Happy Tourney-versary!: HoopsHD interviews Charlie Coles

For the UTR Game of the Day between Cornell and Princeton – CLICK HERE

For the latest Hoops HD Bracket Rundown – CLICK HERE

With the 2019 NCAA tourney tipping off next month, we will spend this month taking a walk down memory lane with a choice collection of players/coaches who are celebrating an awesome anniversary this year. From a comeback win to clinch the 1954 tourney title (65th anniversary) through a last-second loss in the 2014 Final 4 (5th anniversary), these legends have all carved out a little piece of history in past Marches. We continue our series with Charlie Coles, who played at Miami OH in the 1960s before becoming head coach at his alma mater more than 30 years later. After spending a couple of years as an assistant to Herb Sendek, he took over in 1996 and made the NCAA tourney in his very 1st season, then made it all the way to the Sweet 16 in 1999. Coach Coles passed away in 2013 but HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with him in the past and now presents this previously-unpublished interview about the 20th anniversary of his 1999 run to the Sweet 16 as well as his near-death experience the previous year in the 1998 MAC tourney.

As a senior at Bryan High School you led the state of Ohio in scoring with 42.1 PPG (including a school-record 55 PTS against Shawnee) and later became a 2-time all-conference player at Miami OH: what is the secret to being a great scorer, and how did you decide to get into coaching? I just liked basketball while growing up and shot around a lot at the school court next door. I was known as a real good shooter but was very skinny. Nobody ever said that I would be a great player, but in high school I grew a little bit and became more athletic and an all-around player. We had very small gyms back then. 1 of our archrivals was Greeneview who had Gary Bradds (a future 2-time All-American at Ohio State). Every team in our area sent at least 1 guy to college. I had a good high school coach who liked to get the ball up and down the floor, which was good for me. I selected Miami because a lot of guys from my area went there. I always knew that I wanted to be a coach: even back in elementary school I had great coaching mentors.

What are your memories of the 1987 MAC tourney title game as head coach at Central Michigan (Tommie Johnson made 2 FT with 6 seconds left in a 1-PT win over Kent State for the school’s 1st MAC tourney title)? We beat them twice during the regular season even though they had a great coach in Jim McDonald so we knew that the 3rd time was going to be tough. We had a real good team led by Dan Majerle but were lucky to win that game: it was a big thrill to make the NCAA tourney.

Take me through the 1995 NCAA tourney as an assistant at your alma mater under Herb Sendek:
Devin Davis had 24 PTS/15 REB in a 9-PT win over Arizona: what made Sendek such a great coach, and what is the most important thing that you ever learned from him? Herb is without a doubt the smartest guy I have ever been around and was great at game preparation. I thought that I was pretty good at watching tapes but Herb did a great job of presenting it to the team on game day. He left no stone unturned and taught me that you can never be over-prepared.

Junior Burrough had 28 PTS/12 REB in a 6-PT OT win by Virginia: did you feel like your team was ready to make a deep postseason run? We should have beat them. Our PG got hurt at the end of the Arizona game: if we had a healthy Derrick Cross then we would have beaten Virginia. I got mad at Jamie Mahaffey for passing up a wide-open jump shot with 40 seconds left: we never got a good shot after that.

What are your memories of the 1996 NIT (Damon Frierson scored 24 PTS but missed a runner at the buzzer in a 1-PT loss to Fresno State)? It was a great atmosphere as we were going against the great Jerry Tarkanian. We were playing free and easy and Devin Davis had a monstrous dunk. Wally Szczerbiak was hurt back then and was not even able to travel with us.

You took over for Sendek as head coach in 1996 but nearly died in March 1998 after going into cardiac arrest during the 1st half of a 4-PT win over Western Michigan in the 1st round of the MAC tourney: how close did you come to dying, and how on earth was your team able to stay focused and get the win? I lost my pulse and they had to bring me back to life. I still do not remember the day before the incident: I just remember waking up in the hospital. The team voted to play the game and they played very well. The players came to visit me in the hospital the next day and I had tears in my eyes when Damon/Wally told me that we had won.

Take me through the 1999 NCAA tourney:
Szczerbiak scored a career-high 43 PTS and blocked Greg Clark’s jumper in the final seconds of a 1-PT win over Washington: where does that rank among the best performances that you have ever seen? It was the best: he was just unbelievable. I told him on the practice floor that Tuesday that he would be guarded by a big man half the time and a little man half the time. No matter who they had on him he was red-hot: he scored 43 of our 59 PTS!

Szczerbiak scored 24 PTS in an 8-PT win over Utah for the school’s 1st-ever trip to the Sweet 16: what was the reaction like when you got back to campus? We had a big crowd because it was a big-time thing. Utah had won 24 straight games so nobody thought that we would beat them.

In the 2007 MAC tourney title game Doug Penno scored 11 PTS and banked in a 3-PT shot at the buzzer in a 1-PT win over Akron: where does that rank among the most clutch shots you have ever seen? It is definitely in the top-5: Doug’s shot was big-time.

In the 2007 NCAA tourney Aaron Brooks scored 18 PTS in a 2-PT win by Oregon: how close did you come to pulling off the upset? We played well and had a chance to beat them: had I been ready for their zone defense I think that we would have beat them. We had a sneaky-good team and got out to a nice lead before they switched to the zone. Oregon went to the Elite 8 that year so they had a pretty good team.

In the 2008 MAC tourney title game Al Fisher scored all 11 of his PTS in the 2nd half including a double-clutch 15-foot jumper with 3 seconds left in a 2-PT win by Kent State: what do you remember about that loss? I was in the hospital having 14-hour quadruple-bypass surgery.

In 2012 you retired as the school’s all-time winningest coach and the MAC’s all-time leader in conference wins: what made you such a great coach, and what do you hope to do in the future? I do not know if I was ever a “great” coach but I really loved to coach. I was very fortunate because my family followed me as I followed my passion. I did not like the games as much as the practices: it was fun to go through the preparation. I do not know how much I will miss it but I have enough out there with my son coaching and my grandkids playing that I am having a lot of fun. I coached for 47 years, which you do not do unless you love it. I worked with a lot of nice people and a lot of good athletes including Majerle and Szcerbiak.

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Under The Radar Game of the Day: Cornell at Princeton

For yesterday’s Bracket Rundown podcast involving a full Hoops HD panel – CLICK HERE

Cornell (13-11, 5-3 Ivy) at Princeton (13-8, 5-3 Ivy) – 8:00 PM EST (ESPN+)

Tonight’s UTR Game of the Day takes us to historic Jadwin Gym where the Princeton Tigers will play host to the Cornell Big Red in a matchup of teams currently tied for third place in the Ivy League. The top four teams qualify for the conference tournament to be held at Yale later in March. Princeton won the first meeting between both teams at Cornell 70-61 two weeks ago. The Tigers had a 3-game losing streak that included losses against Yale and Brown on the road and against Harvard at home before finally beating Dartmouth at home last Saturday. Devin Cannady leads the Tigers with 18.2 points per game.

Cornell would be the #4 seed if the Ivy League ended today; they have a two-game lead over both Penn and Brown in the conference standings. They have wins over both teams thus far and play them once more; they are also the only team in the Ivy to have won at Harvard so far. The only surprising loss was at Columbia, but the Big Red are still in good shape as far as Ivy League tournament hopes so far. Matt Morgan leads Cornell with a whopping 23.6 PPG average.

NEWS AND NOTES

– Shortly after yesterday’s News and Notes were published, news broke out of Syracuse that Jim Boeheim struck a passenger on a freeway in Syracuse while driving home late at night after the Orange’s home win against Louisville. The passenger was ultimately ruled dead at an area hospital. All indications are that this was indeed a freak accident – Boeheim was cooperative with authorities and issued a brief statement yesterday expressing condolences for the victim and his family. ESPN also decided not to broadcast their normal College GameDay festivities from Syracuse on Saturday (when they will be hosting Duke on national TV) and it is unknown whether or not Boeheim will be coaching for Syracuse on Saturday. Needless to say, our best wishes go out to the victim’s family in this tough time.

– As expected, Zion Williamson’s knee sprain was ruled a Grade 1 sprain and is expected to be day-to-day for Duke.

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-BOWLING GREEN AT OHIO (MAC). The Falcons continue to roll after a tough win at home over Akron; they remain tied for first in the conference and shouldn’t have too much trouble against an Ohio team that was sand blasted at Buffalo on Tuesday.

-KENT STATE AT BUFFALO (MAC). After a brief blip in January, the Bulls are now playing their best basketball of the year. Kent State can be a dangerous team, but the Golden Flashes had a surprising midweek loss at Central Michigan.

-HARVARD AT BROWN (Ivy League). The Crimson are in second place in the league, but they will have a sneakily tough road trip with Brown and Yale back-to-back this weekend.

-CANISIUS AT MONMOUTH (MAAC). Canisius leads the conference with a half game lead on 5 teams currently tied for second. Monmouth is one of those teams, but the Hawks missed on a chance for the outright lead themselves after losing at home to Marist last Sunday.

-IONA AT MANHATTAN (MAAC). This is another fun New York-area rivalry in the conference, and Iona is another of the 5 aforementioned teams tied for 2nd in the conference at the moment.

-NIAGARA AT RIDER (MAAC). Could Rider just be toying with everyone in the league? They had a five-game losing streak that opened up the conference race, but have now won two straight games against Monmouth and Saint Peter’s to get back on track.

-DARTMOUTH AT YALE (Ivy League). Yale has a bigger matchup tomorrow night, but they don’t want to overlook Dartmouth and potentially end up tied for first with Harvard at the end of the night.

-COLUMBIA AT PENN (Ivy League). It’s now or never for the Quakers – they are two games back of Princeton and Cornell in the standings for fourth place and cannot afford a loss in their weekend homestand.

-DAVIDSON AT RHODE ISLAND (A-10). Davidson fell out of the top of the A-10 with a home loss to Dayton on Monday night and cannot afford another loss if they want to entertain any faint hopes of an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.

-INDIANA AT IOWA (Big 10). Iowa’s streak of good fortune was interrupted with a home loss against Maryland, but how will they do against an increasingly desperate Indiana team? This in-season collapse for the Hoosiers is bringing back memories of 1985 for IU fans.

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Hoops HD Bracket Rundown: February 21st

This was recorded on Thursday, February 21st at 7pm, est.  None of the games that went final after that time are reflected in the show, the seedlist, or the bracket

This is a CHECKPOINT of what we think the NCAA Tournament SHOULD look like if the season ended TODAY.  This is not an attempt to guess what the actual committee will do on Selection Sunday

Everyone on the Hoops HD panel has submitted a seedlist, and Chad has compiled the results, built a master seedlist, and put it into a bracket.  Everyone on the committee is seeing the results as it’s revealed line by line, and they discuss, debate, and assess each team as they are revealed.

 

Below is the final bracket, but do not look at it until you’ve watched the show!!

 

And for all you radio lovers, below is an audio only version of the show…

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News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Thursday, Feb 21st

For last night’s Under the Radar Video Podcast – CLICK HERE

SURVIVAL BOARD UPDATE (click here to view page)

-CLEVELAND STATE AT WRIGHT STATE (Horizon League).  As hard to believe as this is, we may have our first team totally eliminated from the Survival Board tonight.  If Cleveland State loses, it will be mathematically impossible for them to finish 8th and qualify for the Horizon League Conference Tournament.  Our team of experts here at Hoops HD, after much debate, have concluded that they are not likely to receive an at-large bid, which would make them the first team to disappear from the board.  Wright State is actually in a tie for first place and are trying to keep pace with Northern Kentucky.

NEWS AND NOTES

-The biggest game of the night didn’t quite go how we expected or wanted.  Not that we had a rooting interest, but you hate to see a team lose a key player in a showcase game like that.  Zion Williamson went down early, and from pretty much that point on North Carolina never trailed and it was really never close.  I don’t want to take anything away from UNC.  It was a decisive win against a very good team, and with the margin being what it was and the fact that UNC played as well as they did I’m not going to say that they wouldn’t have won had Williamson not gotten hurt.  I’m just saying that wasn’t the narrative anyone really wanted.

-Nevada basically trailed tip to buzzer at San Diego State, and while the loss is hardly a knockout blow, it is going to sink their resume somewhat.  San Diego State is nowhere close to the NCAA Tournament based on what they’ve done for the entire season, but they are a team that’s playing extremely well right now and are playing like an NCAA Tournament caliber team.  I wouldn’t rule them out as a team that could win the MWC Tournament and get in via the auto-bid.

-LSU struggled for the second consecutive game after their big win at Kentucky.  This time they went down to Florida at home in a game that really was a huge surprise.  Florida still has work to do, but that win was a huge step forward for the Gators.

-Villanova trailed Georgetown for seemingly the entire game and picked up their second straight loss.  Their are worse times that a team can go into a slump, but the sooner they pull themselves out of it the better. This was also the first time since 2013 that the Wildcats have lost back-to-back Big East games.

-Louisville was crushed by Syracuse.  I don’t know what to chalk this up to.  Syracuse being schizophrenic and playing like ‘Good Syracuse’ last night, Louisville having an awful night, Louisville carrying out their end of game slumps for an entire game, or what.  Louisville is still in good shape, but is looking less and less like a protected seed.  Syracuse, I suppose, is in good shape as well and this win certainly helps put them in better shape.

-Mississippi State won at Georgia by just a point.  There was a foul called in a tie game with less than a second to go.  The crowd wasn’t happy, so after the first missed free throw a fan threw a toy onto the court, which resulted in a technical foul and two more free throws.  By the time it was all over, Mississippi State had won by a point.  Okay, don’t throw things onto the court, but chances are even without that Mississippi State would have won.

-After praising Seton Hall in yesterday’s write up, they fell at home to a Xavier team that seems to be 100 miles away from the NCAA Tournament.  Xavier had a 16-point lead with under 8 minutes to play, but Seton Hall came back and had a shot at the buzzer to win it.  They just couldn’t quite get all the way back. Now the Pirates have a tougher road remaining with games at St. John’s and Georgetown and home games against Villanova and Marquette.

-NC State beat Boston College at home in overtime.  I guess this means we have to keep looking at NC State.

-Lipscomb fell at home to Florida Gulf Coast.  They’ve gone from being a likely at-large, to a possible at-large, and after last night a maybe-but-probably-not at large.  It was NOT a good loss.

-Saint John’s got blown out at Providence.  The Johnnies are another team that are hot and cold depending on the night.  Last night, they were cold.

-Butler started out the night looking like they might get a much-needed signature win at Marquette, but the Golden Eagles kicked into another gear in the 2nd half and ended up winning without seriously being threatened. This was also damaging for Butler in that they now find themselves in seventh place in the Big East and now being in a position to potentially need to win four games in four days in the Big East tournament. They still have a game at Villanova remaining, but their margin for error is just about depleted.

-Washington and Arizona State both got much needed wins at home in the Pac-12 last night against Utah and Stanford, respectively.

 

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-MICHIGAN AT MINNESOTA (Big Ten).  Michigan has been good on the road this year, but they haven’t always been “protected-seed-good” on the road.  Like, that time last week where they lost at Penn State.  It’s not easy to win at Minnesota, but if Michigan really is a #2 seed, which we think they are, then this is a game they should win.  Being a #2 seed means you’re good enough to win games that aren’t easy to win.

-UCF AT CINCINNATI (American).  This is a VERY important game.  UCF is squarely on the bubble and this is the kind of game that can put them on the right side of it.  Cincinnati has a bloated record, but without a whole lot of quality wins they have a small margin for error and it wouldn’t take much to knock them down into the bottom half of the bracket.

-PEPPERDINE AT GONZAGA (West Coast).  This game is a huge mismatch.  Gonzaga is a likely #1 seed, and Pepperdine will likely finish way below .500.  But in a game like this, it’s not really what’s on paper that really matters.  What matters is that Lorenzo Romar and Mark Few, two people who can probably think of at least five or six people on Planet Earth right now that they hate more than they hate each other, are together again in a spirit of peace and harmony that makes college basketball so great!  (**If you are not aware of the past these two have, Google it!  It is AMAZING!!**)

-OREGON STATE AT UCLA (Pac Twelve).  Okay, you may be laughing now, but this Oregon State team has been playing really well.  They’ve won four of their last five, and with chances to knock off both Arizona State and Wahsington, plus whoever they may face in the Pac Twelve Tournament, this team will have some serious attention paid to it by the selection committee if they are able to thunder down the stretch.

UNDER THE RADAR

-TOWSON AT HOFSTRA (Colonial Athletic).  Hofstra has a two game lead with just four games to go.

-ALBANY AT STONY BROOK (America East).  Stony Brook is chasing Vermont, and will look to hold serve against their rivals tonight.

-VERMONT AT UMBC (America East).  Vermont’s only conference loss came to UMBC at home.  If they can pick up the win tonight they’ll be in the driver’s seat for a first place finish and home court advantage in the conference tourney.

-WINTHROP AT RADFORD (Big South).  These are the top two teams in the league, and Winthrop has a two game lead with just four games to go.  If they get this one.  If they get this one they will be very close to clinching first place and hosting the conference tournament (Campbell is also in the race).

-WESTERN CAROLINA AT UNC GREENSBORO (SoCon).  After two straight losses UNCG is probably out of the at-large talk, but they’re still a good team that can make quite a bit of noise in the conference tournament.

-GEORGIA STATE AT APPALACHIAN STATE (Sun Belt).  Georgia State is just one game back of Texas State and is trying to keep pace.

-UT MARTIN AT MURRAY STATE (Ohio Valley).  Murray State is tied with Belmont and looking to lock up a bye into the OVC semis with a strong finish to the season.

-FORT WAYNE AT SOUTH DAKOTA STATE (Summit League).  South Dakota State is tied for first place and is trying to win out to secure at least a share of it

-UL MONROE AT TEXAS STATE (Sun Belt).  Texas State has a one game lead over Georgia State and is trying to hold serve and stay ahead of them.  They’ve had a fantastic year.

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Happy Tourney-versary!: HoopsHD interviews Hall of Famer Leon Barmore

With the 2019 NCAA tourney tipping off next month, we will spend this month taking a walk down memory lane with a choice collection of players/coaches who are celebrating an awesome anniversary this year. From a comeback win to clinch the 1954 tourney title (65th anniversary) through a last-second loss in the 2014 Final 4 (5th anniversary), these legends have all carved out a little piece of history in past Marches. We continue our series with Leon Barmore, whose name has been synonymous with success during his entire basketball career. He won 2 state titles as a high school player, then won 54 straight games as an assistant to Sonja Hogg at Louisiana Tech. He made 20 NCAA tourneys in 20 years as a head coach, never had a single losing season, and was named national COY 3 separate times. In 2003 he was inducted into both the Naismith Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Coach Barmore about the 25th anniversary of being 1 second away from winning the 1994 title after winning the 1988 title.

You were an All-State guard at Ruston High School: what did it mean to you to win a pair of state titles? I have carried that with me throughout my entire life. Being a home-grown boy and winning 2 titles around the people who I grew up with made me feel awfully proud.

You were captain of the basketball team at Louisiana Tech: why did you decide to stay in Ruston for college? I only had 1 offer coming out of high school: Nicholls State. I rode a bus for 6 hours to go there and signed an offer, but after their coach left I walked-on at Louisiana Tech and eventually earned a scholarship.

In the early 1980s as an assistant under Coach Sonja Hogg you had a 54-game winning streak: did it reach a point where the fans just expected you to win every time you stepped onto the court? I joined Sonja in the late-1970s and we won our 1st title a few years later. It was a big deal: we were the top team for several years so people definitely expected us to win.

After spending 5 years as an assistant to Coach Hogg you became her co-coach in 1982: what was it like to be a co-coach, and what made you 2 so effective (you went 90-9 during your 3 years as co-coaches)? Sonja helped found the program along with Dr. F. Jay Taylor and she and I had a good relationship. I really wanted to get my foot in the door so I started coaching women but I was so successful that I never left. The 2 of us worked together very well before she became head coach at Baylor.

You never had a losing season during your 20 years on the sideline and you made the NCAA tourney every single year: how were you able to be so dominant over such a long period of time? We got it rolling early. Tennessee and Louisiana Tech were selected as the teams of the 1980s, and players would see us on national TV because we were winning. We were a small town but got a lot of good players and it lasted a long time.

In the 1983 NCAA tourney title game tourney MOP Cheryl Miller missed a FT with 6 seconds left and Kim Mulkey missed a shot in the final seconds of a 2-PT win by USC: did you think that Mulkey’s shot was going in, and where does Miller rank among the greatest players that you have ever seen? Kim drove to the hoop, the ref called a charge on her, and that was the game. We have had a lot of games since then but Cheryl was 1 of the very best of all-time: she could even play now!

In the 1987 Final 4 you had a 4-PT win over defending champion Texas thanks to shooting 73.9 FG% in the 2nd half and Teresa Weatherspoon setting a Final 4 record with 11 AST: how much of a home-court advantage did the Longhorns have on their home court in front of more than 15,000 people (the largest crowd in the history of the sport at the time)? We went to Austin about 4 times in postseason play and were fortunate to beat them all 4 times. It was a tremendous win for us because Texas had a great program. I would rank that among my top 3-4 wins of all-time.

In the title game the Volunteers beat you by 23 PTS despite losing 11 of their previous 12 meetings to your team: what was it like to face the legendary Pat Summitt with a title at stake? We beat them for our 1st title in Oregon in 1981 but if I had to lose to somebody then Pat would be the 1. I had so much respect for her because she was always humble/kind. She knew how to lose with grace and I learned a lot from her about that. That win started a great streak for her of winning 8 NCAA titles.

In the 1988 NCAA tourney title game you had a 2-PT win over Auburn despite trailing by 12 PTS at halftime: how were you able to come all the way back, and what did it mean to you to win the title? We had been knocking on the door for several years so after falling behind it seemed like a case of “here we go again”. I have always said that Teresa was the only player I had who could turn that game around. Auburn star Ruthie Bolton had 16 PTS in the 1st half…but went scoreless in the 2nd half thanks to Teresa.

In the 1989-1990 season you won your 1st 32 games before a 12-PT loss to Auburn in the NCAA tourney: were you looking ahead, or was Auburn just a better team, or other? We were not as good as our record: we had a decent non-conference schedule but our league did not give us a lot of tests. Auburn had some good players and a great coach so I did not think that it was necessarily an upset. Our All-American post player got 2 fouls in the 1st few minutes, which killed us.

In the 1994 NCAA tourney title game North Carolina inbounded the ball to Charlotte Smith (who set a title game record with 23 REB) with 0.7 seconds left and she made a 3-PT shot at the buzzer in a 1-PT win by the Tar Heels: where does that rank among the most devastating losses of your career? It would be #1. We were seeded 4th in the regional and beat Tennessee and USC back-to-back to make the Final 4. We played really well against UNC but did not switch on defense as the final shot was taken.

In the 1995 NCAA tourney Debra Williams missed a FT in the final seconds but the scorekeeper accidentally recorded it as a make, so while your players thought the game was going to OT the referees sorted it out and awarded Virginia a 1-PT win: how chaotic was that whole sequence? I remember that Virginia made a 3-PT shot from the corner to win the game and then we missed a half-court shot. I do not recall us fussing at the officials or creating an uproar.

In the 1998 NCAA tourney title game you lost to Tennessee, who finished 39-0 to win their 3rd straight title: where does that Volunteer team rank among the best you have ever seen? That was the best team I had ever seen at the point, and while UConn has had some great teams that are comparable there have been none better.

When you retired in 2002 your 86.9 W/L% was the best in men’s or women’s major-college basketball history: what made you such a great coach? I certainly got into this program at the right time. We led the nation in attendance 1 year and our sport became important at our university. We had great players/great staff/great fans/great administration. It was a combination of everything…and it made me look pretty good!

In 2003 you were inducted into a pair of Halls of Fame: where does that rank among the highlights of your career? At the very top, without question. I grew up here in a small town and loved to play basketball. To come from where I did and reach that point was the most gratifying thing for me as far as an individual award.

In 2008 you came out of retirement to become an assistant at Baylor under Mulkey (who played under you for 4 years and was your top assistant for 15 years): how did you like working for her, and what makes her such a great coach? I loved working for Kim: they treated me really well and I even got to coach Brittany Griner for 2 years. Kim is a great recruiter and an outstanding competitor. I am really proud of her because she is a self-made coach who has become 1 of the best coaches in the women’s game.

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Under The Radar Game of the Day: Winthrop at Radford

For last night’s Under The Radar podcast – CLICK HERE

Winthrop (17-9, 9-4 Big South) at Radford (18-8, 10-2 Big South) – 7:00 PM EST (ESPN+)

Tonight’s UTR Game of the Day takes us to Radford, Virginia where the hometown Highlanders host the Winthrop Eagles in a 1-2 matchup in the Big South standings. Winthrop is tied with Campbell in the loss column, but a half-game ahead and absolutely needing this game to have any chance at a regular season title themselves. Winthrop lost the first meeting against Radford at home 80-61 earlier in the season. Nych Smith leads the Eagles with 17.5 PPG and 3.7 APG.

Radford can get closer to a share of the regular season title with a win tonight; they would need to avoid any potential tiebreaker with Campbell given that the Camels already beat Radford in their first meeting thus far this season. Radford did have a surprising loss on the road at Charleston Southern over the weekend in the closing seconds – prior to that, the Highlanders did have a stretch of games where they won 11 out of 12 games (with the only loss being against the aforementioned Campbell team). Ed Polite Jr. averages a double-double for Radford (12.7 PPG, 10.1 RPG) so far this season.

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