Mike D'Antoni

Country roads leading D’Antoni back to Marshall?

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Mike D’Antoni could be on the move pretty soon, leaving a struggling Los Angeles Lakers squad that has suffered immensely under his lead and become the laughing stock of the NBA, along with the Philadelphia 76ers, of course.

Even Kobe Bryant seems embarrassed to be associated with the squad, going so far as to say: “I don’t talk to players on teams that are 20 games under .500.” The purple and gold are currently 24-47 and fifth in the Pacific Division.

According to a source, there is mutual interest between Mike D’Antoni and his alma mater, Marshall University, over the vacant head coaching position for the Thundering Herd. The University has reached out to the former New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns head coach to potentially bring the 62-year-old back to his native West Virginia.

“I would think his days are numbered based on Kobe saying he had no interest in playing for him next year,” a source told CBSSports.com. “If he isn’t with the Lakers, I believe he will be at Marshall because there is mutual interest.”

D’Antoni, who signed a three-year $12 million contract with the Lakers on November 12, 2012, might be lured away from Los Angeles as numerous donors to the Marshall squad are more than willing to cough up money in attempt to bring D’Antoni to the school to turn the program around.

The Marshall Thundering Herd went 11-22 overall and 4-12 in conference play over the 2013-14 season, losing in the first round of Conference USA tournament play to Old Dominion on March 12th.

D’Antoni played for Marshall from 1970-1973 and has not completely thrown out the idea of returning to the green and white.

“I hear from them all the time,” D’Antoni said of his alma mater. “I’m the head of their capital [fundraising] campaign. I’m close friends to them. Whatever they need, I try to do. But … who knows.”

Kennesaw State blows eight-point lead in 16 seconds, loses to Elon

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Kennesaw State entered Monday night at 1-6 on the season, but with 19 seconds left, it looked like the Owls have their second of the season locked up. Kendrick Ray made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to put KSU up 89-81, and all they had to do was avoid a complete meltdown to get out with a win.

They couldn’t.

A Luke Eddy layup with 16 seconds left cut the lead to six, and after KSU’s Nigel Pruitt missed two free throws, Dainan Swoope his a three with seven seconds left to make the score 89-86.

On the ensuing inbounds, Kennesaw State threw the ball away … and then proceeded to foul Eddy when he was shooting a three. This is what that disaster looked like:

Eddy would hit all three threes before, shockingly, KSU turned the ball over again. Elon could not capitalize this time, sending the game to overtime, where the Phoenix outscored the Owls 14-4.

Elon won 104-94.

Here’s what the comeback looked like on the play-by-play:

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Rick Pitino: Louisville ‘just ignored’ in top 25 due of scandal

Rick Pitino
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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Louisville beatdown Saint Louis at the Barclays Center on Sunday night, a 77-57 win that was much closer at halftime than the final score might indicate.

The win moved the Cardinals to 5-0 on the season, and that, in turn, got Louisville into the back end of both top 25 polls.

They’re 24th in the AP Poll and 22nd in the Coaches Poll, but that happened on Monday morning. On Sunday night, Pitino made sure to get a rant in about how this team is viewed and why pundits and voters should overlook the scandal currently plaguing his program.

“I think people are looking at that and they’re not really studying the team,” he said, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, adding that he thinks the team is “just ignored” because of the accusations leveled by self-described madam Katina Powell in the book she published back in October.

And here’s the thing: he is 100 percent correct. Louisville was overlooked in the preseason because the scandal, when combined with the fact that the Cardinals are integrating so many new pieces into their rotation, made it tough to see how they would be able to compete at a level that we’ve come to expect out of Louisville teams.

I know that because it’s why my colleagues at NBCSports.com, against my wishes, refused to allow me to rank Louisville in the preseason top 25. In other words, I’ve had first-hand interactions with the haters. But if we’re going to be honest here, scandal or no scandal, Louisville probably wasn’t going to find their way into the preseason top 25, not when they had to replace Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell.

And scandal or no scandal, no team from outside the top 25 is going to play their way into the top 25 by beating the likes of North Florida and St. Francis (NY) without some shenanigans — like Fred VanVleet getting hurt, like Indiana collapsing, like Arizona and Cal and Notre Dame playing their way out of the top 20 — happening around the country.

So Pitino is right: the scandal probably did have an impact on how his team was viewed in the preseason.

But Pitino the scandal isn’t what kept them out of the top 25 until Monday.

That weak non-conference schedule and roster turnover was why.

And if we’re going to be honest here, it probably should have kept them out for another week.