For a recap of yesterday’s 2nd round in the NCAA Tournament – CLICK HERE
Yesterday’s update on the 2017 Coaching Carousel centers mainly around 2 schools – Washington and Syracuse. The initial move was a bit of a surprise – Mike Hopkins will move from head coach-in-waiting at Syracuse to take the full-time gig at Washington. He does have some roots out on the West Coast, and it will remain to be seen if he can recruit blue-chip talent like Lorenzo Romar and also improve on the win totals that have been lacking in Seattle for the past 5-6 seasons.
Not long after Hopkins moved to UW, Syracuse and Jim Boeheim worked out a contract extension beyond next season – that was when Boeheim was originally scheduled to retire and Hopkins would take over the Orange at that point in time.
Brad Brownell will also be retained as head coach at Clemson for another year, although you have to get a feeling that his leash will be a short one if the Tigers have another rough year like they did this season.
As far as the NIT yesterday, 3 more teams advanced to the quarterfinals. Both Georgia Tech and Richmond advanced with wins at home over Belmont and Oakland, respectively. TCU-Iowa went overtime and the Horned Frogs came away with their biggest road win of the year with a 94-92 win against the Hawkeyes.
(4) CENTRAL FLORIDA at (1) ILLINOIS STATE (7:00 PM, ESPN). The Redbirds are the only #1 seed remaining in the NIT after Syracuse, Iowa and California have been eliminated. They literally have a tall order in front of them with Tacko Fall and the UCF Knights coming into town tonight.
(7) AKRON at (6) TEXAS-ARLINGTON (8:00 PM, ESPNU). This game is literally a Bracket Buster with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals of the NIT. While Akron had the higher-seed upset with their win against Houston, the Mavs probably had the higher-profile upset thanks to their win at BYU last week. This may well be the game of the day among the 4 NIT games.
(6) BOISE STATE at (2) ILLINOIS (9:00 PM, ESPN). This will be the first game that Illinois will be playing with new head coach Brad Underwood in attendance (Jamall Walker will serve as interim head coach during the NIT games) – they will only get one chance at a first impression against a Boise State team that already got roadkill at Utah last week.
(8) CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD at (4) COLORADO STATE (11:15 PM, ESPN2). The Roadrunners already have an upset of Cal in this postseason and are about to go from sea level up to mile-high elevation in the Front Range. They will also be playing a Colorado State team that is more motivated for the NIT than Cal appeared to be last week.
LOYOLA at COASTAL CAROLINA (7:00 PM). The Greyhounds of Loyola already have a road win against George Mason under their belts, but they will have to travel outside of the Beltways to take on a Coastal Carolina team that beat Hampton in their CBI opener.
UTAH VALLEY at RICE (8:00 PM). The Wolverines were one of two teams from the WAC to win their CBI openers, and they will again hit the road to take on an improving Rice squad. The Owls beat San Francisco to advance to this point while Utah Valley won at Georgia Southern to get to this point.
GEORGE WASHINGTON at ILLINOIS-CHICAGO (8:00 PM). While the Colonials got a close win over Toledo by 4 points at home last week, they will now have to hit the road to take on a Flames team that had an even closer shave at home against Stony Brook before coming away victorious.
UMKC at WYOMING (9:00 PM). The Front Range will play host to another postseason game thanks to Wyoming’s 10-point win over Eastern Washington last week. They will play UMKC – the Roos beat Green Bay last week for their first postseason victory in their program’s D-I history.
SAMFORD at LIBERTY (7:00 PM, Facebook Live). Samford advanced to the 2nd round with a 4-point win at home over Canisius last week. They will play a Liberty team that had a somewhat easier time against Norfolk State last week in the John McLendon Classic. No trophies at stake tonight – just a spot into the CIT quarterfinals.
TENNESSEE-MARTIN at CAMPBELL (7:00 PM, Facebook Live). For the 2nd straight round, Buies Creek will play host to another postseason contest for Campbell. The Camels have won 5 out of their last 6 games that include a win over Houston Baptist in their CIT opener. UT-Martin beat a tough UNC-Asheville team in their opener 89-75, but that was in the friendly confines of their home arena.
WEBER STATE at TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI (8:00 PM, Facebook Live). Despite a mid-February slump, Weber State has won 4 out of their last 5 games, and that includes a win against an improving Cal State-Fullerton team in their CIT opener. Corpus Christi is another team that overcame their shortcomings in their conference championship game with a decisive win against Georgia State in their CIT opener.