Posted on: March 16, 2011 3:22 pm

I've been making money for somebody

DAYTON, Ohio -- Got an email earlier today from a reader named ... Gary Parrish. He's apparently in the phone book, and he's been getting thank you calls for his college basketball picks. Problem is, he doesn't make college basketball picks. Funny stuff. Check it out ...

Dear Gary:

Every year, for the past four years I have received a call from a very happy, drunk gambler. He calls to thank me for the great advice I gave him concerning his college basketball picks. Last year I told him "If you found my phone number, you can also find my address. How about sending me a token of your appreciation". Needless to say I never received the toke.
Just letting you know, you have a happy, drunk fan out there somewhere.

Gary Parrish
Las Vegas, NV

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 15, 2011 8:40 pm
Edited on: March 16, 2011 2:29 am

Hold your bracket, here comes Kyrie?

DAYTON, Ohio -- Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski on Tuesday acknowledged publicly for the first time since Kryie Irving injured the big toe on his right foot back on Dec. 18 that the star point guard "could" play in this NCAA tournament.

And now it's time to start ripping up your bracket.

Seriously, this changes everything.

Nobody knows how many minutes Irving could play or how effective he could be over the next three weeks, but Krzyzewski putting this out there like that suggests he plans to use Irving in some form at some point. The final hurdle, it seems, will be whether Irving's father, Drederick Irving, will sign off on letting his son return when the reality is that the freshman from New Jersey did enough in Duke's first eight games to convince professional scouts that he's worthy of being selected in the top three of June's NBA Draft, perhaps as high as first overall. Reasonable minds can differ on the right and wise move. But only Irving and his father are qualified to make that call.

In the meantime, college basketball fans wait.

Kyrie Irving practiced "a little bit" Tuesday, according to his coach. If he practices a little bit more Wednesday, a little bit more Thursday and is back to operating near 100 percent by the time the Blue Devils reach a presumed Sweet 16, watch out. Yes, I suppose there might be chemistry issues for Duke like some suggested upon hearing Krzyzewski's announcement that Irving could return, but I'm betting the positives of having Irving in the lineup far outweight any possible negatives. He's so good with the ball, at probing the defense and either attacking the rim or finding an open shooter. Though Nolan Smith is great and has been named college basketball's National Player of the Year by various media outlets, remember this: Irving was Duke's best player when he was healthy enough to play for Duke.

We all agreed on that three months ago.

If you've forgotten, I suggest you watch tape.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 15, 2011 2:00 pm
Edited on: March 15, 2011 2:20 pm

Lowe officially done at N.C. State

N.C. State has officially removed Sidney Lowe as its basketball coach, a source told on Tuesday. The school will technically call the move a "resignation," but Lowe was never given the option to return next season, according to a source.

A press conference to announce the decision has been scheduled for 6 p.m. ET.

Lowe never finished better than ninth in the ACC during five seasons at the school. N.C. State had a 5-11 league record each of the past two seasons, and it will now focus on a coaching search its fans hope will deliver a capable candidate who can handle the pressure of working within miles of Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina's Roy Williams.

The Wolfpack haven't made the NCAA tournament since Herb Sendek took them to five straight from 2002 to 2006.

Sendek left N.C. State under pressure after the 2006 season.

He now coaches Arizona State.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 14, 2011 2:21 pm

My bracket is set and ready to look silly

NEW YORK -- My bracket has been finalized over on the "Experts" page.

(Yes, we use that word loosely around here.)

Click this link to check it out.

Copy it at your own risk.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 14, 2011 1:01 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2011 1:05 pm

Source: OU fires Capel

Oklahoma has fired Jeff Capel as its basketball coach, a source confirmed to on Monday.

The school is expected to announce the change soon.

Capel coached Oklahoma for five seasons and took the Sooners to the Elite Eight two years ago with Blake Griffin. But Capel has gone 9-23 in the Big 12 the past two years and dealt with off-the-court issues stemming from a financial advisor giving money to Tiny Gallon's family before the McDonald's All-American enrolled at OU. Gallon turned pro after one season with the Sooners.

Capel spent four seasons at VCU before getting the Oklahoma job.

He was Kelvin Sampson's replacement at OU.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 13, 2011 4:08 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2011 4:10 pm

My final bracket projection

Here's my final bracket projection:

(Teams seeded with no regard to region.)

1. Ohio State, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Duke
2. Notre Dame, San Diego State, Connecticut, Syracuse
3. Texas, Purdue, North Carolina, Louisville
4. Florida, BYU, Kentucky, Wisconsin
5. West Virginia, St. John's, Cincinnati, Vanderbilt
6. Xavier, UNLV, Kansas State, Georgetown
7. Texas A&M, Temple, Arizona, Old Dominion
8. Washington, Missouri, Marquette, UCLA
9. Tennessee, Richmond, Utah State, Villanova
10. George Mason, Michigan, Florida State, Michigan State
11. Memphis, Penn State, Gonzaga, Illinois
12. Butler, Georgia, Colorado/VCU, Virginia Tech/Saint Mary's
13. Princeton, Belmont, Oakland, Bucknell
14. Long Island, Morehead State, St. Peter's, Wofford
15. Indiana State, Boston University, Akron, Northern Colorado
16. UNC-Ashville, Hampton, UC Santa Barbara/UALR, Alabama State/UTSA
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 13, 2011 2:26 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2011 2:30 pm

Source: Arkansas fires Pelphrey

Arkansas fired John Pelphrey as its basketball coach Sunday, a source told

An official announcement is expected soon.

The decision comes three days after published a picture of Pelphrey posing with two high school juniors in violation of NCAA bylaws. In response to the report, an Arkansas spokesperson said the school would "review" the situation. Athletic director Jeff Long acknowledged he believed the story proved a violation had occurred, but he declined further comment.

Pelphrey just completed his fourth season at Arkansas.

He had a losing SEC record each of the past three seasons.

Missouri's Mike Anderson is expected to be Arkansas' primary target.

He was a 17-year assistant at Arkansas under legendary coach Nolan Richardson.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 12, 2011 6:38 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 11:58 pm

Saturday Wrap-up

NEW YORK -- The Princeton Tigers and Memphis Tigers both won in the final seconds.

So they'll both be in the NCAA tournament.

Nolan Smith?

His hurt toe seems OK.

Here's Saturday's Wrap-up to recap a busy day of college basketball.

Best game: The Princeton-Harvard playoff received considerable hype relative to Ivy League standards, then lived up to that hype with a classic ending that featured Douglas Davis hitting a leaner at the buzzer to give Princeton a 63-62 win that'll send the Tigers to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2004. Harvard hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 1946, still. But the school can claim Natalie Portman, and that's worth something.
Other best game: Memphis was down 12 with less than 10 to play to a team it had lost to by 27 points three Saturdays earlier. Game over, right? That's how it looked, and I found myself breaking from the action to look at the Tigers' resume in an attempt to make an educated guess about whether they could earn an at-large bid as second-place finishers to UTEP in the C-USA tournament. Then Tarik Black scored four straight points and suddenly the Tigers were on a run that would culminate with Joe Jackson at the free throw line, his team behind by a point. Jackson made the first, then made the second. And when UTEP's Christian Polk missed at the buzzer, Josh Pastner was able to celebrate his first trip to the NCAA tournament and calm his passionate fan base, all at the same time.

Yet another best game: Isaiah Thomas rushed the ball up the court, ignored his coach's desire to get a timeout and sank a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to lift Washington to a 77-75 win over Arizona in the Pac-10 title game. Consequently, the Huskies are the automatic bid from the Pac-10 for the second straight season. Now let's see if they can make the Sweet 16 for the second straight season, too.

Yet another best game: Connecticut completed a historic run to the Big East tournament title with a 69-66 win over Louisvile in which Kemba Walker had 19 points. You want to read more about it, check my column from Madison Square Garden.

Team whose dream remained alive: Dayton finished ninth in the Atlantic 10 after being picked fourth in the preseason poll, which is a fact-based way of saying this hasn't been the best of seasons for Brian Gregory. But now he's just a win over Richmond away from erasing all that from his fans' memories and making the NCAA tournament thanks to a 64-61 victory over Saint Joseph's in the A-10 semifinals. The Flyers will be underdogs in the A-10 title game, for sure. But they'll have a chance, and that's not something that seemed likely a week ago.

Team whose dream was crushed: BYU's dream wasn't crushed, exactly. But the door to a possible No. 1 seed officially closed with a 72-54 loss to San Diego State in the Mountain West title game. That the Cougars could easily handle SDSU twice with Brandon Davies but could not handle SDSU without Brandon Davies is yet another sign that this isn't the same team that moved into the top five of the AP poll two weeks ago. And that's too bad. Because I'm no longer certain Jimmer's gonna be around for the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.

Performance I hope you witnessed: Harrison Barnes has elevated his game in recent weeks as much as Joe Jackson elevated his game in recent days. The North Carolina freshman now looks worthy of the Preseason National Player of the Year award bestowed upon him in October -- proof being the 40 points he dropped in UNC's 92-87 win over Clemson in the ACC semifinals. Barnes was 12-of-17 from the field, 6-of-8 from 3-point range and 10-of-11 from the free throw line. It took him longer than I expected to become a star, I admit. But can anybody deny he's reached that status heading into Sunday's ACC tournament final against Duke?

Performance I hope you missed: Texas dropped to 0-6 in Big 12 title games by falling 85-73 to Kansas in a contest the Longhorns never really threatened to win. They were down 48-33 at the half and let KU shoot 56.9 percent for the game. Their cooperation allowed the Jayhawks to secure a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Three things worth noting

1. Kentucky's 72-58 win over Alabama kept the Crimson Tide on the bubble and advanced the Wildcats to the SEC title game for the second straight season. Last year they played Mississippi State. This year they'll play Florida, the reigning SEC East champions.

2. Nolan Smith suffered a toe injury late Friday but returned early Saturday and scored 27 points in Duke's 77-63 win over Virginia Tech in the ACC semifinals. I think that means he's OK. Virginia Tech's at-large hopes? They're probably OK, too. But it's impossible to say for sure.

3. Not sure I had Ohio State needing to beat Northwestern, Michigan and Penn State to win the Big Ten tournament, but that's the way this event has unfolded. So unless you think the Nittany Lions are beating the Buckeyes on Sunday, go ahead and pencil in Thad Matta's team as the bracket's No. 1 overall seed. Better yet, just wait. Considering the way things are going, Talor Battle will be holding a Big Ten trophy Sunday afternoon.

Final thought: Paul Hewitt was tied to Georgia Tech a little longer than he probably should've been because of a $7 million buyout that the school previously didn't want to pay and Hewitt was never going to walk away from, wisely. But Georgia Tech officials finally secured the funds to move their program in another direction after Hewitt finished with a losing ACC record for the fourth straight season, and the school confirmed his termination early Saturday.

Both sides will be better for it.

Georgia Tech is a good school and Hewitt is a good man, but this relationship needed to end. The two sides had become like a numb married couple that's only together because it's more convenient than separating, and that's not fun for anybody. So good for Georgia Tech, and good for Paul Hewitt. Saturday was an expensive day for the former and a tough day for the latter, but it's a day both clearly needed to arrive.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Wrap-up
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