kennedy

Texas A&M’s Billy Kennedy discusses decision to part ways with top assistant Glynn Cyprien

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In three seasons at Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy has put together a record of 50 wins and 49 losses, with the program yet to reach the NCAA tournament under his watch. With players such as Alex Caruso, Jamal Jones and Kourtney Roberson all expected back next season, the hope in College Station is that Texas A&M will play its way into a postseason tournament of higher prestige than the CBI.

Texas A&M will attempt to do so with a coaching staff that will look much different than the one that sat on the bench in 2013-14, with Kennedy parting ways with top assistant Glynn Cyprien and John Reese this offseason. Reese’s departure came a couple months after his son, J-Mychal, was dismissed from the program for a violation of team rules.

As for Cyprien, Kennedy discussed the matter with Brett Zwenerman of the San Antonio Express-News, noting that the decision was one he made on his own.

“It was in the best interest of our program to make changes that needed to be made,” said Kennedy, who’s yet to make the NCAA or NIT postseasons over three years at A&M. “Sometimes it’s best for both parties to go their different ways. We’ve got to get better and we needed to make some changes to get better as a program.”

Kyle Keller and Mitch Cole, who according to the story went from special assistant to the head coach to an assistant coaching role following the departure of Reese, are the current assistants on Kennedy’s staff.

However while it will be interesting to see who fills the void left by Cyprien, what will be more important for the future of the program is that they improve their standing within the SEC. Texas A&M has won 18 games in consecutive seasons but they’ve got just one postseason berth, this season’s CBI, to show for it.

VIDEO: Duke’s Grayson Allen beats No. 7 Virginia at the buzzer

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Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia sparks come-from-behind win over No. 13 Louisville

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) goes up for a shot over Boston College’s Idy Diallo (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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Demetrius Jackson scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half and Steve Vasturia scored 15 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes as Notre Dame landed a 71-66 win over No. 13 Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Irish trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but Vasturia’s hot shooting combined with Notre Dame holding Louisville to just 15 points in the final 15 minutes made all the difference.

The Fighting Irish are not as good as they were last season, but they are built in a similar mold. Jackson, as we expected, as become one of the nation’s most dynamic point guards, impossible to slow-down in isolation and ball-screen actions. Steve Vasturia emerging as a legitimate secondary option offensively and Zach Auguste is one of the nation’s most underrated big men and one of the most dangerous as the roll-man in ball-screens.

Combine all of that with a handful of shooters creating space and Bonzie Colson’s emergence as a force on the offensive glass, and Mike Brey once again has one of the nation’s most lethal offensive attacks.

Where they struggle is on the defensive end of the floor, which is what makes the end of Saturday’s win so meaningful. The Irish entered the day ranked 232nd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which more or less means they’re as good as a bad mid-major program at keeping their opponents from scoring.

But they don’t have to be great to be able to win games.

They have to be good enough and they have to get important stops.

That’s precisely what happened on Saturday.

Whether or not that actually becomes a trend for this group will be something to monitor — it happened for Duke during last year’s NCAA tournament — but the bottom-line is this: Notre Dame does something better than just about anyone else in college basketball, and that’s score the ball.

On the nights they are able to gets some stops, they are going to be able to win some games. In the last eight days, they’ve proven that, beating North Carolina, Clemson on the road and Louisville.

And that makes them dangerous in March.