Jeff Neubauer’s second consecutive 20-win season resulted in a berth in the NCAA tournament, where Eastern Kentucky nearly upset No. 2 seed Kansas.
On Monday evening, the university announced that Neubauer, who has been at the helm since 2005, would receive a contract extension through the 2017-2018 season.
“I am very proud of coach Neubauer and his staff, and the superb job they have done in recruiting the right kind of student-athlete to EKU,” Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson said in a statement. “As stellar as Jeff’s win-loss record is, we should all be even more pleased by the fact that the program graduates more than 90 percent of the student-athletes that have exhausted their eligibility during Jeff’s tenure. That is the most important statistic.”
Neubauer is 167-122 in his nine seasons with the Colonels, compiling a 49-20 record over the course of the last two years. The most recent trip to the Big Dance was the second of his coaching tenure; the first since 2007. The Colonels march to the 2014 NCAA Tournament involved defeating the top two teams in the OVC — Murray State and Belmont — in back-to-back days. The Racers and Bears had combined for five tournament appearances since 2010, though, Eastern Kentucky was able to punch its ticket by holding off the two mid-major powers by a combined nine points en route to the OVC Tournament title.
Eastern Kentucky graduates leading score Glenn Cosey this spring, the OVC All-Conference selection who averaged 18.7 points per game. Corey Walden, the team’s second leading scorer, and reigning OVC Defensive Player of the Year, is Neubauer’s top returner.
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: