With former associate head coach Dana Ford leaving the Illinois State program to take over as head coach at Tennessee State, head coach Dan Muller has a position to fill on his coaching staff. Thursday it was made official that Muller has promoted assistant Torrey Ward, who has been a member of Muller’s staff since the 2012-13 season (Muller’s first), to associate head coach.
In the immediate aftermath of Ford’s departure Ward, who has worked with the Illinois State front court players during his time in Normal, was made the program’s recruiting coordinator according to the Bloomington (Ill.) Pantagraph.
“I am very appreciative of Dan for the confidence that he has in me and for this opportunity to serve as associate head coach,” Ward said in the school release. “This is indeed an honor for me, and I am happy to be a part of the Redbird men’s basketball program.
“I am looking forward to continuing our efforts to take an already-successful program to new heights, while developing our student-athletes to be successful on and off the court.”
Joining Ward on Muller’s staff are assistants Luke Yaklich and Dean Oliver with the latter being hired earlier this month. Oliver played point guard at Iowa from 1997-2001. Illinois State won 18 games and reached the quarterfinals of the CBI last season, falling to eventual champion Siena. The Redbirds return two of their top three scorers from that team, guards Daishon Knight and Bobby Hunter.
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: