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Thad Matta: Opposing coach ‘told a recruit I was dying’

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There has been some talk in coaching circles that Thad Matta’s tenure with Ohio State may be coming to a close soon. He hasn’t had the kind of success that you would expect out of Ohio State in the last few years, and whenever that happens, the rumors pop up.

Earlier this week, there were reports that Matta would be returning to coach the Buckeyes for the 2017-18 season. During a recent press conference, talking about his health and the concerns about his job status, Matta put the rumors of his impending departure to rest, while also telling a story about just how badly negative recruiting works.

“Somebody told a recruit I was dying,” Matta told reporters. “Swear to God. Not that my foot doesn’t lift, that I was going to die. It’s a tough business I’m in here.”

That’s … pretty impressive, actually.

And takes some stones.

Hard to believe that anyone wanted Mark Titus this badly.

VIDEO: Trailer for documentary on Baylor basketball scandal

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The scandal that involved Dave Bliss, Baylor basketball and the murder of Patrick Dennehy by a teammate is the worst scandal in the history of college sports.

Showtime produced a documentary that dove headfirst into telling that story, and it looks phenomenal.

Kansas guard Josh Jackson suspended for Big 12 tournament opener

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Kansas announced that star forward Josh Jackson has been suspended for the Jayhawks’ opener in the Big 12 tournament.

The suspension is the result of a traffic incident that occurred on Feb. 2nd that Jackson only told the program about on Monday. He was cited for three traffic violations, according to the Kansas City Star, for what amounted to a hit-and-run. He backed into a parked car and left without leaving his information on the car.

“Although Josh has acknowledged his responsibility and has handled it himself, he didn’t tell me about it until Monday,” Self said in a release. “He should have left his contact information at the time and notified us immediately.”

Jackson was not suspended as a result of a criminal property damage charge that he received last month stemming from an incident where he inflicted about $1,000 worth of damage onto the car of a Kansas women’s basketball player.

Jackson is averaging 16.4 points, 7.2 boards and 3.1 assists this season. He was named a second-team all-american by NBC Sports.

LaVar Ball: ‘If Charles [Barkley] thought like me, maybe he’d win a championship’

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LaVar Ball pushed back against Charles Barkley again on Tuesday.

Earlier this week, Barkley ripped LaVar for the way he speaks about his sons.

“Just because you say some s—, doesn’t make it right,” Barkley said, according to the Sporting News. “He’s gonna be better than Steph Curry? That’s what he said. Steph Curry has won a couple MVPs, he’s pretty good. Man, let me tell you something. That’s that AAU s—. You can’t say a guy is going to be better than Steph Curry, a guy who has played 30 college games. I know you can be proud of your son, but at some point, it becomes stupidity.”

LaVar hit back, spending on Tuesday on FS1’s shows going back at Barkley.

This, however, was the kill-shot:

“If Charles thought like me, maybe he’d win a championship,” Ball said. “Oh yeah, that hurt. He says sometimes when stuff comes out of people’s mouths, it’s just stupid. Guess what? You talking, too. Everybody has an opinion on how things work. I don’t care that I put the goals up high, saying my son is better. I know what my boy’s about. I know what work he put it in. It’s not a 1-on-1 sport, but if it is 1-on-1, I’m going to take the taller, faster, stronger guy.”

At some point, we had to stop asking LaVar questions like, “Do you want to walk back what you said?” because, quite clearly, he means and believes everything he says.

He’s not walking anything back.

He thinks Lonzo Ball is better Steph Curry.

Right now, he’s probably wrong. In five years, who knows. But until them, if you think you’re going to get him to say anything different, you’re out of your mind.

American Conference Tournament Preview, Bracket and Conference Postseason Awards

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American Player of the Year: Semi Ojeleye, SMU

Ojeleye was one of the most improved players in the country this season, churning out a season where the 6-foot-8 forward averaging 18.5 points and 6.5 boards while shooting 43.1 percent from beyond the arc. He was the biggest reason that Tim Jackovich and company were able to win the outright AAC regular season title.

American Coach of the Year: Tim Jankovich, SMU

While Johnny Dawkins at UCF deserves some credit for the season that the Knights had, it’s Jankovich that deserves the Coach of the Year award in the league. He took over in July for Larry Brown after his aburpt decision to resign and has taken a team that goes six-deep to the league’s regular season title over a very good Cincinnati team. That’s impressive.

First-Team All-AAC

  • Semi Ojeleye, SMU (POY)
  • Dedric Lawson, Memphis: Lawson put up crazy numbers for Memphis this season, numbers that rivaled what Ben Simmons did a year ago for LSU.
  • Rob Gray, Houston: Gray was the leading scorer in the AAC for a Houston team that was a factor in the NCAA tournament picture until a late loss to Cincinnati.
  • Jalen Adams, UConn: After a slow start to the season, Adams came on strong down the stretch to keep UConn’s season from being a total disaster.
  • Troy Caupain, Cincinnati: Caupain didn’t have a great year as a senior, but he’s the steadying hand at the point that led this group to a 16-2 league record and a potential top five seed in the NCAA tournament.

Second Team All-AAC:

  • Damyean Dotson, Houston
  • B.J. Taylor, UCF
  • Kyle Washington, Cincinnati
  • Shake Milton, SMU
  • Sterling Brown, SMU

RELATED: Player of the Year | Coach of the Year | NBC Sports All-Americans

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The Bracket

When: March 9-12

Where: Hartford, CT

Final: March 12th, 3:15 p.m.

Favorite: SMU Mustangs

It’s hard not to pick the AAC regular season champs to add to their trophy collection in Hartford this week. The biggest issue for this team is going to be their depth. They play six guys and will have to win games on three straight nights to cut down the nets. That won’t be easy to do.

And if they lose?: Cincinnati Bearcats

I’m not sure there is a tougher team in the conference that Mick Cronin’s club. If it wasn’t for a loss at UCF that was the result of a missed wide-open dunk with less than 10 seconds left, the Bearcats would have won a share of the league title, with their only loss coming on the road against SMU. This is a really good team.

Other Contenders:

  • Houston: Kelvin Sampson has done a good job with this group. The duo of Rob Gray and Damyean Dotson can put up points with the best of them.
  • UCF: B.J. Taylor is one of the most underrated players in the league, while 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall has developed into a force at center this season.

Sleeper: UConn Huskies

UConn has played better down the stretch of the season, and not only do they have one of the best players in the league in Jalen Adams, but they will be playing this tournament in UConn’s secondary home court, the XL Center in Hartford. As we’ve seen in the mid-major ranks this week, it’s not easy to win games in March on the road.

The Bubble Dwellers: None

Defining moment of the season: It may still be coming. The AAC plays their tournament final just hours before the Selection Show is scheduled to start. If SMU or Cincinnati fails to make it to the AAC title game, they’ll give the Selection Committee headaches as they try to put the finishing touches on the bracket with a possible autobid playing.

CBT Prediction: SMU and Cincinnati play a thriller in the final that the Bearcats win.

CBT Podcast: Gonzaga’s No. 1 seed, LSU’s opening and Champ Week

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Raphielle Johnson hops back on the podcast to talk about the biggest storylines during Championship Week, including the battle for first in the Pac-12 and the mediocrity of the Big Ten, as well as the opening at LSU, the lack of an opening at Washington and why grad transfers cost Gary Waters his job.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom