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Mercer, Florida-Gulf Coast prove there’s more than one way to pull an upset

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The darlings of the 2013 NCAA tournament came from #DunkCity, as Florida-Gulf Coast alley-ooped their way from a No. 16 seed to the Sweet 16, knocking off No. 2 Georgetown and No. 7 San Diego State in the process.

They were fun. They were exciting. They were basically the Harlem Globetrotters.

What they weren’t, however, was the regular season champion of the Atlantic Sun. That title belonged to Mercer, a team that has put themselves in a position to be this season’s cinderella story. That’s typically what happens when you are a No. 14 seed that pulls off an upset of a No. 3 seed that just so happens to Duke, a team that features a top three pink in the NBA Draft, one of the greatest coaches in the history of basketball and the kind of name-brand that is impossible to replicate.

RELATED: Mercer guard dances the Nae Nae  |  Epic postgame interview with the coach

Not every cinderella is built the same, however, and this Mercer team is not all that much like FGCU.

Last season, the Eagles were college basketball’s version of showtime. Their offense was built around Brett Comer and his ability to lead the break. They flourished in transition, taking advantage of the myriad of long, lanky and athletic front court players and the fact that Comer had a flair for throwing perfectly-timed lobs.

They fed off of emotion, and the fact that they were a thrill to watch made them immediate fan favorites.

Mercer is similar is that their offense is structured around their point guard, but this team is not a high-flying act. They’re more of a traditional mid-major: loaded with seniors, extremely well-coached, playing with a calmness that you can only see out of a group of guys that have spent four years together.

RELATED: Duke’s worst NCAA tournament losses

Mercer has a ton of shooters, ranking top 25 nationally in three-point percentage, which allows them to spread the floor and let Langston Hall operate. Against Duke, he picked apart their defense with pick-and-roll actions.

How they do it doesn’t really matter when it comes down to it.

What’s relevant is that both teams are good enough at what they do to beat some of the best teams in the country.

There’s more than one way to pull an upset, and the Atlantic Sun have proven that the last two years.

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.