For all the talk about UMass and VCU this season, might the Atlantic 10 title still run through St. Louis?
It certainly looked like it on Saturday afternoon, as the Billikens went into Dayton and smacked around the Flyers, winning 67-59 in a game that where Jim Crews’ club had a double-digit lead for much of the second half.
Dwayne Evans was fantastic as usual, finishing with 22 points and nine boards on 9-for-11 shooting from the floor. Jordair Jett added 12 points and five assists while Austin McBroom chipped in with 17 off the bench, but as always, the story of this game was on the defensive end of the floor.
Dayton shot 30.6% from the floor. Devin Oliver, Dayton’s second-leading scorer, was 0-for-12 from the field and didn’t score a single points.
You see, there isn’t a team in the country as good as Saint Louis at taking teams out of what they want to do offensively. They don’t bring full-court pressure and they’re not really the kind of a defense that will trap you to death, but they are disciplined, they rotate extremely well and they know how to play to the scouting report.
That’s part of the reason the Billikens are so tough on the road. They will win games even when they don’t play well offensively. That’s why they are a nation’s best 6-0 on the road this season.
Still haven’t sold you on the Billikens yet? How about this: they are now 15-2 on the season with their only losses coming against Wisconsin and Wichita State, two teams that have yet to lose to anyone this season.
St. Louis can play.
Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.
Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.
“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”
While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.
Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.
The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.
“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.
“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.
“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”
Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.