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With former head coach Cuonzo Martin now at California, Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart now has the task of finding the right man to lead the basketball program into the future. While the Volunteers did reach the Sweet 16 this past season, they’ll be moving on without some key contributors including forward Jarnell Stokes.
But its still an attractive job, and according to a report late Saturday from Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, Louisiana Tech head coach Mike White is now the focus of the Tennessee head coaching search. White knows the SEC, having played at Ole Miss and then spending seven seasons at his alma mater as an assistant before being hired at Louisiana Tech.
However this development comes after Tennessee has, according to the report, run into some difficulties in its search.
A source told CBSSports.com that Tennessee has informally contacted some “A-list” candidates but that the interest hasn’t been mutual. Another source told CBSSports.com that at least one potential candidate expressed no interest only because Tennessee’s roster is in bad shape given that the Vols are losing four of their top five players from a Sweet 16 team.
White agreed to a six-year, $3.6 million contract extension on April 3, with the buyout increasing from $500,000 to $600,000. During his three seasons at Louisiana Tech, White has put together a record of 74-31 with 56 of those wins coming in the last two years.
After winning 27 games and a share of the WAC regular title in 2012-13, Louisiana Tech won 29 games and a share of the Conference USA regular season title in their inaugural season in the league.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.
The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.
We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
- Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
- Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
- Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
- No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
- No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.
And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.
The rest of the top 10?
They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: