Virginia offensively is to attack the offensive glass, as their offensive rebounding percentage (43 percent) is tops in the country. “Their best offense is a missed shot” is a familiar refrain heard when people discuss the Mountaineers, who entered the game shooting just over 30 percent from three.

They didn’t need to lean on those second chances as heavily as they normally do Saturday night, not only because of the improved accuracy but also the improved work in finding shots. The ball moved against the Baylor defense and so did the players, resulting in an offensive attack that proved tougher for the visiting Bears to stop that one would expect given the statistics entering the game.

West Virginia was already established as a contender in the Big 12, but thanks to their win Saturday night the Mountaineers are the current pace setters. With a showdown at No. 7 Kansas set for Tuesday night, this was a big win for Bob Huggins’ team to get. And with it coming in spite of a low turnover (forced) count, this should only help West Virginia in the confidence department moving forward.

No. 22 Indiana falls at Penn State

Penn State's Shep Garner (33) moves towards the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Indiana in State College, Pa., Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)
(AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)
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Brendan Taylor scored 24 points to lead Penn State to a 68-63 upset of No. 22 Indiana on Saturday night.

The Nittany Lions were 2-8 in Big Ten play entering the weekend. Indiana? They were 9-1 and tied for first in the conference. It’s the second loss in four games for the Hoosiers following a 7-0 start to Big Ten play, a fact made all the more concerning by the fact that their league schedule is finally about to get difficult.

The Hoosiers play No. 5 Iowa at home and No. 10 Michigan State in East Lansing next week. The following week they get No. 18 Purdue at home. In the final week of the regular season, Indiana squares off with No. 5 Iowa on the road and close the regular season with a visit from No. 4 Maryland.

That’s a lot of good teams that the Hoosiers to close out the year.

The question has been asked since Indiana’s hot start to league play: Are they for real? Did the Hoosiers really somehow turn things around defensively, or was that winning streak simply a by-product of their schedule?

The truth is that it was probably a combination of both. Calling them a fraud would be unjust — if you watched those games, there wasn’t much fluky about them; Indiana earned the Ws — but it does seem fair to say this is something of a regression to the mean.

They were going to slip up eventually.

And it will totally be forgotten if the Hoosiers can find a way to close the regular season with a winning record in their final seven games.