With Buzz Williams moving on to fill the head coaching vacancy at Marquette, the Big East program has been hard at work looking for a replacement. One name that came up immediately was that of VCU head coach Shaka Smart, who is a native of Wisconsin. Some outlets even went far enough to report that Smart had agreed to become the new head coach at Marquette.
However that wasn’t true and according to a report by Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, Smart won’t be making the move from Richmond to Milwaukee. In five seasons at VCU Smart has amassed a record of 137 wins and 46 losses, leading the Rams to four NCAA tournament appearances and a Final Four in 2011.
Last spring Smart’s name was one that came up for the vacancy at UCLA (along with that of current Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens), with the school ultimately hiring Steve Alford to replace Ben Howland.
So where does Marquette go from here? Parrish provided a few possibilities in his story:
Among the possible candidates at Marquette now are former UCLA coach Ben Howland, Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins and Green Bay coach Brian Wardle.
Smart and VCU came to agreement on a new contract that runs through 2028 back in October, with his guaranteed compensation for the 2013-14 season reaching $1.45 million and due to increase to $1.5 million in future seasons.
Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.