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Wednesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Eight top 25 teams hit the road

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 Iowa at No. 21 Michigan, 7:00 p.m.

We all think we know that Michigan State is the best team in the Big Ten when they’re healthy. But who’s second? Who will give the Spartans a run for the league title? The trendy pick two weeks ago would have been either Ohio State or Wisconsin, but those teams have lost a combined six straight games.

That leaves Iowa and Michigan. The Hawkeyes are dangerous. They’re talented, they’re versatile and they’re deep. Michigan, on the other hand, has seemingly adapted quite well from losing Mitch McGary to back surgery. It doesn’t hurt matters that, at this point in the season, Nik Stauskas and Roy Devyn Marble are both playing like Big Ten Player of the Year candidates.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 9 Wisconsin at Minnesota, 9:00 p.m.

Wisconsin lost two games last week after starting the season 16-0. Minnesota is better than they are getting credit for, and they actually matchup fairly well with the Badgers. The Golden Gophers have a slew of guards on their roster, and if anything has been proven these last two games, it’s that the Badgers can be susceptible to penetration. Minnesota could really use a quality win, and Wisconsin is a good place to start.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 18 Duke at Miami (FL), 7:30 p.m.

The Hurricanes have been one of the scrappier teams in the ACC to dispatch of. They play a packed in defense, controlling the tempo and doing everything they can to turn games into slugfests. They don’t have the talent to run up and down with the best teams in the league this season, but they can muck it up with the best of them. Duke seemingly bounced back from their sluggish start to league play by pounding N.C. State, and theoretically, they match up with the Canes much better than, say, Syracuse. This should be an interesting test for the Blue Devils.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE DAY: Boston U. at American, 7:30 p.m.

First place in the Patriot League is on the line as these two teams, who both sit at 6-0 in conference play, square off in DC.


1) No. 5 Wichita State will be making the trip to Illinois State tonight, and the Redbirds are a feisty, better-than-anyone-expected team. Roadtrips are never easy in the MVC, and Wichita State will be the biggest home game of the season every single time they hit the road.

2) No. 13 UMass has had a nasty habit of falling behind early in games, needing some kind of miraculous comeback in the final minutes to pull off a win. They visit Richmond tonight. Eventually, that’s going to come back to burn the Minutemen.

3) There are a couple of other key A-10 battles tonight:

  • No. 19 Saint Louis at Duquesne
  • La Salle at St. Bonaventure
  • VCU at Dayton
  • Rhode Island at St. Joe’s

4) There will be some upsets tonight, as two other ranked teams also hit the road:

  • No. 12 Louisville at South Florida
  • No. 7 San Diego State at San Jose State

5) Cal isn’t ranked, but they should be. They will also be on the road tonight, visiting USC.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
Associated Press
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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.

h/t ShockerHoops.net

AUDIO: Rick Pitino discusses allegations, future at Louisville

Rick Pitino
Associated Press
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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.