There were a couple of noteworthy items in the annual 2017 Coaching Carousel yesterday. Cuonzo Martin was announced as the new head coach at Missouri less than 24 hours after California’s season ended with a loss to Cal State-Bakersfield. Lorenzo Romar was dismissed as the head coach at Washington after an up-and-down career in Seattle. At the peak of his career, the Huskies won the Pac-12 in 2005 and were the #1 seed in the West. While recruiting resulted in some blue-chip recruits, the Huskies have trended downwards on the court in the last 6 seasons.
– In the NIT last night, 1 was a lucky number but 2 and 3 were not. Both Syracuse and Illinois State held serve at home and won their openers, but Georgia and Houston ended up losing to Belmont and Akron, respectively. The Akron-Houston game was actually played at Texas Southern’s on-campus arena since Hofheinz Pavilion was not available. BYU also ended up losing at home to Texas-Arlington thanks to a 28-point performance from Drew Charles. TCU and UCF also won their openers at home against Fresno State and Colorado, respectively.
– In the CBI, 5 out of the 7 home teams won their openers. The biggest margin of victory actually came with Utah Valley blasting Georgia Southern 74-49 on the road. The Loyola Greyhounds also made the short trip down I-95 to George Mason and also got a 15-point win on the road. Coastal Carolina, GW, Rice, Wyoming and UMKC all won at home.
– In the CIT, Fort Wayne defeated Ball State in the Lou Henson Classic last night. Rashawn Thomas led the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders over Georgia State 80-64 with a 31-point performance. Chad Sherwood had 17 points in Idaho’s 73-50 win over SFA at home (at Memorial Gym). UMBC also got in on the fun with an 88-83 win against Fairfield at home.
ILLINOIS-CHICAGO at STONY BROOK (8:00 PM). This is the last of the opening round CBI matchups involving an improving UIC team and a Stony Brook team that managed to get a postseason bid a year after making their first NCAA Tournament appearance.
SAINT PETER’S at ALBANY (7:00 PM, Facebook Live). Saint Peter’s is coming off of a 2nd place finish in the MAAC regular season behind the Monmouth Hawks. Albany came within a minute of spoiling Vermont’s NCAA Tournament hopes in the America East championship, but will get to host at least postseason game at home against the Peacocks tonight.
FURMAN at USC-UPSTATE (7:00 PM, Facebook Live). Furman was an unexpected contender in the SoCon this year, but they lost early in their conference tournament. USC-Upstate is also coming off of a quarterfinal loss in the Atlantic Sun tournament at home against Kennesaw State. Will both teams be rusty after a 2-week layoff, or will they be well rested?
UNC-ASHEVILLE at TENNESSEE-MARTIN (8:00 PM, Facebook Live). While UT-Martin has been much improved in the last 5 seasons, they have been unable to get over the hump in the Ohio Valley conference championship game. Their reward is a home game against a UNC-Asheville team that was upset in their Big South tournament opener against Campbell.
LAMAR at TEXAS STATE (8:30 PM, Facebook Live). While Lamar is more rested after an early exit in the Southland tournament, Texas State is coming off a loss in the Sun Belt championship game to Troy.
WEBER STATE at CAL STATE FULLERTON (10:00 PM, Facebook Live). The final trophy game of the CIT first round is the Riley Wallace Classic. While Weber State tailed off in February, Fullerton was improved in the Big West and ended up finishing 3rd in the standing behind UC-Davis and UC-Irvine.