Big Ten Tournament: Iowa suffers sixth defeat in last seven games

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Iowa may hear its name called when the NCAA tournament bracket is announced on Sunday, but the Hawkeyes aren’t entering the event playing good basketball. Thursday night Iowa fell 67-62 to Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten tournament, their sixth loss in the last seven games.

Looking solely at the score it wouldn’t seem as if the defensive issues that have plagued Iowa throughout conference play were present on Thursday night, but they were. Northwestern shot 52.3% from the field and made 11 of its 23 attempts from beyond the arc, with guard Tre Demps scoring a team-high 20 points. Drew Crawford (15 points) and Dave Sobolewski (ten points) also scored in double figures for Northwestern, who will face Michigan State on Friday.

Iowa’s allowed at least 1.04 points per possession in every game they’ve played since beating Northwestern on January 25 (0.64 points allowed/possession), and on Thursday the Wildcats managed to score 1.15 points per possession. The defense has been an issue for quite some time for Fran McCaffery’s team, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to be able to find a solution.

But even with that being the case it was assumed that Iowa would have enough offensive firepower to survive. Things didn’t work out that way against Northwestern.

Roy Devyn Marble scored 25 points and Jarrod Uthoff added 17 off the bench, but the other Hawkeyes combined to shoot 7-for-38 from the field. Starting guard Mike Gesell missed all ten of his shot attempts and Aaron White attempted just two shots (making both). Iowa can’t win in the Big Ten tournament, much less the NCAA tournament, when this level of offensive production occurs and sure enough the Hawkeyes are headed home after one game in Indianapolis.

Chris Collins’ team picked up a big win on Thursday, and the Wildcats certainly deserve credit for their performance. But Iowa has struggled mightily down the stretch, and the tumble will certainly impact their seeding in the NCAA tournament. The talent’s still there, but without the ability to string together stops the Hawkeyes may not be around very long.

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.


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.